Tips for Visiting Hampshire, New Forest and The Cotswolds

My first ever trip abroad, and the reason for my first passport, was a vacation to England with my mother at 12 years old. Perhaps because that was my first trip, or perhaps because it was such a special occasion with my mother — Great Britain remains one of my favorite places to visit and one of the only destinations I have no qualms about returning to over and over and over again.

While I love London and Edinburgh, what I love most about Great Britain is the countryside. Just before I spent this past NYE in Scotland, I visited England’s gorgeous villages in Hampshire, New Forest and the Cotswolds so I want to share some tips for how to make the most of these oh-so-lovely English destinations. With the dollar doing so well against the pound right now, I think 2015 is the best year in decades to make this kind of trip….

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Edinburgh’s Hogmanay: The Third Time is a Charm

I’ve written twice now about Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. The first year when I experienced it with friends and colleagues, I labeled it The Best New Years Ever. Ironically, a few weeks later I met Danté and so when I was invited back a second time, after we’d been dating almost a year, but couldn’t bring him — Hogmanay turned out to be, not the best ever, but instead just as good a party as I could experience, sans the person I love most. So, this year, Hogmanay WITH my love ended up living up to that title I gave it after my first time. It really was The Best New Years.

Not wanting to jinx the future though with words like ‘ever’, let’s just say if you asked me now where you should spend NYE, I’d never hesitate to answer, “Edinburgh” since I’ve been three times, in three different ways…

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He Said, She Said: Visiting Holyrood Abbey

Visiting Holyrood was one of the more enjoyable things Danté and I did together during this most recent trip to Edinburgh so I wanted to devote a whole post just to the visit which includes my perspective and his, in the format I’ve used before: He Said, She Said!

Read on for more…

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Edinburgh’s Torchlight Procession with the Up Helly Aa Vikings

By now, I could probably label an end of the year trip to Scotland as an “annual” event. This was my third time crossing the pond for the purposes of spending New Year’s Eve in the glorious land of tartan and whisky. But I take nothing for granted and never assume anything is a given, so when I found out I would be able to go back for 2014/15, I was just as excited as the very first time the trip happened. Actually, I was more excited than ever before because it meant that I could also bring my boyfriend Danté with me this time. This will be the first of four posts about our experience!

The Torchlight Procession has been a favorite part of the festivities for me since the very first and this year, it was no different. Danté too found this tradition enthralling and rather than spoil it with words, mainly I want to show you just what it’s like with photos. 

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An Extraordinary Experience + a Four Seasons Giveaway

There’s nothing like one of your favorite hotel chains contacting you, asking if you’d like to come visit…and then telling you they want you to stay with them in a country you never had any intention of visiting because it kind of scared the living daylights out of you………

but that’s exactly what happened when the Four Seasons asked if I wanted to come have an Extraordinary Experience with them in Shanghai.

And boy am I glad they did because now that I HAVE been to China, I can’t for the life of me figure out what I was ever afraid of.

But just what is an Extraordinary Experience? Read on to find out!

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