Blog


Life+1 a lifestyle and travel blog. My adventures around the world and the moments of bliss in between.

Postcards from Mauritius

"Travel is one of the only things you can buy that will make you richer."

One of the things I cherish most in life are travel memories. Their value extends far beyond the any investment made to bring us to those moments that we end up reflecting on for many years to come.

On such place/time for me has always been the beaches of Mauritius. Adrift in the Indian ocean with not a single care in the world.

What are some of your favorite travel memories?

#WaffleDay

Yes, it's true. There IS such thing as Waffle Day. Today I bring to you, the most amazing waffles I've ever laid eyes on; the authentic and the best, Belgian Waffles straight from Brussels. Follow me!

When in Brussels it seems there are multiple 'things' one 'must' do eat. Belgian Chocolate, Belgian Beer, the 'Brussels Mussels (and frites) and...Belgian WAFFLES.

After a fair bit of research, I settled on what was said to be the best waffle in Brussels. Tucked in a side street with a modest storefront is a lil place called Maison Dandoy. That's IF you can find it. It took us 40 minutes to find the place!

By the time we pushed through the doors into the empty store we were nearly sent into a hangry rage when the single shop attendant, who was sweeping the floors, immediately looked down at his watch. Not a good sign.

Fortunately, we had arrived 10 minutes before closing and they had mercy on us (or perhaps they didn't want us to start chewing on their menus) and seated us upstairs in the tearoom. 

Like having the mecca of Belgian waffle restaurants entirely to ourselves with a window seat overlooking the most beautiful church.

But that wasn't even the best part. Oh the choices! I sipped on my cuppa tea while debating between the two main waffle varieties and then the plethora of toppings; fresh whipped creme, caramel, melted chocolate, cooked strawberries, and on and on.

I went for the Liege waffle smothered in melted chocolate with a side of fluffy whipped creme and cooked strawberries.

Waffle heaven.

How do you like your waffles?  

4 Things to Love about the Champagne Region

Oh where to begin! Épernay, a picturesque little town in the heart of Champagne, France, stole my heart from the second I set foot on the cobble stoned streets. It's one of those places you'll never want to leave. Here's why...

1 // The Architecture

You thought I was going to start out with the champers didn't you? Ha! Well, actually, I was surprised to find such beautiful architecture in such a small city. This pedestrian-friendly 'town' is packed with stunning buildings and a history which can rival even the large European cities. 

What's even better is that the city is small enough to not get overwhelmed. You can walk everywhere which is good for two reasons, 1) you don't have to fuss about with a car, and 2) you can walk off all the amazing breads, cheeses and French champagne you'll be 'sampling'.

2 // The People

If you ever bought into the stereotype that the French are rude, then please, visit the Champagne region, particularly Épernay. The people will completely squash that rumor. They are the most lovely, kind, and helpful folks I've bumped into on my European travels.

3 // The Champagne 

Okay, you knew this had to be in the list somewhere! Undeniably the best, most authentic, and affordable bubbles you will ever buy. 

A bottle of Perrier-Joet Belle Epoque 2004 that my friend bought was €80 compared to $150+ back home! You can bet we left plenty of extra room in our suitcases for 'souvenirs'. Just be cautious of your alcohol duty free limits going home (US and UK guidelines).

Don't forget to do a few Champagne Tours while you're there. We did a wonderful tour of the Mercier Champagne House in their underground tunnels but you can also find many other big Champagne Houses based in Épernay such as Perrier-Joet, Moët et Chandon, and Pol Roger just to name a few (a map of the houses).

Did you know?... 

Today, Champagne can only truly and legally be labeled as 'Champagne' if it is sourced directly from the Champagne region in France. All other's are considered 'sparkling wine'.

The French wanted to protect the use of the term 'Champagne' to only refer to the bubbly made using traditional methods from grapes grown and vinified in the Champagne region of France, so when the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919 to end WWI, they included limits on the use of the word (source).

4 // The Food

French food is in a league of it's own. I'm not talking about the fancy schmancy restaurants with Michelin stars (...which by the way, are probably amazing too), but more the street food and local produce. Oh. My. God.

