Travelling, when your flight gets cancelled

Hello, world! I have been MIA for the longest! I think I have never been absent from the blog this long. It feels good to be back.
I have been settling in Wales, new job, new flat, new life, new everything and absolutely loving every minute of it.

I have been able to do some travelling both around the UK and to Europe. A few weeks back I went to Italy! I love Italy(ans) and all things Italian. The food, the culture, the language, the scenery. Italy has always had a place in my heart.

I went to Italy to pick up my now 11-year-old son who was there with my parents and my brother. We had a fantastic family reunion with lots of Italian wine and food. Pizza and Ice-cream will never be the same after I have been to Rome, never. The bar is set high and there is no going back, lol. We got to visit the Vatican City and the Coliseum in Rome. We also road tripped to Florence (thanks for the driving dad) and visited the beautiful and majestically old roads that enchant that city. Loved it all!

The journey got me thinking about all the times I travelled with my son when he was a baby, and how hard it can be for a mum to travel alone with little ones. Added the fact you can encounter delays, lost luggage, crying kids, tantrums and the looks of so many judgemental (often kidless) adults, travelling with small kids can be dreadful.

On one occasion travelling from the UK to the USA, our luggage got left behind in Heathrow due to a delay/change in flights. Which meant we arrived before our suitcases and hence we had only the clothes we had on available. Naturally, when these things happen and you have small kids there is nothing you can do but to buy a few clothes to get you by. Please keep that possibility in mind (extra cash) in case it ever happens to you. Trust me you don’t want to be stranded in a strange city with no clothes to change into at least for the first night.
But what if you don’t have the extra money? Or what if your flight gets cancelled on your way home after you have used all your money on your vacay?

That also happened to my parents recently. As a matter fact, when they were getting ready to leave Italy and head back to Texas, Hurricane Harvey decided to create havoc. All flights to Houston got cancelled, including, my parent’s flight from Milan. All of a sudden you are left with having to find a hotel for extra nights and having to find other ways to get back home. The stress! They ended up staying an extra night in Milan and then flying to New York (instead of Houston) and then finding their way to Texas.

There are some companies in the UK that can help you seek compensation if this happens to you. Flight compensation is a thing, and it doesn’t have to be complicated and expensive.This is just something to keep in mind for travelling mums. Be prepared, and in case things go pear-shaped, make your claim. Even claims based on bad weather cancellations might have a case, so check them out, Flight Delay Claims 4 U. https://www.flightdelayclaims4u.com

Anyway, that is me for now! Have you had a flight cancelled or delayed that has caused you extra money in expenses? Have your holidays abroad been affected by Ryanair’s recent fiasco?

xoxo

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Embrace Your Natural Beauty #NoMakeUpDay

I am an advocate for wearing whatever makes you feel beautiful. Whether that is wearing makeup, a cute dress, a bikini, no make up at all, as long as you are comfortable in your own skin, and you are happy then wear it (or not)! The choice is yours and no one at all should make you feel bad for whatever it is you choose to wear.

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No makeup day is “celebrated” across the (Internet) globe on July 21st. It is a day to put down them false eyelashes and mascara and present yourself to the world just how you are. Unique, wild, goddess, beautiful. Unapologetically glorious and splendorous, that is you, that is you today and every day… flaunt it, girl!

There is beauty in “natural”. Don’t get me wrong, I do love makeup and some days I cannot leave the house with at least some blush and mascara. However, we need to learn how to love our natural selves more. We forget about nourishing the inner self and let it shine through. Sometimes we have this idealistic image of the world, and we feel that we need to present ourselves in a perfectly polished manner. But you now what? there is beauty in being natural.

 

Make sure you…

1. Take care of your skin, both internally and externally. For a healthy glow make sure you stay hydrated, that you consume enough water and fresh fruit and veg and you get enough hours of beauty sleep.

2. Scrub. Our skin is constantly shredding. Make sure you get rid of the old skin by scrubbing once a week. You can make your own natural scrub by combining sugar, coconut oil and coffee for a delicious gentle scrub. Or if you are feeling more tropical, why not some olive oil, honey and sugar. This will moisturise your skin and get rid of old skin giving you a natural glow.

