I really enjoy travelling to new places and exploring somewhere I’ve never been before; whether abroad or in my home country. I’ve lived in the UK my whole life and I haven’t actually seen a lot of it, I always feel a bit silly when I think of all the tourists that come from all over the world that come to stay on these British Islands and I’ve barely seen the places other than a double tap on Insta! If you follow me on instagram you might have seen I’ve been a lot more active over on my page in the last month or two sharing my photography, what I’ve did, done and seen. Most of which is from these wonderful British Isles.
So as you can see i’m a big advocate of exploring what’s on my own doorstep, although as much as I’d love to travel the world, I’ve developed a bit more of earth conscious over recent months and my purse is a bit conscious of excessive travelling too! Having said that I still don’t think I could afford to travel all over the UK; I’ve devised this list to share some of the fabulous places I want to add to my UK bucket list.
Winchester is a city and the county town of Hampshire. It actually isn’t too far from where I live and for some reason I’ve still not got around to getting there myself! They’ve got a wonderful Christmas market each year, plenty of historic sites including the Cathedral and so many interesting independent shops and foodie spots I’m dying to try.
I’ve been to London plenty of times before but there’s still so much of it I’m yet to see and do. One of my aims for 2020 is to FINALLY get round to meeting my fave ginger person and dear blogging friend, Tanya, from Glamglitzgloss fame! as she’s a fully fledged Londoner I’m hoping when we get round to meeting up when we can venture round some of the best kept secrets!
Margate is one of Kent’s most famous seaside towns and has been voted the third trendiest place in the UK. I really like the architecture I’ve seen and the amusement park Dreamland looks dead cool. I’m not sure who decided it was the trendiest place though mind, is it a bit like when your mum says you look reeeeeeeeeaaaaallyyyyy trendy…as you quickly go and change your clothes again because you probably don’t look all that trendy?
I’ve been to Guernsey once when I was little and Jersey a couple years ago for a week for a work thing but I’d love to go back. If you visited these little islands in the English Channel you’d mistaken for thinking you were somewhere in the Med. They’re steeped in history, quaint and have so much character. I’d really like to go back and visit Jersey again as the main town was so lovely as were all the people.
I’d really like to take a trip or two to all the sweet little villages dotted in an around the Cotswolds area. It’s very picture perfect and the type of towns you’d imagine on the front of a pretty postcard.
I’d like to explore the towns and villages of the Yorkshire dales. Preferably in an old land rover, wearing welly boots and a barbour jacket like I’m actually in Emmerdale.
Can you tell I’m an absolute sucker for influencer marketing. I’ve been thoroughly influenced to travel up to L’Pool ASAP based solely on the things i’ve seen people getting up to, photographing and eating in and around the Scouse city. I’m a big fan of The Beatles so I’d like to see all of the touristy bits to do with that as well as exploring all the fab foodie finds.
Howaaaay man how could the wonderful Newcastle not make it onto the list. I’ve been lusting after this place ever since I can remember as I’m a liiiiiittle bit obsessed with how you all speak; there must be a reason you’ve all been voted as having the friendliest accent. I want to walk alongside the Tyne river, take a trip through the underground city tunnels and go on a proper exciting bar crawl through the city like I’m actually on Geordie Shore but hopefully I won’t embarrass myself half as much.
I’ve never been to Scotland but would love to go. As a Harry Potter fan there are so many places throughout Edinburgh that I’d like to pay a visit too. I’d like to amble up to Arthur’s Seat and take in the views before venturing back into the main city and eating myself silly on all of the shortbread and tablet. Well anything else carby that I can lay my eyes on to be honest.
Sticking to the Scottish style here i’d love to take a roadtrip to the Scottish Highlands. My friend and I have discussed doing it before and the logistics of getting there, where we’d want to visit and how much it’d all cost etc. I think it’s just such a beautiful part of the world with such strong, stunning scenery from the rolling hills, steep mountains and fluffy cows, it’s definitely somewhere I’d love to explore with a camera in hand.
Dublin is somewhere I’d love to take a trip to. Dublin on St Patricks Day is somewhere I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE to take a trip to. I’d want to have a guinness at a traditional Irish pub, visit the brewery, trek around the pretty cobbled streets and eat enough soda bread and mashed potato to sink a ship.
Last but no means least is the pretty town of Portmeirion in Wales. I’m not really sure of the history of this place and why it’s so colourful and beautiful but looking at this picture you wouldn’t be shocked to find out this is actually a quaint little village off of the Amalfi Coast would you?
Is there anywhere you’d particularly like to visit in the UK?
Hello, hello! It’s been a little while since I properly shared a book review on here, I posted all the books I read in 2019 in a long old blog post (here) but it wasn’t hugely in depth on each read, so I thought I’d share with you a little write up on the book; Reader, I Married Me! that I read at the very end of 2019. I’m not sure how to best go about reviewing this as I’m cautious I’m going to just end up giving every little detail along the way. So I’m hoping I’ll say enough to entice you to pick it up but leave enough mystery and surprise to leave you all happily hooked on what happens!
