36 Before 36 ~ Leave the country for a holiday

IMG_4001 (1)

This serves as a round-up post for one of my 36 Before 36 items, despite me now being well into my 37 Before 37 list. 

Last year, I put ‘Leave the country for a holiday or mini-break’ on my 36 Before 36 list, as a way of trying to make sure I saw at least a little bit of the world. I’m not one of these people who has to have a foreign holiday every year, but travelling on a budget is easier than ever, and there are lots of countries I’d like to visit.

As it turned out, I was offered the chance to go on a press trip to a hotel in the Austrian Alps. This was organised through my day job, not through my blog (I can’t imagine that will ever happen!), as I work for a consumer magazine, and luckily enough, my friend Hannah was offered the chance to go as well (Hannah’s my travel buddy anyway, so it was great to do it together!).

IMG_4105 (1)

The hotel was Holzhotel Forsthofalm, located in Leogang in Austria. A short flight from Stansted to Salzburg (my inner Sound of Music fan was very happy to be there, even if we didn’t see any of the landmarks!), and then a transfer to the hotel, and we had arrived. It’s a really beautiful hotel, built up from humble beginnings when it was just a family restaurant, to what it is now – all the rooms are made from the forest wood of the mountains, and it’s set at a height of 1050m, so as you can imagine, the views are amazing.

As it was a press trip, the itinerary was all choreographed to really show off how great all the activities at the hotel are. We did lots of yoga, a couple of fitness classes, and also a couple of walks. The yoga classes were great; I don’t really do yoga, though given my job I know all the benefits, and every month when I read the magazine, I make a mental note to either book into a class or do some at home, and then never actually get around to it.

IMG_4159 (1)

The fitness classes were a bit more energetic than what I’m used to doing, given that I don’t do an awful lot of exercise at all. I quite enjoyed the bouncing fitness class, as it allowed me to channel my inner Busy Phillips.

My favourite bit of the whole hotel was the rooftop pool, gloriously heated so that despite the chillier temperatures (even in June, you’re still in the mountains), you can spend time in there and only your face is exposed to the cool air. And given that it’s right on the roof, the views are right there to be enjoyed.

It really is a very beautiful hotel, and I’d go back in a heartbeat if my budget ever allows it.

IMG_4183 (1)

IMG_4087 (1)

IMG_4264 (1)

 

35 Before 35 ~ Throw a Gilmore Girls party

IMG_1555

Remember back in November, when the Gilmore Girls revival was released on Netflix, and the world went Stars Hollow-mad? That would have been a great time to write a post about the Gilmore Girls party that I threw, when it was especially relevant. Cut to nine months later, when everyone is totally over it, especially given just how disappointing 75% of the revival was, and here I am, writing my post.

Hey, I never said that I was a good blogger.

I put this item on my list last year for the simple reason that I was so excited about the new episodes, and I knew I’d be watching them with my friends, and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to throw the type of party I have seen on Pinterest.

In the end, of course, it didn’t really turn out that way. The decorations weren’t Pinterest-worthy, and the new episodes were disappointing. I still managed to have a lovely time, however, because I got to spend time with my best friends, and we ate lots of food (we decided to cook a Thanksgiving dinner, except that just ended up being a roast dinner), and we got to go back to Stars Hollow.

IMG_1554

As you should be able to tell from the photo, we dressed up – V was Paris, Anna was Rory, I was Luke, and Hannah was Sookie. Actually, V didn’t dress up as Paris, she didn’t really dress up at all, but we just decided that she could be Paris. My other friend Jen bought a chow dog toy and sort of came as Michel, but doesn’t really like having her photo taken, so we used Paw-Paw in the photo in her place!

IMG_1552

Hannah went all out, ordering a smock and having Sookie’s name embroidered onto it! She did almost all of the cooking as well, so it was only right that she looked the part

IMG_1556

I wish that my house didn’t look as messy as it does in this photo, but I had to share it simply because I love that there is a sign on the wall that says ‘No Cell Phones’ (lovingly created by me), and these three losers are sat on their phones!

IMG_1551

Hand on heart, at this distance, I am mostly pretending that the revival episodes didn’t happen. The best bit, by far, was the scene in which Lorelai calls Emily and finally mourns Richard’s death properly. Everything else was something between don’t-really-care and I-can’t-believe-they-did-that. Some things* are just better left un-revived.

And Pinterest-worthy or not, I had a lovely time with my friends at my Gilmore Girls party!

