Kendal, Cumbria, UK, Planet Earth

I have had a busy few weeks which included a brief visit to the most beautiful park in England and also a week in Corfu with my mummsy. Two destinations that made me appreciate the nature of this beautiful planet!

My mother has lived in Cumbria on and off for the past 10 years, once she even lived in the heart of the Lake District National Park surrounded by the most amazing walks; It was here that I spent my holidays away from uni, working in a tiny shop in Bowness, waitressing at the local golf course and taking the three family dogs on super long walks (on the return to the house they just used to collapse and sleep for hours!). I am pretty sure that my walks were often about 10 miles in length, not too bad for someone with very short legs ;).

One thing that I have always wanted to do is grab my dog (or bf!) and walk from hostel to hostel (or hotel to hotel) through the Lake District! This will have to wait until I return from my travels now as it will soon be winter and my bf is having surgery 😦

Anyway, my mum lives again in the centre of Kendal within walking distance of Kendal castle which has a lovely steep climb up to it, great for the legs! In order to go away with her to Corfu I had to catch a train from London Euston to Oxenholme, this journey alone takes about 3.5 hours even on the very fast Virgin trains, add that to another around 1hr to get from where I live in Horley to London, it is in all a long journey from the lower depths of England up to almost the top of the country. I know that 4.5 hours probably doesn’t seem much when compared to train journeys in Canada perhaps or Australia (the Ghan takes 54 hours to cross the country, wahhh?).

One of the first things I did upon arriving in Kendal is grab the three doggies and take them up to the previously mentioned Kendal Castle, it is very picturesque up there, you can see all the cute grey stone buildings and cottages. (Apologises for the quality of the images below, these were taken on my phone!)

On the the Sunday me, my step-dad and my mum took the dogs for a lovely walk in the heart of the Lake District close to  where my mum used to live, I took loads of photos on my camera as the area is so gorgeous, check them out below!


The reason why I am so into walking and the outdoors is all down to my parents, I maybe 27 but I didn’t grow up going to theme parks (I have never been!)or being allowed to watch tv or play on gamestations all hours of the day, I grew up cycling outdoors and going on long walks to get rewarded with a ice cream at the end; this has led to my love of walking and exploring, yay 🙂

Now to find new places to hike in the rest of the world!



It is a oddity that we (on maybe just me!) don’t consider travelling in our own countries as travelling per se. Travel in my mind normally involves really long flights and a complete change of scenery. Just now I was sitting at my laptop reading blogs about travel, and on one such blog Scotland was highlighted as destination one should travel to, and it suddenly crossed my mind that of course my trip to Edinburgh in January counts as ‘travel’. 😉

I often have to be reminded how lucky us Brits are living in a tiny island on the edge of Europe, we have so many countries we can visit Visa free! Once I have seen the rest of the world I will come back and explore Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Austria along with a host of other countries on my list.

So to Edinburgh in January…

Here are some lovely photos from my trip to Edinburgh in January 2016, it snowed! We did one of the haunted city night tours too, pretty good!

A very short weekend trip; We flew out on the Friday night after work… then flew home on the Sunday night… good job we work right near Gatwick airport.

We stayed a street away from the Royal Mile and on the Saturday we were sucked into around 4 free museums all on the same street before making it to the Castle for a visit, it was extremely cold with snow starting to fall, so romantic ;).

On Sunday our list was to visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse (outside, was too expensive to go in!) and Arthurs seat, it was extremely icy that day so we didn’t get far up the hill, but it was marvellous fun, after that we visited the Museum of Scotland which was so large you would need a day just to see all of it.

The main thing I love about Edinburgh is the architecture, it is beautiful.

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Planning for my trip…

In my last post I mentioned how I am saving up to travel next year, but now I am brainstorming where I actually want to go on my travels before I get to to Australia.

