A weekend in Cairo


We’re just back from a two day trip to Cairo and believe me it feels like we’ve had a weeks vacation. We’re back in Dubai feeling exhausted!
The Pyramids of Giza have always been on our bucket list so we jumped at the opportunity to tag a vacation onto our business trip. The Pyramids are amazing and they didn’t let us down.  One of our favourite travel experiences.

Check out our photos.

Cairo is the largest city in Egypt with an estimated population of 12million people and believe me the traffic and the roads certainly confirmed the bedlam.

Things to do over a weekend in Cairo.

We stayed at The Conrad Hotel and paid just a little extra for a room overlooking The Nile. Yes, the view was awesome, especially the sunsets, however the street noise was crazy! Car honking seems to be a national hobby! A nice hotel but on reflection, we would take a hotel away from such a hectic roadside location. The Marriott, in the Zamalek district was a refreshing oasis of calm away from the hectic street life of  Cairo. Set in 6 acres of palace gardens still just a short walk from The Nile.

Things to do over a weekend in Cairo.
View from our hotel across The Nile

Crossing the roads you need to take your life in your hands and weave your way  between heavy traffic with confidence. A small price to pay to experience the energy of the city.

A short drive from the city takes you to the pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, a symbol of ancient Egypt, guarding these ancient wonders of the world.

Things to do over a weekend in Cairo.

We recommend privately hiring a camel or horse to trek across the desert to see the pyramids. It was definitely worth it for a once in a lifetime experience.

Things to do over a weekend in Cairo.
My first camel ride!

Things to do over a weekend in Cairo.

Things to do over a weekend in Cairo.

A few tips and changes we’d make if or when we go back.

  • Ladies, a shawl or cover up is an absolute must. Please remember that Egypt is a muslim country. Don’t wear short skirts or sleeveless tops. Believe me you’ll feel so much more comfortable if you avoid any tight fitting clothing, shorts and shoe string straps and dress conservatively
  • Visit the Egyptian museum late afternoon or evening when everyone else is heading back.
  • We’d definitely recommend taking a private guide and driver, avoiding the large tour groups and buses. They are reasonably priced and well worth the additional expense. we also found that the street vendors arn’t quite so annoying when you’re walking with a guide.
  • Pay the extra and take the camel or horse trek across the desert. Crossing the desert to the pyramids has to be one of my best all time experiences. Amazing!
  • At sunset take your camera and find yourself a spot along the Nile
  • Cross the Nile and wander around the Zamalek area
  • Find a reliable driver, hotel recommended, and visit the Egypt Museum and one of the many ancient churches. . Note: Be wary of unofficial guides!

Things to do over a weekend in Cairo.

Amazing photographers inspiring our travels


Inspiring travel photography. Taj Mahal by Robert Jahns.
Robert Jahns is an award-winning digital artist, photographer, and art director whose work has been on the spotlight for a while. This Award-Winning Photographer Is Taking The Internet By Storm With His Surreal Photo Manipulations
Johannes Hulsch landscape and travel photographer
Johannes Hulsch is a pretty talented landscape and travel photographer, drone pilot and student currently based in Leipzig, Sachsen, Germany.
Matjaz Krivic, Amritsar, India
Matjaz Krivic, Amritsar, India: A Sikh pilgrim takes a ritual bath in the sacred pool, known as the Amrit matjaz krivic Sarovar, in front of the Golden Temple. @theguardian.com
Inspiring travel photography. Ocean waves by photographer Clark Little
Hawaiian photographer Clark Little gets to the heart of the action and shoots ocean waves in Oahu as they roll over him @theguardian.com
Inspiring travel photography. Kimberley Coole, Sri Lanka
Photo by Kimberley Coole, Sri Lanka (2012).The Travel Photographer of the Year award
Inspiring travel photography. Rhino Silhouette’ by Khai Chuin Sim / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest.
Rhino Silhouette’ by Khai Chuin Sim / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest.

 

Inspiring travel photography. Chris Burkard photography
@ChrisBurkardPhotography

Welcome to the Gili Islands, Lombok


Gili islands beaches travel review
Visit Gili islands impeccable white-sand beaches

The Gili Islands off the north-west coast of Lombok, Indonesia, are truly special. The tropical island getaway has something for everyone; picturesque white sandy beaches, stunning coral reef, deep turquoise seas and most favourably, no cars, no motorbikes and no distractions.

Transport on the Gili islands
Explore the serene islands

The word ‘Gili’ actually means ‘small islands’, with the most popular of the small island locations being Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili  Trawangan.

Previously renowned as a backpacker haven, Gili Islands now attracts a diverse group of worldly travellers looking for the perfect tropical escape.

The pristine waters around the three islands are abundant with thriving corals and thousands of species of tropical fish, attracting popular PADI dive companies and serious divers, as well as those looking to take it easy and snorkel the impressive array of sea life.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review

Gili Trawangan

We arrived at Gili Trawangan, the largest of the three islands, by boat from mainland Bali. The journey typically takes around 1 hour 30 minutes by ‘fast boat’ from Padang Bai.

