Friday, 26 January 2018

24 hours in Canterbury, Kent

If you've been around for a while, you'll know that I lived in Canterbury for three years whilst studying towards my degree. It's a stunning city, with plenty of things to do and see. If you've never ventured down to the Garden of England, Canterbury is a very good place to start. Here's what I'd do if I only had 24 hours!

10.00 - arrive early. You can catch a train from London into either of the stations in Canterbury, although it's a faster journey from St Pancras to Canterbury West

11.00 - stroll into the city centre, via the King's Mile. Whilst this is slightly out of your way from the station, it's worth the detour - I'd especially recommend stopping in Siesta on Palace Street. The main city centre is busy and bustling (especially at weekends!) but it's worth a look. I'd also recommend having a look in Canterbury Cathedral, which is absolutely stunning

13.30 - it's lunch time! There are plenty of places to eat in Canterbury for lunch. You might fancy Kitch if you're looking for something healthier, but Chambers does some delicious pancakes

14.30 - lunch is over, but there's still plenty to see! Head to St Augustine's Abbey to explore the ruins of a monastery founded in 598. Canterbury is full of history, and these ruins are worth a visit - especially when you think about how old they are - it's quite amazing really

15.30 - head to the Chocolate Cafe for an afternoon snack. This cafe is incredible - from waffles, to cups of pure chocolate, it is the perfect place to relax after a busy afternoon exploring in Canterbury

16.30 - if you're heading out tonight, you might fancy a couple of hours relaxing at your hotel.

18.30 - go for a quick drink at The Pound before dinner. This bar is in the old jail building, and it's the perfect setting for a cocktail.

19.30 - grab some dinner. My favourite Italian is Pinnoccio's which you can find at 64 Castle Street. With it's family run feel, and absolutely delicious food, you're in for a treat

22.00 - after a delicious meal, you might like to sample some of the nightlife in Canterbury. Start at The Ballroom for some good music, and delicious cocktails. It's quite hard to get a seat here though, so you'll probably want to move on pretty swiftly. There are various places for a dance in Canterbury - The Cuban if you fancy something a little classier, or Club Chem which is a little more rough n' ready

01.30 - head back to your hotel for a good night's sleep after a jam-packed day! I'd recommend the Travel Lodge based in the city centre. It may not be fancy but it's clean and in a great location

10.00 - it's (sadly!) time to leave. At least you know it's only an hour or so back to London

Canterbury truly is a Southern gem, and the perfect place to visit if you fancy somewhere new without going too far from London. There's so much to see and do but even wandering the gorgeous cobbled streets will be a real treat!

Have you ever been to Canterbury?


Friday, 19 January 2018

3 things to do to boost your mood in January

 It's no secret that January can be one of the toughest months of the year. It's hard to get back into the swing of life when you've had some time off and January always seems to be especially cold and tough on the soul. We're over halfway through now, but here are three things I've done to boost my mood this January.

Visit a friend
I headed back to Canterbury to visit my friend Mary, and it was just what I needed. We ate out, watched some rubbish telly, gossiped and danced the night away. Whilst I was tired after the weekend, seeing friends always boosts my spirits and it's the perfect way to beat the January blues.

Keep your house (and life admin!) in check
Before Christmas I was really struggling to stay motivated with housework, and life admin. I've been trying my hardest to keep on top of things, so that once the dinner is cooked and washing up is done the evening is mine to enjoy. Yes, we may have only just taken down our Christmas tree up, but my clothes are clean and the kitchen is tidy! It's all about balance.

Think about the year ahead
January is normally the time of year that I book up a few trips for the year ahead! Whilst we have no trips booked as of yet, I have two trips in the pipe-line that I'm very excited about. Having something to look forward to always boosts my spirits, especially in a month like January.

January may not be a crowd-pleaser of a month, but it has some worth. Think of it as the foundation month of the year where you catch up with your friends after a busy festive period, or book something fun to look forward to in the months ahead!

What do you do in January to boost your mood?


Friday, 12 January 2018

4 books to read in 2018

Reading is one of my favourite things to do to relax. I read some really great books last year, but there were four that really stood out for me, and I just had to share these on my blog. If you're looking for something new to read, I'd highly recommend picking up one of these books this year to get stuck into!

The Power - Naomi Alderman 

The Power was a great read, and something different. I really like to read books that are about the world as it is with a huge difference (if that makes sense - books like the Hunger Games!) and The Power ticks that box. What would happen in a world if women were the ones with the power? This book is very thought-provoking!

The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas

Starr witnesses her best friend being fatally shot by a police officer, and this a story of how the people around her react. She lives two lives as such, swapping between her persona in the poor neighbourhood she lives in and the upper class school she attends with her siblings. This is such a topical book, and whilst upsetting, it's a very good read! I really liked Starr as a character as well, which makes all the difference when you're reading a book.

The Story of a Secret State - Jan Karski

Jan Karski was a member of the Polish underground state during world war two. This book tells his story, and the story of so many others, and it was so interesting. I learnt so much when I read this book, and sadly it sheds light on a few harsh realities about the second world war. Whilst it's a hard-hitting read, you should definitely give this book a go in 2018!

Homecoming - Yaa Gyasi

I loved this book, it is easily in my top four books of 2017. Whilst it was heartbreaking at times, it was beautiful alongside that as you read about each character and their story. It was so different to anything I've read before but it really drew me in, and touched on some incredible sensitive but important issues in such a stunning way.

All four of these books were incredible, and touched on some subjects that I think are so important to be discussing today.  After finishing each of these books, I couldn't help but think that they should all be read in schools. Perhaps reading one of these books would introduce a serious subject to someone who hadn't even considered it, or help a student learn more about a subject they were already beginning to consider.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

Friday, 5 January 2018


Something about this year feels different. I can't quite put my finger on it, but usually the first day of a new year is spend reflecting on the previous year, and looking for ways to improve things for the next year. Goals are set, and not always achieved, but they are thought about. This year though, and I think it's because 2017 was so fantastic and because I'm pretty bloody happy, there hasn't been such a fierce feeling of wanting to improve myself and do better.

Having said all of the above, there are a few things I'm hoping to do in 2018.

Volunteer more

I recently read this post by Hayley from Honestly Russell, and it really struck a cord. When I was younger, I was so involved in issues I cared about - collecting money for a charity that aimed to improve the quality of life in Rajasthan and getting involved in a campaign against bullying at school. Whilst I've done the odd thing over the years since, I want 2018 to be the year I volunteer again.

Read 60 books

Last year I read 54 books, and I relished in the challenge. This year, I'd like to hit 60 books. Spending my evenings reading books, rather than being absorbed in my laptop did wonders for me last year and I'd like to continue as I mean to go on. Here's to another year of good books!

Boost my savings

2017 was quite an expensive year, especially after 2016 where we managed to save a lot of money towards a house. I'd like to save a bit more this year so we can head further afield on an adventure in the coming year(s) or just do lots of smaller trips! I'm not sure how I'm going to do this yet, but I love the idea of a challenge so we'll see how this one goes.

I'm so looking forward to what 2018 has in store. Whilst I doubt it will be as busy as 2017 was, I've got a really good feeling about this year.

What are you hoping to do in 2018?

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