October 31, 2014

Autumn at Westonbirt Arboretum

My favourite season is Autumn and this time of the year I tend to get so panicky, because I'm scared I won't get a chance to experience all the Autumn loveliness in London and that I won't manage to take photos of it. It happens every year and once again, I feel the same right now. Its already Halloween and I feel that I haven't seen enough and experienced enough Autumn. It goes by so swiftly, before you know it, it's Winter.

To eliminate some of that anxiety, I decided to plan an Autumn picnic with my hubby and made sure to choose a park/forest that showcased Autumn and of course... we hired a car, packed some sandwiches and my homemade pumpkin cake and drove almost 3 hours out to Westonbirt Arboretum. Oh my! The beauty left me speechless. No doubt, one of the best spots to view Autumn colours, well..  if you're closer to London.

English countryside and forests always remind me of story books I used to read as a child. So many illustrations are based on it and it is so magical to see it in real life, together with acorns, chestnuts and mushrooms.

I swear I didn't push up saturation on these photos - they were literally these colours. Thanks to my hubby for being my human tripod and taking a picture of me :)

October 29, 2014

Switzerland Part 3: The Polybahn

Something I really enjoyed in Switzerland, was the funicular railways. If you don't know what they are, they're like a cable railway, where you have a train-like or tram-like vehicle on a rail that is attached to a cable which moves it up and down. Ascending and descending vehicles counterbalance each other. So it's all quite cleverly designed. Its just old-school cool, in my opinion and so much fun to ride.

The first one we tried was the short and sweet Polybahn in Zurich. It is literally just one stop and takes about 2 minutes in each direction. Funiculars are usually on steep inclines (and some of them are insanely steep), and at the top of this one, was a university, so most of the passengers were students.

We also took one up Mt.Rigi and one in Montreux. I will post some pics of those soon. For now, here are some pics of the Polybahn. I would definitely recommend trying the funicular railways - so fun and usually quite scenic.

October 20, 2014

Switzerland Part 2: Lake Lucerne

We took a boat ride on Lake Lucerne to find the way to a funicular, which would take us up Mt Rigi.
It was such a gloriously beautiful day out, which felt more like early Spring than early Autumn. The scenery was breathtaking.. I now do understand why people love Lucerne so much.

We also managed to do a bit of pedal-boating. Perfect, still water and sunny skies. I mean, why not? Check my Instagram to see a short clip of me pedalling.

Birds love surrounding the boats as they sail, hoping to find something to eat. So as we made our way back again, I had to capture some of them.

October 17, 2014

Switzerland Part 1: The Schilthorn

I won't be sharing my Switzerland photos in any particular order. I have quite a few photos, but thought I would just share the ones I truly love. We were in Zurich for 4 days, and in that time also went to Lucerne. Then we spent a day in the Interlaken area and then 2 days in Montreux. It still felt too short, since there were so many places we never had a chance to see.

Switzerland is beautiful, scenic and clean. It's also rather nice and calm, compared to the hustle and bustle of London. Even though I am from Cape Town and love mountainous areas, I've never quite seen so many and such high mountains in one small area before. I can say that as a Capetonian, I don't really know what mountains are,now that I've seen the Swiss Alps.

Today I will share my photos taken at the top of the Schilthorn. This was an achievement for me, given the fact that I am afraid of heights, but somehow I managed to take four cable cars to get to the top and I was absolutely fine. We took a risk, as the forecast wasn't great and the alps seemed to be covered in cloud on the live cam every time that we checked. Lo and behold, as we arrived at the top, some clouds gave way to reveal some of the alps and it was a spectacular thing to see. We also had a nice warming cup of hot chocolate in the revolving restaurant, as the temperature up there was about 4 degrees. The kind of temperature I am accustomed to in London, so it hardly bothered me :)

If you're planning to do this, make sure you go in the summer, when days aren't as cloudy.

October 7, 2014

My In-flight Travel Essentials (for short flights)

Now, I don't take long haul flights very often, but I have been on a fair few short flights. Since I am off to Switzerland for 6 days tomorrow morning, I thought I would share my essentials I like to have with me on the plane. Since it is quite a short flight (about 1hr 50min), you won't be seeing a neck pillow, sleep inducing pills or any of those long haul flight stuff...

For those of you who fall asleep on plane rides, I envy you. I find it hard to fall asleep on any moving vehicle, so these things are what keeps my mind busy and distracted.

Excuse the bad photography. This was all done in a mad rush this morning.

1. My passport of course, and boarding pass. This is for obvious reasons.
2. My phone of course, partly to keep me busy, take photos or listen to music. I have the iPhone 5s.
3. Earphones.I like the over-the-head ones that block out noise. These RZA ones fold in and comes in a handy pouch. This I use to listen to music, watch something on my iPad or just drown out all the aeroplane noise. It all depends on my mood.
4. My iPad Mini of course, for watching some videos, series, or just anything else to keep my mind occupied. Clearly, I need options.
5. A book or magazine or both. Here I have Reclaim your Heart by Yasmin Mogahed and also just a magazine for some mindless reading and browsing.
6. My Anker portable charger for my phone. Doesn't have the most battery power, but it works and it's small and portable.
7. Hard sweets, because this helps with popping ears. I love this mixed variety of mints. Also, any other snacks.

8. My Tisserand roller-ball, in case nerves get the better of me.
9. And finally my lip balm, because that's just not something I can do without. I am currently using the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Lip Protectant.

Another two essentials for me, would be any sort of comfortable slip-on shoes which are easy to take off at security and a bottle of water to keep hydrated. Although, this applies to all flights, not only short ones, and hence didn't include any photos of those. If you would like any other travel essentials post, such as my long haul flight essentials, or travel beauty essentials, etc., please do let me know. Look out for Swiss photos next :)