Friday, 2 December 2016

Life | Life Lately

All of a sudden it turned into November and now it's December. I know I say it every time, but how did that happen? When I was younger people would say life flies by, and now I'm a little bit older it really does. The week disappears in a blink sometimes. I guess it's because I'm busy.. but maybe not. So what have I been doing lately: here's my life lately. 

Watching.. 
The Missing. Honestly this is why we pay the Tv License fee, right? For the BBC to make amazing shows like The Missing and Planet Earth II. We can't wait to watch the final episode of the Missing on Wednesday. But equally we'll be really sad when the series is over. As the dark evenings appeared we signed up for Netflix again and we've been watching The Crown - also equally brilliant. I do love the Royal Family and find their history very interesting - I have to say I'm learning a lot about British history. 

Going to the theatre.. 
On Thursday of last week I went to St James' Theatre to watch the Last 5 years which I can wholeheartedly recommend. It's a musical with only two actors in the cast, accompanied by a small orchestra of course. The show was amazing - it was an intense performance with no interval. It's only showing until December 3rd unfortunately. But I'd like to be able to predict it would come to another London theatre next year.. but who knows. You can find out more here. Well worth the ticket price! 



Counting down the months.. 
Until our wedding. It's now less than 4 months until our wedding. (Only just, but still)! I feel like once Christmas is over it will be pretty much with us. 

Which leads me onto.. bootcamp! 
I'm still doing bootcamp 2-3 times a week and I absolutely love it. Even on the cold dark evenings. I'm beginning to really learn the meaning of things being in your head - as in if you can tell yourself you can do it - you definitely can. This winter I've learnt to dress appropriately:
thermal tops  ✅ a long winter coat ✅ and a new set of warm sports gear ✅. 
In fact I can't seem to stop buying sportswear. At least it will keep me doing my fitness stuff. 

Becoming less precious.. (but in a good way)
About 3 or 4 years I was given some Jo Malone gifts for my birthday. I'm rather precious about nice things, and after all those months I decided it was time to light the candle and stop being silly about it. I'm always saving things 'for best' - which is all very well but then I rarely use or wear things if they are for best. So I'm trying to be less precious about things. 



Travelling.. 
I've been really rather lucky over the past month or so. With two little trips - firstly to Stockholm and then Copenhagen which we actually booked back in Early September. I endeavour to write a few more blog posts about those little adventures but for now you can catch up with them here and here



Eating..
A few goodies and treats along the way of course.. especially in those wonderful Nordic countries the only place I can find a decent Cinnamon Bun is Blåbär.

Hygge.. 
Relating back to the candle thing and the Denmark trip. The art of Hygge is something I've been trying to channel at home. That warm cosy feeling, we've been snuggling up on the sofa with candles and our favourite to programmes in the evening. 

Drinking.. 
Warm drinks.. without sounding like a right alcoholic I've been enjoying some warm alcoholic drinks. I had a real yearning for Baileys hot chocolate a few weekends ago whilst visiting a friend (who luckily had baileys in the cupboard) but I went out and bought flakes, marshmallows, whipped cream and hot chocolate! I was very happy to find lots of places in Copenhagen serving Baileys hot chocolate or Glogg, and our local pub is now serving Mulled Wine, which makes me very happy. (One of the better photos of drinking hot, perhaps alcoholic beverages. The others were just hideous).



Writing my 30 before 30.. 
I'm turning 28 in just over a week. So I'm working on a 30 before I'm 30 post, which may seem like a little bit of a cliche but actually I think it's the perfect time to set myself some little goals to achieve. Stand by for that one I'll be posting that soonish.

Until next time. Sarah x
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Sunday, 20 November 2016

Travel | Day One in Copenhagen

Last year after my trip to Copenhagen I read an article in the Evening Standard magazine, called Crushing on Copenhagen. You can read it here. I was very much in agreement with the article and it featured some of the best bits. However jumping in an uber..? We felt no need to do this during our whole stay.. we cycled everywhere.

I was pretty chuffed to see we'd made it to quite a few of the places the article mentioned.. Hay, Illium, The Royal Smushi Cafe, Tivoli Gardens etc.

