The Great Escape

**I’m sharing this purely to reminisce happier memories. If you’re struggling with or finding isolation hard than I wouldn’t recommend reading or looking at the pictures on this post; due to the fact that I do lust a little over our experience camping in Wales and the great outdoors in general. I apologise if this isn’t the content that you want to be consuming at the moment however, I just have been meaning to share my photos for awhile and this is the first chance that I have had. Enjoy!

Last summer, my boyfriend decided that it was time for us to take the next big step – investing in our first property… a tent. Maybe that’s a bit anti-climactic for you reading this but for us it was terribly exciting. The only problem was trying to then find a slot of time available in both our calendars to be able to get away and use it.

Although, I am chronically ill and very much reliant on those around me, I still try to do what I can. As any Spoonie knows, pushing our bodies is about the worst thing we can do however, we do sometimes fall prey to it and it inevitably comes back to bite us in the ass. I feel like that had been me for much of last year. Just about the time when I felt like I was getting my head above water, I thought I could do something and then bam -back to hibernation I had to go. And I won’t go into the details of my living arrangements here but after going through the motions of a nomadic lifestyle, along with the emotions that come with that I was beyond ready to get away.

Me and the Bearded Boyfriend toyed around with a lot of different areas to take the new tent to but we quickly decided to head back to Brecon Beacons, Wales. Somewhere that is both familiar to us and somewhere we both love. So, late August we played Tetris: Car Edition and set off for Grawen Farm.

Grawen is a quaint little farm (not sure if it’s still working) that is in a great location, being just down the road from Merthyr Tydfil and Brecon but also in the shadow of Pen Y Fan, which makes it the perfect place to pitch a tent. The farm has showers and toilets open all hours, a plethora of helpful info for visits (including those ever-important takeout numbers) as well as the friendly folks who run it. It is quite honestly the perfect place to recharge.

It’s the best thing about camping, the remoteness of it, the rawness of living, the lack of any m!ndfucks

Bearded Boyfriend, 09.07.17

One of the things that I love about camping is how grounding it is. In the fast-paced world that we live in, it is so easy to get caught up with and influenced by insignificant things. When I go camping, or not even camping but to the Brecon Beacons in general, my phone stops working, human contact becomes few and far between and through this I’m reminded of what truly matters. It reminds me of the small, inconsequential things that add to the quality of my life regardless of how silly they sound. Like going to bed in a warm and safe place. The first sip of tea in the morning and the pleasure of reading a book without being disturbed by notification sounds or the worries that I could be spending my time doing something else. Being re-introduced to the art of conversation, along with bickering and then cracking up laughing at each-other. The pleasures of driving around aimlessly until we come across a pub to eat at. Randomly pulling over to explore something we’ve only just noticed or to simply pause and take in the view. It’s pure bliss.

Camping will always hold a certain magic for me and, while I can’t wait to explore new places, I know the Brecon Beacons will have a place close to our hearts.

Cheerio for now!

Photo Diary | Bodiam Castle

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Places like Bodiam Castle, the sites that hold remnants of the past, always seem to capture my heart. The places you go and explore, and can’t help but feel immersed in history. It’s all around you and you feel a sense of pride that it’s been protected for all these years.

While wandering around these sites, I think everyone often thinks about what the place would have looked like entirely intact however part of me also wonders about what it will look like in a few hundred years time. Will it still be protected? Will humanity respect these sites in the same way we do today? Or will the history that we know now have vanished and been replaced with other places and sites? It’s a thought-provoking process but nevertheless makes these sites a little more special.

Cheerio for now! 

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Whitby | 17

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After our few days in Nott’m, we headed up to stay with some friends in Middlesborough and then to Whitby on my birthday. Now the weather at Whitby was pretty grim. It was on and off drizzling and a van went through a puddle, soaking my boyfriend -not ideal (I briefly mentioned in my Wales posts that he gets crabby in the rain, they just don’t mix well). But despite this, we had a great day. 

Whitby is one of my favourite places. I love the harbour, the cobblestone streets with wonky old buildings and alleyways with shops poked here and there. I love the fact that everyone up’t Nor’ is so friendly, and you can chat with anyone without having weird looks thrown your way.

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We headed towards the Whitby abbey steps straight away. (Side note: wheelchairs and cobblestones do not mix well -they give you the worst back pain ever!). We actually picked up a bike lock in Nott’m for my wheelchair and used it a few times before abandoning my wheelchair at the bottom of the Whitby Abbey steps. I knew I wanted to give getting up the steps a pop, but I also knew I wouldn’t be able to walk to them and then do the stairs, so using my wheelchair was necessary. Conveniently enough, the steps have benches to the side of them every 10 stairs or so: the perfect rest breaks to not only rest my legs but also check out the amazing view of the harbour town. 

Once at the top, we went through the churchyard, taking in the ornate old tombstones and the view of the North Sea. We then headed on up to the Abbey, reading a little bit about the ruins before heading up to them. 

