Tag Archives: UK

Kickass Bacon Pancakes

We all love our pancakes, and I prefer mine savoury. Not just savoury, but served with crispy bacon and butter. Sometimes, when I am in no rush and fancy a big breakfast, I even cook eggs and sausages. You could say, this is my version of an English breakfast.

Ingredients

2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 egg, lightly whisked

Serve with crispy, streaky bacon and butter (optional)

Method

  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl
  2. Whisk in the lemon juice, whole milk and egg
  3. Leave the combined batter in the fridge for 20 minutes
  4. In the meantime, you can heat a non-stick frying pan and start cooking the streaky bacon in its own juices, until golden
  5. Clean the non-stick frying pan, and over medium heat, start frying the batter to make these lovely, fluffy pancakes. If your pan is good, you don’t need to put oil or butter.
  6. Allow around 2 minutes on one side, flip with a spatula and wait another 1 minute. Lower the heat if you notice that the pancake colour is darker than golden.

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With this recipe I make 9 pancakes of roughly 15 minutes in diameter. Serve with crispy bacon and butter, or anything else you might fancy for your breakfast!

And, if you don’t feel like making them yourself, look for some destinations that serve pancakes for breakfast.

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Destination: Cruise

If you are on a tight budget, and would prefer knowing how much your trip will cost you before even getting to your destination, then you are probably into the idea of going on a cruise! There are several other advantages when choosing to go on a cruise.

  • A cruise is as luxurious as it gets in terms of rooms – It is as moving hotel! Picture this, you have to unpack once, yet you get to see tons of different cities and exotic places. Your room will contain perks such as air-condition, flat-screen TV, a mini-bar, wardrobe space as well as tea and coffee making facilities.image.png
  • You don’t even have to think that far ahead on where to go for drinks or meals as you have several options under one roof. Not just that, but it is included in the price! On top of that, one can enjoy the entertainment provided. From live music, to west-end shows, to quizzes, casino and even stand-up comedy! There is really something for all ages!

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  • You don’t have to do much planning – You just have to be ready to go when the ship comes in. Who doesn’t enjoy being driven around – Less stress, more fun!
  • Traveling on a cruise is most definitely more convenient – You get to enjoy whatever you fancy, move around at your convenience, and appreciate the fresh air! Highly recommended for those who are claustrophobic or afraid of flying!

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  • If you enjoy socialising, going on a cruise is by far the best way to meet new people. People tend to enjoy chatting and getting to know each other, especially when drinking is involved.

There are many destinations to choose from, and you can get on a cruise ship from any continent in the world, as long as it has a port:

  • Sail from Newcastle, UK to the Fjords and Glaciers. This is a dream destination for me when it comes to enjoying a holiday in Northern Europe. This one week long cruise would take you to Flam, Skjolden, Bergen and Olden in Norway. These picturesque villages offer beautiful sightseeing opportunities ranging from mountains, to glaciers, to even historical cobbled streets.

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Nærøyfjord, Norway
  • Leaving from Montenegro Bay in Jamaica, embark a cruise liner for the next 15 days. Enjoy the rainforests in Costa Rica, Panama, the coastline in Colombia, old towns in Cuba, followed by the white sandy beaches in Mexico. This is truly a magnificent way of appreciating the simple life away from modern, hectic America.

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Havana, Cuba
  • The eastern Mediterranean offers so much when it comes to history; A 7 nights cruise would cover stops such as Alanya in Turkey, which is the legendary hangout spot for Queen Cleopatra, the holy sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and of course Crete – famous for the Greek mythology remains.

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Alanya, Turkey
 

Personally, I like the idea of going on a cruise, to relax and sample destinations. This way, I can decide which localities are worth revisiting for a longer time period in the future.

Things a’changing

There are days, when I question things about my life, and my choices. Today has been one of these forsaken days. Actually, I have been at it since 3AM, but that is beyond my point.

I was thinking about back in 2011, when I had my first Christmas alone, living far away from my family, friends, and on top of that, in another country – How courageous was I, to take such a big leap, leaving everything and everyone behind!

Before then, I have never lived alone, and I had no idea about the kind of responsibility and effort it entails to live and make ends meet at the end of the day, and month when all bills came crawling up. I have done a great job, and learned a lot from this experience.

When I have moved back to Malta, I was not willing to move back with the family, as I enjoyed my independent life too much to let go of it. So much so, that within a year of renting, I purchased my own property.

Although this made sense financially, this has indirectly tied me to this country without even realising at the time. Now that I have settled down in such a “grown up” lifestyle, it seems to me that I have become more self conscious when taking decisions. And I shall give you an example. This week, I was meant to travel, but my plans fell apart, and I have decided to give up the holiday based on two reasons:
1. I should not travel alone at night
2. Accommodation has risen up in price (it also being Christmas holidays, and included NYE), and a last minute purchase would have costed me my entire savings for my holiday.

If I did not have my house to worry about, and if I were not such a wuss, I would be in the UK right now, enjoying cold weather, possibly fog and snow, and beautiful beautiful scenery. How silly am I? Where has all my self confidence gone? What has tarnished my spirit in such a way?

And if you are wondering why I wrote this and why I am sharing this with my readers, it is because I want to be able to read this whenever I need to, so I do not repeat such thing ever again. And also, to try to keep reminding myself that not all my decisions in the past years have been as bad.

