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    Europe, Travel

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    It’s been a few weeks now since I got back from Croatia, and honestly I don’t know where that time has gone! It has flown by. That’s why I still haven’t gotten all my Croatia travels written down, but hey, the Split photos are here! I loved exploring the city of Split and I didn’t even get round to doing half of what I originally wanted to do. Was a little optimistic there.

    Here’s just a snapshot of the 6 reasons why I think you should visit Split. The list would definitely get longer if another visit was on the cards – I can say that for sure!

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    #1 – Diocletians Palace & The Old Town

    One of the most amazing things is that the Palace is all around you. Like it isn’t just a building you walk into. The Palace forms a lot of the Old Town and is just so beautiful to see. Wikipedia describes it as a fortress, and yeah I’d go for that. Walking around, it really feels like you are just walking through history. The buildings are beautiful. I just kept thinking, my dad would really love this. They also had *real* centurions walking about and doing performances.

    Something I found quite interesting is that there were signs saying that you couldn’t walk around with no top on. Apparently the police would fine you if spotted. I get it, because at the end of the day it’s a city, a place with restaurants and you’re in and around the Palace, but it’s different to my experiences in other countries! Topless people everywhere usually.

    It’s a very beige city, there’s no denying that. The majority of the buildings are this same colour, but each one did have it’s own character. It’s kind of sad really that such a beautiful place like this is so touristy now (and I know, I added to that!) because I can just imagine how lovely it would be when quiet. If I’d have stayed in the centre of Split, I would have gotten up early to do some exploring whilst it was (hopefully) quiet.

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    #2 – Bell Tower view

    I don’t know if I’m remembering correctly, but I’m sure it was 20hrk to go up this tower. That equates to around £2.45 apparently. Well worth it. The tower is high, and you have to climb up on these really rickety feeling metal stairs that can just about fit two people on to allow others down as you go up. It was a bit of a squeeze.

    Once at the top, it’s so worth the slightly scary climb. You could see for miles, and get those much-wanted view-from-the-top shots of Split. Those lovely orange rooftops. There may be better views (feel free to give suggestions!) but honestly I was just so blown away by this, it was probably the best part of my trip. I could have stayed up there enjoying the view for hours.

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    #3 – To Explore The Winding & Hidden Paths

    Split reminded me a lot of Venice, in that it was very maze-like. A lot of the alleyways/paths looked similar and you could easily take a turn and be somewhere completely new. Independent shops were dotted about, and we even spotted a Game of Thrones merch shop! Dubrovnik is the main area for Game of Thrones related things, but it was great to at least see something here. I bought my brother a Stark tankard because I’d missed his birthday by being away…

    What I like the most about these maze like walkways is that bars, restaurants and shops are just everywhere, and there’s always something new to see. And then you get buildings which are clearly homes, with pretty decorations and doorways up staircases to take them ‘off the street’. There were a few hotels around here, easy access for everything!

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    #4 – Being by the Coast, and Boats.

    Yep. Quite simply, boats. Split is apparently a ‘hub’ in Croatia, and you’ll get a lot of trips or connections going out from the Split harbour. This means there are a lot of super pretty (and MASSIVE) boats about, as well as the option of many trips. We didn’t get the chance to go on any trips, but a boat trip to the blue caves is on my list for next time! I think there’s just something really great about being able to sit by the coast and watch boats coming in and out.

    There are some beaches along the coast of Split, but we weren’t close enough to any of them. Plus, I love the idea of beaches but I hate sand so it wasn’t really high on my list of things to do. The best idea seems to be to take a boat to one of the many little islands, like Hvar or Brač.

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    #5 – Ultra Festival Europe & Boat Party

    I’m not into dance music. Or so, I never thought I was. I really enjoyed Ultra. There will be a full post on this, but I mean it was so cool to be in a huge stadium, in another country, listening to music and seeing hundreds and thousands of people all from other countries too. There were people from Korea, Australia, Sweden, America – you name the country, there was probably someone there!

    It was just a great night, and I really did have fun. We also attended one of the boat parties, and that was great too. A little too long for myself personally, but I enjoyed the views! I’m not a dancer, and well, there was more of that on the boat than there was in the stadium. Glad I did it though!

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    #6 – The Little Bits of Green

    Split and Croatia had more green than I was expecting, what with the temperatures. In fact, they have Marjan Hill in Split, which looks gorgeous but is also somewhere I didn’t get chance to visit. I originally thought we were staying in Split, but we were in fact staying in Solin, so it wasn’t as easy to get out to places like this! But Marjan Hill is a wonderfully green looking area. And there were also a few mini parks/grassy areas around the Old Town too.

