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Travel Tips

Featured Friends: Alex from My Life Long Holiday

Florence, Italy

Hi, friends! I'm beyond excited today to kick start my new project: Featured Friends. I asked on Instagram for people to e-mail me if they wanted to be featured here on my blog and was so thrilled to hear from some of you! I wanted to create this space to introduce other Travel Bloggers since that's the kind of support I received when I first started blogging.

Anyway, I'm so happy to introduce Alex from My Life Long Holiday today! I love that we're both travelers yet so different; she has a family of her own and 3 children, I'm single and can't even grow a plant, she has a ton of European experiences and I have very little - and so much more! Enjoy!

Alex in Thasos

1. Tell us about yourself! 

I'm a 38 year old wife and mother of 3; 2 girls (13 and 7) and 1 boy (10). I'm a Remedial Massage Practitioner by trade but my real passion is photography and travel, so every opportunity we get we're booking another trip, it's fair to say my husband, Rich, is definitely as in love with travelling as I am, which is handy! I have always loved writing and words, in fact, as a teen I had 32 pen-friends at one point! My letters weren't the usual monologue either, I saw it as an opportunity to be creative and a bit off the wall, so my blog definitely fills that gap, seeing as most adults these days never even pick up a pen and the thought of a letter would make their hand cramp up!

2. Why did you start a Travel blog? 

A couple of years ago I took a month out, in the Summer Holidays with the kids, to dog-sit for my parents at their home in Portugal whilst they took a cruise. They only emigrated recently so at the time Portugal to me was like a sparkly wrapped gift-box with a big red bow on it - we had no idea what was inside but we couldn't wait to have the time to discover its contents! My parents renovated an old farm house out there and turned it into the most beautiful place you've ever seen, so with the best accommodation ever as our base, we spent a month exploring bits of Central Portugal. The blog, at the time, was just an excuse to show off photographs to friends and family back home and hoard the memories in a bit of a journal. When we returned home I was urged to continue, the rest, as they say, is History! I am also passionate about my home town of Nottingham so I devote part of my blog to my city too.

Alex and her family at the Forth Rail Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland

3. Where (if you can pick!) is your favorite place you've been to and why? 

Oh dear - just one!? Can't I have 2?? Well, much to my husbands annoyance (as he wasn't with me on this particular trip) I have to say Costa Rica. It was 10 years ago and we went for a month but in my head the pictures still sparkle and the people we met and the experiences we had will always stay with me. It's a magical country with many faces and I defy anyone to contradict me. I'm going to sneak in a second - Rome, Italy - as it has such a special place in my heart. I've been quite a few times and I'd still drop everything and gotomorrow too. The History is phenomenal, the locals are passionate and the food is the best in the world! When someone mention Rome, I swoon.

4. You spent quite some time in Portugal. For anyone visiting for the first time, what would you tell them?  

My mam has this saying; "We went to Portugal and it was closed!". She says it because, unless there's a Festa going on, it's SO quiet. Like apocalypse quiet. Once, we visited this little town high up in the Serra Da Estrela mountains completely made from granite boulders; the doors are wedged between boulders, the washing hangs from boulders, the police cars are boulders - you know, the kinda place any other country makes into a World Heritage Site. Not Portugal, there isn't a soul in sight! And that's what I love about the place, it's so peaceful, so unspoilt, so Sunday-morning-like. So I'd say to anyone visiting; Make the most of it, because nowhere else in Europe will you find this level of serenity. Also, it's the birthplace of Nando's so make sure you get yourself to a market for alfresco 'Chicken and Chips' (or fries to my American readers) - a dining experience you shouldn't miss. (I'd like to add a little disclaimer here - when I talk of Portugal I don't mean the Algarve, I've never been to the Algarve but I'm pretty sure it's a whole different ball game down there, packed beaches and busy towns. I'm referring to the rest of the country, where most tourists seem to not dare to tread).

Richard (her husband) at Villa Balbianello, Lake Como, Italy

5. Who is your favorite airline and why? 

I'm not fussy, I'll fly with anyone. The budget airlines have afforded us many amazing trips, but on the flip side Air Canada and Virgin Atlantic have given us some pretty great long-haul flight luxury.

6. What are your travel plans for the rest of the year? 

In a few weeks we'll be heading back to Portugal with some close friends but detouring via Madrid this time - we can't wait, Spanish cities are great! Then for our anniversary in September we are planning a luxury trip to London, it's the first time we've had such a big budget for our much loved capital so I'm thinking extravagance and opulence all the way. Oooo! *lets out a little squeal*  Then, next summer it's a Biggy, we're heading to the States with the kids to watch the total eclipse in Kentucky, along with a bit of a road trip. They've only ever been to Florida over there so we can't wait to introduce them to Real America.

7.  Where are 3 places you dream of traveling to?

1. I would LOVE to do a West Coast of America road trip - taking in San Francisco, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite too. This trip has been in my dreams since I was a little girl, when I found out about the Great Sequoia Trees.
2. Thailand also has to be on this list - some friends are spending a month there at the moment and their instagram feed is making me drool with envy. I intend to grill them on it for tips when we see them next!
3. Italy. All of it. We've seen a fair bit of it already but I want to 'do' Italy till it's coming out of my pores. I want to see so much of it that I'm screaming "bastanza" in my dreams, I want my over consumption of Gelato to make me dairy-intolerant, you get the picture - I'm in love with Italy, true story.

Ice Cream in Sienna, Italy

8. You have 3 gorgeous children. How do you manage to keep travels organized? 

My kids are so well travelled now, they know the drill. My eldest even knows how much pocket money to save to spend in her favourite airport shops. I think they were born with the wanderlust gene and I'm so thankful that they appreciate and soak up every experience we have. We try to teach them that life is about experiences, not Things, and it seems to have sunk in. My husband is super organised, we regularly mock him for his Dossier Wallet, but actually, his attention to detail and my pre-trip research usually makes for smooth travels. Oh, except for the time we left our car and house keys in Ibiza and had to coach the cat into bringing us the spare key through the cat flap - oh, such fun! (at 3am)

9. Tell us where we can find you on Social Media! 

10. Anything else you'd like to add for my readers? 

I love being interactive with my readers; I love hearing about other people's travels and if they have any tips for me, so feel free to leave me a comment and share your experiences!


Thank you again Alex for gracing my blog with your presence, I loved getting to know you and your travel experiences! Looking forward to following more of your journey and let me know if you ever end up in Los Angeles! 

Interested in being interviewed? Shoot me an e-mail and I'd love to chat!

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