There's some amazing bits of the article. "We were also struck by the number of hot dads with babies. Paternity leave in Denmark is the most progressive in Europe and we imagined their Birgitte Nyborg-like partners kicking ass at work while the men cared for the children and probably carved a rocking horse out of locally sourced wood while they were at it". - Everywhere! <3

I'd actually half written a post called 'The Things I missed in Copenhagen'. Little did I know we'd choose to return to the Danish Caption less than 18 months later... It was early September - we'd just landed from our Summer holiday and an email popped into my inbox with the easyJet sale. I trawled through looking around for a good place to travel. And that was it - I decided I'd take The Boy to Copenhagen. We paid less than £100 for return flights for both of us.

My friend Sophie and I travelled to Copenhagen in June 2015, you can read more about that trip here.
There were bits of Copenhagen we of course didn't see, and that's what I'd intended on writing about in that blogpost I found still in my drafts! In brief, the bits we'd missed were - The Round Tower, The Coffee Collective, The Carlsberg Experience and Copenhagen Street Food on Paper Island. There are of course plenty of other parts to see.

So how do you go about a city break second time around, with a different person? The answer is get on a bike - cycle around and see it all again. And more. Our flight was early on the Saturday morning (7.30 departure from Luton), getting us into Copenhagen at 10.10. By the time we got to our hotel it was around 11.00. We left our bags at the reception and immediately got going - heading down to Nyhavn first of all - of course it's one of the most famous parts of the city. We wandered along and The Boy had a waffle at the famous Vaffelbageren.



We then headed to get some bikes - we rented them via Bycykel (very much like the Santander bikes here in London). We cycled along to see the Little Mermaid. She is a huge icon in Copenhagen but you may find she's rather underwhelming at only 1.25m tall. Lots of tourists flock to have their photo taken with 'Den lille Havfrue'.


Next we cycled back into the centre - through the grounds of Kastellet which is beautiful - we watched two swans attempting to swim across the frozen lake, by tapping away at the ice. We wandered around the Latin Quarter and found a great little coffee shop for lunch - Buzz Kaffebar, very close to the hotel I stayed in last year, SP34 - you can read more about it in my blogpost here. Buzz Kaffebar was very warm and cosy, we enjoyed our coffees and freshly made toasted sandwiches. We loved the feel of it - and of course the feature of Hygge on the menu!



It was then time to do something I didn't do before - climb the Rundetaarn or The Round Tower. I would definitely recommend climbing the Round Tower to get a perspective of the city, and at less than £3 per person it's a cheap activity in Copenhagen. I have to say I really enjoyed climbing the tower - inside it has a slope rather than steps which makes the climb a lot easier in my eyes both physically and mentally. Previously I climbed the Church of Our Saviour in Christianshavn area of Copenhagen. Part of the church tower has steps on the outside of the Spire. There are also 400 steps so it's not for the faint hearted. However I would recommend it  - the view from the the Round Tower and the Church of Our Saviour are great. We could even see The Bridge (have you watched the series? We're a little obsessed with it. More on that later)!



After our climb we went back to our hotel for a rest. Our hotel was the Admiral Hotel Copenhagen which I can recommend. It's a large hotel, which was once a granary. We upgraded to a water facing room which was totally worth it... just look at the view!


Before heading out to dinner. We went to Papirøen (Paper Island) for dinner where you will find lots of street food stalls, under cover. We wanted to go somewhere like the locals perhaps would, although there were also plenty of tourists too. We went rather early between 6 and 7pm and it was already heaving. It seems like the place to go eating and drinking in Copenhagen. Another place I can recommend is Kødbyens Fiskebar, if you're after a top meal out. ( It has a Bib Gourmand in Guide Michelin Nordic Cities 2015), or of course there's Noma if you're able to really push the boat out)!

After stuffing ourselves with yummy food and cocktails we headed back to Nyhavn where we found a traditional pub, and enjoyed Gløgg and Carlsberg, of course, for The Boy. We'd had a lovely first day in Copenhagen and soon it was time to rest our sleepy heads. We enjoyed a warm drink in the Hotel bar. A baileys hot chocolate for me! 

