New Years Resolutions

Hello

Its been a while I know but it’s a new year so a fresh start.

Every year I set myself resolutions that I will never be able to keep and by the end of the year I feel crap as I hadn’t kept to them.

This year I am setting myself resolutions that are realistic and if I don’t achieve them it’s not the end of the world.

Get into London more 

After visiting London recently I realised how much I missed venturing out and visiting museums. This year I am going to attempt to make it more into London and explore.

Stop worrying about your weight 

Every year I say I will lose x amount of weight and I never achieve it as Christmas takes all the hard work away with indulging in everything. This year I am not going to worry and just be happy with how I feel.

Learn a new skill

I have been saying for ages that I am going to do some short courses and this year I am aiming to take as many as I can find time to do.

Take your holiday throughout the year not all at once just before it runs out 

This has happened to me now and it turns out I may not be able to take all of it anyway. This year I am going to take small city breaks and plan one big holiday.

Spend a little bit more for something nicer

This year I’m aiming in investing in nicer quality of clothing , make up and skin care that will last that bit longer. I get reactions from cheaper make up and skin care anyway so this is just something I am continuing but I have noticed that in the past year I am looking at better quality products that will last longer and I would get more joy out of using.

I could continue adding to the list but then the more I add the more likely I would not keep half of them.

Bye for now

Sarah

Edinburgh

I have been in Edinburgh since Saturday and have started to write down what I think is worth seeing/ doing in Edinburgh during this fringe festival.

First up Arthurs Seat, we set off around 9.30 ( we got back to the flat around 11 so we were happy with our time) and started to feel like this would be fine we were on a man made path why were people acting like this was a big deal. Boy was I wrong the path splits into the man made one for a different easier less impressive hill and the dirt path to Arthurs Seat. It is a trek but worth it as the view is amazing if you have a look at the instagram you will see its beauty and how much of Edinburgh you can see on a good clear day, the only thing I would recommend would be to wear sensible shoes like trainers or walking boots I saw one guy go and attempt it in flip flops I’m sure he is regretting that now.

Next up  Ahir Shah at the Laughing horse @ Cabaret Voltaire , I saw he was recommended by Iain Stirling on Twitter (I will also try and go see Iain later this week hopefully) put him on my to see list and didn’t think anything about it till yesterday when getting in from Arthurs seat my brother tells me he is also going to see him but we have to get there early as it would be a full room. After running around madly packing for the day we left and agreed to meed fifteen minutes before the show to get a seat, word of advice the entire pub pretty much was there to see him and half of them had already got the seats and the rest were now standing, next time I would have get there thirty minutes early just to get a seat. We all ended up sitting on the floor in front of the stage as that was the only space available. If you like left wing politics and excellent comic timing you will love him also he does a bit where he is a tree which is brilliant , I already want to go again but know I will never get a seat as he is that popular. But don’t worry if you miss him at the fringe as he is doing the same show in London at Soho Theatre early October, I feel I will be dragging my friends to see him as he is becoming one of my new favourite comedians.

After my mum, brother and friend ran out to get to another show me and my dad wondered around Edinburgh to get to our next show Mark Thomas at the Traverse. After a good pale ale we all found each other and and went in, I have never seen Mark Thomas before but my parents love him so I knew I would like it, I am so glad I saw this show not knowing what I was walking into was a nice surprise also if you love left wing politics you will also love Mark Thomas as this show is about his time as a student supporting the striking miners in 1984. With audience participation and various characters Mark tells a story about what is the truth and what is a fabricated lie to make a story good. If you have the chance to see him please do as you will not be disappointed.

 

Bye for now

Sarah

Day 3 and 4 in Dublin

Hello

On the evening of day 2 we were knackered and headed right to bed, we decided that night that we would try and see all the docklands stuff as the tour bus had passed the area and it looked interesting. After a lazy morning we headed into town to find the famine statues, after walking for what felt forever we asked someone for directions to find out we had passed the statues and had to turn around and walk all the way back to Custom House.

The statues were beautiful depicting different parts of the famine and how it affected those involved. As we  were right by Custom House we popped in, the building which was used in the 18th century was very grand with high ceilings and was partially rebuilt due to the 1921 war of independence, the building is partially restored with a different stone  so half of the building is in white stone and the restored part is in a grey irish stone.

