Posts in Travel
A little taste of Senegal

It was our first New Year that Loanne and I parted ways to join our respective other halves on a end of year getaway.  

Whilst Loanne whisked away to Bali, I ventured to the Western coast of Africa to Senegal.

I know some of you will be unfamiliar with Senegal which isn't surprising as it is often overlooked as a holiday destination amongst brits. This made it even more exciting to know that I was about to embark on an adventure without any preconceptions or ideals (despite the little bit of information my boyfriend had shared with me) and what a pleasant surprise it was indeed.

Senegal is a country full of rich traditions, textured landscapes and an infectious optimism and vitality that reverberates amongst its inhabitants, if it's never been on your list of places to go, I highly recommend adding it now!

I spent the majority of my time in Somone, a seaside village nestled in the heart of a beautiful lagoon, classified as a nature reserve and home to several species of migratory birds, fish and lush vegetation made up of mangroves. 

In ten days I got to experience Senegal in all its glory from the lively metropolis of Dakar (the capital), the majestic seaside village of Somone to an impoverished rural village in central Senegal (Petit Meka) where I became acquainted with some of the most enlightening kids. (As you can see most of my photos were taken of the kids in the village. Their energy and positivity despite their primitive living conditions was inspiring and a moment I won't forget!) If you get a chance to venture this far, it's definitely worth a visit.

Below I've listed a few recommendations of things you must do in and around the Somone region. Just make sure you brush up on your French as English is hardly spoken amongst the Senagalese. 

 

To Do

Watch the sunset on the Someone Lagoon

Take a fishing boat out on on the Somone Lagoon to watch the sunset. The lagoon is a sanctuary of migratory birds from Pelicans, silver herons, flamingos and other birds that stroll on the waters filled with beautiful mangroves. Hidden amongst the mangroves lies an ancient Baobab tree stub embellished in hundreds of sea shells. Make sure you stop off and place a shell on one of the stubs, make a wish, this majestic 'tree of life' will be sure to  give you good luck. After stop off at the Paradise Rasta for some locally sourced seafood and chilled reggae vibes.  

 

Visit Goree Island

A short ferry ride from Dakar, lies Goree Island, at first glance the island bestows a beautifully quaint village with gorgeous faded buildings, rich in colours and architecture highlighting its’ european colonial history, yet beneath the beauty of the Island hides a brutal history. Goree Island was the largest slave-trading centre on the African Coast, African men, women and children were held and traded here before being loaded onto ships to the Americas. 

It’s a must visit if you fancy doing something cultural, it's geared up for tourists, with plenty of stalls, places to eat and beautiful views and walks. It’s a rather somber and eerie experience but nevertheless an important one that serves as a reminder of severe human exploitation.

 

Drink Senegalese tea with the locals

I fell in love with the Senegalese tea, not just for it’s sweet taste but the intricate process by which it is prepared and presented formerly known as Attaya in Wolof. (Wolof is the language spoken in Senegal.) Keep an eye out on the sidewalks for locals preparing the tea by repeatedly pouring the brew from one glass to another, to achieve a nice foam.  The tea ritual is an important part of daily and social life and is the customary beverage offered to guests. It is a sweet, pungent brew of (Chinese) green-tea leaves, plenty of sugar, and often mint.

 

Crocodile spotting at Niokolo-Koba National Park

We spent a good two hours trekking in the car through rustic terrain, eyes glued to the binoculars in the hope of spotting Lions and leopards, unfortunately the best we saw was a few antelopes lurking around the premises, so don’t come here in the hope of finding these wild animals. What I would recommend however, is the boat trip we did down the beautiful Gambia river spotting hippos and crocodiles. A tranquil and stunning setting that makes you feel like you’re part of the Wild Thornberry's ! 

