This week started on a high because of the bank holiday, which meant that it was only a 4-day week to – always something to put a smile on my face.

It’s also been really lovely and sunny on a few days over the week, which made me so excited for the warmer weather, which has surely got to be on the horizon!

Afternoon Tea

On Monday, I had afternoon tea with a couple of my nearest and dearest friends at Lost and Found in Knutsford. It was a really lovely way to spend an afternoon, and the food was amazing. We had scones, finger sandwiches, lots of different kinds of cakes and so much tea – and the restaurant itself is just stunning: Definitely one I can’t wait to go back to!

Ikea 

On the same evening, we took a spontaneous trip out to Ikea with one of our friends who is in the process of buying a house. We only picked up a few bits (quite restrained if you ask me!) but the best bit was the pick and mix at the end – a great way to finish off the bank holiday!

Flowers

One of my lovely friends Hannah gave me a bunch of daffodils that she had grown a week or so ago, and this week they were in full bloom and looked so lovely, brightening up the kitchen. Fresh flowers are always something I love having in the house, but with two mischief-making cats, it’s sometimes not the easiest thing!

Hair

Over Easter, I dyed my hair dark brown, but since then it has faded out quite a bit, but this week, I really enjoyed the colour it had turned. It’s much darker than I usually am, but I think it suits my pale skin and it feels a lot healthier than it did – I just hope it stays this way for a while!

Finalist

This week I found out that I am a finalist in the Lovin Manchester Social Media awards for Best Lifestyle Blogger (you can vote here if you’d like to) and I was really over the moon. I never in a million years think I’ll win because the competition is tough, but just being nominated is a real achievement and thank you to everyone who has voted so far.

Blog Email

On Tuesday I was feeling a bit down about a number of different things, but I got an email from a reader which really made smile saying that she really enjoyed reading my blog – sometimes it’s the little, unexpected things that can change your mood just like that!

Pizza

The work girls and I have been talking about getting Crazy Pedro’s pizza on a Friday after we’ve finished for a while, and this week we did just that. We shared three different ones, and cocktails and they were all great – it’s definitely one of my favourite places to go to in Manchester for pizza and drinks!

Vegan Festival

On Saturday, I went to the Northern Vegan Festival with my Mum at Manchester Central. I’d heard about it on Facebook, but wasn’t too sure what to expect, but it was amazing – some of the vegan alternatives taste exactly the same and the choices were so extensive. I’m still trying to be vegetarian where possible, but I’m going to start thinking about some vegan changes too.

Brunch

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll be aware that brunch is one of my favourite meals ever, and even better when you get to try somewhere new. On Sunday afternoon, a group of us went for some food at Love Thy Neighbour, which has opened up in Chorlton. I had a smoothie bowl with fresh berries and granola, and it was lovely – definitely a recipe I’ll be trying to recreate at home!

CDWM

To finish off the weekend, I went over to my friend Siobhan’s house in Chester for the latest instalment of Alphabet Come Dine With Me, which is basically where we take it in turns to cook a meal from a country beginning with that letter. This time round was S for Switzerland and the food was incredible – especially the raclette, which I now want to buy for our house!

How was your week? What did you get up to? 

xx

 

History is something we like to learn about, and often we need to learn about it – it’s one of my favourite reasons to go abroad. There’s a lot you can do and see in the world, that’s a given, but everywhere has it’s own history, and taking the time to enrich your own life by seeing them is something we get to do so easily nowadays. It’s an incredibly exciting thought, and one you should spend a little more time thinking about when it comes to planning your next trip…

That’s not to say you even have to go far to get your dose of the good stuff; there are so many places within the UK that are steeped in history, but sometimes it’s fun to head a little further afield. There’s so much out there for you to discover, and for anyone who loves the idea of culture and learning where it came from, I’ve rounded up a few places that will hopefully make a great visit.

Virginia, USA

 

First, let’s head West, and out to the USA – not somewhere known for its vast history, but there is still enough there to sink your teeth into. Virginia was one of the first colonies to be established back in the day, and it’s still around now for people to delve into to find out about modern America’s history. Book yourself a room at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Lynchburg and then head out with your camera or your notebook to take a trip around the monuments here.

You can head out to see Jamestown here, the original settlement that helped Virginia spring to life, and it still exists today. Although it is under archaeological excavations from time to time, there’s plenty of tours you can join to get a real look at all the highlights.

Why not investigate how modern settlers really got to know the land they wanted to live on, and how they interacted with the Native Americans? It’s a history class we really get to hear about in other parts of the world.

