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    Travel

    The Travel Itch: My Dream Travel Destinations

    I have the travel itch. The wanderlust. The need to just get out and explore new places, different countries, different worlds.

    Travel-Itch

    I’ve been quite lucky in that I have already been to a few different countries in my short (getting old) lifetime so far. We would go on a holiday abroad almost every year when I was a child, or so it felt. My mum is the queen of finding last minute or cheap holidays. Once we booked at 6pm and got on the flight at 6am the next morning. Yep. Now that’s last minute! Brothers passport had turned up that morning and my mum and dad were running out of their summer holiday time off – had to be done, apparently.

    These holidays were mostly Spain, but still I’ve been to a few different areas. Most with family, some with college/university friends. Other places I’ve been include Jersey, Lanzarote, Malta, Turkey, Tunisia, France ( Paris – for Disneyland and for an art trip), Italy (Venice and a brief trip to Verona) and Finland. Mostly European, which is great and all (and I’d love to visit more) but I want to venture out further. Don’t we all?

    Dream Travel Destinations

    + East Coast of Australia +

    This is number one on the list, and something I’m currently saving for with the hopes of setting off late 2018. Even if it doesn’t happen then, it will happen. Watch this space. Australia had been a dream travel destination since I was a little kid though. As soon as I discovered the Great Barrier Reef I wanted to visit, and it helps of course that the country looks beautiful and actually has sunshine. I just know I’ll regret it if I don’t visit Australia at least once in my lifetime.

    Inspirations: Byron Bay Guide, East Coast Trip & Where’s Mollie

    + Bali +

    If you know me, you’ll know that I’m a sun worshipper. I just love me some hot weather. I don’t really know why or when I became aware of Bali as a place to travel to, but I see photos on instagram and on blogs and it just looks so pretty. I’m easy to please.

    Inspirations: Solo Female Travellers Guide & 10 Things To Do in Bali,

    + Canada +

    Banff, Lake Louise, The Rockies, Niagra Falls… Need I say more? Seriously though, Canada looks like a beautiful place. I’d love to just spend my days hiking around all the nature parks and enjoying the quiet. Camping, running, cycling, swimming in rivers etc. It seems like the perfect place for that kind of trip.

    Inspirations: 10 Things To Do in Banff & First Time Visitor To Canada?

    + Iceland +

    My main reason for wanting to visit Iceland is to see the Northern Lights. You can see them from a few places obviously, but Iceland is the main one I guess. I mean like I said, I like hot weather. Iceland doesn’t tick that box at all (though apparently it isn’t as cold as you’d think?) but it’s still somewhere I’d love to visit. I can easily wrap up in plenty of layers!

    Inspirations: Road Trip in 14 Days & 10 Reasons to Visit in Winter & Golden Circle Tour

    Wanderlust

    Where would you visit, given the chance? Would love to know!

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    Lifestyle, United Kingdom

    Hiking Up To Rivington Pike

    “To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, to gain all while you give, to roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to live.”
    Hans Christian Andersen

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    It’s eerily quiet, the only sound being the occasional bird chatter, leaves rustling in the breeze and twigs crunching under your feet. It’s moments like this when you can get fully lost in your own thoughts and take some much needed ‘me’ time.

    When I was at university I used to explore so many different places. I’d always be heading out with my camera to see what I could find. I miss that. I mean, I now have a car and I’ve gone to far less new places than I did when I had to rely on my legs, bike or train! Last month I decided to make the effort to go out for more walks. And that I did!

    Rivington Pike (or Winter Hill) is pretty close to me and only a half an hour drive away. In fact I can see the signal mast from my house – especially so when it’s night time and the bright red lights are turned on! This is a pretty popular walk for people of all ages and interests: families, dog walkers; cyclists, runners, hikers, ramblers and more. It’s super pretty and has plenty of things to discover and find on the way up, depending on which route you take!

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    Japanese Gardens & Old Buildings

    The best thing about this area is all the random little bridges, buildings and walls. The gardens were designed by Thomas Mawson between 1905-1922. It included the wooded area with a network of footpaths and terraces with a man-made ravine, various bridges and the Japanese garden and lake. (Which you can see a little of above!)