Stand by for Day 2..!
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Sunday, 6 November 2016

Travel Link Up | A Perfect... Stay

This months Travel Link Up topic is ' A perfect...<fill in the blank>'. And so to fit in with the November #travellinkup I thought I'd write about my recent trip to Stockholm. (Also I'll apologise now for the strange font sizing in this post - even after hours of fiddling I just can't get it right, damn Blogger)!

My perfect stay came at Miss Clara by Nobis, find out more here. A lovely boutique hotel in the Norrmalm district of Stockholm which we found to be the last perfect location for our city wanderings.


We stayed for 2 nights at Miss Clara in a room on the 4th floor. The hotel itself it's very nice - warm (literally) and friendly helpful staff greeted us on arrival. 

Our room was a standard double. It was relatively compact but definitely enough for 2 and our 2 small suitcases. The rooms are well designed - with plenty of hooks for hanging clothing, and coats etc. Whilst of course being decorated in true minimalist scandi fashion.

The hotel itself is l
ovely, there is a great bar (which also amazingly serves as the buffet area for breakfast), restaurant and pizzeria attached to the hotel. There is also a gym and sauna for hotel guests to use - we didn't actually get chance to use them as we were too busy exploring the city.

The beds are super comfy - with Egyptian bed sheets. We slept very well in this bed and in true Nordic style it was a double bed with 2 duvets. Anyone else watched The Bridge? 
(Sorry Sophie - I know I went on and on about The Bridge)!

In the white tiled bathroom you will find Orla Kiely products, and a wonderful whirling shower. The only negative thing we thought was that the bathroom lacked towel hanging hooks. 

The Mini bar is adequately stocked although we didn't dig in, as with everything in Stockholm items were rather expensive. But this is the case with all mini-bars, right? I loved how it was laid out though and that bottle of red was very appealing. We however had plans to have drinks at Eriks Gondolen which offers beautiful views of the city.

 
We did however enjoy the bar - complete with bearded waiters.

 

On our first morning we ventured out for breakfast but on our second we decided to enjoy the hotel breakfast. And we were very pleased we did. The bar (from the evening) transforms into a buffet area with a huge selection of cheeses, and juices plus waffle maker and passionfruit curd. AND cinnamon buns. We were very impressed with breakfast offered as it also included bacon, sausages, egg etc.

I enjoyed the granola, yoghurt and fruit followed by toast, passionfruit curd on toast and some mini cinnamon buns. Whilst my friend had the granola, yoghurt and fruit followed by an amazing waffle which she made herself. 



Overall, Miss Clara really is the perfect choice of boutique hotel in Stockholm. It is 15 minutes walk from Stockholm Central Station. The staff at Miss Clara by Nobis are friendly and helpful, but definitely don't interfere. We made our own way into and out of the hotel without them seeming to notice our coming and going - but in a good way. 

I would recommend to anyone to stay at Miss Clara Hotel - it catered for our needs very well. We asked to leave our suitcases upon arrival and found our room was already ready, despite being early. We were also able to leave our luggage at reception after check out. 
You will find Miss Clara recommended by Mr & Mrs Smith, as well as being on other booking sites. Where we found a great deal.
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A little more about the #travellinkup 

How to link up your post.. Just pop your post up over the first week of the month (the 1st - 7th November), add it to the linkup widget below on either Angie's, Emma's or on our lovely co-host Jamie from Ink + Adventure's blog.

There are no rules – just check out some of the other cool bloggers that are involved, make a few comments here and there and tweet a few of the posts out to your followers that you think they will love (use the hashtag #travellinkup). The Travel Link Up is open to all bloggers – as long as the post is relevant!
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Saturday, 8 October 2016

Life Lately - A little update

Once again the time since my last blog post has flown by. I've been hurtling around, or so it feels like. So it's probably time for a little update.

We ended August in true Summer fashion in Greece. We really liked Greece - the heat, the Greek Salad and in particular the beauty of Rhodes Old Town. Although we probably won't return to Rhodes, there's a whole lot more wonderful looking Greek Islands. I picked up on Mykonos via Maggie aka Planes &  Champagne online. Be prepared for a severe case of Wanderlust if you pop over to her page.

 


Watching... 
Since starting back at work at the beginning of September I've been back to work the evenings have been flying by. I've been frantically trying to catch up on episodes of the GBBO and we've just finished series 3 of The Bridge!! One of our favourites is also back - Hunted on C4. Sometimes I just need to zone out and watch TV.  I'm still attending my bootcamp 2-3 times a week, so that also takes up the majority of two evenings per week. However I love it.

