Saffron Walden | Essex

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A return to the adorable town of Saffron Walden on Saturday had me already itching to return. This time, we went on a small day trip with cloudy skies and chilly weather, but it was still worth it. The antique furniture shop Reed & Son is always worth a wander (they currently have the most adorable footstools on sale for a really great price!), the local design shop worth popping your head in, and the market bustling as always on a Saturday.
We came away with a sports book (Ben’s) and new knitting yarn (mine).
Now, Ben and I have a habit on our day trips of doing one of two things: grab a pint and read, or grab a coffee and read. So, armed with our choice of material, we headed for one of the cutest independent cafes I’ve ever seen (called Molly’s Cafe at the back of the Crossed Keys Hotel).
I’m going to breeze over the fact that it was packed with nowhere to sit, so we ended up in the trusted Starbucks.
I always enjoy this gem of a town – definitely worth another visit. x

New York | New York

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So.. two of my colleagues are going to New York City. One for the first time, one for the second. I am so excited for them! But just talking to them both about what to see and do reminds me of when I use to live there many years ago. I lived first in Manhattan in Chelsea, and second in Hoboken on the Jersey side of the Hudson. I worked in Soho, and went out in the Lower East Side, Meatpacking District, and ate dinner in Greenwich village.

I never gave New York much of a chance, at first. I came to New York directly from London, and I missed London so much that it made me miserable. I use to cry on weekends and visit my local deli man for chocolate. I was super depressed in the great city. My only saving grace was my weekend runs down the Hudson River to Battery Park, where I would sit in the sunshine and look at the water thinking – you’re out there somewhere England!

I could go back now.  I remember fondly Highline walks, sushi, dumplings in China Town, old wine bars, the open air that was Central Park, great restaurants, and bars, and even better walks. It is so easy to overlook these things when you are there and dreaming of another city, but I think I did New York a major disservice.

So above are some photos from my time there – riverside drinks and kayaking on hot, sun-filled days! I do miss it – sometimes. x

Dartmoor | Devon

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From the Devon days… I present the mysterious and ominous Dartmoor. It is a strange and weirdly mesmerizing place, and once there you understand why so much has been written about it in stories.

There is the most adorable pub, nearly right in the middle of it, that has a fire and food and the most beautiful view. We visited on such a windy day! But the beer in the pub with the views we saw was worth it.

Wembury | Devon

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Ben had moved from Exeter to Plymouth for 6 months in that same year, doing work experience at local schools. It was one of the lower parts of Ben’s life as it was isolating, long hours, and difficult work. But on weekends, Ben would find solace in the beautiful seaside of Wembury. There was a cafe on the shore that he would go to for a cake and coffee, and would walk down the shores. This was his happy place for that time.

It is a beautiful walk along the shores – a quiet and rocky beach – and the cafe is a wonderful old mill house with stone walls and minimal decoration. It is a lovely hideaway from life. Ben still thinks of it fondly. x

Brixham | Devon

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Many years ago now, Ben use to live in Exeter – studying at the university for his teaching degree. I was back in the states finishing my own degree, but would steal a weekend or two away to fly back to England to visit.

It was on one such trip that Ben took me on a day trip to the seaside town of Brixham.

It was sunny and bright, and unbeknown to us, there was a pirate festival on at the same time. An old ship was in the harbour, and every now and then would fire a cannon (scaring the living daylights out of myself, but was good fun!). We walked around the town, had a pint in a local pub, and ate fish and chips by the seaside. It was a great day out.

Hatfield Forest | Essex

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My current musings :

I am sitting here on a train after a Monday at work filled with overtime. My train is delayed, stuck between two stations for nearly an hour now. We move slowly each time the engine restarts, shutting down shortly after, and we grind to a halt once more. What’s worse is that this is a Monday. I have four more days of this journey to make, and more than one of those times will be a similar dark and dreary situation.

And I was truly having a nice day for once. Was.

So now I’m reflecting back on a brisk walk through Hatfield forest, hand in hand with my darling, and joined by three good friends and a newborn baby (not ours, theirs). How peaceful the countryside seemed that day, how calm I was, how far away work felt. How simple life seems when in the company of a baby and gazing upon untouched landscape.

So to keep me awake and make me smile, I think of my husband-to-be and his goddaughter – and the serenity of English countryside. X

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Bath | Somerset

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The first weekend back at work is a tough one. Far away from the festivities of Christmas, far from families and friends, good wine and food, sleep and casual mornings – the first week back is jarring to say the least. It’s filled with low spirits and deadlines, and pure exhaustion.

Personal tip: don’t fall asleep after a red eye flight into London!

We did, and we royally screwed up our sleeping schedule. We were awake at night, and asleep during the day for the entire time running up to the first day at work. Then nearly died trying to be at work for the Monday. Resist the temptation!!

But my wonderful fiancé pulled out all the stops once more, and gave me a fantastic Christmas present. We went to Bath!

Now, Bath is my favourite place in the whole world (save London of course) and nothing makes me happier than perusing through the stone alleyways and cobbled streets.

We stayed at another great AirBnB place which allowed us to save a ton of money on food. This was key, because one of the things we desperately wanted to do was the Thermae Spa.

Now this is fantastic – it is basically a hot pool at the top of a building overlooking the historical city centre, and it is heated by the healing waters of the natural spring. It is a romantic spot with no children, but plenty of lovers (we were one of them).

Aside from the pool at the top of the building, there were four steam rooms each with different temperatures and scents. These were a favourite after getting out of the Thermae pool and running out of the cold.

On the Sunday we wandered the streets of Bath, seeing the royal crescent and other such beauties. Sad to leave it all behind, but until next time! X