I was kindly sent this by Sophie, the author and my new second sister! We got chatting and emailing back and forth and soon realised that we actually have SO much in common. Not only do we share similar outlooks on life BUT also happen to share the same surname and her Mum lives not too far from where I live too! I’m not sure I believe in fate and all things like that but what a weird coincidence all of this has turned out to be?! Between our natterings, Soph, told me all about how the idea of this book came about. It’s ever so slightly based around her own true life events, she decided to pen this book after going through a particularly bad break up. As many people can sympathise with, it genuinely can feel like the worst thing in the world had just happened. But looking back and reflecting on it she discovered it was one of the best things to have ever happened to her! She chose to stop chasing the ‘happily ever after’ and start living for herself and for the ‘happily ever now!’. What a babe!
Sophie discovered she really didn’t need someone else to ‘complete’ her or for someone to be her ‘better half’ so decided to take vows of self-commitment and married herself in sunny Brighton in 2015.
Some people reading this might now be thinking that sounds a liiiiiiiiiittle bit mad! But Sophie wanted to be able to use this and her platform to be able to start conversations about self love and why on earth shouldn’t you see yourself as just as important (if not more) than a significant other or why self love isn’t deemed as important as romantic love?
From an early age we are taught about, and raised on, the different types of love we will feel. From the love you have for your family members, to the love you have for friends, the love you have for food and the wonderful/sometimes less than wonderful romantic love you’ll share with someone special.
But for some reason, self love, is still seen as a bit controversial or like a taboo subject. As if it’s a bit weird that someone actually likes themselves and wants to celebrate who they are as a person! Shouldn’t that be the love that we focus on and encourage from a young age, to inspire generations to have confidence in themselves and to be able to stand strong on their own no matter what life may throw at them? It’s certainly something to think about isn’t it.
Her novel, Reader, I Married Me, is very loosely based on Sophie’s own life experiences and her experience of sologamy (aka marrying yourself!). We follow the story of Chloe Usher, the loveable 35 year old lady, who’s happily sailing her way through life when she finds out the heart shattering news that her longterm boyf has cheated on her. She battles her way through modern day dating and using different dating apps. Then after one particularly bad date she heads straight over to her best friends house, trying to forget all about her rubbish evening with alcohol and karaoke! Booze fuelled she half jokingly suggests that she’s just going to marry herself and drunkenly shares her news with her loyal followers on her blog. Waking up the next morning with a fuzzy hangover head she’s greeted with the news that her and her solo wedding has become an overnight sensation; getting both positive and negative feedback from all around the globe.
We join Chloe on her fabulous journey as she plans her solo wedding, juggling her own emotions as well as from the people nearest and dearest to her as they try and get their heads around her upcoming nuptials as a single woman. It’s not just Chloe we witness going on a personal journey either, she realised that we society might have conditioned us to be wishing our lives away waiting for the fairytale happy ending or waiting for ‘the one’ when, in fact, YOU are the one you should be soul searching for all along.
This romcom (without the typical rom) is a perfect read if you’re looking for something a little bit different or want to challenge ways in which we come to think about ourselves and the labels we put on ourselves and on love.
So…you want to know my thoughts on it?
I read this within the space of about three days so if that doesn’t tell you something I don’t know what will! I really enjoyed this book actually, it’s a little bit different to the usual chick lit novel I’d normally read or you might normally see on the shelf which I actually really liked. Most of them have the usual element of ‘aaaaaaaaand the woman fell in love with the man, the man fell in love with the woman and they all lived happily ever after theeeeeeee end’ which is nice but those fairy tale stories never really happen in real life do they?
This felt a lot more relatable. As nice as it is to read lovey-dovey romcoms with princesses, princes and prince charming riding in on a white stallion at the end and saving the day they’re not as thought provoking because to me, that isn’t normal or reality. With this, I felt like I really empathised with Chloe and I felt like I understood her character as someone I could relate with or someone I could imagine myself being friends with. I liked that this book really has stuck with me and has made me think about the different ways I view myself and the outlook I can have on love and relationships.
It struck a chord especially as quite often, self love, self worth and loving yourself can be placed further down the pecking order, or you can be seen as big headed or with an ego the size of the moon if you actually really quite like yourself. Which is quite bizarre when you think about it really? In the UK, at least, if you aren’t self depreciating there must be something wrong with you!
It’s made me want to challenge myself and how I view doing things on my own. I think being content in your own company is one of the most liberating things a person can do. From small things like going for a coffee, a lunch or to the cinema on your own to a holiday or living by yourself. Once you’re at that stage over no longer caring about whether people are looking at that poor love sitting and eating on their own or being financially independent enough to be able live on your means and not have to argue over what to watch on telly it’s like the next shift change in your life begins.
This is something I’ve been trying to get better at and a solo cinema date really is on my agenda for 2020.
This book, will definitely be the type that I’ll recommend to a lot of my friends and readers on here to read. It’s something that has really challenged the way I think and view things, which is really the type of books I long to read anyway! It’s not written in a preachy sense it’s still got the elements of the rom com without the typical ‘rom’ bit!
Life is one of the longest things we’ll ever do but it’s also one of the shortest, try to spend that time being kind to yourself, kind and loving to others and being able to stand tall amongst the crowd, adjust your own fabulous crown and fall truly, madly, deeply in love with yourself; as beautifully, strongly and eternally as you’d love someone else too.
When you think of Salisbury the first thing that probably comes to mind is a certain news story that hit the headlines last year. Before that you might have belonged to either the camp that had never heard of Salisbury or the one that knew it was near Stonehenge. I know I’m totally biased but I think it’s high time I show that there’s so much more to this beautiful, medieval city than that. Salisbury is my hometown after all so if you aren’t visiting JUST to see the city I was birthed then I want to introduce to you all these wonderful, culture delights.