Fresh, warm, crusty baguette for 97 CENTS! It's no wonder every other local you pass on the street has one tucked under their arm.

The local produce is not only beautiful, organic and fresh, but ridiculously well priced. We were lucky enough to stumble upon Épernay's weekend market. I died and went to foodie heaven and picked up a giant bag of fresh passion fruit while I was at it. I had no shame plopping my bag of local fruits on the breakfast table at the hotel each morning. Glorious.

So there you have it. There's so much more to do, see and taste in the Champagne region in addition to the Champagne. I even found my dream home, where else, but the Avenue de Champagne?

V.I.B

Well geez, this is kind of special. I received the sweetest email from my friend Suze over at Luxury Columnist and she's branded me with the very flattering title of a 'Very Inspiring Blogger' (VIB).

I'll be honest, I wasn't quite sure what it meant, and I had to do a little research on the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. The award is peer-to-peer, meaning it is given from one blogger to another to show appreciation and encouragement for each other's work. How great is that?!

So thank you Suze!

As part of the VIB award, recipients are asked to give seven facts about themselves so that readers can learn more about the person behind the blog.

7 Bits About Me


- I love to travel, but I'm useless with navigation.

- I believe that we are masters of our own destiny, and creators of our own lives.

- The older I get, the more adventurous I become.

- My ultimate dream in life is to continue to travel and see the world with the people I love (and with financial independence).

- My favorite vacation was a whirlwind adventure in Egypt.

- I have a beautiful, bright little boy whom I rarely blog about (out of respect for his privacy).

- I meditate for at least 10 minutes a day. It has changed my life more than anything.


In a world where competition seems more cutthroat than ever and we find ourselves discouraged from time to time, there are blogging peers out there encouraging one another with this Very Inspiring Blogger Award. That is so cool.

So I pass the baton and would like to introduce you to some of the bloggers who inspire me on a weekly basis:

EmberGrey : Emily's blog in three words, Thoughtful Positivity Daily. 

Grease and Glamour : Jinna's way with words and photos inspires me daily.

Green & Turquoise : Andrea is not only well travelled, but she's incredibly helpful and kind.

SilverSpoon London : Angie's blog reminds me that food and life is meant to be savored and enjoyed.

A Blog by Robert : Robert's photography is stunning AND he gives tips on how to improve your own photography skills.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I'm looking forward to celebrating my 5 year anniversary with the world's most amazing (and handsome) man. What about you guys? Any big plans?...

Fun Facts : Ladurée Macarons

Ah, the Ladurée macaron. Subject of thousands of Instagrams, gracing the lips of the most fashionable bloggers, and synonymous with the glamour of Paris. I've often wondered, what it is about these macarons that makes them so special?

Well I'd seen enough to convince me that this was one cookie that must be worth the effort. So, following that horrendous train journey to Paris from Luxembourg, I made quick work of finding the nearest Ladurée shop. Here's what I learned about the world's most famous macarons...

Fun Facts : Ladurée Macarons


- 15,000 Ladurée macarons are sold daily.

- There are 3 Ladurée locations in the US. 2 in NYC and 1 in Miami.

- Ladurée's grandson is the 'inventor' of the modern day macaron (two shells with ganache in between).

- Ladurée macarons are featured in a scene of Sophia Copella's film, Marie Antoinette.

- Gossip Girl Blair Waldorf also claims Ladurée macarons as her favorite.

- Famed red-sole shoe magnate, Christian Louboutin, collaborated with Ladurée in 2009 in the design and creation of several of their famous macaron boxes.

- Designer collaborations are a regular occurrence. Currently, you can find special edition Emilio Pucci boxes in their stores.

- 17 flavors (at the time of my visit) ranging from traditional chocolate to seasonally unique Blackcurrant Violet.

Having demolished my box of carefully chosen flavors (salted caramel, rose, chocolate/banana, chocolate, framboise, strawberry candy), I can say with certainty, that yes indeed, these macarons are quite special. Best when eaten fresh within 24 hours, they are perfectly light, full of flavor, and just beautiful.

