Lake District

Lake District
Lake District


Showing posts with label England. Show all posts
Showing posts with label England. Show all posts

Cereal Killer Cafe | 139 Brick Lane, Shoreditch

At this moment I'm currently sitting in my best friend, Isabel's flat in Shoreditch, London, having travelled down from Lancaster for a few days now that my exams are finally over. I haven't seen Izi since Christmas, so a visit to London, by now, really felt long overdue.

You may have already heard of Cereal Killer Cafe, a recently-opened café in Shoreditch that has made a name for itself for being the first ever café in the UK to specialise in cereal. And not just any cereal either, but some of the most weird and wonderful cereal you could ever imagine. Its opening actually caused a lot of buzz back home in Northern Ireland too, due to the fact that the café was founded by two twins from my home city of Belfast, and, since it was only around the corner, Izi and I decided to satisfy our curiosity and pay this colourful little Brick Lane oddity a visit.

As you can probably see from the photos, when we arrived the café was incredibly busy. This may have been to do with the fact it was a Saturday morning, though truthfully I can imagine it being like this all the time (kudos to the Keery twins). Each wall was piled high with the boxes of rare and imported cereals from all around the world as well as various "cereal memorabilia", even including some artwork made from... you guessed it, cereal!

I was actually both surprised and impressed by the cafe's sizeable menu which included not only a range of cereal "cocktails"- or speciality cereal mixes- but also 13 different types of milk, poptarts, toast, and a number of toppings. I ended up opting for one of their fifteen aptly named cocktails: 'Marshmallow Submarine', which was a mighty mixture of Golden Nuggets and Marshmallow Mateys with a Twinkie submerged in the middle (presumably the 'submarine') and which I got for £4.60. I have to say, I was initially apprehensive about this combination, but actually, it was pretty great. Isabel ended up choosing a 'Shooty Shooty Bang Bang', made up of Krave Roulette, Twix Mix and even some popping candy! I did try this and can confirm it's as wonderful as it sounds!

We did wonder, as we first came in, how the queue was moving yet no one seemed to be leaving, especially since the seating area inside appeared to be fairly limited. However, we soon discovered there was actually also a downstairs area which was probably the trippiest part of the lot. The walls were lined with various cereal-inspired knickknacks as well as a few retro-style TV sets playing cartoons from the '80s. From reading up on the cafe I believe the idea behind this was to create somewhere nostalgic and reminiscent of a time when cereal was 'fun', you know when you still got the toys inside the boxes?

While I definitely won't be making a habit of paying £4.60 for a bowl of cereal anytime soon, I did feel as though the experience was worth the somewhat substantial price-tag, if only for a bit of cheeky self-indulgence. If you're ever in the London area and find yourself wanting for a quirkier breakfast experience I'd personally look no further than Cereal Killer Cafe.

A Snowy Sunday | Heysham, Lancashire

Recently I've been feeling as if I've been spending a lot of time indoors, just lazing around, especially at the weekends. I know at the minute I'm very lucky to be a student and have so much time at my disposal, but I'm starting to feel more and more like having too much time on your hands definitely isn't all it's cracked up to be. This term I've really struggled with trying to be at all productive, especially because I have so few hours at uni right now, and being quite an "outdoorsy" girl, for me it doesn't take long before too many duvet days and not enough sunlight begin to take their toll.

So, last Sunday my housemate and I decided to break the cycle of lazy weekends and take  a little trip out to the village of Heysham, about 6 miles outside Lancaster. It's actually only a 40 minute bus journey from Lancaster city centre- a little bit longer than it would take by car but in any case is still a relatively short trip- and the route is conveniently included on those I'm able to travel using my student bus pass so it's really a shame that I don't go there more often.

The weather forecast that day had prepared us for rain, yet as we stepped off the bus it began to snow quite heavily. However, despite the fact it turned out to be absolutely freezing, the snow still made for some unbelievably beautiful scenery.

On my past excursions out to Heysham I really fell in love with it's strange charm and diverse landscape. It kind of looks and feels like a mismatch of other places and different times that come together to give it a kind of other-worldly feel, as if you've just stepped into a parallel universe.  For instance, a stone's throw from the centre of the village is St Peter's Church which sits high up overlooking the bay below. It's being refurbished at the moment so I didn't take a photo because it was basically just surrounded by scaffolding but usually it's a lovely quaint little church built from sandstone. It actually vaguely reminds of Shell Cottage from the Deathly Hallows films. In its grounds is a graveyard that stretches down a hill towards the sea, containing a mixture of new and old graves, with some dating back hundreds of years. It may be a little strange but I actually really like graveyards, especially if they're really old. I find it really interesting to read old headstones and imagine what life was like for people at the time. For me, they feel like a tangible connection to the past that encourages me to reflect.

There are actually a lot of things about Heysham that would inspire reflection. A walkway up from St Peter's leads to the Barrows, a woodland that opens up onto grassy hills over the rugged coastline where the ruins of St Patrick's chapel (in the first picture) stands, as well as a group of six graves cut into stone, which apparently date back to around the 10th Century.

