When in Rome…

I have always wanted to visit Rome, it is definitely another place I need to re-visit so I can spend more time exploring (and to take better quality photos than the last time I went!)

It was only when I was researching Rome to write my blog that I realised how much I had missed during my short trip. I think, unlike other places in Italy like Venice and Florence, it is partly due to the fact that many of the attractions are quite a distance apart, and not within walking distance of each other. Here’s some of the amazing places I visited during my time in Rome –

The Colosseum

The Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city. It is built of concrete and sand and is the largest amphitheatre ever built. It is certainly very impressive to look at! Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in AD 72, and was completed in AD 80 under his successor, Titus. Further modifications were made during the reign of Domitian (81–96). These three emperors are known as the Flavian dynasty, and the amphitheatre was named in Latin for its association with their family name (Flavius).

The Colosseum is estimated to be able to hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators. It was originally used for gladiatorial contests and other public spectacles, however it ceased to be used for entertainment purposes during the early medieval era.

It is easy to see why the Colosseum is one of Rome’s most popular tourist attractions! 

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Arch of Constantine

I can’t believe I took such an awful photo and didn’t get in a better position so the arch wasn’t blocked by the trees! I’m so annoying sometimes!

The Arch of Constantine was built on the order of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, in 315 AD. The arch was built to honour the victory of Constantine following the Battle of Milvian Bridge that took place in 312 AD.

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The Domus Augustana

The Domus Augustana is the modern name for the so-called domestic wing of the Roman Palace of Domitian (92 AD) on the Palatine Hill.

This was the principal residence of the emperors in the city from the late first to the third centuries A.D.

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Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is a beautiful fountain in the Trevi district which was designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Pietro Bracci. Standing just over 26 metres high and 49 metres wide, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world.

In January 2013, it was announced that the Italian fashion company Fendi would sponsor a 20-month, 2.2-million-euro restoration of the fountain – the most thorough restoration in the fountain’s history. Restoration work began in June 2014 and the fountain was reopened on the evening of November 3, 2015. The restoration included the installation of more than 100 LED lights to improve the night time illumination of the fountain – the main reason I want to re-visit Rome is to see the results of these amazing restorations! I bet the night time photos of the fountains with these LED lights will be spectacular! 

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Vatican City

Vatican city (Citta del Vaticano) was built over the tomb of Saint Peter and is the smallest state in the world.

Inside the Vatican city you can find 11 Vatican Museums which include Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, and Vatican Gardens – a place full of large and small gardens, fountains, a fish pool and an enclosure for rabbits!

Arguably the most important building in Vatican City is –

St Peter’s Basilica

The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, more commonly known as St. Peter’s Basilica, is an Italian Renaissance church designed by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. St. Peter’s is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and one of the largest churches in the world. 

Catholic tradition claims that the Basilica is the burial site of Saint Peter, one of Christ’s Apostles and also the first Pope – Saint Peter’s tomb is supposedly directly below the high altar of the Basilica. Construction of the present basilica, which replaced the Old St. Peter’s Basilica from the 4th century AD, began on 18 April 1506 and was completed on 18 November 1626.

St. Peter’s is famous for its public worship functions, especially those attended by the Pope. These events have been known to attract audiences of between 15,000 to over 80,000 people, either within the Basilica or the adjoining St. Peter’s Square.

St. Peter’s is one of the four churches in the world that hold the rank of Major Basilica – all four of which are in Rome!

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The Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel was top of my list of the places to see when we visited Rome but the queues were so long we just didn’t have the time to fit it in so I was really disappointed. I do hope to see this beautiful creation one day!

The Sistine Chapel is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope. The fame of the Sistine Chapel lies mainly in the Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michaelangelo between 1508 and 1512, and particularly “The Last Judgment” which was painted between 1535 and 1541.

Many people visit Rome for a long weekend but after doing all my research I don’t think a weekend is long enough to see everything that this amazing place has to offer! Definitely one for the “re-visit” list  – I’ll have to ask hubby if he fancies paying a visit!

