Travel Tuesday – A Trip to Bolsover Castle

Happy Tuesday everyone and how’s your day going so far? For today’s Travel Tuesday post with Bonnie et al I’m rewinding time by a few weeks and popping up north to reminisce about a recent afternoon jaunt to the beautiful Bolsover Castle. It was during our weekend in the Peak District and my sisters, Mum and I found ourselves with a spare few hours so we thought we’d make the most of Mum’s English Heritage membership as Bolsover Castle was so close by. I’m so glad we decided to do this on the spur of the moment as it was such a great building to explore. the castle sits perched on a hill overlooking it’s surroundings and we saw it from the motorway and all exclaimed at how amazing the building looked. It was only later as we pulled up to the castle that we realised it was Bolsover Castle that we’d seen from afar, so I think we definitely got a sense of what invaders and guests back in the 1600s would have felt!

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What’s interesting about this castle compared to the usual historical sites I visit (mainly National Trust) is that it’s just the shell of the property. But I think there’s something magical about this. The English Heritage haven’t spent masses doing it up and putting in the relevant furniture they’ve just restored it so that you can wander around and get a sense of the building and the opulence that would have existed thanks to the beautiful ceilings or ornate fireplaces. This is preferable I think to some of the National Trust places which can feel a bit stuffy and out-of-bounds. What’s wonderful about Bolsover is that you can wander through it and touch everything and properly see the rooms and amazing proportions. I can imagine children would love visiting the castle as they could run around the rooms playing princess or knights and dragons, there’s something fairytale like about not being constrained and just wandering and imagining what those empty rooms have seen.

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There was a variety of work going on when we were there but that didn’t matter for us, you still got to appreciate the wonderful buildings that make up Bolsover Castle, from the Little Castle to the Riding School. I think my favourite part (apart from wandering the beautiful buildings) was looking out at the wonderful views of Scarsdale with the castle ruins behind me. Absolutely beautiful.

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A Trip To Meet The Otters – Travel Tuesday

Happy Tuesday lovely peeps and welcome to another edition of Travel Tuesday with Bonnie and Co. How have you all been since the last edition, anything exciting to share? Today is the second to last day at the job I’ve been at for five and a half years, so ti’s all very exciting in these parts. I can’t believe this day has actually arrived and whilst I’m sad I can’t wait for the super exciting new things to come! Anyway back to travelling, today I thought I’d share my recent trip to an otter sanctuary, which was ten days ago during my trip to The Peak District.IMG_0595

Whilst we were having a thoroughly relaxing weekend in the countryside we decided to venture half an hour from where we were staying and visit the Chestnut Centre Otter, Owl and Wildlife Park which is nestled on the side of a hill in Chapel-en-le-frith. If you’re ever up that way I most definitely recommend it as it’s such a great afternoon out! We were there for a good three hours and as well as having a lovely long walk around the hills we encountered some beautiful creatures.

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A particular favourite of mine was the deer that were grazing on the side of the hill not two metres from where we were wandering, they were absolutely beautiful and seemed so peaceful. They didn’t seem bothered at all that we were so close, they just seemed to enjoy roaming around the land. It was great to see thm in their natural habitat and to be so close.

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As well as the deers (with their baby foals) we also saw loads of silky otters splashing around in the water. There were giant ones as well as small ones in five or six areas across the park – three of these seemed to be doing an exercise routine where they swam and chased each other round their enclosure multiple times (so sweet). Plus we saw pole cats, which are very cute (if not a little shy) too.

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As well as the deer, otters and pole cats there were a lot of owls to stare at as well, everything from cute barn owls and snowy white ones to ones I’ve never seen before. I think these were my favourites as they were the most unexpected – with their puffy and fluffy feathers and big haunting eyes they really were gorgeous. Although I’m not sure I’d like to meet them in the woods on a dark night!