High up on this list of things to see and do has to be Stonehenge. This prehistoric stone circle is found just two miles outside of Amesbury and is probably one of the most famous prehistoric monuments in the world. It attracts visitors from all over the world so whilst you’re so close; why not tick this one off of your bucket list too.
Not many people have actually heard of Woodhenge as it turns out. I’ll be honest I didn’t even know it was a thing up until last year when I went there in the summer on a day out with a friend. The neolithic timber* circle is just two miles from Stonehenge and you can enjoy some glorious views of the area from here. *I say timber but I think the original timber circles were burnt down and have been replaced with concrete pillars made to look like timber. Sooooo maybe not quite as impressive as the henge made of stone but still pretty cool.
The infamous Anglican Cathedral. Whether you’re really into early English Gothic architecture (this building is one of the greatest examples of that. The main body took 38 years to build from 1220), a bit of a fan of tall cathedral spires, standing at 404 ft it’s the tallest in England and attracts tourists from Russia all year round! But seriously it’s a totally gorgeous cathedral, go for a meander round the cloisters and you can even take a look at the Magna Carta inside the cathedral too.
Old Sarum is an english heritage property just a few miles outside of Salisbury city centre. It is the location of the first settlement of Salisbury with evidence of it dating back to 3000 BC. It’s super interesting if you’re interested to hear about the vast history of this place and in the evenings you can catch a stunning sunset there too.
Wilton House and Gardens
Wilton is a small town just on the outskirts of Salisbury and is home to Wilton House and Gardens. It’s been open to the public since the 1950s and has been used in different tv and films, from The Crown, Pride and Prejudice to Tomb Raider. Fancy, eh!
FOOD AND DRINK
For my favourite part to talk about we move onto the best place to eat, drink and be merry in the city. I could tell you there’s a whole host of chain restaurants you could visit whilst you’re here but regular readers and people who know me, will know that’s really not my thing. Especially when you could try something a bit different why stick to the same meal you could get in any chain restaurant up and down the country.
Tinga is an independently owned Mexican bar and restaurant in the middle of Salisbury city centre. As soon as you enter you are completely drawn in by the colourful, eclectic interior and the gorgeous food matches that vibe completely. I’m usually hesitant about places where they say there is a little something for everyone but they cater to meat eaters and not forgetting us pesky vegetarians and vegans too. They specialise in mexican small plates giving you a fresh opportunity to try something a bit different, like cactus enchiladas for instance! Before them I had never even heard of this!
Anokaa is a modern Indian restaurant that is always high up on my list of places I recommend around here. It’s such a wonderful dining experience, the food is exquisite and on selected nights they have live entertainment like a magician going from table to table or belly dancers entertaining the diners. They have an offer for a lunchtime buffet as well and that really is worth every penny in itself.
You might have guessed by the name but the Market Inn is in the centre, overlooking the marketplace. They serve great drinks, even better food and make for great company too if you just wanted to pop in, rest your feet and chat with the bar staff over a cup of tea or two.
Relatively new to Salisbury is the independent, family run, fine dining restaurant; Allium. Situated above the market square, this restaurant is perfect if you want to treat yourselves to a memorable feast.
Baroushka is a fabulous middle eastern restaurant that I adore. Middle eastern food is probably my favourite cuisine and a trip to Baroushka can tickle all my fav taste buds (cheeky). Whether you want to graze over a selection of mezze dishes or jump straight in with one of their mains either way you’ll be in for a treat. Just make sure you’ve left enough room for a pud.
Cafe Diwali serve exciting Indian street food dishes teamed alongside traditional craft beers. It’s such great value for money and you get such a big portion which I LOVE. If you like your Indian food, I’d definitely recommending popping in here for a lunchtime treat. It can get busy (which is ALWAYS a good sign) so best to ring ahead first! I wrote about my first visit here.
My gastropub of choice when visiting Salisbury I always head here. They serve lush, locally sourced may I add, homely dishes but what’ll keep you coming back again and again is the homely atmosphere, the drinks list as long as a piece of string and the cool decor. Whether you want to stay seated indoors, time it right and join in with the quiz or sit outside (weather permitting) in one of their cosy huts.
Caboose is a fun, exciting and new 1920’s themed parlour bar a short hop, skip and jump from Salisbury train station. It’s very art deco, it’s very cool and would make the perf place for an Instagram set up. Cos life is all about the ‘gram sometimes.
YoYo (You’re Only Young Once) is a retro chic bar home to every cocktail you could imagine. Whether you want one to yourself or fancy a kitsch teapot full for two (biscuits included FYI) you’ll have an evening to remember…or not depending on how many cocktails you can drink.
ARTS AND CULTURE
If you’re not dazzled by all the touristy bits, can’t eat anything else in case you might burst and aren’t tempting to wander round all the high street shops you could always check out some of the other things that are going on in and around the city. There’s usually something going on either in Salisbury City Hall or in the Playhouse if you are lucky and can manage to get some last minute tickets to something or if you planned it all in advance.
Just outside of Salisbury is the Sculpture Centre set in the middle of the countryside. They often run events so whether you want to get involved with that or immerse yourself in the exhibits they’re currently holding. You’re sure to have a fun and different day out.
Vita Skin Spa is home to a broad range of spa, skin and body treatments. Whether you’re male or female, going on your own, as a couple or part of a pamper party you’ll be treated like royalty during your stay.