From the Barrows it's only a short walk through the grasslands down to the beach, or Half Moon Bay, which is basically a craggy mass of pebbles and rock pools as well as a long stretch of smooth sand. On the one hand it's really beautiful, despite the interesting backdrop, featuring Heysham's random nuclear power plant over to the left hand side, though what it may lack in it terms of untouched natural beauty it makes up for in hidden treasures. I've found Heysham's pebbly beach to be an absolute haven for seaside finds like sea glass and pottery which is probably very much due to the fact it is such an industrialised area. Though I feel like it just goes to show that there's beauty in a lot of unexpected places.

After taking a stroll down to the shore and combing through the pebbles, we headed back the way we came, just as the sun was beginning to set on the horizon. I have to say, we were both very cold and very wet but I'd definitely say it was worth it. I think I'll have to really start taking advantage of this beautiful place being so close to me from now on.

Scenes: South Lakes Safari Zoo

One of the highlights of this year at uni for me has definitely been being a part of the university Equestrian Club. Riding is something I've done for a long time and it's always been a big part of my life, however, over the last few years with the demands of my final years at school it became less and less of a priority to the point where I had to give it up; so it feels great to finally pick it back up again now that I'm at university. As much as I love riding and the horses though, I think my favourite part of equestrian club is getting to spend some time with the girls there. They're a really lovely bunch and I feel so lucky to have gotten to know them this year. 

Recently we went on a social to the South Lakes Safari Zoo which is in Dalton, about an hour and a bit's drive from Lancaster. I'd been there before a few years ago with friends and remember loving it so I was super excited about being able to go again. I didn't take many photos on the day, mostly because of the weird lighting in the winter sun but I'd thought I'd share some of the photos I did take:

I haven't actually been to many zoos in my lifetime, just Belfast and Dublin Zoo and a few different places on holiday, but out of those (apart from a couple of Australian wild life parks) this is certainly the most interactive. As well as the several different species of lemur that roam free around the park, visitors can walk alongside and feed a variety of exotic birds, emus, wallabies and prairie marmots.

I think the emus were some of our group's personal favourites. I don't think I'd ever seen one in real life before, especially so up-close, but they're really fascinating animals. We actually managed to take a selfie with one, which has quickly become one of my favourite pictures ever taken.

The park also has scheduled times where you can go along and hand-feed both the giraffes and penguins! We went to the giraffe feeding twice but didn't make it to the penguin feeding on time to get a good enough spot so we just watched for a little while. Feeding the giraffes was an amazing experience though, I'm not sure there are many zoos that let you get so close.

We ended up spending basically the whole day at the park in the end- as you can imagine, the equestrian club love their animals!- and it was definitely among some of the best experiences I've had at uni so far and it was great to spend some quality time with the girls from the club.

I just wanted to say also, thank you so much to everyone for all the thoughtful comments on my last post. You can't understand how much it means to me that there are so many of you who would take time out of their day to write me such amazing words of support. The blogging community has honestly become one of my most faithful support networks and I'm always so thankful it's something I get to be a part of! I'm hoping to get some time this week to be able to reply to them all properly!

Thanks again for all the love! I hope you've all had a great week.

A Day on Lake Windermere

It's no secret that I absolutely love the Lake District. As a bit of an outdoorsy girl it's been a dream this last year or so to live so nearby and it's an amazing place to bring family whenever they visit. This weekend my mum and sister actually paid an impromtu trip to Lancaster, so as per usual we thought we'd spend Saturday in exploring the Lakes

Since we didn't have a car, Windermere seemed to be the obvious starting point for a visit since it's only 30 minutes away by train from Lancaster. We set off quite early so when we arrived finding somewhere to have breakfast was pretty high on our priority list. We ended up stopping at this place called the Lighthouse where I got the majestic-looking waffle pictured below.

Before we'd set off I'd had a cost-effective plan laid out in my head of how to get where we needed to go onwards from Windermere, but in a moment of spontaneity my mum decided she'd like to go on a boat cruise across Lake Windermere from Bowness to Ambleside which was a bit out of character for her so my sister and I just decided to run with it. 

Despite the fact it was absolutely freeeezing, the boat ride itself was really fun and we got to see some beautiful views. We also met a man from Malta called Tony who my mum ended up randomly having a Maltese mutual friend with. Apparently, because Malta's such a small country, everyone knows each other.

Once we got to Ambleside we stopped for lunch at a hotel by the lake called the Waterside before just taking a wander through the town. We eventually ended up in a beautiful and wintry Rothay Park, which I think was my favourite part of the day, before hopping on the last boat back to Windermere again- we opted to stay downstairs, inside this time!

I feel so lucky to live somewhere where I have the lakes basically right on my doorstep. I love getting out there to clear my head and spend some time away from everything.

What did you get up to this weekend?

Life | Back to Uni Instagram Diary

Hey folks! So at the minute I'm meant to be doing coursework but of course I've decided to write a new post instead! Since I've been so crap with posting recently I thought I might as well have a catch up on what I've been up to since I've been back at uni. This term has been crazy hectic so far, which hasn't really afforded me much of a social life and as a result I haven't really been anywhere particularly exciting to share with you here. Though, any time I really go anywhere or do anything it usually ends up on my instagram, so I thought sharing some of my most recent pics would do the job of explaining quite nicely; a picture is worth a thousand words, after all!