 

Dance with the locals

Senegal is home to one of Africa’s most unique and sexy dances called Sabar dancing, performed to the beats of the Sabar drum which incorporates every part of the body. Head into the capital Dakar to the bars/ clubs or to a street party and immerse yourself in the world of Sabar, you will be in awe of their rhythm. I tried my hand at dancing with the locals on New Years eve and trying to emulate their style of dancing was like trying to learn to dance all over again, regardless of whether you can do it or not, let go, feel the rhythm and let the peoples infectious energy take you on a journey!

Quad biking in the Baobab forest

Rent out a quad and ride through the Baobab forest, there are local stations where you can hire quads for the day, it’s a great way to see the place and discover some hidden gems.

 

Massage at the Rhino resort hotel and Spa

If you’re into pampering this 5-star resort based in Saly boasts a luxe spa within a unique african setting. Soak up the sun by the pool before indulging in the spa.

Tip: Get the body massage, be prepared for a massage that touches you in all sorts of places. (Not for prudes!)

 

Sundowners at the Les Manguiers de Guéréo resort nature lodge

After Quad biking around frantically looking for a perfect spot to watch the sunset, we stumbled across this resort, set in the heart of a preserved natural environment offering panoramic views of the Somone lagoon and ocean. Its’ huge infinity pool and beautiful interiors made for an idyllic spot to watch the sunset and take in the stunning views. The newly opened resort, plays host to wildlife observatories flower gardens and diverse birdlife.

Tip: If you’re looking for somewhere to stay the superior lodges offer private pools with stunning views of the lagoon and sea with reasonable prices. 

All of these images were taken on my new Google Pixel phone! :) 

 

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TravelCollyer TwinsComment
Orlando: Shoppin until we droppin'

Last week Loanne and I jetted off on a shopping trip to Orlando. (Casual I know and just in time for Christmas! Woophee!)

The last time we visited Orlando was of course to visit the wondrous world of Disneyland so the place always conjures up feelings of a magical, movie-like show where dreams come true! Haha this visit was a little different, more mature shall we say. We were lucky enough to be invited by ‘Simon Shopping Destinations’, which offers the largest collection of shopping destinations in the US. 

As a global leader in the ownership of premier shopping, dining and entertainment we pretty much immersed ourselves in the world of Simon and literally shopped until we dropped with a little room in between to visit Orlando and its various attractions!

With one shopping centre and two outlets in the area, we really were spoilt for choice. Simon has two outlets centres (International and Vineland) and one generic mall (Florida Mall) some of the outlets had savings of up to 65% like Victoria Secret, KSNY and Salvatore Ferragamo so for all you bargain hunters this is certainly the place to visit. 

We thought it would be a great opportunity to do some early Christmas shopping, however, that didn’t really go to plan as our wandering eye combined with the variety of incredible clothes and discounts got the better of us and we ended up splurging a little more on ourselves than expected. Oopsiee!

Below we have listed our favourite places to visit at Simon as well as things to do and visit!

Hope you enjoy.

Top spots at Simon  

   Bath & Body Works at Orlando International premium outlet

We loved this place firstly because you can’t get it in the UK but also the variety of amazing smelling body creams, soaps and lotions on offer. Our friend Sabrina, another influencer on the trip recommended coming here as she had tried and tested the lovely body lotion before, it was totally worth the visit.

Tip: Make sure to pick up the Coco Shea cucumber Aloe Gel lotion, It’s light and leaves your skin feeling as smooth as a baby’s bottom (The price point is reasonable too!)

 

  Victoria Secret at the Florida Mall

The discounts here are incredible, we spent a good 45 minutes trailing through beautiful bras and underwear, some retailing for as little as $6! What a bargain, I ended up coming out with the cutest silk Pjama set for $24 dollars which usually at home would retail for around £50. Bargain or what!

 

Tommy Hilfiger at Orlando Vineland outlet

As most of you probably know, we’re huge Tommy fans so we were super excited to check out the discounts on offer. We managed to get a couple of Christmas presents here from socks and underpants all ranging from around $15 another great bargain!

 

Things to do whilst in Orlando:

 (A huge thanks to Visit Orlando for organising so much of our trip and allowing us to do take part and experience all the below !)

