Sunday, 1 December 2013

Suck it, Nerds!

Been a while since I've done a meme now, but the title of this was just so funny; how could I not do it? As usual I got it from Sunday Stealing. Feel free to join in!

What would you totally eat right now? Chocolate!

Do you always wear a certain piece of jewellery? Although I'm not Catholic I always wear the St Christopher necklace a friend gave me while I was in Australia.

What kind of jeans do you like? I'm extremely picky when it comes to buying a new pair of jeans, but I tend to go for bootcut.

What's something on your want list? A holiday

Is animal print tacky? Depends on how much you're wearing and how.

Give me a good quote that you like? I'm not great at remembering quotes but I do like Tesco's "Every little helps", because it's true.

Do you bite your nails? No.

What kind of smells do you like? Clean clothes that have been hanging outside to dry in the summer.

Do you wear perfume or cologne? Perfume but if I'm not working I don't put perfume on if I washed my hair that morning.

What do you think is overrated? 50 Shades of Grey.

Next movie you want to see? The next hobbit movie.

Would you change your eye colour if you could? Depends if I could change it back again if I didn't like it or if I could change it whenever I would, that could be cool; change your eye colour depending on your makeup and what clothes you're wearing, without spending money on coloured lenses.

What are your goals for the remainder of this year? Try not to kill the customers at work.

When is the last time you were at the hospital? About 5-6 months ago for a scan.

Who introduced you to your current significant other? If you're single, who introduced you to your last ex? Met my last ex at a party, neither of us knew the host but had been brought to the party by friends, who also didn't know each other. 

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

10 Lake Spectacular Winter Tour

On Friday I had booked the 10 Lake Spectacular Winter tour with Mountain Goat through GetYourGuide. I had actually booked it for Thursday but right after I booked  it they told me that one was full, luckily, since I was still planning to be in Windermere on Friday, they offered to move me onto that tour instead. 

The minibus picked me up from my B&B and once everyone was picked up we were 6 passengers on the minibus. Our guide for the day was Tony, who I have to say have a perfect voice for being a guide, he spoke clearly and not too fast, he also seemed very knowledgeable as well as interested in what he was telling us about, as all good guides should be.

I'm not going to tell you about every step of the tour as I think you should go and experience it for yourselves if you can. I also don't have pictures of every single lake anyway as sometimes the minibus stopped in places where we couldn't get out to take pictures. It might be just as well though as I think sometimes I get too focused on looking through the camera lens and I don't actually see what's around me.

The first place we stopped was Kirkstone pass, with its 500meters it's the highest pass in the Lake District, going up it was kind of like going up a steep mountain road in Norway. The view was amazing and I bet it's even more so when the sky is clear, but at least it was dry on Friday, and seeing the top of the fells hiding in the clouds is pretty cool as well.

With the high fells and big lakes driving through the Lake District was a lot like driving through Norway, until we came to the very typical small british villages; some of them very small but packed with character! Some places along the road there were flood markers, apparently the water sometimes get as high as 3 feet!

One of the best views on the tour was from the lookout named Surprise View, where we could see Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite Lake in the distance. Apparently even prettier in summer but I really liked it with all the pretty autumn colours. A little bit down the road from Surprise view is Ashness Bridge, built in the 1600's and apparently the most photographed bridge in England.

We stopped for lunch in Keswick, I have been there before, in 2009 but couldn't really remember much other than Moot Hall. It's a nice village to wander around in, we had just over an hour for lunch and since I just grabbed a sandwich from an independent sandwich shop I had plenty of time to do just that. There are a lot of shops selling hiking equipment (not surprising when you consider where you are) and also a lot of sweet, chocolate and fudge shops. There was even a Norwegian store.

After lunch we stopped at Castlerigg stone circle which is about 4000-5000 years old, the stones are smaller than the ones at Stonehenge but like Stonehenge they don't really know what it was used for. Part of it is called the Sanctuary, and I kind of wonder if that's a name they have come up with in later times, as I find it strange if they know what part of it was called but not what it was used for… Why would only the name of part of it be preserved through history but nothing else?

The reservoir that provides Manchester with water, Thirlmere, is also in the Lake District, a long way to go just to get some water. Two villages were lost when they created the reservoir, but at least it looks pretty.