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Whitby Abbey is so pretty. It’s the type of place you wander around while wondering how it would have looked centuries ago and what people would have thought about it back then. What’s left of the abbey is essentially part of the shell of the original building. There are signs and illustrations showing what it may have looked like in the 13th Century, and they tell you quite a bit about how it would have been used too. 

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After a quick trip to the gift shop and a lot of spent pennies, we headed for some food and went to some shops before heading home. Whitby was an amazing day, and I’m so glad we got to go there on my actual birthday. 

 
Cheerio for now! 

Nottingham | 17

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In mid-October, we took a trip up’t Nor’ for my birthday. We planned to stay with some friends in Middlesborough and then head to Whitby on my actual birthday, but with my birthday falling on a Wednesday we decided why not extend the trip and go up a few days earlier. Trying to find a halfway point we landed on Nott’m for our destination and spent a few days there exploring before heading further north for my twenty-second birthday.

While in Nottingham we did a ton of things. We went to the Goose Fair, the Justice museum, saw the sky mirror, Lord Byron’s house, the Robin Hood statue, ate the worlds best pizza and doughnotts: as well as exploring some pretty cool shops and restaurants. Oh, and I got my nose pierced! …something I have wanted for such a long time but never actually gone through with it.

Nottingham was an amazing place, and somewhere I know I’ll want to revisit again and again. There were so many other places and restaurants where we didn’t get to explore or experience so another trip is definitely needed.

Cheerio for now! 
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Wales | Where We Went | Part 3

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Our third day in Wales started with a trip to get breakfast, followed by us going on the Brecon Mountain Railway. The train was a steam train with rickety carriages which were furnished with wooden benches and wide windows to take in the beautiful views. We passed the Pontsticill Reservoir and had two stops to our ride. One at Torpantau station and the other at the Steam Museum. 

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The Brecon Mountain Railway also had a workshop you can look in, which smelt exactly like my grandfathers’ garage and had my heart a flutter. It’s an oily, rusty metal scent that if I could bottle into a perfume, I totally would! 

After our time on the railway and a quick stop in the gift shop for postcards, we headed off to find Sgwd yr Eira (a waterfall). I should also mention that by this point it was starting to rain and as we started our trail it got heavier and heavier. With a boyfriend becoming crabbier by the minute from the rain and both of us being soaked through, we decided to turn back. After drying off our clothes and having a warm shower, we had some hearty grub and called it a night.
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We had heavy rain for the majority of that night and had to pack up while it drizzled; but even so, it was probably my favourite night of the trip. There’s something pretty soothing about falling asleep listening to the rain. Although we still had a day left and had thought about visiting some areas on our way home, such as Cardiff or Tenby, we decided it was best to simply pack the car and start heading home. 
Cheerio for now! 

Wales | Where We Went | Part 2

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Our second day was a whole day to explore wherever we wanted. We got ready for the day and headed off for a waterfall walk. A walk that was supposed to take fifteen minutes but thanks to me, took us a good few hours. The walk included a lot of photo and boomerang opportunities and, I mean, it would have been wrong if I didn’t take advantage of those opportunities. As a result, I have a ton of photos, so this post (like other posts about our time in Wales) is going to be more photo heavy in content.

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Later that day we decided to check out an all you can eat buffet in Merthyr Tydfil and then turned in for the night. 

Stay tuned for Part 3,

Cheerio for now! 

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Wales | Where We Went | Part 1

In August my boyfriend, James, and I went camping in the Brecon Beacons, Wales. We went for a long weekend, staying Friday night through to Monday morning. We stayed at Grawen Caravan and Camping site, where we pitched a six-person tent on the Friday and made our home for the next three days. *Unfortunately, I didn’t take any ‘tent tour’ shots so I’ll just go on to show you what we got up to in the land of Wales.

Our first day was spent waking up before dawn and setting off for our destination a little after four am. Our journey was filled with Spotify playlists, podcasts, and tired ramblings accompanied by long silences. We crossed the Severn Bridge a couple hours later and quickly found ourselves in Merthyr Tydfil, a short drive from our campsite. I’m going, to be honest, our first day was mostly us getting things together like food, fire wood and setting up for our first night. It also included me napping (something that is unheard of).

We spent our first evening checking out a waterfall, wandering around Brecon in torrential rain and then ducking into a quaint, local pub for some dinner; where we quite possibly ate the best pub food I have ever had. We had hoped to later make a fire that night, however, I was far too tired and the weather too damp; so we simply called it a night.

Stay tuned for more, 
Cheerio for now! 
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Sunday | Dreamland, Margate

As I mentioned in my post, a colourful gem, a few weeks back we spent a day exploring the little lanes and shops of Margate ending up in Dreamland. Having never experienced it or any real arcades or seaside attractions, I didn’t know what to expect. Maybe some dodgy-looking rides that appeared to be anything but safe. Instead, it turned out to be an amazing day. Probably one of the best days of this Summer. 

