Adventure, Christianity, Style, Travel, Winter

Nene Way | Wellingborough

Last weekend we were lucky enough to go on another holiday, this time it was just a little weekend away but it was really nice to get some time out of Oxford and out in the countryside. We went away with our church’s student group as Russell is both a student and student leader at the weekly groups and I make the cake. It was an amazing weekend, the theme was on Identity, and I definitely felt God talking to a lot of us there including me. I feel that I learnt a lot and found it challenging some of my ideas and feelings. I also made lots of new friends and ate a lot of good food so all in all it was a pretty epic weekend!
We went away to an adventure centre in Wellingborough, a place I have never been to before, in actual fact I realised I haven’t really been to the east side of England ever before so thats definitely somewhere I’d like to explore more. As a self professed British travel blogger I love any chance to travel to a new place in Britain and do a bit of exploring. On the Saturday afternoon we had a little bit of free time and Russell and I decided to have a little wander along the Nene Valley. It was very pretty with a series of waterways and lots of birds and as we watched the sunlight turn into that perfect golden we couldn’t help but stop to take a few photos. 
We have a few more trips planned for 2017 around Britain and so I am hoping this is going to be the year of exploring my country a little bit more.   

What I Wore…
Top – Joules | Jeans – M&S | Wellies – Hunters 
Adventure, History, Lifestyle, Outdoors

Wild and Free

I’ve always been  bit of a history nerd, ever since I was little I’ve been completely fascinated by the past – how people lived and what it was like, and I think my families obsession with period dramas probably encouraged this fascination. I loved watching things like Pride and Prejudice, Cranford, Larkrise to Candleford and would often dress up and play that I lived in “the olden days” as we called it at my house. This fascination with history has followed me into my teens and adult life, so much so that I almost went to study Ancient History and Archaeology at University. Now, however, it mainly consists of me watching every period drama known to man, reading hundreds of classic and historical novels and visiting as many National Trust/Heritage sites as I can fit in. I am also lucky enough to be marrying a man who shares my love for history and is happy to go to every castle and stately home I can find. 
There is something quite exciting though about going to a historical site that isn’t teaming with tourists, it almost makes you feel a little bit like an archaeologist or in the case of the stones at Machrie Moor in Arran, a bit like Claire from Outlander. I have to admit I was a little bit apprehensive to touch the stones just in case – Outlander watchers you will know what I mean! Also if you haven’t watched Outlander you really should, it’s an amazing tv programme set in Scotland in the 1700s full of burly, ginger Scottish men in kilts with six packs (if that doesn’t entice you I don’t know what will!) 

This was the last day in our trip to Arran and I have to say I really want to go back, it was such an amazing place with so much history and ridiculously beautiful scenery. We were lucky enough to see quite a bit of it but I know there is still a lot left to be explored next time we come.

Adventure, Health, Lifestyle, Outdoors, Sea, wellness

The Calming Sea Breeze

Having been brought up practically on the beach I do miss the sea a lot. I don’t think I could ever be happy living away from water, I find it’s presence very soothing and I am hoping that when we move to Scotland in a few years we will get to live by the Sea. The beauty of Scotland is you get to have oceans, hills, mountains, rivers and streams all in one place and this was definitely the case in Arran. These photos were taken after having a delicious breakfast at Coast in Whiting Bay, the sun was shining and the salty sea air was rippling my hair so I felt a little bit like a mermaid (although seeing as we were in Scotland, a Selkie). 
Those little moments of drinking in the quietness of nature are something I miss so much living in the city. I live opposite a big park and we go for walks in the woods as much as possible but it’s just not the same as walking out your front door to the calming sound of waves against a shore or birds singing in the trees. My mental health is always so much better when I spend time outdoors and I know that it’s something I really need to prioritise in my life along with taking time out for myself. We live in a society that is go, go go! all the time and leaves no time for relaxing, I find that so many of my friends and family actually feel guilty about giving themselves time to relax. I used to be the same, I used to have this constant feeling that I needed to be doing something or going some where however I am happy to say I’m starting to shake that feeling. Not only is taking time out for yourself good but it is also essential to a healthy and happy life. 
2016 has been about creating the type of life I want to lead and I am starting to realise it really is all about balance. I could be eating ridiculously healthy but if I’m not relaxing and I’m over stressed I won’t feel the benefits. I now try really hard to get this time alone to relax and be still, be that reading a book in the garden, a walk in nature or just soaking up some sun lying in the grass. And sometimes it is really hard to find the time to do it, I often find myself planning my days and then realising I’m not giving myself down time. One thing I have found really helps is scheduling it in because it is just as important as my wedmin, or my exercise or my batch cooking. It can’t just be a back thought that I will get to if I have time instead it needs to be prioritised. 
And so my question to you is how are you making sure you get the chill out time you need? What are you doing to give yourself those little moments of peace? I’d love to hear in the comments below!  