Lime Tree Spa is the boutique spa within Milford Hall hotel offering plenty of different treatments and packages whether you’re looking for a complete switch off from reality or a nice mani/pedi to perk you up and make you feel a bit more special.
WHERE TO STAY
There is an abundance of hotels, b&b’s, Airbnb’s and serviced apartments dotted in and around the Salisbury area so whether you wanted to stay central to the city itself or explore somewhere a bit further afield.
Depending on how you travelled here; there is a station central to the city centre and from there you could get to:
Buses throughout the city are fairly regular and reliable (pls don’t hold me to this and come back and tell me off if yours was 3 minutes later than usual tho. Like i’m not magic) so you could go on a sightseeing tour and get to see the touristy bits that way or even head into the New Forest.
I thiiiiink i’ve just about covered everything?! I’m a firm believer there is going to be beauty everywhere and whenever you look for it. I hope you liked reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it up. I’m thinking of going into 2020 with some more of these posts lined up of places i’ve visited in and around my local area. As much as I’d like to travel the world, my budget might not quite cover it plus I’d really love to be able to explore much more of the UK, my own country first as well. There’s so many places I’d love to visit properly and not just double tap on my Instagram explore page.
If you go to a fast food restaurant you can get a meal of a burger, fries and a drink for about a fiver on average. Will that meal fill you up and curb those hunger pangs? Yes. Will it be delicious? Yeaaaaaah probably…I mean I’m 24 going on 25 and yet to have a bad McDonalds (other fast food chains are available but I’m a McDonalds gal thru and thru) Will it be nutritious? Debatable. If it what’s you can afford and what you fancy; having it every once in a while won’t do you any harm.
Now if you think about the flip side to this, if you were to dine out somewhere else, having a near identical meal (handmade burger, triple cooked chips, fancy soft drink… can ya picture the type of gastropub I mean), somewhere that sourced local produce, paid the farmers, the cleaners, the waiting staff, the chefs all properly and fairly. Somewhere that considered the food miles that occurred to make that single plate of food and the overall environmental impact of each dish. Would it taste the same as a fast food option? Absolutely not. Would it cost as little as £5? Also a hard no.
When it comes to food and what we’re consuming, we’re all pretty much aware of where our food comes from or what things we should be eating. We know that if we had the money and the budget, ideally, we should be purchasing fresh, organic produce. It’s easy for me to preach that behind a computer screen, knowing that not everyone can afford that lifestyle; I certainly can’t! We’re raised to think about our ethical footprint when it comes to the food we consume but why in this current climate is it taking us so long to consider our fashion footprint and how to become a conscious consumer of clothes?
Up until quite recently, I was really naive to what fast fashion and being a conscious consumer really meant. To me I’d hear the phrase ‘conscious consumer’ and think of someone dressed head to toe in hessian sacks and singing kumbaya. I had my head stuck in the sand when I’d shop ’til I dropped; , contently filling my basket with all the latest garms. Within the last 18 months, you see these phrases more frequently used in the press and in informative documentaries all about what goes on behind the scenes, teaching the audience to be more mindful; and how to put their most conscientious, ethical (but still bang on trend) foot forward.
If the term fast fashion is completely new to you, let me bring you up to speed a bit. Within the last few decades, the way in which consumers shop for clothes has changed massively. With an influx of more and more fashion retailers adorning each and every high street and each corner of the internet; it’s easy to see why low cost, fast fashion retailers really took off. They take the styles and designs seen from top, high end fashion houses, reproducing them quickly for a lower cost (and quality) for the consumer. This then in turn gives the customer the ability to get on board with the identical trend for a fraction of the price.
So what does this have to do with being ethical and how does it negatively impact the planet? So these practices often rely on offshore manufacturing processes where labour is so much cheaper; paying low wages and not taking into account if there are adequate health and safety practices in place. Not only is it not ethical for humanitarian reasons. For other human beings to pay the price for some cheap garments but by the time your outfit gets to store it’s got more air miles on it than the average gap year student.
Becoming a conscious consumer isn’t dressing head to toe in hessian sacks and singing Kumbaya.
To maintain the cheap price of these fast fashion items, often the materials used are of a cheaper, lower quality so they don’t last as long and then get thrown away after a small handful of uses.
Now, I completely understand that the price of clothes is something of a sticking point. Not everyone can afford to buy high quality clothing. Not everyone can physically access shops that stock items like these. I realise there is an amount of privilege that comes with being able to afford to shop this way. I don’t want to offend or isolate anybody with what I’ve written here, I’d be deeply troubled with myself if that was the case. I just wanted to share some ways that even if you can’t quit your fast fashion habits, or you can’t find clothes to fit you from other stores, how you may benefit from some of these simple solutions.
Search on Depop/Ebay/Facebook Marketplace.
There are numerous different apps and sites like this. Whether you’re looking at it as a simple way to make some extra dosh or even peruse the shelves of other online wardrobes. It’s an ideal way to find a new outfit on the cheap, whether you’re looking for something from a high street brand, something a bit off the cuff or a designer label; apps like this have got you covered. It can be a bit of a hassle going through the to-ing and fro-ing with individual sellers but the good majority of the time the individual sellers are good. With most corners of the internet you’ll find those types of people trying their luck, to get a vintage, one of a kind item for about 34 pence with postage and packaging chucked in too as if you’re doing them the favour! Nah.
