A Life More Interview With Katie Dean_Your Wild Life Iceburg Alley

I came across Katie online and instantly had a mega girl crush. This gorgeous woman radiates energy, love and positivity. Reading her daily, soulful wisdom feels like being wrapped up in a big, comforting virtual hug. Even her About Me gives me warm fuzzies.

Her words are beautiful, relatable, heartfelt and honest. Even Katie’s email signature radiates her passion and makes me smile ‘Live WILD. Be BRAVE. Live TRUE’. If you ever need a little boost of energy or motivation, just read some of her 365 days of awesome.

As a qualified Wellness Coach and Fitness Specialist who has traveled the world, she helps women see they have the potential to be anything they want to be. It is at the core of her being to guide and support other females during break through moments, so they too can live their most brightest, wild life. Some even call her a ‘motivational realist’ and ‘positivity junkie’. Whatever you know her as, Katie Dean is one gorgeous, generous and multi-talented lady.

A very warm welcome, Katie.

A Life More Interview With Katie Dean_Your Wild Life Profile Photo

Let’s go back to the beginning. What was your motivation to start Your Wild Life?

I started Your Wild Life because it was what I once needed, and couldn’t find. I am a super visual person and love having little reminders around my home and throughout my life that keep me focused and present.

Little quotes and beautiful images that make me feel something.

I thought how fabulous it would be to have a place that I could collect all of these things and share them with others who are vibe-ing on the same thing. The desire to help people live their most positive life is something that drives me, I think it’s ingrained… ha, and just like that, Your Wild Life (YWL) was born.

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What was the most challenging part about starting?

Starting for me was easy. I am a ‘grab life by the ping pongs’ kinda gal, but what I do struggle with occasionally is the roadblocks I put up for myself. We all have a little self-doubt at times right? I wondered if anyone is reading what I’m writing, if it’s accepted and if it’s of value.

I had to become aware of what I was doing, sit with it and then overcome it. Self sabotage at its finest! When we recognise these busted thoughts, we can use them to be the foundations we build our castle on. HOORAH!!

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What are three of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt since starting your own business?

1. JUST JUMP! Say yes, and figure it out afterwards.

2. Believe in yourself. Be your biggest supporter and believe in your message. You have something to offer that no one else does. That’s your YOU’NESS.

3. Don’t quit your DAY DREAM. If it scares you, it’s worth it. The beauty of life is located just outside your comfort zone. Keep taking tiny little steps each day to get you where you want to be. Never lose sight of the GOAL.

Katie Dean at Central Park Ice Skating New York

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The beauty of life is located just outside your comfort zone. Keep taking tiny little steps each day to get you where you want to be. Never lose sight of the GOAL.

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Who inspires you and why?

My mother inspires me daily. She is the most selfless woman I have ever met. It hasn’t been until I have had my baby that I realised just how amazing in every sense of the word that she is. The woman can do anything and supports our family in so many ways.

She is always looking on the bright side and she is faster then a speeding bullet if I need her, she can fix anything with her words and a hug can heal all breaks, be that of spirit or heart. She is one of a kind and I truly appreciate her.

My dad is just as wonderful, but let’s shine a light on my mumma today.

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What has been key for growing your business?

Putting myself out there. Taking a chance. Sometimes, it’s a simple call to action that has resulted in the best steps forward. I need to connect with my readers and my clients. I want to get to know who they are and what drives them.

I need to be authentic in everything I do, so if I speak my truth and speak from the heart it all works.

A Life More Interview With Katie Dean of Your Wild Life

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Believe in yourself. Be your biggest supporter and believe in your message. You have something to offer that no one else does. That’s your YOU’NESS.

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Describe your major highlight since starting Your Wild Life. What made it personally rewarding?

Every break through moment from a client or myself puts me on a high I can’t even explain. It’s the best feeling in the world. To know that you have actually helped someone FEEL better and improve their days… Can’t beat it.

