Lake District

Lake District
Lake District


Showing posts with label photo diary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label photo diary. Show all posts

A Day in Brighton

I feel like I’ve been starting every post I’ve written recently with “sorry I haven’t posted in a while” etc. etc. and once again, I do apologise. Life has been pretty hectic as of late and while I was (and still am) really keen to get things moving on my blog again, various other things have just been getting in the way. For instance, I’ve just moved out of my second year uni house. This turned out to be an immensely tedious task, particularly as I ended up having to repaint one of my bedroom walls- our landlord was threatening to deduct £5 from our deposit for every blu tac stain. I had 45 photos on that wall and 45 x 4 is 180 blu tac stains I did not want to risk being charged for! -Finding an absolute colour match to the wall also turned out to be a bit of a nightmare, but I got there in the end (it was ‘Orchid White’ by Dulux in case anyone is wondering). I’ve also been focusing quite a lot of energy on my Etsy recently and, of course, trying to squeeze in some valuable time with friends and family before my move to Spain in what’s now just under two weeks.

While I get myself organised again I thought I’d do a bit of a throwback post to a trip I took to Brighton with Izi during the few days I spent visiting her in London. I’d only ever been to Brighton once before and Izi had never been so we thought we may as well since it’s only an hour outside central London by train. We spent most of the morning just wandering the lanes and having a browse around the different shops. I honestly wish I lived in Brighton, or at least nearby, just so I could live within a reasonable distance of some of the gorgeous shops and boutiques there. We, of course, couldn’t miss paying a visit to Choccywoccydoodah, a café and chocolate shop selling the most spectacular chocolate and cakes. I’ve known about the shop for a while because it used to be the subject of a TV show that gave a ‘behind-the-scenes’ glimpse of the shop’s day-to-day running and how the cakes were made. It gave me a huge appreciation of the work that goes into making one of their amazing cakes, so, while a bespoke cake from the shop can cost up to £3,000, I can certainly understand why.
On our travels we also paid a visit to the Royal Pavilion, a curious, oriental-style building commissioned by George IV in 1815 that resembles something of a mini Taj Mahal. We didn’t go inside because admission costs more or less an arm and a leg but we did take some photos outside before heading off in search of some lunch and picking up some watermelon sorbet- a new experience for us both- on the way.

We spent the rest of the day at the pier where we got a little bit hooked on the amusements and ended up raking in something like 600 tickets which we traded in for a bubble wand, two Brighton tea towels and two scented candles, all of which combined where probably worth about a third of the money we’d spent trying to obtain them. It was fun, but now that I’ve got it out of my system I don’t think I’ll be spending a fortune on 10p and claw machines again anytime soon. At the time though, satisfied with our winnings, we made our way back to the station and then on to London. It was a really nice day out and while it would still take me a long time to tire of the busy London life, I being very much a small town girl (by circumstance more than by choice), I think Izi enjoyed the little break.

Have you been to Brighton? What is your favourite place there?

Breakfast at Sky Garden | 20 Fenchurch Street, London

It was a very rainy day last Sunday, though Izi and I still decided to embark on a breakfast date with a difference at the amazing Sky Garden, a cafe and bar/restaurant that sits high above the London streets atop 20 Fenchurch Street. As far as I know, the building is a fairly recent addition to the London skyline, as is the Sky Garden itself which only opened its doors for the first time in January.

Truthfully, at first I was more than a little concerned about how much this expedition to "London's most exclusive social space" might cost, especially as we were ushered through security on arrival! However, as it turns out, access to the Sky Garden is free! Though you do have to make sure and book tickets at least three days in advance and your visit is limited to an hour and a half. Also, believe it or not, but that is actually a very reasonably-priced croissant pictured above!

Once we had finished our breakfast we set off to explore the levels set above the cafe area. We also had a quick peek out onto the terrace but the rain was absolutely lashing it down so we didn't stay out there for long. Honestly, I expected slightly more from the "gardens", as they were the restaurant's namesake, though really they weren't particularly impressive. I'd say perhaps the greatest reason to visit the Sky Garden would be more for the stunning 360° panoramic views of London it provides.

Due to its central location there were some excellent views of the Thames, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, as well as St Paul's, the Gherkin, and the Shard. The building itself was also very striking, a huge dome-like structure made up almost entirely of glass. I'm definitely glad I had the experience of visiting the Sky Garden during my short time in London!

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.

24 Hours in Edinburgh

Hmm... Long time, no speak! I'm really sorry for my long absence. It's actually been the longest break I've taken so far; the reason being the fact I'm currently halfway through my second year exams so, naturally, my blog had to be put on the back burner for a little while- though I know all you lovely folks don't mind! However, by this time on Friday I will be officially freeee and I'm so ready to put all my energy back into blogging again, I've missed it so much.