Welcoming new babies... 
There are 2 big things that have happened since I last posted and those are my best friend having a baby! And me getting a new phone - hardly comparable at all. But I do feel like my new phone is my baby. I will endeavour to look after it the best I can, as having dropped the trusty HTC it finally gave in and the screen cracked. It was for me time to move across to apple and I just wouldn't look back. I didn't go for the iPhone 7 - I don't need the latest, fanciest phone. However I'm pretty chuffed with the 6S, in particular the camera and features such as Apple Pay and Facetime. So please welcome me to the Apple club. I've never actually had an iPhone of my own. Just an old hand me down, when I broke another phone of mine. So I really will look after this one.

Shopping... This month I was super happy to find my perfect denim dress. I've been looking for and wanting a denim dress for far too long, but I'm not one to buy something just for the sake of it. I have to really like it - especially if I'm going to spend a decent amount of money on it. I finally found and tried on this Joules dress which is just lovely. I think it's completely sold out now - I did have trouble sourcing it online. Especially due to the 25% off Joules were doing at the time, but I found it in my local store. (Hooray)! If you know me well, you'll know I'm always after a bargain. It's already served we well, I'm looking forward to dressing it with warm winter cardigans, as you can see I've already dug out my winter boots. Oh and it has pockets, say no more!

Travel... (well the booking bit) I got a little bit over excited with the easyjet sale and booked The Boy and I return tickets for £95, I just couldn't resist. I've also booked a little mini break to Stockholm with my friend), so if you have any suggestions for Stockholm please do let me know. I also bought this brilliant book for The Boy for his birthday. Okay, okay, partly for me! But hopefully it will help with our little trips to Europe - I'm determined to explore more of our own continent. 


Reading a lot.. (on holiday) I did lots of reading on holiday - in fact I read 3 books - I'll probably write a little more about that when I can. I read the Miniuturist, The Girl on The Train and Return to the Little Coffee Shop of Kabul. Earlier this year I set myself a reading challenge for 2016 via Goodreads which has definitely helped spur me on with my reading.

Wedding planning...
It's now six months until the big day, so everything has got a lot more exciting. We're now planning the detail of the day - the decor, the bridesmaids dresses, confetti, bunting etc - the fun bits! Oh and I got to try on my wedding dress for the very first time last weekend. 

Visiting new places... 
One of my close friends has just moved to the Cotswolds, which is just amazing - we'll be able to explore the beauty of this county time & time again. It's also really close to Bicester Village which meant for a rather exciting detour. We also visited the bubble of luxury that is Daylesford Organic Farm.

Practicing the art of Fika... Visiting coffee shops happens pretty much every weekend. One of my favourites is in Putney. Blåbär is one of my favourites in Putney. You can read more about it here in my post 'Feeling Nordic at Blåbär'. I must get acquainted with the habit of Fika, as later this month I'll be visiting Sweden.

Fika is considered a social institution in Sweden. It simply means taking a break, often including coffee and cinnamon buns. Central to Nordic life it is a cherished time to spend with friends, family or just on your own.



Pocketnannies... My other little bloggy project turned one on Wednesday (5th October)! Have you checked out pocketnannies yet? 

Reset... I'm currently 'resetting' through One Element - my lovely bootcamp. Reset is a 12 day programme of healthy eating and exercise. I haven't eaten any cakes, biscuits or pastries for 6 days now. That's something I really didn't think I'd be able to achieve. As I have such a sweet tooth - but it's definitely a mind set. As someone who has never dieted before I can say I'm really impressed with Reset - I can stick to it and still enjoy food. It's also great to have a goal - for me it's loosing a few inches and toning up a little bit to look my best in my wedding dress. So please excuse me with the lack of cupcake photos I'm posting lately. 

But in true morethanjustacupcake fashion I couldn't leave you without a cupcake photo, could I? A scrummy Biscoff cupcake at Hummingbird Bakery for The Boys' birthday.



What have you been up to lately?

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Saturday, 3 September 2016

Stay | Yotelair London Gatwick Airport.