My thoughts are to head to Asia; visit Thailand and Malaysia before going to Oz perhaps even Indonesia too or China? I have visited Vietnam before but I do adore that part of the world 🙂

What I am worried about is travelling these countries by myself, is it doable? I don’t want to spend huge amounts of money on tour groups as this time it isn’t a holiday as such!

Ideas for where I should go and what I should see would be amazing 🙂

Preparing to travel – Saving

One thing that always stopped me from thoughts of travelling when I was a younger 20 something was…. money. It is elusive tool that is actually really useful to have a bit of!

But as I said in my last post, I have been saving for a number years… clear that I was only really saving for one thing…. to travel. I could easily keep my job and travel for a mere 4 weeks a year (never all at once, I have a new boss now, so no 3 week trip to Vietnam now allowed!!!!) and probably spend the same amount of cash on a short getaway as I will spend on a 3 month trip to a Asian country!

So now to let you know how I am socking away more cash, my ideal goal would be to pop my backpack on my back in March 2017 with 5k for travelling and about 5k extra as a safety net in case I need money when I return to the UK (which I will, for rent etc up front).

Well, how much have I stashed away so far you say? Well I am about 1/2 of the way to this goal with 6 months to go, but now I am not just relying on my wages to sock away cash; nope I have turned to my old friend Ebay and am loading it with ‘things’ that I have which are of value to someone else. Last week I took £250 after ebay/paypal fees, kerching!

One of the things that I sold was my old Osprey bag as was much too big for me, but it will now be going on a trip to Thailand, India and Indonesia, lucky bag!

Ps, my tips for Ebay success is 1) selling things that people want, if it is unique on ebay you will be able to charge much more for it 2) don’t be afraid of listing something for a while before it sells, you are just waiting for the right person to come along 3) list high value items as buy it now with offers, always list at higher than you want for the item then someone can offer the price you want 😉  4) keep an eye on what other people are selling it for  5) only sell in season if you want to make good money, people won’t be looking for heavy winter coats in summer unless they are bargain hunters!

It is actually very freeing getting rid of things that just clog you up, and drag you down. I used to have one cupboard just full of coats (about 15 in fact including 3 rain coats and a faux fur one!), these are all now going on ebay. I am actually astounded at the amount of rubbish I have accumulated over the 2.5 years that I have lived where I am, it’s crazy.

Other ways I could save is by cutting down on general spending, but I already spend the minimum I can on food etc! I already cycle everywhere so can’t cut down on train or public transport travel, don’t smoke, don’t drink alcohol, don’t party to excess….

My other great expenses at this moment are my short trips; Corfu (1 week), Canada (1 week) and India (3 weeks) this year, these are worth spending on but yet again the India trip would cost me less if I could go for longer but am tied into my flat until March, doh!

So my savings plan is;

  • Sell most of my belongs on ebay (accept the furniture that I love and a few clothing items I can’t live without ie my Dr Marten shoes)
  • Save 50% of my wages
  • Give everything not worth selling to charity (not really saving, but is saving the planet?)
  • Earn as I travel by taking jobs in Australia and New Zealand, and hopefully Canada


Privileged? Or pretentious?

I am a huge fan of reading other peoples blogs about travelling and really love to read about their thoughts and experiences, I also love to read about people who are against the idea of giving up their jobs to travel. Most of these people (mostly) tend to be the ones who want kids and a mortgage etc one day, but me? I don’t want kids and haven’t found a place yet in the UK where I think “I want to own a bit of this land”, so I found myself thinking “what exactly am I saving for?”, “retirement” is what one side of my brain yelled while the other side yelled “travelling”. These are both good things to save for, but I do have about 40 more years of working to save for retirement whereas travelling I can do and work at the same time, thus killing two birds with one stone 🙂

Today I read a blog post basically saying that those who travel aren’t brave, but privileged, I can understand where she is coming from with this; 5 years ago I was living in London working for a hospitality agency barely able to afford to pay my rent and travel abroad was something that other people did. It is only in the past 3 years that I have had the disposal income for travelling, then actually realising that I too can access this world.

