Some places just feel like returning home, and for me I think York will always be one of those places. As the city where I spent my student days, and some time afterwards, I got to know it very well and have some fantastic memories of my time there. Even though I feel completely comfortable in York, it still felt slightly odd returning after a little while and seeing the things that had changed. Whilst I had limited time to spend in the actual city (I was primarily there for a dance competition) I still managed to fit in some of my old haunts.
Copenhagen has always been somewhere I’ve wanted to go, and I’m not sure why as it wasn’t somewhere I knew much about. I can only blame my obsession with the Hans Christian Andersen film when I was younger… Anyway, James and I were looking for somewhere for a long weekend break and realised that we both had friends living in Copenhagen so it was the perfect time to go.
When you arrange to go to Copenhagen for a weekend of sightseeing and catching up with friends, the last thing you expect to find yourself doing is heading to a farm to watch cows jump. However, we had been reliably informed by our friend that the Sunday of our stay was the day that the cows across the country were released from their barns for the summer. They get so excited that they leap about and generally have a great time, whilst Danish families in the area watch and enjoy free dairy produce from the farm. So after a day of seeing the sights in central Copenhagen, we headed out into the countryside to watch cows the following day.
When you live so close to the Lake District, it can be easy to forget what a beautiful place it is to visit. I don’t visit it anywhere near enough, and each time I do I promise myself I’ll be back soon, which usually turns into many months later. The problem is that a lot of the time the weather isn’t fantastic, and when it is it becomes overrun with tourists making the roads busy and parking difficult to find. Luckily, I had the perfect opportunity to visit recently. The skies were blue, it was a weekday and it wasn’t yet the school holidays, so I jumped in the car and headed for Grasmere.
I think that brunch might be my favourite meal of the day. In fact, if I lived in a city and wasn’t spending as much money visiting places I could quite easily get into the habit of going for brunch every weekend. It’s nice being able to have a lazier morning, enjoy a big meal and then not worry about eating for the rest of the day, but still having plenty of time to do things. I also think that brunch is late enough in the day that you can follow up your meal with some cake, whereas breakfast is just a bit too early for that unless it’s a special occasion.
Ever since I first saw Aladdin being advertised I knew it was a West End show that I wanted to see. For a start, I’m a huge Disney fan and (thought I) knew all the songs. My best friend also wanted to see it. The costumes were bound to be spectacular. I love going to see musicals, particularly in London, and this was added to my list straight away. And, when Sophie and I finally managed to get our diaries to align, we went to see it!
A few years ago before I was about to visit Spain for the first time, I made the mistake of admitting to James that I was worried about the food because I didn’t like tapas. He hasn’t let me forget it since, although I will now willingly admit that I really like tapas. Before I had properly experienced it, I thought it was all olives and calamari and other things that I would prefer not to have. However now I’ve been to Spain, and had tapas in the UK multiple times since, I can confirm that whilst I may not love those specific dishes, I definitely do not have a problem with tapas generally. Which is why I was pleased to hear that we would be going to a Spanish restaurant while we were in Manchester for the weekend, although it gave James another opportunity to tease me.
The benefit of going somewhere off season is that you can usually get a lot more for your money, or afford somewhere that you wouldn’t usually be able to. James and I had wanted to go to Kielder Observatory for a while and knew that this would involve an overnight stay. However, we discovered that lodges are much cheaper off season than they usually are so we decided to stay for a few days which meant that we could enjoy a long weekend in the area.
Sometimes in life you just need to step back from everything. When work is busy, your diary is overflowing with things to do and places to see, and you just can’t quite turn off. It’s at times like this that I find it can be really soothing to spend some time outdoors and just relax. Our trip to Kielder came at exactly the right time, and was the perfect place to recharge my batteries.
One of the benefits of living in the country is looking up and being able to see the stars at night. Despite the fact that I can see much more than I would ever be able to see living in a city, I can still tell the difference when I go somewhere which is even more remote. James loves star-gazing, so for his birthday it seemed like a fantastic opportunity to go to the Kielder Observatory which is situated within a dark skies area.