    Ever been to Split or Croatia? Anything I’ve missed?

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    Europe, Travel

    Exploring Solin // Croatia Travels

    When I travelled to Croatia, I didn’t actually plan it myself. None of it. So I didn’t really know where we were going properly, besides Split. Turns out we were staying in Solin. A little town just a few kilometres away from the centre of Split. So here’s what we discovered whilst exploring Solin on our trip.

    Exploring Solin // Croatia Travels

    I’ve been to a few different countries whilst travelling Europe but admittedly nowhere near as many as I’d like to. Croatia was never really on my list until I had the opportunity, and now I just want more of it!

    Exploring Solin, Croatia

    So if I’m being perfectly honest, Solin didn’t have too much to do, not from what we saw. But, that didn’t matter. When you’re going down to Split every other day it’s nice to just come back to the quiet little town and relax. The place itself was beautiful. A river running through, a pretty church and plenty of little streets, houses and parkland dotted about.

    The bridges and river looked gorgeous, and we did see people dipping in the river either looking for fish or crabs or something I assume. I definitely had the urge to go paddle in that river though, it was so hot out! Also, I found it pretty funny to see a fruit stand with a little area of the river sectioned off for their watermelons. It makes sense, because warm watermelon isn’t great and the water would be doing a great job keeping them cool in the 30+ degree heat. Still funny though.

    There were a few bars in what seemed like the centre and it was very much a locals area. We didn’t see many other tourists, and I think as British we really stood out. Not a bad thing as such but we did feel a little strange sitting out here. It’s like when you go to a little country village pub and all the locals turn and stare when you walk in. They know you don’t ‘belong’ here haha.

    Exploring Solin // Croatia Travels

    Exploring Solin // Croatia Travels

    Exploring Solin // Croatia Travels

    Exploring Solin // Croatia Travels

    Exploring Solin // Croatia Travels

    Staying At Hotel President Solin

    We were staying at Hotel President Solin+++++. Yep. 5 star. No, I’m not sure how we got that either! The hotel was gorgeous, and the staff just couldn’t have been more helpful and lovely. The hotel itself was situated opposite to the church and we heard bells ringing all day/night. It was kind of cute, kind of annoying.

    Weirdly though each day it came to around 8pm and the bells went on for longer than usual. All of a sudden there were kids and families everywhere on the grass. Playing, laughing, talking… It’s like they were just hiding from the sun all day and came out once it had set to have a bit of a play before bed. Strange. You can just about see them in the photo above.

    The hotel itself was so beautiful. Two pools, no noisy/splashy kids, and lovely staff. They really couldn’t do enough for you. We got friendly with a few of them and really got to know them and the area we were in. It was great. The breakfast was a mixture of continental and cooked, and I just couldn’t get enough of the watermelon to be honest. And the tropical juice which really just tasted like pineapple. We got the tickets from a supplier at work, and I’m so grateful for work giving me the chance to come to Croatia! First and last time I’ll probably get to stay in a 5* hotel haha.

    Watermelon & Pool

    On our last night in Solin, Croatia was hit with horrendous wildfires. They were close to us, but not close enough that we were in danger. We could sure see all the fires on the hills though, and the resulting smoke as you can see below… Our hotel was used to transfer people who were staying in the area of the fires, and also to allow the firemen/police to sleep. They could only fight the fires so long before having to come away because the dark made it unsafe. They stayed in our hotel because it was close enough that they could get out quickly at first light! Amazing people. It was not nice to see though.

    20170717_183938

    More to come from the Croatia trip! I think the city of Split needs it’s own post for sure, and also I’ll be writing about my first dance festival experience at Ultra! Keep an eye out for those in the next couple of weeks.

    Ever been to Croatia?

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    Life in...

    Happy Things in July ’17

    What a month July has been! I’ve been to London, I’ve spent a week near to the Ribble Valley and I’ve been to Croatia. More to come on those trips in the next week or so. I have so many photos to share on here, and I’m just deciding on the how.

    CroatiaView

    I can’t believe it’s August already, yet July does seem to have flown by super quickly. I guess that’s what happens when you go on three different trips and almost end up being off work more than you were in! So what did I do?

    + Taking part in the Joining Jack Wigan Bike Ride
    + Getting a new phone (the rose gold Samsung s7 if curious)
    + Having a weekend in London
    + Finally watching Cursed Child!
    + Family time in Gisburn
    + CROATIA!
    + Climbing to the top of a bell tower and seeing this amazing view of Split
    + Experiencing Ultra Festival
    + Yoga classes at my gym
    + GAME OF THRONES BEING BACK!
    + Avocado
    + Being out with friends
    + Getting a Happy Planner – time to organise my life again
    + Wigan getting to Wembley for the Challenge Cup final!