Shop Second Hand or in Charity Shops.
One of my all time favourite pastimes is spending time browsing in different charity shops. Not only will you feel good for getting a top notch bargain but you’ll also get that warm, fuzzy feeling inside knowing the money you’ve spent in store is being put to a good use. Compared to buying in a high street, conventional shop, it might be harder to find the exact thing you’re after but you might come home with something even better or even something designer. Ask the staff if you’re looking for something in particular they might see something come in and keep it aside for you or let you know when they’re restocking days are. Some charity shops aren’t the most accessible to everyone from not stocking a wider range of sizes, being quite small and narrow which isn’t ideal if you’re wheelchair bound. I recently was invited to the Julia’s House new superstore in Poole, Dorset to have a nose around click the link here to have a read of what I thought (and what I purchased!)
Browse vintage stores.
If I had all the money in the world I’d love to be able to spend a fortune in vintage or antique stores. Preferably with someone just a few paces behind me with a big bag picking up everything I scream ‘OMG WANT THIS’ at. I like that the clothes (books and home bits too) have more character to them and you definitely won’t see someone wearing the exact same outfit at an event. If shops like this are a bit few and far between near you online sites like eBay or Antiques Trails Maps are great to search for a particular piece.
Host a Clothes Swap.
If you’re like me and have a wardrobe that’s pretty much busting at the seams, get all your friends together, invite them over for a night in of nibbles, drinks and tell them to bring all their unwanted clothes. One (wo)man’s trash is another (wo)man’s treasure and all that jazz? You never know, that top you’ve been eyeing up that your mate wore before, they might be planning to get rid of it and it’s your ideal time to swoop in. OR similarly, if you want to be tooootally extra and definitely end up in The Good Place; organise something like this on a much grander scale. Find somewhere locally, village hall, school hall or something and do it for charity. Inspire your local community to come along with all of their unwanted wears and feel like a mini Gok Wan with all the sustainable clothes swapping going on around you.
Make your own.
To some, this might sound utterly AWFUL and the sheer thought of trying to make your own clothes is as tempting as heading out the door wearing a bin bag and empty cheese & onion crisp packets as shoes. If this sounds like something you’d be genuinely interested in doing or at least trying out there are hundreds and hundreds of of guides, templates and kits to get you started on these types of things. They’re available online on sites like Etsy, in haberdashery shops or places like Hobbycraft. Or just simply hang onto that mini sewing kit that comes in your cracker at Christmas, spend some time with your nan and learn how to re-sew on a button or how to make something that’s slightly worn look like you bought it that way.
Try to shop as trans-seasonably as you can.
It seems like fashion these days cover literally eventuality you could possibly imagine. Once upon a time people bought clothes to wear until they either physically grew out of them or to the point they were beyond repair. These items would be turned into handmedowns or sometimes even used as old cleaning rags. I know I’ve been in the position if I’ve got a party or an event coming up rather than raiding my own wardrobe and wearing that little black dress I’ve worn for the umpteenth time it is far more tempting to hop onto my laptop and check out what dress I can find online for a tenner with next day delivery thrown in you say??? Count me in! Rather than buying something that’ll be in style here and now, perhaps consider something that’ll last a lot longer over the years and you’ll be comfortable to wear it for a multitude of different occasions.
Emma Watson is endorsing the 30-wear promise which is the ethos that before purchasing an item you need to consider if you’ll wear it 30+ times. This is something that I’m trying to consider when I shop for clothes more often. My personality and style can be quite spontaneous and often I’d pick out items on a whim that I think looks cool at the time and then take it home and sit on my bed staring at this garish crop top covered in Furbies and I’ll catch myself and think ‘….What was I THINKING?!’. So next if you’re like me and considering trying this new shopping stance too, next time you buy something new, think about whether you genuinely will wear it more than just the once and then after that it’ll just sit in the back of your wardrobe until the dreaded annual wardrobe-clearing-out task.
Create a capsule wardrobe.
I religiously watched Gok’s Fashion Fix when I was in my teens, not only because it seemed like it was the only thing on telly at the weekends when I was avoiding doing my homework but also because I found it fascinating watching this guy on tv completely transform a rather regular piece of clothing with such ease. His outfit would be pitted against the designer equivalent and nearly always his would win. Probably wouldn’t make ideal viewing really would it if everyone actually voted to say the Prada one was far, far nicer than his safety pin improved number though, would it? My point being is that not only would Gok teach regular folk from up and down the UK how to jazz up a plain outfit but he’d teach something also vitally important; body confidence and how to create the perfect capsule wardrobe. Learning how to create different, fabulous looks from the same few items of clothes, jazzing them up for some occasions, dressing them down for others.
Quality not quantity.
I know, that statement kinda stinks of privilege. Personally, I can’t afford to shop high end and often you can get several outfits for the same price as one singular fashion item in a pricier store. I’ve bought numerous items basic items from high street shops for just a couple of pounds and then I whinge and moan when they fall apart just a few wears later. Rather than buying five £5 basic t-shirts would it have been more cost effective if I bought one £25 t-shirt that didn’t fade and
Shop Sustainable Brands
A lot of high street retailers often seem to be cashing in on the whole sustainable. Call me a cynic, but if you want to make an impact and actually be an ethical trader don’t limit that to just a few shelves out of a bustling shop full. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a start, a step in the right direction but surely it’s no more or less ethical. I’ve noticed more lately that there is a real uprising of ethical traders and brands coming through with gorgeous pieces of clothing.
