Honeymoon Goals

Honeymooning on the Amalfi Coast

Amalfi town shed for the wed honeymoon goals

In September, Conor and I went to our friends’ wedding in Amalfi, Italy. It was a dream: the clear blue water, the mountainous terrain, lemons everywhere, THE FOOD. It was a truly magical and beyond romantic experience. While we were pretty much occupato the entire time we were there, I could not help but notice what an amazing spot it would be to honeymoon! Here are some of the most romantic highlights from our trip. Allora, andiamo!

Stay on a lemon farm (or at least visit)

This was probably the most surprising gem of an experience. We booked an AirBNB and were not really sure what to expect. Since most of our friends had chosen to stay nearer to the water, we wondered if we had made a mistake. NOPE. Every morning we woke up in a little slice of paradise. We literally watched people walking donkeys through the fields of lemons. There was a waterfall right next door. Breakfast every morning under the lemon tree canopy. We felt far from the hustle and bustle of all the tourists in town, even though it was just a quick walk away. The one downside–it is a pretty steep walk up the hill after our long nights. But I do wonder if it helped me with not gaining any weight on the trip! (Downright miraculous really!)

If staying there isn’t your cup of tea, they have lemon experience tours! This company owned our AirBNB and had a booming tour business. You definitely don’t want to miss the more mountainous side of town.

Go for a swim at Hotel Luna

Yes, this is really us. Can you feel the bliss??

Yes, this is really us. Can you feel the bliss??

Um, the picture above says enough, right? The pools are built into the rocky terrain, and have access to the sea. It’s private and quiet compared to the nearby spiaggie (beaches)! Maybe the highlight is a little Italian man named Pepe who runs the show there. Watch out, he may become your new best friend.

Bonus points: go for a midnight swim in town with your boo. Yeah we did that too! Skinny dipping anyone? #romanticAF

Sail to Capri

Can you even with that crystal clear, turquoise water? I CANNOT.

Can you even with that crystal clear, turquoise water? I CANNOT.

La Canzone Del Mar Beach Club Capri honeymoon shed for the wed

Taking a day trip to Capri is a must. Capri is a little island about 20 miles away from Amalfi. It is a bit of a tourist mecca, so best to go in the off season if you can. It’s probably most well know for its blue grotto. We visited a private beach club, La Canzone Del Mar, while we were there. We had a fabulous lunch and swim there. Be aware, if you do choose to swim there, they will charge you €!

Spend some time in Ravello

The view from Villa Eva - the reception venue for the wedding.

The view from Villa Eva - the reception venue for the wedding.

Taken in the town square at cocktail hour. The sun was just breaking through the clouds. *magic*

Taken in the town square at cocktail hour. The sun was just breaking through the clouds. *magic*

Ravello is a charming town set in the hills looking down on Amalfi and the sea. It’s a little slice of heaven. It’s where the wedding actually took place, so we didn’t have time to do enough exploring. But can you beat cocktail hour in the main square in town after a fresh summer shower? The views are unbeatable. You can apparently hike to and from Amalfi, but I wouldn’t recommend it in heels! The town almost transports you back to a simpler time. Don’t miss it.

Eat like the Locals

This was served in a parmesan cheese bowl. I’m still drooling, months later.

This was served in a parmesan cheese bowl. I’m still drooling, months later.

A little prosciutto panini? Yes please!

A little prosciutto panini? Yes please!

Grilled octopus (polpa griglia!) in a chili tomato broth. Absolute heaven.

Grilled octopus (polpa griglia!) in a chili tomato broth. Absolute heaven.

Yes- enjoy the carbs. But don’t miss out on some of the freshest seafood ever. We are talking literally fisherman to table here people. The grilled octopus shown above may be the best thing I’ve ever eaten in the entirety of my life. And yes, don’t sweat the carbs and fat. You are walking enough to just enjoy. Also, food is real in Italy. Ingredients are better, fresher, and food isn’t over processed. Soak it all up! Try to avoid the tourist traps though. Things to watch out for- Alfredo sauce (an American invention), the use of the word “marinara” (another American invention!), and pictures on menus.



Other thing of note

Go shopping! The Amalfi coast is known for it’s gorgeous painted ceramics. Stock up!

Don’t drive. Please don’t drive. But, if you do drive: it’s critical to pick up your car within the reservation time. Unlike in the US, they will give your car away, and automatic transmissions are hard to come by. If you aren’t comfortable driving a manual transmission around coastal cliffs and hills, that is. We ended up in a SUV. We had to drive it through the tiny narrow streets all the way up to our AirBNB. Our Italian host literally called my husband a hero for not hitting anything or anyone. No one needs that kind of stress! There are ferries, trains, and buses that can get you where you need to go!

