DAY TRIPPING – DESTINATION ALNMOUTH

Good evening beautiful souls,

Last week I was luck enough to have 3 days off, which for me is very rare and thus meant that I actually had time to do something nice for myself once all the housework and various other tasks were completed. The weather was so nice and I was craving a beach trip, but not being able to drive made this wish a bit problematic. Sadly there aren’t many easily accessible by public transport beaches around, well not unless you want to sit on a bus for over an hour which for me is a big no no as I get serious travel anxiety when it comes to bus journeys that are longer then 20mins! After some research however I discovered that Alnmouth station was pretty easy to get to only being a 30min walk away from the beach and so I had my day trip destination.

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The walk to the beach is quite a pleasant and easy to follow as it’s just along the main road. From the station you firstly walk through a small housing estate and then it’s out in nature with wild fields on your left and glimpses of the sea on your right. After about 20 minutes you reach central Almnouth and walk through it’s floral hanging basket lined street until you reach the golf course and the beach.

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On my way down to the beach I came across these beautiful roses and I had to stop and give them a sniff – does anyone else do this whenever they see roses?! They smelt divine and I’m not going to lie, I was very tempted to snap one off and take it with me!

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The beach was relatively busy, the sun was out and there was a light breeze rippling through my hair as picked a little empty spot to put down my picnic blanket. Once settled I sat back with my feet in the sand just enjoying being in the present moment and watching the world around me; the grandparents sitting in their folding chair reading their papers, children hopping from stone to stone and family’s running around playing Frisbee and flying kites. It was a beautiful afternoon.

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It wasn’t long until I unpacked my picnic full of healthy vegan goodies and read a bit of my book whilst savouring my lunch. I had grapes, blueberries, pretzels, veg, hummus and crackers as well as a little can of G&T. It was the perfect picnic! Afterwards I lay down with my headphones on listening to my audiobook (The Count of Monte Cristo) and relishing the feeling of the sun warming my skin.

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Sadly the clouds came in not long after and they didn’t seem to want to budge meaning I got chilly quite quickly and ended up deciding to pack up and head on home again, but not before I took a stroll along the beach and dipped my toes in the chilly sea of course. Although I was only there for about 2 hours, it really was worth it and I enjoyed every minute of my mini excursion!

I hope you’ve all found the time recently to go out and do something nice for yourselves too! I know I need to make time for myself like this more often. I don’t do it enough and it did me the world of good!

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DAY TRIPPING TO YORK

Good evening beautiful souls,

Yesterday I spent a lovely day in York with one of my best friends from uni. I hadn’t seen Chloe since autumn last year and so it was lovely to catch up again.

I hopped on the train at around 9.55 and arrived in York at 10.40 ish. We started our day with our umbrellas pitched against the pouring rain and fighting a battle with the wind as they kept blowing inside out. Because it was so miserable we decided to do a spot of shopping and went into Primark where I tried some nice pieces on but didn’t buy as sadly non looked good on, but I did come out with some basics that needed stocking up, more socks and simple tank tops and the like.

After having a browse around Topshop and a couple of other stores we sat down in Pret for a bite of lunch and I enjoyed a yummy avocado, olive and sun-dried tomato baguette.

The rain had finally stopped by the time we finished lunch and so we did a bit more window shopping discovering some really beautiful stores (I love a good window display) including a fragrance shop where I had to really resist spending my money. We also crossed paths with a cute tea shop where I bought a loose leaf gingerbread rooibush tea which I am excited to try as it smells amazing.

We then visited the three Harry Potter shops that can now be found in the Shambles and although I didn’t buy anything it made me want to go to the Harry Potter studios even more!

As it started getting colder we went for a pint and a nice long chat before walking along the wall a bit and then going for a cocktail. I tried an Amaretto in da ghetto aha which was super tasty!

Towards the end of the day we treated ourselves to dinner at the Botanist which was really tasty. I had olives for starters and then a delicious aubergine stake with giant Moroccan couscous for mains. I was happy with the Vegan options available, a good selection and lots I wanted try; I shall have to go back another time.

At around 7.30pm we sadly has to say goodbye and I made my way to the station to catch my train home.

It was such a nice day despite the rain. I love York, it’s such a beautiful place and it’s always nice to catch up with friends you don’t see often.

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BUCKET LIST FOR 2018

Hey there beautiful souls,

At the beginning of the year I wrote my new years resolutions post filled with mainly personal aims. However I also have a list of more activity style aims for this year which I felt fit better under the title of Bucket List. So here goes a list of things I want to do this year, from travelling abroad to seeing more art and enjoying more music.

(Also I’m pretty sure this list will keep growing, so I might do posts on my updated Bucket List)

  • Go to the Harry Potter Studios
  • Visit at least 2 different countries
  • Lindisfarne Festival (tickets already booked – yay)
  • Vegan Camp Out Festival
  • Visit friends – London, Bristol, York, Manchester, Edinburgh
  • Get my lip re-pierced
  • Get a new tattoo
  • Go to at least 4 Royal Northern Sinfonia concerts at the Sage
  • See at least 6 art exhibitions
  • Read at least 40 books (including audiobooks)
  • Have a mini getaway in the Peak District again

Do you have anything specific on your Bucket List for 2018?? I’d love to know!

Love Carina xo

LONDON BOUND

Good evening beautiful souls,

Yesterday my dad and I were London bound to go on a coffee crawl. The aim of this trip was to do some research for dad’s coffeehouse which is currently closed for renovation.