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Starting a new venture can be equally exciting and scary. How do you overcome personal fear and overwhelm?

Take one small step every day. I am a sucker for LISTS. I write in my diary what I plan to do each week and I spread it out. I don’t over extend myself anymore either. I only schedule what’s possible to achieve in one day around what else I have to do, and then I focus. I find that if it’s not on paper I make everything bigger then it has to be.

Focusing on one step at a time keeps everything manageable and keeps me from being wildly erratic. This meme is definitely not lost on me:

Image via A Pair Of Pairs

Image via A Pair Of Pairs

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What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business and create a career out of what they love doing?

Life is too short to be anything but totally jazzed. If you have a passion, an idea, and it makes you come alive, then it’s worth pursuing. You don’t have to have all the answers now, but DO SOMETHING. I am a huge fan of vision boards. Get those ideas up where you can see them and keep working towards your goal.

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What does living A Life Less Beige mean to you?

It means taking chances, speaking my mind and TRAVEL.

It means being okay with standing out.

It means never staying still for long.

It means living my truth and spreading light.

It means laughter, happiness and silliness.

It means being around those that help my being, and that means lots of squishy cuddles with my fam bam.

Your Wild Life Katie Dean

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If you have a passion, an idea, and it makes you come alive, then it’s worth pursuing. You don’t have to have all the answers now, but DO SOMETHING.

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Quick fire questions: Newcastle, Australia

1. Best breakfast/brunch spot: Tallulah at The Junction. Divine servings of REAL food, and fabulous people watching. They do an AMAZING gluten free muesli.

2. Favourite place for coffee: 3 Monkeys in Darby Street, Newcastle. They do a coffee BOWL, and it has dark chocolate shavings on the top and it’s pretty much as good as it gets!

3. Best local activity off the tourist trail: Newcastle Farmers Markets on a Sunday at Newcastle Showground. I LOVE it there. Best produce, fantastic energy, and there is a Green smoothie there that rocks my world!

4. When you’re not busy working, you can be found: At the moment I am with my fabulous tiny human Archer. This boy is the most amazing addition to my life. He is my sun, my moon and my stars, and I’m so glad he chose us to be his parents.

5. Favourite travel destination: TOUGH CALL!

I find something magical about every place I go. I love the energy in New York. I love the culture and surrounds of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I love the tropics in Kauai, the mystery and romance of Paris and the picturesque EVERYTHING about Portofino in Italy.

I could never decide… I have severe WANDERLUST. This soul was always meant to travel.

Katie Dean kissing dolphin

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And finally, where do you see Your Wild Life in five years time?

Hmmmm. GOOD QUESTION. I want to reach more clients. I want to inspire people and help them achieve their dreams. I want to fight more fears.

I hope our Your Wild Life tribe grows and I hope we are happy. All I know is it’s important for me to follow this calling and I’m super excited to see where it leads.

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Isn’t Katie LOVELY?! What did you take away from her advice? Leave some love for Katie in the comments, then head over to read more from Katie Dean, Your Wild Life.

For daily inspiration you can also follow Your Wild Life online:

YWL Facebook  l  YWL Instagram  l  YWL Pinterest

Live more wild,

Bat Girl Photobooth

Whoa, where did September go?! This year is flying by. Before we know it, the festive season is going to be upon us and we’ll be welcoming in another new year. Better start reviewing those 2014 resolutions and frantically start crossing off the ‘Get healthier’, ‘Start exercising’ and ‘Learn a new language’ goals.

With so many amusing / useful / inspiring and downright hilarious things on the internet, I thought it would be fun to start sharing some of the interesting and entertaining posts I’ve been checking out on the ‘ol interweb during the month. Introducing… Monthly Musings.

Curl up over the weekend and have a read, OR check them out while you’re at work (it is Friday after all). Just make sure your boss doesn’t catch you out. Enjoy!

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• Not sure what to do with your wedding dress after the big day? Why not wear it to a festival?!