Positano. We were supposed to visit Positano but our plans were disrupted. From what I hear, it’s also on the not to be missed!


This is by no means a comprehensive list of what you could do during your stay on the Amalfi Coast. But I hope it inspired some wanderlust and could help you visualize what your coastal honeymoon could look like! Can you feel the romance?? I’m still swooning. What’s on your honeymoon short list? -AHS

Mini Guide to Cape Town

cape town mini healthy guide

I have been blessed to have been to glorious Cape Town on two occasions, the first time to visit my BFF when she lived there back in 2012, and the second time I tacked on a visit after her wedding (May 2018) in Durban, South Africa. Both times I wanted to move there. I am a sucker for the combination of mountains and ocean in one location. But besides the absolutely jar dropping landscape; it has an enthralling history, a rich culture, and friendly people.  Photos featured are all my own. Attraction titles link (when available) to website resource. 

 

The great outdoors

Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens

The magical Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens.

The magical Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens.

This may be my favorite place in all of Cape Town. For a small entrance fee you can wander the gorgeous botanic gardens. It was the perfect place to journal and reflect. Can't you feel the good juju even in the one photo above? There is an abundance of flora, fauna, and animals. One of my favorite things I stumbled upon was a tree canopy walk, which was super cool. Maybe the best part? They have free concerts and you can picnic there! 


Table Mountain

There are various routes to hike your way up Table Mountain. Back in 2012 I did it with the girls and almost died (not really, but it was hard) and my camera actually did die, and I got no pics from the top. It was very sad! However, if you aren't into the hiking route, there are gondolas that take you to the top! All of the view, none of the work! Also, the best part of the gondola IMO is that if you hike to the top you can gondola down. 


Lion's Head

Me at the top of Lions Head! Very proud moment indeed. 

Me at the top of Lions Head! Very proud moment indeed. 

This hike is not as intensive as Table Mountain and relatively quick, but if you miss the sign you could end up climbing vertically with random ladders and chains built into the side of a mountain, ahem, like me and apparently this guy. That being said I have a fear of falling from great heights, and I was able to push through and hike this by myself. It was definitely scary at times, but I think if you were with another person it would be a-ok. The views are absolutely unreal, and not to miss. 


Boulders Beach... where my penguins at? 

Boulders Beach... where my penguins at? 

This look brought to you by 2012. 

This look brought to you by 2012. 

A gorgeous beach laden with, big shocker, boulders and also where the penguins call home. It's a perfect place for a chill afternoon, get some sun and spend some time with our feathered pals. I took hundred of penguins pics. All of the cuteness. Honestly, I don't have anything to add. Could you imagine anything better? 


Groot Constantia, you beaut. 

Groot Constantia, you beaut. 

Baboon friends who attacked our picnic. Don't worry, official "baboon security" came to our rescue! 

Baboon friends who attacked our picnic. Don't worry, official "baboon security" came to our rescue! 

This winery is gorgeous and the oldest wine producing farm in the country. It's a great option if you want to include wine tastings in your trip but don't want to head all the way to Stellenbosch (the major wine region). Groot Constantia is easily accessible from the city tour buses. If you're lucky, you will get to see some baboons like we did! 


Cape of Good Hope

Views from the Cape of Good Hope

Views from the Cape of Good Hope

Cape of Good Hope Cape Town South Africa

Known for its stunning scenery, the Cape of Good Hope marks the point where a ship begins to travel more eastward than southward. Our guy, Bartolomeu Dias, was the first modern explorer to round the cape in 1488. It used to be thought of as the place where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, however, modern cartography tells us that isn't quite right. 🤔🤔🤔 Go there for some stunning views and a feeling like you are on the edge of the world. 


Camps Bay

Oooo Table Mountain, your backside looking good, girl. 

Oooo Table Mountain, your backside looking good, girl. 

camps bay beach view cape town

Beautiful beaches. Great dining options. No brainer. It's probably one of the more accessible beaches if you are staying in the city. It feels like you've stumbled upon a beach town in the midst of the city.


History

The stunning landscape makes it easy to forget some of the heartbreaking history in this beautiful place. I recommend you read up on apartheid before you travel there, because while it ended in the 90s, it has shaped a lot of what exists today in South Africa. 

District Six Museum

JPEG image-24209C8B2C98-3.jpeg
District Six Museum Cape Town South Africa

Robben Island

robben island freedom
"We want Robben Island to reflect the triumph of freedom and human dignity over oppression and humiliation." -Ahmed Kathrada, Prisoner

Robben Island was home to a maximum security prison that held Nobel Laureate and former president of SA, Nelson Mandela, for 18 of his 27 years in exile. Two other political inmates held there, Kgalema Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma, also went on to become president of South Africa. 

