A Blogger Adventure | Italy Travel Diary

italy-travel-diary-fermo-marche#SeeWhatYouWearTour with Expool Consortium & EmilCar

I can’t believe it’s been a month since my whirlwind blogger adventure (on the See What You Wear Tour) in Italy with Andy (Andy Sparkles) & Elena (Vasilieva) – alongside some of Italy’s top Instagrammers. I was shown the amazing world of luxury, handmade Italian shoes. The delights of the local food. The beauty of Marche. But most importantly, I discovered a whole new country that I’d never been to before. I took far too many photos to count, which has probably given me enough content for the next month. However I believe that you should end things on a high (read: don’t drag them out). So this will be my final Italy Travel Diary post. A small photo round-up, highlighting all of the things I fell in love with during my visit. You can also see my Instagram adventures via #BloomzyItalia, and check out the people who joined me on my journey. I hope you’ll enjoy.

Check out the rest of my Italy Travel Diaries.
Thank you to Elena (Vasilieva) for the photo of me.

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I was invited on the #SeeWhatYouWearTour by Expool Consortium. However all images, words and opinions are my own.

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Food with a View | Italy Travel Diary

italy-travel-diary-marche-fermo-food-Coba-Beach-RestaurantCobà Beach Restaurant, Porto San Giorgio | Marche, Italy

I believe that almost anyone can bond over food. That’s why I find food to be an integral part of travel. Discovering new dishes, and connecting with others over them is so important. Even better if a local/friend can introduce you to the best dishes around. Lucky for me that’s exactly what happened, whilst I was in Fermo, Italy. During my stay I was taken to a restaurant with a view, invited into people’s homes, and even dined at 1 of only 2 five star hotels in Marche.

It may sound cheeky, but for full disclosure I really do feel that I should say, I don’t really like Italian food. Well, that’s not entirely true. I just don’t really like pasta. But I figured that if I was going to enjoy it anywhere, it would be Italy…right? With that shocking announcement made, what were the food highlights of my trip?

  • Soul Kitchen made me realise that I really do love thin, crispy pizza – it’s the best!
  • During our homemade meal at Rio Maggio Winery I happened to have the best lasagne ever made. True fact! It was light and flavoursome – nothing like the lasagne we have here in the UK (naturally).
  • Cobà has the best view you will ever see from a restaurant table. This is the stuff of 90s slow-pop music videos (think Britney Spears ‘Sometimes’).
  • Villa Funari probably has the most delicious matured cheese and ham in the region. It was also my favourite restaurant of the whole trip – small sharing plates are my one true love.

So what did I take away from my foodie vacation? Well I now know that I don’t actually mind pasta so much, and that the Italian people I met were incredibly warm and welcoming. I genuinely felt as though I was a part of one big, Instagram-loving family. Thank you to everyone that made my trip so memorable.

Check out the rest of my Italy Travel Diaries.
Thank you to Elena (Vasilieva) for the photo of me.

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I was invited on the #SeeWhatYouWearTour by Expool Consortium. However all images, words and opinions are my own.

italy-travel-diary-marche-fermo-food-villa funari italy-travel-diary-marche-fermo-food-Rio-Maggio-Winery-2 italy-travel-diary-marche-fermo food Rio Maggio Winery

If The Shoe Fits… | Italy Travel Diary

italy-travel-diary-fermo-shoes vialactea 2009Vialactea Outlet | Marche, Italy

Shoes are one of the most important parts of our wardrobe. Some people might scoff at that statement, but it’s true. We’re on our feet every single day, so making sure we’re wearing good shoes is paramount. Of course if they can look good in the process, well that’s just an added bonus. You may remember me saying how I “never really cared for shoes”, but in recent years I’ve found myself changing my mind. I gave up buying cheap fast-fashion every few months, in favour of something slightly more expensive, but of much higher quality. So when Expool Consortium invited me on the See What You Wear Tour (with fellow bloggers Elena and Andy), I was eager to learn more about my new interest.

