life

A roadtrip to St Albans

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One of my aims this year is to discover new places in the UK.  There really are so many places within driving distance that I have never seen.  So this week my boyfriend picked a place and I got in the car not knowing where we were going to end up.  An hour and a bit later (after I had made him sing a long to many disney songs!) we ended up in the quaint and pretty town of St Albans.

First stop, as always with us, was food! We had a wander around and ended up in the ‘Tudors restaurant’ which is part of the White Hart Hotel.  It was a quiet and cosy pub restaurant and the food was delicious.

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With full bellies we wrapped up warm again and walked to the cathedral which was just opposite the restaurant.  It was huge and absolutely stunning inside and out.  It is actually the oldest cathedral in Britain that is still regularly in use.  There is something so peaceful to walking around a cathedral.  Suddenly the world seems so much slower and it’s so nice to take that time to reflect.

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Next we headed to the Verulamium Park which is 100 acres of greenery and wildlife.  If we had left it up to my boyfriend Martyn we definitely would have got lost but I managed to find a map which lead us there after a slight unplanned detour.

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Inside the park was a beautiful ornamental lake which was home to many ducks, swans and herons.  I would love to see the park come alive in the summer.

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The city centre was very quintessentially British. It had all the great well known shops mixed in with original independent stores.  I couldn’t resist a visit to Lush to pick up some new bath bombs though!

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I absolutely adore living in London.  I love the energy and the buzz of the city yet as I visit more of these quieter towns I can definitely see the appeal.  The sense of calm is something I love to relish in when I visit as it is such a contrast to the hustle and bustle (and stress!) of a capital city.  Maybe one day I will take the leap to move out the city and will find myself in a similar town to St Albans.  But for now I love discovering new places like it and paying a visit.

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What are some of your favourite towns or cities? I need some more to add to my every growing travel list!

xxx

Thoughts

YOU GOT THIS #2

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Welcome to week 2 of ‘You Got This’.  I started a new weekly series on my blog last Monday in which every week I will set an intention or a piece of motivation for the week ahead.  A friendly weekly reminder that ‘you got this!

This coming week I’m going to focus on…

‘The power of compliments’

Compliments are actually pretty difficult.  Whether this is receiving them or giving them.  I am always one to instantly dismiss a compliment if I receive one.  The typical response to something such as ‘Your hair looks nice today’ would be ‘Really?! OMG no it doesn’t.  I got caught in the rain and my fringe won’t do what I want it to do and blah blah blah…’  What I’m really saying is I can’t possibly accept something nice about myself and must put myself down immediately.  Why do we always do this?! Equally in turn sometimes giving a compliment is hard to do especially to someone you don’t know very well or a complete stranger.  I think so many compliments in my head but sometimes feel embarrassed to say them out loud to the person.  The brain plays its tricks on you and tells you they’ll think your weird, or that you’re lying or you’ll appear too gushy.

Recently I was on the tube and as a woman got off she pointed to the girls opposites shoes and exclaimed ‘Great shoes!’ before jumping off onto the platform.  I looked at the girl and she beamed. It was a real moment of seeing the power of a compliment.  Especially off a stranger.  That woman only said two words and had taken 1 second out of her day but I could see it made a lasting impact.  Maybe that girl had been having a rough morning and it was the first time she had felt good that day.  Or maybe she was on her way to something she was nervous about and it gave her a little bit of added confidence to face it.  You never know what power your compliment may give someone.  It may even turn their whole day, week, year, life around?

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

Leo Buscaglia

Giving a sincere compliment and receiving one is a perfect two way street to happiness. The person receiving it feels happier and equally the person giving it.  What’s a better gift than giving someone that confidence boost we often find so hard to give ourselves?

“Compliment people.  Magnify their strengths, not their weaknesses.”

Joyce Meyer

So this week I am going to aim to say more of my compliments out loud and proud.  Lets take that little extra time out of our day to boost someones mood with a honest compliment and if your are feeling brave a strangers!  Stop someone on the street, in the local shop or on the bus and let them know if you like something about them.  You can run away after so they don’t feel embarrassed but honestly I know it will make their day! You will definitely brighten up that persons mood that moment and who knows what else you may inspire from one little compliment. Also, I am going to accept any compliment given to me.  That person has taken the effort to say it so lets believe it.

I wish you a wonderful week ahead!

YOU GOT THIS!

xxxx

life

Hogwarts In The Snow

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Where is one of the most magical places in England? I have to say that ‘Hogwarts in the Snow’ at Warner Bros Studios is right up there on my list.  I have been around Christmas time for the past three years, I think it has now become a tradition with my boyfriend which I am absolutely fine with.

