The Bloke and I have taken to going out on day trips mid-week as of late, taking advantage of the general working day and term-time schedules to visit places that would be busier at the weekends. We’ve got Annual English Heritage passes which allows us unlimited free entry into English Heritage sites and discounts on other places like Blenheim Palace, and living in the West Midlands means that we are lucky enough to be a short drive away from some stunning stately homes, castles and historical places of interest.
One such place is Witley Court.
A hidden gem, I couldn’t believe that I had never heard of it before (despite living in Birmingham since 2001), and it is just a forty minute drive away from where I live.
Meet Lorna! She’s the creator of Gin & Lemonade and a prolific blogger.
I’ve written about Gin and Lemonade before – Lorna has become well-known within the blogging community and I’ve watched her blog (and content) grow and evolve enormously within the last few years, particularly as she moved over from dot com to a new self-hosted blog.
Lorna lives in Skye, writes, reads and lives quite happily with her husband, their daughter and lots of books. She’s in her 30’s, is a wife, a mother, and is a wheelchair-user. She explains more in her rather epic ‘About’ page: Continue reading →
Ever had one of those enormously frustrating days where absolutely nothing goes as it should?
After waiting for nearly six weeks, I attended a very disappointing appointment yesterday. I had been almost looking forward to it in the hope that it would bring a resolution to an ongoing medical issue that I’ve been having, only to be called ‘darling,’ talked at for five minutes and then be told that what I needed should have been done by the person who referred me six weeks ago, which she hasn’t been able to do because of the condition that has warranted the referral in the first place. Continue reading →
The Bloke and I decided to spontaneously go out on a day trip the other day – we’ve both been feeling a little low and have cabin fever from being in the house for an extended period of time, so we both took the day off and went to Blenheim Palace. As you do. It is something that has been on my UK bucket list for a while, the weather was fairly reasonable and surprisingly, it’s only a 90 minute drive away from Birmingham.
Most famously known as being the birthplace of Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace is the principal residence of the Duke of Marlborough and the only non-royal country house in England that holds the title of ‘palace.’ Built between 1705 and 1722, it was a gift to John Churchill – the 1st Duke of Marlborough – by Queen Anne in thanks for his victory at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704, and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.Continue reading →
A few weeks ago I was forwarded a message by my Canadian blog friend – a short Facebook post that had been shared in a group that I am not a member of, but she is. The post was from a blogger who lived in my local area (although I didn’t know her), putting out a request for a blogging companion to accompany her to an event that she was attending at the end of the month. I contacted her and we messaged back and forth over a few days. We found that have a few people and things in common, including the fact that her husband works at the same place as one of my friends. A few days later, we met up at the event and immediately got on really well – she was warm and friendly, easy to talk to, I instantly liked her and had a really enjoyable evening. So much so, in fact, that I thoroughly intend on meeting up with her again in the future for lunch or coffee.Continue reading →
It’s Chinese New Year, and in celebration I recently attended a Supper Club event at Kitchen Gallery SieMatic in the Mailbox.
Those of you who have followed the blog for a while will know of my love for Chinese food, but I’ve never had the opportunity to experience a ‘Supper Club’ before. The concept is experiencing a revival as of late, with roving premises (sometimes only revealed when guests purchase a ticket), a restricted menu, and guests are seated around a single table, often with people they don’t know.
Our hosts for the evening were Wing Yip (there are currently four Wing Yip Asian food superstores in the UK – the first and largest is located in Birmingham), and Pippa Middlehurst (Pippyeats). Pippa was the Winner of the first series of BBC’s Best Home Cook, hosted by Mary Berry and Claudia Winkleman, and she now runs her own enormously popular workshops, Supper Clubs and private events. The Kitchen Gallery SieMatic is a working showroom (and I and all the other guests remarked at how the design of the kitchen and dining area were ‘goals’ for our own homes). Continue reading →
Those who follow the blog regularly will know that I love a good musical. I’ve been lucky enough to see a number of musicals performed in theatres both locally in Birmingham, in Manchester, on the West End in London and even on Broadway over the last decade. However, there’s one musical in particular that is my favourite above all the others, that I know inside out and will watch over and over while feeling like I’ve been reunited with a group of friends every time I do…
As with most things, I was very late to the RENT party, only discovering its brilliance in 2016 – 20 years after its first Off Broadway performance, 11 years after the release of the movie and 8 years after its final Broadway performance. Continue reading →
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small amount of money if you make a purchase from any of the Amazon links included…
I love Barcelona. The Bloke and I were lucky enough to visit a few years ago and it was an amazing experience. However, like any popular tourist destination it can be expensive and difficult to navigate, so here are 20 travel and money-saving tips when traveling to Barcelona for the first time!
Choose your hotel wisely. When going on a city break, it’s more than likely that you will spend most of your time outside, but, for me at least, it’s important that the room is clean and you feel safe to leave possessions behind while you are out exploring. We did very little research on this, but were extremely lucky with what we booked. The Hotel Sant Augusti was exactly that – clean, safe and in a fabulous location, being right next to one of the main metro lines, La Bouquiera Market, the beach, The Gothic Quarter and La Rambla. It also served a buffet breakfast every morning from 7.30am – 11.00am and had free wi-fi, which was useful when keeping in contact with loved ones.
Work out in advance what it is that you really want to see, and where possible, book tickets online before you go as there are enormous queues and long waits for the main attractions. For example, we arrived at La Sagrada Familia early, but had to queue for about half an hour to buy a ticket and then waited a further three hours before we were allowed in as there were timed entrance spots. It may be also useful to take a guidebook and print off maps of the areas you wish to travel to in advance – we had to buy a map when we were there and soon discovered that it was poorly labelled and many of the sights and attractions were in the wrong place. Continue reading →
I’ve often referred to myself as the Queen of Procrastination. It has been a problem that began in early adulthood – finding anything and everything I possibly could do instead of something that was important, effectively becoming extremely proficient at doing nothing. Don’t believe me? Here’s how I regularly wasted my time when a deadline was looming.
My procrastination was always at its worst when:
I knew that a task wouldn’t be an easy or short process.
I found something difficult.
I was rebelling against something or someone because I don’t like being told what to do, even if the person telling me to do something was myself.
I had to go through the process of learning something new before I even began.
I found it boring and/or monotonous, making it become a chore.
I wasn’t under pressure with an impending deadline and/or wasn’t accountable to anyone else.
It’s a little belated, but Happy New Year! The Bloke and I celebrated by indulging in a slightly more healthy set of snacky treats than the cheese and Toblerone apocalypse that was Christmas, watching Stardust for the bajillionth time followed by broadcast of the fireworks from the bank of the Thames and the London Eye, after which we went to bed.
Party animals, we are not. Even now, at the rather spring-chicken-esque age of 37, I think it’s safe to say that my days of throwing on a dress the size of a tea towel and strutting my stuff around a heaving nightclub in a pair of heels that would make my feet hurt for a week are long gone – even the mere thought it sends me running upstairs to find my comfy jammies and slippers.Continue reading →