We dropped our bags off at the hotel accommodation and hired bicycles. Immediately the feeling of freedom from noise, fumes and chaos created by the lack of vehicles is truly liberating. There is a real ‘laid-back’ feeling about the whole island, so leave your suitcase at home and pack a weekend bag with only your favourite beach shorts, sandals and t-shirts.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review
Our island transportation

Gili Trawangan is a 2.5km total round trip, which is achievable to cycle in under an hour – and not at all challenging even after a few Bintang local beers!

The island has two very different sides. The west coast (which is the opposite side to the landing dock) is very chilled and is ideal for daytime sun worshippers, surfers or to view the most amazing sunsets. You will find bars and restaurants dotted along the beachfront. The surf is small yet enjoyable, and boards can be hired on the beach at around 100Rp per hour. By contrast, the east side of the island (which is where you dock, and accommodates the many dive centres) is much livelier.

Admittedly, we arrived during the holy month of Ramadan and with most of the island population being Muslim, the party scene was quiet during this time. However, it is important to note that Gili Trawangan is labelled ‘the party island’ so be prepared for lots of young travellers and sun seekers during the high-season.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review
Casa Vintage bar and restaurant offers an authentic Jamaican menu

Beach restaurants - Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel reviewAlphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review

Gili Air

In contrast to Gili Trawangan, Gili Air  (just 20 minutes by local boat or 5 minutes by speedboat) is undoubtedly less ‘touristy’. A laid-back travel destination with cool beach bars and simple cafes, however over recent years the island has seen luxury accommodation developments added along the beachfront.

Gili Air offers low-key, unspoilt nature with the idyllic beaches and great surf locations. The views from the island are stunning but the east coast offers probably the most dramatic scenery with views across to Lombok and Indonesia’s second largest volcano, Mt Rinjani.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review

Gili Meno

And finally, the island of Gili Meno; the ‘couple’s island’. Gili Meno island is the perfect destination for those seeking a truly peaceful haven in the tropical sun with uncrowded beaches, beautiful clear seas, tranquil evenings – and a guarantee of no rowdy bars or full moon parties!

Gili Meno is a haven for those seeking an unspoilt island escape. With a population of only 400 people, the entire island is possible to explore and walk around in just 90 minutes.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review

Have you visited the Gili Island’s? If so, comment below and share your thoughts.

 

Timeless Home Styling: French Interiors

Émilie Bonaventure French interiors parisian apartment

Émilie Bonaventure French interiors parisian apartmentÉmilie Bonaventure French interiors parisian apartmentTake a look at this dreamy Parisian apartment owned by interior designer Emilie Bonaventure. Hidden away in Pigalle in the 9th arrondissement, the feminine space offers a discreet and elegant refuge from the hustle and bustle of the vibrant French city.

 

The high ceilings, marble fireplaces and herringbone parquet flooring creates a calming sanctuary, whilst retaining a sense of French simplicity.  

Give your home space a dose of Parisian chic and opt for designs with calming neutral hues and blends of white, ivory, cream and caramel tones. Offset with geometric patterns and lighter textures to make your scheme work for the summer season and beyond…

 

Émilie Bonaventure French interiors parisian apartment Émilie Bonaventure French interiors parisian apartment Émilie Bonaventure French interiors parisian apartment Émilie Bonaventure French interiors parisian apartment Émilie Bonaventure French interiors parisian apartment Émilie Bonaventure French interiors parisian apartment

MASTER THE LOOK & SHOP THE EDIT:

French home styling tips oka chair
OKA CHANTAL FRENCH-STYLE ARMCHAIR, OAK FRAME £895.00

 

French home styling tips
John Lewis Flokati Rugs, Natural £35-£115
French home styling tips John Lewis Boutique Hotel Silk Bedspread, Natural £180.00 - £260.00
John Lewis Boutique Hotel Silk Bedspread, Natural £180.00 – £260.00

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – Abu Dhabi


If you are visiting the UAE, consider taking a 1.5 hr ride to Abu Dhabi to visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. The sheer opulence and beauty is truly breathe-taking. Entrance and guided tours are free. In our opinion, a definite Must see. Remember that this a holy place and be respectful. Appropriate dress can be provided.

Note: check the guided tour schedules as they vary throughout the year.

Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi

Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi
Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide

Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide
Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide

Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide

Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide

Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide

Interesting facts

1. The project was launched bySheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late president of the United Arab Emirates. He wanted to create a that united the cultural diversity of the Islamic world with the modern values of art and history.

2. The construction began in 1996 and was completed over a period of almost 12 years, covering an area of 22,412m2 and costing approx 2.5 billion AED.

3. The Mosque can accommodate 41,000 worshippers.

4. The main dome is the largest mosque dome in the world.

5. Seven gold-plated crystal chandeliers garnish the mosque in different sizes, embellished with millions of Swarovski crystals.

6. The main prayer hall features a 5,625m2 large carpet, hand knotted by approx 1,300 Iranian craftsmen using 35 tons of wool and 12 tons of cotton. It’s estimated value is 30 million AED.

