Rangitoto Island: Our Final Day in New Zealand

It’s over a year since I left New Zealand and I have no idea where the time has gone. In some respects it feels like only yesterday that we were backpacking around the two islands and seeing some incredible sights, but it also feels like a lifetime ago. There’s still one very special story from my time in New Zealand that I haven’t shared yet, and so here it is just over one year on.

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An Autumn Weekend in Bakewell, The Peak District

Take 12 friends, who all have different jobs, different leave entitlements, who all live in different parts of England (and one currently in France), and try to organise a weekend together. It’s a little bit of a challenge. However, with a bit of discussion it was decided that autumn would be the best time to go. A weekend in October was selected, and then the next challenge was picking a location. It needed to be somewhere that wasn’t too far to drive from Cumbria, the North East, Bristol or London. It needed to have access to a train station, and possibly be near an airport. However we also wanted somewhere reasonably rural so that we could go out for walks in the countryside. Eventually it seemed like the Peak District was the place to go, and Bakewell offered us the opportunity to stay in the beautiful Haddon Villa.

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Taking Time Off

When was the last time that you had time off? Not just a day off work, but a day off from everything? When was the last time you sat around in your pyjamas all day watching films? Or if that’s not your style, when was the last time that you had a day free of plans written in your diary, or chores listed on a to-do list? With any luck, you’re reading this and wondering when I’m going to get to the point, because actually you have plenty of time to do those things. However, I suspect you’re more likely to be nodding in resigned agreement, acknowledging the fact that yes it is too long since you had a day off. There are plenty of buzzwords around at the moment which deal with concepts such as slow living, wellbeing and self-care. They’re in the media, they’re topics of conversations on…

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Christmas Markets: How to plan the perfect winter break

Christmas markets have fast become my favourite way to prepare for Christmas. The food, the stalls, the decorations, the gifts… there’s nothing quite like a Christmas market to put me in the mood for 25 December. For the past few years I have tried my hardest to go to one (last year I even went to one in Brisbane!) as I know it helps break up that long slog between the summer and a break at Christmas. A Christmas market can be a really good excuse to explore somewhere new and it’s also a really good way to get unique gifts for your family and friends.

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A day trip to Stourhead

Stourhead is one of those National Trust properties that I somehow knew about, despite having never previously been. Its gardens are world-famous and I instantly recognised them from photos that I had seen elsewhere. What I hadn’t realised was that it’s not actually that far from Bristol, and is an easy day trip if you have access to transport. As soon as I had twigged this, I was keen to dust of my National Trust membership card which had been languishing in my purse for a while, and explore somewhere new.

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