Universal Studios

I mean you simply cannot go to Orlando and not visit Universal studios. This is for anyone who loves to channel their inner child once in a while. Make sure you go on the HULK ride (multiple times) and take a trip on the train to the Harry Potter world, if you’re not a Harry Potter fan, you will be after this!

      

Botanical Gardens

If nature and walking are your thanggg look no further than the Harry P Leu gardens, an amazing 50-acre botanical oasis minutes from Downtown Orlando. Meander through the trails shaded by 200-year old oaks and forests of camellias and stop off by the lake to do some crocodile and sea snake spotting! (Not for the faint hearted! )

 

Visit Park Avenue

We spent an evening on Park Avenue and I have to confess this was our most enjoyable evening. Tick off the cultural box and visit the Morse Museum, it has the most comprehensive collection of the works of Tiffany found anywhere and the most beautiful graphics and American paintings dating back to the 19th and early 20th century.

After head to the Wine Room for wine tasting. An electronic self-service wine tasting store that allows you to try a variety of different wines from around the globe!

Tip: give yourself an evening for this activity as after a couple of glasses of wine we went off for dinner but came straight back as we were having so much fun. This is perfect for those that love wine, delicious nibbles and an animated atmosphere.

Mather’s Social Gathering bar

If you’re into Speakeasies, well this one is pretty special! Located in on 30 S. Magnolia Avenue. it’s an antique-filled, parlor-style cocktail lounge which is currently decked out with the most amazing Chrimbo decorations. It’s definitely the most festive I’ve felt this holiday and the largest Christmas tree I’ve seen! Great vibe and yummy cocktails!

East End Market

Food lovers this is one for you. The East End market has a vast array of artisanal vendors in one marketplace, from bakers to pasta makers to coffee roasters. Make sure you stop off at Gideon’s bakehouse and indulge in the chocolate chip cookie. There are no words to describe the taste of this absolute delight, and if you don’t believe us, it’s actually the winner of countless awards ranging from the best in Florida to the best in the world! (It’s truly sensational!)

 

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   Shop the Look:
Baker Boy Hat | ASOS
White Frilly Top | ASOS
Black Jeans | And Other Stories
Dungarees | Tommy Hilfiger
Blue Jeans | And Other Stories

Sunnies| RayBan 
 

TravelCollyer Twins
Hotel Can Mostatxins

Last week Loanne and I took a 4 day trip to the north of Majorca to stay at the gorgeous Hotel Can Mostatxins.  Anyone looking for a beautiful and relaxing getaway bursting with culture, history & rustic beauty should look no further than here! Below we have listed things to do, see, where to eat and stay if you ever fancy heading to Alcudia, which we highly recommend! 

TO STAY

Nestled in the old town of Alcudia, which hides behind medieval walls and the ancient roman ruins, this time-warped village with it’s narrow streets and colourful houses has a real authenticity to it and the hotel is at the heart of it all. 

Upon arrival to the hotel we were greeted by Peter Markham, the hotel manager, who made us feel immediately so welcome,( he was so lovely that we ended up having a delicious meal with him on the first night at an amazing pizzeria called Osteria El Patio down the road.)

The eight bedroom boutique hotel has that real sense of a family-run business with its friendly staff and lobby that has a ‘make your self at home’ policy with a fridge of refreshments and snacks. Of course for Loanne and I this was heaven! 

The hotel which dates back to the late XVth century has been transformed from a typical majorcan manor house to a ‘designer’ hotel yet still retains it’s gothic features with stone walls and archways. The best and most iconic feature of the hotel is where the jacuzzi is situated between two huge stone walls, a real architectural masterpiece! 

Our room was cute, unassuming and gothic-like contrasted to the modern state of the art furnishings, which is echoed throughout the entire hotel. We were welcomed with a bottle of champagne and a lovely welcome note, how about that for hospitality! 

