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!

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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!!

 

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/

5 reasons I need to visit Liverpool.

It’s that late September lull. Work is back in full swing, university is due to start in a week or two and the heating has been switched back on. The nights are drawing in and the weekends seem shorter, and as much as I love winter, I can help but want to drag out that exciting, adventurous part of me that summer brings.  So, I’ve been planning and I’ve decided that I need to visit Liverpool in the very near future. There are so many things to do and I’ve narrowed them down to my top five reasons to visit this glorious city.

  1. TukTuk Tour
    What better way to see the city then in a tuktuk?! And bonus, they’ll show you the sights and tell you all the important facts about the place. City TukTuks Tours have a whole bunch of tours and you can even choose a Selfie Tour or add a glass of bubbly on.
  2. The Cavern
    As an iconic part of music history, The Cavern is a must-see for any visitor to Liverpool. Having had famous musicians like Gerry & The Pacemakers, Cilla Black and, of course, The Beatles making their début there, need I say more?TWFT-7
  3. The Beatles Story
    You can not visit Liverpool without learning about The Beatles. It’s just not allowed. As one of the most famous bands in the world, it’s only right that we visit the sights and learn about their history.Beatles
  4. Central Perk
    You may think I’ve mistyped or mixed Liverpool up with New York but I have not. A wonderful person has created a replica of the famous Friends’ coffee shop and opened it up in Liverpool. With everything from open mic nights to Gunther’s birthday coffees to the notorious orange sofa, this is heaven for any Friends’ fan.
  5. Mersey Ferry
    I’m a sucker for a river cruise and sailing down the Mersey would be a great way to end a fun-filled weekend in Liverpool.

There you have it! My five reasons to visit Liverpool. It’s a wonderful city and I really hope that (ok, I know it won’t be this weekend but…) someday soon I’ll be visiting and ticking these top five off my itinerary.

Whose line is it anyway?

I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to receive show tickets then I was to receive my Whose Line Is It Anyway? Live tickets.

I’ve been a massive fan of the show for years and it’s one of my go-to programs whenever I want something jolly, upbeat and hilarious. So, when I heard that they were reviving a live stage show in London, I had to get tickets!

TWFT-425My mum and I at King’s Cross Station.

Since London wasn’t local, we decided (we, being my mum and me – I had to drag someone along with me!) to make a day of it. We got an early train down from Leeds and arrived in London at lunch time. With a few hours until the show was due to start, we hit the shops – well, it would’ve been rude not to! I visited one of my favourites, Kate Spade, and the shops in and around Convent Garden before walking a few streets over to the Adelphi Theatre.

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Our seats were brilliant and I had a great view of the set – which was almost identical to the original. The cast were as well! Clive Anderson hosted with Greg Proops, Colin Mochrie, Josie Lawrence and Brad Sherwood. But, the show itself … I don’t know where to begin! Everyone was on top form and it was laugh after laugh. The audience shouted out suggestions and the performers improvised the hell out of them. They did all the original games, and a couple of new. My favourites were the three-headed Broadway star, theatre styles, whose line and party quirks. And of course, they wrapped the show up with their famous hoe-down. [If you’ve not had the chance to see this fabulous show, I’ve put links to a few of my favourite clips in the links section at the bottom of this post – check them out!]

Once the show wrapped up, we lingered by the stage door and I got the chance to meet the wonderful Josie Lawrence. Unfortunately, my fave didn’t come out and the closest I got to Colin Mochrie was his poster.

Untitled3Josie Lawrence and me, Colin Mochrie’s poster.

If you get a chance to see the show any time in it’s two week run, I implore you to go. I had an absolutely amazing time and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to see one of my favourite shows (and favourite performers!) live. I never thought I’d get the chance and the sleep deprivation from the late train home was totally worth it!!

Useful links!
Whose Line’s wiki page – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whose_Line_Is_It_Anyway%3F
Whose Line tickets – http://www.lovetheatre.com

Here’s a couple of links to some of my favourite games …
Hoe-down – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYC0XtSHgX0
Three-headed Broadway Star – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evos0WBCip8
Whose Line game – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eR_I6qfW19g&list=RD4PtRb322MgY&index=5

Eureka!

Anyone from Yorkshire will know about Eureka! The National Children’s Museum and most will have been. Whether it was a school trip, one of many family days out or your Brownies’/Scouts’ annual trip, you knew the wonder of this magical place. For those of you unfortunate enough to not know about Eureka, it’s a “fun, interactive children’s museum and educational charity based in Halifax where children play to learn and grown-ups learn to play” and it’s worth the day trip!

Since I found out I was going to be an aunt six years ago, one of the first things I did was bagsy my nephew’s first trip to Eureka. Oh, and then I congratulated my sister and brother-in-law. It’s somewhere I loved as a kid and who better to share it with then the newest addition to the family.

After a few failed attempts, the day finally arrived and we were off! Since my eldest nephew was born, two more have come along but the youngest was staying home with my sister/their mum. So, I took the other two (along with my mum!) to Halifax. The sun was shining, we had our lunch in our backpacks and sun cream on our noses. It only took about 50 minutes on the train and we had plenty of snacks and sticker books to entertain the boys during the journey.

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When we arrived, we signed in and got the obligatory cat entry stamp on our hand before entering. We made our way through all the exhibits and really enjoyed them but the boys particularly loved the ‘All About Me’ section. They learnt all about their bodies and had a little leaflet where they could write down facts they’d learnt about themselves, such as their height or how far they could stretch their arms. We then made our way to one of my favourite parts: the giant mouth! We stepped inside and learnt about the different teeth but unfortunately, there was no longer the bonus task of finding the wobbly tooth like there had been when I was little (no doubt due to some new health and safety requirement).

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With quirky things being an integral part of Eureka, it should come as no surprise that one of the main areas to eat your lunch is an old train carriage. So of course, we ate our sarnies there then continued our explorations.

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We played in the mini bank and supermarket, and followed this up with a quick stop at the mini mechanics. Once we’d seen everything, and even gone back for another go on one or two things, we detoured via the gift shop for a little treat (two toy sharks, to be exact!) then caught the train home. The boys had an awesome day and so did I! They even spent the train ride home telling my mum and I all about their favourite parts. Well, until nap time called. Pulling a sleepy six year old and a practically unconscious two year old off a train with all their bags and jackets is no easy task.

We all had a brilliant day and will no doubt be returning over the summer. The great thing about our tickets was that they acted as an annual pass so we have 12 months worth of visits ahead of us!

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Useful links!
Eureka! The National Children’s Museum – https://www.eureka.org.uk/