Category Archives: Travel

Life in Miniature

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If you’ve happened to stumble upon my earlier post “Utopia HQ“, you’ll know how much I love beautiful National Trust property Wallington House, previously the much-loved Northumberland home of the unconventional Trevelyan family.

Among Wallington’s quirky curiosities is the gorgeous Doll’s House room, which lovingly displays 18 houses, the oldest of which dates to 1835, and which includes the Hammond House, with 36 fully furnished rooms, 1,500 pieces of furniture and 77 china faced dolls. The Hammond House has electric lights in every room and even had running water! No trip to Wallington is complete for me until I’ve spent some time gazing through the tiny net curtained windows, and peeking into the often busy world of the dolls. I hope these photos give you a little taste of this life in miniature. Continue reading Life in Miniature

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Tripadvisor: When reviews go bad!

A couple of years ago, my partner and I were preparing for a two-week roadtrip across the north-eastern US states. Ten states in two weeks required quite a lot of research, and TripAdvisor quickly became one of our most trusted allies in the search for decent motels. Now, if you’re no stranger to TripAdvisor, you’ll know that the wise TripAdvisee tends to filter out the best and worst reviews as the dumping ground for the over-enthusiastic (such as Alec Baldwin’s guest appearance in Friends):

Or the overly-negative:

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Anyway, we spent considerable time researching motels in Atlantic City (top tip: Don’t stay in a motel in Atlantic City. Trawl and trawl until you find a special offer at the Golden Nugget, for example. On arrival, put on your most English accent and say you’re only in the city for one night, it would be bloody brilliant to have a room with a view. Result: hopefully end up with this): Continue reading Tripadvisor: When reviews go bad!

Weekender: Edinburgh

Edinburgh, capital of Scotland, is almost unrivalled amongst the great cities of the world for history, culture, architecture and beauty. It really is the city that has it all (apart from the weather!). I was lucky enough to do my Masters degree at Edinburgh University, and then lived and worked in Edinburgh for 5 years. I know the city like the back of my hand and even though I moved away 7 years ago, I still miss it sometimes – there’s nothing like feeling inspired every time you walk around your home city. I still visit family and friends there frequently, and never tire of the blast of bagpipes from the piper on the corner of Princes Street and Waverley every time I exit the train station.

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Princes Street

Edinburgh’s tourist attractions are world-renowned – the Royal Mile, an ancient cobbled street leading from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace (the Queen’s residence in Edinburgh – you can tell she’s home when the Royal Standard flag is flying); Prince’s Street; and the Edinburgh Festival to name a few. So I thought I’d take you off the beaten track for a behind-the-scenes look at Edinburgh’s better kept secrets.

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Bridge above Calton Street, below the Royal Mile

Continue reading Weekender: Edinburgh

The House of Tomatoes

Hello! If you’re feeling a bit bleugh because it’s Monday morning tomorrow and work awaits, then let me me introduce you to my blog friend Jessie over at A World named Jessie. As a collector of all things eclectic and unusual, when I stumbled across Jessie’s blog I felt like I had discovered a kindred spirit of the blog world. Always different, her take on life is both cynical and uplifting at the same time; quirky, strange and always interesting; artistic and frequently hilarious. “The House of Tomatoes” made me laugh so much – it’s my all-time favourite blog post. Thanks Jessie, keep it up, we need more strange!

A World

Finally, after 20 years, I stopped. At the side of the road with the red flapping Coca-Cola umbrella, motherly nurturing within her shaded midriff, a couple dozen sacks of tomatoes. Alongside a bucket, cradling a few lengthy cucumbers, adorned with relevant tomato clip-art, a sticker, ‘The House of Tomatoes’.

A wall light, well worn, seemed to be taking place of an assistance bell. Before I saw this button, admiring the stand and its contents provided relief. After all these years, passing this stall, I’d finally stopped and given into a lifetime of curiosity. But once I had laid eyes on the button, the stall turned from initial enchantment to horror story.

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My weekend with Richard

A car park in Leicester, in the English Midlands, may not seem like the obvious inspiration for a weekend break – but this weekend, it could well be one of the most interesting places to be in the UK. Let me hand over to my friend Jen at Adventures in Ink to explain…

Tales from the Notepad

I may have been neglecting my blog for a while, sadly, but no more!

I am so excited that this weekend is finally here – my weekend with Richard (III, for those who weren’t aware of my obsession). When it was announced that they had found Richard III’s body in that famous Leicester car-park, I knew I had to visit, and so I did, last August, for what I imagined would be the only time…

A very excited me, by a certain excavated parking space... A very excited me, by a certain excavated parking space…

And then, I had a very lucky day in December – having entered the public ballot, I was delighted to receive an invite to the service of Compline on Sunday 22nd March. I, of course, said yes.

So here we are, two sleeps from my weekend in Leicester, and I felt obliged to warn you that there may be a lot of random uploads and…

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Weekender: Norfolk, England

I grew up in Norfolk, so I am more than slightly biased, but there’s no denying that it’s an amazing weekend destination. It’s a land of flat and gently rolling barley fields and poppies, home to the Bowie-name-checked Norfolk Broads, endless miles of golden sandy beaches, flint houses, thatched cottages, windmills, ancient churches, village greens and country pubs.

Poppyland

Norfolk is a county that has no motorways, gets the best of the British summer sun, and has produced national treasures as diverse as Admiral Lord Nelson, Stephen Fry and Alan Partridge. The pace of life is slow and gentle, and it sometimes feels like not much has changed since the 1950’s. Continue reading Weekender: Norfolk, England

Amsterdam gone polka dot crazy!

Melba Sunshine

One of the things I loved most about Amsterdam is the narrow streets to explore for hours with lots of quirky shops hidden away in discreet wee corners. Getting nostalgic browsing through my old holiday snaps I came across this amazingly unique shop I took on my first trip to Amsterdam in 2009. How extremely cool is this? It would be lovely to know this quirky nook in this amazing city still exists.

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