We love to travel. And while we’ve been travelling, because we tend to veer off the tourist trails, we realised that we were discovering so many hidden gems, having amazing experiences and picking up tips and avoiding near-disasters, that we thought it would be a nice idea to have somewhere, where this could be shared. In March 2017 we finally realised our dream to relocate to the sunshine and are now living in Istria, in northern Croatia. We continue to travel, although currently (2021) our travels are more Croatia-influenced. As well as the ongoing global pandemic, which is obviously restricting travel, we are moving onto our second Istrian renovation project and so are taking the opportunity to explore our new home country. Of course, we still remain very linked to the UK – our families are there, our We Are Life Design clients are there, and our friends are there, so we will continue to keep our close links to the areas in UK in which we have lived. And will still return to on a regular basis.

What we blog about will be a good mix of wherever we go. So whether that’s somewhere not too far from where we live in Istria, a UK destination or a bit further afield, it’ll be here. If you love quirky places and things maybe a bit different from the norm, hopefully you’ll like what you find here. You can also pop over to Twitter, for the brief version!

And, we’re not being paid to mention hotels etc, & none of the blogs are sponsored – although, if one day, I could make a living out of travelling to gorgeous places…

Latest Blogs…

The Dolphin Suites, Veli Lošinj

The Dolphin Suites, Veli Lošinj

After a long hiatus from travel, and after getting our second vaccinations, we decided to do a bit of exploring this summer. Croatia has managed the pandemic well, so far and so we felt comfortable about beginning to explore where we live. Travel in the past has...

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Brondo Architect Hotel, Palma

Brondo Architect Hotel, Palma

Over the last few years, we’ve been very lucky to be able to pack in a huge amount of travel – as well as actually move abroad, relocating from Manchester to Istria, in northern Croatia. We’ve spent the last couple of years renovating a stone house and exploring our...

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Mallorca : One To Avoid…

Mallorca : One To Avoid…

It’s hard to imagine that there could really be anywhere to avoid on Mallorca. We’d discounted Magaluf, as unfortunately we’re no longer in our early twenties, and so, when booking places to stay, we were pretty confident that every place we chose, would be a winner....

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Vrbnik, Krk Island, Croatia

Vrbnik, Krk Island, Croatia

This was originally posted in August 2019, so all pre-Covid, when we could all travel much more freely... As well as family and friends coming out to visit us in Istria, we now have the opportunity to meet up with people who come to Croatia on holiday. We still find...

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Lluna Aqua Hotel, Sóller, Mallorca

Lluna Aqua Hotel, Sóller, Mallorca

When we last visited Mallorca, one of the hotels we booked was the Lluna Aqua Hotel in Sóller. Housed in a traditional Mallorcan townhouse, which we were told had been empty for over eighty years, the renovation had only recently been completed and the hotel only...

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Cathedral Tours

Cathedral Tours

It wasn’t intentional, but over our Christmas roadtrip, we seemed to visit quite a few cathedrals. Not for spiritual reasons, you understand. We love a cathedral for its architecture and gloriously over the top rich interiors. First stop was one we know very well –...

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Salts Mill, Saltaire, Yorkshire

Salts Mill, Saltaire, Yorkshire

It turns out Christmas Eve was just about the most perfect time to visit Salts Mill, in Saltaire, on our way up to the North East for our festive break. Now a Unesco World Heritage Site, like the very beautiful Port Sunlight on The Wirral, Saltaire was an industrial...

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Christmas in Metz, France

Christmas in Metz, France

We first discovered the beautiful medieval city of Metz, two years ago, on our first road trip from Istria to England, for Christmas. Positioned where it is, in north eastern France, it was a good place to stop and break up the journey to Calais. We’ve stayed a few...

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The Falstaff, Canterbury, Kent

The Falstaff, Canterbury, Kent

When we drive back to England, we tend to do a much needed stopover in the south-east after the ferry crossing from Calais. This year, we plumped for The Falstaff in Canterbury, which, according to its website – …has been a focus for hospitality in Canterbury for over...

