Category Archives: aims

A little better

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I really hate this time of year, long, dark nights, near constant rain and the feeling of gloom that Spring is so far away. I don’t like feeling cold and having having to wear jumpers and all these autumn leaves are just so slippery. So if you feel the same as me here are some things that have been making me feel a little better lately.

Lush products

I remembering discovering Lush for the first time when I was 17 and on a day out in Nottingham. My best friend and I loved it and I got so excited going in and looking at all the different products. Then the smell got on my nerves and gave me a headache and I didn’t go near Lush for years and years. But recently I’ve really got back into their products, for me Lush is about an indulgent bath bomb. Butterball is my absolute favourite, as it has fleks of cocoa butter in and your skin is so soft after, but I have been experimenting with some new ones and cannot wait to try the sakura bomb.

New shoes

What happened to Clarks?! Seriously I could buy their whole Autumn/Winter range, it’s stylish, funky, smart, comfortable and well made. I cracked the other day when there was 20% off and bought this pair and this pair. What do you think?

Mulled cider

If anything is going to get me through this bleak, depressing time of year it’s mulled cider and lots of it. Hot, sweet, and spicy it never fails to warm me up.

Making lists

I have to motivate myself by making lists and setting goals and at the moment I’m enjoying making lots of lists and seeing what I can achieve by the end of the year.

American Horror Story

I said I wasn’t going to start watching any TV shows as I didn’t want my evenings to get sucked away, but then Netflix tempted me with American Horror Story and now I’m binge watching it. Each season is a completely new story and setting, but has some of the same actors and Jessica Lange is just AMAZING in every season so far.

 

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30 here I come.

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So this year I am turning 30…eeek. Actually I’m looking forward to it, I think you tend to dread some birthdays especially milestone ones if you think you should have achieved ‘certain’ things by that point in your life. I am certainly guilty of doing that, but when my birthday comes in June (just a reminder) I will really be looking forward to it. One of the main reasons for this is that me and four friends, a couple of whom also turn thirty this year have been saving for the past four years to go on a big trip to Vegas to celebrate the big 3 – 0. Saving over the past four years has been relatively easy as we setup a special bank account and transferred money each month, which we gradually increased each year. As this money wasn’t readily accessible none of us dipped into it for emergencies or treats so over time we have all built up decent amounts of savings. Enough in fact for us all to cover the cost of an expensive flight with no problems.

One personal goal that I set myself to achieve by the time I was thirty is to have travelled to thirty countries on five continents. My friend Johannes set the goal of thirty countries by the time he was thirty, so I stole that and modified it by adding in the continents. I’m almost there with my target, I have travelled to thirty countries, just need to visit one continent, South America. So for this trip I will be partying in Vegas then heading to somewhere in South America for some culture and exploration.

By the time I was twenty one I had travelled to less than five countries, to be honest I had not really seen much of the UK. I was just out of University, had no idea what to do with myself so decided to work in order to save for a big trip. Since then I have well and truly caught the travel bug and it forms a big part of my life, at pretty much any given opportunity I will try and travel, obviously having a 9 – 5 job with limited holidays makes this more difficult, but as with anything if you want it enough you will make it happen.

Usually I book bigger multi-country trips through a travel agent, STA is my preferred choice, I have booked a few flights with them and they have always been good. As I had a fairly unusual itinerary, Vegas and somewhere in South America I decided to go to STA first and to be honest they were not that helpful, maybe it was the vague nature of my trip, but they seemed very dismissive and said I would get nothing under £1000. Undeterred I decided I would just book it myself. Going through airlines didn’t really work as I wasn’t able to get the optionality I needed, so instead I started doing multi-city searches on lastminute.com and kayak.  Now comes the tiresome part you have to do lots of searches; search different dates, different arrival cities, different amount of changes etc. This seemed really frustrating at first, I would find really good flights then find they flew into New York, so have to factor in internal flights which proved too time costly. But after a while you will find some options that work for you.  Then you keep checking day after day for a month or so and eventually there will be a drop in price, for me that drop was £60, but it was enough to convince me to book flights.

So in September I will be going to Vegas and Chile. I must admit at the beginning of my search I had an idea that I would end up going to Brazil, Ecuador or Argentina, but after considering many factors including price, travel options and time Chile seems like a good option and I’m really excited. So currently I’m reading my lonely planet on Chile, planning far too much and looking forward to turning 3 – 0.franz josefgiraffe

mt fuji third man wheelarizona

Pictures top to bottom: taking a break on Franz Josef in New Zealand, feeding giraffes in Kenya, contemplating at the viewing platform of Mt Fuji Japan, on the big wheel featured in ‘The Third Man’ in Vienna, view from the bus driving through Arizona.