Rome

I couldn’t write this blog without mentioning my favourite place in the world – Rome – and one that is a little closer to home. I’ve been three times now, and every time I forget how beautiful it is and how stunning the buildings are.

Rome is a city that’s often cited as the centre of the world, and that’s something to take advantage of when you’re planning a culturally rich trip. There’s so much history to see here, you’re never going to want to tear your eyes away from the skyline!

To start off with, you have Vatican City – a country all of its own in technical terms, it’s a place you can explore and delve right into the history of Christianity. Considering it’s one of the most widely practised religions around the world, you already know there’s a lot for you to take in here.

Then you have the Colosseum to see, and that’s something that’s on everyone’s bucket list; it’s a wonder of the world for a reason (and if you’re a Lizzie Maguire fan, it’s not to be missed!) 

Beijing

Beijing is an ancient wonder in its own right, and that makes it such a popular place with tourists. Not only is it a cultural centre of the modern world, but it’s somewhere you can discover so much from ancient families and civilisations you’ll never see the like of anywhere else.

You can find the Forbidden City here, which was the Imperial Palace up until about 1912. It’s now a museum and is regarded as one of the best in the world to learn about the history of one of the most intriguing countries in the world. 

Have you been to any of these destinations? What did you think? 

xx

Can anyone in the country believe that it’s April and our wedding is officially ONE YEAR AWAY this month!? It feels like yesterday that we got engaged and I’m sure the next year will fly by faster than I ever expected.

I had a brilliant March! I went on my first ever ski trip, caught up with friends old and new and spent lots of time with my family – it was a great month. And now I’m excited for some, hopefully, warmer weather and spending more time outdoors.

1. Discover Eindhoven

Next weekend, I’ll be jetting off to Eindhoven with my two blogging friends Lily and Erin for a weekend of exploring a new city. We’ve never been away before, but we all love travelling so much so it seemed like the perfect excuse. We booked the trip in the January sales and I can’t believe how fast it’s come round! I’ve been to Holland once before and loved it so I’ve got high hopes.

2. Try Something New At Vegan Fest

I’m all up for eating vegan where possible, so when I heard about the Manchester vegan festival, I asked my Mum straight away if she wanted to come with me (she’s also a veggie). It’s this Saturday and I’m really excited to try some new flavours dishes!

3. Enjoy The Next Come Dine With Me

This weekend will be the second Alphabet Come Dine With Me, which you must have heard me talk about by now. The letter is S and the country is Switzerland, which works well for me and chocolate and cheese are two of my favourite things. It’s also a great chance to catch up with my lovely friends.

4. Try Not To Be So Awkward In Front Of The Camera

This month, Jordan and I will be having our engagement photos done. We’re not having our wedding photographer for these ones, but instead, it will be my friend’s boyfriend who is trying to build his portfolio. I’m an awkward mess in front of the camera, so I hope that doesn’t come across in the pictures and we get some nice shots that I can share on here.

5. Catch Up With My Blogging Friends

Later in the month, I’ve got a brunch planned with some of my friends I’ve made through blogging. The place hasn’t been set yet, but I haven’t’ seen a lot of them since January so it will be a great way time to catch up with them all.

6. Cook More At Home

This last month we’ve been so good with coming up with new vegetarian recipes a few times a week. I’m getting more into cooking at home, especially when we’ve already invested in the ingredients, so I’m hoping we can come up with some more interesting creations for the next few weeks – maybe we can even take advantage of the warmer weather and eat in the garden!

7. Surprise

I can’t say too much about this one as it’s a bit of surprise, but let’s just say that there is something in the month that I’m really looking forward to around the theme of a new arrival (not mine – this is not my pregnancy reveal!)

8. Celebrate Jordan’s New Job

Jordan starts his new job on the last day of April, and we’ve both got free calendars the weekend before he starts. I’d love to spend some quality time with him and get all excited about his new beginning.

9. Read More

I don’t know what it is about the lighter evenings making me want to cram more in, but at the moment I’ve been going to bed a bit later than usual which means I haven’t had the chance to read as much before bed. I’d like to try and finish two books by the end of the month, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but definitely doable.

10. Start Our Wedding Countdown

Next Friday (Friday 13th… take from that what you will) will be officially one month until I walk down the aisle and marry my best friend. I’ve got a couple of things I’d like to do to remember the weeks leading up to the wedding, and this month I want to get them kickstarted.

And there you have my April wishlist! Let’s hope I can achieve all of them by May!

What are you wishing for this month?

xx

Photo credit

There are countless holy sites all over the world. From historic temples to pilgrimage trails. Many of these crops up on traveller’s bucket lists and even the most casual of holidaymaker can be tempted to visit a site of religious significance during their holiday. It’s easy to see why.