3. Embrace your features. I have a million freckles which I have learnt to love. I mean it’s either that or covering with layers of foundation every day, lol. Embrace your facial features and make them your unique attributes.

4. Less is more, especially during the summer. Who wants melted sticky faces? No one, trust me. So during the summer take a softer approach to makeup. I am not saying don’t wear any at all, I am saying, go lighter.

And remember sunscreen. Whether you are using makeup or not don’t forget to use sunscreen.

For a guide to natural sunscreens  (UK) visit: The Healthy Now 

Let’s see your #NoMakeUp Selfies today!

Jihane, xoxo

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Tuesday Thoughts:: Opposites Attract?

Earlier last week, I did a bit of microblogging on my personal Facebook account, and I got so many messages I decided to expand.

This is what I wrote on Facebook

“For the longest, I believed in the old saying “opposites attract” – I believed it so strongly that I was ever so inclined to look for that _ I was wrong, it never lead me anywhere. Now at 35 (which is like 21 with 14 years of experience), I have finally understood that this myth it is not always true – and perhaps has never been true for me. Similarities attract. Same levels of OCD (lol, I have germ issues ok) same levels of weirdness matched up with same humour, values, morals, and background are important and fundamental. They lead to better COMMUNICATION, RESPECT and UNDERSTANDING. Opposites might be attractive at times, but similarities, man… those create magic sparks.”

Who came up with that nonsense of opposites attract? I mean yes, it is true, sometimes some difference can bring some balance into a relationship, however, more often than not it creates cracks. After all, why not seek to be with someone who can see and experience the world like you do? Has this perhaps been perpetuated by the media? Let’s look into Disney movies, movies which many little girls (myself included) grew up with. The Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid, for example, are filled with the notion of opposites and the perpetual seek for completeness. That is a pure lie. We are complete, whole and unique from the moment we are born, we do not need to seek for another half to make us one. We are ONE whole and beautiful. We should seek for supportiveness and life satisfaction, both of which are rooted in similarities. One similar view of the world, one similar path to seek. That is my opinion anyway, but just in case let me back my thought up with some research…

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The paper, “Personality Similarity and Life Satisfaction in Couples” by Katrin Furler, Veronica Gomez, Alexander GrobDepartment of Psychology, University of Basel, Switzerland, suggests that “research to date leans more towards ‘‘like attracts like’’ rather than ‘‘opposites attract’’ and assumes that similarity, as opposed to complementarity (Antill, 1983), is an important factor in romantic relationships.

“Studies on mate selection, for instance, support the notion that similarity between partners is essential in forming intimate relationships. People, rather consciously or unconsciously, choose partners who are similar to themselves on a number of variables, from age, education, values, physical attractiveness, and intelligence (Epstein & Gutt-man, 1985; Vandenberg, 1972). The similarity is theorised to be beneficial for intimate relationships by coordinating partners’ thoughts and behaviours, increasing understanding of each other’s intentions and motivations, and reinforcing their appraisals, leading to relationship satisfaction and longevity (Anderson, Keltner, & John,2003).

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Although many other empirical research on the matter has proved inconclusive due to the difficulties to quantify levels of life satisfaction, and personality traits in a more general manner, I have come to believe, for me in particular, similarities are a fundamental part of building strength in any kind of relationship.

What do you think? What has worked for you?

xoxo, Jihane

Tuesday

Waiakea, More than Just Water

Summer!! It’s already July, and things are getting hot! So it is important to keep hydrated. How much water do you drink every day? Are you sure you are getting enough?

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While we can get water from fruits, milk, teas and other drinks, Water is the only drink able to provide the required amount of hydration without adding on the carbs, sugars, and calories. And not a moment too soon, the people from Waiākea sent me a six-pack of their cool sustainable and ethically sourced water.

 

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What makes Waiakea so unique you ask? Well, it is not all about the water but the enormous positive ecological and social impact they have in their community too. Waiākea prides itself on using high-grade 100% RPET, or recycled polyethylene terephthalate, for all of its bottles. RPET is post-consumer recycled plastic and has incredible environmental advantages.