• There are only 2 types of people in the world according to this amusing marketing campaign.

Look up. Why it’s important to not always be focused on your phone (and other technology).

• You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love. Jim Carrey delivers a witty and motivating commencement speech.

• Want effortless success? Stop trying to jam a round peg into a square hole.

Choose yourself! Stop waiting to be picked.

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The world has changed. There are no gatekeepers anymore. There is nothing stopping you from publishing that book, releasing that album, starting that business. Nothing but yourself.

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• You don’t have to follow someone else’s footprints… 10 lessons learnt from travel.

• The travel community is a fun one here in London. Did you hear about BlogStock – the World’s first blogging festival? Have a look at some of the fun. See you at next years?

• A homeless man we can all learn from.

9 life lessons to inspire you.

• Single ladies – could you be Ed’s Rexy to his Edventures?

• Why not just aim to be happy when we grow up? Great point!

Why occasional trips aren’t enough. My fellow wanderlusters will understand.

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Perpetual travellers choose to travel for the same reasons we all do: we’re tired of work or bored with our routine; we want to meet interesting people and experience different cultures.

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• What happened after a self-destructing blog post experiment.

• Tips for the single guys.. 20 mistakes you’re making on Tinder. Laughter guaranteed.

• Unsure what to blog about? Here is a helpful guide to narrowing your focus.

15 common WordPress mistakes. Avoid these for better blogging.

This girl really loves Twilight – she ACTUALLY married a cardboard cutout of Edward Cullen.

• Website blasts from the past.

Life transitions can be challenging. Grab that trapeze.

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Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings. I’m either hanging on to a trapeze bar swinging along or, for a few moments in my life, I’m hurtling across space in between trapeze bars.

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• These humans are awesome (and crazy)!

• Engage and grow your Twitter audience. Advice from those in the know.

Impossible photography? Not for this photographer who captures ideas, not moments.

• Read this touching reflection from a comedian who shares Robin Williams’ struggle.

• Emma Watson received a standing ovation for her powerful HeForShe speech.

• You will be amazed at what these daily things look like in an MRI scanner.

Clearing clutter will change your life.

Only in New Zealand.

• Here are 6 things the most productive people do every day.

Image © David Zellaby.

Happy weekend,

Ryan Sanders of Haka Tours with van and Haka Lodge

Starting a business out of his love for adventure and snowboarding saw Ryan named one of New Zealand’s top entrepreneurs of the year. This guy is seriously inspiring. Not only did he start his New Zealand based Company, Haka Tours while living on the other side of the world, it has since been voted by travellers as the country’s #1 tour operator in its few years of operation.

With ten adventure tours, educational school tours, a third lodge opening in Paihia this year and fourth in Auckland next year to join the already existing Christchurch and Queenstown Haka Lodges, plus an impressive list of awards – to say Ryan has achieved a lot for his age is an understatement.

I admire his motivation, drive, grounded attitude and approach to business – all of which has contributed to his well deserved success. It is with great pleasure to introduce Ryan Sanders, Founder of Haka Tours.

Kia Ora, Ryan.

Let’s go back to the beginning. What was your motivation to start Haka Tours?

Complete autonomy and accountability was the key motivator to start Haka Tours. I really struggle if I don’t have complete ownership and control with a project. I just can’t find the motivation.

I studied Industrial Psychology post grad at University, so I thought a career in Human Resources was for me, but after working for a global bank as a Recruitment Manager I knew that I needed to strike out on my own or be miserable.

Enter Haka Tours.

Haka Tours Tour Group in front of New Zealand lake

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What was the most challenging part about starting?

Managing Haka Tours remotely from the UK for the first sixteen months was by far the most challenging part of starting. I initially set up Haka Tours as a UK business to test the business model whilst working in my full time corporate role in the UK.

I flew back home three months before the first tour was due to commence, bought a small bus, hired a Tour Manager and flew back to the UK. This meant working 90+ hours per week on full time corporate role and Haka Tours until having the confidence to relocate back to New Zealand to solely work on Haka Tours.