What I Wore…
Top – Next | Jacket – Rydale | Jeans – New Look | Shoes – New Look | Sunglasses – Tribe

Adventure, Christianity, Lifestyle, Outdoors, Sea

Thankful For The Little Things

“Happy are those who take life day by day, complain very little, and are thankful for the little things in life” – Unknown

As Christians we are told not to worry about tomorrow as today has enough troubles already (Matthew 6:34) and repeatedly through the bible it tells us to focus on the moment, to be present in that time trusting that God has everything under control and it will all be alright. As a person who suffers with depression and anxiety this is something I find very hard not to worry about the future, to not over think things and try to create a plan or strategy for everything. It is one of my many faults and I think is perhaps up there with my worst faults, for not only does it massively effect me and my mental health but it also has an effect on Russell.

I decided that 2016 was to be my year, the year where I stopped letting people push me down roads I don’t want to go down and started to take charge of my life. 2016 for has been all about starting to create the life I want and to explore the person I want to become. So far I feel I have done pretty well, I have left a university course that I really didn’t enjoy, I have become completely independent of my parents and I am making massive changes to my lifestyle including diet, exercise and most importantly mindfulness.

Mindfulness has become one of my biggest things this year, I am reading and absorbing as much as I can on the subject and trying to create a way of being mindful that is 100% Christian and focused on God. I have to say I am surprised by how well mindfulness and Christianity go hand in hand but I will talk about that in another post. For now my main focus is on learning to select my thoughts. Instead of worrying about the next day, week, month and year I am trying to become more present in the moment. To enjoy my time of reading, colouring, walking e.t.c and giving it all to God. At first it was very hard to shut off but as I do it more and more I am finding that you really can select your thoughts. You can wake up every day and choose to look at the good and the happy things rather than the bad. One way I have found works really well for me is to thank God for those blessings, to thank God for this time of peace, this time of walking, reading, cuddling a puppy or whatever it is that is making me happy. I focus myself into the present by thanking God for the moment I am in. Because really when I look around at my life I am so blessed and although there are worries and hard times God will always be there to strengthen me. He will always be there blessing me with the simple things in life, because really how could I not be happy when I have walks, dogs, the sea and a hand to hold.

These photos were taken in Arran (again! sorry can’t get enough of this place) on beautiful Sannox beach! 

Adventure, Fashion, History, Lifestyle, Outdoors, Sea, Travel

Lochranza Castle

The more I saw of Arran the more I loved it, having never been to a Scottish Island I wasn’t quite sure  what to expect but it certainly didn’t disappoint. The northern side of the Island is rugged and truly Scottish with burnt orange hills and mountains topped with snow creeping up in the distance. It was a wonderful drive from Whiting Bay, where we were staying, to Lochranza. Some of the roads were a little patchy as is to be expected in the hills but every now and again you’d get a nice stretch of tarmac giving you that true Scottish experience of gliding down the road surrounded by the jagged curves and corners of the hills. 
I think if I were to come back to stay in Arran (which I really hope I will do one day) I would be very tempted to stay in or near Lochranza. For me the perfect holiday means escaping from civilisation and hiding away in my own little haven where I can read, walk and soak up the peace. Lochranza is perfect for that, consisting of only a castle, a distillery and a few houses, hotels and B&Bs its definitely my idea of peace and quiet. 
I think Lochranza castle was definitely one of my favourite things we saw, quintessentially Scottish with its rough grey stone walls slowly crumbling under the weight of time, surrounded by the sea and spectacular views of hills and mountains. I loved wandering around thinking about who might have lived there and picturing liaisons between Scottish princesses and warriors. My imagination is always at it’s best when I am in Scotland, I definitely think if I want my dream of becoming a professional writer to come true I need to move as soon as possible!    