Desserts Delivered Bakery

For all you cake lovers out there – this is the blog for you! Let me introduce you to one of the best online finds I have come across so far!

Desserts Delivered Bakery is a fantastic online bakery which delivers a variety of amazing cakes all over the UK. They even guarantee to deliver your selected cakes within 24 hours and offer next day delivery as standard!

Here’s a selection of some of the great cakes they have on offer:

The Rainbow Cake

The first cake I ordered from Desserts Delivered Bakery was the amazing Rainbow Cake. I was slightly disappointed when it first arrived as it turns out they have recently changed the design, and I actually preferred the original one, but as soon as I tried the first slice I was so pleased I had ordered it – especially after a particularly rubbish week!

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The colourful Rainbow Cake is a plain vanilla sponge with multicoloured vanilla flavoured buttercream and decorated with white chocolate jazzies, coloured fizzy sweets and a stick of multicoloured rock!

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This cake is one of the best sponge cakes I have ever eaten! It is incredibly light and very, very tasty! As soon as I ate my first slice I knew I would be ordering more cakes for Birthdays and special events from this company!

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The Bubblegum Cake

The next cake I ordered was the bubblegum cake for hubby’s Birthday!

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This is a really unusual one – I think people will either love it or hate it but I absolutely loved it and it was a real hit with family and friends – even with those who you wouldn’t have thought would like it!

A delicious light fluffy bubblegum flavoured sponge with bubblegum flavoured icing and pink and blue bonbons on top!

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This is another top seller at the Desserts Delivered Bakery and it’s easy to see why! I’ve never tasted another cake like it!

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The Cookie Cake

If you like cookies then this cake is for you! And as I am basically a cookie monster myself, I couldn’t wait to try this cake!

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A vanilla sponge cake with a butter cream centre which is topped off with milk chocolate and broken cookies on top! Perfect for those who have a sweet tooth but who find chocolate cake too heavy and sickly! Will definitely be ordering this one again!

The only thing I would say is it would have been a nice touch if the buttercream was cookie flavoured or had cookies in the mix – just to separate it a little bit from a plain vanilla cake with vanilla sponge. Again, the sponge was incredibly light and very delicious, a definite second favourite after the Rainbow cake!

The Cookies and Cream Cake

If you like milk and cookies then the cookie and cream cake is definitely for you!

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The cookies and cream cake is a lovely light chocolate sponge cake with a buttercream centre, which is then topped off with cookie and cream biscuits. Amazing. I thought it would be really heavy and sickly but the sponge is so light, it’s one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve had!

The Peanut Butter Cake

Here is the perfect cake for you Peanut Butter lovers! I love peanut butter but have never tried a peanut butter cake before!

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This cake is a rich smooth peanut butter flavour chocolate sponge cake topped with a variety of Peanut butter chocolates such as mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and Reeses Pieces!

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I thought this would be the least popular out of all the cakes I ordered but our guests loved it and it was the flavour which went the most quickly when we ordered a few of the cakes for a family celebration! I only got one slice out of it in the end!

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There are also other cakes available from the Desserts Delivered Bakery if none of these other cakes tickle your fancy! These include the chocolate hazelnut truffle cake (perfect for those Ferrero Rocher fans like my brother in law!), the chocolate junkyard cake, and the jammy biscuit cake!

They have also recently released a red velvet cake which looks incredible! I can’t wait to try that one!

Order your cakes from Desserts Delivered Bakery here. Prices are £20.00 per cake and each cake serves ten people, delivery starts at £4.95, and extras such as candles and balloons are also available to add to your order.

Every cake is delivered in a strong corrugated cardboard box to ensure your cake isn’t damaged when you receive it. The parcel includes dry ice as the cakes are sent frozen to retain the freshness and quality of the cake. Fear not though – you only need to defrost the cake for four to five hours and the cake is then ready to eat! You do not need to refrigerate the cake either, it can be left in its box for up to a week and it will still be perfect to eat!