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It was such a lovely day out and perfect for getting a long walk in without even realising it! I really did fall in love with The Peak District and I can’t believe that I’ve barely even visited such a stunningly beautiful part of the world – I really have been missing out. Have a great rest of the week everyone. xx

Adventures in the Peak District – Travel Tuesday

20131021-085101.jpgOn Sunday I got back from three nights in the Peak District and it was an absolutely brilliant weekend – I loved every second! I’ve only ever been to the Peak District once before when I went for a walk around the Ladybower Reservoir up near Sheffield. You can read more about that over here! Since then I’ve been wanting to go back as it looks just so beautiful, and finally this weekend that happened! The reason? The younger sister’s birthday celebrations and seeing as she’s studying at Sheffield University, a family trip to the peaks seemed logical. After much searching we found a beautiful little cottage overlooking the river in Bakewell and we were set! We arrived on Thursday afternoon and didn’t leave this patch of paradise until Sunday lunchtime and I can honestly say I was so super relaxed whilst there. It certainly lived up to my super high expectations and the scenery was just superb, despite the less than glorious weather. But hey, what are you going to do about that?

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Whilst there we did some day trips – to see a friend in Leeds, to the Chestnut Centre Conservation and Wildlife Park and to Bolsover Castle but the shining star in the weekend was in my humble opinion, the lovely town of Bakewell. I can imagine in the summer it is fairly hectic and busy as it’s so picturesque, is close to the famous Chatsworth House and is renowned for its Bakewell Tarts, but during our weekend it was an okay amount of busy. We went for a few walks around and into the village and it seemed every corner you turned took you to quaint shops or beautiful views, not to mention a pretty river and a lovely sounding weir. Some of my favourite photos of the village are sprinkled in this post, although I’m not sure you can appreciate it’s beauty in these. As for places we visited that I can thoroughly recommend? The super cheap and brilliantly stocked charity shops, the atmospheric and brilliantly decorated Pointing Dog and Duck pub, which served food that was out of this world (there really aren’t the right superlatives I’d need to describe their chicken, leek, ham and mushroom pie), lovely looking coffee shops and Rajas – home to delicious tasting curries!

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We did of course treat ourselves to Bakewell Tarts whilst there and they really are something else when you taste a tart that is how it’s meant to be – none of the Kiplingified nonsense you are taught is the correct why. If you’ve never had one I highly recommend you rectify that asap!

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So yes that’s what I got up to over the weekend, exploring the beautiful peak district with family, if you’ve never been I highly recommend it and I will most definitely be going back. Any suggestions for where I should visit next? I’m all ears. Happy Travel Tuesday and don’t forget to visit all the other lovely people who are linking up posts with Bonnie and the rest of the lovely Travel Tuesday brigade. Happy travelling from your desk/sofa/bed everyone.

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A Compass Rose

Paris Ponderings – Travel Tuesday

Happy Tuesday one and all and how are you this lovely autumn day? I’m on countdown to Thursday right now as that’s when I’ll be off for a fun long weekend in the Peak District, hooray for travels in the UK and only two days left of work this week – whoopee!! What about you lovely peeps, what are you up to this week, anything exciting to report or anything that can better my upcoming plans?

So for today’s Travel Tuesday installments I’m heading across the English Channel to the wonders of Paris. I’ve been to Paris twice, once on a school trip (which is all quite a blur if I’m honest, I can’t remember much about it) and once about six years ago on a long weekend with family. To be honest my memories of the trip aren’t that great as I’ve come to realise I have a brain like a sieve, but when I stumbled across the following photos I decided I wanted to share the little bits I do remember with you today – so snuggle up on the sofa with a hot chocolate and let’s dive in! First up the pictures!  Below we have The Louvre, Notre Dame, Family Evans and the Eiffel Tower.

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Like I said I can’t remember much about our trip, but here’s the bits that I do remember:

  • It rained almost constantly
  • We went around Easter so there were loads and loads of yummy chocolate eggs and rabbits everywhere. Bliss.
  • I was disappointed with the Mona Lisa – who knew it was so tiny, I have to say I don’t quite understand the fuss. Hopefully that doesn’t make me an uncultured cretin…
  • We ate at a delicious restaurant at the famous Chartier Restaurant a favourite with tourists and Parisians alike. I have no idea what we ate, but I remember it was delicious, there was a fantastic amount of bustle, the restaurant has wonderful decor (check that out on the site here) and finally the waiters added up the bill on the tablecloth – love it!
  • We drove through the streets of Paris and it was fascinating to be under a graffiti covered bridge one moment and then going round the beautiful Arc de Triomphe the next. Wonderful.
  • The Louvre building is beautiful
  • I discovered what Steak Tartare is, thanks to our neighbours in a cute french cafe. I can’t even…why would you think that’s appetising?
  • Due to the storm we couldn’t go up the Eiffel Tower, although I’m not sure I’m brave enough to have gone anyway. But it was still beautiful all light up
  • I think Notre Dame is possibly my favourite Parisian building
  • I did not spend enough time sat in a coffee shop with bowls of coffee/hot chocolate and fresh from the oven pastries

What about you, have you ever been to Paris? What were your favourite parts of the city to explore? This post has definitely made me want to return so that I can properly experience all it has to offer, hopefully minus the rain and the sieve like memory!