The blog tour was started to promote the province of Marche, famous worldwide for their handmade shoes. When I spoke to my Italian friends about my upcoming visit, they all boasted about the regions specialities. With butterflies in my stomach, I counted down the days until my trip. It’s difficult not to get excited when you’re working with brands that have created masterpieces for the likes of Armani and Prada…

During our tour we visited:
Formula Shoes

Vialactea
Mauron
Come Volare Shoes
Luca Verdi
Luca di Vesprini
GianRos
Lorena Paggi
Luca Iachini

Whereas each of the companies have their own unique style, I was impressed with the sheer quality of the shoes. These are not the kind of footwear you’ll find on the shelves of any high street store. These are handmade, with passion and care. I’ve never been the kind of person who could make my own clothing, so for me it was truly wonderful to be in the presence of such talent.

Check out the rest of my Italy Travel Diaries.
Thank you to Elena (Vasilieva) for the photo of me.

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I was invited on the #SeeWhatYouWearTour by Expool Consortium. However all images, words and opinions are my own.

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An Evening in Fermo | Italy Travel Diary

fermo-marche-italy-travel-diary-see-what-you-wear-tour-2Fermo, Marche | Italy

What did you do on your trip to Italy, Emma? People have been asking me this since I got back, and honestly I don’t know where to start. That’s the sign of an eventful trip, if you ask me. I suppose if anything, the best place to start would be the beginning. And what a beginning it was! After delays of almost 3 hours stuck on a plane on Stansted airport runway – thanks RyanAir – I was finally in Italy. I arrived into Rome, to the open arms of Marina, Emiliano, Elena and Andy. We hopped in the car and drove over to Fermo. We made a quick stop, for my first Italian coffee experience – bellissimo – and before we knew it we were there! The journey flew by, thanks to good conversation and the beautiful scenery.

Our first stop was our accommodation for the trip – Country House Colle dei Falchi. A beautiful villa in the middle of the Marche countryside; cute dogs, stunning views and roosters included. However we were soon whisked away to the town centre of Fermo (in our awesome customised Emilcar Renault Kadjars). Steeped in history, we were given a tour of the old Mayor’s house, which is now a gallery and museum (among other things). It was amazing to learn about the people (past and present) who have helped to make the town what it is today. After our tour of the town centre, we headed to the church, and down below. No, we weren’t heading to ancient catacombs, or hidden dungeons. Instead we were to dine in a trendy, contemporary bar-restaurant called Soul Kitchen. It was time for an aperitif and some pizza. Having never visited Italy before, trying real pizza was up there on my list. So to have it on my first night felt pretty special. Light, crispy and full of flavour. I’ll never go back to American style again!

After a long day we retired to our beds. Already I felt like I was part of a little family. Everyone had been so welcoming, and I was ready to start my real adventure…

Check out the rest of my Italy Travel Diaries.

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I was invited on the #SeeWhatYouWearTour by Expool Consortium. However all images, words and opinions are my own.

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Arriving in Comfort with Radisson Blu | Italy Travel Diary

radisson-blu-stansted-airport-hotel-6Radisson Blu Stansted*

I love to travel, but I don’t like to travel. Trains, coaches and planes are not my bag baby. There’s always the worry of delays, and truthfully I have no patience for rude travellers (you know the kind). So usually I try to travel in the evening, to avoid any unwanted chaos. However we can’t always have what we want, and my Italy trip last week started with an 8am flight. I didn’t fancy a 4:00 coach to Stansted, so I looked up a few hotels in the area. Luckily for me Radisson Blu offered me a free nights stay. Even better, it’s right next door to the airport. Literally.