When I go off on my travels rest easy in the knowledge that I have earned this, I have worked my socks off for the past years to save money and have zero debt, I am also not funded by my parents; some of my friends have parents who pay for their travels which in my mind doesn’t make it such a rewarding experience O_O

One thing I have figured out after travelling to Vietnam, New York, Hong Kong & Canada then booking a 3 week trip to India, is that it is so much cheaper to book a one way ticket and travel on from where you get to then fly somewhere and back again for short trips. So travelling long term would actually work out cheaper than taking multiple holidays, flights are so expensive.

Take my tour in Vietnam; it cost a ridiculous amount of money overall as we had decided to book through Intrepid tours, I accept that this money might have got me further if I had decided to travel the country by myself but the experience was great!

My travelling plans; fly down towards Oz in March stopping off in Hong Kong for a short stay to see a friend from uni then heading into Asia before heading to Brisbane to start my year working holiday Visa and travel the country. I personally don’t think it is sustainable for me to travel long term just on my savings, I need to work, even if it is part time to keep my costs down. My plans after this is to head to New Zealand to make the most of their working holiday visas for the under 30’s.

I have just 3 years before I turn 30, lets go!

A thought on pretentiousness; why are people who travel considered pretentious? Some people are so dismissive and negative about what the world offers, they always look bored when you show them photos from travels and tell them stories of fun activities. Part of the joy of travel is sharing your experience with everyone else and talking excitedly about the places you have visited!

Admittedly travellers can be shown as pretentious in media, look at the Inbetweener’s 2 movie with that guy with dread locks!

One reason I was put off from travelling to Oz before is that the only photos I see of my peers are ones of  them passed out from alcohol at parties; this is not what I am interested in! The country is so big and full of interesting places to visit that there must be more to the continent than being a giant Ibiza; Bill Bryson opened my eyes to this in his book called Down Under, he showed what a amazing diverse place it is; I was hooked!

Life changing decision – bye bye UK

It is a certain mindset that you have to not just dream about jacking in the day job and travel, but actually plan to do it; I have 6 months left until I leave the UK with or without the support of my employers. I am feeling a bit anxious but mostly extremely excited.

I am feeling anxious mainly because we live in a society that says that you have to go to university, leave and get a good job, get married, buy a house, have kids, work hard all your life… then retire. This is a society that is still kind of trembling from the last recession where we are all told to keep hold of any job we can get and consider ourselves lucky, it is not a society that looks fondly on those who quits a job because they think that they want to do something more exciting with their lives…

A bit about me; I have been working with my employers for 4.2 years and worked my way up from the shop floor to the head office and have thus undertaken no less than 4 roles in this time including working 3 years in the clothing buying team and am now developing clothing for the company; I am inspiration to those stuck on the shop floor and a envy to my peers who are stuck working in dead end jobs. What is my problem you ask? You are doing a job in the sector that you always wanted to work in???

Well, I am petrified of getting stuck where I am just because I get a decent wage and then waking up when I am 70, wealthy having had no kids, owning my own home, having enough money to travel the world….. only to find that I am too old/weak to do anything that I want to do with my life. I would rather wake up at 70 with a smile on my face knowing that I lived my life how I wanted and took risks….. travelled and experienced life to the full, and can now rest.

Talking to my boss a few days ago… he said that his biggest regret is never living abroad… and now he is nearing 50 with two kids, a mortgage… and no way to ever live his dream.

So all of the above has accumulated in me deciding to use the rest of my 20’s to see the world and actually experience life instead of being stuck in a job. Who cares if you don’t have a career when you are working in somewhere hot and sunny!

