Where Am I Going?

Does anyone really know?

I can’t imagine being someone who has their entire life mapped out but, I just thought I’d have my shit together at least a little bit by 25.

On paper I’m happy, I have a lovely little home with my partner, with a kitchen that I love, I have a job that pays the bills and that I enjoy, I live 5 mins from my mum and I’m driving distance from the ocean.  All good things that are important to me and meet my needs to sustain a healthy happy lifestyle.

I have vague ideas for the home and life I want to share with my partner one day and, I thought I’d be closer to achieving them by now honestly. The frustrating thing to accept is that I’m probably further away than I’ve ever been from a financial perspective at least.

A year ago I was arguably in a much more stable financial position but, I hated my flat and my job, so the money didn’t mean much to me in the end. Once I’d established I was unhappy that was it. It became obvious to me that it was more important to love what I was doing everyday than to earn a certain amount of money.

I still stand by that mindset and in some respects have never felt so good. Yet I don’t remember the last time I felt this financially stressed either. I’m beginning to wonder what the hell I’m doing with my life and turning 26 this year has really got my brain scrambled.

The realisation that a lot can change within a  year has hit me hard this Summer.  Last year there was a lot of loss and growth in my family and that theme has spilled over into life with my boyfriend. I could list so many things that I wish I could change but, everything is a life lesson and all I can do is hope that 2019 is good to me.

ALL I want is for things to go smoothly. I want to stay and progress in my job. I want my boyfriend to find a job he loves and, I just want to live calmly in my nice flat surrounded by beautiful houseplants. That’s my short term goal I suppose and, to go on holiday next year would be pretty great too.

So, yes, where am I actually going long term?

Well.

I wish I knew. This post would be so much simpler if I had some real direction and clue about what I was doing but, I don’t. I’m beginning to learn that making plans is all well and good on paper but, life doesn’t work that way. Life will put a spanner in the works again and again and it’s up to you to adapt your plan and learn to cope.

However I do know that I want to try my best everyday to be kind to myself and to others, to one day (hopefully) own a home with a fancy garage and big kitchen, to start a family and live amongst nature. If for whatever reason those things don’t happen I’ll be alright though, something better might be right around the corner. It’s not like I can’t change my plans and find something new to feel excited for.

I’m kind of making things up as I go a long with this constant vision of a beautiful house by the beach, where I can call home.

That’s keeping me going right now.

If I reach a point in my life where I don’t have to worry about the amount of money I’m spending on a meal out I’ll be truly happy and feel successful. But, I have no idea if I’ll get there and what career I even want to follow for that to happen.

To be unsure of everything is kind of exciting in some respects but, it’s a sort of nervous energy that I’d rather not feel.

I guess for now, all I can do is tell myself that everything will fall into place. And, despite the challenges I’ve been facing recently with my partner we’ve still managed to have the best Summer in a long long time and I’m so thankful for that.

“A quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest.” – Albert Einstein

Taking It Slow

Sitting on my sofa, having a relaxed Monday morning I contemplate my lifestyle; whilst it feels like the rest of the world heads off to work.

In March I remember writing a post called Hello Happiness  where I wrote openly about my decision to quit the 9-5, gave some advice for people wanting to do the same and, shared some personal opinions on my ‘career’ so far.

Whilst writing I remember feeling a bit fearful to share my feelings regarding office work and why it wasn’t for me, because I was still thinking maybe, I might go back one day. Sometimes, I still see myself falling back into an office job again, and wonder whether one day it might suit my lifestyle better if/when I have a family. But, after meeting up with a close friend and old work colleague my opinion might have shifted, at least for now.

She was trying to encourage me and in a positive way, suggest that I might want to return to my old job in a different department, as there is a current vacancy I could apply for. At the time, I was pretty interested and had spoken previously with my partner about wanting to go back if they’d have me. However, it wasn’t until a few days after that I began realizing that it would be a mistake and I would be taking a big step backwards.

