Christmas 2017 – Gift guide for Travelers

You are a wanderluster still wondering what to put on your letter to Santa? Someone close to you caught the travelling bug and cannot stay still? This gift guide is for you!

I know it is still a little early to talk about Christmas but I personally like to plan what I am going to buy for my close ones for Christmas ahead of December, just to spread the cost a bit and not be completely bankrupt by December 25th.

Christmas 2017 Travel gift guide

 1. Wallpaper* City Guides

These pocket-size travel guides will help you discover the world’s main cities. The content focus on architecture and design so these city guides are great gifts for both travellers and interior design addicts. The other great thing with the Wallpaper City Guides is that they are very reasonably priced!

2. Sass & Belle Vintage World Map Passport Holder

Cute little passport holder which will remind you why you are boarding this plane while protecting the most important document you need. Again, a cheap gift so perfect as a Secret Santa gift or a stocking filler.

3. Miu Color Glass Water Bottle

A useful gift that can be both used while travelling or at work. The Miu glass water bottle is also eco-friendly, easy to wash AND cheap!

4. Freetoo Portable Luggage Scale

Not the most charming or romantic gift, but the Freetoo portable luggage scale is a very useful gift for all travelers. With this, people will always have the peace of mind of knowing that their luggage is not too heavy; bye bye airlines additional fees!

5. Scratch Map Poster

A great way to track the places you have been to and decorate your home! I myself have this exact scratch map in my guest bathroom!

6. Oliver Bonas Travel Laundry Bags

First, these Oliver Bonas travel bags are ridiculously pretty, second, they will be super useful to keep anyone’s luggage organised and well… clean!

7. HumanCharger

Now most of you may see this and be ‘what is that?’, don’t worry I was too! The HumanCharger is a little device which will boost your well-being. It provides the light-sensitive regions of the brain with direct bright light. It can be used to increase energy levels, and reduce the effects of jet lag. Perfect for all the frequent flyers and world-travelers!

8. Longchamp Nylon Pliage Bag

This is by far the most useful bag I own. I mentioned it in a previous post on my favourite travel bags, the Longchamp pliage bag is great to travel, go to the gym and more. It is also a fantastic space-saver as it can easily fold and fit and any luggage when you don’t need it!

 9. Bose Quiet Comfort Headphones

Reasonably priced and great quality, these Bose headphones will soon become any traveler best friend. The only downside is that these are not wireless, but to be honest, I personally don’t mind and I know a lot of people don’t either.

10. Personalised Leather Travel Wallet With Phone Charger

Who doesn’t like a personalised gift? This elegant leather travel wallet not only can be personalised with your initials but it also contain a portable charger giving about 2 charges to an iPhone. Perfect to travel in style! My personal favourite is the emerald green.

Here you go! 10 gifts for travelers which hopefully will help you buy the wanderlusters in your life thoughtful and useful gifts for their next adventure!

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Travelling in style – Rimowa, worth it?

With an average price of £400+ for a medium size luggage, one could wonder if buying a Rimowa suitcase really worth it. What justify such a price tag? Is it made of gold? Does it roll itself across the airport?

Rimowa logo on suitcase

The answer is no, there is no gold or self-driven functionality. Rimowa developed a strong reputation for its extremely light and durable luggage. Now, it is all very well but most luggage brands do lightweight suitcases nowadays so what is the real differentiator?

To answer this question, let’s have a look at my 9-year-old Rimowa, an old version of the Salsa Air 65 litres. My parents very kindly got it for me when I moved to the US to study. They saw it as an investment as I was scheduled to travel a fair bit over the following 12 months. They also happen to live on the border with Germany, Rimowa being a German brand, they may have found a good deal at the time.

Old Rimowa blue suitcase

So why do I think Rimowa worth the investment?

Rimowa luggage are extremely durable

I moved to the US, then back to France, then again to the US, then back to France again, and finally to England with it. So this suitcase hasn’t only carried my outfits for 2 weeks in Japan or South Africa, it has also carried my life (and the weight of it) multiple times and never failed me. The carbon shell is surprisingly flexible which means that it will extend ever so slightly so you can pack the suitcase to the max, sit on it to squeeze it all in, and pack a bit more. Unlike hard shell luggage, Rimowa gives you a bit more flexibility while still protecting your belongings from the tossing and rolling around.

Old Rimowa inside suitcase

I am also amazed by its durability in all circumstances, from travelling on a longboat in Thailand (below) to rolling in the cobbled streets of Rome, I did it all and 9 years later it is still going strong! And I am not even talking about the multiple spillages it has seen!