Preparing to travel – Packing

I am by no means a expert packer, but I do know what I don’t want to pack; too much. I did after all go to Vietnam, Hong Kong and Canada all with too much stuff about my person! There are some things that you will need of course depending on the location of your visit, but a different outfit for every day of a 3 week trip is definitely not what you need. I advise just taking enough clothing for 1 week, wash everything regularly and don’t worry about taking heavy boots unless you will be doing trekking; comfortable sandals will be just fine :). I love my Ecco sandals that are comfortable enough to wear for walking around cities or for a spot of light hiking, they are expensive but well worth it PLUS they look attractive too unlike some of the functional options on the market that look ‘bleurgh’.

My clothing packing list for my week in Corfu next month is the below, I want to see how little I can take and still survive 😉

  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 1 skirt
  • 1 dress
  • 5 sleeveless tops
  • 1 cover up
  • Cardigan
  • Bikini & swimsuit
  • 1 pair of trainers
  • 1 pair of sandals
  • 3 pairs of breathable trainer socks
  • 7 pairs of undies
  • 2 bras
  • 1 packable rucksack


Petworth house – Surrey

If you are a art fan there is no better National Trust house to visit in the country other than Petworth house in surrey. One of the previous owners, George Wyndham, 3rd Earl of Egremont, was a great patron of the talented artists of his time, most notably Constable, Flaxman and Turner, which helped him to stock up his house with their beautiful art & sculptures. Come here also to see the park shaped by very well connected Capability Brown, he is admirable in that he was able to successfully convince all the richest people in the United Kingdom that their park land wasn’t good enough, and what was needed was lakes and rolling hills with strategically placed trees in order to be socially acceptable! Well done sir!DSC08832DSC08843DSC08847DSC08850

When completing the self guided tour of the house one of the last rooms you encounter is the long gallery which is stocked full of art and sculptures, so much so that we had to pop in again for a second look after the first just to absorb as much as we could into our minds and we still didn’t feel that we saw everything! Every room of the house is crammed with paintings layered often layered over beautiful wall paper, I love the eccentricity of it.

The house itself is one of the biggest that the National Trust owns and by far the most attractive. Even the little town of Petworth is endearingly quaint, and well worth a visit, it is unusually close to the house (sitting just behind) as most estates of it’s size were built far away from ‘commoners’ for privacy.

Since 1947 when 3/4 of the house was given to the National Trust the family still reside in the south wing, this has something to do with hefty death duties that are heaped onto families of wealth ;).

Preparing to travel… Perfect bag

I am really looking forward to what the future holds for my exploring of the world; next month I am visiting Corfu for a week then for 3 weeks over Christmas I will be in India experiencing a Hindu wedding then exploring the country, exciting!

So in preparation foospreyr my travels I have bought a brand new travel specific backpack, the Osprey Farpoint 40 in a beautiful blue colour. I chose this bag because it is the perfect sized bag for carrying on as hand luggage, and will be easier for my petite frame to carry than other rucksacks (more about that later), also I am of the mind that the more space that is available the more things I can take with me so less space is better.

I am thinking of combining this with the ultra packable Osprey Stuff Pack which fits into it’s own little pouch and thus makes obeying the ‘one carry on’ rule much more easier to bend with. It comes in 4 zazzy colours and in ripstop waterproof fabric, perfect!


When travelling it is always much easier and nicer not to carry much more than you can hold on your back.

My experience with Osprey bags stems from my time working in the sports industry, my first Ospre
y bag was a cycling back pack which survived much rough treatment by both me and the weather.

In my mind a good quality backpack is important for all occasions and Osprey offer THE best bags for travel; they are functional and attractive too, I strongly suggest in investing in one.

Before buying the Farpoint I have gone to Vietnam, Hong Kong anosprey2d Canada with the Osprey Wayfarer 70 which is the ultimate backpacking bag which comes with a removable 20l day pack and is women’s specific. (The headline photo is of me wearing the day pack, looks cool huh?)


Me on the way to airport to catch flight to Vietnam

I bought this bag because it was widely reviewed as the best bag for backpacking around the world and also I, naively perhaps, thought that I needed as much room as I could get.