Hope you’re all having a lovely blessed day and look out for even more posts from Arran coming soon (sorry I couldn’t stop taking photos). 
What I wore…
Top – Asos | Jeans – New Look | Trainers – New Look 

Adventure, Fashion, Outdoors, Travel

Queen Of Scots


I love love love visiting National Trusts, being a complete history nerd it has been one of my favourite things to do for as long as I can remember. I think a holiday is never really complete without visiting at least one heritage site and seeing as I have my wonderful National Trust card Brodick castle seemed the place to go in Arran. Unfortunately the castle was in the middle of a bit of a refurb whilst we were there but we got to wander around the beautiful grounds and I was able to play at being Mary Queen of Scots (a slight obsession of mine since watching the tv series Reign!).
The grounds were covered in early spring flowers including hundreds of bright yellow daffodils and I couldn’t help but stop to pose and get into some very interesting positions trying to get the right shot of the daffodils (first photo). The whole castle had an aura of history and magic about it and you could just imagine finding a Princess locked away in a tower somewhere or hiding in a summer house. We wandered through the formal gardens and found the amazing Bavarian summer house which is built entirely from wood and decorated with pinecones and bark all throughout the insides, it was a breath taking sight to see how intricately the little pinecones fitted together. We also found a 19th century ice house or a freezer as we would now call it and a recreation of a Bronze Age round house. 
I wish we could have gone inside as the pictures looked amazing but that will have to be another thing to add to my list when we return one day. But for now I enjoyed our day of wandering through the grounds, smelling flowers and imagining I was a Scottish Queen on her Island. 

What I wore…
Top – M&S | Skirt – Asos | Scarf – H&M | Wellies – Hunters | Sunglasses – Tribe
Adventure, Fashion, Lifestyle, Outdoors, Travel

Ruins And Mountains And Trees Oh My!

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now you will know I have a slightly worrying obsession with all things Scotland. My obsession is completely justified, I think, by the fact there really is no other place on earth like it, its a place where mountains, rivers, rolling hills, forests, seas and amazing cities all collide and it is definitely where I am happiest. Luckily for me the man I am marrying is from Scotland and so I get to visit his parents on the east coast very regularly. However this Easter we all ventured west to holiday for a week on the Isle of Arran. I was really looking forward to exploring this new part of Scotland and as usual it didn’t disappoint. We saw forests and mountains and distilleries and castles and so much more which I will be putting into the next few blog posts. But for now here is a look at one of the lovely walks we went on.

One of the best parts of Arran has to be the hundreds of different trails and walks you can go on throughout the Island most of which are run by the Forestry Commission and range from very easy to strenuous. Due to it being an Island, most of the walks take in mountains, forests, sea views and ruins of some sort which to me is the best kind of walk you can find. These photos were taken on the Glenashdale Falls trail where we saw beautiful sea views, Goatfell mountain in the distance, an amazing iron age fort, a huge waterfall and a beautiful forest. If you are planning on going to Arran at some point this is a great walk for everyone, with only one steep section and a lot of views a long the way to keep small people entertained.

This was one of my favourite walks we went on this holiday (we went on quite a lot!) it was so unbelievably beautiful, and Scottish, and just reminded me of something out of a folk tale. I was even tempted to go searching for will-o-the-wisps in the forest as we walked around, it definitely made me feel a little bit like Merida. I’m really hoping to go back to Arran one day and I’d love to do this trail again, maybe next time I will have to wear a cape and carry a bow!

Look out for more Arran posts coming soon!

What I wore…
Jeans – F&F | Top – Fatface | Coat – Rydale | Boots – Hunters
Adventure, Fashion, Outdoors, Sea, Style, Winter

The Slow Winter Days

I love this time of year. Everything seems to slow down as the last week of the year draws to a close and the first week of the new year begins. It could be that this has always been a time off for me, time off from school or work or university. My days are no longer filled with essays and textbook reading but instead I get to curl up in front of a fire with a book or roam the Scottish countryside in a pair of dungarees. I eat left over cake, I enjoy warm mugs of home made vegetable soup, I cuddle the dogs, I write and generally enjoy a slower pace of life – something I aspire to for my day to day living unfortunately it very rarely turns out that way. 
I’ve also had a chance to reflect on the last year and look forward to the new, something I enjoy doing each year and I have to say I am excited for this new season of my life. It is going to be very different and I don’t doubt also very hard as much that is worthwhile in life often is. These slow and peaceful days I am still enjoying will be harder to catch once the year gets going and so I am holding onto them with both hands, desperate for them to stay around longer. I will have to make more effort this year to have these days and to live a slower pace of life but for now I can relish in them. 
  
