I am very, very bad at keeping secrets, especially exciting ones! So when Sophie and I planned months ago, to take Ronnie to Paris for her birthday, I was sure I would accidentally blab. BUT I DIDN’T AND I’M SO PROUD.
We had the most wonderful two days in the City of Light (as you will have seen if you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat), and I decided to make a little video to bring you along with us. We meandered around the beautiful cobbled streets (Monmartre is my favourite!) marvelling at the architecture, eating croissants, crepes and macarons, and spilling Prosecco nearly everytime we ordered some!
When you decide to book a holiday, what’s the first thing you do? You probably figure out if you want to go lie on a beach, explore a new city or throw yourselves wholeheartedly into some kind of action/ adventure sports trip. Next, you might want to know how the weather is at the time of year you plan to travel. Then you’ll probably look up what the local food is like, research the must-sees and investigate all the popular sites to decide if they sound like something you’d enjoy…
But what if I told you you could go on a holiday that you knew nothing about until two hours before take off!? Well, that’s exactly what Gareth and I did last weekend!
Surprisetrips.co.uk is a new concept from the people behind Expedia.co.uk. How it works is you tell them your preferred departure airport, send them a short list of places you don’t want to visit (maybe you’ve already been there or you just don’t fancy it) and they book you a completely surprise European holiday!
They currently offer 77 weekend destinations in Europe and the service is open to all UK, IE, CA, AUS, NZ and US passport holders (all flights depart from the UK or Ireland). All flights are at convenient times (we flew out at 9am and back at 8pm) and are under 3 and a half hours.
When I heard about the concept I was excited, if not a little bit nervous. I’m not an over-planner when it comes to travelling, but I do like to do a little basic research so I know what to expect of a new place. Not least of all, I like to know beforehand how I’m going to get to my hotel from the airport!
The anticipation of where we might end up was definitely one of the best parts of this whole experience and everyone I told about it was like “Wow that’s so cool, I’d love to do that!” Once you book, Surprise Trips emails you a link which tells you which airport and terminal to go to and what time you need to arrive. Then, a couple of days before the trip they email you again with a weather report from your destination so you have some idea of what to pack. Ours told us it was going to be 26-30°C so we were kind of expecting that we might end up on a beach somewhere… But as you can see, that couldn’t have been further from what happened!
Now I’m no YouTuber, but I thought it might be fun to make a little travel video so you can see what we got up to. Enjoy!
When my sister Rachel and her now husband Jamie booked Camera Hannah to shoot their wedding on July 2nd, they knew they also wanted her to make them a video. Its rare to find a wedding photographer that offers both, so they really lucked out! Wedding photos are so special, but there’s just something extra super duper amazing about being able to watch some of those wedding moments back.
Hannah sent over the finished film this morning and I just could not wait to share it with you – so I’m doing so right away! Now I might be biased, but this might just be the most beautiful wedding video I’ve ever seen!
Nicola and Joe were married at Mountain View Farm in Cape Town which is a five minute drive from where the bride’s parent’s live. The couple now live in Abu Dhabi but wanted to return to the bride’s home for their wedding.
“Our wedding was loving, full and chilled”, the bride explained. “We live in the UAE so this was a destination wedding for us, even though my family still lives in South Africa. Joe is from England and so we had a big crowd of our friends from the UK and Abu Dhabi too. As Joe is a firefighter we had to do some photos in the local fire station!”
The bride wanted something unusual and colourful for her dress, which she initially found quite tricky in the UAE. “There’s not many places that cater for western wedding dresses – Dubai, maybeeeee, but not in Abu Dhabi. I did some serious research and bought quite a few dresses but after one that was very poorly made, another that I ordered online and when it showed up it wasn’t remotely like the picture, I eventually found out about the only boutique in Abu Dhabi. It was really hidden, on the mezzanine floor of a small building near a pizza joint. The staff were great and very excited! I tried on about 15 dresses and took photos of every one on me, but I instantly fell in love with this one. However, it was all white and I wanted some colour so I went to a material shop and got the perfect turquoise lace. The boutique offered to add it for me. It wasn’t cheap in the end but it was perfect!”
Laura-Jane and Jack’s wedding was a combination of all the things they love such as steampunk, London, winter, Wes Anderson, Woody Allen and beer! They also encouraged their guests to dress up.
“All our guests commented on how personal the wedding was; informal and rather haphazard but it couldn’t have been any other way”, said Laura-Jane. “I think the most important thing to think about when planning your wedding is that it represents you and what you like rather than wanting to please everyone else and meet other people’s expectations.”
The ceremony was at Islington town hall. “We included our own words in the ceremony and the registrars were really lovely. It was all very relaxed despite being in such austere surroundings. We had a lot of guests from outside London and they really enjoyed the sightseeing tour on the Routemaster bus in between the ceremony and reception.”
Zlil and Yosi met when they were both in the Israeli army ten years ago. Their wedding was held in Tel Aviv. The fashion designer bride helped design her own wedding dress. “Our wedding was light and urban”, she explained, “Most of our guests were young, and our friends.”
“The inspiration was to plan something fun, happy and easy-going. We both wanted a small wedding but for it to feel like one big party. We found ourselves surrounded by beautiful and loving people. Our main goal was to have a nice summer wedding, five minutes walk from our home.”
“In Israel the tradition is to have a reception first, then ceremony and then dinner”, she continued. “However we decided to invite everyone to dinner first, then do the ceremony and then a big party with late night food and desserts. It was awesome and people were very excited that it was different.”