New Year's Eve in Dublin

I was postponing a trip to Ireland for a long time, and then a perfect opportunity came not just to visit Ireland but to spend New Year's Eve in Dublin! Pretty exciting, isn't it?

As usual, I started with a research on the most instagrammable spots. What can be better than combining New year celebrations with snapping a few nice shots?

Temple Bar is the area you can't miss in Dublin.  It gets very busy in the afternoon so if you are after taking photos it's better to go in the morning, and of course to return later in the day to visit one of the pubs. We didn't get a chance to check it out but were recommended a hidden spot called Vintage Cocktail Club or VCC.

Going for a traditional music and dance performance is a lot of fun - we loved the experience at the Merry Ploughboy Pub, it's not in the centre but seemed to be popular as all the tables were full. 

Trinity College Library is another must-visit place. The highlight is the Long Room which houses 200,000 of the Library’s oldest book. The library gets very busy and the best is to book tickets online.

Trinity College Dublin

I loved seeing Dublin embracing festive spirit with all its Christmas decorations. Pictured below is the Powerscort shopping centre.

Powerscort Townhouse Centre Dublin

We couldn't miss popping into Guinness Storehouse too. I won't lie, I wanted to go mostly because of the view from the top but the whole experience was actually really nice. The storehouse covers 7 floors where you can learn about Guinness history and production process, give a go at pouring a perfect pint, dine, buy souvenirs and a lot more.

Guinness Storehouse
Dublin view from Guinness Storehouse

Stephen's Green is another beautiful shopping centre worth popping into.

Stephen's Green Centre Dublin

Check out Drury Street for independent shops and cafes.

For a day out of Dublin take a 30-minute fast train service DART from Dublin city centre to a fishing village of Howth. If the weather is nice, take a cliff walk which offers great views of the Bailey Lighthouse. Wear comfortable shoes, hiking shoes would be best as it was quite muddy when we visited.

Howth Ireland

Last but not least, the main reason for our visit - Dublin New Year's festival. It lasted for 2 days - Kodeline concert followed by a countdown and a special performance on the evening of the 31-st December and then the continuation of the performance on the 1st January.

New Year Festival Dublin

Special thanks to Failte Ireland and Visit Dublin for our wonderful stay.

Food discoveries in Puente Romano resort in Marbella, Spain

Even though I don't consider myself a foodie I do love and appreciate food so when back in October I was invited to spend a few days in Puente Romano resort in Marbella to try out their famous restaurants I couldn't say no. An idea of spending a few days in the autumn sun, which felt more like summer in the UK, seemed very appealing too.

I was even more excited as I knew my Instagram friends Giulia, Jacintha and Millie are coming as well.

Marbella beach
Puente Romano hotel Marbella

After checking in the hotel our first stop was El Chiringuito, located at the beginning of the beach area. I loved the sea views and the relaxed vibe of this restaurant.

The resort's most famous restaurant is probably Nobu. If you have ever been to any other Nobu locations, you know what I'm talking about. The restaurant is well-known for its classic Japanese dishes cooked with Peruvian flavours, and it didn't disappoint - wagyu beef and black cod with miso were excellent. Nobu is opening their own hotel within the resort too - expected to offer 81 rooms by 2019.

nobu restaurant marbella

Next day we finally had time to see a bit of Marbella that seemed like a lovely Spanish town, during the day there were no traces of it being a party place.

Marbella old town

In Marbella we popped into Doliva for olive oil tasting. We tried a few different olive oils and were surprised to find out that 55% of world's olive oil is produced in Spain. After learning this and trying out the best olive oil, we couldn't leave the shop without buying some oil to take home.

Back to Puente Romano just in time for paella making masterclass. Both rabbit and seafood options were absolutely delicious!

Monkey bar marbella

if you are looking for lighter and healthier options - the resort has them too. Try Rachel's Organic cafe by the pool (pictured below) or gluten-free cafe Celicioso.

I don't usually stay at huge resorts like this one but I was surprised by how many things you can do (it even has a tennis court) and how diverse all the dining options are. Thanks, Puente Romano for a wonderful stay!

marbella beach

Yorkshire in 2 days

Yorkshire might easily become my favourite part of England - with its heritage sites, beautiful landscapes and booming food scene - it has everything to become the next go-to destination. The only downside - it's a little far away for a weekend trip from London, same being an advantage as otherwise most of the London folk would be found there!