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The Village in Istria That Time Forgot…

The Village in Istria That Time Forgot…

We had hoped that over Christmas we’d be beavering away, updating our websites and that we’d jump into the new year with a whole new look. Well, you know how these things go – a road trip back to England, much catching up with family and friends, and far too much...

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Riley’s Fish Shack, Tynemouth

Riley’s Fish Shack, Tynemouth

Although it’s been a while since I lived in the North East, we do still get to experience it when we visit family. It’s become a bit of a tradition that we do a bracing post-Christmas walk, usually on the coast, and this year was no exception. On the day after Boxing...

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The Frescoes of Draguć, Istria

The Frescoes of Draguć, Istria

In northern Istria, is the small village of Draguć, somewhere I’d never heard of, let alone been to, until this summer. That’s the beauty of Istria. It’s a small peninsula and so I guess that once people who visit have been to the big-hitters – Rovinj, Porec, Pula,...

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Treviso, Italy

Treviso, Italy

Amanda and Steve, friends who come and visit us from Manchester, usually fly into Treviso, north of Venice, spend a couple of days there and then hop on the train to Trieste where we pick them up. They keep telling us that we must visit Treviso, because we’d love it....

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Hotel Navis, Opatija Riviera, Croatia

Hotel Navis, Opatija Riviera, Croatia

What a treat, a day and night away at Hotel Navis, in Opatija, is. Built into a cliff-face, and with all rooms overlooking the sea, it is situated between Rijeka and Volosko, on Preluk Bay – and for us, not too far away from our home in Istria. We spotted the hotel on...

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Petit Sant Miquel, Mallorca

Petit Sant Miquel, Mallorca

After spending time on the western side of Mallorca, we decided to explore the eastern side of the island and found a gem of a hotel, called Petit Sant Miquel in the very pretty and very traditional village of Calonge. Renovated and opened in August 2018 by a...

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Hotel Grand Wiesler, Graz, Austria

Hotel Grand Wiesler, Graz, Austria

Sometimes, you see somewhere online and you just have to go. No matter what. This happened recently when I discovered the website for the Hotel Grand Wiesler, in Graz, in the Styria region of southern Austria. When we lived in Manchester, the thought of seeing a hotel...

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The Backstreets of Bergamo

The Backstreets of Bergamo

Bergamo, located west of Milan, in the region of Lombardy, is beautiful. Often overlooked for the more glitzy (and possibly more brash) Milan, it has everything. There is the lower, more modern town (Citta Bassa) – although, as well as your retail therapy kicks, you...

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Maribor, Slovenia

Maribor, Slovenia

Maribor is Slovenia’s second largest city, but that doesn’t mean it’s big, by any stretch of the imagination. Up until now, we’ve overlooked it, in favour of the capital, Ljubljana, whose appeal is immediate. It’s beautiful, full of well restored and well maintained...

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Officine Cavour, Padova

Officine Cavour, Padova

Our second accommodation on our weekend stopover in Padova was an apartment, slap bang in the historical centre, called Officine Cavour. Directions to the car park were great – but we struggled a little bit initially to find the actual apartment. It’s located in a...

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Best Western Plus Net Tower, Padova

Best Western Plus Net Tower, Padova

We often drive around the outskirts of Padova (Padua) when we travel back to Istria from Italy. We’ve always found it – even with Google Maps – quite a perplexing city to get out of. It’s not a big city, but the outskirts are a bit on the confusing side, so we...

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Freetown Christiania, Copenhagen

Freetown Christiania, Copenhagen

We love Copenhagen. Everything about it just oozes understated style and sophistication. It is effortlessly cool. Bars and restaurants (or at least the ones we’ve visited) are contemporary without being up themselves. Shops are largely of the independent variety, and...

