Birthdays, babies, pets, friends from abroad and lots of travelling around, Anna in her wonderland turns 30 tomorrow, let’s celebrate!!!

18 Aug

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Dear readers

in less than 24 hours it will be my birthday, exactly 9 days after my husband’s birthday and we cannot wait to go to London to celebrate the event with our good friends, I can’t still believe the number…it feels like yesterday when I turned 18, or 20, or 24…30 seems such a big and imposing number!

I have had a few busy days last week, we had some friends over from the States and we have been enjoying the English countryside, with lots of food and drinks…that’s why I have been Booze Free since Thursday, but I so look forward to crack the rose’ champagne tonight to start the celebrations!

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An Italian trip in a few days, a trip to Ibiza in September…and Miami to come soon enough to keep me busy and look forward the next move. So obsessed with pets and babies at the moment, I went to visit friends last week I and get so happy around the babies and toddler…will it be our turn soon? Hopefully!

I wish you all an amazing week!!!

xxx

annaInHerWonderlandSIGNATURE

Our first birthday cake made by our friends daughters, so sweet!

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My latest obsession, Benson the bulldogannainherwonderland turns 30 blog post august 14 (2) Cavalier king charles meeting upannainherwonderland turns 30 blog post august 14 (5)On a windy day out and about in Brighton
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The Miami blues, the British summer in the countryside, the big birthday coming up and the Italian trip to celebrate it…the adventures of anna in her wonderland on each side of the pond

31 Jul

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Hello dear readers

After 10 days in the hot and humid Miami I am back home, reunited with Coco, struggling with the jet lag, enjoying the beautiful (for the moment) British weather and so looking forward to have my husband back home at the weekend, I wasn’t very happy to start with but thanks to Norwegian airlines I had two more days in Florida due to problems with the plane, luckily I managed to fly back solo without too many problems…I just missed my cousin’s birthday bash in London and the chance to spend time with him and our friends…Bloody Norwegian!!!

The vacation/holiday was hot…hot… and sometimes stormy, so looking forward to go back there in September when, I hope, the weather should be more bearable.

I have some pictures to show you the best bits…and I am getting ready to turn 30 years old in 19 days…I am actually quite paranoid about, I am growing old and it doesn’t help the fact that apparently I cannot pronounce 30 correctly…according to people I sound Irish when I say thirty…I am going to be stuck with the 3 for a while damn it!

Well, let’s not worry about and let’s just think that after the birthday we will go to the Italian Riviera to celebrate the time with my parents and friends…so looking forward to trofie al pesto and industrial quantities of focaccia to eat!

Have a good day you all

xxx

They say size doesn’t matter…I think it does in the States!

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So pleased to see this gorgeous face again!

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And I fell in love with Cody, the new puppy of our neighbour

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It cannot be breakfast at Atelier Monnier in Brickell Ave without getting some Macaroons

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Bad hair day?

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Cruising around town

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Do I need a filter? I think I look tanned anyway!

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A walk on the beach at the lighthouse in Key Biscayne

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Walk with racoon spotting

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Gorgeous day out on the boat at Boca Chita Key

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With a pit stop at the sand bar on the way back

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Getting ready for dinner, while trying to cover some interesting tan lines on my back thanks to my bikini!

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Rusty pelican our favorite dinner hotspot

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The poor lobster has been renamed Sebastian to pay tribute to the Little Mermaid Disney Character

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Paddle boarding in Key Biscayne

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And back to the airport, Miami heat style!

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The Italian week, the wedding planning, the two lakes, the British sea, the Italian family over, the domestic goddess and the next trip to the land of the free and home of the brave, Anna is keeping busy!

8 Jul

Dear readers

As usual I am really late at posting updates on the blog, sorry guys I lose track of time sometimes! I spent a week in Italy with my family checking out wedding venues for my next bride and groom to be, so pleased to have had the chance to go over the beautiful Lake Como again, work meeting pleasure is always the way forward! And I spent the weekend enjoying time with the family, going clubbing on the other lake, Lake Garda, relaxing and having fun… sometimes just a few days home recharge my batteries so much to keep on going better and stronger!

Back home I keep on feeling like I need to cook and bake all day, yesterday for example I wasn’t feeling my best but suddenly after dinner I thought..I fancy a cake! Opened the fridge, found two large oranges, butter, yogurt and eggs…one hour later we were all eating orange cake!

I have had my family over last weekend where we spent a nice day in Brighton on a beautiful sunny day, shame Coco is in season and we were chased by male dogs on the seafront…and shame a few days after going back into Brighton I curbed my wheel very badly…my husband wasn’t impressed as you all can imagine, my excuse was “I have had the car for 4 months and this is the first time, I am doing quite alright for myself!”