    A lot of the old buildings now are very much decayed and broken, replaced by woodland and overgrown greenery but you can see the history there nevertheless. The lake is beautiful, and has a couple of mini waterfalls too. You can see a bit of it in the photo above. The perfect place for a relaxing rest before/after the climb to the top!

    These are my absolute favourite kinds of things to explore. I love finding random paths and bridges and buildings hidden in the trees. It just feels like you’re finding another world because it’s completely different to usual city life.

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    Reaching The Pike

    Once you’ve passed all that wilderness, you’re met with the amazing views. On a good weather day (admittedly few and far in between) you can see for miles as soon as you’ve gotten out into the open space. You can even see the Isle of Man on a really good day at around 93 miles away if you know what you’re looking for. Yeah, I didn’t. Not great with that kind of thing.

    Easier things to spot include the Macron Stadium – Reebok for those of us still not used to the ‘new’ name – and the Blackpool Tower in the far distance. Spotting the Blackpool Tower all the way from here feels quite impressive actually.

    What I haven’t mentioned so far is that when you do spot the pike you also spot a horrible looking set of stairs, and boy are they tiring on the legs after all the hill walking you’ve already done! When I was there last with my boyfriend, we were just sat at the top enjoying the view whilst two runners had a little competition in the form of hill repeats. Crazy, crazy people. Not gonna lie though, I was pretty chuffed for the girl who kept beating the guy she was with!

    Doing things like this just really reminds me how comfortable I feel being outside, and how much I need to be active in my daily life.

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    Any interesting walks near you?

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    5 Reasons To..., Travel

    5 Reasons To Go On A Walking Holiday

    This post has been written in collaboration with Inntravel #SEEINGSWITZERLAND, but all words and thoughts are my own.

    5 Reasons To Go On A Walking Holiday | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    In 2014 I travelled to Finland for an expedition. It was part of a university module, and our plan was to go out and photograph bears. We travelled from Kajaani to a wildlife centre near Viiksimo, then to another near Suomussalmi and then braved the train up to Rovaneimi. That was an adventure! (We also went snow shoeing – as seen below! Photo on the below right thanks to Louise Groom!) Now besides that, I haven’t really been on a specifically active walking/hiking holiday – just day/weekend trips – despite me loving the idea of this style of holiday.

    I guess part of that is laziness (isn’t it easier to just book one of those typical beach/city holidays?) but part of it is also because I’ve just never really had anyone who wanted to do the same thing. That said, I’m someone who loves nothing more than to pull on my running shoes and go explore a new town on my own and I do it every time I go on holiday, no matter what kind of trip it is!

    5 Reasons To Go On A Walking Holiday | Finland | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    #1 The Weather Is Unpredictable, But Can Be Incredible

    A normal day in Britain could see you experiencing sunshine, rain, overcast, hail and snow all in the matter of an hour. I’m sure other countries are similar, but you know, that’s the chance you take when on an outdoor trip. Don’t let that put you off.

    You can choose where you want to go, and ultimately the kind of weather you want. If you want to see snow and hike in a colder place, Austria, Switzerland, Norway or Finland may be top choices. Sun-worshipper? Then maybe Spain, India, Morocco or Cyprus would be your thing. Some countries even have a good mixture of both, so really you just need to decide what you want and check what it’s like out there at that time of year. When I visited Finland, we experienced both snow and sun, as you can tell in the two photos above, the weather differs even just a 5 hour drive away!

    #2 Muscles You Didn’t Know Existed Will Ache, But You’ll Be Fitter

    And you should sleep well afterwards! If you’re not used to being out all day in all weather, walking about, then yes you probably will be sore afterwards. You can always go at your own pace though, so don’t feel like you have to be some super fit athlete to be doing it. Most walks will have a difficulty rating, and quite often there will be a few different routes that you can take.

    The more you do it, the fitter you’ll get and soon you’ll be running up those hills! Or okay, maybe not. You’ve also got the option to cycle around these kinds of places too, which brings a whole different kind of trip.

