Exploring Venice with my Maxwell Scott leather backpack + reader offer

When my Maxwell Scott leather backpack arrived in the post, the smell of the leather transported me instantly to Italy, the home of the true leather artisan. Although Maxwell Scott is a British Company, they work in Tuscany with some of the best craftsmen to produce a range of handbags, briefcases and wallets that have a timeless style. These are bags that your friends will admire as the leather mellows to become an old friend. If, like me, you have a daughter with an eye for the good things in life, you may just find her ‘borrowing’ your Maxwell Scott bag and never giving back. Read on to find out how you can get a special 10% reader discount on this and other items in the Maxwell Scott range.

Heather wearing the Sparano leather backpack from Maxwell Scott Bags in Venice - San Georgio Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Heather wearing the Sparano leather backpack from Maxwell Scott Bags in Venice – San Georgio

Since we were off to Venice, I had the opportunity to see how my Sparano leather backpack fared when out sightseeing in the most fashionable surroundings. I like to dress up a little when I travel so I needed a bag that would be elegant enough to compete with all those effortlessly stylish Italian women. But practicality came into it too, since as a blogger I travel with my camera and a fair bit of other gear, and need to have my hands free for photography.

Check out my video below with my Sparano leather backpack in Venice

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Sophie- Anne wearing the Sparano leather backpack from Maxwell Scott Bags in Venice Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Sophie- Anne wearing the Sparano leather backpack from Maxwell Scott Bags in Venice

I chose the Sparano because the size was just big enough to carry everything I needed but still quite neat and compact, although there’s a smaller Popolo backpack if you only need to carry a phone and your designer sunglasses. My daughter also had her eye on my bag and soon we were sharing it during our sightseeing excursions around Venice. If you are also tempted, check out my 10% reader discount .

Heather wearing the Sparano leather backpack from Maxwell Scott Bags in Venice Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Heather wearing the Sparano leather backpack from Maxwell Scott Bags in Venice

Here’s what Sophie-Anne had to say about ‘our’ Sparano Leather Backpack;

“The best thing about this bag is the fit as it sits comfortably on your back with no awkward gap between the bag and your spine and the straps do not dig in – areas where other bags have failed. It is clear that this is a high quality product shown by the beautiful leather, lining and overall design. Invaluable when travelling, this bag can go from airport, to day, to night, to activities, to strolling around town. The classic style also makes it easy to pair with any outfit a fashion concious individual might have in mind.”

Sophie- Anne wearing the Sparano leather backpack from Maxwell Scott Bags in Venice - Rialto market Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Sophie- Anne wearing the Sparano leather backpack from Maxwell Scott Bags in Venice – Rialto market

Since Venice is such a tourist hotspot you do need to keep an eye on your valuables, and I liked the fact that there was a neat outside pocket, but also a secure zipped inside packet to tuck away your purse and phone. The bag took me all around town with room for my guidebook, camera, a bottle of water and a few other blogger necessities.

Heather wearing the Sparano leather backpack from Maxwell Scott Bags in Venice - Doge's Palace Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Heather wearing the Sparano leather backpack from Maxwell Scott Bags in Venice – Doge’s Palace

Maxwell Scott is based in York and sells the bags exclusively through their online store. Their understated but stylish designs are crafted in their factory in Tuscany using the finest hides, zips and fittings and the bags have a 25 year guarantee. Orders over £100 have free delivery in the UK but don’t worry, they also ship worldwide.

10% Reader Discount (limited time only!)

I’ve teamed up with Maxwell Scott Bags to offer a 10% reader discount on all their bags and other items. Just click on this special link; http://bit.ly/handbag10 that will take you to the Maxwell Scott Website and the 10% discount will be automatically applied when you add any items to your basket. The reader discount is for a limited time only until 16 August 2015.