Self care is the most important thing and my life is so calm, slow, peaceful now.

I work 3 or 4 days a week and have more than enough free time to live my life the way I want to. Before, I was consumed by work. I would constantly shop for work clothes, come home feeling stressed every day, wishing my life away and praying for the weekend.

Now, my life doesn’t exist within the confines of 9-5 and it’s the best. I don’t share the same weekends with everyone else because my routine is changing constantly. I feel that the job I’m doing is important and I’m not ashamed to say that I left working at a Law firm to become a Dementia Care Assistant anymore.

The job isn’t always glamorous but, there’s never a dull moment and I couldn’t think of a better use of my time. It’s in my nature to love and look after, so I’m staying put.

I might see my friends less because of the conflicting work hours but, I see my partner and family more, which means so much to me. I also have a lot of time to myself to write, cook, decorate my new home and enjoy my own company.

The most important thing to mention is that, my mental health has improved so much since saying goodbye to the unnecessary pressure I felt whilst working in a busy office. I’ve always had anxiety and still feel it sometimes but, it’s much more manageable now thanks to discovering a slower way to live.

I’m officially living my best life.

I’m the most confident and comfortable I’ve probably ever felt in my own skin.

I’m untroubled and am able to make the most of everyday.

I don’t go to sleep feeling worried and wanting to phone in sick anymore. I sleep so soooo well and, although I have no idea where my career is going long term, I’m enjoying life right now and that’s the most important thing.

 

 

 

 

Making Life Good Again

Sometimes all you need is a good catch up with your mum to make things good again.

After a stressful couple of months dealing with moving house and the finances involved, this weekend has felt like the first in a while where I could just chill and take it all in.

Me and my boyfriend ended up moving house a little early due to lack of communication from our estate agents, and everything sort of became a mess. I ended up spending more money than expected and moving became a huge rush. We’ve been in since June 1st but are finding problems left right and center.

Lets just say it’s not been easy. We’ve contemplated our regrets a lot and are only just beginning to feel settled.

I’m eternally grateful for my mums support and my boyfriends dads too though. My mum has been amazing and my boyfriends dad has been there to try and help with every issue we’ve found with the flat.

I know so many people who have such complicated relationships with their parents and I’m so glad I’m not one of them. My mum literally makes everything better. She is full of kindness and I turn to her for support in everything I do. If I didn’t have it during this move I don’t think I could live here. Is that weird?

Anyway, I’m so open about how thankful I am for everything she’s ever done and continues to do for me and I just want her to have the best life possible.

Times have been rough on us all recently and it’s so hard to put on a brave face when you’re feeling your worst. But, I encourage myself and my loved ones to take a step back and get some fresh air as often as possible. That means different things to everyone but to me and mum, it means getting outside. Being with nature, having a good lunch and a catch up. Laughing lots and talking through our problems.

Recently we did just that whilst visiting a local farm shop. We ordered lunch, watched chickens running around and laughed at Alpacas. We shopped for fresh veggie produce and eyed up the deli section. We sat on a bench with a big cup of coffee, discussed our worries and how we wanted to resolve them.

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I always feel that everything is better after eating a good meal, drinking a hearty coffee and spilling out all of the thought that have been consuming you all week. It’s easy to keep things bottled up but, it’s not healthy to live like that and I don’t want to watch someone struggling either.

We’re trying to make life easier, better and healthier in all aspects. I’ve been trying to hold it together and struggling throughout the move but things are getting easier and, I think the sunshine truly helps with that.

I also try to live by the simple words my mum would always say and reiterate them to her when she’s feeling down…

Everything works out. It just does. This is just a moment in time.

What you’re feeling now is only temporary. It’s natural to feel anxious and worried but don’t let it eat away at who you really are.

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I just think it’s easy to focus on the things that aren’t right in your life but, there’s plenty of good things happening too.

My new home is coming together slowly.

I’m going on holiday to Cornwall and will be dog sitting later in July whilst mum is sunning it up in Spain.