 

Once we were finished looking through Custom House we walked back towards Temple Bar and found the National Gallery, I do not know a lot about Irish painters so I found it fascinating they also had Rooftops in Paris by Van Gogh which I had never seen before ,a Monet and work from some of his students. My favourite pieces were Early Morning in Connemara and Dawn, Connemara by Paul Henry and Irish artist who focused on Irish landscape portraits.

After wondering around town for a while we decided to pop into the tourist office by Trinity College for suggestions on how to spend our last day and a half. They were very helpful suggesting we take a half day trip out to the countryside but we decided on the Irish Whisky Museum which I found fascinating. The tour gives you a history of whisky while traveling through different room depicting a significant time in Irish whisky. At the end you get a tasting and told information about each of the whiskies and how they differ from the previous one. If you are over 18 and have an afternoon free I would go check it out it is right by the Trinity tourist office.

On our final half day we stayed on our side of the river so we would be close to the hotel. After a relaxing morning of packing we wondered down the road and went to a 1916 rebellion exhibition  which was at the ambassador theatre that had been taken over. It had a short documentary playing and a more in depth look into the events of 1916 and artifacts from the Easter Rising. On the 50th anniversary the men of the rebellion were celebrated so the 100th anniversary celebrated the women of the rebellion .  As we walked round the attraction each important member of the events were given a detailed description of how they were involved and what their outcome was. The only survivors were the women all the men were killed at Kilmainham Gaol, as you continued through the museum you came across recreated scenes of importance from the rebellion  like the post office, the gaol and moore street.

Afterwards we moved onto the Writers Museum based just round the corner from where we had stayed. Situated in an 18th century mansion each of the rooms had work from famous writers and some lesser know writers as well. Each room had images of the writers, their work and some personal letters or objects that were significant to them. Once we left it made me want to read some of the work of Beckett and Joyce now having some background knowledge about them and their work.

I loved this trip and would love to go back soon and try and get to the countryside parts, now I have got the holiday blues and have already started to plan my next trip this time to somewhere sunny hopefully.

Bye for now

Sarah

 

Day 1 and 2 in Dublin

Hello

Sorry it’s been a while but it’s been worth it as I was working and planning a four day trip to Dublin.

I left on Sunday and came back Thursday evening,  this part of the blog covers the first half of the trip.

As soon as we landed we jumped into a cab and checked in and dropped our bags off we went and grabbed a bite to eat at Murray’s Bar and Grill which had live music and irish dancing.

On the first day we planned our day and headed out to Trinity College and started to have a look around after deciding to opt out of the guided tour and just wonder around ourselves. In the end we went to The Book of Kells and the Long Room. The book of Kells is the four books of Gospels of the New Testament in Latin each decorated differently due to the time period. Once we had finished with The book of Kells we moved onto the Old Library which consist of a Long Room full of Library’s oldest books stretching almost 65 metres.

 

 

We then moved onto Dublin Castle and the Chester Beatty Library. We ended up paying for the tour of Dublin Castle as it covered the medieval part of the castle, the chapel and the state apartments, if you do the self guided tour you only see the state apartments so it was worth paying a little extra to see the other parts of the castle. On the tour you start with the medieval section showing you parts of the castle that are still remaining and also the black pool that gave Dublin its name. Once we finished with the medieval part we then moved onto the chapel which is no longer in use, next up was The State Apartments that are still in use and close when need for state purposes. Within the grounds of the castle there is the Chester Beatty Library which is full of exhibitions full of  Asian, the Middle Eastern, North African and European artwork, manuscripts, rare books, prints and drawings.

 

Once we were done with the Castle we walked to  Christ Church Cathedral  which was beautiful with a crypt underneath it. The Cathedral has been used in many films and tv shows including the BBC drama The Tudors which had a display of their costumes in the crypt. After the Cathedral we walked to Kilmainham Gaol which we found out was sold out and you could only buy tickets from the Jail when it opened.