St Marks square, Venice Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Sophie-Anne in St Mark’s Square Venice with the Sparano Leather handbag

About the Maxwell Scott Sparano leather backpack

The Sparano leather backpack costs £202 and may be ordered from the Maxwell Scott Bags website here. It features a draw string opening, a large polyamide interior with a rear zipped pocket and a small external zipped compartment and adjustable shoulder straps. The bag comes in 3 colours of vegetable tanned, full grain Italian leather; Night Black, Classic Tan and Dark Chocolate. We also loved the smaller Popolo backpack which is ideal if you are looking for a neater bag to carry just the essentials and don’t have to consider space for cameras like me. Click here for my 10% reader discount before 16 August 2015.

If you are visiting Venice….

We highly recommend Walks of Italy who offer a number of different tours in  Venice and other parts of Italy, which are ideal if you are only visiting for a short time. You’ll have an expert local guide to show you around and can often skip the queues at key sites. We took the 2 hour Venice Boat Tour which took us down the Grand Canal and many of the smaller canals with views of the key sites of Venice including a visit to the island of San Giorgio Maggiore where we climbed the bell tower with amazing views of Venice. Read my review of the tour here.

Looking for somewhere to stay in Venice?

For our 3 day stay in Venice I rented an apartment with Go with Oh and was able to use the €250 voucher that I won with Passports with Purpose blogger fundraiser. We chose this apartment in the San Marco district since it was so well located for all the main sites.

Thanks to Murissa from The Wonderful Traveller who hosted this prize contributed by Go with Oh and and for her tips on what to see in Venice. Passports with Purpose is a really worthwhile organisation which supports a different cause each year and you can win some really fabulous prizes so it’s definitely participating.

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Read about my Sparano Leather backpack from Maxwell Scott Bags

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

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Like mother, like daughter – what we loved on our trip to Copenhagen

On my recent visit to Copenhagen, I enjoyed the company of my daughter, Sophie-Anne, who shares her tips for things that mums and daughters can enjoy together in Copenhagen.

Unless you are travelling alone, there will always be a difference of opinion on what to do and see. One art lover’s Picasso museum is another girl’s prison, so it can be hard to find a balance. This is certainly true of different ages, and although I am probably going to end up as my mother at the end of my road to adulthood, for the time being we have varying opinions on a day well spent.

Heather and Sophie-Anne enjoying cocktails Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Heather and Sophie-Anne enjoying cocktails

Last summer my whole family went to Copenhagen and the trip was a great success, with every family member enjoying the Danish capital. This summer my mum and I returned for a girl’s only trip leaving the boys at home to the British rain. Just like last summer it was easy to find things to do that we would both enjoy as there are so many cool trendy neighbourhoods of Copenhagen. Here are some of the things in Copenhagen that we both enjoyed;

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen PHoto: Heatheronhertravels.com

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli amusement park is beautiful and not tacky! Repeat, not tacky – a rarity in the world of amusement parks! Like most Danish things, it is tasteful and quirky (it has the most adorable little houses for the ducks on the lake). However, it still earns its title as an amusement park and has all the theme park rides to amuse those who dare to try them out. Last year my brothers and I dared to go on all the biggest rides while my dad and mum lounged about admiring the beautiful gardens. You can also go to Tivoli in the evening when it is all lit up or watch ballet on the Pantomime Theatre stage.

Posing with the Little Ballerina at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Posing with the Little Ballerina at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen

Sculpture at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

I loved the sculpture museum at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, perhaps for more sentimental reasons than my mother. My grandmother bought me children’s books based around famous art pieces, and one in particular ‘The little ballerina’ was my favourite. It was based on Degas’ little ballerina statue and his ballet paintings. Like most little girls I was enchanted with the whole ballet world so adored the book and was madly in love with Degas’ ballerinas and the little ballerina statue. I finally managed to see the statue at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, which was a real treat for me, and of course all of Degas’ other beautiful paintings. There are lots of statues that are amazing, and also paintings upstairs showing a range of artists such as Gaugin and Picasso. There is also a lovely café in the museum for a culture break.