Life is good and so are we.

20’s Life Struggles – Adulthood, Moving Out & Employment

If you’re in your 20’s you probably know exactly how I feel and are facing the same financial struggles as me.

I thought that after leaving education that life would get easier, I would settle in to a career I loved and start a family. But, it’s really not that simple.

Trying to find the right career, balance a social life and find independence is much a big challenge. I work hard, always pay my bills on time and after that, well, my disposable income is pretty non existent.

It’s really disheartening that I can only afford to have a nice day out once or twice a month and, that I always have to feel guilty when shopping for myself and my home.

Savings

Unless you have wealthy parents who are willing and able to financially support you into terms of buying a property or, you are willing to live at home into your 30s and save hard, it’s difficult to imagine ever being able to afford your own home.

It drives me insane when I hear people who claim to be struggling with money, somehow manage to afford a big holiday or to buy a beautiful home, just out of thin air! It’s just not true that they worked hard and saved every penny.

I’m not convinced anyway.

When I was 22 and living with mum I was paid weekly which made it so easy for me to save I must admit. I would give my mum £50 per week, keep £50 for me and save the other £150 every week. I still had a pretty good social life yet, after working for 4 months at that job I managed to save £2000 and, I can imagine that if I continued to live at mums and wasn’t made redundant from that job, I probably would have been able to buy a house by now.

But, life doesn’t always run that smoothly. I had to find a new job, ended up moving out of my mums and all of a sudden, saving became almost impossible.

I always aim to put £100 in my savings each month but, usually it’s back at 10p by the time the month has ended. This month I’ve tried hard to save and I have a little bit for the first time in 3 years which feels really great. However, I’m fully aware that pretty much every month there’s a hiccup and the money might need to be spent.

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Nonetheless, I’ve been trying to remember the advice I gave myself with my first job after graduating in hopes to motivate myself and anyone else wanting to save –

  • Plan a monthly budget – £200 on food shopping, £100 on social events etc
  • Set a strict amount to add to your savings each month
  • Create a Direct Debit to make life easier
  • If you take money out make sure to put in back when you get paid
  • Have a goal figure in mind
  • Set up a joint savings account with your partner and make sure to add equal amount each

Renting

If you want to leave your family home in your 20s you’ll probably be renting unless you’re really really lucky.

This wasn’t something I was prepared to do. I want to buy one day of course but, I love my boyfriend and living with either of our parents wasn’t an option. Thankfully at the time we chose to move I had saved a further £2000 and my boyfriend had redundancy money which meant that we could afford to move out, pay the deposit, estate agent fees and fully furnish our flat. But, it wasn’t cheap and anyone who’s living in rented accommodation will tell you the same.

If you live at home already you should be aware of what will be required of you once you’ve decided to fly the nest and rent. Your chosen estate agents will charge you first months rent and a deposit, which will usually total the cost of one months rent plus an extra £100. If like me, they might also charge you an additional amount to take secure the flat from any further viewings too, which cost me another £300. Oh, and don’t forget, they will also charge you for the cost of checking references.

It’s not cheap and hardly ever affordable but, I’m a strong believer that us young adults shouldn’t live at home until we’re half way through our adult lives. I know it’s tricky getting the finances together to rent and it sucks not owning the property itself but, it’s certainly nice to have independence.

Trying to feel positive about the many great aspects of living in my own flat makes it just about okay that I have no savings and, hopefully if you move out you’ll feel the same way too. If you’re lucky you’ll also find a nice enough landlord who will somewhat let you decorate the place too and, that’ll give you the freedom to feel like the place is yours.

Home Aspirations 

I’ve always had a dream of owning a beautiful red brick property, with high ceilings and pretty fireplaces. Thinking about having an office of my own and a real workspace for my boyfriends IT company to take off. He could even have an amazing garage space to store his vintage cars and I could have an incredible kitchen kitted out with every gadget imaginable.

That’s my big dream and goal in life. I want a happy home. The thought of having enough space to take all of our hobbies seriously and enjoy our free time together in means everything to me.

