Surprises and Weekend Wanderings Around Hampstead Heath

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Sometimes you can visit somewhere you think you know a hundred times, and one day something unexpected appears there, or you see it in a whole new light.

Hampstead Heath is one of my favourite places in London for running, easy Sunday walks and squealing over all the cute dogs and wishing I had one too. There’s so many nooks and little offshoots from main paths that it is easy to follow one after the other, until you find yourself in a scenic natural spot, all to yourself. How many places in London can you do that?  Continue reading

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A Weekend at Innocent Unplugged Festival

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I recently returned from Innocent Smoothies’ Innocent Unplugged Festival, where goers are invited to turn off their phones and tune in to nature.

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Product Review: Bleed T-shirt

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I’m really excited to share the latest product in my new post. I recently discovered them at the Arch climbing wall’s shop (that place gets me every time!) and have since fallen in love with all their products. They are the slightly ominous-sounding Bleed. Don’t let the name fool you though, they’re one of the greenest companies around. Continue reading

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Getting a Green Thumb with The Conservation Volunteers

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One of the perks of my job is that once a year I get to take a day off work for volunteering. This time I was particularly lucky to take the opportunity to volunteer at the Lavender Pond Nature Park with The Conservation Volunteers.

I used to live quite close to this area, and for years I would gaze with intrigue into its gates, wondering what lay behind the old pumphouse and how to access those bridges on the pond. So when the opportunity to finally quell my curiosity arose, I pulled on my boots, tied up the hair and pulled on a pair of garden gloves, ready to get stuck in. Continue reading

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Product Review: Gregory SULA 18L Daypack

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With the sun (finally) peeking its head out of the clouds in the UK, I am already anticipating long summer days spent hiking around national parks and weekends exploring cities. To help me make the most of my explorations, Gregory packs recently let me test their new SULA 18L women’s rucksack, which offers added lumbar support and ventilation – ideal for intensely sunny days. Luckily the weekend’s sunny forecast meant I didn’t have to wait long to put Gregory’s SULA daypack to the test.

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Exploring Chislehurst Caves – London’s Subterranean History

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Located only 20 minutes’ train journey from Victoria is a complex subterranean network that has seen all periods of London’s history. Underneath the sleepy market town of Chislehurst in an incongruous residential area lies chalk-mines-turned-caves that feature everything a city could want, from a church, hospital, rooms, even cultural attractions such as a music venue and sacrificial altars. Indeed, Chislehurst Cave’s maze of caves could take equally as long as a city to explore. With this in mind, we donned our coats and grabbed a lantern, and descended into Chislehurst’s underground caverns. Continue reading

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Fitness Apps to Make Exercise Fun

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If you’re anything like me, you tend to get into an exercise rut. Trying to organise your schedule around work, family and social commitments often ends in you treading the same running routes, or doing the same series of weights, movements, etc. You name it, you’ve done it a hundred times.

To be fair, it is not necessarily bad if you’re doing the route faster or more efficiently, but your body needs to be pushed to get results and increase fitness, and over time completing the same routes over and over will offer diminishing returns, particularly if you are training for a particular event or race.

To help you get out of your exercise rut, here’s some flashy new apps that will make you forget you’re exercising. Continue reading

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Exploring Shakespeare Country in Stratford-upon-Avon, part 2

 

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After the sunshine yesterday, it seemed too good to be true that the weather would hold out for the rest of the weekend. Sure enough the clouds rolled in, but in a town with as many teahouses and pubs as Stratford-upon-Avon, that just means more opportunities to try the town’s local joints.

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Exploring Shakespeare Country in Stratford-upon-Avon, part 1

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With trains taking less than 2 hours from London and a wealth of heritage sites, cosy English pubs and hearty meals all within walking distance of each other, Stratford-upon-Avon is the ideal weekend away. Continue reading

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How to See Edinburgh on a Business Trip

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With its cultural heritage literally towering over the capital, winding paths just waiting to be explored, and generous portions of food and drink in every restaurant and pub, it’s easy to see how Edinburgh attracts so many visitors, including many on business trips.

Despite its status as one of Europe’s top capitals to visit, many of the city’s tourist sites shut by 5 pm, particularly during the winter season. To help business visitors make the most of their limited stay in the capital, here’s a few tips for making the most of Edinburgh, when you’re short on time and big on excitement!

  1. Get up early…. Rise and shine and head for a run up Carlton Hill, one of Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and nicknamed ‘The Athens of the North’. With its amalgamation of columns, towers and follies, the nickname quickly becomes apparent. For those that want a challenge, strap on your shoes and head for a circular run around Arthur’s Seat, the site of what was once an active volcano!
  2. …Or stay up late. Scotland is known for producing an impressive quality of drinks, particularly whiskies, gins and beers, and where better to sample some of the city’s finest drams that a late night in one of Edinburgh’s many drinking holes?
  3. Walk with the city’s ghosts. When it came to public executions, witch trials, plagues, you name it, Edinburgh was on top of its game. As a result ghosts and spirits are said to haunt quite a few areas of the capital. Depending on your time availability, the City of the Dead Tours offers multiple options depending on how much you want to see and how much time you have. Most of the ghost tours meet on the Royal Mile and will take visitors to the spots most commonly associated with paranormal activity, such as the vaults and Greyfriars cemetery. Just make sure you rub Greyfriar Bobby’s nose for good luck at the end of the tour – you might need it if a poltergeist has taken a dislike to you!
  4. Go souvenir shopping and enjoy a whisky tasting session at the same time. Many of the whisky shops on the Royal Mile stay open late and offer samples of whisky before you buy. Not only that, the staff are a fountain of knowledge and can offer a variety of suggestions depending on your taste preferences and budget. Forty pounds will buy you a good bottle of whisky, which is perfect for reminiscing over your trip at the end of a long day.
  5. Not all who wander are lost….in Edinburgh. In fact, it’s particularly difficult to get lost in Edinburgh, what with all those enormous landmarks towering over you for reference. Regardless, Edinburgh was made for wandering and getting lost on mini-adventures. Its steep staircases, winding roads and nooks and crannies are bursting with unique sites, shops and bars, just waiting to be discovered. The city also retains a large amount of its heritage, meaning the quirky road names, symbols and plaques offer a history lesson all on their own. Here you can discover where Alexander Graham Bell was born, learn about the development of Scottish Parliament, and even stroll past the cafe where JK Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter novel, to name a few!

Have YOU got any tips for seeing Edinburgh outside of office hours? List them below!

 

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