It is definitely a somber experience visiting the island, but being there to learn and feel the history are the makings of a life changing trip. 

This article is a great read for further information.

View of the mainland from Robben Island. 

View of the mainland from Robben Island. 


Wellness Finds

Mojo Market

Mojo Market Sea Point Cape Town

Mojo market is an indoor market with beach views. Amazing food and drink (see below) vendors and some really cool unique boutique retailers. There was also a yoga studio down the street, but I was sick so I wasn't up to it that day. That being said, the Sea Point area seems like the go to for all your wellness finds! You can even go for a run on their beachfront running path. 

Beetbox RX

High Vibe juices, crystal bowls, and sourced 95% from local farms- ya can't beet it! (pun intended)

High Vibe juices, crystal bowls, and sourced 95% from local farms- ya can't beet it! (pun intended)

Yep poke made it all the way to SA. This bowl hit the spot after a long day of touristing. 

Yep poke made it all the way to SA. This bowl hit the spot after a long day of touristing. 

There is no shortage of spas or yoga studios around, but as I didn't have a chance to experience them, I won't elaborate on my findings. If you want more- this article from Well + Good was very helpful! 


More Touristy goodness

V&A Waterfront

cape town V&A waterfront harbour
Cape Town V&A Waterfront

The V&A Waterfront is probably the tourist Mecca, but it truly is beautiful. There are lots of great dining options and awesome shopping. There are actually a lot of really cool local artisans around, but you have to look for them in the sea of mass retailers.  And yeah, you can find an almond milk matcha there. #winning


Greenmarket Square

Located in the heart of the city, there are some super cool markets. It definitely is targeted at tourists, but you can find a lot of really cool local artisan finds there too. You can definitely barter, but try to do it ethically. If you are coming from the US you can probably afford to pay their mark up. It's a safe area, but people with ask you for money or to buy them food. The architecture surrounding the square is gorgeous and makes for a scenic shopping trip. 


Accomodations

The Tree House Boutique Hotel

I only have stayed at one hotel in Cape Town, but I couldn't recommend it more. The Tree House Boutique Hotel was amazing and the staff were beyond helpful. My stay came with complimentary breakfast, which was incredible. It had a transitional fresh tree house vibe with hints of balinese. Basically, made for me. It was walking distance to the V&A Waterfront, the boojiest Woolies (Woolworth's) I've ever been in and some great restaurants and gelato! 


Things that I still haven't done but think you should do

Bo-Kaap - Beautiful, cultural rich neigborhood

Company's Gardens - lovely gardens in the city center

Muizenberg beach - colorful shacks on the beach? Yep, that's Muizenberg. Great for surfing or beach yoga!

Stellenbosch - incredible wines come from Stellenbosch. Wine tasting sounds like a pretty romantic way to spend your honeymoon!


A note on water conservation in Cape Town

Cape Town is running out of fresh water. To prevent this, they have enacted lots of water conservation efforts in order to preserve water. This has deterred lots of tourism from the city and country. I can tell you, this did not negatively affect my stay in any capacity. If anything, it helped me to realize just how much water I waste on a daily basis. Please do not overlook this glorious place for that reason- the lack of tourists has had a huge impact on the people and the economy. 

 

Has this inspired you to head to Cape Town for your honeymoon? Let me know if you have any questions on this glorious place, I would love to give you any pointers from my experiences there! Happy travels! -AHS

Mini Guide to London

I love London: good eats, sweat, and all the culture – what's not to love?! After my trip there last month I decided to share some of my best finds (and TBH it's really what others recommended to me first). Just to be clear, this is by no means a comprehensive list, but just some highlights that I wanted to share. All of the places listed are linked (mostly in title).  I hope this round up helps you have a "well" (like wellness? get it?) rounded visit! (Side note: I wrote this mostly in the most oppressive layover at Heathrow ever. Seems fitting no?!)

Shoreditch Specific

Ace Hotel London birthday champagne and brownie surprise

Shoreditch is in East London, and is known to be an eclectic and diverse neighborhood. Incredible street art. Amazing coffeeshops. It felt like the perfect place to be. 

We stayed at the Ace Hotel, and could not speak more highly of the experience. It's a very cool place. Live music almost every night, awesome lobby designed for getting work done. Minimalist and hip, it felt very in tune with the East London neighborhood it resides in. Besides that, the hotel found out it was my birthday and sent champagne and brownies - they know a way to a girl's heart. 

East London Juice Co

Attached to the Ace Hotel, this is a completely women-owned and operated juice and crystal shop. My own Mecca. The ladies who work here are super knowledgable about their adaptogens AND crystals. I loved chatting with them. It's also externally attached to the Ace, so very convenient if you are staying there or in the neighborhood. 