This resulted in a start up business with no debt and a strong financial footing to enable immediate investment in tour buses, marketing, and strengthening position in the marketplace. It also meant living at home again for the first year whilst I saved for a deposit for our first lodge which was a challenge in itself!

Haka Tours Ski Tour Heliskiing New Zealand

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“To be really be inspired I just need to sit still, be alone and day dream. It is where I find huge pools of energy and enthusiasm. This is often how I solve difficult problems – something just ends up feeling right but I could never tell you why or how…”

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What are three of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt since starting your own business?

1. Being an entrepreneur is an emotional journey. I have read a number of biographical entrepreneurial stories and they all miss the most important lesson – learn to effectively manage your emotions.

For the first few years, owning your own business will sentence you to massive highs, bone-chilling lows, questionable objectivity and a fair amount of self-doubt. Be ready for the onslaught – it’s all part of the journey.

2. Balance your business. Spend equal time, effort and ‘blue-sky thinking‘ about your customers, financials, internal processes and staff. This distribution of equal time and effort should under-pin the vision and strategy you have for your business. By doing this, you will clearly see if any areas of your business are being neglected.

3. If your stomach burns, follow the white rabbit. If you haven’t seen The Matrix, then that will not make much sense, but the message is follow your instincts. This is the most valuable tool you have.

Your first business should be one that makes your stomach burn with excitement. Without this true passion for your idea, your businesses chance of success is severely compromised. Let your second, third and fourth businesses be the money spinners.

Haka Tours Adventure Tours Maori Culture New Zealand

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Who inspires you and why?

Hmmmm, this is a tough one to answer without sounding a bit off, but here goes.

Inspiration for me is very much an internal thing. I know there are loads of amazing people out there and I respect so much what other people have done but I can’t say I look for inspiration from an external source.

To be really be inspired I just need to sit still, be alone and day dream. It is where I find huge pools of energy and enthusiasm. This is often how I solve difficult problems – something just ends up feeling right but I could never tell you why or how. The same happens when I am needing a bit of direction, inspiration or de-cluttering. The key is making sure I get enough alone time!

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What has been key for growing your business?

Michael E. Gerber in The E-Myth talks about 3 management personalities in business, with one of these styles being your natural default setting – Entrepreneurial, Manager and Technician. I totally agree with this train of thought.

I started Haka Tours having no tourism experience and having no desire to ever be a Tour Guide. Quickly I realised that for my business to my successful, I needed to balance my need for high level strategic thinking and creating to spending time in the role of a Technician and Manager.

For me this meant scheduling time to take part in the tours, working closely with the Tour Guides to create simple yet data-rich tour documentation, and working with the office staff handling all customer queries and administration.

This may seem like a simple idea but if you monitor the percentage of the time that you spend in one of these roles, you will no doubt see a huge disparity – and one potentially limiting your business.

I definitely recommend The E-Myth to all young entrepreneurs and small business owners as a must-read.

Haka Tours Tour Group with New Zealand Geysers

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For the first few years, owning your own business will sentence you to massive highs, bone-chilling lows, questionable objectivity and a fair amount of self-doubt. Be ready for the onslaught – it’s all part of the journey.

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Describe your major highlight since starting Haka Tours. What made it personally rewarding?

Being named Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the New Zealand Tourism Awards by our Prime Minister, John Key was pretty cool. That was in 2010 – three years after I started Haka Tours, so it felt like a great way to confirm I was on the right path.

Starting your own business is a big step into the unknown so getting some external validation like this was important. Since then we have been lucky enough to have won heaps of awards.

Ryan Sanders of Haka Tours with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key_Entrepreneur of the Year
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Starting a new venture can be equally exciting and scary. How do you overcome personal fear and overwhelm?