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I’m aware that the government and implemented Help to Buy schemes are various other ways for young adults to enter the property ladder but, it’s still something I certainly can’t afford. We hope that one day we save up that 10% required to purchase our first home together but it’s not easy. Banks and mortgage loans are so complicated. Purchasing a house should be fun but, thinking of the cost of estate agents and solicitor fees on top of the property itself makes me want to break down and cry.

Employment

It doesn’t matter if you are or aren’t in your dream job right this second. It’s all experience and will lead you to the career path that’s right for you whether you realise it or not.

Sometimes, working in a job that you dislike can have it’s benefits too. It makes you not care to worry about the job outside of the hours you’re there and, it allows you to narrow down your next job search. Once you know what you don’t like you can think about jobs that might be better suited and apply for those moving forward.

If you have found a job you love, make sure it will still work for you in the long run. Make sure there’s progression, that the salary is acceptable and will increase as your skill set develops. Make sure they value you and that your relationships are good with senior management.

Make sure that you have a pension, the option for flexible working and a good maternity/paternity package. Basically, make sure your employer isn’t demanding too much and giving too little in return. Read their policies and keep up to date with changes that may impact you. You should be able to access your companies policy or handbook by speaking with you manager or accessing internal systems, they might have even included a copy in your contract too.

Pensions & Retirement Age

I recently looked at my pension scheme with the People’s Pension and was horrified if I’m honest.

Legally every employer has to offer some sort of pension however, that doesn’t mean the pension is necessarily that amazing. I mean, I pay about £6 per month into mine, which is matched by my employer and over the past two years that’s added up to a very sad amount of money. According to the People’s Pension it means that I won’t be able to retire until I’m 68 years old at earliest.

I hate to break it to you but, unless you work for a major organisation like the NHS for example your pension probably sucks too.

Regardless, I think it’s still so important to be enrolled on a pension. You can choose to opt out if you want to but,  in doing this you’re not investing in yourself or understanding that later in life you and your loved ones may need this money.

It might not look like a life changing amount at the moment and you might resent putting whatever amount you put in every month but, you’ll be grateful when you do retire to have that bit of money behind you. That’s how I’m trying to feel about it anyway!

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If you want to know the total amount your pension is at just contact your pension provider and request a statement. Alternatively, the amount you put in monthly should be on your payslip and you should be able to work out the total from there.

If you’re registered with the People’s Pension just visit their website and log in or activate as a new user with your NI number. They’ll breakdown everything you need to know about your pension and provide additional info too.

To sum up…

Life is hard! It’s always going to be difficult. Hopefully one day money won’t be a worry for any of us and I hope so badly that all of our aspirations come true.

In the short term, all we can do is try our best to focus on the good and plan for things that bring us joy. Don’t forget, it’s okay to treat ourselves too. I’m not saying we need to be strict or worried all of the time. We should all let our hair down, live in the moment and be spontaneous with the money we’ve worked bloody hard to earn too.

Think of the positive and plan for the future as best we can.

Dirty Delicious Hubbox

Hubbox essentially is an American street food joint based in the South West.  At the moment you’ll only find them in St Ives, Truro, Pentewan, Plymouth, Exeter and most recently Bristol.

They take pride in their ingredients and have gone out of their way to ensure that their food is locally sourced. Their potatoes come from Cornish Potatoes, their meat Phillip Warren Butchers and their veg comes from West Country Fruit. All of their coffee and alcohol is locally produced too from various UK based companies including Cornish Orchards and Harbour Brewery.

I’ve eaten at Hubbox about a zillion times since they opened in Plymouth a couple of years ago and I have no complaints. Their staff are super friendly and I always look forward to going back. I just wish they were around when I was a uni student because I would have spent my entire student loan eating from their menu and felt so fat and happy doing so.