    #3 Getting Lost Is An Adventure, You Find New Places

    Hands up, who can read a map? I dabbled a little in map reading at university. And by that I mean I tried, tried a little more and didn’t do very well. I mean technically you don’t really need a map. There are plenty of walking holidays with toured walks, or ones where you just have to follow a path and signposts. Getting off the beaten track can be fun, but only if you can get yourself back on track!

    Many a time have I gone out to explore, taken a different turning or path and discovered something new. I still do that in my local areas! Doing this, you’ll see a lot more of the natural country than a regular tourist would, and you’ll come away feeling like you’ve discovered a country’s secrets.

    #4 There May Be No Mobile Signal So Switch Off, Enjoy The Quiet

    We’re all getting a little too reliant on social media nowadays aren’t we? I mean, is it even news unless you’ve seen it on BBC Breaking’s twitter account? Nope. I am fully aware that I rely on social media far too much. Forever checking Twitter and Facebook, forever wanting to post that photo on Instagram.

    I went to Wales last year and the signal was absolutely awful. We were lucky if we managed to scrape one bar in our cottage, and wifi, well, that was expensive. So you know what we did? Enjoyed the outdoors, explored the surrounding area and yes, we played board games. It was refreshing. You can post that photo on Instagram when you get back to real life.

    #5 Go Solo And Join A Walking Tour, Make New Friends

    This is one thing I haven’t done yet, but something I aim to do. Solo travel doesn’t have to be scary or lonely. There are plenty of tours and groups out there that will guide you around a country along with other travellers.

    If, like me, you have no one to enjoy this kind of holiday with, you don’t have to swear off them. I’m planning a solo trip myself for the end of 2018. I mean, if anyone wants to join me they can – but I’ll still be going regardless! (Well hopefully, as long as the saving works out…)

    Mammut Xeron Element Bag Giveaway | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    #SEEINGSWITZERLAND with Inntravel

    Now Inntravel call themselves specials in ‘slow holidays’. Holidays that give you time to fully savour every moment of your trip: travelling through beautiful landscapes; tasting local cuisine; relaxing in family-run hotels and talking to the locals. They basically aim to get you away from that typical city break or beach holiday and experience something new.

    Trips they offer include walking holidays, cycling, snow breaks, family breaks and privately guided. Currently they are promoting their self-guided ‘From the Eiger to the Matterhorn’ trip, giving you the chance to see some of the best walking tours in all of the Alps (and the Alps are pretty special – I was lucky enough to be driven through the Swiss Alps on my way home from a college trip!)

    I received a Mammut XERON ELEMENT 30L rucksack, Sigg drinking bottle, Viktorinox hiker Swiss army knife, two pairs of walking socks and some luxury Lindt Swiss chocolates. (Oh those chocolates were definitely luxury!)

    The Mammut bag you can see in the photos above, and it is quite a big backpack – great for long days out. I found it quite comfortable to wear and didn’t have any parts rubbing on the three hour hike that I took it on. With a laptop pocket, main pocket, front organiser pocket and another small front pocket (perfect for a map I would say!) you’ll easily be able to split items apart for easy access. 30L is actually quite roomy, so it’d be great for a walking holiday.

    And hey, thanks to Inntravel, you can win your very own Mammut XERON ELEMENT rucksack. Just enter below to be in with a chance to win. All entries are optional, but obviously the more you do the better chances you have!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Giveaway T&C’s
    – The prize includes a Mammut XERON ELEMENT rucksack.
    – The giveaway will run from 19/05/17 until 31/05/17.
    – It will be open to UK residents only, aged 18+.
    – The winner will be chosen at random, and will be contacted by myself to request their postal address.
    – The winner will have 28 days from being notified to accept the prize. After that another winner will be chosen.
    – The prize will be provided by the company, and sent directly to the winner.
    – No data collected from Rafflecopter will be shared with the company or any other.

