The older I get, the more I’m aware of life being a competition, which is ironic as it is a lot more subtle than it used to be. Back in primary school it was all about who got the highest percentage on an end of term test, or whose plant grew the most flowers. Now it is everything and anything, from friends and relationships to jobs and lifestyle. Social media most definitely doesn’t help – always encouraging you to have the most likes, friends or followers. Success has become a number, not a feeling.

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Last weekend, I was lucky enough to spend the weekend in Liverpool with a group of friends and once again came home knowing that I really need to spend more time exploring the UK. There are plenty of places abroad that I would love to visit, but there are also plenty of places in the UK that I haven’t seen and could spend plenty more time exploring. Anyway, back to Liverpool. I had only ever been once before for a Christmas shopping trip to Liverpool One. There hadn’t really been much chance for exploring, but I set that to rights this last weekend.

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One of the things that I was (perhaps naively) not expecting, was the abundance of fish restaurants in the Eastern Algarve. At least every other restaurant in the bigger towns was a fish restaurant, and that’s not to mention the fish markets as well, so not sampling fish wasn’t really an option. I have to admit, I don’t count myself as the biggest fish lover, so initially this worried me a little. However, if someday I want to travel the world I need to be more adventurous with what I eat, and I’m really glad I was. I didn’t have anything that I didn’t enjoy!

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Thursdays on social media are all about throwbacks – and with the 37th Bristol International Balloon Fiesta starting today, I can think of no better time to reminisce… My first experience of the balloon fiesta was last year, when I had no idea what to expect and to be perfectly honest couldn’t really see how hot air balloons would keep me entertained for that long. However, I had a great time and am really disappointed I won’t be there again this year!

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I’ve been lucky enough to have been away for a while on holiday and sample the delights of the Eastern Algarve. A first time visitor to Portugal, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, and it appeared that I wasn’t the only one. The people I was with, who had visited Portugal before, seemed torn between wishing there was more to do nearby (like the attractions of the Western Algarve) and being delighted with how un-touristy the area was. If you are planning on visiting, I would certainly recommend going sooner rather than later before the area becomes another loud and plastic-y tourist resort.

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