From all the travelling it has only obtained a bit of dirt and one rip in a side drinks pocket, thanks to luggage handlers when coming back from Toronto!

The main bag has stood up to some of the worse treatment I have ever seen; it has been hauled on and off buses and planes by rough handed peeps through a 3 week tour of Vietnam, and survived intact, then suffered through 3 days in Hong Kong.

The friend that I went on the Vietnam tour with rocked up with a Argos own brand version of this backpack which was a one 1/8th of the price and fell apart 1 week into the trip, needless to say that I had to battle to hide my smug smile as i hoisted up my brand new looking backpack to continue the trip without having to try and mend a overloaded broken bag.

On this note; never overload your bags, even the strongest can break when put under too much pressure and the weakest will fail very soon 🙂

The things I love about the Wayfarer 70 bag;

  • The main bag is like a suitcase and full unzips from the front
  • Removable day pack with many pockets (including tablet pocket)
  • Day pack can clip to the shoulders of the main pack for ease of access in airports
  • Day pack has comfortable padded straps and is great to carry all day
  • Main bag has loads of pockets including 2 waterproof for wet items
  • Zip away adjustable harness that can be adjusted to fit all torsos then stowed away to be saved from being broken by rough handed luggage peeps
  • It’s amazing quality and can last for years
  • Can fit in a lot of stuff (just don’t overload!)
  • All zips are easily lockable
  • Can be wiped clean easily with water and detergent and thus look as good as new!

Things not so good;

  • If you are petite you may be more comfortable with a smaller backpack as when heavy you can be very unbalanced; The harness feels like it needs more ability to be adjusted
  • Too much space so that I feel inclined to fill it up 😉
  • Doesn’t have any external water bottle pockets (but plenty of space inside for big water bottles)



Toronto with love

In June I grabbed a plane ticket to Toronto to visit one of my old uni friends, oh gosh we had fun, it was a great trip!

So now to my experiences of Toronto;

Day 1; 

Arrived in Toronto from London Gatwick about 3pm and we reached the city around 5pm and after a clean up we took a walk to the ‘Times Square’ of Toronto ie Yonge-Dundas Square. This was a great introduction to the heart of the city, and the vibrant night life. My friend is very lucky to live very close to the centre of the downtown!


Day 2

One word…. well two words actually NIAGARA FALLS!!! My friend bundled me and another of his visitors on a bus to Niagara Falls and this is, no surprise, one of the highlights of my trip. I have never experienced such a overwhelming sense of how very small and delicate us human creatures are before this. It really is just like in the movies where we all dress in the waterproof ponchos and experience the full blast of the spray rolling over us. They say that the view is better from the Canadian side but if you have a ETA for USA as well you can see it from both!


We even saw Taylor Swift, the Joker and Elvis in Niagara. Out tour guide described the town as the Blackpool of Canada… 😉

Funny story actually, our guide told us not to swim in the water or cross any bridges as we would technically be illegal immigrants in USA; he told us a story of two girls who didn’t listen to the warning and crossed the bridge in the imagine below and were detained by the USA authorities for 18 hours while their passports were sent for from their hotel!

The tour trip we did also included a visit to Niagara on the Lake village, Souvenir City and a stop off at a wine tasting (this is the only University in the world in the science of wine drinking!) I don’t normally drink wine but their dessert wine was divine.. .


