Sometimes the city can get all too much.

I love London, but I also appreciate the countryside. So many of us when we are young hate those country walks and forest strolls but as we grow older we really do realise just why our parents dragged us around fields and villages – because its just so pretty.

It was only really when I moved to London that I started to appreciate the countryside a little better.

The countryside holds a special place at the heart of English life and culture, and I always feel that if you visit England but only see London, you haven’t really seen England at all.

The countryside remains for most of us in Britain as an idyllic place, where we can relax and us Brits love to go to the country. For me, the countryside isn’t just areas full of history, nature and protected areas, but also all the little things: that pretty little village or old country pub that does a good, cheap pint.

So however damp and dismal the weather may be over Winter, don’t let it colour your own impressions of the countryside.

My hometown is in Kent, also known as the Garden of England. And it truly is. We’ve visited various areas throughout my childhood in Kent (and outside of it, too) and there are few places that remain favourites.

Teston isn’t far from my old hometown and it’s a small, quiet, yet beautiful place for a walk. The other weekend we got out our wellies and coats and marched off for the countryside.

Views are spectacular, it’s always a bit better when you know there’s a warm pub at the end, too…

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The golden leaves are fading away almost as quickly as they appeared here in London.

If there is one place you can still catch the last of Autumn in London, its Regents Park.

I’m used to the colours of Richmond Park and Hyde Park, but Regents Park truly topped them all this year.

The leaves may be falling from the trees, but that just makes the pavements even more beautiful – just try to resist kicking around in the absolute piles of leaves…

The park is big enough to spend hours in whiling away the day. Grab a coffee and snack from one of the teeny cafes or even go for a full meal in the few restaurants that are here.

But what really is worth a visit, is Primrose Hill.

Not far from Regents Park itself, Primrose Hill is a gorgeous viewpoint that looks out over the whole of London. Going in fall was probably the best decision I’ve made in a long time; those gorgeous colours just looked breath-taking amongst the famous London skyline.

I do love winter and getting festive, but I’m sure going to miss fall.

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Contrary to popular belief, Autumn is still here.

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November may have begun, and the Christmas light switch-ons are well underway, but I personally can’t let go of Autumn until it is officially Winter.

Autumn is a very special time of year for all, and I was lucky to spend some of Autumn in Paris this year. The perfect time to go and sip Chocolat Chaud and eat cake.

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But, if my “go to drink hot chocolate” didn’t sell it for you, then here are 3 legit reasons to actually visit Paris in Fall:

  1. Experience Paris’ Fall Foliage

Autumn in Paris means gloriously crisp days, and beautiful colours around every corner. These cooler days are the perfect time to see Paris, since it is still mild enough to walk everywhere, yet crisp enough to see Paris’ foliage in its autumnal glory. Walk the Champs de Elyees or the Louvre Palace to capture some incredibly vibrant fall shots. Faithful to true Parisian style, many of these trees are arranged in elegant lines, and the tree-hedges are in a gorgeous orderly arrangement like nowhere else.

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2. Feel like a Parisian

School has started again, and tourists have began to leave the city before Christmas season begins. Although still a busy city, Autumn is the quietest time to visit. How does exploring the streets of Paris alongside the locals sound? And not fighting tourists for table views on the terrace? It’s mostly just you and the locals, generally. Sure, there are tourists around, but it’s half the amount compared to July. Sounds perfect to me.

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3. It’s a cheaper time to visit Paris

From airfare to hotel costs, it is much less expensive to visit than Christmas, Spring, Summer or even February (Valentines Season: when prices increase incredibly – those on a budget should avoid like the plague). In summer, demand pushes the prices back up, so by Fall, everything is falling straight back down. *kerching*

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Easy like a Sunday morning.

These Fall Cinnamon Persimmon Pancakes are a perfect morning treat in the lead up to Christmas.

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Easy, peasy, persimmon squeezy – they can be made in a matter of minutes, and are so simple you’ll probably wonder why you have never tried it before.

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Using a basic pancake recipe, adding some slices of persimmon and a sprinkle (or a dash, depending on preference) of cinnamon; voila, you have pancakes with a very wintery twist.

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Using cups and spoons only to measure the ingredients, it requires no messy weighing of all sorts:

  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • One persimmon (at least)
  • Ground Cinammon
  • Maple Syrup (to serve!)

In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Make a ‘well’ in the centre and pour in the milk, oil and egg. Combine, mix and stir until smooth!

Now, slowly add as much ground cinnamon as you wish…

Slice the persimmon into thin slices (aim for no bigger than half a cm really), and heat a lightly oiled frying pan over a medium heat.

Place one slice of the persimmon in the middle of the pan and flip a couple of times for about 20 seconds maximum, before scooping one spoonful of batter onto the pan, on top of the persimmon. Brown on both sides and serve up hot with maple syrup! This recipe gave me the chance to use my mouth-watering Maple syrup from Maine…

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Seeing Paris’ glorious architecture and immense history in Autumn’s golden light is simply jaw-dropping.

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Aside from all of the usual things I choose to do on city breaks (eat… drink… eat…etc, etc…) I love to explore on foot. And of course, whether you like it or not, it’s only necessary to visit a few tourist spots to get them ticked off the list.

I’m not always the biggest fan of tourist-y things (cue long queues, overpriced tickets, and big crowds…), however going up the Sacre Coeur was my favourite. Yup, even more so than the Eiffel Tower.

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We were lucky that our boutique hotel was located nearby the walk to the very quirky MonteMarte, and therefore also Sacre Coeur. So we set off out of our gorgeous room off to explore…

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It is a long walk up to the Sacre Coeur, so there are lifts for those less able to walk very far – but I highly recommend walking it if you can. We set off at golden hour, and the views on the way up are magical; those golden rooftops underneath dusty pink skies just get me every time.

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In between each set of steep steps were authentic cafes and bars, that I was just dying to try…

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But with the sun setting slowly but surely, and knowing the views from the top are well worth it, we saved them for another time! Sacré-Cœur is a Roman Catholic church that boasts breath-taking 360 panoramic views of the city, offering sights of the romantic cobbled Parisian streets and its iconic landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower.

 

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Tickets are almost half the price of many other viewing points in Paris, and they don’t let you down. So it’s good for those of us on a budget, yet who still want to make the most out of our travels.

After a long wander around Sacre Couer, our hunger took over. We’d passed Montemarte on our walk up, and since walking down is a little more pleasurable, we couldn’t wait to head back and try some French cuisine.

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This busy part of Paris is a beautiful little square, full of artists, restaurants, and bustling with energy. Not to mention the extremely tempting patisseries…
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We settled on a little restaurant outside in the square, and although the food and service did slightly disappoint, the atmosphere made up for it. The wine was good, too…

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