Now if that wasn’t enough to convince you, next year they are adding new hotels to the group following the refurbishment of the house next door, which will open in June 2018 called Hotel Can Mostatxins : Frare and then a third Hotel will open in January 2019 in Selva, called Hotel Can Mostatxins : Estelrich. We can't wait to go back to experience the other two!

 

To EAT  

 La Llonja 

Situated on the old fishing port of Port Polenca, no wonder it has the most exquisite fresh fish caught in the region. This seriously was the most mouth-watering meal we had whilst in Majorca and needless to say the panoramic views of the bay made for a very romantic set up. The perfect couples spot! If you venture here make sure to order the cod fillet with light garlic sauce and the salad with apricots and roasted carrots. Those with a sweet tooth must get the creme brûlée, it's to die for!

The Wineside

A small family run business, this unpretentious tapas gastrobar is the perfect spot for all those seafood and raw fish lovers!  All its produce is sourced locally and it’s menu that changes weekly is ideal for sharing. Order the local ’Hey Babe’ wine it’s delicious and order a few dishes each as the portions aren’t huge. For dessert order the bannoffee pie, it literally melts in your mouth.

TO DO

Alcudia Market

The local Alcudian market is open on Tuesday and Sunday mornings. It’s the best way to enjoy the local culture and all it has to offer, the narrow streets inside the city wall fills up with stalls selling locally produced fruit and vegetables, shoes, bags and souvenirs. They have the cutest souvenir shops that sell everything from gold compasses to old school vintage globes. 

Ponderosa bar at Playa de Muro

Ponderosa beach bar has the Ibiza vibe down to a T, situated on Playa de Muro beach,  it’s white washed walls and tables and live DJ acts makes for the perfect chilled, atmosphere. The food is fresh and delicious but the vibe and atmosphere is even better. After your meal you can step out onto the beach and go for a dip at Playa de Muro which boasts an incredible landscape. Tip: It's obligatory to try the lemon pie pot, a unique twist on combining a number of different ingredients to make up the flavours of a lemon pie. 

 

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Shop the Look:

Outfit 1: 
White tee | Topshop
Stripey trousers | Topshop
White mules | Vagabonds
Hat | ASOS

Outfit 2:
White Dress |  Topshop
Sunnies | Rayban
White mules | Vagabonds

Outfit3:
White starry shirt | Sister Hood
Pendant |  Missoma London

Outfit 4:
White flowery dress | Topshop
Brown engraved bag | Bonitas Baskets

Outfit 5:
White lace dress | Self Portrait
Yellow suede heels | Topshop
Beret | Accessorise
Blue furry bag | Accessorize
Jewellery | Accessorise
 

Outfit 6:

Yellow strap top | NewLook
Stripey Trousers | Topshop

 

TravelCollyer Twins
A weekend in Portugal

Home sweet home, I say as we land at Lisbon airport, bright blue skies and warm temperatures on an unlikely Autumnal day.

Having spent our teenage years here from the ages of 14 to 18 there’s always a sense of nostalgia and excitement to come back to the place that shaped and influenced the critical years of growing up. We spent four years in a place called Cascais (a coastal resort town 30 kilometers west of Lisbon) and it’s always lovely to go back to see old friends, familiar places and how things have changed and progressed from when we lived there.

In the past couple of years Lisbon has been destined as one of Europe’s coolest capital, not only for it’s beautiful architecture and quaint cobbled streets but it’s trendy night life heaving with great roof top bars that boast incredible views of the city. The cuisine has to be one of our favourites and what I constantly crave after too many roast dinners and Haribos!

 The typical Portuguese cuisine of bacalhau (dried cod) and fresh seafood is incredible, and whilst Lisbon has embraced its' traditional roots it has also adopted an experimental, modern and sophisticated cuisine that is affordable in it’s own right.

Our once unknown & humble little Portugal has transformed in recent years to a much sought after and talked about place amongst brits.

Now although Lisbon may be top of your list, we can’t stress how much more there is to see and do in Portugal!  Below I’ve outline some great things to do in and out of Lisbon if you’re over for a very short flying visit!

