Monday, 25 September 2017

Exploring Cambridge

I've visited Cambridge a few times before now but don't think I'll ever turn down an opportunity to return.  There is something about the place that makes me feel content and it really is a beautiful place to visit.  The architecture is stunning and there is a lovely atmosphere about the place.

Wandering around the streets and stepping into the university buildings I can't help but feel at home there.

Only being an hours drive from Chelmsford it makes the perfect place to visit for a day, however I'm certain with enough research there would be plenty enough to do for a weekend break, especially if you took into account neighbouring villages.

A good few hours were spent wandering the streets with something to look at around every corner.  A walk up to the top of the tower to take in the views from above the city, being able to take it all in from above the hustle and bustle was somewhat peaceful considering it was such a busy day down on street level.

It's a place that never ceases to amaze me, filled with so much beauty.  A true English treasure.

~ Gem x

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

What I've Been Up To Lately

Aside's from being mega busy at work recently, I have been keeping busy outside of work too.

You might remember last year (and the year before) I visited Foxes Farm Produce's pumpkin patch which isn't too far from home, well this year I was excited to see that they have launched a corn maze.  Sadly I didn't get round to visiting, that was until I discovered during their last weekend that they were open for a torch lit maze.  Having never been to a maze in the dark before I was excited to try something different.  It was a great night and very well organised so well done guys, great work.

An afternoon was spent with my Nan, we drove to Stanborough Lakes in Welwyn Garden City.  My Grandad used to fish there, so when he passed away we decided to buy a bench as a little memorial to him.  It is now a lovely little spot to visit especially as it was a place he loved so much, and it's even nicer when the sun is shining.  

And my first (second, third and fourth) pumpkin spiced lattes have been enjoyed.  I honestly don't think I will ever get sick of their taste, I literally cannot get enough of them.  They are certainly a welcomed treat to the start of my working day and already the staff in my local Starbucks are recognising me as I walk in at the same time each morning (I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not haha).

There is a definite hint of Autumn in the air and I have to say I am so excited about it.

~ Gem x

Friday, 1 September 2017

Sptember 2017 Bucket List

I don't know about you but this year feels like it has lasted a life time.  Normally I find the months whiz by and the year is over in a flash but January feels like ages ago, although the past few months have gone by pretty quick.  I barely crossed anything off my August list so I must try harder this month.  As the months are nearing the end of the year though I can't help but get excited, lots of great things lay ahead.

This month I want to:

* Enjoy my first Pumpkin Spiced Latte of the year.
Oh yes, that time of year is upon us once again and I could not be happier about it. 

* Catch up with blogging .
Work has been mega, mega busy the past month so I've fallen behind on blog posts and literally have not read anyone else's blogs in so long, so I want to make more time for that this month.  As it is I'm sat here writing this whilst catching up on vlogs.  Would you believe me if I said I was watching some dated back to January?! Seriously it is that bad haha. 

* Finish my 30th celebrations photo book.
I started this back in July and literally did not touch it last month, I think it's time to get it finished.

* Attempt to work on some crafts.
I cannot remember the last time I did anything creative.  And by creative I mean digging out my craft materials and getting crafty.  I feel the urge to make something.  I don't know what but it's been a while so I feel it is time.  Pinterest is filled with millions of ideas so I'm sure it won't take me long to be inspired.

* Update my Autumn wardrobe.
I have booked my flights to America, I fly out in October.  Yes I know, Fall in America! I'm a lucky girl.  So I need to update my wardrobe so it's fit for the occasion.

Will I achieve it all?  I'll be keeping you posted.

~ Gem x

I have just read over last years list and had to chuckle to myself to see a few things repeated this year.  Maybe it's a September thing.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Visiting National Trust's Bourne Mill

On my quest to explore more of my home county, a recent visit was made to Bourne Mill in Colchester. 

Originally built in 1591, it has been used as a fishing lodge, a corn mill, a cloth mill and for private residency before being given to the National trust in 1935.

Sadly they are doing some works on the mill at the moment so access to the second floor wasn't possible, it also meant that due to the works being done the wheel was not in operation which I was a little gutted about.  However that didn't take a way the beauty of the building itself, the pretty cottage style garden and the stunning view across the lake.

It was the building that I was most taken with.  It is so unusual compared to other buildings around and was in actual fact made using materials from other buildings, which explains the miss matched approach that really gives the building its character.

Visiting on a Friday was probably the best decision, it was so peaceful, there were only 2 other people visiting the property.  It allowed plenty of time to sit and soak it all in and it offered the perfect little spot to get lost in my thoughts for a while.

How I have never discovered this little gem before I'm not entirely sure but I'm glad to have visited it now and hope to one day return to see the wheel in action. 

