The Chatou Brocante fair – YouTube

The Chatou Brocante fair – YouTube

OMG!! I am Literally Drooling!! This is one of my favorite websites.  We are soooo close and yet so far away right now and missing the March show, argh!  Who wants to meet me in September??? Oh my this is beyond YUMMY, enjoy 🙂



Where the Statues of Paris were sent to Die

Where the Statues of Paris were sent to Die

Saw this cool post on one of our favorite, fellow Bloggers.  Thought you would enjoy it and be sure to click on the photo.  Cool read! Enjoy with your morning coffeeThe stony gaze of the statue upon his executor says it all. Most of the bronze “men” that once watched over Parisian streets and public squares of the French Third Republic met a most […]

Source: Where the Statues of Paris were sent to Die | Messy Nessy Chic

Top 5 Things About Scotland

Top 5 Things About Scotland


There are so many amazing sites and things about Scotland.  We tried to narrow it down to 5 that summed up the feeling.  Everyone should visit at least once in their life.


  1.  The Land and it’s beauty.  It felt like we really experienced most of all Scotland has to offer in topography.  Arriving by ferry on the ocean shores with its crisp air, serene beauty and quiet lifestyle.  To the rolling hills and Huge pastures of the lowlands and Midlands.    You were shocked at how much land with so few people it felt like!  It is just mind boggling after living in Southern California.  Land land and more land.  To the Lochs and Highlands, of what you think IS Scotland.  The misty rain hanging over the lakes (lochs).  Tall mountains with waterfalls, and a lot of Pine trees which I wasn’t expecting.  The Troon beaches of Ayr, which are very South Carolina feeling with scrub brush and Big sandy beaches.   Really diverse and quiet pretty all around. One can feel life all around you.IMG_5756IMG_7545
  2. Scotch the “Water of Life”– So says Darren.  This one of course I can’t really agree on because everyone who knows me; knows that Champagne is MY Elixir of life.  But for men, Scotland is to men what Champagne France and Paris is to women.  Rugged outdoors with fine locally made, Single Malt Scotches, a mans world!  The Whiskey Trail is the region of Scotland where you can follow Scotch Distilleries and do tastings like you go to Napa to taste wine.  Beware however, Scotland has a ZERO tolerance for drinking and driving so be sure to have a designated driver!IMG_7498IMG_6472
  3. History– So we’ve been all over where History has been in England, Ireland, France, Italy and even America, but there really is something about the stories of Scotlands history.  Perhaps, because so many movies have been made and Mel Gibson made you know them; or you just know more about a lot of the names shared like Robert the Bruce, William Wallace and more.  Driving down the road and a castle popping up and you read the history and its facts, and you actually have read about them in school.  Wars you remember in movies and you are standing on the field that it actually took place!  You can still FEEL the history coming off the land and the buildings you are in.  The haunting bag pipe music really helps send it thru you too.IMG_6547IMG_6274
  4. Fresh Scottish Salmon!  I haven’t eaten Salmon since the Fukushima meltdown and I don’t like farm raised so to be finally able to eat wild caught Salmon in the cold waters of Scotland was a thrill for me.  And boy is it good, the smoked salmon especially from our favorite small smoker we found:  Marrbury Smokehouse, oh man this place was the best!  They too have a castle!!  Randomly we met the owners far from their restaurant in a town called Perth. They were so fun and nice.  Unfortunately they only ship within the UK but if you are ever over in Scotland its a Must visit.IMG_6259IMG_7149
  5. Castles, as always.  Always in search of more Castles, Scotland did not let us down.  We found some fabulous ones and even better, Actual Castles from Darren’s lineage of his Campbell Clan.  So exciting to see in person what we’ve researched online and then be standing in it!  Cannot imagine being a current descendant of direct lineage and knowing you OWN this castle, even if its been turned over to the National Trust. Crazy cool.  (many of the gentry had to turn there lands/castles/manors over to the National Trust due to the Very expensive taxation put on them)  TO SEE MORE OF SCOTLAND:   HTTP://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/BELLASTRAVELS1


How To Get A Dog, Yourself and a Lot Of Luggage, From the UK To Ireland: Car Ferry

How To Get A Dog, Yourself and a Lot Of Luggage, From the UK To Ireland: Car Ferry

The question was:  How to get from the Southern most tip of England to Ireland with a dog?  The answer was a car ferry, and we wanted the shortest crossing in case Bella wasn’t happy with this decision of transport!  The answer to that is high speed ferry and there is only one and that is from Northern Wales across the Irish Sea into Dublin.  Off the Isle of Wight, back to the UK mainland of Southampton and up the motorway to North Wales!  An all day journey.


We were able to see fantastic Castles in North Wales on our way out to the tiny tip of Holyhead on the island of Anglesey, where the fastest ferry from the UK to Ireland is.   Under 2hrs vs almost 4 hrs,  at all the other crossings.  Irish Ferry is like a giant cruise ship that happens to carry cars underneath.  The only bad thing is No dogs allowed on deck; so either they stay in your car or they have kennels on board for them.  With Bella having her bed and toys in the car, we chose to leave her for the journey in the bowels of the boat,in our car and leaving me a nervous wreck for 2hrs.  All was for naught, as she did Famously and it appeared she slept the entire way and was all groggy as we greeted her on the dock of Ireland. (you are not allowed to stay in the car or go check on your car during the trip)

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There’s a huge duty free shopping on the Irish Ferry and lots of good deals so go ahead and shop as we didn’t see that selection for the rest of the trip.  Ireland is not big into gift shops and souvenirs.