A Compass Rose

Pacific Island of dreams – Travel Tuesday

Greetings my fellow travel loving chums and how are you this lovely Tuesday? My fingers are crossed that you’re in fine form. As for me? I’m not too bad, thanks for asking! I’m catching up with a uni friend this evening so I’m really hopeful that it’ll be a lovely day full of yummy food and A LOT of nattering! As it’s Tuesday it’s time for a look back at my travel journals (yes I do own a couple) to have a reminisce over one of my past travelling adventures as part of the Travel Tuesday link up with Bonnie over at A Compass Rose. So after you read this here blog post make sure you pop on over to Bonnie’s blog to see all the other lovely posts.

So where are we headed to today I hear you ask? Well this morning we’re off over to the wonderful Pacific Ocean and the beautiful country of Fiji, which I was lucky enough to visit back in 2007 as part of my post University travels. I’m so pleased that half way through our five month trip we managed to squeeze in this week of calm in a small corner of paradise. Not only was it absolutely stunning it was also just what we needed – a week of rest and relaxation before we hit the madness of the U S of A.

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The beautiful blue sky and glossy green vegetation of Fiji

Whilst in Fiji we split our time equally between Nadi – one of the main towns – and the beautiful Coral Coast, which is on the south of the island. This was just perfect for us as it meant we got to see two sides of this lovely country. With Nadi we got to experience a Fijian ‘city’ and  we made the most of being in the town with walks to the markets and to buy the locally made knick knacks as well as being able to watch traditional Fijian dances and spending the day on the beautiful South Sea Island for snorkeling, massages and relaxation. The island  of South Sea was no more than 50m in diameter and it was one of the most relaxing places I’ve ever been lucky enough to experience. Everywhere you looked there was just water and more water, with one or two small land masses in the far distance.

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The gorgeous beach at South Sea Island

My favourite part about our week-long Fijian trip was the Coral Coast and the beautiful Mango Bay Resort, it really was paradise. Our ‘room’ was a three person safari ‘tent’ that was 20 meters from the beautiful beach with a stunning view towards the never-ending ocean. Whilst at the resort we learnt about the culture by making baskets, coconut sweets, jewelry and experiencing the wonders of Kava, went snorkeling, kayaking, watched traditional Fijian ceremonies, sun bathed, sun bathed and sun bathed some more and even got to experience an outdoor film night with cocktails galore. It really was absolutely wondrous and I can’t remember ever being so relaxed. It was simply amazing and one day I will go back to do it all again. Fiji is simply just stunning and absolutely out-of-this-world in it’s mind boggling beauty. Do you think I’m exaggerating with all the superlatives I’m using in this post? Then just check out some of my favourite photos from that week.

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Shadows and a calm pacific ocean

 

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The restaurant and pool at Mango Bay Resort

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One of my all-time favourite pictures. Beautiful.

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One boat in a vast sea

What about you, what country have you been the most relaxed in, and what are your most stunningly beautiful pictures of? I’d love for you to leave links for me to have a gander – I love travelling from my desk at work or whilst sat on the bus! Have a lovely Tuesday each and everyone of you. xx

