From Miami to Vegas, our favorite places on earth! Two bloggers join forces on this Traveller style post

12 Apr

Dear readers

Today you are going to read something a bit different than my usual “personal” style, I joined forces with American travel expert Kendra Thornton and we spoke about our favorite places on Earth, Miami for me and Las Vegas for Kendra so we decided to put everything in a blog post! As usual I express my love for the city of Miami and Kendra, a proud mother of three, tells her side of the story about Sin City…which can be enjoyed even with family and kids! I hope you will enjoy this collaboration guys and thanks for reading it.

From Anna in her wonderland

Twitter @Anna_L_Collins

Miami, the melting pot of South Florida

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Nowhere else in the world you will be able to see such a big mix of cultures like you can see in Miami, from Cuba to Argentina, from Dominican Republic to Brazil, from Colombia to Italy, from Russia to Turkey, you name a country, you will find citizen from that country in Miami somewhere, guaranteed.

Speaking with a friend once in Miami I heard this: – There is no one person who lives in Miami that is actually born and raised in Miami, everyone has an accent and you will get away much better speaking Spanish than English, or let’s say learn Spanglish it will be easier for you.

I fell in love for Miami the first time I landed there, back in 2007; I still remember the drive from the airport to South Beach, All night long by Lionel Richie was on the radio and just to see the skyscrapers off the causeway made me so happy, so relaxed, so…at home.

You can find everything you want in Miami, at any time of the day and night. Stores open 24/7, clubs and bars in continue expansion everywhere, amazing hotels, posh restaurants, fast boats, luxury boats, celebrities filming reality shows and music videos, designer stores and malls, art fairs, boat shows, exotic cars, if you are up for the holiday of a lifetime, Miami is the place to be.

The party town of South Beach goes even crazier during the Winter Music conference week, that collides with spring break (Easter holidays for American colleges and university) with music events everywhere, international DJs, pool parties and so much fun going on, the perfect setting for an European party-goer.

But what about the language “barrier”? As Italian who moved to the United Kingdom I learnt that everywhere you go in the world the English language should be predominant, or at least everyone will understand you, well you are wrong, this is not happening in Miami.

The city is nicknamed the “Capital of Latin America”, is the second-largest U.S. city (after El Paso, Texas) with a Spanish-speaking majority, and the largest city with a Cuban-American plurality.

Cubano estadounidense is the way forward, all of them live “normally” within the only few real American citizens of Miami, most of them are born and raised in America as American citizens themselves, in most of the cases grandparents or relatives are Cubans, and they switch perfectly from Spanish to English and viceversa, I know a few of them who are Americans with Cubans parents and they have never been to Cuba, how crazy is that?

I love everything about this big city, I love South Beach with all year round tourists everywhere, I like Brickell with its skyscrapers and locals buzzing around, I love Little Havana with all its Cuban and South American restaurants, I adore the pretty area of Coconut Grove with all the marinas where we always hang out with our boat, I love Sunset Drive and its shops and bars, despite the busy US1! I love Key Biscayne and its beaches where it feels like to be in the Caribbean…but where you can still see the Miami skyline…so many things I love about this city that I could keep on writing forever.

After all these years of travelling to Miami and my part time life there I must admit I haven’t learnt Spanish yet, despite people think I am Latino (good old Italian dark skin and hair), but I am trying to get into the different mix of cultures every time, and I will never stop to learn something new every day and open my mind even more…that’s why I love Miami so much.
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From Kendra Thornton

Twitter @KendraThornton

 Let’s All Go to Vegas This Summer

Going to Vegas has always been one of my favorite and most memorable trips. There’s so much to do, so many places to see and tons of quirky thrills to enjoy. Whether you want to jump in the aquarium with sharks or rock out with KISS as you golf, there are a lot of different shows as well to enjoy while on your trip to the strip. Even when you head outside of Vegas, there’s more to see like the Grand Canyon. If you’re anything like my family and friends, you can’t just settle for seeing a few things.

1. Go Where the Sharks Go

When you think of a desert, sharks, crocodiles, moray eels, jellyfish and piranhas are probably not on your mind, so you probably didn’t know that you could swim with these incredibly mysterious and yet graceful creatures! At Mandalay Bay, you can jump in the shark tank and hang out with 15 species of sharks as well as other terrors of the deep. They’re actually quite interesting to see up close and not nearly as deadly as people make them out to be. You get to learn a lot about these different species while also swimming around them for an up close and personal look.

