All posts filed under “adventure

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Thresholds at Lacock Abbey

I am lucky enough to not have to work on Fridays. Over the last couple of years, these days have become my ‘solo-adventuring’ time. I love doing things by myself every now and again; these Fridays have been a much-needed introversion time, where I can just potter around and get lost in my thoughts, whilst exploring things which I wouldn’t normally take the time

Last Friday I popped along to Lacock Abbey, to see a rather unusual exhibition which has popped up in the Tudor Courtyard.

This was my first visit to Lacock, which is a short drive along the M4, just shy of an hour from Bristol. It was the most perfect crisp, autumnal day, with the leaves crunching pleasantly underfoot and that lush smell of the changing weather tinging the air.

Lacock Abbey is the birthplace of modern photography; home to Henry Fox Talbot, who in the first half of the 19th Century began experimenting with what he called ‘photogenic drawing’ which later developed into the first photographic negative. He really is an interesting chap – I have to admit I had heard of him before but wasn’t fully aware of the scale of his accomplishments.

I made a beeline for the exhibition first, sitting in a marquee in the centre of the abbey courtyard. Thresholds is unlike any other exhibition I have ever visited. A virtual world, built around a physical space made to represent one of the earliest photography exhibitions which took place in Birmingham in 1839.

Once inside the space, you are transported via sight and sound to a boy’s school in the early 1800s, complete with mice scuttling on the floor and a roaring fire in one corner of the room. I was highly skeptical at first, but left completely blown away at how much thought and detail had gone into it.

Donning what looked suspiciously like a Ghostbuster’s proton pack and a pair of goggles which obscured everything from sight, I was led into the room. My goggles flickered into life and I was suddenly not myself – this wasn’t 2017 anymore but 1839, complete with rioting Chartist protesters outside the windows. It was absolutely incredible.

Interactive pieces were activated by hovering your hand over the glass exhibition cases, which only added to the Blade Runner-esque thoughts that were racing through my mind. This is the future, people, and it’s bloody fantastic.

Feet firmly back in the present day, I had some time to potter around the abbey, which spans hundreds and hundreds of years of history. A medieval monastery which was bought during the dissolution and transformed into a family home, it eventually found its way into the hands of the National Trust shortly after the second world war.

It was an absolutely fantastic day out for a history nerd such as myself, but perhaps the most exciting thing was that a number of the Harry Potter films were made here too. One million points to Gryffindor!

If you fancy popping along to Lacock this autumn, Thresholds is running until the 29th October. Find out more here.

I was invited along for the purpose of this review but all words and opinions are my own.

bristol balloon flight with red letter days
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Bristol Balloon Fiesta with Red Letter Days

So that’s it. Another Balloon Fiesta has come and gone; Bristol has enjoyed hazy late-summer skies filled with hot air balloons for one more year. Ever since moving to Bristol 8 years ago I have never tired of the sight of a hot air balloon. Living in the South of the City they are a regular occurrence, but that hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm for them in the slightest.

So, imagine my joy when I was invited to take part in Red Letter Day’s bucket list campaign and go on a flight… at the fiesta!  Read More

temple cycles of cycle the city
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Bristol’s Best Bits: The Bristol Food Tour x Cycle the City

I have two true loves in this world; this absolute beaut of a city which I call home, and my stunning Temple Cycles bicycle. So imagine my excitement when I found out that the lovely folks behind the Bristol Food Tour were teaming up with Cycle the City to offer a cycling food tour of Bristol! My heart near much exploded, my tummy started rumbling, and I had never been this ready for something in my entire life. Read More

bristol university botanic gardens
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Bristol’s Best Bits: Bristol University Botanic Gardens

As I write this, I am watching the grey sky and rain trickle down the windows, and am wondering where all that summer weather went to.  A couple of months ago now, just as the spring weather was starting to blossom, myself and Lyzi of Being Little fame took a trip up Clifton way to pay the Bristol University Botanic Gardens a visit.

This place is truly heaven for horticulturalists, or anyone who likes standing in a room full of succulents to take photos for Instagram. It’s versatile that way. Read More

church in amsterdam
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7 Reasons Amsterdam is the Best City Ever

Ahhh, Amsterdam. There is not a day that goes by when I don’t miss being in Amsterdam. It’s one of those rare places which I felt an immediate affinity with, even after just a few hours of being on Dutch soil. Me and the boy popped off to Amsterdam back in March, and I was inspired by Frankie’s recent travels to pen this li’l post about our own Dutch adventures.

amsterdam canals

Instead of rattling off a list of things to do and see in Amsterdam, I thought I’d let you all know exactly why it’s one of the best cities I have ever visited. (Plus, there is a handy list of my fave places at the bottom of this post if that’s the kind of content you are here for). Read More

natural history museum at christmas
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Meandering Around Grey London Town

I don’t often find myself in the capital with time to spare. Usually trips to London are to do something, to see something, or generally to rush about without so much time as to stop and catch a breath. It was for this reason that I didn’t used to like London very much; I never took kindly to the fast pace of everything, I was very much settled in my Bristolian ways, thank-you-very-much.

