Wordless Wednesday: Fashion

Wordless Wednesday is a new weekly tag created by Grace at Kimmie.gg. Each week there’s a new topic, unrelated to books, which will hopefully provide some insight into my life outside of reading.

Each week, I will post a topic for a Wordless Wednesday that you may answer in whatever fashion you may like. All you need to do is link back to Kimmie.gg in your post so that I can also read your content!

This week’s theme was Art, and while I normally try and stick to the themes that are set for this one the only artist that came to mind when I thought of my favourites was Vincent Van Gogh. I love going to museums and seeing all the work on display, don’t get me wrong, but I never really seek out specific artist. So instead I decided to focus on fashion, because after all, isn’t fashion a form of art?

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Wordless Wednesday: Wanderlust

Wordless Wednesday is a new weekly tag created by Grace at Kimmie.gg. Each week there’s a new topic, unrelated to books, which will hopefully provide some insight into my life outside of reading.

Each week, I will post a topic for a Wordless Wednesday that you may answer in whatever fashion you may like. All you need to do is link back to Kimmie.gg in your post so that I can also read your content!

This week’s theme was Wanderlust and ever since I discovered Grace was making this a weekly tag and saw the topics she’d picked for each week this was the one I was the most excited for. I love travelling, one day I’d like to be able to say I’ve been to every continent and every country. I want to see everything there is to see and do everything there is to do and I’m not going to let anything stand in my way.

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Wordless Wednesday: Soundtrack to My Life

Wordless Wednesday is a new weekly tag created by Grace at Kimmie.gg. Each week there’s a new topic, unrelated to books, which will hopefully provide some insight into my life outside of reading.

Each week, I will post a topic for a Wordless Wednesday that you may answer in whatever fashion you may like. All you need to do is link back to Kimmie.gg in your post so that I can also read your content!

This week’s theme was Songs of Your Life but I adapted it a little and called it Soundtrack of My Life. I wouldn’t say these are songs that relate to turning points in my life, more songs that, no matter how much time will pass, will always be favourites of mine. Asides from books music is one of the big loves of my life. In fact I possibly love music more than I love reading because if it comes down to it I would rather leave my Kindle at home than my iPod.

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Update #1

Just a quick post today to announce something very exciting. I finally have an Instagram account!

InstagramYep after blogging for nine months now I’m making my foray into the social media world starting with Instagram.

Does this mean a Goodreads account is in the works for my blog? Possibly but not for a few more days at least. I have YALC this coming weekend, more gifts to buy for #SFATW and a book blog blind date interview to finish; so a lot of things on my plate. However, fingers crossed, before the end of this month I will have a profile up and running on Goodreads. Until then though you can check out my account on Instagram.

Souvenirs From Across the World: Welcome to England

Marie at Drizzle and Hurricane Books is hosting a brand new, amazing sounding, you-don’t-want-to-miss-out-on feature; Souvenirs From Across the World. It’s a chance for people from all around the world to share their culture, their hometown, their country, and connect with other bloggers.

This week is all about getting to know everyone’s countries, already plenty of people have posted from their hometowns and now I’m posting from England.

Souvenirs From Across the World

There’s still time to sign up, if this sounds like something you’re interested in. There’s plenty of information about the feature itself here, and you can check out Marie’s post on her hometown here. Subscriptions close on the 25th of June so seriously get going because this sounds like an amazing features, hopefully one we will see more of, and I am so excited to be taking part.

Welcome to England

I have travelled a lot in recent years, with plans to travel more in the near future; I’ve stayed as close to home as Scotland in March and gone as far as Cancun back last August. When it comes to England itself I haven’t seen much of the country I’ve lived my whole life in; my home is Southend and it has been my whole life, London has quickly become my home away from home, and I spent three years in Brighton while at University there. Other than that there is still the whole of England for me to explore when the opportunity presents itself.

First, some background on England. It’s a small country, part of the UK along with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. We’re known for our fish and chips, the royal family, and tea, but there’s so much more to us than just that. However if you do come to England, seriously, get some fish and chips at some point.

Southend Beach Huts

Southend

I’ve lived in Southend-on-Sea my entire life and honestly can’t imagine living anywhere else. It’s a small seaside town, although technically not actually on the sea. Southend actually sits on the mouth of the Thames Estuary so you can see Kent on the other side of the water, I guess Southend-on-the-Thames-Estuary didn’t have the same ring to it as Southend-on-Sea.

When it’s the summer and the sun is out we get rammed with tourists and happy families down on the beach; eating ice cream and fish and chips, spending money in the arcades, screaming on the rides at Peter Pan’s, wandering down the longest pier in the world (it’s caught fire at least twice though so I’d visit before someone proves the adage that these things come in threes). I’ve spent many a day with my friends down on the beach; eating the fresh doughnuts and walking out towards Kent when the sea’s out.