The hotel boasts 500 rooms, a gym & spa, 2 restaurants, 1 wine bar, free room wi-fi, coffee & tea, and 24 hour room service. With amenities like that you may be tempted to stay in your hotel room the whole night. Nonetheless, we started the evening by checking-in to our junior suite, where we settled in with a coffee before heading down to dinner. The restaurants can get pretty full, so I’d highly suggest making a reservation. We opted for the wine bar where we chilled with a juicy burger, whilst we watched the wine angels do their thing. We soon retired to our room where we had a soothing hot bath, before cozying up in the gigantic, luxurious bed (I want one!) with a hot chocolate. Before an uninterrupted nights sleep, we popped our breakfast order on the door handle. For a little extra they will deliver your breakfast to your room, meaning you can enjoy it wrapped up in one of their soft bathrobes. And who doesn’t love breakfast in bed? Listen up airport hotels, because this is how all holidays should start.

Hot chocolate, breakfast in bed and pillow sprays don’t seem like much, but little extras such as these really go towards making a stay that little less ordinary. My visit to Radisson Blu allowed me to relax the evening before my flight, and it also meant that I had no worries when it came to making it to the airport on time. I have to say, it was the most comfortable and effortless start to a holiday that I’ve had yet.

Check out Radisson Blu Stansted Airport to book a room, and avoid the chaos of travelling.

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An Open Letter to Cereal Magazine | My Norfolk

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Almost exactly one year ago I paid a trip home to Norwich and wrote about it here on my blog. I spoke of the joys of having a place to call “home”, and somewhere to relax. Not much has changed in that sense, but the way that I look at Norfolk has. After reading various issues of my favourite travel publication (Cereal), I’ve come to appreciate the little things that make a city or county so wonderful. I picked up the SHhhh Beginner’s Guide to Norwich whilst I was back, and it inspired to do my own little series. After all, I am a proud Norfolkian (if that’s what you call us). So in true Cereal style, I would like to introduce you to My Norfolk.

The more I think about it, the more astounded I am that Cereal have yet to feature Norfolk in one of their issues. Not only because the aesthetic fits perfectly, but because it is a hauntingly beautiful part of England. So this is my open letter to Cereal magazine. Please come to Norfolk and experience it through the eyes of a local. Stop for a strong coffee in one of Norwich’s speciality coffee shops (Strangers, for example) – something to sip on as you browse the carefully curated shelves of Finch. Spend your afternoon taking a walk along one of our beautiful coast lines (canine companion optional). And of course a walk is always best undertaken with the goal of finishing at a pub/tea room, and we have an abundance of both. You see, we have plenty to offer in Norfolk. You just give us a chance.

Yours, Emma

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Amsterdam Travel Diary | Rijksmuseum

amsterdam-rijksmuseum-travel-diary-3Rijksmuseum | Museumstraat 11071 XX, Amsterdam | Website

I do love a good museum, and the Rijksmuseum is renowned worldwide for being exactly that. I know not everyone enjoys wandering around museums. However I was in luck as it was my travel companions who suggested we visit this Dutch hub for culture. The perfect activity for a rainy Saturday.

The museum recently finished undergoing renovation in 2013. The main hall is modern, spacious and bright. Of course I fell in love with the minimalist interior. However the hall is not the main drawer to the thousands of tourists who visit every day. Housing classics such as The Night Watch by Rembrandt, the Rijksmuseum is a labyrinth of art and history. Turning each corner reveals something magnificent. From the classics, to a 1960s Yves Saint Laurent mini dress, there’s a variety of items on display. I was pleasantly surprised to find the museum also had collections dedicated to fashion and Asian art. Both of which happen to be interests of mine. After studying Buddhist art at university in Japan, I’ve become somewhat intrigued with the meanings and significance behind ancient religious art. The collections on display here may be modest, but they’ve been expertly curated.

Does the museum live up to it’s reputation? I think so. Even though classical art doesn’t interest me, I had to admit that the artwork on display was impressive. It was particularly wonderful to see so many Dutch artists. I would have liked to seen more contemporary pieces, but then you don’t come here for that.

Don’t forget to follow the rest of my Amsterdam Travel Diaries.

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