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    Travel, United Kingdom

    Travel Diary: Little Parts of Wales

    Nearly a month after going to Wales, I’ve finally got the last lot of photos to share… You may have seen some of these on my instagram but you know, always nice to reminisce about travels right? Might only be Wales, but it was so pretty. Would rather look at these than think about freezing cold Manchester! You can see my New Quay and Old Millers Cottage travel diaries using their respective links! Warning… photo heavy ;)

    Wales Photo Diary | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Wales Photo Diary | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Colourful Buildings and Cardigan Castle

    My favourite thing about seaside towns is that they are generally super colourful. The buildings are either pretty pastels or brights, and everything just looks so cute. Cardigan, New Quay, St Dogmaels are exactly that. I just couldn’t get enough of the colourful buildings and the little independent shops. Booksellers, sweet shops, candle makers, bakers… Little old pubs, cafes, and the one chip shop and Chinese takeaway. (Good – but not as good as home!)

    Wales Photo Diary | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Wales Photo Diary | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Cardigan Castle isn’t really a castle any more… Only the wall really stands, and the manor house shown below is the main exhibition area. Renovated to make it safe for visitors, the house still holds a lot of the original features inside. Really interesting to see! I don’t really have any photos from inside as they all came out awful. Just look at that vegetable garden though! The vegetables were huge. My dad has decided that we’re going to grow our own next year… We’ll see how that goes.

    Wales Photo Diary | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Wales Photo Diary | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Wales Photo Diary | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Wales Photo Diary | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Beach Running

    One of my favourite things to do whilst on holiday is run. There’s nothing better than setting out alone and just seeing where your legs take you. We’d already walked down to the beach before I did the first run so I knew it was less than a mile. Easy. Seriously though, there’s nothing better. Luckily I had a bit of sun to run in too! The beach was fairly deserted in the early morning, just myself, a couple running and some dog walkers. I’m really not a fan of sand, yet I really love beaches. There’s just something about them that draws me in. I know, I know, I look a mess. I woke up like that… Oh and this beach was called Poppit Sands. Could it sound even cuter?!

    Wales Photo Diary | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Wales Photo Diary | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    And that pretty much sums up my visit to Wales!

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    Travel, United Kingdom

    Travel Diary: New Quay and Dolphin (or lack of) Spotting

    New Quay- not to be confused with Newquay, Cornwall – is a gorgeous little seaside town in Wales. We’d been to New Quay a few years previously, so it was nice to get back and feel familiar with the place.

    Travel Diary: New Quay, Wales and Dolphin (or lack of) Spotting | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    The first thing you notice with New Quay is the hills. I’m not sure how far out New Quay goes, but this little area by the harbour is very compact. The hills are huge, and the roads are narrow. No pavements means people are walking on the road, and with cars parked up on the sides it looked tricky to navigate. I’m sure glad I wasn’t driving! We parked up at the top of the hills and walked down, heading into the hustle and bustle of a touristy seaside town.

    Plenty of touristy shops had their doors open with buckets, sunglasses, swim floats and the like available for those caught short as well as cute trinkets and seaside related keepsakes. It’s all too tempting to just spend, spend, spend in these kinds of shops. Most often I’ll come home with various postcards and prints but I was good this time and saved some money…

    The boat tours are what makes New Quay so popular with tourists, with many offering either dolphin spotting tours or fishing experiences. It’s kind of a given that you have to go on a dolphin spotting tour whilst in New Quay… I mean, why else would you be there?! Well we did it, and it was a lovely little boat trip. Sadly we didn’t see any dolphins but we did see a seal pup. Yep, it’s the white blob near the rocks on the photo below. The two guys doing the tour gave us information about the area and the animals we could see (or not see as in the case of the dolphins…) including the nesting birds. Something nice to do anyway. They do make it clear that these dolphins are wild animals, and obviously unpredictable. Maybe third time lucky for us eh?

    After that, we ate and had the best chippy chips ever. So, so good. Disappointing to not have gravy (because it wasn’t vegetarian friendly) but they were still good nevertheless. Time for dessert! We’d passed a couple of ice cream shops on the way down and knew exactly where we were heading next. I’d originally had my eyes on the butterscotch and honeycomb ice cream (doesn’t that sound heavenly?!) but then I spotted cinnamon toffee waffle and well that was it. I can’t resist anything cinnamon flavoured. It was as good as it sounds.