If I'm honest, I'm very glad to report that my life recently hasn't really been all toil. Since I'm heading off to Spain scarily soon, I've been trying to take advantage of my final few weeks in the UK and visit a few of my friends in various parts of the country since it might be the last chance I get for a while. In fact, this past week I had quite a long break between exams so I decided to visit my lovely blogger friend, Hayley of Water Painted Dreams

I've been a big fan of Hayley's blog for a really long time. She was (and still is) my go-to girl any time I needed a sweet book recommendation and I've learnt so much about blogging and gained so much from reading her blog that the fact I can now call her my friend brings a small tear to my eye! She's also the first of my blogging pals I've had the chance to meet properly in real life, and the result was magical. Apart from chats with my friend, Britt, I've never really had the chance to talk "blog" in such immense detail with someone who really gets it, but it really is a thoroughly enjoyable experience, especially because blogging is such a huge part of both of our lives. Not only that, but this was actually my first time in Edinburgh, so really it was a double win, maybe even a triple win.

I was up bright and early on Tuesday morning to catch the Megabus from campus at 9am- as per usual, I travel in style- which got me into Edinburgh for around 2pm. I actually really enjoy travelling and the time it allows you to just sit and do absolutely nothing (one of my favourite things to do), so the four and a half hour journey really didn't bother me, especially because the the scenery enroute was bloody amazing! Sometimes I feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world. 
By the time I got to Edinburgh Hayley was just about to sit her last exam so I checked into my hotel and went for a quick snooze before heading out to meet her.

I think the fact I'd never been to Edinburgh before gave us both an excuse to play the tourist. Our first stop, for instance, was Arthur's Seat which Hayley had never been up before either. I'm not big into hiking or hill-walking for the combined reasons of being extremely unfit as well as the fact I'm terrified of slopes. Before you be judgin', it's actually a legitimate phobia called bathmophobia and is also completely irrational. In any case, it prevented me from making it up to the very very top since the thought of even attempting to get down again was giving me palpitations. Hayley, however, being the badass that she is, climbed the whole way up and took the two glorious photos at the very beginning of this post ^^. I don't think either of us actually anticipated how steep of a trek it was when we started, though it was definitely worth it in the end for the incredible views from the top. I think the most demoralising thing about the whole affair, though, was that while the pair of us huffed and puffed our whole way up on the verge of an asthma attack, so many people just sauntered by us as if they were just taking a leisurely stroll. There are two types of people in the world...

Once we made it back down Arthur's seat, we headed back to Hayley's flat where she surprised me with my very own crocheted elephant from her Etsy shop! I've honestly wanted one for so long. I feel like there's something so special about receiving a handmade gift.
After we'd freshened up we set off for dinner at a little Italian near where Hayley lives and then then on to a mini bar crawl around some of bars nearby, starting with The Brass Monkey, which I'd actually heard of before. According to Hayley it's one of the more popular student haunts in the city and I can understand why, it's got a really cool interior and drinks are also relatively cheap. Once we'd finished up there we moved on to Frankenstein's and then to Revs where we polished off a cocktail pitcher between us before making a slightly wobbly journey home.

The next morning we set off once again, this time to visit the National Museum of Scotland where we spent a couple of hours wandering around and musing over minerals and the fact that there were once giant sloths, which is a pretty terrifying thought. I was really impressed by how comprehensive the museum actually was; It was massive and made up of tonnes of different sections across a number of different floors, covering periods of history in all parts of the world. Most of the museums I've been to before tended to focus solely on the history of a particular area so it was nice to visit somewhere with such a huge variety of exhibits. 

After we'd finished off at the museum we headed into the Grassmarket area of the city for some lunch. The original plan had been to go to The Elephant House, famed as being the Edinburgh cafe where J.K. Rowling penned the first Harry Potter books. However, when we got there it was kind of busy and the two of us basically decided that I'd technically seen it now so we should probably just go somewhere else. Which we did. We actually ended up stopping at this little cafe called Peppers for paninis before setting off for our last stop in Edinburgh: Edinburgh Castle.

We didn't end up going into the castle because it was quite expensive and Hayley, as an Edinburgh university student, didn't want to risk the bad luck associated with students going inside before graduation- a superstition attached to the castle- but we did take some photos outside it before heading back to Hayley's flat to chill before I had to get my bus.

Hayley had warned me in advance to wear sensible footwear since Edinburgh is really hilly, which I thought I had done, but apparently I wasn't used to walking around in these shoes as much as I thought I was because by the end of the day my feet were killing me. I actually thought I'd crippled myself. Moral of the story: if you're ever planning on visiting Edinburgh, especially if you have to see the majority of tourist sites in the space of a day, wear the most comfortable shoes you own. 
Despite the sore feet though, I had a really lovely time with Hayley and a great first experience of Edinburgh!

Birthdays and Blogiversaries

I'm a little late with this post as both of the events I'm about to mention happened a couple of weeks ago now, but better late than never, eh? 

In the last couple of weeks since I've been a little quiet on the blogging front, two very exciting things occurred. Firstly, Alphabeth turned one! Hurray!! I wish I'd been able to write some sort of blogiversary post on the actual day (12th April) but I was rushing to finish off an essay so that I could get it over and done with in time for the next exciting occurrence: my birthday! Yep, I turned 20 on the 15th April and am officially no longer a teenager. I definitely have some mixed feelings about this but overall I'm pretty excited to embark on the next decade of my life and to see what it has in store for me.