After a long drive from London and a cosy night at one of the Northstar Club woodland suites (more on it later), we ventured out to explore the picturesque Whitby.

Whitby view
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Whitby is a seaside town, also famous for its association with Captain Cook who learned seamanship there, and the horror novel Dracula by Bram Stoker making it the destination for the goth weekend twice a year. We didn't visit on a goth weekend but still saw some interestingly dressed people which made our visit even more interesting. Also, I have to note that it seemed like almost everyone in Whitby owns a dog or two.

Whitby
Whitby harbour

One of the most popular sights of Whitby is the characterful abbey ruins at the top of the fishing harbour. The first monastery was founded in the 7th century, although the remains we see today are of the later built 13th-century Benedictine abbey.

Whitby overview
Whitby Abbey

Later in the day we headed to Yorkshire's most wonderful hidden gem - Staithes.  Did you know that Captain Cook, Staithes's most famous resident, worked in Staithes as a grocer's apprentice where he first gained his interest in the sea?

Staithes street view

This view of the quaint fishing village was more I could dream of! 

Overlooking Staithes
Staithes house

On the way back to our charming cottage we made a quick stop in Robin Hood Bay, and in this place, with the most romantic name, I caught this most romantic moment of a couple's wedding photoshoot.

Robin Hood Bay

Our trip wouldn't be so perfect without a stay with the Blue Chip holidays in one of the North Star Club woodland suites. For someone like us, coming from a big city, it was a perfect weekend retreat in the woods. The rooms are equipped with everything you need, and even though it's on a self-catering basis, there's barbeque equipment next to each suite and a communal space with tea and brownies. I really liked all the cosy details in our room, especially the real fireplace. I'd love to come back in summer with a group of friends for a more relaxing weekend in the area.

Those cows were the only neighbours we encountered!

Cows in Yorkshire

Next day York greeted us with rain, compensated by all sorts of colourful bunting and an opportunity to see the Shambles, the best preserved medieval street in the world, less crowded than usual.

York the Shambles
York

To be fair, York deserves a separate blog post as it has so much offer. With this said, I think I need to plan another trip to Yorkshire very soon!

York bunting
York cathedral

Exploring hidden Barcelona with SEAT Arona

Buzzoole

I have a never-ending love for Barcelona. It's amazing architecture, street art, vivid colours and delicious food make my heart beat a little faster. When SEAT got in touch to invite me to explore the city driving their new urban SUV, I couldn't say no. 

Barcelona view
New Seat Arona urban

You may remember that I have already been to Barcelona earlier this year for the official press launch of SEAT Arona, the new SEAT crossover. This time we came back for a test drive and to attend Primavera Club, a music festival where new artists get discovered to further perform at Primavera Sound in summer next year. 

Taking advantage of the sun rising a little later this time of year we couldn't miss an opportunity to photograph the sunrise. Pictures below were taken from Park Mirador del Poble Sec.

View over Barcelona
Barcelona sunrise
Barcelona morning

Another amazing place I only discovered during this visit is Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau. The hospital was completed in 1930 to become the most important civil building of the Catalan Art Nouveau movement. In 1997, together with the Palau de la Música Catalana, the Hospital was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO for its unique construction and artistic beauty. 

Tibidabo. One more place to add to your list. There's an amusement park and a beautiful church on top of the mountain that were, sadly, still closed when we got there early in the morning. It's not that I need a reason to go back! Just this view was well worth it.

View from Tibidabo

Flax & Kale is a hipster cafe with beautiful interiors and healthy food suitable for almost any dietary requirements. 

Ugot is the cutest little cafe with a curated vintage interior and delicious food. I'll be back for that burrata with grilled peaches!

Street art. Barcelona has a lot of graffiti pretty much everywhere but my favourite spot was La Escocesa - street art around the area served as a perfect backdrop to photograph  the car.

Seat Arona
Barcelona

Barcelona has always something new to discover, and with Casa Vicens, the first house Gaudi ever designed, opening to the public this month, I am ready to hop on a plane again soon.