Anyway I felt boring last week so I decided to change my look, so short bob hairstyle with blonde highlights, I am only a month and eleven days from turning 30…I am probably experiencing a beginning of midlife crisis…and between a cup of tea and a walk with the dog we are getting ready for the next Miami trip, only ten days to go!

Have a good week everybody

The first thing to do when in Italy? Espresso is my must

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Followed by a polenta based lunch

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How can you not fall in love for Villa del Balbianello? good enough to film Casino Royale and Star wars…good enough for me!

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From Lake Como to Lake Garda to party with friends

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Back to England back to cook! Italian food of course, orecchiette con le cime di rapa, thanks to gino d’acampo recipe

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And orecchiette with cream and smoke salmon, thanks to Gino again

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And coconut muffins for afternoon tea
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And with Coco being Coco

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Getting ready for a night out with friends

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What do Italians eat on a Sunday? My lasagne!

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A day of gardening in the sun

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And Coco being silly again!annainherwonderland blog post 08.07 (43) annaInHerWonderlandSIGNATURE

 

The World Cup, the baking and the travelling…Anna in her wonderland is keeping busy!

15 Jun

Hello dear readers

I am so excited over the World Cup that you will not believe, I don’t normally care about football generally but when the World Cup is on I suddenly feel really excited and I feel for my country even more, especially since I have moved to England over 5 years ago…and how better could have the World Cup started for me? England vs Italy, oh my! Shame that my husband is not into football but it was so much fun to watch the match at home with British friends, I was cheering, I was screaming, I was dancing around…I was so happy that Italy won! And I am so pleased to go to visit my family in Italy this week, I haven’t been back since February and I seriously cannot wait to fly back!

I have started to go back to the gym since the Miami trip, with not much success…while I work out I think what I am going to bake later…is that good or not? And of course cooking is still my main hobby right now, the cashiers at the local grocery store might think I am mad, I keep on going in to get more ingredients for my creations! Anyway the summer is here and I must admit the weather has been great lately; hopefully it will keep on being summer!!

Xxx

annaInHerWonderlandSIGNATURE

Sunny day at home

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Followed by a rainy day at the go kart

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Some flowers to bright up a gloomy day

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And a chocolate and pecan cake to make the day sweeter

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I miss Miami so Cuban dinner in the countryside

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Meeting friends, and their new pet

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Sunny day in Whitstable

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Gone to the beach for the day

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So much joy to meet Christian, the new arrival, so much love for him already!

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Dinner sorted with broccoli and bacon

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Working out makes me hungry and I was dreaming about this cake!

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My job in a sunny day

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Little fluffy clouds

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Sunny day, total white

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Waiting for the sun to go down

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Coconut muffin to bright up a rainy afternoon

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And the sunshine is back!

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And some chocolate and raspberries brownies for the weekend

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Still living the American Dream even a few days after being back home, the resume of the good times in Miami…Travel makes me exhausted but so happy!

27 May

Dear Readers

I am so sad to have left, once again, the sunshine state behind me…especially when I come home and the weather in England suddenly turns wet and miserable, it makes me want to run away again! Oh Dear Miami how many good memories I take home with me every time…the friendly and beautiful people around town, the warm sunshine, the parties, the boating, the bike rides around town, the endless tasty dinners and the new restaurants to discover…it is always a discovery for me! I do hate the plane ride though, it makes me tense and nervous thinking that I am over the big pond (I haven’t gone over fear of flying and I don’t know when I will finally surrender to the fact that is the safest form of transport…clearly not yet).

So much good times and fun, but let the pictures to speak for me!

Have a good week everybody!!

Nakd healthy snack, perfect to carry in my handbag while travelling and boost my energy levels

It cannot be the first night if we don’t get our Cuban food fix, Vaca Frita!

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I found a bit of home in Miami, Riviera focacceria in Midtown!

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We couldn’t resist to more Italian food that night, focaccia di recco as starter

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And to get rid of jet lag, Shake shack burger is my cure!

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Let’s bright up the white theme

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True!

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Sunday brunch at nikki beach

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Cecconi Miami, one of my favourites!

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Bike ride around Brickell Key

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BBQ at home and funny faces

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Ready to go out

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I tried to go over the Key Biscayne Bridge and I failed badly! Just enjoying the view

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Dinner at Rusty Pelican in Key Biscayne, nowhere else you get a view like this!

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Driving around in the crazy traffic…I miss Miami already!

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See you soon!

This blog post has been sponsored by Natural Balance Foods

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This blog will turn into a cooking blog soon, I wanna bake all day long! The spring in the countryside, lots to do and finally off to Miami again! Anna in her wonderland the domestic goddess?

9 May

Dear readers

I don’t know what is wrong with me at the moment, all I want to do is cooking and baking! Maybe somehow I realised that I am quite good at cooking (even my husband casually said “I might let you do the cooking for dinner parties…you are not that bad”…after 5 years of perfect meals on his dinner table!) so probably I feel like experimenting even more…I should start to write that famous recipe book I go on about but I never get around to!