    On this day we had 26 degree sunshine, so didn’t hang about for long. Instead we made the journey back to Cardigan Bay and made ourselves at home in the swimming pool. It was outside but with a glass covering that was opened up a little to let some sunshine in. Definitely a good way to end the afternoon!

    Travel Diary: New Quay, Wales and Dolphin (or lack of) Spotting | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Travel Diary: New Quay, Wales and Dolphin (or lack of) Spotting | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Travel Diary: New Quay, Wales and Dolphin (or lack of) Spotting | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Travel Diary: New Quay, Wales and Dolphin (or lack of) Spotting | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Travel Diary: New Quay, Wales and Dolphin (or lack of) Spotting | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Travel Diary: New Quay, Wales and Dolphin (or lack of) Spotting | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Travel Diary: New Quay, Wales and Dolphin (or lack of) Spotting | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Ever seen any dolphins in the wild?

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    Travel, United Kingdom

    Travel Diary: Old Millers Cottage, Cardigan Bay

    Last week my family and I spent a relaxing five days in Sunny (for the most part…) Wales. Cardigan Bay to be exact – and yes, it is as cute as it sounds! We had our own little cottage and garden, and it was absolutely gorgeous, so here’s a little look at the place itself.

    Travel Diary: Old Millers Cottage, Cardigan Bay | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    We stayed on the Cardigan Bay Holiday Park, and had the Old Millers Cottage for the duration. It was hidden away behind a gate that made you feel like Mary Lennox finding the Secret Garden, even more so when you entered and were greeted by the sight above. Plants growing on a building is supposed to be really bad for the brickwork, but why oh why does it look so good?! I was already in love, just from seeing the outside of this cottage.

    Tall trees surrounding the grounds of the cottage kept it well hidden and secluded, perfect for that quiet break away. The only sounds to be heard included the gentle running water of the stream passing through the garden and the high chirps of all the birds in the trees. If you went into the garden in the early hours of the morning, you’d likely get a glimpse of the family of robins who must have been nesting within close proximity to the cottage. The bravest being the young robin – still with a touch of baby speckled feathers on its head. A Wagtail was spotted dashing across the stream, and Swifts circled overhead one night. Dozens just flying and swooping. Birdsong was something to be heard throughout the day though the chorus at dusk was the loudest, going on for what seemed like hours. It was so relaxing to just be sitting in the hot tub and listening to all the different voices and calls.

    We had a barbecue, we played games, we watched good tv (and bad tv!) and just enjoyed being a family. It has been so long since just the five of us had a break together. Quiz nights are way more entertaining after a drink, and even more so when the kids (my younger brother may be 20, and my older sister 30, but we are still kids at heart!) beat the parents… Then playing a modern style Frustration, and getting beat in both games by each parent. Having a go at mastermind – a game of logic – and my dad being surprised at how little goes it took each of us. Makes a difference when you’re not 10 any more!

    On a clear night, we sat in awe looking at the night sky. Finding the big dipper (or the plough), and wondering if the three bright stars we could see together were actually Orion’s Belt. My dad and I both saw a shooting star, and that was it. We had our chairs on the grass and were sat with aching necks gazing above to see if more appeared. I saw one more, my sister saw two. If you’ve never sat out to watch stars, you really should. It’s something that my sister, dad and I have done a lot actually. Once you’ve seen one shooting star you get greedy. You just want that one more. Just five more minutes. It’s addictive.

    I could have just stayed in this cottage and garden all week without moving, and I would have been happy. We did venture out however, and I’ll share more photos from our trip in different posts. For now, here’s a little look at the magic we experienced in Old Millers Cottage. The photos pretty much speak for themselves.

    Travel Diary: Old Millers Cottage, Cardigan Bay | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Travel Diary: Old Millers Cottage, Cardigan Bay | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Travel Diary: Old Millers Cottage, Cardigan Bay | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Travel Diary: Old Millers Cottage, Cardigan Bay | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Travel Diary: Old Millers Cottage, Cardigan Bay | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Travel Diary: Old Millers Cottage, Cardigan Bay | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Travel Diary: Old Millers Cottage, Cardigan Bay | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Travel Diary: Old Millers Cottage, Cardigan Bay | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Have you experienced anywhere like this? I’d love to see blog posts!

