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6 Must-Visit Chocolatiers For The Traveling Sweet Tooth

Middlebury Chocolate with Andy Jackson” (CC BY 2.0) by Breville USA

Engaging in the cultural delights of the countries you visit on your travels defines the adventure. But everybody does the obvious ones – from visiting iconic historical buildings and grand natural landmarks to experiencing local cuisine and once-in-a-lifetime leisure activities.

But there’s one thing that binds us all and that’s a love of chocolate. And through this much-loved confectionary, the sweet-toothed traveler can bring a new dimension to their trip. Here are six must-see chocolatiers from around the world.

Jacques Torres in New York

Now boasting eight locations around New York, you’ll find it hard to miss Jacques Torres when visiting the city. It’s probably best to head to Torres’ Rockefeller Center chocolate shop. That way you can tick two things off your bucket list – eating Mr. Chocolate’s sugary delights and a visit to one of the city’s landmark locations.

Melange in London

Melange is different. Its reputation has been built on weird and wonderful flavour combinations. Now multi award-winning, Peckham-based artisan chocolatier Isabelle Alaya specialises in tantalizing the taste buds with a fascinating and surprising mix of spices, herbs and fruits in her handmade chocolate bars and truffles.


chocolates from Teuscher” (CC BY 2.0) by Alanna Risse

Teuscher in Zurich

Years of painstaking research have gone into making Teuscher one of the world’s great chocolatiers. Dolf Teuscher founded the business over 70 years ago, having travelled the world seeking the finest cocoa. Experimentation saw him develop unique flavour combinations with various ingredients, including marzipan, fruit and nuts, combining to forge a then-pioneering chocolate empire. Teuscher chocolates are now found all around the world but visiting its outlet in Zurich takes you back to where it all began.

Coro the Chocolate Café in Edinburgh

Coro the Chocolate Café doesn’t claim to be an expert chocolatier, but it does know how to make eating an exciting and unique experience. Boosted by Deliveroo  bringing its chocolatey delights direct to customers’ doors in Edinburgh, Coro’s aim is to deliver your chocolate fix in new and interesting ways. So you’ll see a menu brimming with choice that includes everything from crepes and fluffy waffles to ice cream, milkshakes and even savory items.

Debauve & Gallais in Paris

The oldest chocolate shop in Paris charts its beginnings back to 1800 when Sulpice Debauve founded what would become Napoleon’s official chocolate supplier. Debauve had been experimenting with chocolate for years, even curing Marie-Antoinette’s headaches with a remedy blended with cocoa butter. The company’s dark chocolate, some of which is 99% cocoa, is arguably the best you’ll taste anywhere in the world.

Belle Fleur in Sydney

Belle Fleur might be better known as the chocolate sculpture experts but there’s still a winning combination of aesthetic imagination and delicious flavour. With exciting combinations of ingredients, from fresh lemon meringue with white chocolate ganache and whipped cream topping to local favourite The Aussie, which sees a salted ganache smothered in dark chocolate, Belle Fleur has plenty to interest a sweet tooth.

Our whistle-stop tour of international chocolatiers showcases a few select artisans and their imaginative approach to satisfying the taste buds. Travel doesn’t have to be all museums, tall buildings and 22-hour bus journeys – it can also mean chocolatey indulgence.

Holidays

Greece – The Ideal Destination for Families and Couples

Before Husband and I met and had a family, we both did a little bit of travelling, mine more Europe focused, his in both Europe at the US, but we always wanted to travel farther and wider as a couple and later as a family. Obviously we were lucky enough to get married in the Maldives and have always said that we’d find it hard to top that experience, but we’ve been doing a lot of research in recent months and think that a holiday to Greece could be an amazing experience, both for us as a couple and the whole family unit.

Greece and the surrounding islands have so much to offer, from incredible historical sights to stunning beaches, not to mention the food! I thought I’d ask my friends if they’d been to Greece or if anyone had stayed in one of the many glorious homes for rent in Greece and the fact that I got such a big response proves how wonderful the country is!

My friend Pippa said “I would say you have to visit Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon at sunset. We took a bus from where we were staying in Athens when we were on our Honeymoon (back in 2001) and arrived around three hours before sunset. We explored and sat on the beach, watching little fishes swim around our feet as we paddled.

It was an amazing afternoon, not even made less special with the rush to get to the bus a few minutes after the sun had set!

Oh and don’t eat the Cheese Pie. Yes I know it’s traditional, but it was also horrid! Oh and do buy Prayer beads, they are a great fiddle toy, much better than a fidget spinner!!!”

My friend Sara actually got married in Greece and said “Santorini is beautiful; I got married there last year. Kamari was reasonable for food and drink and to stay, Thira was more expensive but great to visit and see the caldera (volcanic crater)”

My friend Joanne wrote her own post about Greece and has some excellent tips about visiting the Acropolis “Well you’ve got to, haven’t you? This is the site that everybody visiting Athens has to visit, and so it’s one of those places that’s constantly busy. Get there as early in the day as you can, and buy the combined ticket that gives you access to other museums too. Allow most of the day for a trip here, because you will want to visit the Acropolis Museum too. Though be careful if you have mobility issues, since there is a lot of walking over stony ground.”