    It’s always great looking back at the month and seeing just exactly what you did. It’s like a mini diary, with just a sentence or a word being able to remind you of something. People are always saying like, put the phone down, experience things. For me, I’d forget all the little bits if I didn’t take photos, if I didn’t write things down. One photo can just bring back a whole world of memories, and I love that. So yeah, basically I’m telling myself to keep hold of those photos, keep documenting everything that I’m doing because one day they’ll become very distant memories. Ones you might not be able to remember completely. Documenting things is great.

    July has been eventful for me… How was yours?

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    Lifestyle

    How To Avoid The Post Holiday Blues

    This post has been written in collaboration with The Ideas Kitchen.

    Strawberry-Juice

    The holiday blues are real. So damn real. When I landed in Manchester and left the plane in 25 degree heat, I knew it was too good to be true. I think that lasted a day? Maybe two? Seriously though, I’m writing this and we’re currently experiencing torrential rain, super bright lightning and the loudest thunder I have ever heard. Whatever happened to the summer sun?!

    Don’t get me wrong, I love a good thunderstorm. I just enjoy the sun so much more. And when you’re coming home from somewhere with 30 degree heat on the regular, it sucks just a little bit. Okay, a lot. You can always try to pretend you’re still there though…

    Cocktail-Book

    Find A Good Travel Book

    Books don’t have to be travel related to enjoy whilst on holiday (can’t beat a good romance book!) but they are great for inspiring you to get out to new places! When I was in Croatia I read Girl off the Grid and I mean it was a little daft and predictable, but an easy read.

    Find a good book about someone on their travels and it’s like you’re there with them! I started reading Eat, Pray, Love for the first time and oh is it making me want to travel to Italy! (Yes I’m only that far in.) If I’m totally honest, I never knew this book was a memoir up until I started reading… Always thought it was a fictional story! Now I see why it’s one of those travel books that everyone seems to recommend! Great for when you’re snuggling in bed, somehow cold in the middle of July.

    Fruit-Prep
    Daiquiri
    Strawb-Juice
    Peach-Juice
    Peach-Juice-Prep
    Peach-Juice-Done

    Enjoy Some Cocktails

    Is it really a holiday if you don’t have at least one cocktail? My favourite has to be a frozen strawberry daiquiri so when I was asked about trying out these healthy juice recipes, I spotted the favourite and jumped to it! I’ve never actually tried to make my own cocktails at home, and whilst I didn’t have a proper cocktail shaker (not really completely necessary for the daiquiri) I had everything else!

    The recipe was really easy to make, and it tasted delicious too. I also tried the Life is Peachy one, and my mum enjoyed it with me! (I didn’t share the daiquiri… nope) I love a good peachy drink, yet hate the fruit itself. Go figure. I’d definitely make these two juices again though. I could probably live off a strawberry juice drink to be honest. They were quick and easy, and that’s all you want in life right? (Slide through the photos above to see the process!)

    Even better idea, grab a cocktail and take it to that snuggly bed with your travel book. Win-win all around.

    Keep-Tan-Holiday Blues

    Keep The Tan Up

    Now I’m not one for fake tan to be honest. It’s not because I don’t like it but because I’m always worried I’ll go patchy and not put it on properly. If I use something, it’s generally one of those moisturisers with a little bit of colour in the formula! But anyway, I picked up this after sun that apparently helps to preserve your tan. Is it working? I’m not sure yet.

    I’m still pale but you can see that I’ve actually tanned a good bit haha. Oh the problems of never seeing the sun. I was impressed with myself actually because I was so good with my sun cream. I burnt one little bit, and it’s that darker area there underneath my sports bra. Typical. Next step… Where do I get a good fake tan that makes me look like I actually spent 5 days abroad?

    …and if all else fails, book another holiday!

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    Fitness

    4 Must-See Fitness Documentaries on Netflix

    So I’ve got to admit that I have actually cancelled my Netflix. For now. It’s almost Game of Thrones time and well, I needed Now TV for that. Can’t be wasting money on both! (I’m sure I’ll be back Netflix, don’t cry too much without me.)

    FitnessDocumentaries

    The Barkley Marathons

    The people who do this are CRAZY and watching it both inspires me yet horrifies me haha. The Barkley Marathons are strange. It’s an ultramarathon race with a distance of approximately 100 miles. You basically have to find your way around and collect a specific page from a book to prove you hit each checkpoint. Each lap is 20 miles and you change directions on laps 3 and 4. On the last lap, each runner has to alternate direction. So the first to start the last lap may go clockwise. The next person goes anti-clockwise, the next clockwise and so on. If there’s even that many to finish!