Even if you aren’t remotely religious, visiting somewhere that holds such importance for so many can be enlightening. It can make you feel very small, put your own life into fresh perspective and take your breath away. These locations are often nothing short of wondrous, filled with religious art and symbolism; there’s much to see. These trips also often fall into the “once in a lifetime” category and shouldn’t be missed if you do get the chance.

But, it can be tricky. If you don’t follow a specific religion yourself, it can be hard to know what to expect or, what is expected of you. But, it’s crucial that you are always respectful of the customs and cultures of the location. Here’s how to do it.

Time it Right

Some sites will play home to pilgrimages or be much busier around religious holidays. So, it’s important to remember that while you are just a sightseer, other people are there to pay homage to their Gods and religious idols. Read guides like When is the Best Time for Umrah? To make sure you avoid visiting during these times of the year unless you want to be a part of it.

Do You Research

The best way to respect other cultures and beliefs is always by learning more about them. We’re very lucky that we can just turn on a laptop and Google the religion in question. Learn a bit about their beliefs and culture, as well as the site you are visiting. This way you are less likely to do anything that might offend. You’ll also appreciate your trip more having a little background knowledge.

Stick to the Dress Code

Many religious locations and even churches and other places of worship around the world have a dress code. Make sure you know what it is and that you are prepared. At some sites, you may need to remove your shoes, and women may have to cover their legs and head. Don’t turn up in shorts and be sent away.

Leave Your Politics at Home

You may firmly believe in gender equality and be firmly against asking women to cover up. But, when it comes to visiting the home of another religion and culture, it’s not your beliefs that matter.

Be Careful with Photography

Now we’re all armed with a smartphone; it’s habit to take photos of everything all the time. They’re often on social media before we even get home. This might not be allowed in holy buildings, as many feel that constant clicking and flashing detracts from the Holy atmosphere. Check the rules before you arrive and ask if you are unsure. Some places may allow photographs, but charge extra for it.

Have you ever been to a place of worship? 

xx

Happy Bank Holiday everyone! I’m so happy that we still have a day off work to go, and then only a four-day week until the next weekend. Easter is always such a great time of year – everyone is in the best mood and it involves lots of food and drink, which is always my favourite.

This is everything I was loving last week!

On Wednesday evening, I went with a group of my friends to see Mó at the Ritz in Manchester. We were meant to go last November, but it was rescheduled to this week, and she was incredible. Everyone at the concert was in the best mood and her voice is just as amazing live as it is on recordings – definitely go and see her if you get the chance!

4-Day Weekend

How nice is it that we still have a day off work to go? I bloody love Easter weekend, and next year I’ll love it even more as we’ll be on our honeymoon! To start off the bank holiday celebrations, a few of the work girls and I went for a cheeky drink after work on Thursday to the pub around the corner, and it was a lovely way to end the working week.

Smoothies

After a lovely little lie in on Friday morning, I met up with my friend Louise who was back for a few days from London. It hadn’t been that long since we last saw each other, but we still had loads to catch up on. She is being incredibly healthy at the moment and went to the gym before meeting me, so we went to get a smoothie afterwards.

Toast

After seeing Louise, I met up with some of the girls I went to school with at a cafe called Toast in Altrincham, where they serve everything on, you guessed it, toast! The menu is more than your usual poached and scrambled eggs (although you can get them too!) and I shared crayfish and avocado and cod loin and capers with my friend Emily, and both were delicious.

Bottomless Brunch

For my friend’s 30th birthday on Saturday, a group of us went to the Electro Brunch at Gaucho in Manchester. We were sat in our own room and had unlimited food and drink for two hours! The staff were really attentive, and we went through a fair few drinks. They brought our food on big sharing platters so we could have a bit of everything.

Sunday Lunch

On Easter Sunday, Jordan and I had my Grandma’s and parents round for Sunday lunch. My mum very kindly provided the food, and Jordan baked a lemon drizzle cake. It was lovely to catch up with them all as I hadn’t seen my parents since I came back from skiing and we had a few wedding bits to share with them.

La Casita

Jordan and I treated ourselves to a Mexican meal on Sunday evening at one of our favourite places in Chorlton. I absolutely love Mexican food, and this place is really authentic and only 5 minutes from our house – winner winner!

H&M Treats

I treated myself to a few bits from H&M over the weekend as I hadn’t bought anything for myself for a couple of months. I picked up a checked shirt with flowers on, a pair of slip-on sandals and a dress in the sale. I hadn’t been to H&M for a while, and they’ve got some lovely things in at the moment.

What were you loving last week? 

xx