*most things

12. Throw a Gilmore Girls party

Midweek Mundane

This was a thing for a while; at least amongst a couple of bloggers that I followed, so I thought I’d resurrect it. In case you’re wondering, it’s just a general description of a midweek day; nothing special or out of the ordinary, just a normal day at work. Although most of the extraordinary days start off as mundane, so who knows what’s going to happen!

The day of choice is today, 10th May 2017. A very typical day in the life of me and my job, though as we are one week away from leaving for one of our events, it was busier day than many others, with lots of loose ends to tie up, and a to-do list to work through.

My mornings are usually fairly stress-free, mainly because I don’t trouble myself with too much. I usually wake up fairly early, but lay in bed until I can’t push it any further. Today, I had to put tonight’s dinner in the slow cooker, so I had to give myself a little more time – in the shower by 7.45, dinner was cooking by 8.10, and we were out the door by 8.30, as always.

Breakfast at my desk is always cereal, and because I bought the biggest box of cornflakes about two weeks ago, it’s been cornflakes for a while. This led me straight into a morning of work; as I mentioned, it’s all stuff to do with the show, tying up loose ends. I decided to try something new this morning, as my friend Hannah had told me a little while ago about the idea of working solidly for 52 minutes and then taking a 17 minute break. I can’t take a 17 minute break in the middle of the morning, but I can try and work without distractions for 52 minutes, and then reward myself with a cup of tea or something similar. So that’s what I did, until halfway through I was pulled into a meeting. It worked quite well though!

FullSizeRender (1)

Lunch was boring, a couple of slices of raisin loaf and a yoghurt. I struggle so much with lunches; it’s not always feasible to have leftovers from last night’s dinner, and so I’m often left with a sandwich or something equally uninspiring. Tomorrow we have a group lunch, Fajita Thursday or Friday has been a thing for a while; we each take it in turns to bring in a different component of the fajitas, and it’s my favourite lunch of the week!

The afternoon was a little frantic; we had some website issues that needed to be sorted, and there were various emails that needed to be sent out. The best thing about the afternoon was the return of the ice cream man who has been missing for a few weeks!

FullSizeRender

 

After work, and after a hastily eaten dinner (aren’t slow cookers amazing?) Hannah and I went into Colchester, back to our old university, to see a play. It was called Semblance of Madness!, and it was only about 45 minutes long, with a cast of three, but it was certainly interesting. A quick trip to Tesco, and back home, with one episode of Parks and Rec, and now I’m in bed writing this and listening to this week’s episode of The West Wing Weekly.

A thoroughly mundane Wednesday, with an interesting evening to perk things up!

 

A Bank Holiday Visit to Cambridge

Cambridge Colleges

I live exactly 37.3 miles from Cambridge, the world-famous university city, but until recently, had never visited. That changed on a whim on Easter Monday, when my friend Hannah suggested a day trip.

The best places to visit, according to Hannah (the driver), are the ones with park and ride systems, because she says that parking is the worst part of driving anywhere! So she researched Cambridge’s Park and Ride, and off we went.

Cambridge Graffiti

Cambridge doors

The weather more or less played ball; it started off fairly cloudy, but the sun was soon shining, and though it wasn’t the warmest day ever, we avoided any traditional British bank holiday rain. I didn’t really know what to expect from the city, aside from the fact that it is, of course, famous for its colleges. The city centre itself seems quite small, and easily navigable on foot.

I was on a Blue Plaque quest; in case you aren’t aware, one of my 35 Before 35 goals is to photograph 50 blue plaques. There will be a whole blog post about this at some point, but suffice to say that I found around fifteen, and searching them out really gave us a good excuse to explore places we might not otherwise have found.Punting in Cambridge

We didn’t go for a punt on the river; the weather was probably a little on the cool side for that, and in all honesty, I was offended by how much pressure the tour guides were comfortable exerting to get us to sign up. It’s a nice idea, and must be a great way to see the colleges, but not on this occasion. And not with those particular tour guides!

The colleges themselves were, of course, beautiful, and the city has managed to merge old and new in a really organic way; of course there are the high street shops that you can’t avoid in city centres, but they don’t detract from the beauty of the centuries-old buildings that have educated some of the most incredible minds of all time.

King's College Cambridge

Cambridge Blossom

King's College, Cambridge

I had a really lovely time in Cambridge, and I’m hoping to go back at some point this year to pay a visit to my online friend Charlotte – as a local I’m hoping she’ll show me some of the less-touristy areas!

Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge

Cambridge Colleges

Day trip to Cambridge

Bank Holiday Cambridge