In comparison to regular or virgin plastic bottles, our 100% RPET bottles:
– Use 85% less energy to manufacture
– Use 90% less water
– Reduce carbon emissions over 90%.4

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What makes them extra special to me is their social mission.
In 2014, 650 million people lacked access to clean water—more than two times the population of the United States alone. Simultaneously, more than 2.3 billion people live without basic functional sanitation.

As a result, every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related illness. 6 Waiākea was founded to create positive change for not only the environment but also for people in need throughout the world. For that reason, for every litre of Waiākea you buy, Waiākea donates one week of clean water to those in need in Africa and throughout the world, through our incredible partner, Pump Aid.

Waiākea has won my heart! Not every day you can find an eco-friendly, socially ethical company that provides a fantastic product.

Thanks, Waiākea!


For more info you can visit 

https://waiakeasprings.com/ethically/#clean-water-changes-lives

Summer is for Juicing! Tips + Recipes

Disclosure: this is a sponsored post.

Summer long warm days (yes, even in Wales) are the perfect excuse to enter the wonderful would of juicing and smoothing (as in making smoothies lol) On my last post I spoke about how much I love making smoothies (more than protein shakes) I firmly believe they are an important part of my diet. I also like to include fresh juice for both my son and me.

Making fresh juices makes me feel fresh, healthy and rejuvenated. The flavour combinations are endless depending on your taste. Fruit and also vegetables can be mixed to create wonderful and nutritious combinations.

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Why Juicing?
– Increase absorption of nutrients. Juicing cuts down the amount of insoluble fibre present in fruit and veg, and makes it easier for our bodies to absorb the micronutrients.
– A study done by Gemma Walton PhD, they found that eating food rich in prebiotics such as in leeks and bananas increased good bacteria in the gut by 133 million aiding digestion naturally.
– Gorgeous summer glow! Juicing helps us getting better skin not only by allow our bodies to absorb more nutrients that our skin needs, but it also helps suppress our appetite for not so healthy meals
– Get your five a day in one glass!

What do you need for juicing?
You’ll need an excellent juicer! I recommend the Panasonic Juicers. The Panasonic MJ-L500 It is not cheap, but it is TOP quality. You do get what you pay for when it comes to juicers. The Panasonic MJ-L500 is a slow speed juicer which works like a cold press. These use a slow-moving rotating screw or gears to gently crush fruit and vegetables against a perforated screen, pressing the juice out into your glass. They are quiet to operate, ideal for preparing leafy greens, wheatgrass and soft fruits.

And then, of course, you need fresh fruit and vegetables.

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Recipes worth a try:

TROPICAL:
INGREDIENTS:
1/4 pineapple
1/4 watermelon with rind
2 carrots
Two celery stalks
2 inches (5 cm) slice of ginger
DIRECTIONS:
Wash produce well.
Peel pineapple, cutting flesh into thick slices, discard rind.
Add all ingredients through juicer and enjoy.

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GREEN GIANT
INGREDIENTS:
Two small green pears
1 cup kale
1 cup spinach
½ cucumber
1 zucchini
1/4 lemon (peel removed)
1 in (2.5 cm) piece of fresh ginger (optional)
DIRECTIONS:
Wash all produce well.
Leave the lemon rind on if you like a zesty flavour.
Juice ingredients.
Pour over ice and enjoy!

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RED PASSION
INGREDIENTS
2 large Roma tomatoes
2 large handfuls of baby spinach
The juice of one lemon
A handful of fresh basil
Pepper to taste (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
Wash all produce well.
Leave the lemon rind on if you like a zesty flavour.
Juice ingredients.

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Have fun! try different combinations and enjoy with some ice this summer season. Keep an eye out for my next post when I will review a book with fantastic juice, smoothie and tea recipes for all seasons!

xoxo

Jihane

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The Protein Shake Experience : Herbalife

When the brand name Herbalife comes to mind, many of us think, sales people. You heard the stories, you seen the product in many Instagram pages, you know exactly what Herbalife is.

Herbalife’s products and programmes offer:
Successful weight loss
Improved nutrition
Enhanced personal care
The opportunity for financial reward

So it depends really on what your goals and your overall health are and what you want to achieve. I decided to try it! I am up for new challenges and my new life in Cardiff has already meant I have lost weight mostly by being more active (less car dependant) and eating smaller portions and fewer GMO products. During my trial I shared part of my experience via Instagram Stories and received messages from many of my viewers concerned about the use of the product. Thanks for the love, and the messages, hopefully this blog post will explain more.