Sometimes, what you need to consider is that if you’re paying a lower cost for an item, someone, somewhere else is picking up the rest of the tab for that. When you shop locally with an independent retailer. You are supporting a person, you’re supporting a family, a household with income. You might be helping a Mother pay her mortgage, a Father help to pay for his child to go for extra curricular lessons or just helping a person chase their dream and afford to actually live. When you buy from a big fast fashion retailer you are only lining the pockets of the fat cats at the top.
Stourhead House and Gardens is a picturesque National Trust property on the Wiltshire/Somerset border in England. It’s one of my favourite beauty spots near me, as it’s a wonderful place to go for a tranquil nature walk, take in the colours of the season or just to absorb yourself in some gorgeous architecture and local history.
The estate was previously owned by various different wealthy families before being sold to the National Trust in 1946. The house had suffered a fire in the early 1900s but was rebuilt shortly afterwards near on identically. The gardens have been adapted over it’s time with architect, Henry Flitcroft, adding the Temple of Ceres in 1744, the Temple of Hercules in 1754 and the Temple of Apollo in 1765.
The lake was artificially created with a path surrounding it which is meant to evoke the journey of Aeneas descent into the Underworld. Henry Hoare, a member of the Hoare family who owned this estate for many generations, was an renowned art lover and collector; basing the design and concept of the gardens on one of his favourite artists pieces, Aeneas At Delos.
The five arched palladian bridge looks pretty against every seasonal backdrop and just like the setting of Pride and Prejudice.
The Temple of Apollo.
On the left is a view of the Grotto and on the right is the Temple of Flora.
Inside of the Grotto looking out onto the lake.
Inside of the Grotto.
The Pantheon hidden amongst the Autumnal trees.
As mentioned previously, this is a National Trust property and you have to pay on entry unless you have a membership. If you’re visiting the area and are interested in nature/ history and architecture I’d say Stourhead is well worth a visit. It’s a short drive away from the a303 and as far as I’m aware there aren’t any buses to get there so it’s only really accessible by car.
For those that are wheelchair reliant, or are taking pushchairs, the paths around the gardens and running adjacent to the lake are fairly flat but unfortunately there are steps to get inside a lot of the Temples and the Grotto. To get from the gravelled car park down to the house and gardens is a series of slopes. There are free, all-terrain wheelchairs to borrow and a six seat buggy to go around the gardens as well.
I’m desperate to visit more places around the United Kingdom when I think about it I’ts mad that I’ve never set foot in some places not *reaaaaally* that far away, yet people travel from all over the world to visit. My sister’s friend is from Canada and he would think nothing of driving several hours to the closest city to his hometown, yet there’s so many places in this country that I’ve still never been to. Seeing as I’m lucky enough to live in a comfortable driving distance to Bath, with it being about 30 miles from my front door, I can share with you all of the best places to visit, the must see areas and the places you will definitely want to grab a few drinks in.
Bath is often featured on a lot of people’s bucket list places to visit in the UK. The historic city in Somerset is steeped in history and culture dating back to the Roman times, with plenty of modern shopping districts, spa hotels and an eclectic food and drink scene is it any wonder that people are flocking far and wide to get to know the in’s and out’s of this fabulous place.
The network links into Bath are great. Whether you’re coming from outside of England the nearest airport would be in Bristol which is about 45 minutes away. With a bustling train and bus station in the centre of the city with frequent trains from London Paddington, Cardiff and Penzance, getting to Bath Spa station shouldn’t be a problem. If you’re driving to Bath there are plenty of car parks dotted around the city, but like any busy city it can be a nightmare scrambling for a space all day long and then remortgaging your home just to pay for parking. There are a few different Park and Ride systems throughout Bath as well if you wanted to save a few pennies.
What to see.
You can’t visit Bath and not find yourself gazing over the Pulteney Bridge and the sweeping horseshoe weir. Completed in 1774 it is one of the few bridges that have shops on both sides of it. Definitely a great photo op stop first thing in the morning with a view of the sunrise. Any Musical theatre buffs might also recognise this from Les Miserables.
Prior Park a Landscape Garden surrounding the Prior Park estate, located to the south of Bath itself. It’s now owned by the National Trust and is a perfect place for a peaceful walk or take the perfect candid on the Palladian Bridge like you’re supposed to be in Pride and Prejudice.
I just can’t help but find all of Bath’s buildings and architecture just so beautiful. This is The Circus a few moment’s walk away from the Royal Crescent. The houses are picture perfect, I feel like literally nothing can go wrong in your life when you own a home this pretty. I mean I might be wrong but I’d be bursting out of my curtains singing to my neighbours every morning ’til they put an asbo on me if I lived here.
The Crescent is a short walk away from The Circus and I would definitely recommend seeing it in all its grandeur. If you’ve got the time and want to learn more about the history of this lovely place then pay a visit to the museum at No.1 Royal Crescent. The rooms are decorated just like they would have been in the late 1700s and it’s so fascinating to see and learn what life was like in the Georgian City.
If you’re a keen runner or cyclist you can follow the Bristol to Bath cyclepath or even along the Kennet and Avon canal path for some stunning views. Equally paddleboarding or punting on the River Avon are also becoming more and more popular and a more interesting way to see aspects of the City.