We also stopped in Grasmere for half an hour, this is where the Wordsworth graves are. The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop is of course there, it is over 100 years old, stepping inside it is a bit like stepping back in time, definitely worth a visit for more than the special gingerbread, which tastes a lot more of actual ginger than the usual gingerbread you get at Christmas.

In all the 10 Lake Spectacular Winter Tour was good, I learned a lot and saw lots of beautiful places. 

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Windermere and Bowness

When you arrive at Windermere train station; take a left to go into the village: It might sound like a silly  thing to say, but when I arrived in the dark and pouring rain on Wednesday night, and found there was no signs pointing to the village, but a road leading both ways and a shopping centre to the right, I must say I was a little confused.

Luckily the weather was better on Thursday with just a bit of occasional drizzle so I could explore Windermere and Bowness (or Bowness-on-Windermere if you prefer). It only takes a few minutes to walk from one village to the next so no need to pay for a bus ticket if you're able to walk.

Both Windermere and Bowness are really lovely villages with old buildings and plenty of character, like most small British villages. There were lots of independent stores as well as touristy stores selling ice cream, cards, and souvenirs. I bet it's really busy in summer. There are also a lot of places to eat, from pub food to Indian and Chinese, I kind of wish I'd gone with someone as I don't like going out to eat on my own.

Both in Windermere and Bowness there are a few lookouts overlooking the lake, My personal favourite was Orrest Head lookout, which had the best uninterrupted view. I did have some trouble finding the path up to Orrest head though, which I think in part was due to all the leaves on the ground covering the trail. Maybe the National Trust should put up some more signs for people going up in autumn and winter? Or just create a better map than the one they currently have at the bottom of the path.

View from Orrest Head
Windermere and Bowness are both lovely places to just wander around, and I can completely understand why they are such tourist attractions. If you ever go to the Lake District I do suggest spending a day or at least a couple of hours there. The World of Beatrix Potter is also in Bowness for those that are interested in that. I do like Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit but I didn't go into World of Beatrix Potter so I can't tell you what it's like.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

It shouldn't be this difficult...

I though I had finally found something I wanted to study. It was an online study with the Open University, which isn't really what I wanted, but I figured that even if I went to a "proper" university I would have to do a lot of work on my own, so I have to to just make myself focus and study.

Then it came to the payment options… Let me tell you, studying in the UK is NOT cheap!! The full cost of what I was thinking about studying would come to over £15000 for the whole degree.

First I tried applying for a tuition fee loan from Student Finance England. They would not approve my application as I have not lived in the UK continuously the last 3 years and I am not from an EU country (the EEA countries were not included in the countries eligible for a loan).

Then I tried Open University Student Budget Accounts, they would also not approve my application, there was no explanation but I'm guessing it's because I don't make enough money so that maybe I wouldn't be able to pay the monthly instalments.

The last thing I looked at was support from Norway. I have to be in full time education to be eligible for that…

I guess people just moving to the UK just can't get a part-time education unless they have heaps of money to spare.

It is tempting to go into full-time education just so that I can get financial support from Norway, but I'm just worried they won't approve me either for some reason or other. Moreover, just the idea of studying instead of working when I have been working for so long is terrifying!! 

I don't know what I'm going to do, but I feel like getting a good education should't be so expensive that people struggle to get one!

Friday, 25 October 2013

Baslow Circular via Froggatt Edge

Usually when I go for a walk in the peaks I walk from Baslow to Bakewell via Chatsworth but yesterday I decided to do a new walk. I found this walk on the visit Chesterfield website as well, it's walk number 6.

The walk was really nice, it starts with a long uphill walk, steep at times but I walked to the top without having to stop for a breather so not too steep. Then there is a long walk along Curbar and Froggatt Edges with beautiful views. You can choose if you want to walk close to the edge or further in, the view from the edge is definitely the best and, as long as you have half a brain and watch where you're going, there is no danger of falling off the edge.

On top of the edges were definitely the busiest part of the walk, there were heaps of people there taking advantage of the lovely weather and lovely view. Because of the direction I was coming from Chatsworth could be seen in the distance behind me.

I'm kind of glad someone was walking in front of me when I was looking for the way down from the edge as it wasn't marked, although I'm sure I would have found it anyway since I was keeping an eye out for the tiny path. The first 50 meters of that path was quite steep and rocky so it's important to watch where you put your feet.

