Random

IT Luggage Suitcase

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suitcase

Last time I went to The Americas, I used my ‘Constellation’ suitcase (which I got from Argos).  This is a pink, hardcase suitcase on wheels, and it turned out to be super super heavy.  My new case is a pink IT Luggage suitcase, which is apparently the lightest in the world. It’s about 2kg empty, and it was very light when I was carrying it home…Or I am very strong.

It’s soft shelled so we’ll see how it holds up.  It’s pretty roomy inside.  I’ve got almost everything I need for a week away and there’s plenty more room for shopping! It’s just a giant open space on one side and 4 pockets on the other.  Two are mesh and two are thin plastic, they don’t look too strong. One of them was already damaged but it looked like it had been sliced accidentally rather than ripping.  Buuuut I couldn’t be bothered to take it all the way back for that.

Anyway, now I’m all packed I really want to…still got a week to wait!

 

 

 

 

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London- Victoria and Albert Museum

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As an early birthday treat mum and I went to London to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum.  It wasn’t my first visit, but there’s tonnes to see.  We took an earlyish train but it was still lunchtime when we arrived.  I opted for a rather nice goats cheese lasagne, the food there is pricey but at least it’s nice.  Across the road at the Natural History Museum the cafe is pretty crap.

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We thought about going to the temporary exhibition which was a history of underwear, but it costs £12 for those tickets, and we found the other fashion galleries instead. It was a through the ages look at fashion.  Mum commented that the ‘modern’ pieces aren’t that impressive.  I agreed but I think it was a little warped.  The older clothes were clearly picked to represent common trends, while the newer ones were ones that would have stood out from the crowd.  I mean there no stretch skinny jeans so it can not be said to truly represent what people are actually wearing today.

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London- Harrods

Whilst in London town we wandered past Harrods.  Last time I was there it was rammed with people and I lasted about 3 minutes before I had to leave.  But it was much quieter this time, and we had a look around the food hall.

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There was yummy looking cheese and chocolates.  And I finally got to the see what a cronut was (half croissant, half doughnut).  I wonder what it’s like to work in Harrods, it must be incredibly busy most of the time.  And mainly with tourists who must be quite annoying, and always taking pictures of cheese…

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But the only thing I bought was some tea!  There were a lot of flavours of regular black tea, but it was really green tea that I was after.  They didn’t have many in tea bag form, and I decided to go for a white tea (with hints of cucumber and watermelon) which was £5 for 20 bags.  Not the cheapest tea ever, but possibly the cheapest thing in Harrods!

harrods

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USA Trip Prep

So, our USA trip is fast approaching and I thought I’d fill you in on where I’m with my preparations. Also I can use this to figure out what I still have left to do.  I work shifts so I have sort of more time to get stuff done, but sort of less (it’s what happens when you don’t have regular days off like week ends but you do get the odd week day off to go shopping).

We leave at the end of March and will have an annoying trip from home to Manchester Airport, before we even get on a plane to go to New York.  So we obviously have our tickets by now but we’ll need to check in and I need to get boyfriend to print them at work.  Along with that we need print out our train tickets, to get from New York to San Francisco.

I’m not totally crazy, and I haven’t started packing yet but I will soon start planning my outfits.  I do this with plenty of time so I can make sure everything is washed before I need to pack it.  I used to live in a house share and I couldn’t rely on the washing machine being free so I had to give myself an extra week.  I now have a house (technically it’s boyfriend house but still) and a tumble dryer so that makes life easier.  I do want to buy a new suitcase.  My one is really heavy, it’s pink which is the reason I bought it (!), but a pain to drag around.

I’m going to get some little toiletries, boyfriend tells me not to because I can use the hotel ones, but in Italy the hotels only had shampoo and not conditioner which was annoying.  I need to get my dollars (exchange rate sucks right now), and I’ll need some little snacks for the airport.  But I shouldn’t need to get to much more.

 

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Holiday Books- Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively

I want to share some good books that you might like to read on your hols, especially if they have some travel relevance.  Moon Tiger, moves around in time, with much of the ‘action’ taking place in war time Egypt.  It’s also not too long so a good one for a relaxing trip.  I did a fuller review on my other blog, but really you should just read the book!

Plot

Claudia Hampton is old and dying in hospital, and is planning to write ‘a history of the world’.  She is after all a famous history writer and former war correspondent.  But this history of the world is actually her own history, somehow inexorably linked.