Silver at Georg Jensen, Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Silver at Georg Jensen, Copenhagen

Shopping on Strøget

Now what would a girl’s holiday be without shopping? The Danish girls are all so stylish that it would be a crime (in my very female eyes) not to visit the shopping street of Strøget. Illums Bolighus is my favourite, a beautiful department store which most people can find a section to nestle themselves into. Also handy that it is located next to the Royal Copenhagen store, so I can let my mother wander off to look at the teacups, saucers, plates and then catch up with her for the 5 minute china tour as opposed to a 45 minutes tour. Georg Jensen is also a must see with beautiful silverware and jewellery – I’ve got my eye on the daisy bracelet and my mum on the grape ring.

Swimming in the harbour at Islands Brygge Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Swimming in the harbour at Islands Brygge Copenhagen

Swim in the harbour

If you are visiting in summer I urge you to go and swim in the harbour at Islands Brygge, where you can mill around the locals on the grass enjoying the sun. Part of the harbour is enclosed for the public to swim, with lifeguards, a children’s pool and a diving area next to a grassy area which creates a lovely ambiance and relaxing vibe in the middle of the busy city. And best of all it’s free to go! It would be easy to take a picnic on your bike and sit on the grass and let the day roll past slowly.

Cocktails in Copenhagen at Lidkoeb Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Cocktails in Copenhagen at Lidkoeb

Cocktails in Copenhagen

Both my mum and I love cocktails, which is also true of all the other girls among my cousins and aunts. I love sitting in a beautifully decorated bar with my mum sharing a few exquisite cocktails. We visited Lidkoeb, which was a gorgeous cocktail bar with well picked furnishings. I asked for the most popular cocktail, which the friendly bartender informed me was usually anything with ginger in as the Danes love it – a perfect fit for a fellow ginger lover. My mother had the Kolonihaven with geranium gin, cloudy apple and cucumber juice which was also delicious.

Whisky Bar at Lidkoeb in Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Whisky Bar at Lidkoeb in Copenhagen

We were also lucky to visit the very V.I.P whisky bar at the top with table service only and the finest whiskies from around the world. In Copenhagen there is plenty of choice for a nice evening drink around Copenhagen, such as sitting on the Nyhaven canal, heading to the meat packing district in Vesterbro or crossing on the ferry to Paper Island where Copenhagen Street Food has all varieties of street food served from trailers.

Eating out in Copenhagen

Any student will tell you that one of the biggest perks of travelling with a parent is a bill being paid for. This means you can have a real drink and not just tap water, and you have full range of the money choices instead of just the ones under £10.

Dinner at uFormel in Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Dinner at uFormel in Copenhagen

In Copenhagen my mum and I ate in the amazing uFormel restaurant which is new Nordic cooking, very modern but out of the student budget. The restaurant menu has a range of small plates, with the idea that you order a few, and they come out in order like a 3 course meal. I had the ceviche – a trip down memory lane from my South America trip and a plate of the most amazing tender lamb! Both were delicious and strayed into adventurous eating, which was perfect for me as I hate going to a restaurant only to find the menu comprises of things I could cook at home myself. (Read the review of uFormal from Alex Berger who joined us for dinner)

Hot Dogs at Urban House Hostel, Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Hot Dogs at Urban House Hostel, Copenhagen

In complete contrast we also visited the Urban House in Vesterbro which has a hot dog bar, with lush hot dogs smothered in various delicious toppings. Although my mum tends to find such places by herself these days, it can be a delight when the kids introduce those above them in the family tree to the new modern crazes or places they otherwise wouldn’t visit.

More things to do in Copenhagen

Which Copenhagen district to choose for a City Break – a guide to the city’s neighbourhoods and best places to stay, from up and coming Vesterbro to classy Frederiksberg

Light, Air, Water – finding a healthy holiday in Copenhagen – healthy tips for rest and relaxation on your spa break by the sea in Copenhagen

10 summertime cool things to do in Copenhagen – rent an apartment to live like a local and enjoy the summer in Copenhagen

Visiting Copenhagen

For more information about things to do in and around Copenhagen, check out the Visit Copenhagen website as well as the Visit Denmark website for other parts of Denmark.