I’ve had a bit of a change of heart of late. I’m not sure if it’s because Bristol is becoming a bit of a mini-London in itself, but I’ve begun to tolerate the capital a far lot more than I used to. So when, after my gift wrapping masterclass on Saturday, I found myself in London with a few hours to kill, I was a little bewildered. What to do with my new-found freedom?! I had a travelcard burning a hole in my pocket, which I wasn’t about to let go to waste.


After the workshop, myself and Alice stopped off at itsu for a bit to eat (another London chain making its way to Bristol!) and were surprised by thousands of people walking down Camden High Street dressed as Father Christmas, as ya do! We soon found ourselves in the midst of this crowd trying to get to the tube station, where a chatty tube chap told us that this is a Christmas tradition in ol’ London town; it’s a massive festive pub crawl which ends up getting pretty messy by the end of the day. Note to self: come and join in next year.

After saying farewell to Alice at Piccadilly Circus, I decided to take myself to the Natural History Museum for a spot of nerding out. I always get a bit emosh walking up to that stunning Victorian facade, and it looked particularly beautiful this grey Saturday afternoon, decked out in festive glory with an ice rink and carousel outside.

natural history museum at christmas

Unfortunately for me, the queue was bloody massive (obviously – it was a Saturday two weeks before Christmas) so I decided to call it a day, and starting making my way to Paddington through Hyde Park, stopping off to say hi to Albert first.

royal albert hall
prince albert memorial
hyde park in winter
albert memorial from hyde park

Soon I was safely stowed on a train bound for Bristol after a teeny tiny adventure in a minute portion of the capital. I’m more than aware that there’s plenty I need to see (cereal cafe, for example, plus numerous exhibitions) but I just didn’t have time to do it all that day! Until next time, London. Keep being massive and intimidating.

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Organic September at Yeo Valley

Last week, on a gorgeously sunny Tuesday, I was invited to the stunning Yeo Valley HQ in Blagdon for a dreamy summer’s day learning all about the importance of organic farming.

Organised by the Soil Association, myself and other foodies were invited to spend some time at the West Country’s most famous organic dairy farm to see the ins and outs of a working farm, and what makes organic so important. It was all in aid of Organic September,  a whole month celebrating organic food and educating others as to what organic means exactly. Read More

end of the road festival
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Why Smaller Festivals Are Best

The humble music festival has undergone a renaissance in the last decade. The first ever festival I went to was Reading, a whopping 10 years ago this August (ermagerd I feel so old). The general vibe of attending a festival back in those days was a tinted with an element of survival; you took things which you didn’t mind getting destroyed and hoped you’d come back vaguely in one piece at the end of it.

Contrast that, then, with the atmosphere and general attitude of the average Glastonbury-goer at the festival this year, which was more Kate Moss than Bear Grylls. I tutted in my old-lady way at young girls dancing away in downpours in little more than a pair of shorts and a glitzy crop top, and took pity on a young thing who was shivering in front of me whilst standing in the mizzle watching Grimes. Put a bloody anorak on, young people!

I digress. The point I’m trying to get at here, is that the older I have become the more I’ve come to realise that the type of festival I enjoy attending is the more laid back, smaller affair – and I’m here to tell you why the smaller the festival, the better. Read More

mercure holland house bristol my room
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Mercure Holland House Bristol #MyRoom

Every now and then, it’s nice to change up the scenery a little bit – to cut loose (Footloose) and fancy free, and pop off on a bit of a holiday. The trouble is, we have exhausted the holiday fund a wee bit, what with our travels around the globe, so another trip overseas is off the cards until at least 2019.

So when Mercure got in touch and asked if I wanted to come and see a specially decorated room at their Holland House Bristol hotel a few weeks ago, I jumped at the chance. Me and Tom were treated to a little one-night staycation at their central Bristol hotel. Read More

venice at dusk lily doughball travel blog
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A Weekend in Venice & Lake Garda | Doughball’s Travels

colourful houses in venice

Oh me oh my, has this post been a long time coming. Since the beginning of March, I’ve been on no less than three holidays – a big ol’ trip to Japan via Budapest for a few days in April, and waaay back in early March myself and the boy popped off to the continent with his parents for a little trip to Italy.

I don’t now why I haven’t written about this until now – things seemed to have got in the way a little bit, but it’s better late than never, eh?  Read More

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Happy Birthday, Lily Doughball!

Another vlog! 2 videos in as many days, what is the world coming to?

