Dooooblin!

My day in Ireland was immense. Or to quote the new guy at work, it was “essence”. Yes, I don’t really understand what it means. The point is that my day trip was brill and the early start (I’m talking 3:30am wake-up call!) was totally worth.

Since we were only going for the day, sans luggage, we were able to check-in online and go straight through security and wait to board. The speediness of the day continued with a 30 minute flight and, before I knew it, I was on Irish soil. We started the day with a full English (or should I say, Irish) breakfast before beginning our exploration of the city.

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My mum and I ventured all over the city from O’Connell Bridge to St Patrick’s Cathedral to the Jameson Distillery. We shopped. We ate. We took selfies. We drank. It was an amazing experience.

 

For £19.98 and a half-hour flight each way, I figured that if the day wasn’t as great as we were anticipating, we could live with it. I can officially announce that it was the best 20 quid I’ve spent. It actually takes me longer to get into Leeds on the bus from where I live in the suburbs and a one-way train ticket to Liverpool is more expensive. With change from a twenty pound note, I visited Ireland for the first time where I tried Guinness for the first time and made brilliant memories all in twenty-four hours. It was a cracking day in the Emerald Isle, so it was!

Two weeks to go!

Two weeks today, I will be on a plane to Dublin and I can’t wait! There are so many reasons I am excited. The main being that I’ve never been to Ireland and that it’ll be 1st December, and the official countdown to Christmas will have begun.

My mother and myself decided early on that we needed a Christmas shopping day and we looked at getting the train to all different places; York, Manchester, Lincoln, Sheffield. We wanted to have a fun day somewhere new where we could how a lovely, big lunch and shop until we drop. It was then that I remembered seeing an offer for really cheap flights from our local airport to Ireland. Chancing it, I had a quick Google and was amazed. We could get a direct flight to Dublin at 7am and a return that evening for the whooping total of £19.98 each! So, of course, we booked it.

Since we are going to another country and have the entire day there, we’ve decided to make the most of it and tick off a few tourist-y bits and pieces too. In addition to our shopping extravaganza and embracing Dublin’s Christmas-y atmosphere, we’re also hitting the Old Jameson Distillery and a few other hot spots. If any of you have been before or have any tips for where to go, I’d be so grateful. Especially, if it’s any restaurant recommendations!

The countdown has begun now and I have my passport and debit card at the ready! I intend to eat, drink and be merry from the time I wake until I drop into my bed later that night. Bring on the 1st!!

 

10 years to be selfish.

I think most people will agree that during your twenties, it is socially acceptable to be selfish. You can jump on a plane and go travelling, you can pack a job in and bum around for a while, and you can run away from your problems and cry into your mum’s shoulder: all are allowed.

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As soon as the big 3-0 appears though, things can change. Your fun little job that allowed you to ‘find yourself’ suddenly seems to have no career progression. You can’t up and leave everything to visit Koh Samui because you have a mortgage, direct debits and house plants. Hell, you might even have little human beings you’re now responsible for. I don’t want to seem like a Debbie-downer who is dreading life after twenty-nine because I can’t wait for that part of my life. It’ll be exactly that: a new part of my life with a bunch of new adventures (sometimes they’ll just have to be arranged in advance!). I’m just trying to use this as motivation to make the most of having no responsibilities or permanent roots. My point is that your twenties is a time to be opportunistic and do whatever the hell you want. I never want to be the person who looked back over her life and never left her home town, never saw the world and never did all those things she wanted to just because she was trying to be sensible. There’s a time to be rational and it’s not at twenty-one! I have a little trouble remembering that. In my mind, I’m fourty-two and I think about all the consequences of all my actions. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing but I need to loosen the reins and have fun. I need to let my hair down, metaphorically and physically. I want to have so many stories to tell people that I won’t know where to begin.

I’m starting my own little campaign to start saying yes. Shall we book to go Australia next week? Yes. Do you want to get another tattoo tomorrow? Yes. Want to skive off work and Netflix binge day? Yes. I’m  twenty-two in January and I’ll have eight years left to do all the crazy shit I can think of and I’m not going to waste a minute of it. So, if someone invites me somewhere or asks if I want to do something, I’m not going to over-think it. I’m just going to start saying yes.

Club di Giulietta <3

This time last year I was lucky enough to volunteer with the Club di Giulietta in Verona, Italy. Who are they, I hear you ask. They are Juliet’s Secretaries.

Verona is synonymous with Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. Having being the setting for the tragic love affair, the city and it’s inhabitants embrace the anything and everything to do with the couple and their love. From Juliet’s balcony to Romeo’s house to Juliet’s Tomb, there are many attractions that any hopeless romantic would love (and that’s without the city’s own historical landmarks!).

One of the most famous attractions is the Casa de Julieta where you can explore TWFT-536Juliet’s house, rub the statue’s golden boob for luck, confess your undying love on her balcony or even snap a quick selfie. Check mine out ->

You can probably see the wall behind me is covered with notes and letters. That, my friends, is what brought me to Verona. As such an iconic figure, Juliet has become a guru of sorts. People from all over the world come to Verona to ask Juliet’s help and post their letters asking for advice. Some of you have probably seen the movie Letters to Juliet with Amanda Siegfried, where she stumbles across a group of women who respond to all the letters written to Juliet. Well, they exist. Once I’d watched the movie a couple (ok, multiple!) times, I was inspired and decided to find them. It was just my luck that they offer a Traineeship Opportunity. After emails back and forth, and some haggling to get time off at work, it was confirmed. I would be spending a week in Verona at the Club di Giulietta!