On one occasion I ordered three cakes together and was really pleased to find out that the next day delivery cost was still only £4.95! The cakes arrive well packaged and secure and with dry ice in the boxes to keep them cool – fantastic service!! Some online bakeries charge a fortune for their items to be delivered so the cost of delivery was brilliant in my opinion!

Get stuck in!

Eastnor Castle Firework Championships

If any of my readers like fireworks then I’ve got the perfect event for you! Needless to say, the photographs just don’t do these fireworks justice, but then, I’ve always argued that you could say this about any photograph you take!

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I came across a leaflet about Eastnor Castle in my local sandwich shop believe it or not! I thought it looked like a brilliant day out so when I got home I had a look at the Eastnor Castle website. Whilst I was on there looking at ticket prices etc, I came across this fantastic looking event called the Eastnor Castle Firework Championships.

Hubby and I love fireworks but unfortunately we seem to miss out on attending any fireworks night events, either because they start too early and we can’t get there in time after finishing work, or because we have to stay at home to look after our poor dogs who become quite distressed by the loud bangs and whizzes!

This event seemed ideal – it is in September so the weather would hopefully still be mild, and we could go to the event leaving the dogs unsupervised knowing there wouldn’t be a load of fireworks going off in our local area at the same time which would upset them!

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The event is organised by MLE Pyrotechnics and involves three professional firework companies who compete for the title of Eastnor Firework Champions. MLE do a fourth display after the three competitors have finished and whilst the votes for the best display are being counted.

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Gates open at 5pm, we arrived at around 7pm because we wanted to grab something to eat and get a good spot before the show started. I would recommend getting here as early  as you can – parking takes a while and as we were sat down ready to watch the show at 9pm, cars were still queued up and trying to get into the event, so no doubt they missed the beginning!

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There’s a small fairground with a few rides and games to keep kids entertained whilst you wait for the fireworks and they encourage you to bring along picnics to enjoy whilst you watch the shows (although they don’t allow barbecues).

If you don’t fancy bringing your own picnic, food and drink is also available on site, but to be honest, we weren’t that impressed with the selection and wished we had brought our own picnic. There’s a pizza place (I love pizza but they didn’t look very appetising and I overheard a guy say he had waited ages but his pizza was cold when he got it), then there’s a burger and hotdog place (their cheesy chips were nice!) and a wrap place who did a choice of lamb, chicken and hallumi in a tortilla wrap (in my opinion the best of the three but also the most expensive!).

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The evening started with a small firework demo at 9:00pm and then the competition displays begin at around 9:30pm. Each team fires a ten minute show which is choreographed to music and the winner is decided by audience SMS voting. The evening then closes with a larger scale finale by MLE Pyrotechnics.

Camping is available on the Friday or Saturday night if you fancy it. You do have to buy permits for this which are available on the website, but on site parking is free.

This years competing teams are:

Shockwave Pyrotechnics

This was my favourite show and was this years winning team! I especially loved the part which was choreographed to the song “Hallelujah”. The show was amazing – some really big fireworks which completely lit up the sky – absolutely stunning!!

Skyburst Fireworks

Another amazing display with the best soundtrack so far (Feeling Good – Nina Simone!) but the fireworks on this display were smaller on the ground fireworks rather than the big “light up the sky” types and just didn’t quite take your breath away like the other two displays.

Firework Crazy

Another fantastic show and a very close second for me – I loved the part which was choreographed to Bruno Mars! They had some really unusual fireworks I have never seen before – especially some amazing side to side fireworks! This one was hubby’s favourite!

Tickets for the championships are £18.00 per adult and £8.00 for child if you pre-book online (on the gate prices are £20.00 per adult and £10.00 per child).

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I would highly recommend this event if you are a firework fan so put a reminder in your calendars for next year to check it out! Other dates at other locations are also available from the end of July onwards if Eastnor Castle is too far for you to travel – locations which include Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire and Arley Hall in Northwich, Cheshire.

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After such a great event hubby and I can happily say we attended a brilliant firework display this year once November comes back round again!

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