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Their current menu (which I hear is set to change soon) has lots of choice in terms of beef, chicken, fish and veggie burgers. They also serve hot dogs, nachos, mac n cheese and various types of chips. Honestly I think there’s a little too much choice because I never ever know what to order. Literally just because I know it’ll all be delicious and I don’t want to make a mistake.

So, what did we order you ask?

My boyfriend was a little hungover so he wanted to go all out whereas, my non hungover brain was just craving a big greasy burger. He ordered the BBQ tray which I would only recommend if you have a larger than life appetite. The tray includes beef brisket, pulled pork, fries, chicken wings, a frank (hot dog), pickles, slaw and onion rings (which I stole). I wanted something a little less complicated and I ordered the Kim Yum Chick BBQ chicken Korean burger with dirty fries.

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What are dirty fries you ask? Well, they are delicious I can tell you that much. You can ask for any type of fries from their menu and just ask to make them dirty, which means adding their Hub sauce mixed together with diced white onions and plenty of jalapeños. If spice is your thing you’ll love this sauce. It’s literally so mooreish and like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. I wish I knew how to explain the flavour better but I think it’s something you just need to experience yourself. If you’re unsure whether you’ll like it but want to give it a try, just ask to have some on the side and they’ll be happy to do so.

In terms of my burger, the best way I can describe it is like a really REALLY good KFC Zinger because it’s essentially a slightly tangy buttermilk chicken burger. Inside of their burger itself is a Korean BBQ sauce so you would expect a little kick of some Asian spices, which I didn’t really notice but that’s okay because it’s damn tasty regardless.

My boyfriend loved his meal but had to take a break because as you can imagine, it was really filling. I didn’t get to sample anything apart from the yummy buttermilk fried onion rings but he assured me that the tray was worth the £17.95 it cost.

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Overall, I just love the Hubbox ethos. I commend them for being able to make fantastic good quality food at a competitive price and, I appreciate the efforts they have gone to in order to support other local farmers and suppliers when creating their menu. They are a force to be reckoned with, a big competitor in the Plymouth burger industry. I think they are here to stay and us Plymouthians absolutely love having them.

If you’re ever visiting the South West I would highly recommend trying to track down a nearby Hubbox. Their food is seriously dirty and delicious in so many ways.

Check out their website and drool over their food at your leisure!

Supporting Local Cafe’s – Make

I enjoy venturing out and supporting independents whenever I can and, I’ve loved watching my hometown of Plymouth’s creative community grow in recent years.

With community spirit in mind, I visited Make recently to sample their homemade food thanks recommendations from my mum and sister. Make are based at  140 Vauxhall Street in Plymouth and their premise not only runs a cute cafe but, is used as a workshop for crafts including sewing and crochet. I’m not creative with fabric at all so I’m purely invested for the food but, their workshop space looked fantastic and if you’re interested in getting creative they have a calendar you can access on their website.

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Their cafe and workshop space is neatly organised to sit side by side and is completely void of clutter. The space feels so warm, inviting and well, really creative! From the minute I walked in the door I felt welcomed and couldn’t wait to try the food.

In an aim to show support I obviously had to sample a good variety from their menu including tea and coffee. I started off by drinking a lovely strong cappuccino whilst pondering their menu choices and changing my mind over and over again. Their menu is almost entirely vegetarian and vegan friendly you might be pleased to know, although they do have some meat options available too.

img_0050I almost ordered the brunch poached eggs on toast but at the counter was tempted by their savory muffins so instead, ended up ordering a cup of mushroom and thyme soup with a vegan olive and pesto muffin.

By God did I make the right choice! Their adorable mug of soup was delicious, not too heavy and the muffin was light yet filling as well. My sister ordered their cheese muffin too, which meant we could split them in half and sample each others with the soup. We both agreed that the olive muffin was the better choice but both were pretty tasty to say the least.

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After a much needed catch up I decided I wasn’t leaving until we had cake. They only had a few options available and I was hoping for a little bit more choice but honestly, I was pretty satisfied with my soup and any cake was going to be a bonus. I went for a yummy citrus orange polenta cake accompanied by lots of tea whereas, my sister chose their chocolate and salted caramel brownie.