    It’s just such a strange race and the documentary is great. I would recommend this one 100 times over.

    Finding Traction

    Another ultra race, though this time just focusing on one person. Nikki Kimball is attempting to become the fastest person in history to run the 273 mile Long Trail in America. We basically follow her journey right from the beginning, seeing the training and the record attempt. This documentary gives a real intimate insight into the struggles of pushing your body to the extremes. This is a raw documentary. It shows true spirit and I found it really inspiring. I won’t be doing an ultra any time soon but you know, never say never…

    From Fat To Finish Line

    Do you ever just watch random documentaries and cry with happiness for the people in it? This happens to me regularly… And From Fat To Finish Line definitely appeared in that category. This film focuses on 12 runners, spread throughout the US as they train towards running the 200 mile Ragnar Relay race as a team. I say runners, but they weren’t all runners before it. These people were all strangers, and their one thing in common was that they all wanted to lose around 100lbs. As they train and then complete the race together you see them become a family. Oh it was great. I cried many tears at this one!

    Fittest on Earth 2015

    Ever heard of CrossFit? That’s what this documentary focuses on, showing the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games. This is a 5 day, 13 event test to find the fittest male and female. We follow some of the top athletes who qualified and competed, and it just shows some of the background to this kind of event. These tests look damn hard, and it kind of makes you want to try CrossFit yet stay far, far away at the same time. These people are super fit.

    Have you got any favourites?

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    Travel, United Kingdom

    Exploring The Streets Of London

    When you travel down to London all the way from Manchester, it’s actually like entering another country. Not even kidding. The weather brightens up, and everything just looks and feels different. It’s just weird. But in a good way.

    Art-Flowers

    I’ve only been to London a handful of times in my 24 years of life, and most have been for an event. The very first time was the only time we came as a ‘holiday’ and it was just me, my brother and my dad when I was still pretty young. We ventured around all the touristy things, and visited the museums.

    The next time after that it was to watch Les Miserables, and see if we could stalk spot Nick Jonas. (We did. Twice.) After that it was for the Deathly Hallows final premiere, and that honestly wasn’t such a great trip. Though the Phelps twins did sign my book! I also visited on my own to go to the Wild Photos event. And then I went to the Harry Potter studio tours, twice but a couple of years apart.

    Despite those trips, I’ve never really had the chance to just walk around and appreciate all the quirky buildings, shops and decor around the city. This time I managed a little more of that…

    House-of-Vans-Graffiti

    Graffiti-Wall-Photo

    House-of-Vans-Grafitti-Vaults

    House of Vans Graffiti Tunnel

    This was right on our doorstop, and we stumbled upon it accidentally really. No idea it existed until we could smell the strong paint and hear loud music blaring through the tunnel. So many people were just painting the walls and it honestly looked amazing. I love a good graffiti wall.

    My favourite had to be the elephant, but there were also loads of superheroes dotted about and they were pretty cool. I like that this kind of thing happens, because graffiti is generally seen as a bad thing but it really is an amazing art form.

    Coke-Zero-London-Eye

    London-Eye

    Big-Ben

    The London Tourist Spots

    Of course we had to see the main attractions. The London Eye, Big Ben, Pall Mall. We didn’t actually go down to the palace because the others were basically on the route we were taking anyway. People say that big cities are just a load of buildings, ugly concrete. When you start looking up, looking at the detail, you’ll see so much more interest.

    I just find the old buildings so fascinating! Especially love the white ones and they look amazing when against a blue sky backdrop. There’s also a lot more green in London than you would expect, helped by the streets lined with trees down every other road. We managed to find a couple of small parks too on the walk and it was funny to see so many people just lying down, sunbathing and sleeping in the sunshine.

    Bus-Frozen-Yoghurt

    Walk-Big-Ben

    Pall-MAll

    Clive-Statue

    Night-Music

    Experiencing The Streets of London

    On the very first night we ate out at Southbank and then had a little walk along the river. We discovered a little ‘beach’ (glorified sandpit) and sat down, just watching everyone go by. I love people watching, not gonna lie. Mostly I was looking at outfits. Isn’t it strange how we might all shop at similar places, but everyone really does have their own style and look. London is definitely varied! There was also a guy playing guitar and singing, so it was just really relaxing to be sat there as the sun was going down.