2. Rock Out with Your Club and KISS

The KISS Mini Golf experience is probably one of my favorite things to do in Vegas with the kids. You get a mini golfing experience that’s completely different than the boring clowns and dinosaurs of other mini golf parks. With giant guitars, animated replicas of the band and lots of music, you’ll get a lot of laughs as you go around the 18-hole course.

3. Quirky Museum Trips

There’s a lot of history in Vegas and some mystery as well. The museums in Vegas really show off the strange history of the town including the Neon Museum, which is a junkyard dedicated to the old neon signs that have been discarded by the hotels and attractions once popular on the strip. There’s also the Discovery Children’s Museum and the National Atomic Testing Museum.

4. Wild Roller Coasters

You may not be able to handle the double corkscrew, double-loop coaster called The Canyon Blaster at The Adventuredome at Circus Circus. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience. There truly is no other roller coaster like this one in the entire world. If you’re going to Vegas with kids, it will be hard not to stop by this theme park.

My family and I enjoy Las Vegas every time we visit, mostly because with so many hotels to stay at and things to do, each experience is different. With so many people traveling to Vegas, user reviews are readily available. Sites like Gogobot make it easy to read these user reviews.
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Miami, where we belong. The resume of the perfect vacation from Anna in her wonderland

1 Apr

Hello readers

It has ben years now but there is still something I don’t understand completely, there is a connection, I have a deep connection with the city of Miami that I can’t explain in words, I can only tell you that Miami is my home, the place where I feel better than anywhere else in the world. It must be the sunshine, it must be the people, it must be the atmosphere, it must be something that makes me so happy that I can’t even explain, but please, keep on going!

We came back from ten amazing days in the sunshine and despite the weather is quite good here I miss already our good times spent away, going out boating, riding our bikes in the morning, lounging by the pool in the sunshine, going out for amazing dinners around town, watching the peacocks walking around the yard, trying to learn some Spanish, hanging out with good friends, oh no I can’t  believe it’s over! Here we go some pictures of our good times.

With Love

annaInHerWonderlandSIGNATURE

 

Before leaving

Just arrived, cuban food!

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Sushi at the Delano

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Lunch by the pool

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Out in Key Biscayne for a bike ride

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2 bikes in the trunk? of course!
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bike testing at Walmart

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Getting ready to go out

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Friday out in West Palm beach for the boat show

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Worth avenue

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Moijto time at home

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See? Everybody needs a bot with a toilet!

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The housekeeper, the pool keeper…

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Dinner at my favourite spanish restaurant, Barceloneta in South Beach, with the most amazing pictures in the restrooms!
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Tennis time in Miami

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Sunday, beautiful and perfect day to go out boating

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Bike ride in the morning in Brickell overlooking the Rickenbacker Bridge

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Best lunch ever at Swine in Coral Gables!

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Ready for another night out

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Dinner at Cecconi South Beach and drinks at the Fointanebleau hotel

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Ding dong, the peacock  is at the front door

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am I tanned enough?

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Beautiful last dinner at Sugarcane Midtown

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Beautiful flowers by the bridge

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Under the Rickenbacker bridge

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Sunshine, upgraded car and online shopping….the Anna in her wonderland chronicles

10 Mar

Dear readers

I hope you all had a very nice weekend, here in the south east the weather has been glorious and we enjoyed being outdoors and going out…goodbye winter and welcome spring, please last!

Last Monday we collected my new car, which I am very pleased to drive around, I am just a bit concerned by the size of it. My first car (in Italy) was a Smart, I had a Smart when I moved to England (2 seats), we bought an Audi A1 two years ago (4 seats) and now we just upgraded myself to a 7 seats…I think I can get pregnant now that I have a big car! ;-)

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In the past week I tried to work hard at the gym…failing! But me and Coco enjoyed long walks in the country that should still count as a workout…please allow me this! The passion for baking hasn’t gone and my last creation was a recipe that I highly customised … chocolate cake with Frangelico liquor and hazelnut…so tasty!

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But for some strange reason despite all my baking I still look quite skinny and I can’t believe I managed to squeeze myself into a size 12/13 years denim shorts from H&M…bring it on sunshine!!!

