A day in the Cotswolds

Saturday 23 May 2015

The Cotswolds is probably one of the most beautiful places to go in England. The region is full of quaint little towns and villages nestled into the heart of the English countryside - a pastoral daydreamer's fantasy. The stone cottages turn a soft golden colour in the late afternoon sun and budding wisteria hangs delicately from garden archways. There is something truly lovely and happy about walking through these quiet villages taking in all the picturesque scenery and getting a feeling for simple, rural life. 
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Lower Slaughter - Upper Slaughter walk: we started in a village called Lower Slaughter and walked one mile through a country field to the even smaller village of Upper Slaughter. After wandering around the village and admiring the beauty of a postcard-perfect spot, we walked back to Lower Slaughter and had lunch at the Slaughters Country Inn. A cozy, 17th century Inn with low lying ceilings and a wonderful terrace overlooking the River Eye. 

After lunch we drove about 20 minutes to the bigger town of Chipping Campden where we enjoyed browsing around local artisan food stores and boutique shops. My purchase of the day was a box of clotted cream fudge and a handmade, wild-fig candle. We ended our pleasant day in the Cotswolds with afternoon tea at The King's Hotel on the high street in the centre of town. The beauty of the Cotswolds lies in its simple, rural charm which tricks you into believing you're on the set of Downton Abbey.

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The Pinnacles

Thursday 14 May 2015

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Pinnacles Desert, WA

It took me so long to tick the pinnacles off my list, but as most things that take time, it was worth the wait. There was something about the soft, candy-coloured sunrise, eerie silence and towering rock formations that made walking through the pinnacles feel like being on the surface of another planet. Nature's wonders never cease to amaze me and watching the horizon light up with the pinnacles in the foreground was a highlight of my time in Western Australia. 

We arrived at 6am to watch the sunrise. The gates to the national park are open all night and day for those keen enough to experience the desert by night or early morning. Don't be fooled by thinking it never gets cold in Australia {I have fallen for that many a time}, temperatures drop at night and being so exposed can leave you with chattering teeth and no feeling in your fingers. In preparation for watching the sunrise in the cold, we brought a picnic blanket to sit on, a wool blanket to keep warm, a portable mini gas burner, moka pot, mugs and breakfast snacks. Sipping coffee and snuggling up to the man I love in the middle of an iconic desert watching the sun rise is one of those treasured memories. It's those moments we all seek on our travels and adventures, ones we can add to our catalogue of happy moments. 

Pixel Coffee Brewers

Sunday 10 May 2015

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Like most of my favourite cafés, Pixel Coffee came onto my radar after I stalked their delicious-looking cakes and pastel coloured coffee cups on Instagram. Word of the café newbies spread quickly on the Perth coffee scene and like a lot of people, I was eager to taste their specialty coffee and tasty treats on offer. I wasn’t disappointed. Pixel Coffee is a wonderful little café pleasing to the eye with an abundance of fresh flowers and pretty pastel touches {always a win in my book}, excellent coffee and healthy, raw treats galore.

{2/226 Oxford Street, Leederville, Western Australia}

Itinerary: Perth & South West, WA in a week

Thursday 7 May 2015

Exploring South Western Australia with my best friend in tow has been high on my list of things-to-do, but always seemed unlikely given the distance between where she lives {New York City} and Perth. I was so delighted when Ashley told me she quite spontaneously booked a last minute trip to visit me and would be in Perth a month from when she booked her flight. It’s no secret that annual leave from a busy New York City job is sacred, as most New Yorkers treat themselves only to long weekends every now and again, so I wanted to ensure each day Ashley was in Western Australia was filled with a balanced combination of adventure, relaxation, fun and of course plenty of wine. I’ve put together this itinerary which captures most things I love about South West W.A in only one week. 

Arrival day: Luckily, Ashley’s flight arrived in the early afternoon which gave her enough time to drop of baggage, wash, change & feel human again, enjoy a cup of coffee and get to Leighton beach just in time for an afternoon glass of wine & nibbles at Bib & Tucker before enjoying what I love most about living in Western Australia – walking along the beach and watching the sun set into the Indian Ocean. 

{other recommended sunset-watching spots: King’s Park, South Perth Foreshore, Crawley boat shed, Matilda bay, North Mole Lighhouse}
Leighton Beach, Perth
First full day – Rottnest Island: this was my favourite day of the whole week. Cycling around Rottnest with a backpack full of snacks and cold beer, stopping every few hundred meters to take in the beauty of the island and finding secret, secluded beaches to stop and soak in the sun. 
Rottnest Island, WA
Second day: We set off early for our three-day road trip to Margaret River making a stop to walk along the famous Busselton Jetty. This broke up the drive {and Taylor Swift on repeat} nicely, giving us the opportunity to walk the 2 Kilometer Jetty, get some sun and stretch our legs. 
Busselton Jetty, WA
In the afternoon I booked us on a Kangaroo Safari tour. A visit to Australia is not complete without seeing Kangaroos hopping around freely and happily in their natural environment. Even after living here for 3+ years, I never tire of seeing kangaroos, I think they are beautiful animals and so vital to experiencing Australia. 
Margaret River
Third day: Wineries, wineries & more wineries! Need I say more? I think not. Our favourites were Laurance Wines, House of Cards & Wise Wine
Margaret River Wineries
Fourth day: We visited Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse to take in the beauty of the rugged coastline and deep blue colours of the ocean. Cape Leeuwin marks the intersection of the Indian Ocean with the Antarctic Ocean, one of my favourite spots along the South West coast. After this we drove into Augusta to enjoy some tasty fish & chips in the small but quaint seaside town. 
Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse
Fifth day: clear blue skies and higher temperature than the previous days meant a day at the beach. In the morning we went to Meelup beach to enjoy the calm turquoise waters. After a few hours we headed to Dunsborough, stocked up on picnic supplies and enjoyed a beach picnic and a swim at Dunsborough beach before driving back to Perth in the late afternoon. 
Margaret River region beaches, WA
Sixth day – Fremantle: Spent a leisurely day exploring the markets, admiring the colonial architecture and relaxing at Bather’s Beach. 
A day in Fremantle
Departure day: After a busy non-stop week, we decided to spend the last few hours in a more relaxed mode. We went to one of my favourite places for breakfast in Perth, Little Bird Café, and then took a stroll through Hyde Park where we picked a nice, sunny, grassy spot to take in the last of the sunshine before Ashley embarked on her 30+ hour journey back to the Big Apple. 
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