There’s no place like York

I lived in York for four years, and it remains my favourite city in the UK. I read recently that “you belong in three places: the place you grew up, the place where you went to college and the place where the person you love is” and so it’s not surprising that York will always be an important place to me. It was the place where I studied, the place where I took my first graduate job, and it was the city where James and I met. However, I still had a nervous sense of anticipation about my recent visit. It was over 18 months since I’d last been to the city and a lot can change in that time. Part of me was worried that going back would feel so much like going home that I’d want to leave Bristol immediately, and a larger part of me was concerned…

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Brunch at Yurt Lush, Bristol

I’ve said it before, and I’ll happily say it again – brunch is one of my favourite meals of the day. Associated by me with lazy weekends, exploring new places or seeing friends, brunch is a fun and tasty treat. I could quite happily spend every Saturday going to different trendy cafes and trying out their brunch options. However, my money would soon run out and if I did it all the time it wouldn’t quite feel as special, so for now it’s still an occasional thing. A friend coming to Bristol for the weekend was just the excuse I needed to try somewhere new and when a colleague suggested Yurt Lush to me, I decided not to look too much further.

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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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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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