Have you tried a Ladurée macaron? What flavor do you love?

The Anxiety Train to Paris

This story starts on a dreary, cold morning in Luxembourg at 5am. I'm not a morning person but the promise of a full day in Paris, all to myself, was motivation enough to get me up. Hanger was setting in quickly and in my panicked rush to get to the train station I forgot my passport. It wasn't until the train was rolling away from the station that I realized my fatal error. Doh!

For approximately 90 minutes of my non-stop journey, I was freaking out wondering if I would even be able to enter the city on arrival sans passport. I went back and forth in my mind trying to guess whether or not I would be greeted with passport control at my arrival station.

Finally, the train manager (who spoke very little English) came by asking for tickets. He confirmed my fears and sent me into anxiety overload by informing me that my only option was to change my return ticket immediately on arrival at the station and wait for the next train back to Luxembourg...5 HOURS LATER!

The story has a happy macaroon filled ending though (as I'm sure you've guessed). The wonderful ladies at the ticket office, who I nearly clobbered with bear hugs, gave me the joyously accurate information that no passport was needed because I was already traveling within the EU. Durrrrrr. Nice one V.

Lesson learned, never lock my passport in the hotel safe when I have a 5am start to the day and I'm jet lagged. 

Off I skipped to the most famous pastry shop in Paris to celebrate my relief with what else but...sugar! 

Podcast from Paris : Angelina

Here it is! My first (and possibly last) podcast direct from the opulent surroundings of Angelina cafe in Paris where I sipped on a cup of their world famous hot chocolate. But did it live up to the hype?...

Pull up a chair, grab a cuppa something nice and press play! (Psssst, for all of you visual types, I've posted photos below so you can follow along, or drool along.)

Now that's one recipe I'd like to get my hands on! ^^

Le tart! My final pick off the Angelina menu. ^^

Let me know what you think. :o)

If you'd like to hear future episodes of my podcast, you can subscribe via iTunes here.

Top 3 Spots to View the Eiffel Tower

With nearly 7 million visitors a year, the Eiffel Tower is one of the most iconic structures in the world. From fewer crowds, to lesser known vantage points, here are my top 3 spots to view the Eiffel Tower in all of it's glory.

Having taken the train in from Luxembourg just for the day I didn't have any time to waste. After my visit to Pont des Arts (the Love Lock Bridge) I hurried off to get a few snaps of the Eiffel. "When in Paris..." 

My first stop?

1 - Trocadéro


If you're anything like me and massive crowds make you uneasy, you'll want to take note of this lesser known spot with amazing, unobstructed views of the Eiffel Tower, Trocadéro. 

Located directly across the Seine from the Tower is a gorgeous park and tiled plaza situated between two photo-worthy buildings in their own right. The Palais de Chaillot, which houses a few museums and the Palais du Trocadéro which is home to an underground aquarium.

Trocadéro is perched on a hilltop which makes for stunning views of the Eiffel Tower. The plaza between the two buildings and the park below are gorgeously ornate complete with guilded gold statues.

The best part about viewing the Eiffel Tower from Trocadéro? It's WAY less crowded. Most tourists head straight to the base of the tower leaving this vantage point relatively quiet. You know it's a good spot when you see locals enjoying their lunch on the steps.

How to get there : Take the number 9 or 6 train to the Trocadéro Metro stop. As the name suggests, you'll emerge right in front of the Trocadéro plaza, voilà!

2 - Montparnasse Tower


source : wikimedia

source : wikimedia

Considered an 'eyesore' to many Parisians, the Montparnasse Tower has more than a few redeeming qualities. First off, it's miles less crowded than the Eiffel Tower itself. That's not to say it never has a queue, but if you choose off peak times you'll have no problem getting straight to the top of the tower for it's second, and best redeeming quality, the VIEW!

Because Montparnasse is the highest building in the city of Paris, it offers a truly unique vantage point of the Eiffel Tower and the surrounding city. The top floor is an open air 360 degree terrace complete with a restaurant and champagne bar. I haven't heard the best reviews about the restaurant but their's always the champagne. You know I never turn down a glass!

