Tag Archives: england

Of Cornish Beaches

I know, that in Malta, we have some breathtakingly gorgeous beaches, but they are crowded with Maltese and foreigners. So much so, that if you are not a proper beach-lover, you do not step foot on any of the beaches during the peak Summer months. In fact, this year, I have only been to the beach once, and this was in September, and only because it was an event which I could not miss – My father’s birthday.

When I mention my love towards the UK, I more often than not are told that in England there aren’t any attractive beaches. Today, I am going to attempt to prove you wrong. This year, in June my partner and I spent some memorable days in Cornwall. We both fell in love with this place, and one of the reasons is the gorgeous seasides.

Lands End
This was quite high in our priority for the very reason that it is the southern-most part of the UK. The coastal views are spectacular and it would make a lovely day out, taking in the surroundings, the wildlife, and why not… a picnic by the sea, listening to the waves, blissfully.

Kynance Cove
If white sandy beaches and turquoise coloured seas are on your list, this beach is just what you are looking for. To top it off, during our visit towards the end of June, there was almost no one around. This makes your swimming experience just a little bit more special. By the way, at low tide, you are able to explore the caves. Sadly, this was not the case when we visited!

Tintagel Beach
By far my favourite – I’d say I am a bit biased by this because of the myths surrounding this place, as well as the extraordinary weather we had and the view of castle ruins on top of the cliff! I admit, this was the busiest of the beach areas we visited, but this did not stop us from capturing several photos of this very photogenic place. You be the judge!

Gunwalloe Church Cove
Admittedly, this bay made it into our Travel Plan because there’s a very cute church and cemetery close by. In order to get to the beach itself, there’s a rather long wobbly walk. The panoramas made it bearable as well as the serenity the place offered once we got there. We in fact, had this beach for ourselves, which was rather surprising.

Poldark fans, Kynance Cove and Church Cove are two beaches which were used as filming locations. Can you imagine walking the same steps as Aidan Turner? Now you can! 😉

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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?

 

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.

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

One of the people who have inspired me a lot in the past years is Jamie Oliver. I have started to follow his work mainly because to me, he is one of the top chefs; not just in Europe but worldwide. He offers tons of recipes online, and sells various books with his cuisines, targeted towards healthy food as well as not too “expensive” so that us, the plain Jane and regular Joe can afford to try it out.

Along the years, Jamie has become more than just a chef. He owns his own Franchise Restaurants “Jamie’s Italian” which are magnificent by the way! As a non UK resident, I still had the same privilege; I subscribed to the gold club, and am taking advantage of several offers and features while dining in one of his restaurants.

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Furthermore, Jamie has been campaigning to instil a healthier Britain; to educate people to eat healthier, by inspiring them to cook at home rather than buying cheap eats on a regular basis; to help the nation fight obesity, by mastering a healthier lifestyle – food-wise and exercise-wise.

Last November, Jamie Oliver introduced his own recommendations to tackle childhood obesity. He suggested a new tax on sugary drinks, fairer marketing as well as a school food plan among others.

Today, 16th March 2016, in London, the parliament has decided that within the next two years the sugary drinks tax will be implemented. This is not just a win for Jamie, but Britain as a whole. It is one of the steps to fight obesity, not just in children but adults alike.

I personally think, that such tax should be present in all the world. MALTA are you listening? If fast food and soft drinks weren’t so cheap, one would think twice buying these products.

Lets fight the ticking time bomb that is obesity, together!

 

Read about Jamie’s campaigns here
Join the Revolution here

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.

Remember, Remember

…The 5th of November!!

guyfawkes
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

Tomorrow, tomorrow…

It still does not feel real that I will be in mid-air tomorrow.

For some reason, even after packing my luggage and I’m officially ‘ready to go’ it still feels unreal.

It could be, because I will be fulfilling five things from my bucket list, or something is just very, very wrong with me:

  1. I will be watching AC/DC live at Wembley Stadium
  2. I will be visiting Cardiff aka Doctor Who hot spot
  3. Going to 221, Baker Street!! (Not sure why it took me so long!!!)
  4. Hampton Court Palace – If you do not know why, you don’t know me at all!!
  5. CASTLES!

So, if you have read the above, it means that I am on my way to Cardiff and London, baby!

524 years ago, King Henry VIII was born

Wishing, a very happy birthday to King Henry VIII; my favourite king from all British history. My fascination about this king started when I was around 8 years, and I was assigned a project at school about this king. Back in those days, we did not have internet available, so we had to go to the library to look up information. During this I learned so much about the king and how much he achieved, and to this date the Tudor age is my favourite era. On the 28th of June, 1491 Henry was born, and at the age of 18, he was declared the king. If his older brother did not die, he would have never become a king, or at least not at a such young age.

There are three things that you need to know about this king:

  1. tudorsHe broke off from the Roman Catholic Church in order to establish the Church of England – all for one purpose; to get his first divorce.
  2. He remodeled the government, adored art and architecture and encouraged modern politics
  3. He  had six wives, two of which have been executed in the Tower of London:
  • He has married Katherine of Aragon, as Spanish princes and they were married for 18 years. He had to introduce divorce in England in order to be able to divorce her. His reason for this is because Katherine was pregnant six times but never has managed to give him a male heir. Only one of her babies survived, a daughter; Princess Mary. At her death bed, she wrote a letter to Henry VIII telling him that throughout her life she has no eyes for anyone but him. She was the most devoted wife he has ever had.
  • Ann Boleyn was his second wife, and their relationship lasted 3 years. She has given him another Princess by the name Elisabeth. Ann Boleyn was not very well accepted as a queen and had a lot of trouble at court. Right after a miscarriage, she was arrested and executed at the Tower of London for adultery and incest.
  • The only wife who has managed to give him a male heir was Jane Seymour. King Henry VIII was very happy and in love, as he felt that his mission was fulfilled, however when his son Edward was one year old, his wife died on him.
  • Henry has first saw his new wife on a painting by Hans Hoblein. He married Anne of Cleves and soon after he found her to be unattractive. To this, he started pursuing on of her maids of honour Catherine Howard. Anne and Henry annulled their marriage after six months, but they both remained friends. In fact, he commanded that she should be treated as the King’s sister.
  • Three weeks after his annulment, he married Catherine Howard, who was still almost in her teenage years. As such, there were rumours going on about her infidelity, about her past and ongoing love affairs. Henry was enraged about this and had her arrested at Hampton Court Palace and later beheaded at the Tower of London.
  • Kateryn Parr was Henry’s last wife. She evidently loved another (Thomas Seymour) however she could not refuse the king’s proposal. She was known for her devotion and intelligence, and she stayed with Henry until his very last breath. She did marry Thomas in the end, but irony had it that she died 15 months later, after giving birth to their daughter.

Prince Edward VI has become king at the age of 9 when Henry VIII passed away. Edward did die from a terminal illness at the age of 15. Upon which, the reign of his half sister Mary started. If you are interested in watching a TV Series about the life on Henry and his wives, I recommend the series by the name of ‘Tudors’.