Tag Archives: holiday

Springing into the rest of the year

21 Mar

I love those moments in the year when you can just tell that the season has changed. Spring has been just around the corner for a few weeks now, but last Thursday as we climbed Plymlimon we could just sense the change: spring has finally sprung.

I love the area around Plymlimon and Nant-y-Moch. It feels so wild and isolated. We would occasionally just stop and listen and hear nothing except the wind moving through the grass and the geese on the lake below us.

As we climbed higher (without coats for the first time this year!) we heard a sky lark singing high above the moorland. Surely that must be a contender for one of the best sounds in the world?! Perfect.

Gradually the track levelled out and we reached a series of pools where we could hear a chorus of frogs calling to one another.

It all just makes me so excited! I love winter for many reasons, but there is just something about Spring that promises potential for the rest of the year.
It has spurred us into action for planning our summer break and this week we’ve organised and booked quite a bit.

So far we’ll be visiting the Lake District before spending a few days hostelling in Glencoe.
Then we’ll be travelling to Knoydart. I’m so excited about this leg of our journey! Knoydart has been called the last wilderness in Scotland because there are no roads to it. To reach it you must hike 18 miles over the mountains or by a 7 mile sea crossing. Eeek!
We’ll then be spending a week on Skye before meandering our way back down South spending time in Devon, Wiltshire, the Cotswolds, London and the Lake District again.

My problem is that I’m an administrator through and through. I love to achieve things and tick them off my list. It’s not just office things – I find that I do it in normal life too. Even as I’m doing something, my mind is often on the next thing to be achieved.
However, I don’t want to be like that with our last few months in Aber and with the time we’re taking off from work. I want to try and enjoy each day as it comes and make the most of it because I know it’s going to pass really quickly. I’m not very good at sitting back and letting things happen, but I’m working on it!


What can I say?

5 Nov

In the last four months (has it really been that long since I last blogged?!) I have:


Been to Northumberland with my best friends, and stayed in Rowan Atkinson’s old house!

Been to lots of weddings…

Walked up a mountain with some of my family in Snowdonia

Spent the last two months working a lot of twelve hour days, administrating for a week long mission (including coordinating and feeding 20 volunteers), and arranged a residential weekend for 100 people…

then falling into a comatose state of exhaustion for two weeks

before getting back to normal life…

…and celebrating Josh passing his driving test! YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSS

and losing Ieaun the hamster under the floorboards for 48 hours (stressful!)

…and then decided it was about time I got back to blogging 🙂

Holiday Organisation

12 Jun

Warning – this post contains pictures of copious lists which may burn the eyes of the disorganised.


I know that I should be posting about what has happened in the last five weeks, and it will come eventually I promise. I have some great photos to share.

But for now, I wanted to share something that’s happening in the future, because well quite frankly I’M SO EXCITED I CAN’T THINK OF ANYTHING ELSE!

I am, of course, talking about our holiday to Shetland in July. We booked it back in February, and for the next few months it predictably melted into the back of our minds as busy life took over.
But now, with only just a month to go we have been finishing off all the planning and booking of tickets and hotels that we need to do.

And that my friends, means I have turned into a holiday organising whirlwind.

I don’t know what it is about me, but I can’t seem to function without lists. Although I’m SUPER excited about this holiday, it’s a potential stress for me too. I’ve never done the travelling thing. I didn’t take off on a spontaneous round-the-world gap year after school, I’ve never had to organise flights before, and it’s the first time we’ve really had to work out a holiday budget and try and fit transport and accommodation around it.

As a result it’s on my mind most of the time, and I have that squiggle of excitement in my stomach every time I think about it!  So…what do I do? I make lists!

This is my holiday notebook which I keep with me in my bag. Anytime I think of something that needs to be done, or something that would be useful to pack I can just scrawl it down in the book, because I know full well that five minutes later it will be gone from my mind. As a result, I hope to be super organised when the time actually comes for packing and travelling, and that will take away any potential stress from doing all these new things.


