A trip to Venice Lido 

We just returned from a fantastic holiday in Italy. It was our first trip to Venice and one we’ll never forget. Venice is just pure magic. We spent six days in Venice itself before deciding to relocate to Venice Lido for a relaxing few days on the beach.

I actually didn’t even know that Venice had such a beautiful beach. We visited on our second day. The ferry takes around thirty minutes from Rialto to Venice Lido. The beach is a ten minute stroll from the Lido boat stop. There are a number of private beaches to choose from. Many are associated with hotels but you can hire a hut or chair and umbrella even if you’re not staying at the hotel. There is also a public section that has chair and umbrella hire as well as food facilities. Two chairs and an umbrella costs about 27 euro at the public beach.

The sand on the private beaches is raked daily ensuring it is very soft. In the public section there are more shells and pebbles. We chose the same private beach each visit. The prices are pretty standard at each private beach and you can choose what you want based on your budget. We chose a hut in the second or third row. The huts come complete with a sun bed and mattress, table with four chairs, two deck chairs, and the hut with a mirror and cupboard to store your belongings. The price for the day was around 70 euro. After 2pm the huts are offered half price and also during the last week of August there was a promotion on offering half price huts all day!

We wouldn’t normally spend an entire day at the beach with the kids but having the hut meant we could rest in the shade during the hottest part of the day. We also enjoyed lunch at our little table and either purchased from the cafe or brought our own supplies from the supermarket.

The water was really calm during our visit and is also shallow making it great for kids.

It’s a great base for exploring Venice. I liked the relaxed vibe and the fact that it wasn’t as crowded as Venice.

When we decided to stay a few nights we had no idea the film festival was on! We booked our last minute stay at Hotel Regina. A great hotel as it is a short walk from the beach and restaurants. I loved the hotel breakfast as we ate in the lovely hotel garden each morning.

 

A delicious Italian brunch in London 

Over the weekend, I enjoyed a lovely afternoon at Theo’s Simple Italian at the Indigo Hotel in Kensington.

We were treated to a cooking masterclass by Theo Randall himself. He shared some great tips for making the perfect pasta at home. 

Theo recommends cooking packet pasta for three minutes less than the intructions state. Once done use tongs or a slotted spoon to move the pasta into into the sauce. Add two ladels of the pasta water to the sauce. This method will result in pasta that has absorbed some of the sauce and isn’t overcooked. Perfecto! I’m definitely going to buy a pasta machine so I can try making fresh pasta at home. 

After the cooking class we were treated to a special preview of the new brunch menu launching on September 24. Each dish was delicious from pasta to pork and amazing desserts. The set price will be £35 per person with a glass of prosecco on arrival. Dishes are designed for sharing.

The prettiest place in London

My daughter and I visited the prettiest place last week. The Wallace Collection is an art collection housed in the former townhouse of the Seymour family, Marquesses of Hertford.

It is a beautiful building and contains amazing art and furniture. Among the painters represented are Titian, Rubens, Rembrandt, Hals (The Laughing Cavalier), Velàzquez, Poussin (A Dance to the Music of Time), Canaletto, Gainsborough and Lawrence.

Well worth a visit if you’re in London. The interiors are amazing and each room is just beautiful. After you wander around enjoy afternoon tea in the Wallace Restaurant located in the courtyard.

Address: Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1U 3BN

Admission is free. Open 7 days a week 10am – 5pm. Closed 24 – 26 December.

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Paris (Part 2)

It has been a few weeks since our wonderful weekend in Paris! I promised to share some more thoughts on our recent stay. I’m often asked for accommodation tips especially for Paris. We spent only two days in Paris this time and one day was dedicated to Disneyland so it left only  8 hours for sightseeing on our last day! We somehow managed to fit in quite a bit. This was our tenth visit but as always there were things I wanted to see that we hadn’t managed to get around to on our previous visits.

Accommodation

We stayed at Hotel Brighton in December and just loved it. Hotel Brighton is part of a collection of 37 hotels in France run by Esprit de France. I was keen to stay at one of their hotels again as I love the locations and the room sizes are perfect for our family of four. This time, we chose Hotel d’Orsay which is next to the Musee d’Orsay on the left bank of the Seine. We booked our stay directly via the hotel website as it was cheaper than booking.com which we normally use.

We were not disappointed! On opening the door to our room we were met with a very large room featuring an enormous bed and a sofa bed that was perfect for the kids. The bathroom was also large with a double sink and gorgeous full sized toiletries including body scrub. Each room also has a Nespresso machine which is an added bonus when you’re a parent and often up before the cafes open!

A lovely touch was the gifts that were in our room for the children. They each received a gorgeous Paris colouring book, snacks, juice, and beautiful toiletries. After a long train ride from London, this certainly brought smiles to their little faces.

We enjoyed breakfast at the hotel. The breakfast was also fantastic with everything you could want for the first meal of the day. All the staff we encountered during our stay were very friendly.

Sightseeing

This time, we spent an entire day at Disneyland so only had a few hours for sightseeing in Paris. We visited a few places that had been on our list for a while and then enjoyed a lazy lunch at a cafe in the Jardin des Tuileries along with more than a few carousel rides for the kids.

We finally climbed the stairs all the way to the top of the Arc De Triomphe. A lot of stairs to climb and I was carrying a three-year-old for some of it! But well worth the climb once you reach the top. The views are just spectacular. I’m amazed we didn’t do it sooner.

We also visited a place called Square Rapp which offers a nice view of the Eiffel Tower. Definitely worth a quick visit too as some of the architecture is just amazing. It’s a great spot to photograph the Eiffel Tower although I’m not sure how photographers actually manage to get behind the gates to take their shots! When we arrived it was locked with signs saying private property.

We had a wonderful trip as always. Looking forward to visiting again soon.

Summer in London

As schools now start to close for the Summer, lots of parents are looking for things to do over the break! We spent a great day near Tower Bridge over the weekend. The kids loved playing in the sprinklers and there is also a great spot to relax either on the grass or in a deck chair.

There are some great kid friendly areas around London if you’re looking for some activities. South Bank has a sandpit and also the Disappearing Rooms (sprinklers). There are also some great sprinklers at Somerset House. Perfect for cooling down when the weather is finally warm!

 

London gallery – Jeff Koons 

We visited the Jeff Koons exhibition at Newport Street Gallery today. 

This was my first time seeing Koons work in person. In person the works were mind blowing. The inflatable pool toys made to look like vinyl are actually cast in aluminium and then painted to resemble real vinyl. The effect is amazing. 

The gallery also has a cool cafe serving delicious meals and drinks. We had the Belgian waffles with berries. Delicious!

The exhibition is on until the 16th of October and entry is free.

Address: Newport Street Gallery, Newport Street, London SE11 6AJ