A Compass Rose

Coogee to Bondi Coastwalk, Australia – Travel Tuesday

Afternoon lovely blog readers, I hope you’re having a fruitful day full of lots of lovely things and if it’s been a bit rubbish so far, it’ll get better soon I’m sure. If it doesn’t improve by tonight then I would prescribe hot chocolate and digestive biscuits – always a winner in my book!
Anyway back to today’s Travel Tuesday link up with A Compass Rose and Found Love, Now What? Today’s travel post takes me to one of my favourite countries: Australia. I’m lucky to have been to Aus a few times, one of the perks of having family dotted all over the east coast I guess, but today we’re jumping into the TARDIS and revisiting my last trip there, back in April 2012.
I spent the majority of last year’s trip visiting family, but we also managed to visit one new place – the beaches of Sydney (yeah I can’t believe I’ve not been before either – ridiculous!). Rather than lazing on the beach all day we decided to walk the coastal path between Coogee Beach and Bondi Beach, which is absolutely stunningly beautiful. The walk in its entirety takes about two hours of ambling to complete via the boardwalks that take you via Bronte and Tamarama beaches as well as some lovely green parks and even a cemetery. It really was a lovely way to spend a morning and I highly recommend it for anyone that has a spare day to get out of the city.
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Coogee Beach from above
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The view from Sesquicentenary Boardwalk
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Bronte Beach
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Bondi Beach
A Compass Rose

Let’s fly, let’s fly away.

Now that I’m back from Portugal I don’t have any trips abroad planned (thanks to a depleted bank balance), so I thought I’d take the chance in today’s link up to Travel Tuesday to share the five places I most want to visit. This list is forever changing as let’s be honest there are loads of fabulous places out there. So I don’t expect this will stay the same for long, but for now I’m dreaming of packing a suitcase and visiting these lovely looking places.

The Great Ocean Road – I’m lucky enough to have been to Australia a number of times and I’ve had a ball each and every time. But I’ve never made it to The Great Ocean Road. I long to just hire a car with no thought as to where we’ll stop and just get going on this 151 mile stretch of Australia. I want to see the charming seaside villages along the coast, explore the small towns and cities like Geelong, admire the stunning vistas and see the famed apostles and everything else that this amazing area has to offer. One day.

The Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Australia -- Find great travel deals & discounts on http://www.studentrate.com/studentrate/School/Deals/Travel.aspx #travel #world #trips #vacation

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Canada – I know this is quite a sweeping place to mention, I mean it’s a massive country, but I can’t choose just one area I’m afraid! I want to visit the amazing capilano suspension bridge to view the rainforest from up high, I want to kayak around the untouched wilderness on Vancouver Island, ski in Whistler, spot polar bears and whales in Hudson Bay, visit the beautiful and exciting city of Vancouver, view the staggeringly impressive Niagara Falls in Ontario, see stunning vistas in the Rockies, visit Montreal the world’s second largest french speaking city and so so much more. It sounds like a stunningly beautiful and interesting country.

We would love this view out of our windows! Sunset over the winter scenery along the coast of Hudson Bay in Manitoba, Canada.

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Seattle – Ever since I first watched Grey’s Anatomy I’ve been determined to get to Seattle. Not because I assume I’ll get to meet Jackson and the rest of the Grey’s Anatomy cast but because it looks like such an awesome city!  It’s got the ferry boats, impressive buildings and is close to amazing forests, what’s not to love?

Seattle skyline from a different perspective.

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Zanzibar – I don’t know what there is to see in Zanzibar apart from lounge on the beaches and take in the history of the island, but for me that’s plenty. It sounds like such an exotic place so I really do want to see it for myself.

Zanzibar, Tanzania:

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New York – I’ve been to New York a few times but what I really would love is to visit it at Christmas. I can’t even imagine how wonderfully magical the city would be with all the decorations and fairy lights, I think I would be in heaven. I would love to see the shops all filled with Christmas stuff, to ice skate in central park with Christmas songs playing and to sip hot chocolates underneath the shadow of the beautiful Rockefeller tree. Blissful.

Christmas in New York City (Rockefeller center), I really hope we can make it to New York city this Christmas!

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A Compass Rose

Getting the balance right, sort of!

Last week seemed to be all about the eating and exercising, which is qwuite good I think as it means I at least got a good balance of things, yes. It’s far better to exercise a lot after eating a lot, rather than collapsing on the sofa, right? So what was all this exercise? Well over the last week I walked to work three times, did two long runs, went spinning and then enjoyed a two hour walk round London city as part of one of the London Walks.  What about the other side of the balancing scale I hear you say? Well I baked focaccia (quite a long process, but totally worth it!), went to Strada for lunch, experienced fried jam sandwich canapés (yummy!), had dinner cooked for me by Lau as part of out Ready, Steady Cook challenge and ended up at The Diner (again). Not a bad week really!
The London Walk we went on was so brilliant, and I highly recommend it. It costs just £9 for a two hour guided walking tour. Which to be honest would not normally be my thing as I normally like to find my own way, but I’m so glad I was given this as my present. It was absolutely brilliant ans so wonderuflly fascinating! We started off at Monument and ended up at the Guildhall and in between we saw lots of Christopher Wren architecture, Tower Bridge, Leadenhall Market, Pudding Lane and so so much more. There were glorious buildings, stunning churches and fascinating stories about the last thousand years. Just my cup of tea and the perfect thing to do on a Sunday morning!