You arrive and are escorted into a room surrounded by videos with an introduction to all things Potter and how the story started.  Next you are lead into a cinema as Dan, Emma and Rupert talk about what when on behind the scenes of the films.  The most magical part is when the cinema screens pull apart to reveal the doors to the Great Hall.  I think even the most cynical person would find it hard not to suppress that bubble of excitement inside, as you see your childhood right there before your eyes.  The doors are pulled open and you are transported right into the world of Potter.

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As you can see the Great Hall is all decked out for Christmas.  Flaming puddings, christmas trees, christmas wreaths, crackers and an epic christmas feast.  Dumbledore went all out!

You are then left to your own accord to discover the rest of the tour. The detail that went into every set, character, costume and prop is utterly incredible.

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Now is the chance for you to actually become a part of it all with the magic of green screen! You can fly on a broomstick, get your photo taken for a ‘Undesirable No 1’ wanted poster and learn some duelling wand moves.

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One of the newer elements to the tour is the Hogwarts Express.  I always let out a little squeal of excitement each time I see it and of course must get the standard ‘running through the platform wall’ snap.

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See you later muggles! I’m off to Hogwarts!

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When I visited two years ago they had fake snow falling over the outside part of the tour but this year they didn’t.  I’m not sure whether this was just due to weather conditions or if they have got rid of it.  Even so, wrapping up warm and enjoying a butter beer in Privet Drive is pretty magical.

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One of my favourite parts of the tour has to be Diagon Alley.  Each shop window is originally handcrafted from the sweet packages in ‘Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes’ to the wand boxes in ‘Ollivanders’.

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Just when you think it can’t get any more magical, the last part of the tour is the breath taking Hogwarts model.  It looks even more stunning sprinkled in snow.

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I had such a wonderful visit this year and I am already planning a fourth trip. I definitely recommend a visit! You still have time to catch ‘Hogwarts in the Snow’ as it doesn’t end till the 29th January.

‘Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home’.

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Comment below if you have been or are planing a trip and which house you are! Any fellow Hufflepuffs?

xxx

 

Thoughts

YOU GOT THIS



Welcome to a new weekly series on my blog – “You Got This!”

Basically every Monday I’m going to give myself and anyone reading an intention or piece of motivation for the week ahead. Be it a quote to think about, a way of looking at things differently or an inspiring story. Just something to start the week off from a positive and reflective place. Making myself and you feel like ‘you got this!’ as we approach the week ahead. So I hope you will join me each week and comment below any personal thoughts and inspiration. 

I originally had a different post written out for today yet ‘life happened’ and forced me to create a new intention for my week ahead. 

So, this weeks intention is….

‘Don’t sweat the small stuff!’ 

I gratefully received a new laptop for Christmas and part of it was paid off too by money I had saved throughout the year. I had been waiting to own a new laptop for a while now and it quickly became my most prized possession. Allowing me to plan a few posts ideas on it after Christmas. However today as I came to edit this post it completely kapooted on me. No warning. Just turned off and wouldn’t turn back on. I tried everything but for some reason it completely died. I am having to send it off for a few weeks and not sure when I will be able to get a replacement at the moment. 
My initial response was frustration and annoyance along the lines of ‘why me?!’ and ‘This is so unfair!’ That bubble of frustration and self pity we all feel  when something doesn’t go to plan.

I then realised I had two options. I could moan and whinge and wallow in my self pity the whole day or I could take action, work to get it fixed and carry on with my life. Because in the grand scheme of life it really isn’t a big deal. My family are happy and healthy, I have a roof over my head and food on the table so why I am spending so much energy sweating over this! Possessions are just pieces of material at the end of the day. 

“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights” Maya Angelou

I am the first to admit that I can get wrapped up in my own head and allow all the small things to break me and ruin my whole day. Be it a late train, spilt coffee or the man who elbows you on the tube…. These things are frustrating but are we giving them more importance to our happiness than we should have?! They only have the power to get you down if you give them that power. 

As soon as something small starts to niggle at you. Take a deep breath , take action to fix it if you can and if not then list the 5 things you are truly grateful for and hold the most importance in your life. Sometimes all it takes is a gentle reminder to get you out of a downward spiral in your head. 

It’s going to be hard but this week I am going to make that conscious effort to always consider the much bigger picture. 

Don’t sweat the small stuff! 

I wish you a wonderful week ahead. 

You got this! 

Xxxx

Fashion & Beauty

The perfect high street coat….

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I have been LIVING in this camel coat from Zara this autumn/winter! It’s an incredible piece which I have just discovered is now on sale for £49.99!  I had been on the hunt for a high street camel coloured coat and this really hit the jackpot!

Shop it here 

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My favourite combination at the moment is the coat with this Tan printed Primark scarf priced at £7.00.  I love the camel colour combined with the block colours in the scarf.

Shop it here 

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I took these photos on a trip to the beautiful city of Bath where we stayed in these cute little lodges just outside the city.

