Category Archives: England

Find Your Centers Of Spirituality Around The World

Human nature leads many of us to find spirituality during our lives. You may seek religion, meditation, or community. Whatever your choices in life, it can be a wonderful experience to seek out other centers of spirituality. We’re all different, but many of us are united in our love for travel. Why not check out some of these wonderful places next time you take a vacation?

India

The Garhwal region is home to four of the holy shrines of Hinduism collectively known as Chota Char Dham. The area itself is stunning. Just being here can be an experience you’ll never want to forget. The landscape is so beautiful and so peaceful, it’s no wonder people come here to explore the spirituality of the region. The rivers here are very significant, so it’s worth making an effort to explore their paths.

You can also find an important center for Yoga here, with many options for a retreat. If you enjoy the physical side of Yoga practice why not come to explore the internal or spiritual side? If nothing else, it’s a wonderful opportunity to connect with new people. Cities like Mumbai offer plenty of fascinating temples to visit as well. Some are an integral part of beautiful cave systems. Others are magnificent stone structures of extraordinary architectural design.

United Kingdom

Stonehenge is a mystery. It has been there for thousands of years, but nobody can determine with certainty why. Even more mysterious is the answer to the question how. It doesn’t seem to be humanly possible for the stones to have been erected in that place at that time. Yet they exist, and they continue to be an important center of spirituality for people all over the world. The position of the sun has been successfully charted using these giant standing stones. This makes it an important place for gathering during the solstice.

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Standing stones are more common than you think in the UK. Orkney’s Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar are Neolithic. These ancient structures must have been incredibly important to our ancestors. It was during a time when life on earth here would have been harsh. While they don’t draw as many visitors as the Salisbury Plains, the atmosphere here is no less captivating.

Egypt

Ancient Egyptians worshiped their pharaohs but also had deeply held beliefs of their other gods and deities. Animal shaped statues and ornaments are still revered, and many are on display for visitors to see. The connection to their past is still highly regarded by modern-day Egyptians. But is it perhaps the magnificent pyramids, like those at Giza, that we marvel at.

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Getting in touch with an ancient culture’s spirituality is more than just an educational experience. It can be a route to finding your own interests and perhaps even the roots of some of your own ideals. More than anything it is a connection to past civilizations not so distant from our own.

We all find spirituality, faith, and connection in different ways and in different places. Why not add a few more places to your list?

 

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What’s Up

My blog is a priority to me, however there are times and things that surpass my blogs. Such things are travelling and starting a new job; which in this case are very, very true.

In the last month and a half, I have taken time travel and in total I have visited 5 countries in almost 3 weeks. This has not only led me to learn new things about different cultures and do plenty of sightseeing, but also helped into finding myself again. To me, traveling is the very best thing. It is new and exciting… an adventure!

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For more photos of my travels and my endeavors please follow me on Instagram: SteffiWorld.

After making it back to Malta, I have spent a few days catching up with friends, doing the laundry and relaxing. This is because two weeks ago, it was time for me to change my job. This time, my role is Reporting Specialist, which is highly focused on reporting – gathering data and specs, creating the reports and reconciling. It is a very exciting role as there are a lot of changes going on, and my role is a part of it, and in two years time, I am hoping to see myself in a managerial position. I have been aiming for this for some time, and it has gone unnoticed in my past job, so I am very happy to be in this position now.

I have noticed in the past weeks, that my followers on WordPress have been increasing exponentially which is great to say the least. While I would like to welcome you all to my humble blog of anything that comes to mind, I would also like to excuse myself for the lack of writing, and hope that going forward I will have more energy to entertain you!

The Best Geek Locations in England

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A lot of people in England want to realize their nerdy dreams overseas. This is because a lot of what we love comes from other countries. We want to visit Hollywood to see the museums and filming locations of our favourite movies. We want to visit Japan because it gave birth to anime.

It’s easy to forget that there are plenty of perfect geeky or nerdy locations right here in England. And when I use those words, I mean what we usually mean. I’m talking about fans of films, books, comics, theme parks and technology!

Here’s a quick, but by no means exhaustive, guide to some of the best examples!

Comic conventions

There are plenty of comic conventions in London. The most famous example would be the MCM Comic-Con. Contrary to popular opinion, this isn’t officially the British version of the San Diego Comic-Con. But this is closest we’ll get, and it’s amazing in its own right!

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When the MCM Comic-Con is on, you’ll know about it wherever you go in London. Geeks from all over the country flock here in their best cosplay outfits. Celebrities attend the event and meet fans. Comic stands are everywhere. And beware, those of you who think selfies have replaced the autograph! Celebrity autographs are still alive, kicking and very much available at the MCM Comic-Con!

The next MCM Comic-Con takes place in late May. The celebrity guests will include Warwick Davis and Meg Turney, the Internet’s favourite cosplayer. Remember, though, that there’s more than one comic convention in England! There’s also the London Super Comic Convention, which takes place earlier in the year. For less mainstream tastes, there’s also the brilliant East London Comic and Arts Festival. You can find out more at http://www.elcaf.co.uk.