Heather and Sophie-Anne flew with Scandinavian Airlines from London Heathrow to Copenhagen. SAS fly several times a day to and from London to Copenhagen giving you a choice of times to make the most of your time in Copenhagen. On arrival take the train direct to the centre of Copenhagen.

Heather and Sophie-Anne used the Copenhagen Card which covers free public transport around Copenhagen as well as free or reduced price entry to many of the attractions in and around Copenhagen.

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Read about our mother and daughter break in Copenhagen

 

Thanks to Wonderful Copenhagen and Visit Denmark who provided some of the experiences mentioned and to SAS who provided Heather’s flight. This article was brought to you in partnership with Wimdu.

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

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Heather goes e-mountain-biking in Wilder Kaiser, Austria – video

During my previous hikes in the Alps I got to know those pesky mountain-bikers only too well. On the Tour de Mont Blanc I’d seen them whizz by, spraying gravel and mud or weaving between the pine trees in a flash of luminous lycra. Give me a nice, gentle cycle ride, I thought, through rolling vineyards with a glass of chilled white wine at the end of the trail. Mountain-biking seemed just too much like hard work.

Mountian Biking in Wilder Kaiser as part of Alpine Sports Week Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Mountian Biking in Wilder Kaiser as part of Alpine Sports Week

But here I was in Wilder Kaiser, the eastern corner of the Tirol region of Austria, with plenty of gorgeous mountain scenery that just begged for some mountain-biking.

I hope you enjoy my video below about the Alpine Sports in Wilder Kaiser, Austria

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I’d come for the annual Alpine Sports Week that gives hikers like me a chance to try out some of the other outdoor activities on offer. Each day the group would try a different activity, from high rope climbing to canyoning, trail-running to Via Ferratta and of course mountain-biking. The best thing is that during Alpine Sports Week, the 5 days of activities are on offer for the knock-down price of €99.

Cable Car in Wilder Kaiser, Austria Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Cable Car in Wilder Kaiser, Austria

For mountain-biking without tears I had a secret weapon, an e-bike which enables you to pedal up the steepest mountain with ease, prompting envious looks from those poor souls who have gone for the traditional bike option. My e-bike had a small motor attached to the frame which cut in whenever the going got tough. At the press of a button I could go into sports mode, touring mode or turbo mode to muster up some extra oomph on the hills. Suddenly mountain-biking seemed a much more attractive proposition; less sweat and more time to admire the view.

Mountian Biking in Wilder Kaiser as part of Alpine Sports Week Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Mountian Biking in Wilder Kaiser as part of Alpine Sports Week

At Going Bike, we were kitted out with helmets, gloves and water bottles, then followed our leader Markus who runs mountain-bike tours in this valley. The path ran beside a stream, then we cycled up a bit of a hill and 20 minutes later reached the cable car station down the valley. Thank goodness that we could load the bikes into the cable car and reach the top of the mountain without even breaking into a sweat, taking in the views on the way. In no time at all we were at the upper cable car station, a surprisingly busy place, with a childrens’ playground, cafe and trampoline.

Mountian Biking in Wilder Kaiser as part of Alpine Sports Week Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Mountian Biking in Wilder Kaiser as part of Alpine Sports Week

Before we were let loose on the mountain, we had a talk on how to ride down safely. According to Markus the trick is to keep your feet parallel on the pedals and to lean back, with your ‘aaarsh’ at the back of the seat. We set off down the mountain with iron-man Markus leading the way, joking and laughing although you could tell that he was a hard-core sporty type and not taking any prisoners. I’d have loved to pause to take a few more photos and enjoy the Alpine views but there was no stopping Markus.