Rimowa Koh Phi Phi Thailand

Rimowa luggage are extremely light

That’s an understatement! Rimowa suitcases are very very (one more) very light. To give you an idea my luggage which is 67 x 45 x 25 cm weights about 3 kg. This means that on a long haul flight, I can take up to 20 kg of ‘stuff’ with me (depending on the airline). No more compromise on which shoes or jackets to take!

Old Rimowa blue suitcase

Rimowa is a German brand

If you have never watched Eddie Izzard ‘Dress to kill’ show, you have to! It is hilarious, and luckily you can find most of it on Youtube! One part really stuck with me when Eddie Izzard explains that Germans (and Japaneses) should be in charge of the world logistic because they are so efficient and organised. It is sooo true!

Old Rimowa blue suitcase

Germans are extremely diligent and organised, and most of their products are always very good. BMW, German! WMF, German! Rimowa, German as well! There is something about German brands. They are often expensive but their prices are justified with the quality and reliability. So when buying a Rimowa luggage you know that it is a reliable investment, with a 5-year guarantee too (even better!).

Rimowa suitcase and cat

It is also good to note that this suitcase is an excellent cat trap! There is something about it they cannot resist.

Rimowa suitcase and cat

So would I only buy Rimowa luggage? Of course not, I simply cannot afford it. Would I recommend buying one if money allows it? Absolutely!

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My carry-on skincare

Summer is upon us meaning travel season is here! Get excited for the lists of lists of things to pack, overweight luggage, crowded airports and long haul flights.

To make your life a little easier I listed below the skincare I am taking with me on flights. It’s all under 100ml and fits in a zip lock bag!

carry on skincare bag

Cleanser – Bioderma Sensibio 100ml 

I always pack 4 cotton pads and a small bottle of Bioderma Sensibio micellar water. I have been using it for 8 years now (I am French) and it is the best. Wiping my face with it is the first step of my in-flight beauty routine. Note that my bottle on the picture is called ‘Crealine’, this is because I bought it in France, Sensibio is the name used outside of France.

carry on skincare bioderma sensibio

Face mask – Avene Instant Soothing Moisture Mask 50ml or ESPA Overnight Hydration Therapy

I don’t have dry skin but when flying I can get quite dehydrated, so I make sure to always apply one of my two favourite hydrating face masks on clean skin.

Avene Instant Soothing Moisture Mask 50ml is the perfect light hydrating mask that sinks into the skin immediately – ideal for short/medium haul flights. If you are packing for a long haul or you need something a little bit heavier, ESPA Overnight Hydration Therapy should do the job, the one I have is a travel size perfect for that zip lock bag!

carry on skincare avene espa face masks

Face mist – Caudalie Beauty Elixir 30ml

Caudalie Beauty Elixir is little bit of a ‘princess product’ but very soothing and pleasant to use on a busy flight. It helps refresh the face and the smell is just lovely. It won’t transform your skin but it will make you forget the plane food smell for a few seconds.

carry on skincare caudalie beauty elixir

Lip balm – Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant 50ml

It doesn’t get much better than this. Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream hydrates, protects and can even be used as an hydrating eye mask!

carry on skincare elizabeth arden eight hours cream

Hand sanitizer – Carex Aloe Vera Refreshing Hand Gel Antibacterial 50ml

A classic and excellent value for money! I always use it after boarding, before eating or washing my face.

carry on skincare carex hand gel

Hand cream – Yes Nurse Protect Your Lovely Hands 50ml

I HATE sticky hand creams, and this one isn’t! It sinks in almost instantly, has a very subtle smell and does an excellent job hydrating my little hands. I have it in my handbag all year round!

carry on skincare yes nurses hand cream

Face cream tester

About 30 minutes to landing? Now is a good time to wipe your face mask off with the trusty Bioderma Sensibio 100ml. I then use the flight as an excuse to try a new face cream and finally use one of the testers that sits at the bottom of my bathroom drawer. No favourite here, just have fun, be bold and try something you never have before!

carry on skincare face cream testers

Fragrance tester – Givenchy Very Irresistible Sensual or Le Labo Santal 33

About to leave the plane and potentially interact with other human beings? Now is a good time to spray a nice fragrance on to hide the ‘plane smell’ until your next opportunity to shower (no one’s judging here!). I always pack a tester of my favourite fragrance which are either Givenchy Very Irresistible Sensual or Le Labo Santal 33.

carry on givenchy lelabo fragrances

Here you go! Eight products that should make your flight a little more pleasant and your face a little more glowy!

carry on skincare bag

A weekend on the Jurassic Coast – highlights

After a first video of my trip to Puglia, here is my second video creation – the highlights of our weekend on the Jurassic Coast. I like to play with new type of content and thought you would like it!