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I feel rather green at the moment…thanks to my latest high street purchase in Italy, a pair of green heels which they perfectly match one of my cashmere sweater…but anyway let’s not talk too much about wintery clothes…I am going to be in Miami in a week time, bring it on Miami Music Conference and bring it on summery online shopping! (all done this morning…to beat the Monday blues)

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I wish you all a great week ahead

With love

annaInHerWonderlandSIGNATURE

Coco like the more spacious car

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And loves a monday night out at the pub

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And a good sleep with legs crossed

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The sun is out so let’s enjoy it

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Saturday lunchtime out at the pub
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Another nap for coco

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Gettin ready to go out

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Sunday night yet again another pub

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I feel so bad to have eaten crispy duck last night!!

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Valentine’s day has gone, my Italian week has gone, what’s next? Miami here we come for our spring break! The latest from Anna in her wonderland

25 Feb

Dear readers

I hope you are all doing well, some time has passed since my last post (who will forget the motivation workout images of Ryan Gosling??) and weeks have gone by, I am back in the British countryside after a lovely week spent back home in Italy with my family while my husband went skiing on the Italian mountains, we are now getting ready for the next Miami vacation in three weeks’ time when the Winter music conference will be one, anyone is up for it?

Here we go with some pictures of the latest events

Coco, the funniest member of the Collins Family

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Our Valentine’s night out

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Ghosts in the restrooms???

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My obsession for baking hasn’t stopped…and I can tell when I try to fit in my skinny jeans!

Chocolate cookies

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Peanut butter and chocolate cookies

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Back to Italy for a few days, where I enjoyed the family, the friends and the lovely view of Lake Como!

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Chilling

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And getting ready for the night out in Bergamo!

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See you soon!

Xxx

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Rainy Day in Dublin

3 Feb

You’re staying in one of the great value Travelodges in Dublin, looking forward to exploring all the city has to offer, and the heavens have opened. Don’t be dismayed – there’s no reason why you can’t still enjoy Dublin to the full. Take a look at some of our favourite rainy day activities in this vibrant city:

National Aquatic Centre

 At Europe’s largest indoor water park, AquaZone, it doesn’t matter what the weather is like outside. With high octane rides, the lazy river and a wave pool, you’ll have a blast whatever the weather.

The Ski Centre

 Dublin’s Indoor Ski Centre is a great place to learn to ski, brush up on existing skills and have fun on the slopes. Nearby is the Children’s Museum and Rainforest Adventure Golf, so there’s enough activities in the immediate area to keep you out of the rain all day.

Butlers Chocolate Experience

 Discover what happens in a working chocolate factory on this great interactive tour. With plenty of chocolate tasting opportunities along the way, this tour is a huge hit with chocoholics. Perhaps you’d prefer to pop into the Butlers Chocolate Café in Wicklow Street instead? Imagine a café dedicated to all things chocolate. Packed to the rafters with decadent delights from hot chocolate in a tantalising array of flavours, to signature sundaes or perhaps a slice of the Butlers Chocolate Temptation Cake.

 Traditional Irish Music and Dance

 Why not spend the evening discovering the traditional music and dance of Ireland? With everything from traditional Irish dancing to the acclaimed ‘Celtic Nights’ show and much more besides, there’s bound to be something that will keep you singing, dancing and laughing until the early hours. The Irish are famous for their hospitality and sense of fun after all.

Whatever the weather, rain or shine, you’re sure to have an amazing holiday in Ireland’s enchanting capital city.

Anna in her wonderland in British winter mode, BACK TO FITNESS!

29 Jan

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Dear readers

My last post was about how much good time we had in Miami over new year with my husband and my family, it seems so far away but it was only three weeks ago!

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I finally recovered from jet lag (despite mornings are always hard for me, I am not a morning person is written on my sleeping mask!), me and Coco went back to our daily routine of walking and sleeping (I am talking about the dog not me!), lots of cooking, lots of experimental baking, lots of work on the wedding planning department (come to visit my website www.italianweddinginwonderland.com ) and after been lazy for a few months I started today my new training at a local gym followed by a trainer, only 30 minutes of workout but I feel good, and I set to myself that no matter what, I have to carry on and enjoy the fitness, the previous gym I used to go for over 2 years was great, gym, Jacuzzi, sauna, pool…but I wasn’t motivated to go and I had to cancel my membership at the end of the year…I loved the exercise today so let’s hope to carry on (that’s why it’s raining so heavily here today!)