Wilder Kaiser in Austria Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Alpine views in Wilder Kaiser in Austria

The tracks we followed downhill were broad and surprisingly manageable although you had to concentrate to avoid skidding on the gravel. For most of the time I was freewheeling downhill, growing in confidence all the time, taking in the views when I had the courage to glance up from the path. I’d love to have stopped in those Alpine meadows, with lush green grass sprinkled with purple clover, yellow buttercups and lacy white flowers, but Markus was insistent in his quest to get us down the mountain.

At the halfway point we stopped at a mountain restaurant and enjoyed a well-earned rest and some hearty dumpling soup for lunch. The sun was out and we all sat at one big table beside the cable car station where the cute red cable cars were strung up the mountain like beads on a necklace.

Stopping for lunch in Wilder Kaiser, Austria Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Stopping for lunch in Wilder Kaiser, Austria

After filling up the water bottles, we were off again down the mountain, a line of bikes following down the winding trails. Only one lady skidded and fell at a sharp bend while I managed to topple over in a rather undignified fashion when I came to a halt but couldn’t touch the ground.

By early afternoon we reached the bottom of the mountain and arrived again at the cycle shop. As Markus took my bike he patted me on the back, and told me; “You are a warrior woman, it was hard but you never gave up!” Pleased with my efforts, despite a stiff ‘aarsh’, aching thighs and wobbly knees I was happy to bask in his praise, although secretly I knew the e-bike had done most of the work.

Outdoor activities in Wilder Kaiser, Austria

Heather tried out her outdoor activities as part of Alpine Sports Week in Wilder Kaiser. This special week long event allows you to try out 6 different mountain sports over 6 days under the guidance of expert instructors at a special price of €99 (normally €358). Add your details to their mailing list here to get more details for next year. In addition to the high rope course and mountain-biking that Heather tried you can go canyoning, trail running and do a Via Ferrata.

All of these activities are also available throughout the summer to try as you like. In addition the region is a paradise for hikers with many day walks as well as multi-day hut-to-hut walks of 3 to 5 days in length. A similar mountain-bike tour to the one Heather enjoyed can be booked through Going Bike who rent e-bikes and other bikes from their shop in Going and run group tours.

For more information on things to do in Wilder Kaiser visit the Wilder Kaiser tourism website and their social media channels on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ and keep up with latest news on the Wilder Kaiser blog.

Read more articles about Alpine Sports Week

Bemused Backpacker – Experiencing the Wilder Kaiser Alpine Sports Week in Austria
Scarlett London – Exploring Tirol by Bike
Daniellicacy – Wilder Kaiser, Austria – Mountain Biking

How to get to Wilder Kaiser

Heather flew from Bristol to Munich with BMI Regional who fly 12 times each week on this route, so you often have a choice of 2 flights per day. The ticket includes 20kg checked baggage and full at-seat in-flight bar and snack service at no extra charge.

Transfers from Munich to Wilder Kaiser take around 1.5 hours and can be arranged through Four Seasons Travel who have a desk at the airport. Alternatively Innsbruck airport is around 1 hour drive from Wilder Kaiser.

Hotel Sonnenhof

Heather stayed at Panorama Hotel Sonnehof in Wilder Kaiser, Austria

Where to stay in Wilder Kaiser

Heather stayed at the comfortable, family run Vitel and Panorama Hotel Sonnenhof in Going. This four star hotel is furnished traditionally with plenty of Tyrolean wood and has a spa and indoor swimming pool. I enjoyed the hearty breakfast spread with a full selection of muesli, fruit, nutty German breads and freshly cooked omlettes as well as fresh juices, honeycomb and anything else you would wish for. Check prices and book your stay here.

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Read about e-mountainbiking in Wilder Kaiser, Austria

Thanks to Wilder Kaiser Tourist Board who hosted Heather’s stay and provided the experiences mentioned and to BMI regional who provided Heather’s flight to Munich.

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