The Chattri War Memorial

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If you remember my New Year aims post you will recall that one of my aims was to explore my local area more by taking monthly trips. I decided that the first trip of the year would be to the Chattri War Memorial in Patcham, East Sussex. I remember hearing about the Chattri a few years ago, but until recently I didn’t look into what it was and who it represented.

During the First World War over one million Indian soldiers fought overseas alongside British soldiers, this was the first time they had fought on European soil and were deployed widely to Ypres, Neuve Chapelle, the Somme and Passchendaele and Mesopotamia. The Royal Pavillion in Brighton served as a hospital where wounded Indian soldiers were treated, alongside two other temporary hospitals in Brighton.

The Chattri stands in memory of all Indian soldiers who died during the First World War, 1914-1918, over 74,000 soldiers, but it is particularly associated with the 53 Hindu and Sikh soldiers who died in hospitals in Brighton and whose remains were cremated at this spot.

The day that we decided to go to the Chattri coincided with when the Snow came to Brighton, undeterred we got our bikes and cycled up to Patcham which was a challenge in itself, two and a half miles of hills! When we arrived there we found a broken sleigh, which we were able to make use of and spent some time sledging and having fun in the snow. From here we began our walk which to be honest took a lot longer than I was expecting it to. At one point I was worried we might get stuck on the snowy Downs, but we eventually got there after trekking for an hour through fairly thick snow. What strikes you as you are approaching is how beautiful it is. You are walking on the Downs then suddenly you come across the Chattri, it feels almost magical to find it hidden away from everything and allowing you to peacefully reflect, take in the views and pay your respects when you find it.

Walking back we caught sight of some people snowboarding on the Downs, which was an unexpected, but lovely sight and made me glad that we had made the trip. Luckily after getting off the Downs we found a pub, settled ourselves in front of an open fire and had some hot cider before braving the bikes and heading home down the hill.

If you are interested in visiting the Chattri, check out these directions and map to get there.

Obviously I have provided a brief summary of the history of the Chattri and Indian soldiers efforts in World War 1, this is not a simple story, so I would recommend looking into this yourself if you are interested.

bikes in snowbroken sleighEmma at dog stopDaniel in snowmapapproaching the chattri placque at Chattri Fiona and Daniel at Chattrisnow covered poppiescomedy pic

Aims and aspirations for the year

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I know it’s late and everyone has done these posts already, but forgive me I need time to think and come up with some aims that I can really persevere with this year that will both challenge and inspire me, so here goes….

Learn some Dutch.

As I go out with a Dutch guy it’s got to the point where I have to try and learn some Dutch. Being realistic it’s a hard language to learn and for me the pronunciation is a nightmare, j’s in the middle of words and such like, but I’m going to give it a go. Even if by the end of the year I can only count to 10 and order a cup of coffee, that is more than I can say now. As there are no classes offered in Brighton I will endeavor to use my audio CD’s and online resources as well as encouraging Daniël to talk to me in Dutch.

52 Things

I started this year with the idea of participating in a 365 day photography challenge, after day three it became apparent that I wasn’t going to stick with it. Instead I’m trying something that I’ve seen on a few other blogs, a 52 week project, where I attempt to make one thing per week. In my case this is probably going to be of the baked variety, but I will try and keep things interesting. As I have started just this week with my plum chutney I have a few weeks to catch up on, but I should be able to even things out over the course of a year. My only limitation is that I can’t make anything I have previously made before.

 Learn a new skill

One thing I struggle with is dedicating myself to something and sticking with it. Though I am aware of this and if I set my mind to something I generally can achieve it. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do yet and inevitably may try a few things, but I hope by the end of the year I can do something that I can’t do now.

 Do some voluntary work

When I first moved to Brighton I was a mentor for a charity for two years and really enjoyed the experience. For a combination of reasons I had to give this up and haven’t done any volunteering for a while. I want to do something that helps other people which has no immediate benefit for me as I think it’s important to do something selfless every once in a while. Whether this be something on a regular basis or a few separate occasions I’m not sure yet.

Explore around me

I travel more than most, but there is so much in my local and immediate area that I haven’t explored yet and I feel that I am missing out. So each month I’m trying to organise a trip with friends to go and explore these places, whether it be a local walk, visiting a nearby village or simply going to a new exhibition I need to get out there and see all of these  places around me instead of fleeing the country at any given opportunity, though there will be plenty of that too.

I think these aims are enough to be getting on with and I aim to document them on this blog, so this year already looks like it will be more active than the last one. Let’s see how it all goes…

Winter blues

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I don’t know about you, but around this time of year I find I really have the Winter blues. After finishing work all I want to do is curl up in bed, watch films and hibernate. In time this makes me feel  low, so I have decided to set myself some aims, so I can have something to work towards whilst gaining concrete accomplishments.

I limited my aims to five and choose specific ones instead of more general aims. I’ll let you know how I got on at the end of December. If I achieve them I think I deserve a treat right?

december aims