TO STAY:

PENHA LONGA RESORT

What a beautiful hotel, located in 545-acre national park on the southern Sintra Mountains, we stayed here for a night in the executive suite that had views to die for. The luxurious hotel, sits amongst a nineteenth century palace, 27 golf holes set within historic ruins and a stunning Spa and Wellness centre. This has to be one of the most tranquil and serene spots I have ever been to! It’s perfect for a little rejuvenation and down time. Loanne and I spent the evening on our roof terrace sipping on wine whilst watching a sunset that could only be compared to that of an African safari sunset as the whole sky lit a blood red orange!

We had dinner at a place called Arola one of the 8 restaurants within the hotel, a contemporary twist to Spanish tapas with contrasting flavours and textures! If you go you must order the ‘Copa Catalana’ similar to a crème brulee but with a twist!  It is hands down one of my favourite desserts.

 

DAY OUT:

SINTRA

This is where we rented an AirBnB this holiday. Forty minutes from Lisbon's main station (Rossio). It’s a time warped village located in lush, wooded hills surrounded by whimsical palaces that emanates an aura of mysticism and romanticism. Be sure to visit the beautiful ‘Palacio De Pena’ and 'Quinta da Regaleira' then afterwards stop off for a sweet Queijada at Casa Piriquita. If you're feeling adventurous get off the beaten track and explore the Sintra hills where witchcraft is rife! If you look hard enough you’ll come across sacrificial tombstones and red ribbon wrapped around trees where practices still occur. (Eerie)

BY NIGHT:

SKY BAR

The Sky bar is one of the best roof top bars in Lisbon and located on the roof of the Tivoli Avenida da Liberdade hotel with incredible cocktails, good vibes, live music and a panoramic view of Lisbon. Come here around 9/10pm for pre-drinks and make sure to ask the waiter to whip you up a pineapple Margarita, it’s not on the menu but they’ll do it if you ask and they are super scrumptious.

JNcQUOI

The latest contemporary restaurant to hit Lisbon, it’s comfort artisan food is modern and sophisticated just like the ambience and interior, the best feature is the dinosaur skeleton perfectly positioned in the middle of the restaurant, and don’t forget to head to the bathroom for a boogie where you’ll find a DJ spinning some tunes from a circular DJ booth! Cool or crazy, call it what you like… We loved it!

 LUX

One of the best Clubs in Lisbon, especially for house music! The venue which is divided into a club space, bar and terrace, is known for its stunning waterside location and regular appearances from international DJ’s. If you love house music make the downstairs area your party place, we didn’t stop dancing for 3 hours straight when we went! Order the luxtinis, a personalised cocktail that is as sweet as can be!  

BY DAY:

GUINCHO BEACH

This has to be my favourite beach in Portugal, not only because we spent most of our teen years on this beach surfing and sunbathing but it’s 800 meters of golden sand and shoreline is absolutely stunning and has the perfect surf and windsurf conditions. Be aware it’s very hit and miss in terms of wind! But when you have a calm day there is nothing more beautiful! It's 5km from Cascais and 33km from Lisbon.

 

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 Shop the look:

Outfit 1


Pink silk dress | Bec and Bridge

Outfit 2

Polka dot dress | Zara
Yellow kitten heels | Topshop
Hat | ASOS
Sunnies | Ray Ban

Outfit 3:

Green Jumper | Weekday Stores
Jeans | Weekday Stores
Hat | ASOS
Silk Skirt | New Look
Beret | ASOS
Bags | Kurt Geiger
Boots | Kurt Geiger

Outfit 4:

Black Jumpsuit | Only Child
White Mules | Vagabond shoes
Sunnies | Ray Ban

Outfit 5:

Jeans | Weekday Stores
Green velvet Jacket | Weekday Stores

Outfit 6:

White Kitten Heels | Topshop
Black Skirt | Urban Outfitters
Top | All Things Mochi

Outfit 7:


White floral top |Zara
Denim shorts | Urban Outfitters

Outfit 8:

Blue bikini |Sea Folly Australia
New York Top | Topshop



 

Travel, LifestyleCollyer Twins
Poland - Reserved

Two weeks ago we were fortunate enough to have our first experience on a private jet! (Woohoo) We were taken out to Sopot, Poland with fashion brand 'Reserved' to celebrate their upcoming store launch on Oxford Street. It was a flying visit to learn more about the history of the brand and to get an exclusive preview of their amazing new collection ahead of the store opening. 