Now to try and live life guilt free… and keep moving forward… >>>

Doctor Who Experience will close Summer 2017

…In the Dalek’s own words…. “Exterminate!”

As many of you know, I adore Wales and I frequently visit this country, for various reasons. If there was a yearly membership club (or even lifetime), I would totally get it. But today, I have read a piece of news, that has disappointed the geek in me.

dw4If you, like me are a big DoctorWho fan, you know that in the south of Wales, in Cardiff Bay, there is the Doctor Who Experience. Taking into consideration, all things Doctor Who TV Series related that have happened in Cardiff, this is by far the most appropriate location for this fan space.

This year marks the 4th year of the opening of this museum, which I have visited and enjoyed last year in Summer. Due to the agreement BBC Worldwide has made with the Council of the City of Cardiff, the sub-lease will expire in Summer 2017.

Furthermore, closing such attraction would also mean less tourists to the South of Wales, as the Doctor Who franchise and fandom can be considered as an international thing. Doctor Who Experience is currently rated as the number 6 thing to do in Cardiff on Trip Advisor with over 3,000 reviews.

I guess, this is me urging you to visit before it is too late. It is as of yet not known whether such an official place would open elsewhere, so this might be the only opportunity you have to visit such an amazing place full of props used within the TV Series, including previously used Tardis(es) on the set.

Source: Wales Online

Tintern Abbey

Tintern Abbey has been in my must-see list for years. The reason it took me this long to visit is because it is in the South of Wales, and I have mostly traveled to the North and Mid Wales as it is more accessible for me, due to Manchester and Liverpool airports being so close to my destination (also I have never driven in the UK, but I probably should…).

I would say that the Cistercian abbey of Tintern is one of the most beautiful monastic ruins, not just in Wales or the UK, but within Europe. The location of the abbey is very scenic, and the village of Tintern is tiny. In fact, after spending hours in this serene place, we walked to the village for a snack. We even watched River Wye which runs behind the abbey and through the village. The river has been an important source of water which sustained the villagers and monks, and is till useful at this day and age.

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The abbey was founded in 1131, by the lord of Chepstow and the building and its surroundings kept growing exponentially until its closing down around 400 years later. In the 13th century, Roger Bigod rebuilt the church, and as a thank you his coat of arms was put in the glass of the east window. This church forms the largest part of what is still remaining today, and is a great example of welsh architecture of the medieval period, even if in ruins.

Although it did not have much importance history wise, what is left of this abbey is a major tourist attracting in the South of Wales, as is Caerphilly Castle, Raglan Castle and Cardiff Castle in the capital city of Wales.

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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.

Flint Castle

During my last visit to North Wales in November, my boyfriend who knows how much I adore castles took me to Flint Castle. I did see some photos of the castle before we made way to it, but as soon as I saw the castle up on a green grassed hill, I realised that the photos didn’t do it justice. Although not massive in size, the location and the atmosphere was amazing. The fact that we were the only two people on its grounds made it even more special.

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A little bit of history

The castle has been erect for over 700 years now. In fact the building work began in the year 1277 and was finalised in 1284. It took 1,800 workers and masons to built the foundations and the castle itself. This castle was the first castles to be built after King Edward I invaded Wales. The design of the castle is a mix of Gothic architecture of the Medieval era together with the design of a Concentric castle – making it stronger, bigger and more luxurious than most castles built during the same time. Flint Castle’s unique fortress design was not repeated in any other castle, and as such the layout at Flint remains unique throughout the British Isles.

One important feature of flint Castle is its access to the sea. This not only speeded up construction due to the ability of transporting equipment and building materials by boats, but also helped in the success of the new fortified town which was built around the same time as the castle. This ensured that the town had fresh food supplies and provisions which prevented its occupants from starving to death during the siege warfare.


The castle is located on the North-East coast of Wales, which gives a magnificent view of the shore and Liverpool in the distance.

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Interesting facts

– In 1399 Richard II of England was held by Henry Bolingbroke at Flint Castle before returning to London
– During the English Civil Wars which started in 1642, the castle was held by the Royalists. After a 3 month siege it was then captured by the Parliamentarians in 1647. In order to prevent the castle to be used again in a conflict, the castle was set for destruction. It is because of this, that what remains today is ruins.
– Today, the castle is maintained by CADW which is the Welsh government body that conserved and promotes the building heritage of Wales. The castle can be accessed by the public for free.
– In summer 2009 the castle was temporarily closed due to anti-social behaviour as teenagers were drinking and vandalising the castle. It reopened after CADW liaised with police to improve security at the castle.

It has been 1 year!

happy anniversary with wordpress

The 30th of December 2014, was the day when I officially started off my blog. One year later, with close to 17,000 unique readers and 180 blog posts, I can happily say that I managed to keep my last year’s resolution. I have had readers from 112 countries around the world with my top 3 countries being Malta, Germany and almost a tie between US and UK.

2015, was a very interesting year for me.

I have had too many opportunities to call it quits this year… had a lot of struggles with the house, finances, friends wise, emotionally… but at this point in time, I feel happy. I have tackled every issue I have encountered; I know I have not fixed them all to their entirety but I know that eventually, I will get there. I have took the bull by the horns; I’m fighting….  and I am winning.

Finally, I feel like I am in a good place, and I am getting what I deserve.

Here is, to another new year of fighting, not giving up and chasing dreams.

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Happy New Year to all of my friends and frenemies!

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.