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I am trying to keep the motivation up so please allow me some motivation images!!!

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Being 51kg and 168cm I do not need diets, I just need to keep busy and enjoy!

My husband has a ski trip scheduled for mid February and it will be great for me, that I do not ski, to go home and spend a week with family and friends, I cannot wait, plus after that it will be the Miami trip in March during the winter music conference and spring break, it is going to be busy!!

Have a great week you all

xxx

Winter is here

annainherwonderland back to fitness regime (1)Enjoying a walk with Coco to the pond

annainherwonderland back to fitness regime (2)Evening face massage

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Dog/ iPad holder, what a great idea!

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Friday was my mum’s birthday so why not post a picture of us?

annainherwonderland back to fitness regime (4)Saturday night in, with a lazy dog!

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Back after the Christmas holidays to the base and let’s stay for a while! Anna in her wonderland back in the Kingdom after 3 weeks away, bring it on 2014!

14 Jan

happy new year

Dear Readers

Finally after a long time away I am back home, ready to enjoy the cold British winter (that hasn’t been that cold yet) and to start the New Year at its best with lots of exciting things planned for me.

I had a lovely time away, first in Italy for ten days to spend Christmas with family and friends and straight after to Miami with my husband to celebrate New Year and a few days after my parents flew over to spend a week with us, apart that the weather wasn’t much on our side, we had a lovely time!

I have some pictures to show you all…enjoy!!!

x

Le’ts start with saturday afternoon mani pedi at the local salon…I have never seen men and little girls doing it!

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Tuna tataki, so obsessed with food!2013 anna in her wonderland (2)

Beef sliders with quail egg…divine!sugarcae raw bar and grill miami

Some peacocks came next door to say hello peacocks around the roads

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Taking the boat trailer down in the Keys2014 anna in her wonderland Miami (17)

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We need a bit of shake shack in our lives!

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Let’s kick start the new year, with a kick!

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Celebrating my dad’s belated birthday in the Key with la comida cubana2014 anna in her wonderland Miami (19)

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Breathtaking sunset in Key Largo2014 anna in her wonderland Miami (23)

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And my new Miami haircut, the long bob!

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Anna goes to Italy : Feliz Navidad…Buon Natale…Merry Christmas from my wonderland!!

24 Dec

Hello dear readers

And Happy Christmas to everybody! I came back home to visit my family on the 18thand, despite I miss a lot my husband (and the dog) I am loving being back home, spending time with the family, hanging out with my best friends, enjoying evenings out, enjoying mulled wine, traditional food from my hometown, Bergamo, which I love deeply and just being happy to be back !!

I am seriously obsessed with the song Feliz Navidad right now, constantly on repeat on my iPhone, so I can try to learn something more in Spanish, just to practice for the next Miami trip, just in a few days, I can’t wait!!!

I wish you all merry Christmas and Happy New Year….and I will post from Miami!

Enjoy the holidays everybody

xxx

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Size doesn’t matter they say, mini Christmas tree at home

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Casoncelli alla bergamasca, the best ravioli ever!!!

anna in her wonderland xmas timeRainy night…anna in her wonderland xmas timeWhat a joy to see Coco and my husband with Skype!

anna in her wonderland xmas timeLove IManna in her wonderland xmas timeDinner at noodles in Milan for my cousin’s Last Dinner before move to London Town!

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anna in her wonderland xmas timeGertrude!anna in her wonderland xmas timeSaturday night, dinner with friends, so glad to be together!!

anna in her wonderland xmas timeTable number 3 from my wedding reunited for the Christmas dinner, all my best friends in one place, love it

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anna in her wonderland xmas timeFinally I met Andrea, the new entry in my friend’s house, so much love!!!anna in her wonderland xmas timeIsotta supervising the Florist shop!

anna in her wonderland xmas timeGetting ready for a Sunday night out clubbing in town with the girls

anna in her wonderland xmas timeMy best friends was planning to get me drunk with hierbas, clearly!

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Long time no post, Anna in her wonderland is back! The Miami resume post

6 Dec

Dear readers

Sorry about my late post about my last holiday in Miami, I have been back for 2 weeks and I just now find the time to sit down, go through the pictures and post about. 2 busy weeks back home, with good and bad things that have happened but that now everything is behind us.