These dungarees are perfect for these country days, so comfy and cosy and easy (and also very durable I found out after falling slam into the mud the first day I wore them). I picked them up along with the lacy top and a dress I’m sure will feature in a later post, at the Fatface sale. I am not a big one for sales but Hereford where my parents live isn’t the busiest town and I had seen some great things in the sale online and so I decided to venture in and was glad I did. 
I am also wearing these beautiful little shell earrings I got as a present from my mum along with a matching necklace for Christmas. They are a very simple design which is perfect for me and remind me of my childhood by the sea. Having grown up by the sea I miss it a lot when I am in Oxford and can’t wait to get back to rocky sandy shores with sea glass and shells just waiting to be discovered. Hopefully these earrings will help to remind me of my favourite place when I am away.   
Happy New Year everyone! 
What I Wore….
Dungarees – Fatface | Top – Fatface | Wellies – Hunters 
Adventure, Books, Food, Green, Health, Lifestyle, Travel, Vegan

My New Years Resolutions

I know this year there has been a real trend going around that people aren’t making new years resolutions and whilst I fully support people not putting too much pressure on themselves to achieve I actually find setting goals quite a helpful tool for myself. Every year I like to set myself some achievable goals that I know I can do and some crazy out there dreams that help me to keep my sights on the stars. And so without further ado here are my new years resolutions for 2016:

Health and well being:
A goal I set myself last year was to become healthier and to take more care of myself both physically and mentally. This past year I’ve started to get really interested in nutrition and have learnt a lot about the foods we eat and what they do to our bodies, I have also started to exercise more, take time out to spend it in green open spaces and meditate more through yoga or prayer. This year I would like to continue learning more, I’d like to get fitter and stronger and lose some more weight. I have already lost a stone by changing my diet to plantbased and doing more exercise and I’d like to continue that to get back down to the weight I used to be when I was my most comfortable.

Writing:
As a lot of you will know if you’ve been reading my blog, I am a writer and I love it! My main goal for this year is to finish my current novel which I am now a third of the way through and to get something published be that an article, a short story or a novel. I think its more likely to be the first two but I am going to try as hard as I can to become a published author this year, wish me luck!

Blogging:
I love this little space of the internet but over the past few months I have struggled to figure out what it should be. I found myself worrying about what I was doing and copying other successful bloggers who I liked instead of looking for my own unique voice. This year I would like to focus more on what I want this space to be like and what I want to share on here. I don’t want to be a bad copy of something else I want it to be entirely me. I am hoping to explore my interests and learn more about photography, green living, cooking and fashion through trying out new things on here. I’d also love to meet more bloggers and do some collabs so please message me, I’d love to chat.

Random:
There are always a few random goals I set myself and this year is no different. I would like to read one inspiring book a month as well as making the time to read more. I would like to start to grow my own vegetables and I would like to make mine and Russell’s Sunday walks a weekly thing for this year.

I hope you all had a lovely new year, what are your new years resolutions?

 

Adventure, Summer, Travel

Madeira: Cable Cars, Botanical Gardens and Festivals

This summer me and my family travelled to the beautiful island of Madeira for one week and boy am I glad we went. Madeira is a tropical island in the middle of the Atlantic and one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited and unlike a lot of holiday destinations in the middle of August it was surprisingly quiet and tranquil.

On the first day we decided to take the famous cable car up to the little mountain town of Monte which is where you can catch one of the infamous toboggans. Although rather pricey these are definitely worth doing just for the fun and joy of experiencing a Madeiran tradition but make sure you take your hat off before you get on. We then had a little wander round the church and saw the decorations for the festival which was going on that weekend. We were lucky that we happened to be there that weekend as we saw the stunning decorations of bright bunting all through the town and local villages. There were also stalls with traditional Madeiran food such as garlic flat bread and chocolate filled churro’s which I would definitely recommend to anyone going to Madeira.

We then took another smaller cable car across to the botanical gardens which were very interesting with cactus gardens and stunning views over the main city of Funchal. We had a seriously good lunch in their cafe with lots of fresh salad and fruit. Madeira has a strange climate and normally by mid afternoon it gets very cloudy so it’s best to do things up in the mountains as early as possible to get the best views.

 Hope you enjoyed some little snapshots of my trip to Madeira, there will be a post two and three with more things you can enjoy on the island. Let me know in the comments if you’ve been to Madeira I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Bye for now!