I am fairly risk tolerant and I actually really like the feeling of being scared. I love the adrenalin kick it gives me and I always feel so alive. So generally speaking, I normally gravitate towards scary situations.

In terms of advice, I think the main thing is to feel really excited and motivated about your idea and a few nerves are all part of the journey!

Life isn’t about playing it safe (aside from sex of course).

Bungy Jumping with Haka Tours New Zealand

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What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business and create a career out of what they love doing?

Start with a business plan with a key emphasis on your competitor analysis – this is your golden ticket. This will help you determine where you will sit in the market place in terms of service / product offerings, your points of difference and your pricing strategy.

Make sure you review your competitor analysis every three months and pin it to a whiteboard, or the wall beside your computer.

Haka Tours Adventures Tours New Zealand

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Your first business should be one that makes your stomach burn with excitement. Without this true passion for your idea, your businesses chance of success is severely compromised.

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What does living A Life Less Beige mean to you?

It means experiencing all the things I love most – travelling as much as I can, getting lots of time to chill out and day dream, doing stuff that scares me, Ashtanga yoga, boutique gin and lots of rare steak with foie gras!

Haka Tour Clients with blue sky and New Zealand Lake.

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Quick fire questions

1. Best breakfast/brunch spot: The Brewery in Woolston, Christchurch – just around the corner from our first Haka Lodge.

2. Favourite place for coffee: Zarbo in Newmarket, Auckland.

3. Best local activity off the tourist trail: Abseiling down huge waterfalls surrounded by rainforest in Piha Canyon, Piha.

4. When you’re not busy working, you can be found: Relaxing at our beach house in Piha with my partner Marco, our daughter Isabella, Louis the French Bulldog and our two Burmese cats, Minnie and Maccy.

5. Favourite travel destination: Genuinely anywhere I haven’t been. 60 countries and counting. Plan to do them all.

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And finally, where do you see Haka Tours in five years time?

Synonymous with adventure touring in New Zealand with specialist tours across niche lifetstyle sports including: snow, surf, mountain biking as well as our adventure tours.

Ten up-market backpackers across key locations in New Zealand and the market leader in Educational Tours for International Schools and Universities – check out our new project, Haka Educational Tours.

We would have key strategic staff all in place including a General Manager which would allow me to focus on all the blue-sky stuff I love.

And most importantly, more work life balance which for me means nine months of hard work followed by a three month holiday each year to a new country I have yet to explore. Wow, that gives me goosebumps!

Haka Tours Adventures Tours New Zealand Scenery

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Has Ryan’s advice helped, or inspired you? Let me know what you found useful in the comments. Click on the links below to find out more about Haka Tours, or to get social with them online:

Haka Tours Facebook  l  Haka Tours Twitter  l  Haka Tours YouTube

Live more adventurous,

A Life More Logo. An Inspiring Interview Series.This big ‘ol world is full of inspiring people making a difference.

Thought leaders, achievers, innovators, entrepreneurs and game changers. Influencers bringing about change by having a positive impact on others and some who have had all odds stacked against them, but still manage to come out on top.

These people, others I meet, stories I read, videos I watch and my surroundings while traveling constantly inspire me. I never have to look far for motivation, especially now the internet has opened up the world at our fingertips.

An intention when starting this blog was to connect with those who have created careers out of doing what they love. To share from people who are living their passions to inspire and motivate others with similar aspirations to do the same.

After all, living less ‘beige’ is about adding more colour. More fun. More enjoyment. In all areas of your life.

A huge part of our lives is taken up with work, so it’s important to do what gives us fulfillment and brings us joy.

It is easy to get stuck in a job that doesn’t align with who you are. In a career that doesn’t excite, or light that inner spark. You dream of ideas, but comfort zones, security and self-doubt are holding you back, so you stay where you are.

You look at other successful people and wish you could do the same, but maybe don’t know how?

Introducing ‘A Life More’. Inspiring interviews with entrepreneurs who have created – and are in the process of creating – careers out of what they enjoy doing.