After going down from the edge the walk is fairly flat and goes along the River Derwent a lot of the time. 

In all it was a really nice walk, but I think if I walk again I will walk the other direction so as to get the lovely view of Chatsworth in front of me instead of behind me. I can totally understand why a lot of people were only walking on the edge. 

Part of this walk (right before you start walking on the edge) overlapped with the Robin Hood Inn Circular walk so the two walks could easily be tied together depending on what you wanted to see.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Worst Expiry Date...

Isn't it strange, and rather sexist, that most people feel that in a straight relationship it's more natural for the guy to be older than the girl? People tend to think it's weird, or "wrong", if a woman is with a man more than a few months younger than her. A relationship seems to be more socially acceptable if the guy is the older one (as long as he's not 30 years older), double standards anyone?

To be honest I do prefer it when the guy is the same age or older than me...

I think it's because from a young age we're taught the whole "women mature quicker than men" thing, and therefore women will be more compatible with an older man.

Which is silly really, men never mature!

I'm not saying I would never go out with someone younger than me, or that there is anything wrong with women dating/marrying men younger than themselves, but personally I wouldn't actively go out looking for someone younger than me. From what I've noticed, a lot of men in their 20's just want to have fun, they don't want to commit. Of course everyone is different, and I do know men that have gotten married and had kids in their 20's, but most men don't want to think about all of that until they're in their 30's or later. Which is fine…. For them.

It doesn't really matter how old a man is before he decides to settle down and have kids, his sperm quality might get worse as he gets older, but technically a man can have kids until the day he dies. 

For woman it's worse. We have an expiration date. Which sounds really bad but it's true; at a certain age we can no longer have kids the natural way. It's the worst expiration date in the world.

I'm not saying my "clock has started ticking", but as I get older it is something that I think more about. I don't want kids yet, but I might want some when I get older, something that I might struggle with anyway due to my PCOS.

Say I want kids in my early to mid thirties… I'll be 27 soon, I want to find someone to spend some "alone time" with before possibly having kids. So I want to find someone that is ready to at least think about settling down, which will probably be someone my age or older. 

When looking at online dating profiles I always avoid the ones where the guy is younger than me, even though I've had crushes on guys that are younger than me in real life. 

I think I need to find something to do outside of work, to get out more, and try to find someone offline, instead of looking at profiles and judging people too quickly based on picture, age, location or whatever information they decide to share about themselves. And also to do an activity to make me happy and stop over-thinking the whole relationship thing… It will happen when it happens, online or offline.

Life isn't a fairytale, a prince won't suddenly come riding on a white horse to whisk you away. You can't just sit around waiting for something to happen, you have to get out, live life, have fun, meet new people... In the end one of those people will turn out to be your prince.

Friday, 13 September 2013

The Moving Drama - Continues or Ends?

Click here for my previous post about the moving drama.

Right, so Joe and I thought we had to move out in October, only one month from now! Then, about a month ago, we got a letter through the post saying that our contract would go over to a kind of rolling contract… We can stay and we only have to give one month's notice if we want to leave. Apparently the first letter we got about having to move in October was just a way of saying that October is when our lease is up! (They really could have worded that letter differently!)

So anyway. Joe and I talked about it; I kind of want to move to a smaller place that will be slightly cheaper to keep warm in winter, Joe wants to stay as he feels like this is a home and it's too much hassle to move… I agree with the hassle bit. 

So we are staying. 

For now.

I figured I should give him his will for once.

Since we just have to give one month's notice if we want to leave I agreed to see how it goes with the heating bill in autumn and the start of winter. However, I also told Joe that rather than turning the heating on as soon as he's a bit chilly he can put some clothes on…. Meaning I will have to do the same… I need to buy some warm clothes for myself! (Damn it, I don't like shopping!)

I'll admit, I'm slightly tempted to just move out, but it is starting to feel a little bit like a home, and if I did move out I would have to get money for a new deposit and for someone with a van to move my stuff so that would cost money as well. And I would still have to share with someone to actually make it cheap enough. I guess we'll just have to see how it goes. 

One thing that really bugs me about all this is that I sold my dining room table! I thought we would have to move out, we had only used it three times, and I wanted a smaller place so I decided to sell it. Fair enough, I got to go to Bristol with the money I got for it, but as it turns out I didn't actually need to sell it! Of course now it's gone we both wish we had it again. Oh well.