I came across Herbalife’s local info online, and I soon arranged a visit to their offices in Cardiff city centre. The staff was extremely helpful and friendly. The consultation lasted about an hour and consisted of talking about my morning routine, my levels of exercising and my overall health, as well as discussing vegan-friendly protein options. A tasting also took place, in which I got to try some of the flavours of both teas and shakes. I left there with a six-day trial pack consisting of 6 protein shake sachets, and two herbal tea sachets (each containing three servings)

The way the program is designed you stay in touch with a team member/coach who guides you through the process. This method might or might not work for you depending on your own needs and your motivations. I am not one of those people who needs coaching, so a less invasive approach is preferred. I discussed this with my coach before I even started the trial and it worked well. We replaced phone calls for Facebook messages and Instagram stories.

As for my diet, I kept it the same. Mostly plant based. I didn’t eradicate all the carbs; I did have pasta with pesto sauce one day, as well as other complex carbohydrates such as couscous and quinoa. Other grains such as chickpeas (curry) and rice, and plenty of vegs.
As for exercising I kept my average daily goal of at least 8k steps, plus daily 45min yoga sessions.

DAY ONE:
One sachet of cookies and milk Herbalife shake powder
Soy milk
Herbal tea

Day one I tried cookies and cream. I found it too sweet for my taste, but It was drinkable. I didn’t add any other flavours because I wanted to try the product untouched. I used unsweetened soy milk and a blender to mix. After serving, I found some of the powder had not mixed properly and sat at the bottom of the cup. *Note to self: blend for longer.
The original flavour tea served without sugar had an excellent taste, not too strong altho since its a powder you can make it as strong or light as you want.

*Snack: one plum, plus multigrain quinoa crisps.

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DAY TWO:
I was in a bit of a rush of day two, so I only had the shake in the morning. I had the vanilla flavour shake this time, which I found more enjoyable than the cookies and cream. Vanilla is also more versatile as you can mix with other flavours.
I had the tea in the afternoon, and I added some dry rose petals. Please note I didn’t just pluck rose petals out of a garden. I used dried rose petals suitable for culinary use i.e. they are edible. I loved it! It made the tea very aromatic, girly and indulgent. No added sugar.

*Snack: cereal bar and fresh cherries.

rose tea OnixJ

DAY THREE:
Vanilla Herbalife flavour with added spinach and peanut butter and soy milk. This is one of my favourite smoothie combinations. I usually have it with banana, but since I was using the vanilla protein shake, I left the banana out.
Herbal tea with added dried chamomile flowers and a hint of lavender. Another aromatic and delicate combination. No sugar added.

*Snack: fresh cherries
NOTE: I felt bloated on day 3.

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DAY FOUR:
Vanilla Herbalife with frozen berries and soy milk.
Herbal tea with added rose petals.
On day four I felt a little dizzy at around noon/lunchtime. I am hypoglycemic, and this sometimes happens especially if I haven’t had food. I had lunch, and the dizziness went away. I did not have a mid morning snack so that could have been it.

*Lunch: pasta with pesto sauce, black olives and jalapenos. Plus a little bit of feta cheese.

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DAY FIVE:
Back to cookies and cream with soy milk. I added more milk and a little less powder to make it less sweet.
The herbal tea with dried lavender flowers is quite aromatic. It tastes nice however the lavender flowers are quite small, so if you don’t want to swallow them perhaps, it’s a good idea to use a tea infuser.

*Snack: Chia Pudding made with coconut milk, a tsp of herbalife cookies and cream powder and frozen berries.

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DAY SIX
Cookies and cream with soy milk blend. It really is too sweet for me, so I added more milk and made it more like a milky drink than a milkshake. On day six I drank the herbal tea in its original form, no added sugar, herbs or flavours.
I felt a little bloated again on day six.

*Snack: 1 banana with peanut butter.

Overall I didn’t feel many changes. No decrease in my energy levels which was good, I felt healthy, satisfied, never hungry. Extra intake of fibre meant I had to drink more water which wasn’t a problem either. I take aloe vera gel capsules every day, so I am regular.