Lots went on recently, work at home has finished and we have a lovely patio so we can be ready to enjoy summer evenings and drinks…hopefully Britain will offer us a good summer!

I have had lots on my plate recently, I have been working on my husband’s website, I have been working on the wedding planning website and seems like clients are coming around now which is great….and on Monday we are off to Miami, what is better than that???

I can show you some of my latest creations and I will blog from the Sunshine State…have a great weekend everybody!!

xxx

My first Pizza, what a mess to make it!

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and the day after, my mini pizza (pizzette) with the leftover dough

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Beautiful sunset

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A room with a view

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The most recent dinner pictures, including my first Roast dinner

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and my baking creations

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Every day it’s smoothie O’Clock

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and a lovely road trip to visit friends in the Cotswold, what a beautiful part of the country!

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And I forgot to mention, do not dye your hair at home by yourself as I did….Monk head is not the right look! I got that sorted the day after luckily…DIY? Better not to!!

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Nobody should spend festivities away from the family! I miss my country and I miss my hometown of Bergamo, fancy to know something about? The Bergamo travel edition

23 Apr

Dear readers

I hope you are all keeping well, Easter weekend it’s just gone and despite we achieved so much at home (new patio and decking fitted and more renovations) I must admit I felt really sad to not have been at home in Italy with my family to celebrate Easter, this has been the first time in five years of living abroad that I skipped the Easter trip, and I did feel homesick, I am sure people who live abroad can relate with my feelings…I tried to keep busy with lots of cooking and baking and cuddling the dog but that bloody feeling wasn’t going away!

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So…to celebrate my love for my town, why don’t I talk about it? Interested in Bergamo? Here we go!

 

Bergamo, the undiscovered pearl of Northern Italy

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Not that many people know about the existence of Bergamo, for lots of people it is just, “oh yes Milan Bergamo where we can fly into with Ryanair”…Bergamo is much more than a Ryanair route let me tell you.

120’000 People live there, 40km away from Milan using the busy A4 Milano Venezia motorway, 50km away from Brescia and the Lake Garda, 38km away from Lecco (where the Lake Como area begins), 200km to the beautiful city of Venice, well connected internationally with Bergamo Orio al Serio airport and with the most beautiful hilltop medieval town surrounded by defensive walls built by the Venetians to preserve the city in the past from the attacks of the enemies (Bergamo in 1428 fell under the control of the Venetian Republic). Bergamo is known as well as Citta’ dei Mille (city of the thousands, because of its contribution to the Risorgimento, that takes to the Italian unification in 1861).

One of the most visited part of the city is Piazza Vecchia, the old square of the old town, called Citta’ Alta (upper city). This square is always patched with tourists from all over the world and locals, especially the students from the University of Bergamo which is based in the old part of the town. Patisserie, delicatessen shops, restaurants, bars, museums, churches, clothing shops, they is so much history and fun around Citta’ Alta.

Bergamo is a very fashionable city, it does feel the influence of the super fashionable next door neighbour Milano, the young people are image and brands obsessed, they all want to look good and they all want to make a statement everytime they walk into the latest bar to hang out and be seen, the “Bergamaschi” mingle at every occasion, lunch break, aperitif, dinner, after dinner, there is never a good excuse not to enjoy what the city offers!

If you fancy a bit of retail therapy Via XX Settembre it is the place to be, the shopping district of Bergamo bassa (the lower and newer part of Bergamo), you can have a nice and civilised breakfast at Balzer cafe, an institution in the city, you can get the funicular/cable car to go uptown to Citta’ Alta or you can walk up the long staircase that takes you to the old town, crowded with tourists and students…and what about the local food? There are so many local delights in the many trattorias and restaurant around, a must have for me is Casoncelli alla bergamasca (ravioli Bergamo style, stuffed with meat, pinenuts, herbs, amaretti and god knows what’s more) and coniglio con polenta taragna (rabbit with cheesy polenta), after a few days in Bergamo you might be a few pounds heavier but if you visit the city you cannot avoid the food experience that the city has to offer. Bergamo is always been a rich city, thanks to the many companies who used to serve the city and the big extended province of Bergamo. There is something particularly special about the city itself…the people are friendly, always up for a laugh and a drink, the sun does shine quite a lot, you might just need a moped and off you go to discover this beautiful place.

Now you all please book a flight and go to enjoy my beautiful hometown that I love and miss so much!

annaInHerWonderlandSIGNATURE

I am writing this post because I am taking part of Giffgaff International Campaign – The Top Things to Know About Your Hometown

Photo credit by Catherine Coppens Photography

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My hometown Bergamo - Annainherwonderland & Catherine Coppens Photography

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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Prosecco time at the sandbarIMG_2471

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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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