Theme parks

Theme parks are a great way to pretend we’re in a loud, colourful fantasy land. For geeks with courage, there’s not much better than a roller coaster! For many of us, it’s the closest we’ll get to the thrilling action and speed we see in our favourite movies. There are a lot of theme parks in England, but you may as well visit one with the best roller coasters.

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The names Thorpe Park and Alton Towers often come to mind. But if you’re going to experience roller coasters, you may as well do it properly. Blackpool Pleasure Beach is consistently ranked as the best theme park in England and one of the best in Europe. (Remember that it has to compete with Disneyland Paris when the whole of Europe is invited to the competition!) It has more roller coasters than any other theme park in Europe. Its attractions are also world-renowned record breakers. When it launched in the mid-nineties, the Big One was the tallest and the fastest roller coaster in the entire world. It’s still the tallest in the United Kingdom! There’s also Valhalla, the longest indoor roller coaster in the world. (It was also the most expensive to build!) You can find out more at https://www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com.

Not too far away from Blackpool is the Laurel and Hardy Museum. It’s the only such museum in the world. It has a 1920s style theatre that shows classic comedy. It’s a must for movie buffs!

Literature hotspots

England has an amazing history of literature! For any book geek, it’s one of the best countries in the world. The first place you may think of is Baker Street, where Sherlock Holmes lived in Conan Doyle’s novels. In these stories, Holmes and Watson lived at 221b Baker Street. Back then, though, there were no property numbers beyond 100 on Baker Street! These days, 221b Baker Street does exist. It’s the Sherlock Holmes Museum! Any fans of the stories or the BBC show must see this museum. You can read more about it at http://www.sherlock-holmes.co.uk.

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The real homes of many authors can be visited by the public. The Brontë Parsonage Museum preserves the residence of the literary sisters as it was when they wrote their classics. The home of legendary poet John Keats can also be found in Hampstead.

The hangouts of some of the great writers are also easily accessible. A trip to Oxford isn’t complete without a visit to The Eagle and Child. This is the pub where the fantasy writers C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien used to drink and chat with each other. Cornwall also houses the Jamaica Inn. The name isn’t a reference to the Daphne du Maurier’s classic horror novel. The novel was named after the inn! du Maurier stayed there on a particularly foggy and scary evening. The inspiration for her novel hit her there.

London Tea Exchange Review

I have always had a strong bond with tea, but always preferred teabags over loose tea leaves just because it is so much easier to make tea.  But when I opened my mind towards loose tea leaves, I realised how many more options I have at hand, and how much I can experiment with various flavours, even making my own flavour.

During my loose tea leaves discovery, I was in London, and this is where I came across London Tea Exchange. Right next to the tea shop door, there were various teas one could sample. And so I did…

Entering the shop was like I was in heaven. Everywhere I look, it was tea and more tea… Over a hundred choices, and I couldn’t be more excited.. and confused.

It was hard to just choose just the one flavour, but since I never had chocolate or coconut flavoured tea, I thought that I should opt for a black tea… with these two flavours. May I say that…. It is magnificent?

The tea was given in a golden packaging which made it safely from London to Malta.

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The tea itself looks something like the below… Although not cheap, it is very tasty and makes me feel all warm and tingly inside….

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When in London, I’d suggest you give this shop a try, if like me, you are a massive tea lover 😉

Chester Christmas Market 2015

During my latest travel to the UK, between the 19th and 24th of November, we came across the Christmas Market by chance. It was a lovely surprise as Christmas Markets have always been a pleasant memory of mine, of the time when I lived in Stoke-on-Trent and went to Birmingham year on year for this particular event.

When we made it to the Christmas Market, the place was already buzzing with people looking and buying items. The decorations and a sense of happiness from the people, really put me into the Christmas vibe. More so because the day was rather cold (it even snowed in the evening!). Cheese with cranberry bits and the cheeky mulled wine helped in all this too.

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This year, the Chester Christmas Market will last a week extra – In fact it will be open 7 days a week, from 10am to 6pm for just over a month. So make sure you make your way there any day between the 19th of November and 20th of December for some fantastic gifts, ranging from home-made stuff, to food and high-end items.

More information can be obtained by reading here and here.

The Return

Trying to explain how I feel, after I returned back home from a 5-day-long holiday, is near impossible. Although gutted that it’s all over, after waiting for this moment for a good month and a half, my heart feels happy and rather at ease.

In Brief

If you are wondering, where I have been,  the answer is of no surprise to those who know me well, as I have yet again chose to visit my beloved Wales. After being in the South of Wales June/July this year, this time I was back in the North. I have visited the area of Flintshire, which I have never been to before, coupled with Chester (no, this is not in Wales, but it is very close by).

Even before I went on holiday, I wished that in my short stay, I get to see snow again. I did get lucky in this, as not only did it snow, but it did stick to some of the hills we went to (the idea was to go for a walk, but this turned out to be rather of a flop as it was too sloppy). The sight itself, was breathtaking, which made me very happy still.

