I simultaneously adore and loathe surprises. WowTrip wanted to send a group of us travel
addicts bloggers to a surprise holiday destination, and I was curious to see how I as a type-A organiser would cope with it.
Disclaimer: We were invited guests of WowTrip but my images and words are all very much my own.
It couldn’t have been easier – we selected a date we could all do, sent over our passport & contact details and let the time run away in anticipation. It was like Christmas, but with the delicious excitement of wanderlust shimmied in. (To book WowTrip have a fabulously easy procedure; decide how much you want to spend, when you want to go, discard the destinations you’ve already been – the first is free, then £5 each for crossing off more destinations – and then wait with excitement for your surprise trip!)
Most people spend their lives avoiding situations that would put them behind bars. But true to past form, I actively researched the best way to get Mr Kiwi and I locked into prison – but it was at the luxurious Malmaison hotel in Oxford, rather than at her Majesty’s pleasure.
When I first saw Lauren’s gorgeous stay here last year, it stayed on my mind and at the top of my UK hotel bucket list – until I spotted that they had a Friday evening spot available in the A-wing – one of the original prison’s wings of this unique hotel.
Oxford is one of those cities that seems unaffected by the passing of time. Whenever we slip there for a day trip from London or a cheeky overnighter – or once for lunch – we’re always struck by just how beautiful it is.
The ‘city of dreaming spires’ simply glows. The beautiful stone that makes up the majority of buildings almost emanates the years of learning that has gone on behind them, or am I just being fanciful?
When we tripped to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha, what to wear in the Middle East was the aspect I probably researched the most. I’m no fashion plate, but as a female travelling into a conservative country that has quite strong views on what is acceptable to wear, I fretted about what was suitable to throw into my suitcase.
‘What do I wear to the Middle East’ is something I get asked a lot – and I’ve been meaning to write this post for an age. Normally I roll with smart, comfortable and lightweight layers with a couple of nice dresses stashed for the evenings – but I also packed for Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha with a fair amount of care to include long sleeves and cover-ups. (Our eventual destination of New Zealand each time was easy to additionally pack for – bare feet, floaty beach skirts and a single woollen Christmas Jumper for the amusement of my family enjoying 30’C summer heat.)
Bran Castle. AKA the home of Dracula (or is it?), the origin of every Vampire movie, novel, book and a national monument and landmark in Romania. When Mr Kiwi and I were scouring the internet for unique holiday destinations, we jokingly mentioned going to Romania to visit Dracula’s Castle – but it turns out that both of us were quite interested, and within an evening we had shaped a holiday around it.
We spent the first couple of days based in Bucharest – we stayed in the lovely and very central Bucharest Grand Hotel, we explored the city centre of the Romanian capital and on the way north to stay for 48 hours in Brasov, we stopped in the beautiful Peles Castle before we reached our intended destination – the home of Dracula.