TWFT-610During October half term 2014 (if you’re not from the UK, this is the last week in October and sometimes going into the first week of November), I flew from Leeds, England to Venice, Italy. Having never been to Italy before, I planned a few hours down time in Venice to explore before I had to grab my train to Verona. It was amazing! I saw the Bridge of Sighs, St Mark’s Square, the Rialto Bridge and more boats than I could count!


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Travelling solo was a really scary thing to do. I’m not ashamed to admit that there were a few tears at the airport. I arranged my entire trip from Leeds to Venice to Verona and back again then actually did it on my own – that can be really daunting! I’m super proud of myself though. When I look back on it, it almost feels like it didn’t happen but it did. I do a little happy dance inside whenever I think back on it 🙂

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When I was in Verona, I had plenty of free time to explore. I ate gelato, I shopped, I drank peach Bellinis, I ate more pasta than I care to remember, I rode the tourist train, I went sightseeing but most importantly, I wrote letters. Not only was it a privilege to work with such great people but I felt honoured to be allowed to read people’s most private thoughts and have a chance to respond to them. I was taught, when writing my replies, to always give them hope. When you take on the responsibility of writing as Juliet (and actually signing the letter as Juliet), you are responsible for helping that person and showing them that whatever they’re going through will eventually end. There were lots of letters about from people worrying that they’d never find love and there were a few simply writing to thank Juliet for bringing them their true love. A couple of letters that I read will always stay with me. One in particular from a man who wanted a letter to his fiancé that she could open on their wedding day – that was truly amazing to be a part of.

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The middle picture is me with Anna from the Club di Giulietta.

I had one of the most wonderful experiences volunteering in Verona. It’s a truly unique opportunity that most have never heard of, let alone taken part in. It gave me the chance to travel aboard on my own and visit a country I’d never been to before. Everyone always asks me about it and it’s something I love to share with people. So, on the anniversary of my trip, I decided I should share it with my lovely followers and invite them to send a letter to the Juliet’s Secretaries. They receive tens of thousands of letters every year and a large chunk of those are posted from aboard. If you’re feeling as inspired as I was, why not write a little note, pop it in an envelope and post it to them? You won’t regret it.

The address to post your letter to is: Corso Santa Anastasia 29,
Verona, ITALY.

Check out the Club di Giulietta‘s website here ->http://www.julietclub.com/en/

Just booked my next escapade.

I’m super excited! I have just booked a table at the (newly accredited) Michelin stared restaurant The Man Behind the Curtain in Leeds! The chef patron is Mr 85DW_HMichael O’Hare and he’s known for his eccentric look and even more eccentric food. Here’s a little picture of him ->

He’s recently become more well-known after taking part in the TV program The Great British Menu (click here to learn about it) and people are eagerly booking into his restaurant to sample his food.

As per, I’m dragging my mother along with me to sample the twelve course tasting menu and she’s just as excited as I am. After watching Michael O’Hare on the Great British Menu, and reading the rave reviews about his restaurant, I’m giddy at the thought of what magical creations I’ll get to try.

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Unfortunately, since reservations are so in demand, I have to wait until March 2016 for our booking. It’s a bit gutting that there’s such a wait but I know it’ll be worth it. In the meantime, I’ve found a sample menu to drool over and I’ve posted it below so you can join in.

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So, I am counting down the days until I’m sampling all the delicacies Mr O’Hare can throw at me! Bring on The Man Behind the Curtain!!

Don’t buy a hat anytime soon…

As you can probably tell from the title of this post, I didn’t meet the love of my life at speed dating. To be honest though, I didn’t really expect to. Both my friend and I went into the evening with a positive and open mind but not believing we’d find the one.

Let’s rewind and I’ll tell you all about my experience from the start! My friend andTWFT-584 (2) I began the evening in a bar with a bottle of wine (bit of dutch courage and all that!) before heading over the restaurant where the speed dating was taking place. When we arrived, we signed in with the Fastlove representative and were given a name badge, a table number and a scorecard and pen. He briefly went over the set up, letting us know that we had three minutes to talk to each bachelor and score them before the next one appeared.

As people started to arrive and mingle, we headed back to the bar, grabbed a cocktail and went to find our tables. Then, it began! Fifteen guys rotated around the room and fifteen women sat twirling their straws in their drinks.

TWFT-585Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. You all just want to know about the guys I met and whether I had any matches. Well, I met a real mix of men. Some were chatty and quite funny but were definitely more friend material than boyfriend material. A couple were good looking but the personality was just lacking (I mean, one of them didn’t like live shows and gigs! That’s just a big no-no for me). One of the guys was just creepy and a total a****** asking lewd and inappropriate questions. Then a few were just plain weird – one guy spent the three minutes talking about his cat and it’s facial expressions, and another rambled on about different beards and their pros and cons for the whole time. I know everyone will have been nervous but come one, cats and beards as conversation topics?!

I didn’t get any matches. Big shock, I know. When I received my email with the results, they did let me know that a few of the guys did tick that they were interested in me. While flattering, I doubt I’ll be perusing any of them.

It was definitely an interesting experience and I’m really glad I did it. Would I do it again? Hmm, I’m not sure. I didn’t exactly meet anyone who I thought I like-liked but realistically, it might be on the second or third try that I would. For now though, I’m hanging up my speed dating shoes and going about finding a man the old fashioned way. Through a cheesy chat up line in a bar!