Depending when you’re visiting and whether Bath Rugby are playing at home you can either soak up the atmosphere in one of the many fab pubs and watch the game with a pint of wine. Or similarly try and nab yourselves some tickets. Surely you don’t need me to tell you that bit though?
Other great ways to take in the local sights is by climbing onboard one of the many Sightseeing Tour Buses you’ll see all around Bath. You can hop on and off at as many of the stop as you please as well as taking full advantage of the in depth audio commentary included.
Bath Abbey’s gothic architecture is just as stunning at nighttime as it it during the daytime and I’d definitely say it’s one of the things you must see whilst you’re here just because it’s so iconic to Bath. During the day, you can pay to enter inside the Abbey and the tour lasts roughly about 45 minutes. Or just take in the craftsmanship from the outside; and enjoy all the street performers that gather between the Abbey and The Roman Baths here too.
The Roman Baths are probably the most famous part of this beautiful city. It costs £20 for an adult ticket but it’s definitely well worth it to learn about the rich history, culture and the incredible Roman Empire. It can get incredibly busy and the queues can get quite heavy so book early on would be my advice plus you might be able to make a saving on a special offer. Pay a special visit to The Pump Room restaurant for one of their lavish afternoon teas for an extra memorable treat.
If you’re visiting Bath during the Summer months or up until October the Roman Baths stay open until 10pm at night; so if you’re into photography you could get some fantastic shots. I’m in it for the ‘gram.
Take a dip and bathe in Britain’s only naturally warm, mineral-rich waters just like the Celts and Romans did over 2,000 years ago in the award winning Thermae Spa right in the centre of Bath. One of my favourite sights is the real juxtaposition of the modern spa against the old golden bath stone buildings in the background. You get a two hour time slot to use the rooftop pool, the indoor Minerva bath or to spoil yourself with some of the 40+ spa treatments they have on offer.
Similarly, if you’re looking for the ultimate pamper weekend and want to look into the other spas you could try out a treatment in the Lush Spa,The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa also have a wonderful spa with timeless treatments. The Gainsborough Hotel have a Spa Village which looks so tranquil and perfect for soaking away all your worries and troubles. Last but not least is Spa 15 at No 15 Great Pulteney. It’s wonderfully different and chic interior gives it a unique edge over everything else seen on this list. Beneath the well trodden street harbours this spa as Bath’s best kept secret.
Bath city centre is full to the brim of fabulous shops, whether you’re looking to shop ’til you drop in the usual high street stores or potter around the unique, independent ones. The Southgate shopping district is directly opposite the train station and is relatively new to Bath and has lots of the high street faves and plenty of restaurants to choose from as well. Amble through the side streets and you’ll stumble on gold wherever you tread. Some of my favourite independent stores are Pug and Puffin, a wonderful homewares store that have lots of gorgeous pieces for your pooch too. Vinegar Hill has some gorgeous pieces; I could spend a fortune in there. And then there’s Heavens Bazaar a wonderful emporium of high end, vintage fashions.
Take a peek around the Guildhall Market a couple minutes walk from the Abbey. My favourite stall is the Costume jewellery one. I think my spirit animal might actually be Pat Butcher.
For all you culture vultures out there, if you fancy immersing yourself in some of the Arts scene head towards Kingsmead Square where you’ll be opposite to Komedia if you want to catch some live music or comedy gigs. Or go to The Theatre Royal, a grade II listed building which is just as spectacular on the inside as it is on the outside. It’s home to amazing theatre, comedy, opera, dance and pantomime productions.
Where to eat.
There are a plenty of generic, high street chains I could tell you that are in Bath or the surrounding area but we all know that’s not where I’d want to go myself if I was visiting somewhere new for the first time. As we (we being me, myself and my jeans inner thigh material) are very aware I’m a massive foodie. So I’m going to break down the best bit for you into sections, where’s best to go for a pitstop coffee, for breakfast or brunch, dinner and even throw in some fab vegetarian and vegan options too.
Wild Cafe uses only fresh, locally sourced ingredients and everything is cooked to order and cooked to absolute perfection as well. They’re nestled away in one of Bath’s many hidden streets but once you find it you’ll be glad to settle in with one of their famous pancake stacks or treat yourself to gorgeous plate of Eggs Benedict.
Steph and the team have certainly struck gold with this place. The Good Day Cafe is like an actual Instagram haven with millennial pink, marble and succulents throughout and let’s not forget about the food and drink they serve. I’d recommend the toasted banana bread. Delish!
This lovely little cafe is situated right opposite the train station so is the perfect first pitstop. So whether you’re looking for a quick coffee before a day of shopping, a leisurely brunch whilst you decide where you’re going to head first (I’d recommend any of their pancake stacks) Or even if you just need to drop off your luggage (£3 per item) they cater for every need.
I first went here a few years ago and had their small plates whilst lunching with a friend and completely fell in love with their food. Nowadays I think they only do the small plates and tapas with their evening service but still it’s a great lunch shout for one of their sandwiches and opt for a bowl of chunky chips on the side too.
A brilliant take out place to head to if you’re a burger lover. With a great big menu covering everything from beefburgers, to chicken burgers, veggie burgers or chickless ones. Get yourself one of their lush thick milkshakes whilst you’re there; thank me later.
Juno is VERY cool and as it’s just on the cusp of the Southgate Shopping complex it’s a great place to get some munch before you hit the shops again. They do great pizzas, play awesome music and also make great cocktails…need I go on?