Our return trip from Ireland To Scotland,  was also from a tiny upper North Ireland tip called Larne, 30 min from Belfast and also under 2 hrs.  A much bigger, slower, as we covered less ground and not as nice.  But, It landed us right on the shores of Scotland at Cairnryan which is a gorgeous West shore of Scotland in the Galloway Park district and just gorgeous country and seashore.


Getting off a ferry and arriving into the gorgeous countryside, with no noise and chaos of an airport or train station and all your stuff and car right with you, is just the most exciting wonderful way to travel we have discovered.  The cross over of less than 2 hrs is so relaxing, gorgeous views and no complaints.  The arrival into Scotland was much better than Dublin which was commercial and a bit chaotic but not too bad.

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We highly recommend it, its not cheap but you have ALL your luggage, your dog, there is NO security which was astounding, they don’t even check passports.  Walk all around a huge ship so no cramped spaces, comfy seats with tables, Restaurant and bar (we didn’t partake and it looked like airplane food only a bit better) but all very easy and no cramped leg space.  Next time you travel, check it out, we think it is the only way to “fly” now and will always search it as the best solution for future travels.

If you don’t have a car and want to travel on a ferry, you can also be a walk on passenger to the ferry.  Unsure how the luggage works but they bring you on via an airport style shuttle and then return you to shore the same way.  You don’t have to have a car to travel via ferry.

Top 5 Things to Do on Isle of Wight, UK

Top 5 Things to Do on Isle of Wight, UK

1.  Sailing.  If you don’t know someone you can pay to sail, or do what we did and introduce yourself at any of the local yacht clubs.  If you have skills they will put you to work!  See our posts on how Darren got to sail in the biggest race of the year on the biggest boat in the race, 160′ Eleanora.  Cowes and Yarmouth are the top 2 towns on the island for sailing and world renowned.



2.  Thatched roof cottages everywhere.  Straight out of Hansel and Grettle they are everywhere and gorgeous. so many I couldn’t pick a favorite!

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3.  Every town is so different and has a totally different vibe/feel.  Checking them all out and seeing which one is your favorite.  Yarmouth was my favorite and Cowes was Darren’s and Ventnor ran a close second for us both.



4.  Needles battery.  A natural rock formation off the South West Point.  You can see it by land or by sea, by taking a boat ride out.  Nice hiking, great views but Windy!


5.  Car ferry ride to get to the island!  If you’ve never loaded on to a giant freighter by driving you car into the bowels of the boat, its a fun experience.  Many levels to choose from on where to sit and view the ocean and the shore as you head over to the island.  While you are in Cowes, be sure to take the “chain ferry” to East Cowes.  a Tiny version of the big ferry and it takes about 2 minutes. So funny and efficient.  drive time is 20 minutes and you are there in 2 minutes!IMG_4741        IMG_4736

6. (suppose to only be 5 but had to add another.) Enjoying sitting in the countryside of our backyard.  Serenity and quiet of trees rustling and sheep baaaing, and even more, Darren outside baaaaing back at them!



Top 5 Things to Do in Wales

Top 5 Things to Do in Wales

1.  Castles Castles Castles and more Castles.  Wales has more castles than any other country I think!  From fully refurbished and decorated to just the outline of what once was, they seem to be down every long road and well worth the hunt for them, we made it into a game to see how many signs we could find.  Being there takes you so far back into time you can almost hear the trumpets and footfalls.  The heraldry accompanied by the clang and click of metal everywhere.  We were thankful that we could not smell what it was truly like but what a romantic place viewed from the future.  Some of these castle under went huge battles and sieges.  Pembroke Castle is a great example and well worth the visit!

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2.  Beaches and Gorgeous countrysides – Great beaches with the most incredible low tides ever.  Miles of low tide make for great beach walking and countrysides with color that is hard to believe.  The land is still mostly owned by Barons but many years ago an agreement was reached between the commoners and the lords that the lands would be open to passage and grazing so it tends to stay lovely and usable by all.  Really cool idea.  If it was in America it would have long since been subdivided and turned into suburbia and shopping malls!


3.  St. David’s Cathedral, A beautiful drive out to the westward point in Wales but amazingly quaint town and then Holy Wow!  They built this abbey down in a valley so the Vikings could not see it to plunder from the Sea, it’s that old!!  Really incredible architecture and the ceilings and floors are still intact and it it still in service.  Don’t forget to go to the artifact room where they have some of the original saxon staffs and a timeline that goes back to 500ad.  That is only 150 or so years after the Bible was written!

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4.  Great old pubs with historical charm, grabbing a pint and getting to feel history.  Wondering how many others have come thru the doors and sat at the same fireplace 100s of years before.  History and Ale!  Naught more need be said!

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5.  The Abbey in Wye Valley and Dylan Thomas Boathouse Regions.  Both tranquil and beautiful.  Really wonderful places to visit and walk.

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