Moon Tiger weaves it’s way forwards and backwards through her memories, and then back to hospital in the present day.  Her relationship with her brother Gordon is hot and cold.   She describes it as narcissistic love as she sees so much of herself in him.  Although their relationship is a main theme of her past, the more shocking elements are only briefly suggested.  It’s her love affair with Tom, who she met in wartime Egypt and who died there that seems to have the greater effect on her, certainly she did not seem to leave the war unscathed.

I liked this book, although found our protagonist a little tough to take at times, although she acknowledges she wasn’t the most nurturing mother she also constantly criticises her daughter.  She is also fairly awful to, and about, her sister-in-law which annoyed me.  I felt Sylvia was a little hard done to.

 

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Beaches

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Things to do in Leeds

Some nice things to do in Leeds.

Royal Armouries
The Royal Armouries is a free, council run, museum themed around weaponary!  Guns and knives feature here from hunting weapons to fighting.  It’s on the waterfront and it might take some searching for but on a sunny day it’s a nice area to hang out.  It’s council run so there’s always something that’s broken but still enough to occupy an afternoon.  It’s got a fun shop and a rubbish cafe.

Arts Cafe
A nice cafe that does good fries and was one of the few places you can get a Coke Float in Leeds, however now they look at you like you’re crazy if you ask for one even though it’s still on the menu!  It does a good line in contemporary British cuisine, and a has a curious range of cakes in slightly mad combinations of flavours that I’ve never tried!

Roundhay Park
A large park that has two lakes that people often walk, run, or cycle round.  There is also Tropical World where they have some birds, reptiles, spiders, and meercats.  It’s an odd mix perhaps but you pay about £5 entrance fee so who’s complaining!

Corn Exchange
The old Corn Exchance where, one assumes, corn was exchanged…Anyway the building is one of many lovely buildings in Leeds (if you look up above the tacky facades at street level) and now full of shops.  A few years back it was full of alternative shops but they were booted out when they needed more money to repair the roof.  The,  ill-conceived, plan to replace them with restaurants during a time of economic depression did no pan out and the place was largely empty for a long time.  Now there are some nice vintage shops, a good hot dog place, and a place to buy all you incense you could want.  They also have craft and vintage fairs from time to time.

Pizza Express
Next to the Corn Exchange is my favourite Pizza Express, which is my favourite restaurant! I assume they are common elsewhere, they are definitely a chain as there are 4 in Leeds. They all do the same food but the Corn Exchange one is the nicest building and has the nicest decor in my opinion.  Boyfriend likes the one nearer the Train Station, and we both dislike the one amongst the shops in Leeds centre.

Outside Leeds:

Saltaire and Salts Mill
20 minutes on the train from Leeds is a small but hilly town called Saltaire. Saltaire was built by Sir Titus Salt (best name ever!) who was a 19th century mill owner and troubled by the pollution and poor living conditions in Bradford.  He built an entire town to house his workers and their families, which was quite remarkable.  Now the old mill is an art gallery dedicated to David Hockney, it is really the biggest book and art supply shop around and worth a visit.  The cafe is good too.

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Touring UK- Leeds

Well I live in Leeds and I do occasionally see tourists coming out of the train station on my daily commute, or when we travel we see people landing in Leeds Bradford Airport, and I often wonder why on Earth people would chose to visit here!  Thinking about it a little though there are worse places you could visit!

There is a lot in the North of England that often gets overlooked as most foreigners think only London exists.   The main selling point must be that the north is A LOT cheaper than the south in terms of accommodation, food, and pretty much everything!

A little note before we begin about Leeds Bradford Airport, if that is your port of entry, it is the most depressing place on earth.  It is small, cramped, and grey and a sad way to start your trip. There is no airport shuttle as such but one bus to take you into Leeds that swings through every half hour and takes 40mins to get into town.  It costs about £3.50 one way and since it’s just a regular bus you can only get a same day return, and you buy the ticket from the driver on the bus who will probably be grumpy because they always are.  A taxi will be about £25.

Welcome to the UK!

Once that’s out of the way you can enjoy Leeds!

 

 

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Lord Rodney, Keighley

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A Christmas Visit To Glasgow

new-folder-2I went to visit sister and brother-in-law in early December, and we took my niece to visit Mrs Claus as Pollock House.  My niece is about 20 months old and I think the experience was somewhat baffling for her but exploring the house was fun.  Continue reading

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