I had to put this somewhere on the list I just really didn’t know where! There’s a reason why The Scallop Shell have finished in the Top 6 of the National Fish and Chip Awards 2019, they serve up fresh (sustainably caught, may I add) fish and chips everyday and it’s not just your usual cod and chip establishment. Whether you want shellfish, straight outta the sea fish, chicken or the spicy chickpea fritters they’ve got something for all. I will admit I’m not sure if the chickpea fritters are vegan but they’re a dead friendly bunch; there’s no harm in asking.
Bath’s answer to Peggy Porschen’s/Elan Cafe. They do breakfast and lunches as well but I think it’s a lovely place to have a slice of cake, a cup of tea and a few happy snaps against this GORG flower wall. Plus there’s a swing?!
This fudge shop is a few steps away from the Abbey and the Roman Baths and if you’re not drawn in by the rich, sweet aroma, then watching the theatrics of them making the fudge in front of you definitely will. I’m a sucker for my favourite flavours like the OG sea salted caramel and cherry bakewell. They’ve also got a few vegan options too!
There’s always a queue and that to me is always a good sign. There’s a Ben’s Cookies in a quite a few places around the world but it’s a great place to stop by and grab a snack. The ginger and dark chocolate is my absolute ride or die.
The Oven pizza’s are some of the best I’ve had. I love the flavours they use in their toppings as well as the taste that using the wood fired oven gives each pizza crust. Plus this was the first place I ever tried a dessert pizza topped with nutella, hazelnuts and mascarpone nibs and it was SO good.
A fine dining Indian Restaurant a short distance from Bath City Centre. Everyone that I’ve spoken to that’s visited here speaks so highly of the food and the service. It’s definitely got the wow factor and is totally different to the norm when it comes to eating out at Indian restaurants.
If you’re a real foodie and enjoy good food then I’d wholly recommend The Chequers. This charming gastro pub is home to a locally sourced menu and a wonderful team of staff who you can tell who are enthusiastic and actually like their job. I’d urge you to go on a Sunday for their roast.
My sister raves about Dough and it’s probably her and her boyfriend’s go-to restaurant in Bath. I love that you can see the chefs tossing the pizza dough and making your dinner right in front of you. The menu has lots of choices and I really like that you can choose from a variety of different bases as well. Whether you want to stick to regular sourdough or try something a bit different like turmeric, hemp, seaweed and a few more speciality ones too. They also offer a gluten free dough too.
A chain of cool Thai tapas restaurants dotted around the South West of England. They always have loads of great offers on and a cracking cocktail menu to boot. I can’t get enough of their cashew stir fry and the Blushing Lotus cocktail is to die for.
Fab Veggie/Vegan spots:
Most places these days offer something for vegetarian/vegan diets but sometimes it’s quite nice to be able to go somewhere wholly suitable for the vegheads out there.
What I love about the menu at Acorn is that it just goes to show that plant based food is anything but boring. For vegans, vegetarians and those who want to try some remarkable dishes I would 100% recommend going here.
The best plant based lasagne (walnut, red pepper and cashew lasagne with garlic bread and salad on the side and an extra helping of YUM on the side of that.)
There’s loads of great places to visit if you want a tipple (or five) in the city centre. Whether you’re a fan of clubs, bars, or an old man pub you’ll find something to suit you. Obvs you’ve got the usual ones you’d get in most towns or cities, like ‘Spoons, All Bar One, Be At One, Revolutions and Slug and Lettuce but if you’re after a bar crawl with a difference; try some of these out for size.
My favourite pub to visit in the whole city. You’re spoilt for choice with four different bars, three different dining areas and a huge list of different craft beers and cask ales enough to sink a ship. It’s got a great big list of bar snack style tapas plus it’s got the biggest beer garden overlooking the river and the Pulteney Bridge I guarantee a good night out here.
Not only do they stock great food and good drinks but I’d recommend visiting here just for the views from their gorgeous roof terrace. Plus the sweeping, spiral staircases throughout make for the perfect backdrop for a pose, especially when they light up at night time. Like I say…I’m in it for the ‘gram.
As an absolute gin lover this place is always top of my list of recommendations. Yep, you guessed it, gin is the speciality here and they have over 200 gins on offer and have an extensive ‘Gin’ Austen cocktail menu as well.
I love the atmosphere and style in this cosy bar. It’s cool, edgy and has a speciality for rums but they do offer a few other spirits as well. The bar staff are excellent and make incredible cocktails.
If you’re not already sold on the utterly gorgeous decor then let me take you by your hand and sweep you off your feet with their delicious menus. It’s great for brunch, afternoon tea or dinner but I’m sliding this one in here as a great place to go for pre drinks as well. The bar area is beautiful and the Ivy Sling is mouthwatering, you’ll look like you’ve been sent from a cool 1920s New York bar perching on one of these barstools.
Where to stay.
There’s a whole host of places to stay in and around Bath depending on your budget. With plenty of purse friendly hotels and hostels in and around the city centre, gorgeous townhouse Airbnb’s you can fall in love with and the most instagrammable serviced apartments to stay at as well.
Well… We are now over 3500 words and I thiiiink…I think that brings us neatly to the end of our Bath tour, don’t you? I’d like to think I touched on all possible subjects and bases. But if you have any q’s I can kindly try to give you my a’s!