My orange cake was really delicious but maybe a little too heavy after a big savory muffin (my poor choice not theirs) and the brownie looked pretty damn delicious too although, I didn’t sample it unfortunately.

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I used to work right around the corner from Make so I’m kind of gutted I didn’t ever visit sooner. Regardless, I’ll hopefully be going back in the near future and I might even bring my boyfriend if he’ll let me.

Their food in taste and presentation feels really special so if you’re looking to take a friend or relative out for a little something to eat I’d highly recommend Make. They’re more than just a cafe. They’re a real space to grow, get creative and enjoy good food.

Oh and, they’re also a dog friendly cafe! Which means, if you’re venturing out with your adorable doggo to the Barbican anytime soon you can stop for a little something to eat without a single worry.

If you love their food and their ethos they can also plan events including children’s parties, Hen Do’s and Baby Showers! You can find out more about all of their products, workshops and events by visiting their website https://www.makeat140.co.uk

Side note, it’s so incredibly important to support local retailers, cafe’s and other businesses alike whenever you can. Your support in buying their products and providing exposure through social media means an enormous amount. It’s particularly important when the weather is bad (e.g. recent snowfall) because businesses can really suffer more than you might realise.  They will see their profits change during good and bad weather and this impact can ultimately save or shut down your favourite.

So, I urge you to please still go out, visit your favourite independent or try somewhere new, making sure they stay afloat even when the weather is miserable. I promise it’s worth it if you want them to stick around.

The Sunshine Blogger Awards

I’ve been nominated by the lovely Homebird Hang-Ups and Kate Carter for the Sunshine Blogger Awards. I can’t thank them enough for the support as a new blogger and so, below I have responded to Homebird Hang-Ups questions and nominated some of my favourite bloggers.

The rules are:

1. Thank the blogger (s) who nominated you for the blog post and link back to their blog.

2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.

3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 questions.

4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award Logo in your post and / or blog!

Below are the questions I’ve been asked to respond to (all would you rather and why).

1. Have unlimited time or unlimited money?

I would rather have unlimited money of course. I might have limited time on earth but I’d be able to make the most of my days, travel and live lavishly. I would also be able to provide financial support to my friends and family and leave a legacy to charity.

2. Be stranded in the sea or the desert?

In the desert. Not an easy question to answer and I absolutely love swimming in the sea but, I’m not that strong. I doubt I’d be able to survive for long in the water and would have a better chance on land.

3. Join the circus or be kidnapped by aliens?

Join the circus. Being kidnapped by aliens seems a lot more scary. The fear of the unknown I guess but, if I was in the circus I could possibly train to be an acrobat or help with costumes if I was able to befriend my kidnappers of course.

4. Fast forward to the future or go back in time?

Future please. Only about 5 years of so, but I’m always thinking about my future. I think about my partner and wonder where I’ll be. I want a nice home, a job I love and to not be renting anymore. I want kids and a nice garage for my partner to keep his nice car.

5. Live without books or TV?

Without books. I feel so bad saying that. I love reading at the moment but I’m always always watching TV. Reading is something I dip in and out of and TV is something I rely quite heavily on to relax.

6. Run 25 miles or walk 50?

Walk 50. I love walking. Running has never been my thing but walking is something I always try to participate in as often as possible. There’s so many nice places to explore and if I was running I wouldn’t be able to stop and to appreciate them.

7. Be a celebrity or a politician?

Celebrity. I’m not a genius in the kitchen by any means but I’d love to be a celebrity chef. I would like a big fancy kitchen with all of the gadgets in the world, to be a judge on Masterchef or something and have a cook book.

8. Give up chocolate or caffeine?

Caffeine. I absolutely adore a good cup of coffee from a coffee shop but, chocolate is something I eat more often.