Read more on my blog post about our weekend here

I am currently on the hunt for a quilted puffer coat with a faux fur trim as it’s starting to get a lot colder *cries*. Let me know if you have found any great high street puffers?

xxx

 

Health & Wellbeing

YOGA REVOLUTION

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One new years resolution I am SO excited to start is ‘Yoga Revolution’, a 31 day yoga challenge created by Adriene Mishlar which you can complete all from the comfort of your home for FREE!

My love for yoga started roughly five years ago when I would attend Bikram Yoga classes at local studios. Whilst performing on-board the cruise ship last year I was looking to continue practising yet couldn’t attend classes.  This is when I discovered Adriene’s Youtube channel ‘Yoga With Adriene’ and started her ’30 Day Yoga Challenge’.  It was the perfect mix of yoga, mindfulness and light heartedness AND the fact that you can do it all from the comfort of your living room makes it so accessible for absolutely everyone. WINNER!

If you’re looking for a friendly introduction to yoga or simply looking for a free way to burn off all those mince pies, I urge you to join me for her ‘Revolution Yoga’.  She will be uploading a new video practise to her youtube every day in January.

Here is DAY ONE!

 

It’s going to be an incredible journey! Not only does Yoga help to sculpt and tone your muscles but it frees your mind, helps you live in the moment and connect to your true self.

“Yoga is really the art of waking up. Getting back to the true you. It can be that simple. Yoga offers up a way for us to see a world that is working for you instead of against you.  Yoga reminds me that everything is connected so we must live, act, dance, breathe with awareness. If the journey really is the reward, then by golly I choose to enJOY the journey. I hope you will join me.” Adriene Mishlar

Thank you Adriene for creating such a happy online yoga community!

Namaste.

xxx

 

 

 

life

A Long Weekend in Bath….(part one)

 

 

So I recently took a much needed long weekend off work and spent it in a country lodge in the City of Bath with my boyfriend.  Bath had always been on my bucket list of places to visit and after watching the Michalak’s vlog ‘Lets Move to Bath’ (watch here – http://tinyurl.com/je2avwf ) it was all the convincing I needed to get my butt into gear and actually book it.

We stayed in the cutest country lodge just outside the city called ‘Bath Mill Lodge’.  We had previously fallen in love with these lodges last year after staying in a similar one in Guildford.  It’s private and cosy allowing you to feel like you’re in the secluded countryside yet easily in reach of the City and also the onsite facilities such as a gym, bar and restaurant. It definitely has that all important ‘hygee’ factor too!

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We arrived on a Friday evening after a three hour drive from London (we definitely made the mistake of listening to the sat nav which took us through a VERY busy Fulham…) So after quite a long drive the first thing we did was find the local to pick up some bits and bobs for the lodge.  The first thing I noticed as I stepped out of the car was how fresh the air felt.  As soon as you step out of the crazy wonderful but busy (and extremely polluted…) bubble of London, it suddenly becomes so much easier just to simply breathe.  I instantly felt a wave of calm as I took some long breaths.  Even though Martyn initially laughed at my pure excitement of fresh air he also agreed.  Anyway, after I got over the concept of breathing we decided to finish the evening with dinner at the onsite restaurant.  We were greeted with complimentary champagne and a glorious meal as we planned what to explore over the weekend.

Up bright and early..(ish) Saturday morning we started with a tour of the city of Bath using the podcast ‘World Heritage Site Audio Tour’. We discovered this podcast from the website visitbath.co.uk and it was free to download from ITunes onto your mobile.  It was the perfect companion to have with you as it pointed out and explained parts of this beautiful city we may had initially just walked past.  It takes you through the whole city with a total of 12 stops and the best thing being it is TOTALLY FREE!

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The whole city is just so historic. You feel as though you have stepped back in time as you wander over the cobbled streets and look up at the amazing architecture.  Of course there is a Primark and a few Costa Coffees that bring you back to the 21st century but apart from that you feel as though you have stepped into a Victorian novel.

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One of the stops was the beautiful Bath Abbey.

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One of the most famous sights of Bath is the Royal Crescent.  It’s a magificent row of ultimate house goals, maybe one day eh!!

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After the Michalak’s recommendation and also the suggestions on VisitBath a place I was extremely excited to visit was ‘Sully Luns Buns’.

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Luckily we didn’t have to wait too long for a table for two but I did see at times that the queue would be out the door! And now I know why! MY GOSH! These buns are delicious. We both opted for the famous Bun and Jam with Sally Lunn Bunn’s own tea.  Definitely will be returning here next time to sample more from the menu….

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Although I didn’t plan this it happened to be Guy Fawkes night that Saturday. I have never been one for big fireworks displays but I have to say watching the display from the famous Pulteney Bridge over this magical city was a moment I will never forget.

Part two will be up soon, with pictures of when we explored the Roman Baths.

Let me know of your favourite cities to visit, definitely want to explore more cities in the near future!

xxxxx