~ Gem x 

Friday, 18 August 2017

A Riverside Walk

It's been a little while now since I last went on a long walk.  Thankfully the recent good weather we've been having here in Essex gave the perfect excuse to get out and change that.  I walked a path I'd never walked before, through Chelmsford along the river and up to Sandford Mill.  It was good to see parts of Chelmsford that I've never seen before, which seems crazy seeing as I have lived in Chelmsford for my entire life.  

I have to say, I loved it.  Walking along the river you are treated to the best of both worlds.  The country views across open fields but also the river along side you with the occasional lock (my favourite bits from the walk).  It could have been better had the weather been a little cooler however I am not going to complain about hot weather after the cooler temperatures we've been having over the past few weeks.  It felt good to experience temperatures that we would expect during summer.   

Seeing the blackberries and elderberries in the hedgerows reminded me that autumn is just around the corner.  This fills me with a lot of joy, it's my favourite season but I'm planning on clinging to the last of the summer months for now and finishing off with a cold drink in a beer garden closer to home was the perfect summer activity to enjoy.  

~ Gem x

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

A Trip to the Lakes

After spending 3 nights in Blackpool it was time to get back on the road, this time heading to the Lake District for 2 nights staying in a pod at Eskdale Campsite located in the Eskdale Valley, a part of the Lake District I had not visited before.

The scenery driving across the mountains was beautiful.  Watching the cows wandering in the road and spotting waterfalls cascading down the rock face against the lush green backdrops, it really was breath-taking.  I love the sea-side and all but my heart belongs to the countryside, there is no doubt about it.  

The pods are really cute, and were the perfect little hideaway retreat amongst the trees, although very basic, it is literally a wooden shed.  However seeing as they are insulated it did mean that the evenings were cosy compared to other nights I have spent camping where I have literally frozen half to death in all my layers.

Once unpacked it was time to explore more of the area and the perfect way to do that seemed to be the steam railway which is a stones throw away from the campsite.  I appear to have this thing with steam railways, perhaps it's the feeling of something from times gone by, I'm not entirely sure but it was certainly a different way to see what this part of the Lake District had to offer.

       The second day was spent visiting Windermere, a beautiful but sadly popular part of the Lake District which meant that it was rather quite busy.  Although I tried not to let it put me off.  It is still very beautiful, even with the crowds.

Driving around though it amazes me to realise that this is my home country.  The beauty in the UK really is quite astounding and I feel so fortunate to be able to access views like these.  Fair enough they are a good five to six hours drive from home but still, they are worth every second of the drive, wouldn't you agree?

The last evening and final day was a rainy one, but that suited me just fine.  The smell of the rain was just incredible and in a way it was nice to experience both the glorious sunshine and the rain within the one trip.  It's almost as if your getting to experience the best if both worlds.  And the colder weather calls for more tea and toasted marshmallows so who am I to complain!?

It's definitely a place to visit in the UK, and no doubt a place I shall return to one day.

~ Gem x

Monday, 14 August 2017

Exploring Blackpool

I have to say Blackpool is not somewhere I have ever had a strong desire to visit.  I have been once before, although a very long time ago (winter 2004/2005 if my memory serves me correctly) and I can't say it grabbed me, but in saying that I didn't explore the town and spent most of the time in the hotel, being there for a work conference.  However last month I found myself travelling to Blackpool for a few days.  I had said that I wanted to explore more of the UK right. 

Maybe it is because I wasn't looking forward to it, or maybe because I had no expectations of the days ahead, but I actually rather quite enjoyed it.  Don't get me wrong, it is your typical British seaside resort, loud and tacky, but you just have to take that at face value.

The first morning was spent at the Sandcastle Water Park.  If you're planning a visit yourself I would strongly recommend arriving as soon as it opens, it will give you a chance to go on all of the slides before the place gets too busy.  After about an hour and a half the place was packed.  I've no idea if they have a limit on how many people they allow in but if they do then the number is way too high as it was literally like people soup in the pool and you were queuing to get a dingy before you even joined the queue to get on the slide.  

Deciding after a couple of hours that the waterpark was way too busy the afternoon was spent walking along the seafront to the tower.  Now lets face it a visit to Blackpool wouldn't be complete without visiting the Blackpool Tower.  This for me was the highlight of the trip.  I really enjoyed it.

The ticket includes a 4D cinema screening before going up the tower, which I loved.  It was a great film and had been done very well, it certainly got me in the mood for an adventure that is for sure.  Being a sunny day the views from the top were really good, well as good as they could be for Blackpool.

Day two involved a visit to Blackpool Pleasure Beach, another must for any visit to Blackpool.  Again I'd recommend arriving when it opens, it meant getting on a few rides without any queues, and enjoying the park before the school trips descended.  I know Blackpool is well known for it's rides, but I was really surprised at how many rollercoasters they had, a favourite of mine by far.  The Big One was brilliant, I feel pretty chuffed to be able to say I have now been on the tallest coaster in the UK.

I was a bit gutted not to be able to see the illuminations but overall the visit was pretty good.  Another part of the country to have explored. 

~ Gem x