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While in Chester, we did manage to come across the Christmas Market which was a pleasant surprise! Over there, we ended up spending £20 in cheese… but it was damn worth it… as it tastes godly. The Roman baths and amphitheater were two historic spots we visited while here. On the same day, in the evening we returned to Chester for a rock night and it turned out to be an awesome night; music varied from classic rock to heavy metal which means I was in heaven!

Castles are always part of the plan when I am on holiday. The idea was to visit Ewloe Castle but the area was closed in order to enhance the pathway leading to it. But luckily my fantastic tour-guide improvised and we instead visited Flint Castle. This Castle is in ruins, and from it you are able to see Liverpool in the distance, which was quite a beautiful view.

PS. More info and actual pictures of the places I have visited will be coming up as soon as I write up the related reviews. X

 

Black Books!

You are probably reading this, because you know my geeky self, and you have an idea what I’m about to talk about.

Second clue would be… Bill Bailey!

I suppose if you are still reading this, you are either aware of what I am talking about (fingers crossed), or otherwise you must be a curious cat. If you are the latter, Black Books is a British sitcom featuring Bill Bailey, Dylan Moran and Tamsin Greig. It is all filmed within a bookshop and it is hilarious.

During my visit to London in July, I made my way to Black Books of course… I was staying in a hotel within 5 minutes walking distance, so I could not miss out the opportunity.

Needless to say, I was delighted I finally made it:

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Some book that really caught my eye in the book shop display 🙂 steffisays-blackbooks-fandom-caught my eye

Remember, Remember

…The 5th of November!!

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For those who are not in the know, the 5th of November is the night we celebrate Guy Fawkes.

But… Who was Guy Fawkes?
Imagine England in the 1600s.. Still under shock and divided between Catholics and Protestants; of course this goes way back since the reign of King Henry VIII. Four kings later, religion did not change and the pressure was still undergoing. The story of Guy Fawkes happened two years after James I was crowned as king. In fact, Fawkes was one of the main members of The Gunpowder Plot of 1605. A group of Catholics have attempted to bomb, or rather blow up the House of Parliament and kill the king. The idea was to protest against the rule of a Protestant King. Guy was the chosen one, the one to light the fuse on D DAY. Because of this reason, he got a lot of attention regarding the conspiracy story; and also a day named after him.

If the story sounds familiar to you… It is probably because you have watched the film V for Vendetta.
Join me tonight and make it a yearly habit; Join me by watching this. Lets remember this night of treason, together.

So, what are we celebrating on this day?
I would dare say, that for the Brits, this day is Thanksgiving Day. The tradition itself started on the same day and year that the Gunpowder Plot had the failed coup. It started as a joyful celebration of Londoners, relieved that their King was saved. This was done by the means of a bonfire.
As time went by, the celebration became more elaborate. Preparations for the Bonfire Night did not include just the bonfire, but also fireworks. Before this day, some would also dare making a dummy of Guy Fawkes, the Pope and some even of politicians. Guy’s dummy is placed on top of the bonfire, and once it is alight, people would throw into the fire the other dummies. Fireworks display fills the sky all over Britain, and some would also light their own fireworks from their home garden.

Bonfire Night is not just celebrated in Britain, as the tradition itself crossed oceans all over and has become popular in a lot of the British colonies along the years. Canada and New Zealand for instance still celebrate it.

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When I lived in England, I was very keen about this Day. I even got my own mask. X

That day when my name made it on a billboard in London!

I never thought I’d see the day that my name would be on a billboard in London… I know it is not going to make a difference in my life or yours, but it is still a rather cool moment to treasure.

A few weeks back (or was it months? Gosh, time flies…), Lauren Aquilina who is an England based singer (with Maltese descendants) made a competition and I was actually one of the 2,000 fans which made it on the billboard.

Thankfully the designer was wise enough and wrote the names in alphabetical order, and so it didn’t take me long until I found my name on there.

Here is me making history, right next to Shepard’s Bush underground station, London.. hahaha…

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And here is one of Lauren’s songs, because she deserves the promotion:

Baker Street Lovin’

When I was a teenager, I was fascinated by London.
I was even more overwhelmed when I discovered that in London, there was an alternative town by the name of Camden. Every time I visited England, I had to spend a day there shopping until I run out of money. When I moved to England in 2011, London become the least attractive place for me to visit. Sure there were a lot of shops and activities going on, but it was too busy and hectic for my liking. I would go down to London for a major gig or to meet friends who were visiting; but would not bother with it at all otherwise.

But this year, everything has changed.
I had to go back to London for one specific reason: AC/DC.
Any heavy metal fan would know that AC/DC are touring again, and considering their age, it would most likely be the last time (I hope I am wrong!). But this was the sole reason why I step foot in London again, after 3 odd years.

While I was there, I had to fulfill one huge dream which unbelievably I did not do even though I visited the city countless times.

Baker Street

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I would like to think, that if you are reading this, you know where I’m going with this.

Well, geeky Steffi… geeky TV Series.
Hello Sherlock Holmes:

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Did you know that 221b, Baker Street is the world’s most Googled address?

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Waiting for Sherlock outside the door
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Sherlock’s store