I don’t like fizzy drinks. Never have done, and to be honest highly doubt that I ever will. This can make drinking in a pub problematic. Don’t get me wrong, I love cozy little pubs which serve good food, but I don’t like beer. I also don’t like anything which has a fizzy mixer. This means I usually end up drinking gin and orange (one of my favourites but can be very expensive depending on where you go) or wine. And if you are the only person drinking wine when everyone else has a pint of real ale, it makes you feel a bit pretentious. Cocktail bars are also great. But can also have a menu filled with fizzy options, and can sometimes be very loud on a night out. Taking all this into account, I can’t understand why last night was my first experience of a wine bar, but…

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Someone once told me that in times of stress you need to: “Act like a duck. On the surface you look calm, but underneath everything is paddling like mad!” Those words have stayed with me and are something that I have aspired to, although it’s not always easy. I’ve always got stressed quite easily. Nowhere near as bad as some people I know, but I do sometimes feel as if I’m on a constant treadmill and can’t get off. I also tend to take it personally and to heart if things go wrong, even if it’s not my fault. For the past few years, my new year’s resolution has been to take a more relaxed approach to life, and needless to say I haven’t managed to achieve it yet.

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When I was younger, my Mum used to make me sit down and write thank you letters to anyone who had bought me anything for Christmas or for my birthday. And it wasn’t enough to just say thank you. I had to write about what I was doing/going to do with any money that had been given, why I liked whatever gift it happened to be, and if that didn’t fill the space – what I had done to celebrate. I hated it. The best bit used to be getting to use the notecards and stationery that I didn’t normally have use for.

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Recently I celebrated a birthday, and as I know no better way to celebrate than with good food, it was time for me to pick out a restaurant to visit with James. We’d both been to 31 Castlegate before, and although we usually like to try somewhere new, we had been impressed on our previous visit. Of course, the fact that I received my starter and main course for free on account of it being my birthday didn’t go amiss either…

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After my recent post on York, it’s only right that I should also show support for Cumbria – another community which was recently hit by devastating floods. Cumbria is another place close to my heart, being where I was brought up, and as a result here are a few highlights:

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