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    Thinking About, Travel

    Thinking About: Travel

    Travel. Oh Travel. I touched on working abroad in this post but I’d also just love to shove everything in a little backpack and head off into the unknown, whether that’s with a friend or alone. In fact, there’s nothing I’d like more than to just travel alone. I like my own company, and I like not having to do what others want to do. But a travel friend would be nice haha! Anyway, why do I want to travel? You’ll see why below…

    Thinking About: Travel | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Doesn’t that photo just sum it up? Look at how beautiful this place is! The above is a film photograph that I took whilst in Turkey actually, near the Blue Lagoon and a very touristy area. You see, growing up, we went on holiday abroad a lot. My mum knows what she wants, and she wants sunshine, sunbathing and swimming. Not something you can really depend on getting in the UK… I’ve been to mainland Spain (many, many times), Lanzarote, Turkey, Malta (okay, I was younger than 4 here) and Tunisia. You’ll notice that they’re mostly in the same area of the world, and yes, they have all been holiday resorts and tourist traps.

    I know I’m lucky to have had these experiences and I definitely appreciate them, but I just want more. I want to explore the hidden parts of theses countries. I want to properly see different cultures and places. Get off the beaten track. I managed to get a little hint of this when I went to Finland in my second year of university. We slept in hides, we walked through snow and woodlands, we struggled up their weirdly tall trains with our heavy suitcases as we headed further up North – close to the Arctic Circle. We tried new foods – including reindeer. But most of all, we were alone without any package holiday help to rely on.

    In college and university I also managed to get out to Venice and Paris, and whilst those trips were very much educational ones, they gave me plenty of time to explore. Every night, wandering the many streets of Venice. Cute little shops on every corner, filled with glass ornaments and those pretty masks. Finding a new place to eat in, eating copious amounts of spaghetti and pizza, trying the random flavours of ice cream and the little cakes. Heading back to the hotel in the dark – trying to remember the exact route back. Then in Paris… Doing the usual – seeing the Eiffel Tower, going into the Louvre, looking around the Christmas markets. But also, finding hidden little bookshops, reading messages on the love locks, navigating the RER from Paris to Versailles, sitting in gorgeous little coffee shops.

    I want to travel for these little moments. The ones where you’re fully immersed in the local culture, and you feel completely at home. Whilst I don’t feel like I’ve travelled very far myself for my liking, I have a ton of memories. I’m one of those who will keep random bits and bobs from my trips… And I had a quick look to see what I could find in my box of treasures!

    Thinking About: Travel | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Starting from the left, I have a wooden boomerang type ornament from Lanzarote. I bought it because it was pretty, and just something that I could keep to remind me. The top two polaroids are from Turkey – the first is our view of the sunset from the balcony, and the second in the blue lagoon. Underneath those is a map and information of our hotel in Venice – handy in case you get lost in the winding streets! Then I have my Eiffel Tower ticket, a metro ticket and a polaroid of the gardens in Versailles Palace. That little mugshot is my ID card from a holiday in Benidorm – from 1997! How do I still have this? I honestly do not know. Below that is a wooden bracelet that I got when I was on a holiday with my family and cousins in Spain sometime. Can’t get that over my hand now!

    Above and next to the notebook, I’ve got some rocks. I picked these up from Wales when I last went… They were pretty. I can remember looking in the stones for fossils with my dad, because that area of Wales was supposedly good for them. We didn’t find any – but I can remember it clearly. The Finland badge, postcard and Arctic circle knife are all from Finland – obviously. And then the shells are from Lanzarote as well. I picked them up when we visited Puerto Calero. There wasn’t much to do there, but I can remember spotting this amazing little shop that was filled with shells, rocks and a variety of items made from natural substances.

    This is just a small selection, but oh just looking at them reminds me of where I’ve been and what I’ve done. I want to go travelling to make more memories like this. Memories that I can’t get just by staying in sunny boring old Wigan. If I had the money, I’d be on a plane tomorrow.

    Would you?

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