 

On our second day we grabbed breakfast and jumped on a tourist bus and went to Kilmainham Gaol and queued for almost three hours to get a time slot. While we were waiting for our time slot we walked across the road and went to the Irish Museum of Modern Art. If you end up getting tickets for the jail and you have some time to kill check out the museum. As you walk through the jail you are given information about the 1916 easter rising and those involved. Each cell has the persons name above the door many of the cells held people involved in the easter rising all apart from one were executed the only person who survived was a woman who was moved to an English prison and years later was released.

 

After the Gaol we walked to the Guinness Storehouse, we had heard mixed reviews about whether it was worth the 20 euros but after reading many reviews online we decided to give it ago. Starting on the ground floor you are given a brief introduction to Guinness and how to move around the building. The building is built like a Guinness glass so you are walking up in a spiral to eventually the top floor which has a 360 degree glass window so you can see all of Dublin at all angles. The museum covered how Guinness is made what goes into it and what machinery is used and how it has evolved over the years. The part I liked the best was the floor dedicated to the old adverts and seeing how Guinness’s branding has changed over the years. On the fourth floor you learn to pour the perfect pint and can then take your pint up to the top floor and drink it while looking at the beautiful view. On the way back to the hotel we jumped on the tour bus and finished the tour to our hotel got changed and made a plan for the evening.

I have also more photos on my instagram from the trip and will put up a post about the last day and a half later this week.

Bye for now

Sarah

 

Marrakech Part 2

Hello

As I am writing this now I am wrapped up warmly at home wishing I was back in the Moroccan heat.

Day 3

After a lovely day out in the jewish quarter and the Saadian tombs we came back to the Riad and got ready for the evening meal as it was my mums birthday. We went to Le Jordin which was recommended to us through the guide book. After a wonderful meal we went back and packed for out trip to the Atlas mountains the next day.

Day 4 and 5

To break up the trip with a to the mountains was perfect as it was the complete opposite to the city. After an hour and a half drive we arrived and had unpacked we ate lunch and made plans for what to do that afternoon.

We decided on a hike to a local viewing point with a local guide. Unfortunately one of our group was ill so she did not join us for the hike, once we got to the top of the hill and I stopped whining we took in the view which was incredible. When we returned to the hotel all muddy and feeling sore we had dinner, played bananagram and went on the terrace to look at the stars and the milky way.

The next day we split into two groups one who went on a longer hike than the day before and one who stayed at the hotel, I stayed at the hotel and myself and my mum walked down to the next main village to have a look around. After lunch we packed up and went back to the Riad to find dinner waiting for us.

Day 6

As we wanted to try and fit everything in over the next few days we headed to the Ben Youseff Madrassa and the Maison de la Photographie to have a look around. The Madrassa was covered in beautiful art work on the ceilings and decoration around doors, windows and floors. With such high ceilings the rooms were the height of two stories covered in intricate designed  brick work. After admiring the architecture we moved on to the photography museum which was three floors full of beautiful pictures by Moroccan artists.

When returning to the Riad we decided to split up again into groups some stayed at the Riad and the others went to the market again. Walking through the market was different when I was with my parents no one seemed to bother us or shout after us so we were able to shop and not feel harassed. In the evening we had a meal together and played games.

Day 7

To mix up the sights mum booked a trip to see the Ourika waterfall. Two members of the group weren’t feeling great, so the group was split up again. After a long car journey we made it to the waterfall and found a guide to take us up the waterfall. I would recommend getting a guide as we almost didn’t and very happy that we did. Once we got to the waterfall we had some tea climbed a bit more and then headed back to have some lunch. After having lunch on the river we jumped into the car and headed back to the city to join the rest of our poorly group.

Day 8

As it was my mums birthday on Sunday some of us treated her to a Hammam and massage which my dad joined her for so us kids had a lazy morning at the Riad just reading and hanging out.

Once my parents returned we had lunch and went back to the market to find items for the house and ourselves. After looking some Funduqs which were stabling for traders which have been converted into artisan workshops we found one selling good quality leather bags after half an hour of umming and urring four of us walked out very happy with bags or satchels. As we were heading back to the Riad we found a shop that sold ceramics that was just about to close that had a jug that we had been looking for all holiday after some haggling we walked out with the jug.

