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

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

August 2017 Bucket List

August has arrived.  For the first time in quite a while I'm feeling quite positive about the arrival of a new month.  I'm not entirely sure why but I'm not going to knock it.  I haven't got anything pre planned for this month so it's very much going to be a wait and see what happens type of thing.  There are a few things I would like to try and squeeze into the month though.  Lets take a look.

* Chase a sunset.
I seriously miss my sunsets.  Living at the bungalow I was blessed with some beautiful sunsets, I don't get to see them now as the flat faces away from them which sucks so it would be great to go for a drive to hunt one or two down this month, especially as the evenings are slowly beginning to draw in again now.

* Go in search of a field of sunflowers.
August brings sunflowers in their glory, such happy and bright blooms.

* Create an ice cream bar.
I need to go to Pinterest for some inspiration here but it would be cool to try and create some sort of DIY ice cream bar type thing at home.  We'll see how it goes.

* Enjoy a fancy milkshake.
Milkshakes for me go hand in hand with summer and although the summer seems to have lasted for ages, I think that is partly to do with the fact that my summer holiday this year was so early (back at the beginning of April) I want to make the most of the summer while it is still here.  Even though secretly I am longing for autumn arrive, definitely my favourite time of the year, but I don't want to wish the year away so I'm embracing the summer while it lasts.

* Book my flights and start planning my Stateside trip.
I have plans to travel to the States later this year, I still need to book my flights and confirm the final plans but I am getting really excited about it.  I'm not giving anything away just yet but I have a good feeling about this trip.

Is there anything you would like to achieve this month?  I'd love to hear about it.

~ Gem x