But I still have lots of decisions to make ...
And I am worrying - will everyone come to my party!? It is pretty stressful organising something that means so much to me but not everyone enjoys a party especially if they don't know many people. I have been a bit disappointed when I have had 'sorry we can't make it' RSVP's and whilst I am sure these are all genuine it does make me worry! Just before Christmas isn't great timing for a birthday so on the whole I think I have been very lucky that there aren't more of my friends and family at other Christmas functions.
And what to do on my actual birthday? My daughter will be at school and my son at work so I won't see them both until later on. We will go out to dinner - I really want to go to The Coach in Marlow but getting a table isn't easy as it has a no booking policy. My husband will be with me and I have a couple of ideas for the day time but still in the planning stage right now! I will update you soon.
On the Sunday my parents are taking us for 'afternoon tea' at in the Georgian Restaurant at Harrods. I am very much looking forward to that. I have plans to do a little shopping in Harrods first and as my family worked for Harrods many years ago it will be like going home. I have lovely childhood memories of Harrods. My first haircut was at Harrods!
What an absolutely gorgeous city! My first trip to the Czech Republic and I learnt so much about its culture, people and history. We were invited to join our very good friends to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.
We arrived Friday afternoon and checked into our hotel (Hotel Majestic Plaza Prague) which was very well located for the main square and walking distance to all the tourist attractions. In fact the whole city is very accessible and everything is within easy reach. Transport around the city centre is by tram, taxi or on foot.
We made our way to the main square, Wenceslas Square in the New Town and enjoyed a late lunch sitting outside watching the world go by. Many of the cafes and restaurants are set up for outside dining even now the weather has turned cold, they have heaters and blankets and there is something special about wrapping up warm and enjoying a hot chocolate or coffee outside.
Saturday morning we had a walking tour booked with The Prague Tour All-Inclusive – a 6 hour walking tour which includes a boat trip and lunch in a medieval restaurant. Our guide Alex was excellent and gave us a very good introduction to the Czech Republic. The tour does not include any visits inside the sights but it does mean you can choose to go back to the ones you what to explore further.
We loved the Charles Bridge and the Old Town Square. The views from the Castle area across the city are stunning. We were taken to an excellent chocolate shop for a cup of hot chocolate (really it was pure melted chocolate) – the best I have ever tasted and a well needed way to warm up!
Whilst on the boat trip we spotted a beautiful restaurant called Kampa Park on the banks of the River Vitava and rang them immediately to book a table. It was certainly a table with a view! We watched the dinner boats go by with a back drop of the city, castle and Charles Bridge all lit up. A happy way to toast our friends silver wedding anniversary.
Sunday we took the opportunity to go back to some of the sights we had seen on our tour. We took a taxi then the funicular up the Petrin Hill and climbed the ‘Czech Eiffel Tower’ – an observation tower which gave us fantastic views of the city. We then walked down and had lunch at the Monastery also enjoying the lovely views from the outside seating. In the afternoon we ambled over the Charles Bridge and into the Old Town, sat in the Old Town Square for a hot chocolate and then went up the tower that houses the famous Astronomical Clock, it was interesting to see and read about the damage caused to the city during the occupation in WWII.
On Monday morning we packed up ready for our flight then walked to Saints Cyril and Methodius Cathedral to see the memorial to the Heydrich Terror incident that took place during WWII. For more details see here. The story has been made into a film – Anthropoid - this will be released on DVD in January. We laid some poppies on the memorial and it was fascinating to still be able to see the bullet holes in the building. Unfortunately the museum is closed on a Monday but I am sure it would be well worth a visit if we ever go back.
And that was our weekend away! I successfully packed a capsule wardrobe for my weekend (see separate post here). Best advice to pass on though ... it gets very cold so wrap up warm in lots of layers and thermals and wear good solid walking shoes as the cobbled streets are uneven.
View from restaurant, the Astronomical Clock and the Old Town Square at night
I always take too much and I hate the idea of just carry-on luggage, I’d much rather have a check-in bag so I don’t need to worry about the size of my liquids or only being able to pack one pair of shoes! I’d rather wait 20 minutes extra in the baggage hall.