My friend Jen also wrote a post about her holiday to Paros and says “Paros is nice for a relaxing break, but really don’t expect too much excitement. The weather is fairly consistently warm (around 27 degrees during August) though it can get very blustery, as we found on a few days; the sunsets are pretty, the water is clear, and there are no shortage of eateries. In general, people are friendly, and we were pleased to find that it was not too jammed with tourists, despite being high season. The nightlife is family-friendly and, while the sun sets fairly quickly and quite early (around 8:15), it is still warm enough to enjoy a lingering meal or a few extra drinks into the late evening.”

My friend Nickie visited Roda in Corfu and couldn’t speak highly enough about it, especially the food: “Every single restaurant in Roda deserves your custom. The quality of food is unbelievable and the hospitality is second to none.  All food and drink is reasonably priced and you are given very generous portions. It’s not unusual to eat late and eat slowly so sit back and enjoy the view whilst you sample local delicacies.  Our two most favourite restaurants were Roxannes (you can find this on the beach road in town) and Thalasea (on the main road in Roda).”

Something that Husband and I like to do is go to lesser-known places, which aren’t purely touristy, so we’ve been doing a lot of research into the more unusual places to visit in Greece and we’ve come up with a list of our top three (although I’m thinking this may require more than one holiday to get it all done!)

Necromanteion of Ephyra

Lots of people visit the Oracle of Delphi, but fewer go to the Necromanteion of Ephyra, which was built as a temple for Hades and Persephone. It’s basically a series of underground chambers and is thought to be intended as an entrance to the underworld – I get the feeling it will appeal to Sausage’s recent gothic leanings!

Ghost town of Gavros

We’ve got a bit of an obsession with ghost towns (have you seen the images of the island off of the coast of Japan which was abandoned, or the drome images of Chernobyl?) and the one at Gavros looks like a fascinating place to visit. It’s not actually known why the locals abandoned it, but I’d love to take a look around and try to get my head around the mystery.

Volcanic crater, Nisyros

As we mentioned above Santorini also has a volcanic crater but the one at Nisyros is lesser known and also open to the public. The very bottom of the crater is closed off, but if you go as close to the edge as you can and you’re wearing flip-flops or thin soled shoes, you can actually feel the extreme heat coming up through the ground!

Have you been to Greece or one of it’s surrounding islands? Please leave me a comment below.

Adulting

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sexuality

Talking to Your Kids About SexualityI’ve written before about how Husband and I have a “no B.S.” policy with the girls and how we try to answer questions as honestly as possible, without patronising them or flinching away from difficult subjects. One of the things I’ve always been passionate about is teaching the kids to be both honest about themselves and non-judgemental about other people, and one of the things this covers is sexuality.

I’ve never written about it before, but I’ve had relationships with both men and women, and my kids know this. I figure, if they see how much of a non-issue it is for their Mum, it will be a non-issue for them too, and encourage them to be honest about their own feelings. I know a lot of people struggle to talk to kids about difficult topics, so I thought I’d share some tips with you. There are some good online resources out there where your child can get support such as safe gay social networks however it is a good idea, certainly initially, for you to lead the discussion.

Be Brave

If your child comes to you with questions about sexuality, be it their own or someone else’s, you’re going to need to put your big-girl pants on and HAVE THE CONVERSATION. If you obfuscate, they’ll know, and who would you rather answer their questions; you, or their friends? I’d much rather info came from me so I know it’s true and accurate, rather than other sources which may confuse them more.

Be Honest

As with anything, you know your kid and you probably know how much detail they can cope with, so give them the information within these parameters but always be honest (kids have an uncanny B.S. radar at times!). For younger kids, there’s no need to go into more detail than “men who love men, women who love women, people who love people” to give them a broader idea that sexuality is a spectrum and not confined to the ‘traditional’ image of a couple.

Be Prepared

There’s a good chance that answering questions on this subject will open up a whole list of questions from your kids so be prepared to answer them. Having half a conversation and putting the rest off until a later date will just leave them hanging, or maybe send them in search of the information elsewhere.

Be Open

If your sexuality isn’t something you’ve ever discussed with them, it might be a good idea to do it when they start asking questions. Normalising sexuality by offering your own experiences can give them a relatable focus for their understanding and will show them that you’re open to talking about things, making you the ideal person for them to confide in if they ever need to.

Be Non-Judgemental

I think this is the single most important point of all. If your five year old comes to you and says “Mummy, I think I’m gay”, DO NOT say “No you’re not”. Some people report knowing they were “different” from a very young age, and refusing to accept this can cause added confusion and shame to an already questioning child. I’m not suggesting that you run our and buy rainbow flags for their bedroom but allowing them to express their feelings and helping to guide them through can be the difference between years of mental health problems and a healthy, happy person, whatever their sexuality.

Holidays

How To Give Your Camping Trip a Glamping Makeover

GlampingHaving been subject to a pair few camping holidays in my time, I think I can safely say that though it’s very enjoyable I’m often found in an incredibly uncomfortable setting! Whether the tent is too small or the ground is lumpy, hard and damn near impossible to sleep on – camping has never felt like a particularly luxurious holiday.

