Monday, 6 July 2015

Bad Birthday




If you follow me on twitter you may have seen my many tweets last week, complaining about being ill. I don't take time off work, I battle through things and get over them in my own time. Life goes on, and I try not to let things stop it, because quite frankly, I pick up bugs a lot, and if I did, I'd never get out of bed. Back to the point of this post, last week I ended up taking an entire week off work, visited the Dr's three times and ended up in hospital. I was in a lot of pain and pretty darn ill. Did I mention it was also my birthday on Saturday too? Needless to say I've had better weeks, and better birthdays. Luckily I had an amazing Dr at hospital who got to the bottom of my pain, and I'm now undergoing treatment so I'm on the mend. 

Whilst I was on strict orders to stay in bed, I had a lot of time to think, which is never good. I'm one of the world's over-thinkers and a born worrier, and when your staring at the same 4 walls for a long period of time and see everyone living their lives on social media, well it's enough to make anyone feel like a Debby Downer. Anxiety rears it's head at the worst possible times. It's only now that I've come over the hill (touch wood) and starting to recover that I've realised how exhausting and draining being ill was. This week I'm returning to work and trying to resume my life whilst continuing treatment. So I can ease myself back into my normal routine and not feel too overwhelmed, I've decided to not write any other blog posts for this week. Becoming ill happened so quickly so hopefully having a little breather will give me a chance to catch my breathe and come back with more energy than ever on 13th. In the meantime, there's plenty of posts in the archives to keep you busy until next week.

Just one other quick note, congratulations to Cassie Fairy who won my 3 year Blog Birthday Giveaway. An e-mail was sent yesterday.

xoxo
J

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Tea on a Train


east lancashire railway

east lancashire railway

east lancashire railway



east lancashire railway cream tea

east lancashire railway cream tea



After a while presents for your family can become near impossible. My Dad has everything, and my Mum wants for nothing, so as an only child, I have to stay on my toes.  After 22 years, I'm slowly starting to run out of ideas.To make matters worse, Mother's Day and my Dad's birthday are within a couple of weeks of each other. This year I decided to do a combined present and something we could enjoy as a family.

The East Lancashire Railway is located in Bury and is a fond memory of my childhood. Each Christmas we used to make an annual trip; Christmas shopping in the morning, followed by a ride on the Santa Express, an old-fashion steam engine train complete with a brass band playing Christmas songs, and a visit from the main man himself. It all sounds very Polar Express, but it is honestly magical. My Dad is actually gutted I've grown up

Anyway, after a little bit of digging, I discovered that the Railway actually do cream teas, afternoon teas, lunches and 3 course meals on selected dates. Whilst both my parents & I were very busy in the first quarter of this year, things have eased off ever so slightly, making now the perfect time to board. We opted for a cream tea on a late spring Sunday. After arriving and being shown our both, all the scones and cakes pre-laded out, we set off on our treat with a difference. When none of us could resist the temptation anymore, we tasted the beautiful offerings, all from Slattery's, the most delicious, traditional local Patissier and Chocolatier.

We travelled to the end of the line at Rottenstall, before turning round and returning back to Bury. I couldn't help feeling like a extra from a murder mystery film, and to my delight the East Lancs actually do do Murder Mystery evenings on the train! Full from all the delicacies placed in front of us, we sat back and watched the countryside roll past. After 2 hours of relaxing and revelling in this experience, it was now dusk and were greeted by dozens of wild rabbits and hares in the fields next to the tracks. The perfect ending to the perfect afternoon.

Where's your favourite place to get an afternoon treat?
xoxo
J

Monday, 29 June 2015

Ancient Greece


Crete
Crete

On our final day in Crete, we decided we hadn't seen enough of this beautiful Island. Whilst we got to see the breathtaking Venetian Port in Chania, I still felt I hadn't had a complete first taste of Greece if I didn't get a chance to see some archaeological treasures. Set on a mission, we jumped on a coach bound for Heraklion, the largest city and Capital of the Island. 

Being perfectly honest, I expected to sleep for the majority of the journey. It was 7 am and took over 2 hours, so naturally, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to catch a few extra winks so I would be bright eyed a bushy tailed. Things didn't work out like that though. The coach travelled on what I can only describe as one of the most beautiful Motorways in the world, something I thought I would never say. The Old National Road in Crete is an experience in itself, and one that you need to keep your camera ready for at all times. Winding round the Cretan coast, travelling through bays and on the edge of cliffs you suddenly understand why the Greeks had such fascinating mythology. The landscape is simply magical. 


Palace of Knosses



Just over 2 hours after leaving Gerani, we made our first stop 5 kilometres southeast of Heraklion.  The Palace of Knossos is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and is considered Europe's oldest city. The capital of Minoan Crete, in it's day the palace must have been a majestic symbol. You would be correct in thinking that Knossos was the supposed home of the Minator, the half man, half bull creature that lived in a labyrinth, although no remains of a labyrinth have been found. Saying that, that, the palace is sprawling and walking between the different chambers with a guide felt like you were in a maze, so maybe there is some truth in that myth. Fan's of Atlantis on BBC will also love to know that this is the place which the show is based on, with King Minos, Ariadne and Pasophe all part of the sites history. If you have ever been to an archaeological site before, you will know that a guide is a must have. To the untrained eye, and myself, without someone explaining the layout of the palace, you could easily confuse a court yard with a chamber.

Palace of KnossesPalace of Knosses

Palace of Knosses

Palace of Knosses

I still can't get over some of the details now, even over a month after my visit. See the timber that has been bleached by the sun? It's not timber. It's actually stone painted to look like wood. Something the Minoan's did, only one man is skilled enough to do this on the Island, and he works all year round to ensure visitors can experience the full effect. Whilst most of the rooms are in ruins, the throne room is astonishingly sound, so much so you can really imagine what it was like back then. The throne reminds me of something our of Game of Thrones. If only walls could talk. If ever you do have the chance to go, and I would definitely recommend you jump at the chance, water and suncream is a must. There is next to no shelter from the sun, and it took us nearly 3 hours to explore the place properly. 

Heraklion

Heraklion

Heraklion


After feeling like members of Time Team, we hopped back on the coach which took us into the centre of Heraklion. One thing I feel Greece does so well is incorporate the modern world with the ancient. Built high up on the Old Walls, you have an incredible view of the Port alongside one of the many statutes of Eleftherios Venizelos. There really are treasures around every corner, look at this bus stop for example! Once we had grabbed some lunch in a nice shaded cafe off the main square we headed on to our last stop.

Heraklion Archaeological Museum

Heraklion Archaeological Museum

Heraklion Archaeological Museum


Thankful to be inside, with the air conditioning, we headed to the Heraklion Archaeological Museum to look at some of the treasures found around the island.  Walking round the huge two floor building, you can't help unless your inner Indiana Jones. I'm completely in awe with Minoan jewellery and will definitely be taking inspiration when I make my own again. It's incredible what Ancient Greek's did with hand, when we struggle to achieve similar results with machines. Things were clearly made to last.

Heraklion Archaeological Museum
Heraklion Archaeological Museum
Heraklion Archaeological Museum

So that's that last of my Crete travel posts. I've been back now about a month and half and have a bad case of holiday blues. Fear not though, more travel posts will be coming later on this year, after I travel round the West Coast of the USA in September with Trek America.

xoxo
J