Anyway, enough of my weird control freakish nature…

The holiday we’re booked on is a ready prepared wildlife extravaganza. We’ll be having midnight boat trips [it doesn’t really get dark in Shetland in the summer] to see European Storm Petrels come into roost. (photo from here)

We’ll be taking boats, and walking along cliffs to see huge sea bird colonies, spotting dolphins, seals and maybe even killer whales [this is top of my do before I die list!]
We’ll be otter and red-necked phalarope spotting and so much more.

Josh and I are a little concerned that we’re going to be the youngest on this trip by about twenty-five years, but we’re hoping we’ll be proved wrong and will embrace it even if we’re not!

I’m going to use my planning notebook as a journal when we get there so I don’t forget a single sight, sound or smell of our trip, so you can be sure I’ll be sharing it with you as well!

Anyone got any tips for travel?

Holiday Highlights

23 Apr

For the last three weeks, I have spent a week in Devon, spent a week in Abersoch and have spent a week getting back into normal real life, which seems to have gone CRAZY all of a sudden.

I’m sorry for the lack of blogging, but we have a lot of staff changes going on at work which means I’m super busy and Josh and I have been making the most of this beautiful Spring weather in the evenings. (I have lots of Spring related photos to post soon.)

In the mean-time, I will give you a quick update of my past three weeks in my holiday highlights;

1. I got to spend lots of time with my family, and caught up with a few old friends. We ate A LOT of good food.


2. The weather was AMAZING in Abersoch. We played on the beach, got a tan, and I wore my flip-flops for the first time this year.

3. Even though team games scare me a bit – I ended up being the last person on my team to still be ‘in’ while playing rounders, and then I managed to get a rounder! I was happy not to disgrace myself.

I also remembered that I LOVE murder in the dark! Mwahaha.


4. I learnt how to play poker. Always a valuable life skill.


5. Um…I feel like there should be a five.

I love my husband. The End.

(some of these photos were taken by Naomi)


26 Mar

During the first three years of being married and having a proper job and pretending to be a grown up, Josh and I haven’t really taken many holidays.

Sure, we’ve been on some fabulous short breaks – like camping in Pembrokeshire, and staying in the yurt…and we went to Scotland with our friends, but we haven’t really been on a proper holiday just by ourselves.


Neither of us have done a huge amount of travelling throughout our lives and so, with our newlywed budget dictating things, going on holiday wasn’t really top of the to-do list.

It wasn’t just going away on holiday we didn’t do. For some reason I didn’t tend to take large chunks of my allotted holiday all together. I guess I felt that if we weren’t going away I would be wasting the time.
As a result I ended up getting completely exhausted because I wasn’t giving myself enough time to recharge.

I really noticed it over Christmas. We visited family but then I had almost a week back in Aberystwyth just to relax before going back to work. It really helped me to recharge the batteries and I felt so much better for it.

So this year as part of our ‘make more effort’ campaign, we are making more effort to (a) make sure we are having enough time to be completely rested and (b) make the most of our time off and to see some new things.

1)      Next week we’re taking a TWO WEEK holiday!!! I am so ready for it as I can feel the tiredness levels creeping up and the productivity levels creeping down!
First we’re spending some time with our families and then we’re heading to Abersoch with some of our friends. Can’t wait!

2)      In August we’re going Northumberland with some of our close friends. It will be slightly different to our holiday to Scotland last year because there will be a new born baby with us! Our friends Will and Anna are expecting their first baby in April. It will be interesting to see how it changes our friendship dynamic, but I’m sure it will be FUN!

The Deeps Self Catering Holiday Cottage, Hunstanworth, Nr Blanchland

3)      BUT – the most exciting plan we have is to go to Shetland in July. OHHHHHH I’m so excited! It’s a fully arranged wildlife tour. To be honest, it’s a little bit of a risk – just incase we don’t get on with this style of holiday at all – but then you never know if you don’t try!
For seven days we’ll be escorted around the best wildlife spots in Shetland, we’ll be staying in a lovely hotel and being fed three course meals daily…

 …and hopefully be seeing

 Killer Whale

Red-necked Phalarope

Great Skua


(photos from here)


How to go for a walk…

28 Aug

…Will, Anna, Becky, Hannah, Josh and Rachel style!

