A trip to South Italy 🇮🇹 

A couple of weeks ago we took our bump on her first plane journey at 25 weeks! I have some apologising to do later as we travelled with Ryanair… Luckily only almost three hours later we landed in Bari, Calabria, and could forget about the cramped conditions. Another two hours later, by car this time, we arrived near Mandatoriccio in Calabria – our weekend respite. Continue reading

Lanzarote – the island of black sand and so much more!

I finally got around to organising all the holiday photos on my phone! About a month ago we had the pleasure of staying at our friends’ villa in Playa Blanca, Lanzarote. In return, Marc did some bump and family photography ;).

It was such an amazing week off! I had no idea Lanzarote had that kind of scenery. From black volcanic rock fields, black sand, red mountains to bright blue ocean and golden yellow beaches. This island has colour and such diversity: volcanoes (Timanfaya National Park), vineyards placed on the foot of the black hills, salt mines (Janubio), irresistible sunsets, caves (Cueva de los Verdes), cute fishing villages dotted around and some of the most scenic beaches I’ve ever seen (Playa de Papagayo). Continue reading

Dubai skyline - Marc Mordant Photography

My first visit to Dubai

Kanako Kuno. On the beach

Beach by Kanako Kuno

2015 was a quiet year on the travel front. Well, at least for me. My husband continued hopping on planes and visiting places like Manama, Marrakesh, Lisbon, Hong Kong, Bucharest, Amsterdam, Davos, Dusseldorf, Paris, Porto, Berlin… But all for work.

Last year we decided to have less extravagant holidays, like honeymooning in South Africa in 2014, and planned a staycation in the UK and just a few weekends away, like Paris, to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary, and Tallinn, to celebrate my mum’s 60th (read the rest of my travel posts from here). But by November we desperately wanted some sun and heat as the British summer didn’t prove to be the warmest or the sunniest and Dubai seemed like a reasonable destination as it’s not as hot at that time of the year (gets up to 50 degrees during our summer months!) with sunny weather also guaranteed. My husband has been to Dubai on a number of occasions but always for work so this was the first time for me and first time holidaying there for him! Continue reading

A much-needed relaxing break in Cumbria

There’s been a complete radio silence on my blog (last published post was on 20th October) and I started feeling guilty. You know, life happened, always busy at work and lazy in the evenings for any creative writing. Besides, I felt like I didn’t have anything to share with the public blogosphere.

So, about a month ago I was happy to enjoy a lovely quiet countryside weekend in Cumbria. Our kind host drove us around to enjoy the magnificent scenery of the Lake District, pub lunches and cheap drinks (£10 got us three pints). We didn’t have time to climb the mountains or fells as they call them there, although we tried to dress as properly as we could for our walks – walking boots, wellies and all. Continue reading

Family weekend in Tallinn

Since 2004 when I left Estonia to live in Ireland I’ve visited my home country once or max twice a year but this year I’m just back from a record third time! In January I celebrated a late Christmas, in March I attended a movie premier – “Vehkleja” (“The Fencer“) that’s loosely based on my grandfather Endel Nelis and now, in August, I had the honour of celebrating my mum’s 60th jubilee with our closest family members.

Tallinn was beautifully warm and sunny for the whole weekend and on our first evening at Noa Restaurant we witnessed some amazing views of Tallinn City, the Old Town and a sunset. Back to that restaurant… amazing… It’s wonderfully located on the coast in Merivälja, about a 15-minute drive from the centre. Its current ranking is 30th out of 611 restaurants in Tallinn and features two separate dining areas – a trendy and more casual side and the Chef’s Hall for a more luxurious experience. We had a table outside as the evenings are still rather warm and enjoyed a sumptuous dinner with vegetarian, meat and seafood dishes. I kept freaking out my brother and sister with octopus pasta as they were utterly disgusted by the look of it :).

This restaurant is definitely more of a special occasion location as the price list wouldn’t allow you to dine there too regularly. But it was a special occasion – my sister’s and brother-in-law’s 6th wedding anniversary and my husband’s late birthday celebration.

Mum’s birthday lunch was at Seller. A cosy family restaurant with a small function room upstairs. Nice friendly service and good food but the venue was way too hot! There was no AC or there was one but the doors were kept open so it didn’t make much of a difference. Regardless, it was wonderful to see my uncles’ families and my great aunt. Mum is priceless… She had asked dad to create a 1.5 hour long playlist of her favourite songs, including Henri Laks, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Uriah Deep and Steve Hackett. 

On our last day we paid a quick visit to Vääna-Jõesuu beach (featured image of this blog post) and I even went for a swim! 👣☀️👙 The temperature might have been around 18 but it was good enough for me. 

I’m always a little nostalgic after spending time with my family and I miss them a lot. Especially my two adorable crazy nephews :). When thinking of home I always sing this song. It’s from a children’s movie. An Estonian classic “Nukitsamees”.