9. Lose the sense of smell or taste?

That’s a tough one. Smell I suppose? Smell and taste go hand in hand so, without one you really lose a significant amount of the other. I love everything about eating and cooking so, my taste has to stay if I had to pick.

My nominations are…

MollyRees

Bonvoyagelucy

Beccymaysays

TravelTales_CA

ItsJadeMarie

Myselfwise

Moreaboutcat

OddballContent

Ellamaygarrett

Lunavioleta_x

Hilariceblog

So now onto my questions.

As I’m a new blogger and love food, I would like to ask the above nominations the following questions…

  1. Why did you decide to start blogging?
  2. What is your favourite topic to write about?
  3. What are your goals as a blogger?
  4. How do you manage to fit blogging around your job and/or education?
  5. How do you utilise social media to drive traffic to your blog?
  6. What is your favourite meal to cook for other people?
  7. What is your guilty food pleasure?
  8. What is your least favourite cuisine in general?
  9. Have you been reading any books this year and if so, do you have any recommendations?
  10. Have you been watching any food or lifestyle series of Netflix and if so, do you have any recommendations?
  11. If you like to cook, do you have any recipes that you would recommend I try?

 

 

Visiting the Cotwolds

If you’re looking for somewhere to visit this Winter I’d highly recommend taking a trip to the Cotswolds. Whether you’re looking for a countryside day trip, a mini break or long holiday, Cirencester has plenty to offer you.

At the end of November, we travelled to the Cotswolds for a two day short break, staying at the Stratton House Hotel. The hotel has new owners and is currently going through a refurbishment period however; there are plenty of high quality standard and comfy rooms to choose from. Not only are some of the bedrooms beautiful but, both the breakfast and evening meals were outstanding.

On our first night, we had dinner included with our Groupon deal so went all out, ordering starters, mains and a dessert. I tried mushroom risotto with a quail’s egg to start, pan fried duck for main and a chocolate and caramel lava cake to finish. I had never eaten duck before or tried a quails egg, and I was truly impressed. I’ll certainly be trying both again when the next opportunity presents itself.

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After devouring our meal and repeatedly commenting on how amazing everything tasted, “just like you see of Masterchef Professionals” to be exact, it was time to rest and make a plan over wine and a warm fire.

It was decided that visiting Bourton on the Water would be a great start to our first day after a big hearty free fry up. Our first stop, the vintage car museum was a must and roughly only cost £6 each to enter. If you want to travel back in time, reliving some historical moments though transportation history AND meet the original Brum, this is the place for you.

I was also very much excited to attend the model village only a short walk away from the high street, also in Bourton on the Water. I was amazed at the detail that went into recreating the village of Bourton. Every shop matched and was up to date with the current village, every sign was identical and, the buildings I believe were also made from sandstone, just like the golden coloured building you expect to find in the Cotswolds. They even had a mini village inside of the village model, which I was very impressed to find.

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For our next stop we travelled to to Morton on the Marsh, which has a great high street full of rustic pubs like the White Hart, which I would highly recommend for their big portioned sandwiches, burgers and sharing platters. The town also has lots of little independent confectionery shops selling homemade, chocolates, fudge, honey, jam etc. I purchased several indulgent chocolates from an amazing little cafe including white chocolate and champagne truffles, which were presented beautifully and eaten that night with a glass of wine and monopoly back in the hotel room.

On our final day we attended the Morton Arboretum with my camera to take in the vast landscapes and autumnal scenery. The weather was crisp and sunny at only 2 degrees in temperature.

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There are still so many little villages and incredible landscapes I’m sure I didn’t get around to seeing so, I’d definitely love to go back in the NY.  The Cotswolds is one of those places that will look beautiful no matter what the season I can imagine. It’s looked after all year round, their residents and shop owners are nothing but friendly and helpful, and their buildings are restricted in terms of modernization. It simply feels like you’re really visiting somewhere unique and truly special.

If you’re looking to plan a break to the Cotswolds I would definitely recommend having a look on Groupon or, head straight to the Stratton House Hotel website for more info.