Category Archives: Travel

Five reasons to visit Bruges

visit Bruges
Bruges is an unspoilt medieval town in Belgium that’s often referred to as the Venice of the North. Cobbled streets, medieval buildings and canals are all great reasons to visit Bruges, but the city has much more to offer than you’d expect.

Why you should totally visit Bruges

Just as Guinness tastes better in Dublin, beer tastes better in Bruges. The De Halve Maan brewery is worth visiting at the beginning of your trip; you’ll learn all about how local beers are produced and it will help you navigate the extensive beer lists at every pub, bar and restaurant in the city.

Unlike many other historic cities in Europe, no bombs fell on Bruges during either of the two world wars. The entire city is a UNESCO world heritage site and there are medieval buildings to greet you at every turn.

Secret Bruges
Residential Bruges to the locals, although it’s mere minutes from the central squares. This area is home to the historic Jerusalem Chapel as well as a number of start-up trendy restaurants and design firms. You’ll also find the windmills here and a few nice pubs.

The people
Everyone I spoke to in Bruges was friendly, helpful and welcoming. We were in Bruges the night Belgium lost to Argentina in the World Cup and watched the match with locals on a big outdoor screen in the centre of town. The atmosphere was fantastic and despite losing I didn’t see any animosity or fights brewing.

The city is always full of tourists which would drive me crazy (all us people slowly wandering around, looking up and posing for photos by the canal) but the Belgians seem to embrace it. They’re brilliant fun and genuinely want to help you make the most of their city.

I love the water, whether that’s the sea, a lake or a canal. So I bloody loved Bruges. The canal network winds round the city and the bridges are as old and as picturesque as you’d imagine. Bruges might be described as the Venice of the North, but it reckon it’s Venice that’s the Bruges of the South.

Have you had a chance to visit Bruges? I was surprised by how much I loved it!

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10 things I love about Glastonbury Festival

1) The perfect pitch20140624-203131-73891432.jpg

2) Creative politics

3) Fantastic food and the cutest little places to eat, like this place near the Park Stage

4) That one time I got a press pass, drank tequila with some people who knew some person in some band, got to use clean flushing toilets and showered every day

5) Has recycling ever looked so tempting?

6) The magic, peace, solitude, craziness and creativity of the Green Fields

7) Fancy dress

8) Friends and sunshine, what more could you want?

9) Laughter yoga. If everyone started their day with laughter yoga the world would be a better place.

10) Shangri-La, where anything goes. Day or night there’s just nothing like it.

Other things I love about Glastonbury:

  • The food – especially the jerk chicken
  • Trash city
  • Crashing out in the shade under the tree near the pyramid stage
  • The excitement of getting the programme and circling every act you want to see, just like with the Radio Times at Christmas
  • Escaping the heat in the comedy tent
  • Escaping the heat in the spoken word tent
  • Random arts and crafts activities around the site

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I should be on my way to Glastonbury festival right now.

Waking up at 3am, taking a final long shower, packing up the car, triple checking the dry shampoo supply, listening to early morning radio, watching the sunrise, catching a glimpse of Stonehenge, making our way through Frome, hitting local traffic, passing Castle Cary and remembering that one time we took the train and it took forever, crawling into the field to park, crossing our fingers that the queue isn’t too long, palming responsibility for carrying the tent onto whoever I’m with, queuing, singing, queuing, singing, getting the wristband, finding our pitch, greeting old friends, pitching the tent, a celebratory tin of cider.

Two days of quiet Glastonbury before the madness and mayhem begins on Friday. That first walk alone in front of the Pyramid stage before it’s fully constructed. That special feeling I’ve only ever experienced at Glastonbury. It’s a magical place.

Instead I broke my leg and had to give my ticket back – but thank goodness for excessive coverage on the BBC. You’ll find me camped out in front of the TV this weekend in a homemade den this weekend. Bring on Blondie.

Humans of New York blog

Every so often you come across a blog that grabs you. You inevitably find it at 11pm and before you know it it’s two in the morning and you’re greedily reading every post they’ve ever published.

The Humans of New York blog is one of those blogs. It’s a simple concept executed to perfection. Uplifting, inspiring, thought-provoking… all those adjectives that don’t come close to describing how you really feel.

I love it when a small piece of a New Yorker’s life appears in my blog reader during the day. Sometimes it’s just the distraction I need to focus.

Humans of New York blog

“I was never once afraid to fight. I was a brawler. A bull. I even fought in Madison Square Garden. But it knocked me out for a whole year when my mom died.”