We were flying out of Gatwick at 5.30am. Thanks easyJet! However we'd much rather fly at this time than arrive at our destination after dark, after all we'll gain almost another day of our holiday.

However as soon as we'd booked the flights we decided we'd also book a hotel at Gatwick the night before which would mean we wouldn't have to get up quite so early. I'd read about Yotel via Twitter and was keen to give it a try.

We chose a Premium cabin for 2, at the cost of £85. It's probably a little more than you might pay for other airport hotels at Gatwick, but I was keen to give the 'pod /cabin' idea a go. Pricing is done by the hour, with a 4 hour minimum stay. Yotel is also located within the airport terminal.

The pod or cabin sounds rather luxurious actually it's described as 'a clever space designed for 2 people with signature retractable bed that becomes a sofa'. Other highlights include En-suite bathroom with Monsoon rain shower..  a Monsoon rain shower, in a little cabin. Wow. I can assure you it was a very decent shower. 
The location of the Yotel is within the public landside area of the South Terminal, between Costa Coffee and MoneyCorp. Typically our flight with easyJet is from the North Terminal 
but nevermind.

The lift to Yotel.





















You can also take advantage of FREE coffee, tea or hot chocolate 24 hours a day. Well that's me sorted with a cup of hot chocolate tucked up for an early night. And what better way to get into the holiday mood than leave the night before. I packed my jammies and toothbrush in my handbag.. and we were all set. 


Mission control.












Inside our cabin.
The last time I flew from Gatwick I was on the last flight of the night, this time we were on the first flight out of Gatwick. 


Compact bathroom.





















So... what was it really like staying in a little cabin? 

We arrived at mission control ready to check in at 8pm. It was the perfect spot for a few hours sleep. We were quickly checked in and given our cabin number and key. With an overview of the facilities (free coffee etc). We headed to our cabin to have a look around and dump our bags before heading to M&S to get a little picnic tea. - we must have been the only people with no bags at that point. 

Luggage stowed beneath the bed.













Once back in our cabin we folded out the bed, and watched the highlights of the Olympics before opting for an early night. Setting our alarms for just 5 hours time. 

Overall I was very impressed with the Yotel experience - our cabin was clean, the staff were friendly and check out was also super speedy. We are both tall and we found the cabin comfy enough, in fact it's very comfortable it was just tricky trying to fall asleep at 9.30. The surrounding area was quiet - we didn't hear any other guests coming or going in the middle of the night. The great bonus is being in the terminal building ready to leave when you need to. Of course if you're not a fan of small spaces this isn't the place for you, but it definitely did the job for us.


So if you need a little place to stay before you fly out of Gatwick check out the website here. Other Yotel locations include Heathrow, Amsterdam schiphol airport, Paris Charles de Gaulle airport plus a central New York location.

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Friday, 26 August 2016

Anniversary | 6 years in London

When a man is tired of Londonhe is tired of life. "Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of Londonhe is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." — Samuel Johnson. 

I can't quite believe it.. we've now called London home for 6 years. We moved to London in 2010 when I took my first nanny job (since qualifying) and haven't looked back since.

London is a funny old place - some say it's isolating, nobody talks to each other, it's too busy and not very welcoming. But I love it. Of course it can be all of those things. But it's also so much more. There's always something going on in London, there are lots of opportunities to meet people if you want to.

It was just a few weeks ago when a woman asked me which underground line she should take that I realised I can do this. I've done this before. I'm not flustered and lost like she was, bless her. I was like that in the beginning - it was confusing and difficult to remember. However I am no expert I don't travel daily on the tube, so perhaps I'm not a real Londoner.


I'm happy to call London home. Over the past 6 years we've seen some lovely corners of London. Some of my favourite bits include Peggy Porschen, afternoon tea at the Connaught. Wandering around places like Borough Market and Greenwich.


I've really enjoyed learning a little more about London on Yannick's 'Macaroons & Mews' tours (read more here) and his Piccadilly and Petit Fours tour (more here). I've also found some scrummy places to eat and drink coffee/tea thanks to my lovely London books. Tea & Cake London, London Villages and Café London. I really must pull them out more often and pack myself up onto more London adventures. I do love wandering London and I'm so glad I've had my blog to accompany me.