Well, what if I told you that it doesn’t have to be this way? What if you could have the fun of camping in the great outdoors while keeping some of the creature comforts that a night in a nice hotel would give you? Well – you can. The answer? Glamping!

So, kick back, relax and enjoy this article all about tips for turning your boring old camping trip into the glamorous glamping experience it truly deserves to be!

Kick the food into fifth gear

Here are three words that epitomises every camping trip: mini sausage rolls. Everyone stocks up on awful supermarket cheap packet food because its less fuss, but it doesn’t have to be this way! If you plan ahead and prepare your meals before you set off on your journey then all you have to do is reheat them and boom – gourmet meals on camping chairs. The BBC goodfood website have plenty of delicious camping meals to choose from that will set your taste buds alight.

Say no to tiny tents

Want to know the biggest lie in the camping world? “This tent is big enough for two people.” Two fleas more like. Whatever number you are quoted for people a tent is supposed to accommodate, cut it in half. There’s nothing worse than sleeping in a cramped space. You can even go that one step further and sort yourself a nice spacious wigwam tent, perfect for becoming the envy of the campsite.

Don’t take it lying down

The ground that is! I hate sleeping on hard ground because you’ll wake up feeling like you’ve been beaten with a sack of rocks in the night. Invest in a sleeping mat, or better still, line your entire tent with a really thick duvet and your back will definitely thank you in the long run! Don’t forget to pack your pillows either, they’re easily forgotten and it’s no fun resting your head on a pile of folded clothes!

Add some outdoor ambiance

You’re all set up, but everything looks a bit… plain. You should add some character to your campsite so you can get some feelgood vibes going. Adding fairy lights or candles (for the outside – NOT the tent) can give your home away from home that lovely music festival feeling.

Make sure you’re not disturbed

Camping is notorious for late night/early morning noise distracting you from your much-needed beauty sleep – so block it out! Wearing some ear plugs or even an eye mask will make a huge difference when it comes to nodding off – and staying there.

If you have any suggestions for how to glamp up your life then feel free to comment below!

Home

Your Style Guide to find the Best Rug

rugWhen it comes to choosing the best rug for your home, each rug style will offer something unique to help keep your decor focused. Whether you have wall-to-wall carpeting, wood flooring or tile, adding a stylish rug to your home will not only give your home a finished look but protect your floors too. Below we discuss some of the top rug styles and where they are best placed to help you find your ultimate rug.

Modern rugs

Modern area rugs are a brilliant neutral design element to help centre or focus a living space. Opt for cut-loop rugs or low-pile hook-and-loop in neutral hues and with subtle or solid patterns. The secret behind decorating with modern rugs is to allow the rug to complement your décor and furniture rather than overpowering it. The great thing about modern rugs is their versatility. There are so many variations and styles available from this one trend. Consider, geometric prints, ombre and striped.

Vintage rugs

Vintage and vintage-style rugs are always on trend. From hip bohemian lofts to traditionally styled homes, vintage rugs are making a statement across home interiors. If you want to splurge on a truly vintage carpet, then it’s going to be quite an investment. However, if you’re simply on the lookout for a quality rug that has the allure of an antique to add style and interest to your space, then opt for the budget-friendly option of a distressed traditional-style rug.

Likewise, traditional rugs are a very popular choice, with designs including Persian motifs designed with intricacy such as flowers, vines and scrollwork. Traditional rugs generally have inner borders filled with intricate patterns, which make them perfect for centring and defining spaces such as living and dining rooms.

Bohemian rugs

Bohemian rugs are both stylish and whimsical. They usually include bold designs, vibrant colour palettes, flat woven techniques, distressed patterns and natural fibre constructions. If you want to achieve a Bohemian look with a rug, the key is to layer traditional antiqued carpets with natural, fibre, flat-woven rugs. You should choose rugs with distressed design and fringe details to capture the boho vibe.

Moroccan rugs

Moroccan rugs are both distinct and recognisable and go perfectly with a range of different interior design styles. Search for rugs that feature the authentic zig-zag or criss-cross pattern of traditional Moroccan rugs, or tie in a bolder Moroccan pattern such as latticework or geometrical trellis.

Transitional rugs

Transitional style rugs fall directly between contemporary and traditional design. By incorporating both modern and classic design elements, transitional rugs showcase the perfect balance of both simplicity and sophistication alongside muted colour palette and traditional patterns like large-scale vines and scrollwork, or, distressed oriental motifs.

Southwest rugs

Southwestern rugs are known for their flat-woven and blanket-like texture. The patterns are typically inspired by tribal motifs and patterns which originate in the southwest regions of the United States. These patterns tend to feature rich earth-tone hues and heavy geometrics. Southwestern area rugs are typically used in boho chic design and rustic design. In many cases, they have been modernised with jewel tones and bright neon hues to complement contemporary interiors.

So there you have it, your style guide to finding the best rug for your home, whatever the interior style you’ve gone for!