Just a short travel away there are more coastal towns which are worth a visit; one such is Leigh, home to Old Leigh and Hadleigh Castle which are both well worth going to when the sun is shining.

Hadleigh Castle

One of my favourite things about Southend is that, just a short train ride away, you can find yourself in the centre of London.

London

London has quickly become my home away from home. I spent a lot of my free time there and it’s one of my favourite places to be because there is always something going on. It’s the city that never sleeps; everywhere you turn there’s something new to see, something exciting to do, something amazing to discover.

If shopping is your thing then we have Oxford Street, stretching from Tottenham Court Road all the way to Marble Arch, with all the high street flagship stores and always plenty of people. It’s the place to go for shopping and there are plenty of hidden treasures down some of the side streets if you wander far enough; like St. Christopher’s Place, full of bars, cafes and restaurants it’s at the same time so close to the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street but it feels so far away.

Oxford Street

Then there are the markets. Stand to one side and sample some of the food they have to offer. If you have the time spend an hour losing yourself inside the maze that is Camden Lock Market. I’ve done it myself, spent hours wandering around visiting stalls I’ve never seen before or since. There are plenty of markets all over London all offering something different; Maltby Street Market, Portobello Road, Brick Lane, Covent Garden, Southbank, all of them offer something different so make sure you check out what they’re known for before going. If you’re in London though I’d recommend checking out at least one or two of the markets.

Covent Garden and Neal's Yard

Then there are the tourist attractions themselves which, although crammed with tourists especially in the summer, are still well worth the visit. The Tower of London is a must, full of England’s history and close to the Thames it’s a brilliant photo spot, London Zoo is a great day out if the weather is nice and you have the time to spare, the Reptile House is where they filmed a certain scene from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The London Dungeons shows a more gruesome side to history but the actors there and the stories they perform make that history come alive. There’s Leicester and Trafalgar Square, Madame Tussaud’s, the London Eye. There are plenty of museums to go to if that’s more your thing; the V&A, the Tate Collective, Somerset House, the National Museums of History and Science.

Tower of London

Then at night the city comes alive. Take in a Broadway show or have a few drinks in one of the many bars in and around London. Whether it’s the local pub or a more eclectic one there’s always an amazing experience to be had.

I could take for days and days about all the things there is to see and do in London, instead I will offer two pieces of advice for anyone visiting London:

  • One; walk as much as you can. Sure you can take the tube, it’s convenient, cheap and fast. However why would you want to be stuck underground when you can get around on foot just as fast and see an array of sights while you’re at it. Walk from Piccadilly Circus, to Covent Garden, to Neal’s Yard and see what else you can discover along the way.
  • Second; get lost in the city. Start in the middle of Oxford Street, or the edge of Southbank and take the side paths seeing what you discover. There’s always something amazing to see in London and you’ll be surprised what you discover if you give it a chance.

None of these photos belong to me, with the exception of the Tower of London ones, all were found through Google images.

A Postcard from Venice

Italy is probably my favourite country in the world (at the moment, there are still countries I’ve never set foot in). I’ve been once to Milan and twice to Rome so when my friend suggested going to Venice this year I jumped at the chance.

I’d heard a bit from people who’d already been there before; how it was really overpriced (for most things I didn’t really find that to be the case), how it was smelly (yes the canals had a slight sea weed-y odour but in May it wasn’t that bad), and that the gondola rides were a rip-off (we didn’t even look up the prices for those). For me, however, my first impression of the city was how unique, quaint, gorgeous it was.

I think Venice is more of a shopping destination that a tourist one, like say Rome for example. While there are still some amazing attractions to visit, and a lot of history that makes up this city, most people will go for a city break to Venice for the shopping.

Venice (1)

Venice (2)

Venice (3)

My friend and I walked all over the city and saw everything it had to offer; it isn’t that large so it was easy, while tiring, to go everywhere on foot. We wandered along the main streets where shops and cafes lined the pavements, we walked along the grand canal with gelatos in hand, we travelled alongside the smaller canals, side streets, and past quaint markets.

They say all roads lead to Rome but in Venice all roads seemed to lead to Piazza San Marco. It seemed to be the centre of the city; home to Saint Mark’s Basilica, a truly beautiful and breathtaking building which offers beautiful views of not only the cathedral inside but the whole square, and Doge’s Palace.

Venice (4)

For me Venice was a spontaneous trip, we didn’t have anything planned so we wandered to our hearts content, crossing the Rialto Bridge and passing the Bridge of Sighs, visiting the museums and seeing all the history Venice had to offer. Of course we ended up spending a lot of money on gelato, souvenirs and more gelato but that’s part and parcel of being in Italy I guess.