The Jurassic Coast stretches from Devon to Dorset and offers some of the most impressive and scenic views of England. Why this name? Millions of years ago this was the house to many palaeontology creatures and today it is the house of many fossils. It is a fantastic escape to the English seaside and I will soon share our full itinerary!

Also you may wonder why our car feature so much in the video. Well… This is the creative input of Andrew who is having a love affair with his new Alfa Romeo Giulia…

Hope you enjoy it!

A weekend in Rome – part 3

On day 1, we explored the Antique Rome, on day 2, we visited the Vatican, and day 3 was all about the ‘everyday’ Rome.

After a morning lazing around the pool of our hotel. We headed to the city centre for a last stroll before our flight.

Rome roofs and swimming pool

 

We first looked for a nice spot for lunch and found a great place just off the Piazza Navona. I talked more about Cul de Sac, there.

Cul de Sac restaurant Rome

 

After a very satisfying lunch, we went to explore Piazza Navona and its surroundings.

Piazza NavonaPiazza Navona

The atmosphere of Rome is just intoxicating, you cannot help but feel happy walking in the yellow cobbled streets.
Rome streetRome street

We walked through the city centre on the look for gelatos.
Rome fountain

ROme street

And we ended our trip at the Pantheon, one of Rome oldest building still standing!

Pantheon RomePantheon RomePantheon Rome

It was my third time here and I can say that Rome really never disappoints!

What’s – Kyoto, Japan

If you happen to be visiting Kyoto and fancy some beef, I may just know the place you want to go to!

What’s in Kyoto is one of those restaurants you would probably miss while walking around Kyoto city centre. It is in a quiet back street about 10-minutes’ walk from Shijo Dori, Kyoto main high street, and it really worth the detour!

Kyoto What's restaurant

Once inside the waiters will warmly welcome you. Everybody is very friendly, at What’s, and genuinely interested in where you are coming from, how you are finding Japan, and if you enjoy your time there.

If you are sitting upstairs, you will be asked to take your shoes off, very common in Japanese restaurants.

You will then be taken to your table which is more of a private booth than a table. Everything there is made so you can quietly and privately enjoy your dinner. No curious table neighbours staring at your plate here!

Kyoto What's restaurant

To order, just use the little bell on the table! As I said, the staff wants to make sure that you are not being bothered unless it is necessary. Japanese people are very considerate which extremely pleasant!

We were first treated to an appetiser, beef tongue, the name may not be appetising for all but it was delicious!

Kyoto What's restaurant

Once the grill was ready, we ordered the shoulder sirloin for me and the Selection of the Chef for Andrew.

Kyoto What's restaurantKyoto What's restaurant

All meats are served with a selection of soy sauces, salt and wasabi.

Kyoto What's restaurantKyoto What's restaurantKyoto What's restaurant

I find that cooking your own food make you appreciate it even more.

Kyoto What's restaurant

For sides, we went for some kimchi (fermented cabbage and radishes, so good!) and the steamed vegetables. Who knew steamed cabbage could be so delicious?

Kyoto What's restaurantKyoto What's restaurant

It was truly one of our favourite meal in Kyoto! From the beautiful indoors, to the delicious food and the lovely staff, What’s really worth a visit!

Where I have been so far – 2017

Saying that travelling is my favourite hobby is an understatement. I have been to 5 continents and visited 22 countries, so far. Not bad but I am aiming to do better!

Hopefully I will add at least one other country to the list by the end of the year (Portugal or Iceland I think), but in the meantime, here is where I have been so far!

Travel map 2017
Source

Europe

  • France (born and raised!)
  • The UK (London, Cornwall, Norfolk, the Lake District, and Scotland)
  • Ireland
  • Netherlands
  • Belgium
  • Luxembourg
  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Switzerland
  • Italy (Rome 1 & 2, Puglia, Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast)
  • Spain
  • Greece
  • Turkey ( a little guide on Turkish food)
  • The Vatican

Asia

Africa

  • The Seychelles
  • South Africa

South America

  • Brazil

North America

  • The USA (my favourite NYC rooftop, Boston, California, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Chicago, Missouri)

Now the real question is, where should I go next? I am open to suggestions!

A weekend in Rome – part 2

On the second day of a long weekend in Rome, head to the Vatican. A true architectural wonder and a place filled with masterpieces.

Vatican Basilica St PietroVatican Basilica St PietroVatican Basilica St Pietro

The Vatican’s queue is notoriously long and bad, so make sure to beat it by ordering your tickets online. I got ours there and we walked pass the 500-meters long queue and went straight in there with very little wait at security.

Swiss guard Vatican

The place is huge and filled with pieces you probably first saw in your history books at school.