Our latest vacation in Miami was so much fun and good times spent with our friends, endless dinner out, boating days, shopping days and lots of laughing involved, I can’t believe it has gone so quickly as usual. I have lots of pictures to show you, days are manic now organising the final renovation at home, organizing Christmas presents for everybody and thinking about my Italian trip in 12 days, and Christmas of course and Miami again, this time with my parents!

Enjoy you all the pictures and have a great weekend!!!!

Here we go!

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My new favourite, Lobster Mac & cheese

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anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (52)Manicure and pedicure day

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (47)

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (46)Sushi I love it!!!

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (45)

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (44)Selfie in the restrooms?

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (43)SLS cocktails

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (38)

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (39)

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (40)

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (41)Dinner at Cecconi’s

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (42)Day out on Crandon Beach Key Biscayne

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (33)

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (34)

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (35)Delano, a Miami classic

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (36)

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (37)Crandon Beach

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (32)

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (31)

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (30)Bloody mary, 5pm somewhere

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (29)Getting ready

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (28)Big pink for breakfast

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (23)Coconut grove night out

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (24)Pineapple moijtos

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (25)Burgersssss

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (26)Easy sunday lunch, better than a roast!

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (27)Burger nigh again, God bless America!

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (1)Cuties at home depot

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (6)Getting festive at home depot

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (5)First night latin food

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (4)

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (3)

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (7)Macaroons!

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (8)Pale to start the first few days

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (9)Ocean drive

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (10)

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (11)View from the Mondrian hotel

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (16)Fun on South Beach

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (15)

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (14)

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (13)

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (12)

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (17)Boating day

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (18)Dinner at Pubbelly steak

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (20)

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (21)Another Big pink breakfast

anna in her wonderland in Miami november 13 (22)

The fabulous world of cupcakes, one of the latest baking obsession

2 Dec

flic magflic mag logo

From the latest Flic Magazine Issue, page 96 from the Anna in her wonderland column

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Keep calm and have a cupcake

The first time I heard the word cupcake was a few years back from my favourite tv series Sex and the city when Carrie and Miranda met up at the now super famous Magnolia Bakery in New York for a really sweet snack with a coffee, what’s not to love about?  Cupcakes were “invented” in the States to make one normal size cake more manageable to fit into a cup…on the go, everywhere, and to be loved, democratically by anybody. Thanks to the worldwide obsession for reality tv show from the British bake off, Masterchef, The Cake boss, The cupcake wars and so on cupcakes are now so popular everywhere and for everyone, they have become especially in England the perfect afternoon tea snack, just to break the tradition of the classic scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream, or even instead than a traditional wedding cake…tasty, gorgeously presented and decorated, I am absolutely obsessed with it. I have tried different cupcakes from different places, from Angel food and bakery in Brighton, to Lola’s cupcakes in London’s swanky shopping center Harrods and Selfridges, but to me the best cupcakes ever come from a tiny cute shop on the south east coast of England in the pretty seafront town of Whitstable (close to Canterbury), the cute as button shop is called What’s up cupcakes and it was open by Sarah Young 4 years ago after discovering cupcakes in Dubai, at the time Sarah was looking for business ideas and she thought, “if something like cupcakes sell so well in The Emirates, well it will go everywhere” and in June 2009 What’s up cupcakes opened its cute light green doors to the public and everyone has fallen in love for it. Freshly baked cupcakes from Thursday to Sunday with the freshest ingredients available, Sarah and her cupcakes helpers (mum Sue, Aunty Hillary and cousin Claire) delivered every week the best cupcakes around, flood of tourists invaded the shop at weekends and the orders for weddings and parties were growing day by day, I even used to drive myself for 140km just to get some of my favourite cupcakes, Lady Charlotte, raspberry icing topping on a vanilla sponge with white chocolate, divine! Now Mrs Young got married and retired to family life and the cute shop has been taken over by Tracey, after months of training with the Cupcake Boss Sarah, now Tracey carries on the What’s up cupcakes Empire and the shop is still flying high thanks to her passion for the job and for her love of baking, fresh cupcakes are still delivered every week from Thursday to Sunday and you can see the cupcakes creations by follow What’s up cupcakes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and of course why not to visit the shop if you are planning a day out somewhere in the South Coast of England? Head to Whitstable!! Best of luck to Tracey and her cupcakes team for the future.

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