Cruising on Harmony of the Seas! (Biggest cruise ship in the World)

I have never been on a cruise before, so what better way to start than with the biggest ship in the world, right? 🙂  The Harmony of the Seas is a brand new ship; the newest boat in the Royal Caribbean fleet. It is also the biggest ship in the world. So how does it check out?

Central Park

The ship itself was massive; it was lovely to stroll around Central Park, which has hundreds of trees and thousands of plants. We even saw small birds in the park while the ship was at sea (!). But if that’s too outdoorsy for you, why not try an indoor promenade with bars, restaurants and shops? It is very easy to forget you are on a ship altogether! Continue reading

Spires and Bikes … Oxford calling

I actually applied to Oxford Uni, believe it or not. I didn’t get in, obv, although I had a riot at the interview. (Not literally, although an actual riot would explain why I didn’t get in!). I met this girl from Cornwall and we hit it off and laughed our heads off all week, such that people thought we had been friends for years – we were like “Oh no, we’ve just met!”. Neither of us got in but I don’t think we minded much 🙂

Oxford CollegesThe interview week provided what I like to think of as a “Mini Break” in Oxford, so I became somewhat familiar with the city then, and I still remember the layout surprisingly well. It is difficult to imagine a city more architecturally blessed  Continue reading

10 Things I Love About Exeter

I have fond memories of Exeter from my childhood but as a teenager I kinda hated its small-town feel. I was a “youth” then and as such I was I thought I was far too cool for Devon (!). As a result of this, I am still guilty of being dismissive towards the South-West of England. So after a recent visit (which was lovely!) I feel compelled to set the record straight and celebrate all the good things about Exeter!

Exeter Cathedral

1: The Cathedral Green

The Cathedral Green is the area of grass around the Cathedral, surprisingly enough. In the summer this is packed with everyone from office workers to students Continue reading

A Re-education in Devon Beaches

I spent many a school holiday exploring parts of Devon as a kid, with my family. However we never really explored the beaches. My family are not really “beach people” so our holidays would never revolve around a beach. Plus I remember horror stories of syringes being found on the beach. I have no doubt this was true, but upon reflection it was definitely the exception rather than the rule.

Boat at Branscombe, Devon

As a fully fledged adult I spent much time fleeing these shores in search of nicer beaches, until lack of funds meant I looked closer to home again. And I was surprised about what I found. From sandy beaches in North Devon to pebbles and red cliffs of South Devon, I really enjoyed exploring this area. Continue reading

Feeling like Famous Five on Burgh Island

I was once casually reading a list of top islands to get married on (as you do…) and alongside the Carribeans, the Maldives, the Bora Boras of this world, there was Burgh Island, Devon, England. I was intrigued. I didn’t know there were any islands off Devon, let alone any cute enough to make the top 10 list for wedding venues. So track it down and visit I did.

Corfe Island 2But I’m getting ahead of myself – in order to have a lovely day here I first had to do some maths. Crunch some numbers, if you will. Continue reading

Soaking up the Rays in Brighton

It might sound twee but after visiting Brighton I felt much brighter than when I went there. Obviously the brilliant sunshine helped, but so did the quintessential English seaside experience; sea, the pier, fish and chips, seagulls.

Beach and Pier, BrightonI hadn’t been to Brighton since I was a kid and came here with my sister and cousin – we made a beeline for Burger King and The Body Shop to buy lipstick in the Sales, as we always did. Well my interests have changed somewhat since the age of 12 Continue reading

Rambling in The Shambles, York

After a fabulous visit to the mighty New York I was curious to see where it all started, in York (or Old York, if you will). And Old it certainly was, as well as pretty and quaint. This can be best appreciated during a leisurely stroll along the city wall.

View from the City Wall, YorkThe city wall was built by the Romans and is apparently the longest such wall still remaining today in England (although like the Great Wall of China I suspect it has been maintained a tad since then!). Continue reading

All you need is Liverpool (do do do do dooo)

When I was a kid the weather forecast used to be presented by a man who stood on a large floating model of the British Isles. The best bit was when he leapt from Ireland to Wales as everyone waited with baited breath to see if he would fall in the water. The model of Britain was actually in Liverpool, floating in the Albert Docks.

Albert Docks, LiverpoolThe docks are still much as they were in those days, but the map of Britain is no more 😦 The Albert Docks have also benefited from the arrival of a branch of Tate Modern.

Continue reading

United with Manchester

I love the fact that wherever you go in the world, you will always find people that support Manchester United. It is a unifying force, blind to culture, religion or politics. I am also a Manchester United fan as my family originates from there. I was brought up a “Man U” fan, but not a hard-core one. I had the obligatory poster of “Giggsey” on my wall when I was a kid, we had a team scarf, and I watched them “do the treble” in 1999. I don’t follow football any more, but that is my team, if only in name.

Manchester is a city close to my heart and I used to spend school holidays there in my childhood, staying with family. Sadly terrorists planted a bomb in the Arndale shopping centre in Manchester in 1996. I haven’t been to the city centre for years so I didn’t recognise it at all – not helped by the fact that much redevelopment has happened in the last 20 years. However it did not take long to be impressed by this city.

Manchester, UKThe Arndale shopping centre is thriving and has been redeveloped to make a fab shopping mall. However there are also several shopping streets with lots of diverse brands, many of which were quite posh, I did notice! Continue reading

Sailing on the Canals of Birmingham

One of my boyfriend’s longstanding dreams was to hire a canal boat and drive it himself. This seemed highly unrealistic. My friend did that, crashed it and dropped his mobile phone over the side. Not to mention expensive – a day’s hire is around £150, plus £100 refundable deposit. But my BF convinced me, and it was fun! It’s better value in a group so we went with my BF’s family when visiting Birmingham.

Tunnel under Broad Street, BirminghamWe all had a go at driving  steering sailing the boat. My BF’s mother had particular “issues” with her steering, in that she kept crashing it into the sides. In the end my BF’s Dad had to shout “Stop steering, it’s not fair on the dogs!” Continue reading