 1. Peruse a map of your local area and notice that one of the nearby hills is called Welshie Law. Don’t worry, it doesn’t matter that the surrounding land could be a midge infested bog, this is an adventure! And it’s called Welshie, you have to climb it!

2. Arrive at the tiny village of Yarrow to begin your walk, only to find that there is a huge funeral being held there and that every sensible parking space is taken.

3. Drive out of village. Do perilous three point turn in farm gate. Lose hub cap.

4. Park inappropriately at the side of the road and awkwardly walk out of the village avoiding eye contact with the steady stream of mourners walking the other way.


5. Find hub cap at the side of the road. Decide it would be too embarrassing to run back to the car past the mourners so carry it on the walk instead.



6. Find path.


7. Act out the Christmas story to keep yourself amused (only advisable if you’re walking with children’s workers)


8. Remember half way up the hill that you’re ridiculously unfit. Feel like legs will fall off. Dump all bags on the ‘fit one’ (read: Josh)



 9. Remember that the big bottle of insect spray you bought especially for the trip is still back at the cottage. Proceed to be attacked by flies.


10. Admire the amazing view from the top of the hill. Feel like it was well worth the toil after all. Eat lunch, take photos, play Frisbee.




11. Walk down other side of hill and realise you have lost the path. Consult map. Trespass on farm property and worry you are about to be shot by farmers.



12. Finally make it back to the inappropriately parked cars and head home, happy.

 13. Eat cake

Things to do on holiday: Visit Castles

27 Aug

Scotland is renowned for its old manors, castles and towers. You couldn’t really drive anywhere around where we were staying without spotting a grand house with an amazing view.

 Luckily for us, several of them were open to the public and so over the week we visited two.


On Monday we visited Bowhill Estate for a walk, which was literally on our doorstep. It had some nice grounds to walk in, and an adventure play ground, which brought us much joy.



On Friday we visited Traquair House. If you get a chance to visit this place I would definitely recommend it. My sister and my mum are really into history and old houses so I’ve been dragged into many in my time. However, it has only been recently that I have actually come to appreciate them. I have begun to read more historical novels and become more interested in British history.


Having more of an understanding makes walking round these houses much more interesting and brings alive how the past inhabitants would have lived and acted.


What made Traquair even more interesting was that we managed to tag along with a group of people that were being guided by the Lord and Lady of the Manor themselves.

Traquair is the oldest castle in Scotland to still be lived in, and I think that’s what made it so special. The owner’s dogs and cats were just running around and it didn’t feel sterile like some of the National Trust places you go where you are watched everywhere you go to make sure you don’t touch anything. It was filled with history too, they had a bed where Mary Queen of Scots slept, and the cradle where James the First slept as a baby. We were even allowed to climb down the secret escape route taken by the Catholic Priests in the time of the Stuarts.




However, just a word to the wise. Always remember that when you’re posing for a photo for someone using a telephoto lens OTHER PEOPLE MIGHT NOT REALISE YOU’RE POSING FOR A PHOTO. You will just end up looking like a weirdo in front of the owner of a big fat castle.


Things to do while on holiday: Stuff your face

22 Aug

If I could sum up us on holiday in one word it would be: fat pigs

Okay, that’s two. But you get the gist.


We seemed to spend an uncommon amount of time consuming good food and drink, and it was wonderful!


(Just incase you’re wondering, we were holding a living funeral for Anna here, you know – like you do)


Tea and chocolate round the kitchen table, scones and hot chocolates in stately home cafes, milkshakes and cookies in city centre Marks and Spencer’s (civilisation!), picnics by a lake and then straight back to the pub for more cake, anyone?


(Please note that I do not condone eating scones like this. Please consume sensibly, the Devon way. Cream and THEN jam. Thank you.)


But the best place we visited was this…


The pub in the village a mile down the road from our cottage had such a great atmosphere, not to mention 105 different whiskeys for Josh to get excited about.


AND they had very good food.


Yes…I ate this.

Take note family. Remember, I’m the one that used to hate eating food in restaurants?

Not anymore! Bring on the meat.