In this series, they will share their challenges, their advice, their visions and how they overcome those feelings of fear when taking a leap into the unknown.

Some I am lucky enough to know, to call friends, and others I’ve stumbled across online and have connected with over email.

Hopefully it will inspire and encourage you to take that next step.

Everyone starts somewhere and every business starts as a single idea. Just like yours.

Dreams are always possible.

Castle of the Dukes of Brittany Outside Nantes France

No other conferences I’ve attended have started quite like this one. Arriving in Nantes, we were welcomed into the Château des ducs de Bretagne (The Castle of the Dukes of Brittany) – a striking 18th century castle set in the heart of Nantes for the opening party.

Rewind to a few weeks earlier, I had been lucky to win a prize to attend the Travel Bloggers Unite conference in Nantes thanks to Big Bus London and Travel Bloggers Unite. Having only visited Paris previously, I was looking forward to seeing more of France, learning from the conference speakers and meeting other travel bloggers.

Castle of the Dukes of Brittany Nantes France

Nearing the castle, the sound of bagpipes and music from a local pipe band, Le Bagad lured us over the castle’s drawbridge and into the inner courtyard where we were greeted for our private event.

Already impressed by the outer walls, standing on the inside looking at the surrounding towers and architecture was breathtaking. They sure knew how to create impressive buildings back in the day.

Local producers had set up food stalls especially for the evening, so attendees could sample the best of what Nantes had to offer. All I can say, is that it was pretty darn good.

French Wine at Castle of the Dukes of Brittany Nantes France

First stop was the wine stall supplied by Les Vignes de Nantes. I had been waiting to try some of the French wine since touching down. It was bubbly, sweet and tasted even better being sipped in the courtyard of a castle.

Castle of the Dukes of Brittany Nantes Cheese France

Castle of the Dukes of Brittany Nantes Cheese Station France

This wonderful lady from Beillevaire was solely responsible for making sure everyone ate their weight in delicious cheese during the evening. Creamy blends, cheese ‘sushi’, blue cheese and cheese balls rolled in pistachios. All types were well presented on cheese boards, enticing and drawing in all who passed by.

Whenever my hand was empty, it was quickly filled with a different type of cheese which I happily devoured.

I nearly hugged her in my cheese joy.

Castle of the Dukes of Brittany Nantes France Fresh Oysters

Not usually a shellfish person, even the fresh oysters laid out by Océan fraîcheur made me curious. After being given a demo of how to do it..

Castle of the Dukes of Brittany Nantes France Oysters

…I tried my very first oyster. A little squirt of lemon, then the slippery sucker was straight in my mouth. It wasn’t as bad as I expected (it’s more the texture of shellfish I dislike), but one was enough for the first time. I will spare you the facials from the after photo!

Castle of the Dukes of Brittany Nantes France Crepes

Castle of the Dukes of Brittany Nantes France Sausage in Crepes

The winner of the evening for me was definitely Les Obuliettes serving both sweet and savory crepes. The savoury – Galette-saucisse – consisted of delicious, garlic sausages wrapped in a toasted, warm crepe. Slightly crisp on the outside, the flavour combination biting in was groan worthy! Bernice and I both looked at each other in food heaven.

It only got better when we moved onto the delicate, sweet crepes lathered in caramel sauce which were unbelievably good.

Castle of the Dukes of Brittany Nantes France Evening

As the night drew to a close, the castle became more Disney-like with pink lights shining up on the surrounding towers. It certainly looked fit for a princess.

With our stomachs full and wine glasses empty, we were treated to soft, warm, mouth-watering delicious cookies from Mamm Cookies to keep us going for our stroll back to the hotel.

Another special mention and thank you to Robert from Thirst for Wine who found me looking lost at Nantes airport and helped me get to my hotel with his fluent French linguistics.

If you want to follow all the bloggers from the conference, search #TBUNTE on Twitter and Instagram for more photos and updates.

Night from Nantes,