The day didn’t start well as I left the house a little too late and then saw that as it was prime time, rush hour traffic was soo bad that I didn’t think I’d make it on time and would be faster walking. So off I set on my quickest power walk getting more and more panicky by the minute as time kept ticking on. I ran in bursts, my heart started pounding and the closer I got to the train station the more I felt like I was going to die aha. I can laugh now, but I felt terrible thinking I was going to ruin this fun day for dad and myself by not arriving on time. However I eventually did get to the station with about 6 minutes to spare; I was wheezing as I collected our tickets from the machine and when I sat down to try and catch my breath the sweat dripped down my face as the same time as relief washed over me – I had made it! I had made it! Phew!

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So after that nightmare of a start to the day we settled down into our seats and I began our journey with a much needed nap. Once feeling more recovered I got out my kindle and began reading Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven until we got closer to London and we went over the plan for the day. At 11.45 we finally pulled into Kings Cross and set off to find the first cafe on our list.

Disclaimer: In the end everyone’s tastebuds are different and everyone has their own preferences – this is just my opinion of these coffee shops.

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Coffee Shop no.1 – Attendant 

I liked the decor of this cafe, especially all the greenery, and the staff were friendly enough, however I was rather disappointed with the coffee. Dad’s flat white was ok I think, but the filter coffee I had ordered was the last dregs from a batch brew. When I inquired about it not being a fresh V60 (which is what I would expect it to be at £4 a tiny cup) the waitress just told me I could have a fresh cup if it wasn’t hot enough as she was about to brew a fresh batch, so obviously I wanted the freshest coffee not the last dregs and asked to please have a fresh cup, but she just told me to try it first. I was rather annoyed at this but couldn’t be bothered to complain so just drank the coffee which tasted ok but wasn’t hot and had coffee grind left in the bottom which a filter coffee shouldn’t have either, at least not the amount that was in my cup. Later on in the day I saw numerous other coffee shops have ‘batch brew’ on their menus but they were not disguising this by naming it filter coffee and they had a far more reasonable price margin for a cup, between £2.60-£3.

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Coffee Shop no.2 – Ozone Coffee Roasters

This was my favourite coffee shop, it had a nice vibe with an open kitchen and brew bar in the centre of the cafe like an island and the scent of fresh coffee being roasted downstairs wafting across every so often. They had the biggest variety of coffees to try here from Filter and Aeropress to Siphon coffee. However when asking for more information on the coffee the waitress wasn’t overly friendly and didn’t seem to know much about the coffee they serve which was a disappointment, simply saying ‘Yeah it’s not too acidic I like this one’ isn’t very informative. In the end Dad and I chose the Aeropress coffee and the filter coffee. We preferred the flavour profile of the Areopress coffee which was a bean from Ethiopia and had flavour notes of strawberry and praline, it really did taste like strawberry chocolates! What we weren’t too keen on was the coffee being served in glass jugs with glasses to drink out of. Dad prefers a nice porcelain cup, it felt too much like we were on a coffee tasting course, which to be fair on this day I guess we kind of were.

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Coffee Shop no.3 – Fix Coffee

We didn’t stay here long. My stomach needed a coffee rest so dad just had an espresso which he described as far to acidic to be used as an espresso bean. The place seemed nice at first but wasn’t the cleanest after further inspection and again not all the staff seemed to know their coffees, which when you are serving more than your average espresso based drinks, you should really know so that you can advise and answer customers queries. This was probably my least favourite place.

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Coffee Shop no.4 – Catalyst

After a short tube ride and a bit of a detour we eventually found our next stopping point. I tried a long black/americano here which I tasted great. The flavour was good and smooth no bitterness and they also roasted they’re own coffee beans in this little corner coffee shop. The only vegan thing they had was some bread, but it did come with delicious homemade jam which I thoroughly enjoyed. This was probably my second favourite coffee shop after Ozone.

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Coffee Shop no.5 – Curators Coffee

And last but not least coffee shop no.5 where I couldn’t drink anymore coffee. So dad ordered a filter coffee which was a fresh V60 but had a steep £5 price tag on it. We could see their brewing station here and it surprised us that they as so many others have a massive gap between the filter and the jug they are filtering into as this is quickest way for coffee to loose it’s temperature when using the drip filter method. Anyway, that coffee lacked lingering taste and dad thought they might have used too little coffee for the amount of water, unless that was the taste they were going for. but the ratio for us, I tried a little sip, was too weak, so sadly a disappointing last cup of coffee.

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Leon’s @ Kings Cross

After walking half the way back to Kings Cross to avoid the ridiculously busy oxford circus tube station and getting on at Regents Park instead, we eventually collapsed in Leon for a bit of food whilst waiting for our train home. I had a yummy vegan kale and beetroot falafel salad whilst dad enjoyed some rice and meatball dish. As we ate our food it seemed like we had only arrived in London an hour ago let alone 6! Time had flown by so quickly we only got to about half of the coffee shops that were actually on our list! However it was a great and informative trip all the same. I realised that in general these supposedly more geeky coffee shops with various brewing methods on offer sadly didn’t actually seem to be that informed on coffee (at least the waitressing staff) and in general there just seemed to be a bit of coffee passion lacking which was a shame. We have some good ideas of what we want to add and alter I our own coffee menus for the reopening and are excited to share our passion for coffee with the public again very soon!

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Platform 9 3/4

Anyway all in all I had a nice time coffee crawling through central London and checking out how other cafes do their thing. To top it all off Platform 9 3/4 wasn’t busy so I could finally get a photo hehe!

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Any other coffee geeks and snobs out there?! Have you tried any of these coffee shops? I’d love to know!

Love Carina xo