Chocolate Adaptogen Mylkshake

Chocolate Adaptogen Mylkshake

East London Juice Co. menu and crystals

East London Juice Co. menu and crystals

Hoi Polloi

This is one of the restaurants inside of the Ace. I worked from here a couple days, great ambiance. On Sunday, my husband and I did their afternoon tea. There was live jazz that really set the tone. It was amazing. If nothing else, go for the perfect buttery scones. #treatyoself

GF, Vegan Avo Toast at Redemption. 

GF, Vegan Avo Toast at Redemption. 

Redemption

This spot is LEGIT. Vegan. Gluten free. AVOCADO THAT GOES ON FOR DAYS. I sat there by myself and ATE ALL OF THAT TOAST. ALL. OF. IT. A good spot to eat and read a book (I did!).  All of the good vibes. 

Dishoom

I had 3 independent friends recommend this place and it did not disappoint. Seriously, the best Indian food ever. Taste bud explosions on repeat. Everything was fabulous. My photos didn't do it justice (thus not featured). Click the link (title) to see the Bombay aesthetic. 

Andina

Peruvian tapas. Yep you heard that right. Another restaurant that makes your taste buds go BOOM. There wasn't one thing we tried that was mediocre. It's a small place, but packed with charm. 

Triyoga - they also have juices and wifi! Another great spot to post up to get some work done post flow! 

Triyoga - they also have juices and wifi! Another great spot to post up to get some work done post flow! 

Triyoga 

If you were watching my instagram stories, you learned that I may or may not have died during the Level 2 yoga class I took at Triyoga. It was a very challenging class. It seemed like everyone in the class was a regular, but they were very welcoming. Especially when I requested to be close to the wall once I learned there would be a lot of inversion work. The studio was pristine. They also do massages and pilates! So much to love! 

Spitalfields Market

The Spitalfield Markets are a cool indoor/outdoor year round market. From jewelry, to plants, to baby clothing, you can find it all there! Oh and not to mention some incredible smelling food vendors- we unforch did not have an opportunity to try them though! 

We went on a Sunday, but they are open 7 days a week. I believe the vendors vary. 

Brick Lane Vintage Markets

Brick Lane Vintage Markets Eats

Just a quick walk from the Spitalfields Market are the Brick Lane Markets (only on Sundays). Amazing vintage finds, handmade unique items, and MORE FOOD! (again that I didn't eat - I wasn't prepared!!) I didn't get any worthy pics of the vintage section because it was crazy crowded. But if you are into unique vintage finds, it's def worth checking out. 

Also of note, apparently up the road from there is a Sunday flower market. We really wanted to go, but we just got a little too cold. I hear its awesome if you are visiting in better weather. 

 

 

Around Town (Not Shoreditch)

Museums

Victoria & Albert Museum

As you can see from the photo below, it's worth a stop just to eat at the cafe. Some truly incredible exhibits, and just gorgeously curated. 

Victoria and Albert Museum V&A Museum Cafe

British Museum

Can you say Egypt? I would come back to this museum alone just for their Ancient Egyptian collection. I took the picture below, and right behind me was the ACTUAL Rosetta Stone. I almost missed it. This place is a must see if you are at all interested in history.  

British Museum Egypt Exhibit

 

Other key attractions

St. Paul's -  Westminster Abbey's less popular sister. This place is STUNNING! If you aren't going to services it does cost to tour, but totally worth it. Also, trivia fact, Princess Diana and Charles tied the knot here (instead of the Abbey) because it could hold more guests! It's one of the 2 places the royal family can get married. 

St. Paul's Cathedral London

 

Food and Drink

Coppa Club Igloos

We are full on in spring mode now, so not sure how long the igloos will be around, but they were an amazing place for Saturday "brunch" when we were in town. The food was great- I mean can you see that pizza?! And the view of the Thames and Tower Bridge was even better. 

Coppa Club Igloos London Rose
Coppa Club Pizza with Egg

Duck and Waffle

Speaking of views, Duck and Waffle has some of the best views in the city. And they had duck and waffle, which basically is an elevated chicken and waffles. It was to die for. My pics are dark didn't do it justice, so I didn't provide them. But it is definitely a perfect spot for a boujie night out. 

Other notable mentions: 

  • Hyde Park
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Buckingham Palace
  • Walk around the neighborhoods of Notting Hill, Covent Gardens, and Marylebone
  • Natural History Museum 
  • The Tate and Tate Modern
  • All things Harry Potter (Platform 9 3/4, Studio tour, Cursed Child, etc)

Cheers, mates! -AHS