For those of who don’t know, Reserved is Poland’s most famous fashion brand, a Polish fashion chain that offers trend led fast fashion for men, women and children. It is classed as an affordable Eastern European clothing retailer with similarities to H&M and Zara for its on-trend pieces. If you live in London, I'd be surprised if you hadn't come across their Autumn/ Winter 2017 Global campaign which is dotted round the city's underground, billboards and buses featuring the one and only Kate Moss. Their store is now open on Oxford Street and it's pretty beaut, so I would definitely recommend checking it out!

Whilst in Poland, we stayed in the luxurious five-star Grand hotel which is located at the seaside of the Gdansk Bay, in the heart of the town and next to the beach. Who knew that Poland had a beach, and a pretty lovely one to say the least?! Unfortunately we didn't get to explore Poland too much but we heard through the grapevine Sopot really is the place to be! Renound for its health spas, sandy beach and its long wooden pier that extends into the Bay of Gdańsk! Hopefully we'll get the chance to revisit Poland and if so, we'll make sure to explore the beautiful city and all it has to offer.

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Travel, FashionCollyer Twins
BoardMasters with Visa

Most of you probably know how much Loanne and I enjoy festivals, so when Visa invited us to experience Boardmasters festival as a VIP in luxury bell tents with surf lessons and a private flight experience over the picturesque Cornwall countryside we were ready to sign up straight away!

This year Visa was a sponsor of Boardmasters working with its partner, Square to bring up to 100% card acceptance to the festival for the first time in its 36-year history.

We arrived on Wednesday evening to our luxury bell tents complete with beds, duvets, electricity and charging facilities and to top that off every morning we pre-ordered breakfast - using contactless no less - from our tent, which was delivered right to us by our dedicated Visa butlers. A faraway cry from what we are used to at festivals, so it was an extremely pleasant surprise!

The festival grounds were spacious and location wise probably the most beautiful location in the UK for a festival. The music was great too and we were able to enjoy the most epic sunsets whilst dancing away to some incredible DJs amongst stretches of beautiful beach as a backdrop which made the experience even better.

During our 4 days we spent time wandering around the festival going on rides, eating the delicious food and drinks from the food trucks and bars. Visa provided us with a pre-paid debit card and a wearable to make simple transactions throughout our time there which made everything so much easier, time- efficient and allowed us to forget about money! Usually at festivals it’s such a pain to have to find the nearest cash machine and then walk around with loose coins and change in our bum bags, so being able to pay with a tap of the wrist or card was ideal.

We also had access to the Deck, Visa’s exclusive viewing platform, which offered the best seats in the house and its Visa Everywhere Lounge where we watched thousands of people dance along to Jamiroquai, what an amazing experience! On Friday, we watched some epic DJs and danced for 6 hours straight to Camelphat and Sonny Fodera which was certainly our highlight.

To top off the ultimate Boardmaster’s experience Visa  organised a private flight experience where Loanne got to fly the plane over the festival, the views were breathtaking as we flew over the picturesque festival and stunning stretches of sandy beaches.

On our final day we had a 2 hour surf lesson which was so much fun, it was great to pick up the board again and surf some beginner-friendly waves.

Overall it was an incredible trip made so much more enjoyable with Visa. Although it was a very young crowd at the festival, the music and surroundings were stunning and definitely a festival we would recommend to music heads and those who love a breathtaking setting.

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