Did you know it's the Tea & Cake book that got me started with my blogging adventure? I went to the British Library in search of books for my dissertation (without knowing about the lengthy process you have to go through to access books there), anyway to cut a long story short I ended up in the bookshop buying Tea & Cake.



I'm grateful to be able to enjoy a wander along the Southbank and catch lovely evening skies like this one. St Paul's is one of my favourite landmarks in London one day I will climb it again. I really love exploring less known shopping centres (with amazing views) like One New Change. Or Canary Wharf Shopping Centre.


There's nothing I love more than cycling around London on the Santander hire bikes, with the sun on my back, showing family or friends the highlights of our city. Or standing on Waterloo Bridge with an iced coffee in hand, admiring the view. Subsequently I can't find that picture, and I really rather liked it.

There is still however so much more for me to see.. to name just a few things... I want to wander along Hackney Wick and visit the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which I'm ashamed to say I still haven't visited. I still haven't visited the Sky Garden either. And I've got a voucher for Dinner at The Shard to use in the coming months - but I'll never get bored of that view. Never. There's so much more that I need to do. It's a good job my time in London isn't limited.

So back to that Anniversary of ours London, how shall we celebrate?
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Sunday, 21 August 2016

Visiting | Wells

Wells is the smallest city in England, (excluding the City of London). However it's not the smallest city in Britain as St David's in Wales takes that title. There's something very special about a city that you can walk across without needing public transport or a car. There's also something a little more special about Wells - I was born there. It's also the place we will get married. It's a special city to me and that's why we choose to go back there to get wed.

On my latest visit to Somerset I've found myself taking a lot more photos, wanting to share it with you. I realise when I was younger I took it all for granted. People travel miles to see my 'neck of the woods'. When did I get so old? When did I start realizing how pretty my home county is? 

Well I honestly believe my blog has quite a lot to do with it. If I wasn't sharing these photos of my city with you then they'd probably just sit on my phone until I deleted them, what a waste. I've also promised the lovely Kelly (80 pairs of shoes) that I will get round to publishing this post as she is exploring each County in England during 2016. I'm pretty sure you'll be able to find some lovely doors to take photos of Kelly. 

Let me tell you a little more about Wells.. 'The history of Wells goes right back to the Roman times when we know that there was a settlement, probably because of the springs that bubble up here. Wells gets its name from the springs which can today be found in the gardens of the Bishop's Palace'. Source, here. is famous for it's Cathedral and Bishop's Palace, both stunning if slightly gothic. The Cathedral is described as the "most poetic of the English Cathedrals". Highlights also include the Market Place, (home to weekly Farmer's Markets) plus it's quaint High Street and Vicar's Close. Peniless Porch and the Bishop's Eye are also beautiful features of Wells. 

Wells boasts some lovely independent shops as well as some high street names. It's recently gained a Waitrose and is growing rapidly with new builds. However it's the centre you need to focus on.. 
I'll let the pictures do the talking..

The Bishop's Palace & Moat

 

The Cathedral and Surrounding area


 
 

Vicar's Close 

Vicar's Close is claimed to be the oldest purely residential street with original buildings surviving intact in Europe. It's really rather photogenic.



There's an awful lot of history to be explored in Wells. Sometimes I realise how little I know about the place I was born. I read this article during the week and let's just say I didn't know all 5 facts. 

The Market Place


 

The above picture shows the running water from the wells in the Bishop's Palace. Did you know Wells was featured as the village of Sandford in Hot Fuzz.

Whilst you're wandering around Wells you'll probably need somewhere to stop off for lunch and a coffee and for that I would really recommend Strangers with Coffee in Wells. I think it's one of the nicest coffee shops going, in fact it's been voted #1 of 8 for Coffee & Tea in Wells. You can read about my visit last year here

Wandering around Wells is a lovely - a perfect spot to explore, especially if you find yourself in Somerset. Wells is nestled in the corner of the Mendip Hills a 45 minute drive from Bath, and Bristol. It's definitely worth the detour, or a scheduled trip in it's own right. You could also combine a trip to Wells with a visit to Bath, which is a UNESCO World Heritage City, and another city close to my heart, as I lived there for 2 years whilst studying. 

Until next time. X
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