Whether it is worth it or not for you to include protein shakes in your diet depends on your fitness needs and what you want to achieve. As for me, for now, I think I am content for now with drinking fruit smoothies. However that said, an extra intake of protein here and there aided by the use of a protein shake could also benefit my diet. I think this program might work pretty well for you if your diet is not consistent or if you need an extra but of motivation to keep you going toward your weight loss goals.

Whichever path you decide to use remember to have fun with it, experiment with flavours, add fresh fruit and water to your diet and excercise as much as possible.

xoxo
Jihane


If you live in Cardiff and want more information about Herlbalife’s products follow/contact @feelfit.couple on Instagram

Get Dirty! Cardiff’s Best Martinis

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

My first official night out, since I moved to Cardiff, happened last Friday! (thanks, once again, to the Taffy who made it happen)

The night started with a bang thanks to Dirty Martini. You see Dirty Martini knows how to make an impression on a girl, by inviting her (and companion) for a few drinks!

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Dirty Martini, located on Imperial Gate, St Mary Street, is the perfect place for a chic avant-garde evening. Sophisticated yet laid-back, elegant yet not pretentious and filled with hundreds of delicious cocktails. Whether you want to impress a girl on a date or have a fancy girls night out this is the place for you.

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The decor has an elegant and funky vintage flair, with pops of colour and clean lines.

The experience started by making an online booking a few days before our visit, it is easy to do and gives you the peace of mind that you will have a table upon arrival. Once we arrived, we were greeted and taken to our table. The staff was extremely knowledgeable on the martini and cocktail front, which was very handy because we didn’t know much. A short consultation to find out more about our tastes lead to recommendations, which we took without hesitation.

Minutes later our taste buds were delighted.

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The first round of drinks was spot on, and an explosion of flavours, colours and aromas invaded our senses. Our bartender for the night has to be the best bartender I’ve ever had. Not only impeccable service but because he knew and understood the flavours and more importantly our tastes.

The Spring Peach & Hibiscus Martini was a perfect match for me. Slightly sweet, girly and mysterious, this cloudy martini accented by a hibiscus flower is everything a girl can hope for in a glass.

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The Rum Forest Rum was very tropical, and wouldn’t you be if you were made of Ciroc Pineapple vodka and Captain Morgan Spiced Rum? If you want to be transported into a magical tropical island without having to leave the not-so-exotic country of Wales, I do recommend you drink this one.

Between rounds of drinks, our bartender served us water to clean out palates before trying the next cocktail… added points for professionalism.

 

Then things went to girly and spicy to robust and dark with The Bee Hive, an exotic combination of Patron Cafe Tequila and Mezcal that would make my Mayan brothers proud. If you like the sensual tones of coffee, honey and almond, this is your drink.

So, if you are ever in town, and fancy something more than a pint, I strongly recommend you visit Dirty Martini. Hint, hint! Happy Hour 4 pm – 10 pm Monday to Thursday, 9 pm Friday.

Xoxo

Jihane

Summer Solstice :: Release your Feminine Fire

Let the sun rise and cleanse your energies. Recharge.

Summer Solstice and femininity – note keyword femininity, not feminism.

First of all, let me start by saying I think people who are against feminism are somewhat missing the big picture. Then again, people who believe feminism is only about painting your armpit hair purple and not shaving your legs are also missing the big picture.

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Being a feminist is to me, to aim for equality, not superiority. It is to cherish, respect and believe in one another equally and in a loving, caring manner. It is not about grabbing pussy’s and making proclamation of arts out of vaginas, no, to me, feminism is about building together pillars of mutual understanding. It’s balance. Patriarchy meets matriarchy and accepts the differences we have and assigns natural order. That said, that is only MY perspective, you don’t have to share it nor have to agree with it… The beauty of the human mind is that we all get to decide what to think and how to act.

 

What does being feminine mean to you? To me, it means being in perfect synch with nature; to understand my cycles and the cycles of the moon because they both work in synchronicity with mother earth. To me being feminine is to be proud of all my curves, proud of all of my perfect imperfections, comfortable in my skin. To me being feminine means, I am not afraid to embrace both the strong and the delicate, the nurturing and the sexual, the peace and the war within me. Because that is what we are; we are an unstoppable force of nature.