    What I find weird about London is that there are so many people, so many strangers, yet so many will congregate in places like this after work and have drinks. Obviously in their own groups, but just to be in a crowd of so many and it feel so relaxed and calm was lovely. I can’t really explain much better than that, but it just felt like everyone was coming together outside despite not actually talking. I’m probably just romanticising it right? You wouldn’t get this vibe in Wigan though!

    It was also Gay Pride week, with the actual parade being on the Saturday we were there. Well that was an experience! It was great to see all the surrounding businesses decorate for the day though, with balloons and banners and the like. Obviously everyone was getting very involved! I wrote a little more about that in my review of Cursed Child (spoiler free!) – the reason behind us actually going into London.

    Street-Bunting

    I’ll hopefully be back to London soon… In the meantime I’ll just keep looking back at photos.

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    Reviews

    Experiencing Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre London

    Yep, I finally got down to London and watched Cursed Child. Was also pretty happy just to be visiting London as well to be fair!

    CursedChildTheatre

    When Cursed Child came out, everyone in the Potterverse was pretty much split I think. Especially when it came to reading the script. I for one really didn’t want to read it before seeing the play. I managed to avoid it for a couple of months, and then I just did it to stop the chance of any spoilers. Well. Even up to today, I haven’t once seen a spoiler about the story line anywhere on social media. I mean, that’s pretty impressive! (And kind of annoying because I could have just waited for the show…)

    Reading the script, my first thought was that yes it was very fanfic-esque. It’s a bit of a wild story, not gonna lie. Many people had the argument of just leaving the world alone, it was finished. For me, I just loved being immersed back into the Potter world. Into magic and Hogwarts and things inevitably going wrong. I just love it all.

    So when we managed to snag tickets, albeit ones right at the top with a bit of a restricted view, I was so happy to finally have the chance to see the play come to life. It was a long wait. 11 months in fact. And you know, it was so worth the wait.

    CursedChildTicket

    I’m not going to get into the story, obviously, (keep the secrets, right?) but I felt like I needed to write my thoughts down. We decided to go for a Saturday with both shows in one day. This meant it was a really long day, and we were all pretty knackered by the end of it. This wasn’t helped with the fact that we’d unknowingly chosen to go on the same weekend as Gay Pride, and as amazing as this event is (and the atmosphere was fab!), it meant Soho and everywhere in the surrounding areas were jam packed with people. Great if you’re there enjoying the parade and day out, but not so great if you just want a quiet sit down and food after a few hours crammed into tiny theatre seats!

    Nevertheless, it’s still London. London is always busy right? I don’t mind the crowds and it was great to see all the pride costumes, signs and the shops getting involved. Cursed Child is shown at Palace Theatre so we tried to stay very close to that both before and during the break between the shows. We ate, we drank and we relaxed – a little. All was well.

    Now the actual show? Oh it was incredible. When people say that the script does not translate well, they’re telling the truth. You just cannot really appreciate the play without all the effects that are used and just the way things are said as well. The story has it’s faults, not going to lie, but you’ve just got to take it as an extension to the Potter world. Not like a direct follow up – because it isn’t. It isn’t J.K. Rowling’s masterpiece.

    The magic itself was done really well, and I was impressed at how they managed to do everything and it not seem completely unrealistic. Some of the things were like actual magic, not even kidding. In fact, right in the first scene I was like woah, wait what?! The wonders of stage work! Honestly though, some of the things they did were amazing, and made it feel more interactive. I’m dying to describe things but it would just ruin the surprises for those who haven’t seen them yet.

    Credit to all those behind the scenes and not just the ones doing the acting on stage, because the show ran seamlessly and there was a lot to it. More than any other show I’ve seen.

    All of the cast were brilliant, and really brought their character to life. The crowd was in stitches at times, and although the story line is a little daft I wasn’t expecting so much humour to it. I also might have shed a tear at one point. But hey, that’s how you know they’re doing their jobs! There were a few characters that annoyed me when they probably shouldn’t have, but on the whole I was really impressed with them. They seemed to have a lot of chemistry on stage together.

    CursedChildTheatreFull

    I’d love to see it again, in better seats. Our view was slightly restricted as I mentioned above, and that was by the handrail that was stopping people from falling over the edge. We were right in the top balcony but on the second row. I mean I still enjoyed it, and could see most of the stage anyway so it didn’t really hinder me. But you know, it’d be nice to be lower down!

    If you want to go and haven’t had the chance, then I’d urge you to save and attempt to get tickets! If you love Harry Potter then it is worth it. Just bear in mind that the cheap tickets right at the top are almost getting to vertical, so not for someone with a fear of heights. Oh and you have to climb a lot of steps to get up there.

    Seen it yet? Plans to go?

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