Day 3

We started the day the Canadian way with Maple Syrup and pancakes! As is the custom in Northern America you also get too many pancakes for one person to tackle… but we needed to stock up on food for a busy day ahead of walking. Luckily all the tourist attractions in Toronto are really close to each other so you are quite able to walk from Dundas to the aquarium and CN tower, to the Toronto Islands and food markets. On this say we opted to just visit Ripleys Aquarium with our newly acquired 7 day Toronto pass that affords you access to all of the tourist attractions and saves you looooads of money….. it also only cost about £70 including tax 🙂

Day 4

We set off to see the St Lawrence food market and Kensington market, we got to travel by the trams ;)… not quite as exciting as I thought it would be on the trams hahaha! Anyway between seeing both the markets we popped up the CN tower for a poggles.
Around Kensington market there was a lot of cool graffiti which offered a more bohemian vibe that was a fresh air a way from the main city buzz. In this area was what was called the ‘Garden car’ very cool! This was also the day I got bad tan lines on my feet, tut tut, my fault from not wearing sunscreen on a cold day!

n food for a busy day ahead of walking. Luckily all the tourist attractions in Toronto are really close to each other so you are quite able to walk from Dundas to the aquarium and CN tower, to the Toronto Islands and food markets. On this say we opted to just visit Ripleys Aquarium with our newly acquired 7 day Toronto pass that affords you access to all of the tourist attractions and saves you looooads of money….. it also only cost about £70 including tax 🙂


Day 5
We took a walk to Riverdale Park which is located in a beautiful neighbourhood called Cabbagetown (real name!) which is full of traditional ‘English’ style homes which looked in better shape than the houses that inspired them back in the ‘old world’. The farm consisted of a barn with various animals in perfect for small children but still fun for adults! After a picnic we headed down to the lake (it seems more like a ocean it is so vast!) and jumped on a ferry to the Toronto Islands, be warned, you will need good walking shoes when visiting the island! I loved the walk around the island but was sad that is wasn’t hot enough to enjoy the beaches :).
In the centre of the island is the main hub of restaurants and cafes but we opted to get off near the Gibraltar point lighthouse so that we could snap some photos (it is meant to be haunted by the ghost of the first lighthouse man!). It was worth the walk although we did spend a lot of time trying to figure out where all these people with the Chuckle Brothers cars ie a quadricycle were coming from as we figured it would be fun to get one….. but we never found where they were dispatched from… sad days 😦
Day 6
Today was a museum visiting day so we set off to the museum of Ontario and then to the Bata Shoe Museum.
I must confess that coming from a continent rich with museums and culture I was extremely disappointed with the Ontario museum….. it had the smallest gallery in the whole place dedicated to Canadian history and the aboriginals, the majority of the museum is let over to Dinosaurs (pretty cool and interesting however) and other cultures from around the world. I kind of expected a bit more history about the country that I was actually visiting O_o but hey the British museum in London is dedicated more to what Britain has taken from other countries than to Britain itself! It took about 4 hours to see everything 🙂
The shoe museum was nice, but very small for the price with no much to see but both of them are on the same street which makes them easy to see together.
Day 7
Toronto zoo day! For such a large tourist destination getting there from the city was hard work; I had to jump on the tube then change for a local bus that takes you directly to the zoo. I went on my own that day due to my friend not feeling to well but actually ended up exploring the zoo with a Oz guy who was also visiting there alone, how crazy was that! Anyway, the zoo is very vastly spread out in the middle of a forest which affords a LOT of walking so if you plan to visit make sure you wear comfortable shoes. The animals are VERY spread out, not like London zoo where it is like bang bang bang and you have seen the entire zoo in one mile square space! (ps London Zoo might be a bit bigger than a 1 mile sq 😉 ). The great thing about this zoo is that they had just had their first panda cubs born in Canada! It was a very hot but luckily there is a lot of water fountains dotted about the park 🙂
The odd thing about the zoo being so open to local wild life the park was teeming with all sorts of unlikely animals like ducks and squirrels and other birds, and seeing them mixing with the ‘exotic’ animals was quite an endearing scene!
Day 8
We had one last walk around the Riverdale park before I was dispatched off to Toronto’s main airport It is another odd thing that to get to the airport you have to take 2 tubes then a bus! Toronto really needs to sort out it’s transport system! Everyone complains about taking so many tubes to get to London Heathrow but this is crazy different!