Day 9

As it was our last day we got up early and tried to cram in as much as possible First up was the Bahia Palace which was full of gardens and beautiful decoration in each room. With intricately decorated fountains to wooden door panels which were decorated  with paintings of flowers. Once we finished at the palace we rushed off to the Koutoubia Mosque the outside was beautifully designed with hidden speakers lining the top half of the mosque so call to prayer was heard. As we were not allowed in the mosque we went to the gardens next to the mosque and had a look around had a drink and wondered back to the Riad to have lunch and then catch a plane.

If your planning a holiday soon look into Marrakech the weather was amazing and the food was superb. Although the Souks were not as enjoyable we found some smaller ones hidden in the city which we returned to multiple times. I would defiantly return again as I could look at the architecture and gardens all day. If you want to see any pictures from the trip have a look at my instagram or twitter.

Bye for now

Sarah

Marrakech Part 1

Hello

As a treat my parents have taken the family on holiday for a well needed break in the lovely hot Marrakech. We are here for eight days so I will split the trip into parts otherwise this post will go on forever.

Day 1

After getting up at three to get a cab to Gatwick we made it to Marrakech and once settled we started to explore the city.

First up the vegetable market, streets full of stalls selling fruit and vegetables packed to the brim on stands. As we walked through the streets people approached us trying to sell us what was on their stalls.

Continuing to the market square we passed the old city full of traders selling clothes, bags, spices and beautiful lamps and bowls all brightly coloured all intricately decorated . Walking through the souk each merchant was yelling that we should come to them that they were cheaper than their neighbour. Finally we made it to the market square as it was a Friday it was quiet as it was the siesta which is when everything closes for three hours so everyone can go home eat and sleep. Again the merchants approached us trying to sell hats, baskets and more spices.

The market felt different from the souk, as not as many men were shouting after us although the women started to call us to look at their stalls. After having some lunch at Cafe de Spice(we found it on Trip Adviser) which I would  recommended with a varied selection from classic Moroccan dishes to more Western meals. The staff were lovely and also recommended other restaurants in the area and offered to make the bookings for us to save us time.

We moved on and continued to look around the market and the area surrounding ending up in a Hammam which is a Moroccan spa to look around. Ending the day we walked back to our Riad (Moroccan house) and found a restaurant that had roof  top seating so we could look at the view.

Day 2

After having a Moroccan breakfast at the riad we called a taxi and went to the new town which is the more modern part of Marrakech with big shopping centres and a massive supermarket.

Once in the new town we went to the Majorelle Gardens originally the home of artist Jacques Majorelle  who originally created the garden. After visiting the garden Yves Saint Laurent bought the garden in 1980 to save it from being redeveloped into a hotel complex. After restoring the garden back to its former glory Laurent and his partner Pierre lived in the house, when Laurent died a memorial was made and put in the garden.

Walking around the garden it did not feel busy, you rarely had to stop and wait to get a view of the different features in the garden which included four different water features. While walking around you were sheltered by multiple palm trees  or shelters that were covered in climbing plants. The garden was complimented by brightly coloured blue, green and yellow ceramic pots bursting with colourful flowers and green plants.

As I continued through the gardens I came to the Love gallery with its walls covered in different Saint Laurent illustrations of  the word Love from various years. These were sent as new years cards  to his friends and clients of the fashion house, my favourite being 1988 with the words Yves Saint Laurent  in different colours surrounding the word love in blue and green outlined in yellow.

After the garden we jumped in our taxi and went to a Kasbah in new town which was like the souk but without the haggling of prices. In the evening we walked to the market square again as in the evening it is meant to be busy and boy was it. As soon as we walked into the square it felt like being a tourist in London, large crowds were surrounding us either gambling or enticing  tourists with dancing or music with hundreds of food stalls in the background.

After wondering around and having every trader we passed try and make us eat at their establishment we picked one with cheers from the staff as we sat down. Seeing as we wanted something light to eat it was perfect, as we sat we were given bread and olives on the house and told everything was good.

The only thing I have noticed so far as a young female tourist  is the men look at us differently calling after us and making rude gestures above clothing to us. The worst of it happened in the souk but the market square wasn’t as bad. While in the new town it does not happen which was interesting.

I am now off to the Jewish quarter and some more exploring in the ridiculous 37 degree heat.

Bye for now

Sarah