Humans of New York blog

“Saddest moment? How am I supposed to choose between losing my parents and seeing my friends die in Vietnam? I don’t categorize those things. Listen, a person is like a rubber band ball. We’ve all got a lot of bad rubber bands, and a lot of good rubber bands, and they’re all wrapped up together. And you’ve got to have both types of bands or your rubber band ball ain’t gonna bounce. And no use trying to untangle them. You know what I’m saying?”

Humans of New York blog

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“A mom.”
“What’s going to be the hardest part about being a mom?”
“Bath time.”

Humans of New York blog

“If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?”
“Be kind and thoughtful.”
“What’s your greatest struggle right now?”
“Being kind and thoughtful. Because I’ve got some friends that are driving me freaking nuts.”

All images from Humans of New York –

Boats at sea in Sandbanks

Throwback Thursday – Sandbanks

Boats at sea in Sandbanks

It was my final term of university and things were getting stressful. One morning my close friend and housemate popped her head into my room and said she was going to Sandbanks to escape for a while, and would I like to go too?

Minutes later the three of us (best friends and housemates) dropped everything, got into the car and ate chocolate covered marshmallows as we drove to Sandbanks, one of the finest places on the south coast. It was uncharacteristic behaviour for us all (we had exams to study for, dissertations to write, books to read…) but without realising it we all desperately needed a break and some quality time having fun together.

We were so excited to see the sea and skipped along the beach for ages before stopping for afternoon tea and cake. After more time on the beach we drove to Corfe Castle where we ran up and down the hills, posed for pictures, danced and sang. We’re an easily pleased bunch.

Afterwards we wandered around the area and saw a steam train. Then we found a lake in a field and sat by it for a while, lying back to gaze at the sky and zone out. When it got cold we drove back to Sandbanks (at which point I snapped the picture above), treated ourselves to dinner and drove back to our house.

This was one of the happiest afternoons of my life. I’m not sure what made it so wonderful, but looking back at the pictures from that day I’ve honestly never seen us look so good. Rosy cheeks and wispy hair really worked for us that day! Spontaneity had paid off and we took so much pleasure from the simple things in life that day – friendship, tea and fresh sea air.

Each Thursday I post a photo from the past, usually with a few words about where and when it was taken. You might like to read last week’s Throwback Thursday – Boston.

Building reflected in Boston

Throwback Thursday – Boston

Building reflected in Boston

Each Thursday I post a photo from the past, usually with a few words about where and when it was taken.

As a teenager I was lucky enough to spend a week in the city of Boston. I flew over for a family celebration and on my last day there my cousins kindly took me on a trip around the city. I think we grabbed some lunch in Quincy Market and I must have taken this photo, of buildings reflected on a building, on our way there.

If you know what this building is, or can name the reflected buildings, please let me know!

A short holiday in Harrogate, Yorkshire

Betty's tea rooms Harrogate
Last week I said goodbye to London and took a little holiday in Harrogate. We had a fantastic time wandering past the old buildings, eating breakfast at Betty’s and even paid a visit to the Turkish baths.

Thoughts about Harrogate: the air is fresh and clean, the people are incredibly friendly and yes, even in the most expensive Northern town around, house prices are a lot cheaper than in London.

Full post about Harrogate coming soon.

Afternoon tea – how do you eat yours?

When we were in Rye (yeah, I’m still going on about that) we decided that once the Royal baby arrived we would ‘celebrate’ with a traditional cream tea. For some reason we needed an excuse and that was the most apt reason we could come up with.

The baby didn’t arrive during our time in Rye. So on our last afternoon we tucked into scones, jam and clotted cream for no other reason than we really wanted to. On doing so we questioned the proper way to prepare a scone: is it the cream or the jam that goes on the scone first?

Help me out – how do you eat yours?!

A History of New York in 50 Objects

I romanticise New York all out of proportion. So much so that I dedicated a large chunk of my studies to the city as it fascinates and excites me. When I was younger there was no where else that I wanted to live.

As I’ve grown older and wiser my love for the city has started to fade. I’d like to visit again, but it is no longer at the top of my list. As for living there… well, I think London is more suited to my tastes. Which is just as well as I love my life in London and why risk trading that for the fantasy of a place I barely know?

Anyway, romanticism aside, I found this History of New York in 50 Objects in my bookmarks and thought I would share.

From the Mastodon Tusk (11,000 B.C.) to the Bagel (early 1900s) and the Levittown House (1947) this is a must-read for anyone interested in cities.

Which of the objects do you think screams ‘New York’ the loudest?