Venice (5)

Venice (6)

Advice (a.k.a. learn from my mistakes)

  • Don’t forget the sun cream…This was a really bad mistake on my part because by the end of the second day my back, shoulders and chest were burnt and of course I had no sun cream. Venice can get really hot, especially in the summer, and walking around you won’t realise you’re starting to burn until you get back to the hotel and look in the mirror.
  • Drink plenty of water…The reasons for this are obvious.
  • Be wary of tourist traps…The only places I’ve ever encountered this is in Italy. Most restaurants close to major attractions don’t care about repeat customers because they know tomorrow there will always be more tourists walking through their doors. If you’re not careful you can get caught with hiked up prices, cover and service charges and by the end of your meal you’re left with a bill that’s way more than you would have thought. So be careful because it can put a real damper on your day.
  • Don’t take a gondola…Unless you really want the experience and you have the money it’s just not worth it. You can walk pretty much everywhere and anywhere in Venice, and if you want to travel by the canals then you can take the water bus for a fraction of the price.

A Postcard from Venice (2)

If you ever get a chance to go to Venice one day try and go during the Carnival. Everywhere you go in Venice you will see masquerade masks for sale. They’re such a big part of the culture and honestly so beautiful you’ll want to buy them all. Every year during Carnival the streets are filled with masked party-goers and from what I understand (I wasn’t in Venice during Carnival much to my disappointment) it’s an elaborate and beautiful affair.

A Postcard from Edinburgh

Hopefully this post is a case of better late than never.

Back at the end of March, over the Easter weekend, my friend and I took a trip up to Edinburgh. I’ve been to a fair few places on my travels so far but before heading up to Scotland for the weekend I’d never been to another country that makes up the United Kingdom, and my knowledge of Scotland was minimum at best. For me it was whisky and shortbread and the Loch Ness.

But there is so much more to Scotland, and so much more to Edinburgh; it’s an amazing city, so full of culture and history.

Our first stop was Edinburgh Castle, which felt like the centre of Edinburgh’s old town. There’s so much history within its walls and honestly just walking around for an hour you can learn so much about the past of both the castle and Edinburgh itself. Then from the Castle you can walk down the Royal Mile which takes you all through the Old Town of the city; a mixture of shops, restaurants, pubs it will take you past Tron Kirk and through Parliament Square as well as other tourist attractions. If you have the time just wander through the streets and side streets and see what wonders you can find.

Edinburgh Castle (1)

Edinburgh Castle (2)

If you’re feeling up to a hike, and even if you’re not, then definitely make the climb up to Arthur’s Seat. It’s a tough journey but when you get to the top the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel will be more than worth it, and it offers some spectacular views of Edinburgh as well.

It took my friend and I quite a while to get to the top, I needed to stop a couple of times for a break and we wandered off the path to explore other sights a couple of times, but the view when we got to the top was more than worth it. And when heading back down again, and seeing the people just starting off the journey was kind of fun as well, knowing how long they had to go before reaching the top (I’m a cruel person at times).

Arthur's Seat (2)

Arthur's Seat (1)

Arthur's Seat (3)

Now in my opinion going to Scotland and not seeing the highlands is not acceptable. We booked a day trip which took us to some of the best sight’s within Scotland’s beautiful highlands. We saw Glen Coe and Ben Nevis, saw the Loch Ness and took a boat ride around part of the famous Loch (sadly we didn’t catch a glimpse on the monster itself). There is so much more to the highlands than what we saw but we got a great taste as to what else Scotland has to offer.

Loch Ness (1)

Loch Ness (2)

Advice (a.k.a. learn from my mistakes)

  • Take good walking shoes…There is a lot of walking if you want to experience the best of the best of Edinburgh and plenty of hills as well which brings me onto my second point…
  • Take breaks…Don’t push yourself too much at the beginning of the day because by the time it gets to the late afternoon, no matter how comfy your shoes are, your feet will be killing you.
  • Book ahead…If you want to skip the queues at Edinburgh Castle, if you want to go on a highland tour, and if you want to see many of the other attractions Edinburgh has to offer see if you can pre-book tickets. It will skip you past the queues and ensure you actually get what you want.

A Postcard from Edinburgh (2)

Like with every holiday I’ve been on take a day or an afternoon to just wander around the city. Some of the best experiences I’ve had while travelling have come from when me and my friend, or me and my sister have had nothing else to do and just wandered around the city. We saw what we could find and ended up doing something we wouldn’t have planned on a whim. Planning is good don’t get me wrong but there’s a lot to be said for some spontaneity as well.