Mis on kodu? Kus on kodu? Kus on kodu koht?
(What is home? Where is home? Where is home’s place?)

Featured image credit: Marc Mordant Photography

Whitstable pebble beach

A Kentish Seaside Weekend

I am definitely embracing the beautiful English countryside this summer. First, it was a week off travelling around Cornwall and Cotswolds in July and now I’m just back from a weekend away with friends in Whitstable.

There were seven of us finishing work early and catching a train from Victoria station to Whitstable (just an hour and a half long journey) and the 8th and last member of the group, my husband and our personal photographer for the weekend 😛 , arrived later on to be greeted by a merry Happy Birthday at Old Neptune (yes, it was also his birthday).

The seafront of Whitstable is full of cute bars, pubs and restaurants but not a lot of them could seat a group of eight that evening so it took us a little while to locate a pub on the high street that did. A simple pub meal satisfied us all at the Quayside. Our accommodation was a big four-bedroom holiday cottage near Old Neptune on the beach. A shingle beach, which meant no sandcastle building there, but as sandcastles were a must (demanded by Sammy), we planned a day trip to Margate the following day.

After a very lazy start filled with coffee and pancakes (thanks, Judith!) we eventually made our way to the train station. For some reason it’s become a tradition with this group of friends that catching trains involves sprinting across platforms and barely making it 🙂 . Well, we made it and after a 20-minute journey we were there. Margate had a beach. It had sand. We built sandcastles and dug a hole that kept five kids happy afterwards. And it had mini-golf. That’s it. Oh, it also had a wonderful pizza place – Great British Pizza Company. The Telegraph has even written a raving review about it. The thin pizzas really were truly delicious and I was able to enjoy a glass of prosecco from a tap. Yes! I filled it myself and it was full to the brim.

Back in Whitstable for dinner we split up, some of us enjoying fish and chips ‘at home’ and some treating themselves with fresh seafood at Pearson’s Arms. A very busy night but they were able to seat us downstairs without a reservation. Marc and I shared a massive portion of lobster, prawns, mussels, clams and smoked salmon. Seafood heaven…

On Sunday, our last day there, the weather wasn’t that kind and it was rather chilly and cloudy. Check-out was quite early so we killed some time resting on shingles and cloud bathing before heading to Windy Corner Stores & Café for brunch. Great food and big portions, definitely add this to your list of eateries if you’re visiting Whitstable.

Before you leave, make sure you’ve tasted oysters. You simply must. They’re sold from fishermen’s shacks on the seafront and on average cost 80p per oyster.

The weekend was recorded by wonderful photography by Marc Mordant Photography. Here are just a few examples:

Trevose Harbour House

Time flies and only a few months ago I was so excited about a week off and having our staycation and now, sadly, it’s already over. So, during our week in Cornwall and Cotswolds we had the amazing opportunity to spend two nights at Trevose Harbour House, a romantic boutique guesthouse in St Ives. My husband actually went to the same hotel school in Switzerland with the two lovely owners of this place, Angela and Olivier, and it was a pleasure to finally meet them and experience the tranquil haven they have set up (it’s ranked as 1st out of 102 B&Bs in St Ives and I wouldn’t understand why anybody would give them less than 5 out of 5!)

We arrived in St Ives after a long morning drive from London and luckily were able to find a parking spot not too far from the guesthouse (parking can be very tricky in this town, plus it’s very hilly and roads are extremely narrow). We were welcomed and shown to our room by friendly and helpful Louise and were instantly wowed by the interior design with subtle nautical touches. The first thing that actually greets you is the gorgeous scent in the bedroom – I later found the source: Neal's Yard at Trevose Harbour HouseAll the bathroom amenities are Neil’s Yard’s and can be purchased from reception should you fall in love with a particular product during your stay. There was also a bottle of Prosecco waiting for us (we were still celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary) and after a refreshing glass while admiring the beautiful view from our window we took a quick stroll in town before our dinner with the hosts.

St Ives is a gorgeous town with great coastal scenery, four sandy beaches (!), numerous pubs, restaurants, shops and galleries. Interestingly, I didn’t know that one of four Tate galleries in the world is in fact in St Ives! My husband had an absolute field day with his camera, I couldn’t get him away from the harbour, to be fair, the views really were amazing. We had to rush back to the guesthouse to meet Angela and Olivier for our dinner at Porthmeor Café, a casual diner serving tapas and other fresh local produce.  I promised to only eat seafood in Cornwall and I think I managed it in most places. My main course, thai red prawn curry with green beans, butternut squash, steamed rice and flat bread, was confidently one of the best curries I’ve had.

The evening in our room was spent in a blissful silence because the TV signal was weak, which wasn’t a problem as we don’t watch much TV anyway 🙂 but Olivier had it fixed for the next day. Quite the handyman and a chef, his breakfast next morning was a lovely treat! I tried his avocado on toasted brown bread and potato scone with scrambled eggs the next day. Delicious.