Vatican museumVatican museumVatican museum

‘Ohhhhh’ and ‘Ahhhh’ in the Sistine chapel (but don’t take any pictures, you’ll be told off! Trust me, I tried!).

Vatican museumVatican museumVatican museum

Wander for a couple of hours and end your visit in the huge Basilica St Pietro.

Basilica St Pietro

Once out, head toward Piazza del Popolo, on the way you will find plenty of delis and bakeries where you can find delicious sandwiches.

Piazza del Popolo

On Piazza del Popolo grab a gelato and people watch.

Piazza del Popolo

Rome is a very lively city and Piazza del Popolo a great place to see it happen.

Done with your gelato? Good! Now let’s walk it off! Head uphill to the Villa Borghese park, wander along the cypress trees alleys and enjoy the views of Rome’s roofs.

Villa Borghese parkVilla Borghese parkVilla Borghese park

Have a siesta on the grass and when it gets closer to ‘Aperol o’clock’ head down back into the city via the Spanish Steps and take a sit at a terrace for an aperitivo and more people watching.

End the day with a dish of pasta or a delicious pizza and go to bed for some sun filled dreams.

Here are parts 1 and 3 of our weekend in Rome!

Back from Japan!

I am back beautiful people!

Landed yesterday evening in London after 2 amazing weeks in the land of the Rising Sun.

Japan was beautiful! I loved every minute of it and I am having a serious case of holiday blues as I type this post at 5 am (jet lag!) on this rainy morning day in London.

I will share all my addresses and recommendations on the blog, and maybe a video or two! I have so much content though, it may take me a little while to go through it all, so in the meantime here are some Japan highlights taken on my good old iPhone 6s.

Glad to be back and see you very soon for more!

Shinjuku Tokyo Japan
Tokyo – Shinjuku
Tokyo shrine
Tokyo – shrine
Tokyo tea house
Tokyo – tea house
Park Hyatt Tokyo
Tokyo – Park Hyatt view
Wagyu beef Tokyo
Tokyo – Wagyu beef
Bento box
Tokyo – bento box
Kimono Nara
Nara – kimonos
Fushimi Kyoto
Kyoto – Fushimi
Bamboo forest Tokyo
Kyoto – bamboo forest
Osaka by night
Osaka – by night
Hiroshima
Hiroshima
Hakone Mount Fuji
Hakone – Mount Fuji

 

A weekend in Rome – part 1

Rome… Ahhhhhh, Rome… I love you so much! You are like a summer flirt – seducing, warm, interesting and beautiful. I have been to Rome several time and I just fall in love more and more each time. It always delivers!

The great thing with Rome is that it is only a short flight away from almost everywhere in Europe so going for a long weekend is fairly easy!

Alps flight to Rome

A quick flight across the Alps and you will be there for dinner on a Friday. Find a nice little restaurant not far from where you’re staying and unwind to the sound of Italian voices.

On the Saturday, head to the Colosseum.

Colosseum Rome

Yes, it is cliché, but it really worth visiting. You will feel like Russell Crowe in Gladiator for a couple of hours. Note that it is important to buy your tickets in advance to beat the queue.

Colosseum RomeColosseum Rome

Rome offers also plenty of touristy photo opportunities. So go on, be a tourist and proud of it!

Colosseum Rome

Now is a good time to grab a late lunch. All places around there will be quite touristy so don’t desperately look for something special, just pick between panini and pasta. Or even better, pack a sandwich, from a local baker, so you can enjoy it at our next stop, the Roman Forum!

From the Colosseum, just head to the other side of the street and enter the Roman Forum. The site is mainly in ruin, but it really give you a great idea of how the Antic Rome must have looked like. You can imagine the little food markets, the shops, the temples and all the activity in the very old streets.

Roman ForumRoman ForumRoman ForumRoman Forum

From the Forum, head uphill to what used to be the ‘posh’ neighbourhood of the antic Rome. The Palatine Hill is were the emperors and the cool-kids lived. I did Latin for 2 years, I don’t remember any of the derivatives but I do remember this! My parents would be proud…

Palatine HillPalatine Hill

The views of Rome’s roofs are wonderful from there.

Palatine HillPalatine Hill

At the top of the hill you will find Emperor Augustus palace. You will also see on the other side of the hill what remains from the Circus Maximus (drop movie reference here: Ben-Hur)

Emperor Augustus palace

After the Palatine hill, head toward the Piazza del Campidoglio, where you will find the famous Capitoline wolf statue. You can then head downhill to the Piazza Venezia and the high street area.

By now it should be late afternoon, perfect time for a gelato or an Aperol spritz! When in Rome…

Here are part 2 and 3 of our weekend in Rome!