There are many classic rides and attractions at Dreamland, including a Ferris wheel, half a dozen food trucks, and a roller rink. We only went on two rides; the Ferris wheel and Waltzer, but it was amazing. I have to admit, I was slightly spaced out after being on the waltzer but I managed to survive without throwing up so I’d deem it a success! 
 
I had never been on a Ferris wheel before so I was super excited to go on it but also really nervous. I never realised how sensitive the carts were to every single movement you make -so of course, I was slightly unnerved when my boyfriend started moving around. 
Each attraction, whether it be a ride, sculpture, or even just a piece of architecture, has a sign board informing visitors of the attraction, its’ origins and how it is used today. 
On our way out of Dreamland, we headed out on a less beaten track. A pathway heading around the outskirts of the attractions, taking us past some more historic elements of the resort which I assume many do not realise are even there. We passed by original architecture from the Victorian period, along with learning how, when and what the land was acquired for. I must admit, that the sign boards for each attraction within the park were something that I really enjoyed. You never find yourself wondering about the origins of funfair attractions, so it was refreshing to add a historical element to what is essentially a day of adrenaline and laughter. 
On the way out we also headed into the arcade and roller disco. This long room also holds a couple of eateries and a Morelli’s ice cream stall. There is a small seating area as well but it is, of course, not as large as the actual parlour in Broadstairs. Nevertheless, an extra lovely touch to the park. 
 
The main thing I loved about Dreamland was that it wasn’t overfull with new, modern techy attractions but rather normal fun-fair rides accompanied by post-war music and a kitschy decor which had my retro heart a flutter. I loved this restored, vintage vibe the park had about it and I think many others enjoy this quality too on their Summer days out. 
 
Have you visited Dreamland? What did you think? 
Cheerio for now! 

Sunday | A colourful gem

A few weekends ago, my boyfriend James and I, took an impromptu trip to Margate for the afternoon. I say impromptu, we knew we wanted to catch a certain event but what we anticipated to be the highlight of our day really wasn’t too great at all. Instead, we took a wander through the small roads of Margate, checking out hidden gems until we ended up at Margates’ Dreamland. 
 
Just as we parked the car, I noticed this colourful yard with all sorts of odds and ends from the fairgrounds hey-days. We had to check it out, and with my camera at the ready, we sauntered into the yard to explore. 
 
*Please note, this day I decided to try out the manual settings on my camera, therefore some these photos are a little overexposed or the colour settings aren’t quite ‘there‘; but ultimately, I’m happy I gave it a go. 
This place was without a doubt the most bizarre place I think I have been too, but also the coolest yard I have ever seen. Everywhere you looked there was something even more crazy and colourful than before. There were some amazing finds in there -which if I was at a point in my life where I had my own house with a nice garden, I’d totally buy a lot of kitschy things from this gallery. 
Yes, this place did have some creepier qualities but it was also full to the brim with quirkiness. It was the type of place I would have loved to play hide and seek in when I was a kid and it sent my nostalgia for fun fairs sky-high. And yes -it even had its’ own resident fortune teller! 

Ultimately, it was a great find and added to what became a great day exploring Margate. As I briefly mentioned above, we ended up visiting Dreamland where I, of course, took lots of photos. They will be up here soon, so stay tuned! 

Cheerio for now! 

The Shell Grotto, Margate

I first found out about The Shell Grotto in Margate through this post, from Sophie Davies at The Private Life of a Girl. Reading about it and seeing her images made me instantly want to visit this little hidden gem. I have visited Margate since I was young, and my beach hut is on the bay just round from Margate beach so I couldn’t help but wonder –how haven’t I heard of it before now? And then a special little Sunday rolled around and I got to finally experience The Shell Grotto. Okay, so it wasn’t special but it was one of those ‘no plan’ days which turned out to be a pretty great day.

The Shell Grotto is a picturesque cave around 100ft long, entirely adorned with shells. It was discovered in 1835 but to this day nobody knows when or why it was built. With no mentioning of it in any historic documents, we don’t even know who created it. The grotto consists of the North passage you use to enter the grotto, the Rotunda, the Dome, the Serpentine Passage, and the Altar Chamber. From the moment you enter the Rotunda, you are in the presence of 4.6 million shells (wonder how long it took to collect them all). Of course, since the Grotto was opened to the public in 1838, and the site is too small to prevent visitors from touching the shells, there are signs of wear and tear throughout the site; however, this doesn’t prevent you from enjoying the beauty of the site.

Although we do not know anything about its’ purpose, and at this point, we will probably never get any real answers, I do think this is what draws people to this attraction. Because of its’ unexplained existence, it is shrouded in mystery and I think that is what people find themselves drawn to. There is so much we know these days and very little in our world that is undiscovered. It’s nice to go somewhere, experience it, ask your questions and ponder over your theories; all while you wander through its’ chilly passages.