In all honesty, this birthday was one of the best I've ever had. For one, I got to spend it with my best friend from university, Alysia, who came over to visit me at home for a couple of days, as well as all my lovely school friends, some of which I hadn't seen for a while.

The evening before my actual birthday we all met up for a meal in Birdcage Belfast, which isn't even just my favourite restaurant in Belfast, but probably my favourite restaurant. Period. It's kind of like a hipster Nandos in that it sells a variety of chicken dishes and the menu is set up in such a way that it encourages you to split and share main courses. The end result is therefore a massive feed for much cheaper as you actually only end up paying for half a main and your own side, so it's great for students living in the area. Also, the food is absolutely unbelievable. I genuinely have so much love for this place, especially for its mac 'n' cheese and its range of yummy cocktails! 

The next morning, Alysia, my mum and I set off early to Castle Leslie for a riding lesson at the equestrian centre which I never believed I'd ever get the chance to do because it's just sooo fancy. The lesson was actually an incredibly generous gift from my mum's partner and was honestly a dream come true, even though it ended up being a little chaotic.

The riding style they taught was pretty foreign to me and I don't think I took to it particularly well but it was still a brilliant experience and it was so cool to get to ride against such a beautiful backdrop. 

After the lesson we met my mum for some coffee and she surprised us with impromptu bookings at the castle's gorgeous Victorian Treatment Rooms for facials! It was actually my first time at a spa so I was so excited and honestly, the whole experience was so much better than I could ever have imagined. The facial itself was so relaxing, and was only made better by some of the chats I had with the really lovely beauty therapist. She was Polish and spoke several different languages so we had a very lengthy and enthusiastic conversation about the joys of language acquisition- one of my favourite topics, being the language nerd that I am! I really love hearing people's stories as well; I think it's one of the reasons why I love reading blogs so much.

I don't think I can actually recall a time in my life when I ever felt as chilled out as I did after that spa treatment. When our facials were done we moved into a kind of relaxation area with these comfy chaise lounge chairs where we were offered these little smoothie shots and given a choice out of a huge range of herbal teas. I'm not sure if that's standard procedure in spas and I'm just a spa n00b but if it's not, it should be. I drifted into that lounge room feeling as if I was floating on a very fluffy cloud and I just remember looking around at Alysia and my mum and thinking 'I'm so happy, just right here, right now'. I really don't think I could have asked for much more than that on my birthday.

Once we'd managed to build ourselves up to leaving the spa, and consequently return to reality, we decided to take a walk through the grounds of the estate towards the castle.

Any time I'd ever been to Castle Leslie before there had always been some sort of function on and so I'd never seen inside. I honestly could believe our luck when on this particular day the castle was open and I got to have my very first look at its striking interior which is full of beautiful furniture and pieces of art, including an amazing wall tapestry! Not only that, but we also got to out into the castle's gardens, a really stunning area overlooking the lake that I'd never seen before. It's actually the part that they use to host weddings... Can you imagine having your wedding here, with that gorgeous view?

All in all, I had an absolutely perfect day. I couldn't have asked for a better one. Apparently the excitement was all a bit much for me though, since I basically passed out in bed as soon as I got home and was sound asleep by half 10! I may never be the ultimate party animal, but at least I'm always well-rested, haha!

I just wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported me in this last year of my blog's existence. It's been an amazing ride and I'm so thankful for all the lovely people I've met  so far and for all the amazing experiences I've had thanks to blogging. I have so much love for you all.

Easter Monday Walkies | Murlough Beach, Co. Down

Just a pre-warning that this post features a bit of an overload of photos of my dog, Heidi- yes, I'm one of those dog owners! haha- to be honest I just love watching her run about and doing her thing because it makes me so happy to see her happy and enjoying herself!

We had unusually good weather this Easter Monday, particularly considering how cold it's been recently. It just suddenly went from rain to glorious sun in the space of a day, so my mum and I decided to take advantage of it while it lasted and take Heidi down to the beach.

Murlough Beach is one of my favourite beaches in Northern Ireland. It's maintained by the National Trust so is always beautiful and clean and I think one of the best parts about it is the fact that it's also set against the magnificent and imposing Mourne Mountains. They looked especially gorgeous and misty on this particular day with the sun out.

All of us had a lovely time but I think Heidi probably enjoyed it the most! She's a real bundle of energy so loves having the space and freedom to run about. 

After our beach walk we headed back to the car, but not before picking up a tea and traybake to go from the tiny cafe at the entrance. If anything's true of the Farrelly clan it's that we will take up any excuse or opportunity to stop for a cup of tea and a traybake. It's like an obligatory part of a day out, as well as the reason why I'll probably never be skinny! haha

I hope you all had a lovely Easter Weekend whatever you got up to! Though I know I'm a little late in saying that at this stage. In any case, I hope this week is treating you well so far.
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