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Showing posts from 2016

The Weekend Before Christmas

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It's New Year's Eve and we've survived that weird time between Christmas and New Year where nobody knows quite what day it is anymore, TV programmes are all Christmas specials and one offs and you're still eating Christmas leftovers and tonnes of chocolate on a daily basis. With extra bank (public) holidays too this year as Christmas fell on a Sunday and more to come with New Year's Day also on a Sunday plus living in Scotland so benefitting from another day's holiday it really has been a slightly surreal time.

The weekend before Christmas though we went down to London to meet up with friends from Singapore who were home in the UK for Christmas with their families. Our visit did coincide with a delayed flight down plus an ongoing train strike so it was a bit chaotic getting there but once we did arrive we were able to enjoy a visit to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park on the Saturday, a wander around the lights of Regent and Oxford Streets that evening, a touristy …

Cathedrals, Champagne and a Touch of Christmas

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A couple of weekends back I went over to Reims in France with my Mum and some other members of my family for a weekend break to take the chance to see the Christmas markets and see a little of this part of France too. Being back in the UK means it's much easier to arrange things like this with family (the last time I went to a market was just before we moved out to Singapore) so I was really looking forward to it and to spending some time with them.
We set off early on Friday (I'd gone down to Kent from Edinburgh the day before), travelling via the Channel Tunnel, and arrived late afternoon. Our first afternoon/evening was spent exploring a little of the Christmas market, apparently one of the biggest in France, and then enjoying a delicious meal at a local restaurant. In fact we enjoyed the hospitality of that restaurant so much we returned for the next two nights as well culminating in them being really lovely and giving us some complimentary drinks on our final evening.

Aside…

Little-Known Places - The Scott Monument, Edinburgh

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Like everyone is at this time of year we've been super busy lately, particularly as we've had two sets of visitors, two weekends in a row. The festive season means we have had extra options for our guests to enjoy, namely the Street of Light in George Street and the Christmas Market, but this weekend after our last set of guests had left we took the chance to view Edinburgh and the Christmas hustle and bustle from a different angle. We decided to climb the Scott Monument in Princes Street Gardens, something I have to say I never knew you could even do until recently.



In case you didn't know the monument was built to honour the Scottish author Sir Walter Scott, it was built in the Victorian Gothic style and really stands out as an imposing sight on Princes Street. It's apparently the largest monument to a writer in the world. When Scott died in 1832 a competition was held to design a memorial to him. The winning design was that of George Meikle Kemp, who on his death, sa…

HMS Belfast

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In-between all the up-to-date posts I'm sharing I'm still playing catch up on some that are hideously outstanding, this one about our visit to HMS Belfast being just one of those! Over the years I've admired this warship on the bank of the River Thames many times but never actually visited it. I finally got to put that right earlier in the year. Yes I did say some of these posts are way overdue!


Our afternoon in London first began though with lunch at Borough Market which was crazy busy as we went on a Saturday. We wanted to eat quite quickly and with this in mind and the fact it was very busy selected a burger place that looked good, the Whiskey Ginger Food & Bar Co. Despite it being a swift eating decision I certainly wasn't disappointed with my burger, it hit the spot and satisfied my hunger for the afternoon.


From Borough Market we then made the short walk along the river to the entrance to HMS Belfast. HMS Belfast was launched in 1938 and remained in service unt…

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

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Christmas decorations have been appearing in and around Edinburgh for the last few weeks. The Georgian buildings around the city certainly lend themselves beautifully to being adorned with lights. Sunday saw the official switch on of the Christmas lights and whilst not planned we happened to be on George Street just as the switch on was taking place.
As switch ons go it was certainly a little more impressive than anything I've encountered before, with fireworks, carols and of course the lights. It was quite lovely to catch it all at just the right time and certainly got me feeling just a little bit festive.







After all that excitement on Sunday yesterday we spontaneously ended up at the European Christmas market in Princes Street gardens. It too is pretty impressive with stalls galore full of festive goodies, fairground rides and plenty of gl├╝hwein to enjoy too, happy to report that I enjoyed my first of the season. Now to crack on with the Christmas shopping ....



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Autumn: Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness

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I've said it before but I'll say it again, I missed seasons whilst we were living in Singapore. Even after over five years of living there it still always hit home how certain events and celebrations were intrinsically linked to a particular kind of weather (I definitely never got used to hot Christmases) and how often I lost track of time because it was perpetual summer time. I don't deny, as I sit here wearing a cardigan and feeling more than a little chilly, that it wasn't pleasant but it's also equally nice to be experiencing special events again with the weather that I grew up associating with them.
Autumn has always been a particular favourite time of year for me, probably stemming from my birthday being in late September (something I get a little less excited about these days) and then the beginnings of the build up towards Christmas. Autumn also often offers up relatively mild days with lovely blue skies which you can't help but enjoy, especially when co…