>> You were wild once, don't let them tame you. I found this card by designer, Sarah Majury in St. George's Market on my trip back home and I thought it was really cute. I think the message speaks volumes as well.

>> Obligatory Christmas cardigan selfiebecause I can only wear it one season of the year and I've been waiting so very long to do so. 

>> Socks the pony. This is one of the ponies at the stables where my uni equestrian club ride and I just love his little cheeky face so much. You can just tell he's absolutely loving the attention here!

>> Bonfire Night. I was quite keen to partake in the bonfire night festivities this year because, being from Northern Ireland, it's not a holiday we have back home. On the night there were fireworks all over Lancaster so two of my friends and I headed up to Williamson Park to try and catch a glimpse before heading to the pub.

>> Cowboys and Indians Social. This is just me and my friend Alysia dressed up for a Cowboys and Indians themed social with equestrian club a few weeks ago; a night where many a tipsy deep conversation was had!

>> Pretty Sky. A little picture I took of the sun setting on my walk home (despite the fact it was only 4pm at the time! The short days/long nights situation is one thing about wintertime that makes me really sad)

>> Wednesday night out. This is a cheeky pic of me and my friend Ian out one night which is actually an absolutely horrendous photo in real life- thank goodness for filters, eh?

>> Lancaster by night. A photo taken whilst my housemate Carlo and I were roaming the streets of Lancaster one October eve.

>> Cup of tea with Ian after I attempted to make him some spag bol, which actually turned out rather well in the end. We then watched this dating show called "Sexy Beasts" where people go on dates in really gross make-up and it was literally the most ridiculous and most amazing thing I've ever seen. 

So yeah, I guess that's me all up to date! Hope you've all had a lovely day!
Much Love


Weekend Roundup


A Day in Pictures | A Meeting in Manchester

I love reading these kinds of 'day in the life' posts and I've been meaning to do one for ages but I haven't really had very many very interesting days recently, just a lot of lectures and uni work! Yesterday though I ended up taking a short trip to Manchester to go to a training session for working as a student language ambassador in the North West and thought since it was something a little different I'd take a few little pictures of my day.

I know for a lot of you English folk, especially if you're from the North, trips to Manchester may be somewhat of a regular occurrence, but I'd never really been before (except one time for a couple of hours when I got hopelessly lost) so hopping onto the train yesterday morning I felt as though I was embarking on a very exciting adventure indeed. One thing I can therefore definitely say after yesterday is that the novelty of living on "the mainland" really hasn't worn off me one bit- you mean I can get the train to London or Edinburgh from my local station?!- because whenever you're in Ireland, you're just you know, in Ireland. The public transport at home really isn't that great, for example, the train lines only cover about half the country so if you want to go to a more obscure location you're pretty much screwed. One fine example was a time my friend and I wanted to go to this little place called Moneymore to go llama trekking (yes, that's a thing), it was only about an hour away by car but we had to cancel due to the fact it would have taken us a good three hours to get there on buses and trains with a few changes in between, and obviously a six-hour round trip to spend 40 minutes walking a llama wasn't really feasible nor a sensible use of our time.

Anyway, when I got off the train at Oxford Road station I literally hadn't a notion where I was going. How people survived without Google Maps I do not know. The event was at Manchester Metropolitan University which thankfully was really straightforward to find, it was just straight up the road from the station. The trickier part was finding the right building once I got to campus since the one I was looking for was sort of tucked away behind the other campus buildings, though I did manage to find it quite easily once I'd gotten myself in the right direction. 
I wish I'd taken a photo of the inside of the building the event was in because it was so cool, it kind of looked like an airport departure lounge. I actually really liked the whole campus in general, it's got a nice buzz about it and is circled around a little park which was looking really pretty and autumnal yesterday as I was passing through.

The meeting ended up wrapping up a little early so I took my time strolling back towards the train station, appreciating the sights and sounds. I'm not at all accustomed to big cities because frankly, we don't really have them back home. I'm not sure if I'd call Belfast a "big city" by the rest of the UK's standards, so I always find cities like London or Liverpool really interesting and exciting and sometimes I'm kind of taken aback by it all, like I'm almost surprised places like this actually exist.

I arrived home around half 7, later than expected as my train was delayed by nearly 15 minutes... (not ideal). I then ended up heading out in Lancaster with my friend Louise where I danced like a freaking maniac, fell on my ass in the club at one stage (and have the massive bruise to prove it!) and then polished off a McDonald's quarter pounder meal and 6 chicken nuggets on the walk home. Oh, and if you have yet to hear of "the Great McDonald's Fanta Spillage Fiasco of 2014" you might like to check out my twitter feed. There were many tears. In fact, I still haven't fully recovered.

But hey, that was my day for you all, I hope you all had a very good day yourselves and are enjoying the October autumness as much as I am these days (unless you live in the Southern Hemisphere, in which case I hope you're having lovely Spring).
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