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Holiday love

This week I’m in Wales and (hopefully) having a ball just relaxing, reading and eating. I cannot wait! As I’m fairly certain wifi will be almost nonexistent for most of my trip (I’m actually ridiculously excited about this) I thought I’d prep some posts to keep you entertained whilst I’m gone. So here’s one such post! As I’ve been excited for this week off for ages I thought I’d share sone thoughts on why I’m so happy about being on my holibobs. Obviously there are loads of reasons why we love a holiday and here are mine:

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Holiday Packing: The Books

So I’m off to Wales next week and I’m so excited it’s actually ridiculous! I’ve not been for a week away in the UK for I don’t know how long and I cannot wait to just laze on the beach, eat yummy food, spend time with my family and ultimately relax. I’ve been so busy over the last few weeks that I can’t wait to have a week of calmer stuff, I’m so looking forward to it that I don’t even care if the weather is rubbish! After all I can do all of the above things even if I’m stuck inside. I’ve not actually started the packing process yet, because you know that just involves too much thought. But I have started to think about packing certain things, perhaps the most important thing – the books! This is after all an integral part of the trip, so it does involve serious thought! I’ve settled on half and half – so half physical books (some of my heavy hardbacks which are a nightmare on a commute) and half on my kindle. So these are the ‘proper’ books that I’m taking with me.

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Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman – I’ve been meaning to read a Neil Gaiman book for so long as I’ve heard so much good stuff about them and recently I purchased a few of his books online. This is the only one that’s a hardback and heavy so it seems the perfect option for Wales. I really hope it lives up to my high expectations, not just because I’ve got another three books by him at home, but because I want to love his work and appreciate it in the way that so many others do.

Heroes of Olympus: Son of Poseidon, Rick Riordan – I’m a little obsessed with Rick Riordan’s writing and I’m flabbergasted that I haven’t yet read this book – it’s been out for years so I’ve go no excuse!

Six years, Harlan Coben – I love a Harlan Coben story and I picked up his latest when on my way to Dublin a few weeks ago. I’ve not yet read it because it’s a hefty tome and too much weight to be lugging around all day in this heat. But on holiday when I plan on moveing from beach to sofa to bed, it’ll be perfect.

Not Without You, Harriet Evans – Harriet Evans’ books are the perfect beach side reads, so I’ve been saving her latest novel for just this eventuality. Coupled with an ice cream it’ll make the perfect afternoon at the beach even better.

The Enemy, Charlie Higson – This has been on my list forever, so I’m going to tick it off over the holiday…hopefully

As for the Kindle books, what do I have on there I hear you ask? Well to be honest I have 58 unread books on my Kindle – yes seriously. I honestly didn’t realise it was that many – I’m a total book-a-holic clearly. There are a couple of manuscripts that I want to read from work, but there are also some other books on there that need to be read. I think the next ones on my list are:

The Knife of Never Letting Go, Patrick Ness – Another writer that I’ve been meaning to read for ages – I think I bought this book at least a year or go, oops!

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce – This book sounds so good and has received rave reviews, plus I love the sound of her new novel (it’s on my Amazon wishlist for Christmas already) so I need to read this before I get that one.

The Casual Vacancy, J. K. Rowling – I love Harry Potter (no secret there) and so I’m so intrigued to read this novel. It’ll be interesting to read a book by J.K. Rowling which doesn’t include her famous characters and judge her writing on her skill and not get caught up in my love for those characters.

The Silver Linings Playbook, Matthew Quick – Another book I’ve heard loads about – all good – so I figure I should see for myself what all the fuss is about. And I can also visualise Bradley Cooper as I read – perfect!

Something tells me I’ll be busy on this holiday, after all I’ve nine books (and two manuscripts) to read. Bring it on I say! What about you, what have you been reading and do you have any top recommendations?

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