“Rituals for the day of longest light date back to ancient times and Stonehenge is one of the most famous sites. Dating back to between 3000-1500 BCE, its main axis is aligned to the solstice sunrise. Many cultures and ethnicities have celebrated, from ancient Roman celebrations of Vesta to feast days in many cultures.”

Summer Solstice (also known as Litha) is a time to celebrate the light of consciousness within ourselves. A time to reflect upon the potential for consciousness to awaken. Yes, awaken. How many of us get tangled in the routine of our daily lives and forget what is like to be awake, truly awake and alive. Fire being the element of the Summer Solstice means this is also a time symbolic of passion, desire, and sensuality burning more intensely within the hearts of both humankind and animal kind. The sun is a warming entity, so it fires our passions and heats up our hearts to the potential of life that abounds. Take full advantage of it.

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Litha: Summer Solstice – 21st/22nd June
Litha (Midsummer, Gathering Day, Summer Solstice, Alban Heffyn, Feill-Sheathain)
Incense: Sage, mint, basil, Saint John’s Wort, sunflower, Lavender
Decorations: Dried herbs, potpourri, seashells, summer flowers, and fruits.
Colours: blue, green, and yellow

Embrace your inner Goddess and release your feminine fire. Dance in the wind, walk barefooted on the grass, and fly like a phoenix.

 

Onixj

Xoxo

 

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Bristol, Explore England

Hello UK!
So as you might all know I am now living and loving Wales and ALL things Welsh 😉 However last week I had the opportunity to visit Bristol across the border into my “homeland” (I have a few homes, I am a citizen of the world)

I went to Bristol for a fantastic magic-filled day of walks along the Avon river, small little cobblestone roads, old pubs, hip grubs and stunning architecture. It was beautiful! even if my “tour guide” got lost a few times, lol, I got to experience a day in a new-to-me city. So shoutout out to the taffy who made this happen. Thank you!

Speaking of The River Avon, and Welsh things. Some say the river also known as the Bristol Avon, has it the name “Avon” as a cognate of the Welsh word afon, “river”.

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We arrived at Bristol by Temple Meads, where we found a little cosy spot for breakfast at Caffe Gusto. Proper British outing can’t be complete without a bacon sandwich and a cuppa. Ok, let me explain. Yes, I had bacon. No, I do not regret it. I don’t usually do bacon; I don’t because yeah mostly plant based diet. However England it’s not England without a bacon sandwich for breakfast. Also, it had been like seven years since I had a proper bacon sarnie.

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Not far from Temple Meads it’s the beautiful St.Peter’s Church at Castle Park (pictures above and below). The church was bombed during World War II and is now preserved as a memorial surrounded by beautiful gardens. Lovely place for a romantic stroll, or to sit quietly with a book during a nice sunny day.

 

 

Further along, a walk through the historic roads can take you to little corners of delight, from farmer’s markets to street food vendors, old pubs, arcades and churches.

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A bit of history tells us that Iron Age hill forts and Roman villas were built near the confluence of the rivers Frome and Avon, and around the beginning of the 11th century, the settlement was known as Brycgstow (Old English “the place at the bridge”). Bristol received a royal charter in 1155 and was historically divided between Gloucestershire and Somerset until 1373 when it became a county of itself.

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The Llandoger Trow (pictured below) is a historic public house in Bristol, south-west England. Dating from 1664, it is on King Street, between Welsh Back and Queen Charlotte Street, near the old city centre docks. Named by a sailor who owned the pub after Llandogo which built throws, the building was damaged in World War II but remained in sufficiently good condition to be designated grade II* listed building status in 1959. The pub is said to have inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write of the Admiral Benbow Inn in Treasure Island, and Daniel Defoe supposedly met Alexander Selkirk there, his inspiration for Robinson Crusoe. The pub is also supposedly haunted, with up to 15 ghosts, the best known being a small child whose footsteps can be heard on the top floor.

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So thats my short review of Bristol. I know there are a million things to see and do there. But if you ever feel like visiting an English historic old city, I do recommend you walk away from London and venture into Bristol, even if for a day or two.

Xoxo

OnixJ

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Welsh Back Road.. lol had to take a pic of that

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