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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.

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    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…

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    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.

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    London-Eye

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    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.

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    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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    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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    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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    Personal, United Kingdom

    Visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tour

    In January I visited the Warner Brothers Studio Tour with my sister. We wanted to see Hogwarts in the snow, and it was great despite the travelling mishap… Getting a puncture an hour away from London, being 2 and a half hours late and almost not getting in. Nightmare.

    I am aware that this post is well overdue, but I have the photos and I wanted to share them! I’m still a little gutted that we missed the arrival of the Hogwarts Express, but the Harry Potter world at Christmas time was beautiful. Here are my favourite bits!

    The detail in everything is incredible, and this is one place I could never get bored of. Second time there, and I’m definitely feeling a third! If you’ve visited, what was your favourite bit? I think mine has to be all the models and drawing… Though everything really is amazing.

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    Travel, United Kingdom

    Adventure: Try something new.

    This week has been full of new adventures; I’ve tried some new outdoor activities and I really enjoyed it.

    First up was Archery. I’ve always thought it looked fun, but have just never had the opportunity. It was tough on the fingers, and my aim could improve a little, but I was really surprised at how I did. I only missed the target a couple of times, and I almost got the middle!

    Then we did an 820 metre long zip wire. Now I’ve been on those zip wires in the park, relatively short and low to the ground, but those are nothing compared to what we did! 820m down a hill and fields, 20m off the ground. I’ve never really been scared of heights, and I wasn’t nervous about letting go at the top – it was amazing. Such a great rush as you travelled along, held up with just the harness.

    Last but not least, my favourite, was mountain biking. Cycling on roads is nothing compared to cycling through woods, fields and up and down hills. It was tough – really tough – but it was also so much fun. We did a taster route first, and it was a short 4km ride, with a couple of scary bumps and little (but steep!) hills. After that, we decided to go for the easy 11km route. I’ll tell you something, it was not easy! There were so many hills and we did walk up most of them! Our poor thighs were not used to all that work. Afterwards I was sore (and I still am) but all I could think of was the adrenaline rush as I sped down the hills, moving so quickly. There was one really narrow path down a hill, and it was so steep and bumpy I thought I was going to come off. It scared me, but once I was down I was just so pleased with myself hahah. Mountain biking may seem quite normal to some, but as I’d never done it before it was quite an experience!

    As final thoughts on this, I’ve decided that from now on I’m going to attempt to try new things when I can. I want to experience more, and to be able to say ‘Yep, I’ve tried that’. When I get back to university, I’m really hoping to join a sports club/team. It all depends on what they’ve got on offer – I’d love to do running/cycling, but I think there may only be football on offer! If it is only football, I think I’ll still have a go. I played football just before starting high school and loved it back then. Maybe I’ll love it again.

    A new ‘saying’ for the year? Do more.

    Who knows, maybe you’ll see some more adventure posts? I sure hope so!
    Do I have any adventurers out there?

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