The day was spent driving around admiring the scenery (Cape Cornwall, Land’s End, Mousehole and the local beaches) and I was quite looking forward to getting back to our sweet guesthouse to relax in the evening.

Although there is quite a number of restaurants in town, the better ones get booked up quite fast in the summer and our second dinner had kindly been reserved for us at Porthminster Kitchen. Another local foodie heaven with very creative dishes. Marc’s starter of scallops was presented as a beach scene with sandcastles ;).

Next day was another day in Cornwall but a good-bye at Trevose House with a promise to return soon.

If you’re planning to stay in St Ives, you simply must look them up and check their availability!

Featured image: view from our room overlooking the harbour.

A weekend in Paris

La Ville Lumière – celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary

Ahh… Paris… To me, such a beautiful romantic city, although some would argue it’s crowded, dirty, too touristy and expensive. Then again, what big city isn’t?! Also, my husband would jokingly add “Parisians themselves are the worst thing about Paris”. But whenever I’m there I try to stay centrally, not venture out to the outskirts, and really enjoy the best Paris has to offer. I love the grand, wide boulevards, street cafés and boulangeries, vast gardens and the architecture.

The weekend was HOT and the temperature kept climbing after I got back to London (it was almost 40 degrees on 1st July). We celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary there and Le Grand, an impressive boutique-style hotel where we stayed, surprised us with a bottle of champagne and a box of macaroons. Despite the heat, we managed to cover an impressive distance. We especially enjoyed the walk along Rive Gauche (Left Bank) promenade. It’s full of exciting entertainment:

  • Restaurants and bars
  • Running tracks
  • Cabins for rental where you can chill out in deck chairs or bean bags. That seemed exceptionally nice as the heat did get a bit exhausting…

    Heatwave Paris

    Heatwave in Paris (image by Kanako Kuno)

Both, the left and right bank of the Seine were crammed with people who managed to stay stylish and chic even in this sweltering heat :). Everything in Paris is a bit more stylish.

Sunbathers  in Paris

Sunbathers in Paris

They even manage to make picnicking near the river a bit more stylish. London Southbank is fun and hip but somehow the Parisians do it better :). What they can’t do though, is keep their city clean. I mean:

littering Paris

Litter in Paris

Sunday, our 1st wedding anniversary, continued to be hot and we made an early morning walk up to Sacre Coeur. I think, leave the furnicular for people less able to walk and make the trek up yourself, it’s not that bad. Also, it is worth getting there early in the summer as the hill gets absolutely packed with tourists  and selfie sticks.   I might add that I was given a selfie stick as a birthday present this year and I still haven’t used it because I’m a bit embarrassed to. It might make its way out on our holiday in Cornwall and Cotswolds next week. Might… Here’s a selfie without a stick:

Selfie at Sacre Coeur

Selfie at Sacre Coeur

The hill behind Sacré Coeur is filled with cute little streets and Place du Tertre is a lovely square for resting your feet. Mind you, two glasses of beer would cost you €16. Oh well, when on holiday… The day continued walking around in Montmartre and for the evening we were back on the Left Bank to enjoy the evening sun and rosé. For dinner we found this amazing restaurant on Place Vendôme – Café des Abattoirs. They have a few 3-course set menu options with various prices. Whichever you select, the starters are Chef’s choice and very good indeed. The service was casual yet professional. Interestingly, the majority of the clientele were Japanese and having a Japanese waitress certainly helps. Would like to go back to see what the surprise starter awaits us…

In conclusion, a lovely hot weekend indeed. I got to travel in style – thanks to my husband travelling all the time he can upgrade me to business premier on Eurostar ;). And where else to do it in style but in Paris. It’s worth glamming up in the evening, all Parisians look so stylish all the time. 😬🇫🇷🍷👍🏽❤️

Le Grand Paris

A chique chick in Le Grand

Holiday Honeymoon Garden Route South Africa

Staycation in the UK

Bikini girl by Kanako

Bikini girl by Kanako Kuno

Summer couldn’t come fast enough this year! This is my first spring in the UK when the sun is taking its longest to come out and warm up the pale limbs that have been covered up for the whole winter. To be fair, it wasn’t too long ago when we were enjoying a trip of a lifetime in amazing South Africa, our honeymoon in fact, and the photo above is me frolicking on a beach somewhere on the Garden Route. November seems like ages ago… A few of my friends have already been on their hot sunny holidays abroad and I’m slowly losing my patience here and cannot wait until I can start wearing everything in my summer wardrobe.

After an eventful 2014 with getting married and honeymooning we decided to have a low-key holiday at home, a staycation in July with a rental car! How glamorous but I’m so excited! 😉 Destinations on our route include Cotswolds and Cornwall (never been before). We will be staying in a gorgeous B&B whilst in Cornwall, Trevose Harbour House, and I will definitely be blogging about it after. All we need is dry and warm enough weather and I’ll be happy and if we get a day on the beach that would be a great bonus. Continue reading