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Il Circolino, Citta Alta, Bergamo

Il Circolino, Citta Alta, Bergamo

On trips to Bergamo, we’ve regularly meant to eat at Il Circolino, just off Via Colleoni, up in Citta Alta. But, we’ve never done it. It’s always looked interesting. The menu has always appealed. It’s definitely inexpensive. But, in such a small city, with just so...

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Brimham Rocks, North Yorkshire

Brimham Rocks, North Yorkshire

Although we know most of the north of England fairly well, we weren’t aware of Brimham Rocks. How did we not know about them? Found on Brimham Moor in North Yorkshire, England the rocks began taking their shape roughly 320 million years ago, when water, grit, and sand...

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London Road Trip

London Road Trip

Not too long ago, when we still lived in Didsbury, we often thought about having time away in London, but never got round to it, because, well – London was just too far away from Manchester. The traffic would be awful. We’d end up sitting on the M6 or the M25. It was...

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Windswept Whitby, North Yorkshire

Windswept Whitby, North Yorkshire

Split by the River Esk, Whitby is one of my favourite spots on the Yorkshire coast. I always seem to have visited in the winter months, and although I am sure spring and summer are glorious (mostly!) – my impression of Whitby is of brooding and dramatic skies, and...

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Sperlonga, Latina, Italy

Sperlonga, Latina, Italy

We’d not previously heard of this place, but now we know about it, it’s very definitely somewhere we’d revisit next time we’re in the province of Latina. Halfway between Rome and Naples, the very pretty village, perched high on a hilltop overlooking the sea, is a...

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Sunny Salford

Sunny Salford

As beautiful as the iconic L.S.Lowry paintings of Salford are, thankfully it’s no longer quite this grim up north. Wonder what Lowry would make of the regeneration of Salford Quays? No longer a pretty desolate wasteland, it's now home to the BBC North, the Imperial...

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The Georgian Townhouse, Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex

The Georgian Townhouse, Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex

Recently, we travelled south to Essex to visit a We Are Life client and decided to make a bit of trip of it. Not having ever been to Essex before, assuming it was all brash a-la “The Only Way is Essex”, we weren’t really sure what to expect and I certainly didn’t have...

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Roma : Part One

Roma : Part One

We were lucky to have two days in Rome before flying to Corfu. It has to be one of our favourite cities in Italy – how could it not be? For this part of our journey, we chose to travel by train from Pisa. Now, in England if you were to book a first class train ticket,...

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Anti-Paxos, Ionian Islands, Greece

Anti-Paxos, Ionian Islands, Greece

Anti-Paxos is a tiny island, about 2 miles to the south of Paxos, in the Ionian Sea. It is reached by a speedboat service from Gaios on Paxos – but don’t miss the last one back at 5.30pm as you’ll be stranded. The two or three beach tavernas close when the last boat...

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Tuscany in September

Tuscany in September

Tuscany is an area of Italy I’ve never really discovered -I’ve visited & stayed in Florence and Pisa, but have never before experienced the rolling hills and fields full of sunflowers, which seem to be so associated with this part of Italy. But, in the first week...

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Siorra Vittoria, Corfu Town

Siorra Vittoria, Corfu Town

UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 2014 Once again, we found ourselves pulled towards the magic of Paxos, after travelling around Sardinia, and so when we had a night’s stop-over in Corfu town, we couldn’t resist Hotel Siorra Vittoria again. Sometimes, when you don’t have long to...

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Ortigia Market, Syracuse, Sicily

Ortigia Market, Syracuse, Sicily

The early morning market in Ortigia, Siracusa (Siciliy), is a sight to behold. Whilst we do have some excellent fresh produce markets here in the UK, this Sicilian one blew us away… Every kind of fresh vegetable and fruit seemed to be available, along with fish caught...

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A Festival in Frascati, Italy

A Festival in Frascati, Italy

A one night stop over in Frascati turned out to be more of a spectacle than we imagined. Sitting in a little square on a Sunday evening, we became conscious of some very beautiful singing way, way off in the distance. This gradually got louder and louder and more and...

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