Yesterday, *the 6th June* marked my 26th birthday, and today, *7th June* marks THREE WHOLE YEARS since I started this blog. To mark these momentous occasions I fashioned a vlog in which I talk to the camera for the first time and I’m definitely not nervous at all.

We popped along to Berkeley Castle for the day because it’s a tradition in my family to go see a castle because we bloody love history. It was fun.

Please do leave your honest opinions below because I’d like to make more videos and I need some constructive criticism.

Cheers me dears!

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Bristol’s Best Bits: St Werburgh’s City Farm

graffiti bristol st werburghs city farm

Tom has an unhealthy aversion to the barbers. Every time he needs a haircut he makes me do it for him, something which every time I agree to I am quite vocally adamant that I will never do again. There’s always a condition to me cutting his hair – usually some kind of food treat – but this time it was a trip up to the St Werburgh’s City Farm to see their new baby piglets. Squee! Read More

tyntesfield bristol
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An Autumnal Walk at Tyntesfield

Not many words this evening, folks. I’ve had a pretty tiring day but I’m all tucked up on the sofa watching Autumnwatch by myself like a loser while Tom is at a gig.

Whilst looking at all the cute fluffy animals and autumnal scenes on the telly it reminded me of my trip t’other day, when I took myself down to Tyntesfield for a little wander about.

tyntesfield bristol
tyntesfield bristol
tyntesfield bristol victorian stately home
servants bells at tyntesfield bristol
stained glass at tyntesfield bristol
inside the house at tyntesfield bristol
autumn colours at tyntesfield bristol
tyntesfield bristol
tyntesfield bristol
gardens at tyntesfield bristol
tyntesfield bristol

It was my first time visiting Tyntesfield, which is pretty surprising considering that I’m a bit of a closet history nerd, and nothing excites me more than the thought of a warm October afternoon wondering around a Victorian stately home, especially if there’s a cup of tea and a slice of cake at the end.

The house itself is absolutely stunning, having been lovingly restored by the National Trust since they took over the occupation of the house in 2002. Whilst I was there they were starting to set up the rooms for Christmas, and I can only imagine how magical this place looks when decked out in its festive finery.

If you’re not bothered about crumbly old Victorian houses [insert disapproving look here] you can pay a bit less and have a lovely wander in the vast gardens and parkland surrounding the house.

Perfec’ for an autumnal stroll while the leaves are still crunchy!

Any more historical houses in the Bristol area I need to check off my list?

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My Dream London Trip

Ahh, London.

We don’t often visit the capital because Tom, being of the Northern persuasion, is genetically opposed to London in any and every capacity. Being a Southerner, I have nothing against London, but I have to admit that just being in a city any larger than Bristol makes me nervous, so we don’t often travel south east that often. Having said that, there’s a few things going on in the capital over the next few months which I am dying to pop back and see, plus I’ve got a few pals there, so I’ve chalked up an itinerary for my dream trip to the Big Smoke.

london skyline

Where I would stay
I know, there’s a million and one places to stay in London, but if money were no object, I would most definitely stay in the amazing Rosewood hotel. A luxury abode accessed by a secret Edwardian courtyard just a hop, skip and a jump from Covent Garden? Sign me up! Sure, it’s a bit more than I’d usually pay, but it looks absolutely gorgeous, and if you’re going to do it once then do it well.

What I would see
No doubt about it – I would head straight to the Science Museum first to scope out the cosmonaut exhibition that’s on at the moment, because I’m a bit of a fan of spacey things, and y’all know the Russians did it best. Plus there’s an exhibition by one of my favourite photographers, Alec Soth, on at the moment. WIN-WIN. From there I’d probably pop in to the Natural History Museum to say hi to the dinosaur one last time before it pops off, and if I’m there during the week then I’ll have to make a trip to the museum at the Royal College of Surgeons. I’d love to give those skeletons and pickled organs another visit – call me weird, but I think it’s interesting!

Where I would eat
I know it’s become a bit of a hipster cliche, but I’ve been dying to go to the Cereal Killer cafe. Just the thought of peanut butter cereal smothered in custard milk is enough to get my stomach rumbling! I’d stop off there for breakkie and make a beeline to Ambriento for some lunchtime tacos, cos I do love my Mexican food. Dinner would have to be pizza somewhere, and Homeslice looks like it fits the bill perfectly!

How I would travel
By Boris bike, duh! They look like amazing fun, but I’d probably be wise to stick to cycle paths through parks and the like, cos I don’t want to get squished. When I’m not pootling along dodging the traffic on my little bike, then I might give a duck tour a go!

London folk – any recommendations for a non-native to see during a day-and-night trip?

This post is all my own written content, but contains affiliate links.

Image credits: Pixabay, @sciencemuseum, @cerealkillercafe