But having had a style consultation recently with Katherine B my capsule wardrobe was looking much better and it inspired me to pack a little more efficiently for Prague.
I tend to always start with shoes. My feet being comfortable are my priority especially on city breaks. This time I chose a pair of simple black biker boots from ALDO (last season). They have some fur in them and are soft and ideal to wear all day and walk in but still having a nod to stylish.
Black boots meant black jeans so I packed three pairs – two for day time and one for the evenings. I also took a black suede ankle boot with a small heel to dress up a bit more in the evening.
I then packed an assortment of knitwear – a jumper for every day but with a scarf that matched all the jumpers plus a plain black scarf for the evening. Prague can be very cold so I also took an extra layer - a couple of long sleeve t-shirts.
I chose a fur headband rather than a full hat as this matched my chosen scarf perfectly, looked stylish and was warm and cosy.
I deliberated between my red ski jacket and my new Barbour International black padded jacket. The Barbour won and I didn’t regret it – I chose it because it is warm, waterproof and lightweight.
I used my daughters black Top Shop backpack for during the day and for the evening I took my small animal print messenger bag.
So did it all work and come together in reality? Yes absolutely. I wore it all, nothing got creased in the suitcase, I was warm and comfortable and I didn’t have to think about my outfit every day.
I think had we been there this week with the temperature dropping I would have taken an extra thermal layer and possibly taken my long North Face coat to keep my legs a bit warmer.
Tomorrow on the blog … what we saw in Prague.
Red jumper and oatmeal jumpers from Hobbs
Black jumper from Oasis
Scarf from John Lewis (similar here)
Necklace from Beads & Bracelets
Black jeans all from Mint Velvet
Black marl long sleeve t-shirt and pink jumper both from Mint Velvet
Scarf from Mooch in Marlow
Necklace as above
Barbour International Jacket (below)
Fur headband from a selection at John Lewis
You can’t quite beat a day by the seaside and Brighton has to be one of the best or maybe it is just my own childhood nostalgia that makes it a favourite. I have fond memories of visiting family there when I was a child, then as a teenager and young adult, my boyfriend’s family owned a motorboat that was moored in Brighton Marina and so we visited a lot. We’ve stayed at the Caravan Club site in Brighton in our caravan and had many day trips as it is so easy to reach for us.
So this half term off we went again. This visit didn’t quite go as planned and wasn’t one of the best but that happens sometimes and in an effort to write my blog as truthfully as I can about real life, there is no point in pretending it was perfect!
I had it in my head that I was going to find the perfect ‘healthy eating’ restaurant in the Lanes that would allow the dogs inside! Umm no ideal independent restaurant, only big chains and after wandering about for about an hour we gave up and headed to Jamie’s Italian but had to sit outside as no dogs allowed. It was a little on the chilly side!
We then headed towards the beach and the pier and enjoyed a long walk along the seafront. The weather was fairly mild and it was dry but again there was nowhere to sit and have a cup of tea inside with the dogs. Now this is unusual, our two Westies are often with us and most places are happy to accommodate them but not in Brighton it seems. We wanted to take them as they love a run by the sea. We decided to leave later and miss the Friday evening traffic on the M25 but without being able to warm up inside with a cuppa it did start getting quite chilly. My husband resorted to hugging the teapot!
The big new attraction in Brighton is the British Airways i360 observation tower and when we arrived we noticed a fairly large crowd and big black cars. Later on we discovered that HRH The Duke of Edinburgh was there officially opening the i360.
So we plan to go back to Brighton soon, minus our beloved dogs, head straight to the i360 and take a ride up it and enjoy lunch in one of the new restaurants overlooking the beach.
But the day out gave me the opportunity to test out my new coat! I splashed the cash and treated myself to a Barbour International Camber Baffle Quilted Jacket in black, it is warm and waterproof but also lightweight which I prefer, I feel a bit trussed up with too much fur and bulk.
See you soon!
Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my fifties. I share style tips, health and fitness inspiration, I talk about my holidays and days out and I tell you about my beauty regime and my lifestyle. I hope you might pick up a tip or two and get some inspiration!
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