BANKING ON IT (PART 1): BARBURY CASTLE

Outside of the UK, the term “bank holiday” is likely to be met with a puzzled expression. Is it a day to celebrate banks? Or a day that they’re closed? Or something completely different? After all, the UK is the country that also gave the world Boxing Day, which has nothing to do with pugilistic endeavours! The reality is the…

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HAMPSTEAD NORREYS. FINALLY.

I have a confession to make. Way back at the turn of the century (i.e. the year 2000), I watched the first series of the American television show Survivor. Little did I know then, but this one programme would give rise to an entirely new genre: reality TV. For me, that one series of Survivor was enough, and I didn’t…

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POSTCARDS FROM LONDON: SUMMER EDITION

I first visited Europe when I was fourteen. This was well before digital cameras were common and full eons before I could even imagine having a camera, phone, and computer combo that fit in my pocket. I borrowed my father’s basic 35mm camera for the trip and, for those who don’t remember a time before digital, that meant I was…

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THE SOUNDS OF SUMMER

I consider Bath a city I know well: my PhD research focused on the Roman Baths; when MrElaineous was just known as Jon, we went on countless dates to the local cinema and Theatre Royal; our first year(ish) of marriage was spent living near Sydney Gardens. So I tend not to play the tourist when visiting, typically going from A to…

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WEIRD. WONDERFUL. WALES.

Great Britain is composed of three nations: England, Wales, and Scotland. The United Kingdom adds Northern Ireland to the mix, and hence the official name of the country is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The point of mentioning this terminology is that both Scotland and Northern Ireland are parts of the UK that are some distance…

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SHEFFIELD: A COMPLICATED RELATIONSHIP

People often talk about love at first sight, whether it’s meeting that special someone to spend your life with or buying a house. But what about the opposite? Because that was my reaction to Sheffield when I first encountered this northern city almost fifteen years ago. I was on a flying visit to find a place to situate one of…

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RETURNING TO ROUSHAM

The cliché that lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place is patently false: after all, lightning rods are designed specifically for the task! But when it comes to magical moments, there is often a kernel of truth in the statement. How often have you gone somewhere and had a fantastic time—maybe it was an incredibly delicious meal at a…

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THE SWEET TASTE OF TRAVEL

Gallons of ink, both real and virtual, have been spilled extolling the virtues of travel, with quite a few pints by yours truly. Whether described as expanding one’s horizons, sampling new experiences and cultures, or simply part of shaking up a daily routine, it can’t be denied that going to new places can introduce you to things you never imagined…

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A POSTCARD FROM LONDON: SOHO TO MAYFAIR

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” This much beloved, much overused quote by Samuel Johnson is just as true now as it was two centuries ago. No matter how many times I visit London (and trust me, I visit a lot), I always find something new to see. A recent excursion was no exception.…

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OF LIONS, LAMBS, AND A WALK ALONG THE BOW WOW

In like a lion, out like a lamb. This familiar quip about the month of March actually seems quite logical. After all, the beginning is still winter, with the spring equinox arriving at the tail end of the month. Which is, I admit, no guarantee of good weather, but this year it proved to be more accurate than anticipated. Early…

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THE “OTHER” LAKE DISTRICT

The English Lake District is one of the most visited (and beloved) regions of the country. Located in the northwest county of Cumbria, it is a dramatic landscape of rocky fells, steep valleys, picturesque villages, and, as implied in the name, lakes. It was a favourite haunt of the Romantic poets in the early 19th century, and it became a…

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A BRIEF LOVE LETTER

I sometimes find myself saying “I grew up in Bristol”, which is patently untrue as anyone with half an ear can tell my accent lacks the required West Country twang. But I do consider the city my adopted hometown, and it’s a place that has shaped my life more than most: spending a year as a study abroad student was…

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POSTCARDS FROM FEBRUARY

Postcards feel like a modern day anachronism: bits of paper covered with photographs, a scribbled line or two on the back, and sent through a postal system that operates at human speed rather than almost instantaneously. Why bother with all this when you can pop a picture on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter in the time it takes to hit a…

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A ROYAL VISIT TO THE COTSWOLDS

Okay, I admit it: I am addicted to snowdrops. If you have been following along with Facebook or Instagram over the past few weeks, you’ll have seen these little white flowers have had a starring role in my February travels. One of the first things I learned as a novice snowdrop hunter is the importance of sun to bring out…

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There’s Something about Wales

I don’t usually write book reviews (book lists on the other hand …), but in a stroke of serendipity I recently finished reading Kate Humble’s Thinking on my Feet: The Small Joy of Putting One Foot in front of Another, an elegant meditation on the power of walking to both calm the mind and challenge the body, enlighten the spirit…

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A Light in the Darkness

I never gave much thought to winter before moving to the UK. After all, I grew up in Florida and if there’s one thing it’s known for besides Disney World, it’s sunshine, palm trees, and a tropical climate. Okay, that’s three things but you get the idea. Temperatures in Florida range from warm to scorching, with a side helping of…

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Reaching New Heights in Edinburgh

[ PART 1 ] [ PART 2 ] [ This is a continuation of last week’s post about my explorations of Edinburgh on a sunny autumn day. Check out the first part or keep reading to see whether I managed to face my fears and get a new perspective on the capital city. ] As I finished my circuit of Princes Street Gardens,…

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Exploring Edinburgh in Technicolor

[ PART 1 ] [ PART 2 ] Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is known for many things. There’s whisky, which I don’t partake in, but I can vouch that tastings are a popular activity on offer for those who want to sample a beverage that is practically synonymous with the country. There’s its architecture: the “newer” parts were built during the…

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Bristol Bound and London Memories

[ As Seen on Social Media: I’m afraid there’s no new MissElaineous blog post this week, but I have put together a collection of photos based on the daily photographs from Facebook and Instagram. However, if you’re interested in reducing your waistline as well as your “wasteline“, check out the new Off the Ground blog post about how I lost…

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MissElaineous Travel Blog: Escape, Explore, Discover, Enjoy