I'm not even sure what I'm hoping will happen. Part of me is wanting to stay in this house as I'm tired of moving around, while another part of me almost hopes the heating bill will be too high and that we will have to move to a smaller, cheaper place, just so I will have more money left of my wages after paying the bills. It's not too bad though, I can manage, touch wood.

Nottingham Revisited

Until yesterday I hadn't been to Nottingham since early 2007 when I worked as an au pair, so it was nice to go back and see it again as I can't really remember much from last time. It was also nice to have someone that lives in Nottingham to show me around.

One of the things my friend Mark and I did was to walk along the canal. I don't think that's a thing I would have though of doing if I was just walking around on my own for only a day, but it was a really nice walk and we even saw someone using the locks which I have never seen before! 

We also did the city of caves tour. Apparently they do a guided tour on weekends but we just got an audio guide and walked around the caves on our own. It doesn't take very long, I thought the audio guide was a lot longer than it needed to be but at least we learned a lot about the caves. I actually didn't even know about the caves until Mark told me. Because we are both UK tax payers we filled in a form which allows us to go back for free for a year, so maybe I'll go back one weekend and do a guided tour, I tend to take more in when I'm listening to an actual person instead of just a recorded voice.

I was only in Nottingham for a few hours, but at least I live fairly close so I will have to try and get back more often. I wasn't in the mood for shopping yesterday but I might go back before Christmas to see if I can find some presents in any of the many interesting shops. I also want to go to the castle when I go to Nottingham again. I went to the castle in 2007 but can't really remember anything from it.

If you are ever in  Nottingham you should try out a place called Delilahs for lunch. The food there is absolutely gorgeous! A bit expensive (depending on your budget) but you get giant portions and it's absolutely worth it! And, no, I've not been paid to write that. It's not the kind of place I would normally go to for lunch as you can tell it's expensive just by looking at it, but I would definitely go back!

I'm not a city person but I quite like Nottingham, I'd rather go there than spend a fortune going to London. I guess it's because Nottingham doesn't seem that busy for a city, it might just be because I went in the week rather than on a weekend, but I also think it's because it's so spread out. The train station is a bit of a nightmare but they are still doing work on it so hopefully it will get better.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Dog Hunting in Bristol

Most people have heard of Wallace and Gromit, the stop-motion comedy films featuring the cheese-loving man and his dog. For 10 weeks this summer, ending September 8th, Bristol is host of 80 5 foot tall Gromits painted by various artists, the event is called "Gromit Unleashed". The artists include Quentin Blake (illustrator of the Roald Dahl books), Joanna Lumley, Pixar and Simon Tofield (maker of the YouTube videos "Simon's Cat").

I've been wanting to go to Bristol for a while so when I found out this "Gromit Unleashed" event was on I knew I had to go before it ended! I didn't want to book time off work for it since I knew I probably wouldn't need more than a day anyway, then, coincidentally, I got two consecutive days off work! Perfect! More time to find the Gromits!

I worried about the weather when I got to Bristol, it was proper throwing it down with rain! Luckily, for most of the time while I was there there were just some short showers. 

In the day and a half I spent in Bristol I managed to find 54 out of 80 Gromits. One Gromit is in London Paddington Station and quite a few is a way outside Bristol. If you have a car and make a small trip to London you will probably be able to find all 80 in a day. I am happy to have seen the 54 I did manage to see, it would have been fun to have been able to see all 80 but at the same time I don't feel like I've missed out or anything.

If you are able to get to Bristol before September 8th I do recommend that you do. Not only did I have fun looking for the Gromits, I also got to see parts of Bristol that I probably wouldn't have seen if I had just wandered around aimlessly. At the end of the Gromit Unleashed event the sculptures will be auctioned off to raise funds for Wallace and Gromit's Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children's Hospital Charity. 

Bristol seemed like an okay city, other than hunting Gromits I didn't really do a lot. I am not one of those people that are comfortable eating alone in restaurants so unfortunately I didn't get to check out any of the many great-looking restaurants there. I wouldn't mind going back with someone as there seemed to be a lot to see and do in Bristol but at the same time it's not a city I would go back to on my own again (unless there was another event I really wanted to go to).


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