If you visit on a particularly cold or dreary day like I did (bummer!) you can get amazing views a few floors down in the enclosed 56th floor which has viewing binoculars.

How to get there : Montparnasse is a little bit out from your typical tourist spots, but well worth the extra 5-10 minutes to get there. There are several Metro trains that will take you to the large Montparnasse-Bienvenüe station, just be warned...this station is HUGE. I had to walk at least 5-10 minutes underground to reach the correct exit which is well signed once you're in the tunnels.

Bonus tip : If you're unlucky enough to visit on a foggy day the admission prices drop from €15 to €8 and the ticket agents can call to the top of the Tower to give you a visibility report before you ascend.

3 - Under the Eiffel Tower


Sometimes the best things are seen when we look up! Standing at the base of the Eiffel Tower and looking up from underneath it provides such a beautiful inside view of all the many beams that support it.

Best of all, nobody can get in the way of your shot!

How to get there : Get off at the Champ de Mars - Tour Eiffel stop on the Metro and the Tower is pretty hard to miss!

What are some of your favorite spots to photograph the Eiffel Tower?

Follow my adventures on Bloglovin'

The Love Lock Bridge : Pont des Arts

Years ago I heard the story of the famous Love Lock bridge in Paris. Two people in love, or two great friends immortalize their bond by affixing a lock to this particular bridge (Pont des Arts) and throwing the key into the Seine below.

I had every intention of bringing a lock with me to add my love for E to the tens of thousands of other loves hanging from the railings. But I didn't.

Sometime last year I read an article about Pont des Arts that changed my mind. The article said that, while many tourists have good intentions, many Parisians consider the locks a form of vandalism which is destroying the structural integrity of the bridge. Because of this, the city has boarded up the railings to prevent people from adding more locks and further destroying the bridge.

It's sad really. What started as a good natured tradition has resulted in the ruined appearance of a  Parisian bridge. It didn't take long for the boards to become covered in graffiti.

I couldn't help but visit the bridge anyway. I mean after all, a bridge covered in so much love! What a wonderful place to stand and enjoy the surrounding city. Besides, the lines at the Louvre were over and hour long! Who has time for that? ;o)

PS - I didn't bump into Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, but I hear they added a lock just this week.

Luxembourg

What to say about Luxembourg...well, it was grey. And rainy. But somehow we managed to bump into the Grand Duke which made for an interesting morning.

Luxembourg is one of those destinations that is lovely to visit, but only for a few days at most. It's a very small city, and country. The architecture is gorgeous and it's a quirkily little city full of cobblestone streets and random shops.

As we strolled past the Palais Grand Ducal (where the Duke lives), a police convoy pulled up and out popped the Duke into his Rolls Royce. I had to laugh because I seem to be accumulating sightings of heads of states/countries during my travels like seeing the Pope in Rome and that random time I met Tony Blair on a plane in Africa

Sadly, the Grand Duke was not nearly as friendly as Prime Minister Blair. He couldn't even muster up a mutual wave to his handful of admirers. Maybe he hadn't had his coffee yet...

After walking 6 solid miles (Fitbit!), we decided to rest our toes at Chocolate House. Have you ever heard of a 'ChocoSpoon'? Such a fun concept. You choose one of these flavored cubes of chocolate with a wooden spoon attached, sit down at a table and order a hot milk and then stir your chocospoon in the milk until it melts! Yum.

A few fun facts about Luxembourg


- Luxembourg is the least populated country in the European Union and 20th smallest country in the world.

- It has the highest GDP in the world.

- Skype's world headquarters is in Luxembourg City.

- The only remaining 'Grand Duchy' in the world...meaning that the head of state is a monarch, in this case, a Grand Duke who seemed a little grumpy in my opinion

- Luxembourg country is smaller than Rhode Island, the smallest state in the US.

Less than 24 hours after I had arrived in Luxembourg I was on a train to Paris in what turned out to be one of the worst train journeys of my life...