7. Natural materials were chosen for much of the design and construction due to their long-lasting qualities. These included marble, stone, gold, semi-precious stones and crystal. It was built by an Italian company using 3,000 workers and approx 38 contracting companies.

8. The courtyard is made up of 1,048 columns and 82 domes. The domes are clad with marble and inlaid with mother of pearl.

9. The mosque is decorated with Greek and Italian white marble, considered to be the purest in the world.

10. Rihanna was criticised for posing in a provocative manner with the Mosque in the background during a private visit and was asked to leave by staff following the incident. Selena Gomez was also criticised for revealing her ankles on photographs taken at the mosque for her Instagram page.

Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide

A weekend in Amsterdam


Take a trip to Amsterdam over the Easter break and make the most of the four-day weekend in the cool, stylish and laid-back city. We highly recommend that you rent a bike like a local and cycle along the many canals, browse the boutiques, pick up trinkets from the canal-side markets and browse the vibrant art scene. You’re never far from a cool coffee shop to stop and take a break to people watch.

Rich with cultural history, Amsterdam has something for everyone. Architecture, museums, and galleries to rival any large city, a vibrant nightlife, traditional bars serving local beers to high-end nightclubs attracting world class DJs.

We loved the city so much and can’t wait to go back! Share with us your favourite places to visit in Amsterdam in the comments section below!
The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam.

Travel inspired interiors

Travel inspired home interiors and home decor DIY tips

We all have those treasured travel pieces that we carefully packed into our luggage to bring home, only to find that we don’t know what to do with them. See our travel inspired interiors for ideas how to blend them into your home decor.

Travel inspired home interiors and home decor DIY travel tips

Transform a simple white scheme by adding ethnic prints. This interior is lifted by simple black and white themed prints and the addition of a few pieces of raw wood accessories.

Travel inspired home interiors and home decor DIY travel tips

Display handcrafted artefacts against a simple, crisp white background. Group tribal, ethnic materials to create this out-of-Africa vibe.

 

Saved from kmbrlyling.tumbler.com

 

A bohemian styled interior is given the travelled look with the addition of raw wood, weathered iron and tribal prints. Think Turkish delight.

Travel inspired home interiors - create a display of travel memorabilia
http://introducingnewworlds.blogspot.co

Create a display of treasured travel objects, or group your favourite travel photographs to make a statement wall display.

Travel inspired home interiors how to display travel photos at home

Travel inspired home interiors - Greek blue & white kitchen tiles inspirationA cool mix of blue and white will add a Greek island vibe. Greek homes traditionally use blue and white both indoors and outdoors. A simple way to create a laid back island vibe.

Celebrating Diversity


Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph

With so much ignorance and anger in the world today, we want to take a moment to appreciate & celebrate cultural diversity and our own individual uniqueness, heritage and journey through life. In the words of Michelle Obama “When they go low…we go high”

Faces of the World Photograph by Salvatore Gebbia
Photograph by Salvatore Gebbia
Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph by
Photograph by Steve McCurry

 Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph by

Afghan girl photo credit : D Stewart
Afghan girl photo credit: D Stewart

 

 Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph Bronia Rosenbaum, from Survivor: A portrait of the survivors of the Holocaust © Harry Borden
Bronia Rosenbaum, from Survivor: A portrait of the survivors of the Holocaust © Harry Borden

Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph by

Daphne Selfe photo credit:Guardian
Daphne Selfe photo credit: Guardian
 Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph by Amir Fallah
Photograph by Amir Fallah
Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph
Indigenous Bushman, Namibia by Martin Harvey
Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph by Carol Guzy
Photograph by Carol Guzy
Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph by Alan Sharpio
Photograph by Alan Sharpio
Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph by Arun Titan
Photograph by Arun Titan
Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph by Ricardo Moraes
A Kayapo girl with traditional body paintings and hair cut in Sao Felix, northern Brazil – Photo by Ricardo Moraes
Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph
Portrait of a Himalayan woman Source: unknown
Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph
Photo credit unknown
 Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph
Photo credit unknown
 Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph
Photo credit unknown

Small Apartment Top Tips: No wardrobe, No worries!

Wardrobe home storage ideas small apartment

Are you struggling to find space for a wardrobe?  These inspirational clothes storage ideas make us want to throw out our wardrobes and make our clothes and accessories part of the room decor. Very on trend. What do you think?

Wardrobe home storage ideas small apartment
Image via digsdigs.com
Wardrobe home storage ideas small apartment
Image via Apartment Therapy
Wardrobe home storage ideas small apartment
Apartment Therapy
Wardrobe home storage ideas small apartment
Image via My Interior Inspiration
Wardrobe home storage ideas small apartment
Image via Home Decorating Trends

Wardrobe home storage ideas small apartment

image

For small apartment storage tips
Image via smart schoolhouse.com

Wardrobe home storage ideas small apartment

Wardrobe home storage ideas small apartment
Image via flemarie.fr