Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Holiday to Copenhagen, Denmark

My second trip of this summer was to Copenhagen, Denmark. Much like Hungary, this was a place I'd never been before, and I've always wanted to visit Scandinavia, so this was really exciting for me! 
The flight and hotel were pretty cheap, but everything else was super expensive so we tried to ration our money. 
On the first day we arrived, we went to the National Museum which was free to enter and also happy to store our suitcases (as we hadn't checked in to our hotel yet).
The museum was really interesting - probably my favourite out of all the museums I've visited all summer. It featured a Viking exhibition which I enjoyed alot - always liked Viking stuff but you don't really learn much about it in the UK so this was a first for me.
Viking bangles...and Viking braids chopped off to show commitment to the Gods. A tad creepy ;)
Big Rune Stones - classic Viking and beautiful patterns :)
Beautiful Viking metal piece....the design on it was very intricate and featured the faces of Viking gods and warriors.
Some combs made from bone (I think?). These seemed to be in every museum I've been to lately.
I particularly liked these little animal objects. From what I could read in the museum, I believe they were used as weights in working out trade and payment.
In the other part of the museum they had many Catholic objects on display, which as you might have guessed were gold and stunning..My grandma would've loved this (she was very Catholic!).
I also enjoyed the traditional Danish exhibition which featured really pretty European folk pieces, such as this doll.
And these shoes :) check out that bonnet! I'd love to wear....but I have a feeling I'd get beaten up on the tube.
Besides the museum, we did alot of walking around the streets and the waterside to pass the time. This was all fine and dandy but it was made 10x more exhausting by the fact that Scandinavia was experiencing a one off heatwave - it was easily about 30C for the majority of the trip and holy shit was it hot.
Beautiful Nyhavn! Great place to chill out by the waterside. There were lots of restaurants, we had Thai takeaway at least twice here.
A guard parading about at what I think was a government building.
The famed 'Little Mermaid' statue. Even in the evening when we visited this it was literally swarming with tourists (mostly Chinese ones). Very popular place.
At night! Lots of places to drink and hang out. Just a shame it was so expensive to do anything. People spent alot of time jumping in the water and sunbathing on the edge.
Our hotel was pretty near Tivoli Gardens - a sort of theme park with pretty things to do and look at :)
Tivoli Gardens was very much a toyland....and it was exceptionally busy with families.
On our last full day we took the train to Roskilde, which is the town with a well known Viking Museum and fjords.
They had alot of Viking boats to look at! 
They also were doing Viking crafts, such as iron smelting, rope making, basket weaving and jewellery making.
Inside the museum itself they had an original Viking boat found at the site on display. It was rather large!
As an extra, we paid to take part in a special sailing activity....We got to sail in the fjord in a Viking boat!
Woo :)
It was rather alot of fun! The water was full of jellyfish, but we got to sail on the wind and then row back to shore.
The sailing was definitely my favourite part of the trip, and I'd go again to Scandinavia but I think next time I might try Norway or perhaps Finland!
Anyway, next time I will be talking about my third and final trip of the summer so see you again :)

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Trip to Suffolk

On the same day I graduated I was due to go on holiday to Suffolk with Fraser, I knew I'd be really tired and maybe a little grouchy...but even after a really busy, hot day I managed to go on my holiday! We really needed some time off :o
We stayed in a converted barn, which was really beautiful! It was really hot weather, and we struggled to keep cool....Fraser spent alot of time taking photos of things, and me :)
Fraser and I really like animals, and so as per usual for our holidays/trips, we do alot of animal based things....we've been to more zoos/animal sanctuaries/petting zoos than I can count. This time we went to a particularly awesome zoo called Banham Zoo.
Possibly one of the best zoos we've been to! They had animals from all over the world, everything from big cats, zebras, giraffes down to rare donkeys and farm yard animals.
We get quite excited about seeing goats whenever we go to places like this :3 this goat was only a baby and made it his goal to keep headbutting me.
Fraser with his camera at the bird sanctuary we went to :) He kept getting really hot in the sun so we had to keep buying him ice lollies to cool down !
Lots of birds of prey! And some very naughty birds who refused to fly during the flying show...
We also got to see a really good meerkat enclosure..... Fraser spent alot of time taking photos of these little guys...who were also just as naughty as the birds of prey. They did alot of rolling around and play fighting.
When we got back from our holiday, we decided we wanted to do some more animal based days out as we had enjoyed it rather alot (we always do). So we went to my local bird sanctuary which is just up the road from my house - Eagle Heights.
We were lucky enough to hold some birds of prey too!
Wow this feels like such a long time ago now....
It was such a hot summer, and to think how cool its suddenly become. I got a little burned this year on my arms which is quite unusual for me. It must've been hot :)

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Catch up! Graduation and Recovery ~~

I kept trying to find the time to come back here and write but it just didn't seem to happen...I've had alot on this summer and finding the time to talk about it was quite hard.
To start off, I graduated with a 2:1!
It was a rather long day at London Royal Festival Hall, and to think I've got to do it all again next year when I complete my second degree. I spent the whole day feeling like my graduation outfit was slipping off or falling out of place.
Which brings me on to my second subject - I managed to get on to Camberwell's BA Illustration course in the third year. I will be studying for one more year and at the end of it I will have my second degree in Illustration, this one being a BA (hons) and my previous one a Foundation Degree. Exciting, but also like opening an old wound. The thought of going back to college to work really hard gives me nightmares. But I'm hoping this time it will be a tad easier. Which brings me on to my third subject....
I've not been amazingly well for what I think has been around 18 months. It was too minor to make a huge deal about it, but it lingered and niggled away in the background getting on my nerves.
I started to notice in early 2013 I had really bad sugar cravings. Really intense ones that would lead me to devour tubs of honey or worse left right and centre. I also would feel pretty weak throughout the day at random times, even if I ate a big meal (this sometimes made it worse).
Eventually I realised I had a bad case of reactive hypoglycemia - in other words, whenever I ate food, within three hours my body would suffer a blood sugar drop that would make me a) tired b) shaky and c) very very grumpy.
Anyway, this got kind of bad, and after some research I decided it might help to give up all added sugar in the hope of restoring balance. This did help alot, and whilst it made me feel much more normal and stable, it did not solve the issue and I just assumed I was doomed to live with this condition. 
Then about a year ago I started getting unexplained stomach cramps...really weird ones that felt like I'd just done a million sit-ups. I can assure you I hadn't :) 
Aswell as the cramps and the hypoglycemia, since around last winter I started suffering from aching limbs and very very bad exhaustion - I'd go to bed and wake up feeling as achy and as tired as when I got in to was getting to the point where I didn't even have the energy to get up and go to class. Not good.
The tipping point of all this is when I went to Budapest, Hungary at the start of Summer, and endured a week of eating bread. More so than usual. Croissants, apple pie, you name it. So when I got back to England, I suddenly felt even worse than before. 
A couple of days after my trip I'd truly had enough and after work I went to Sainburys and spoke to a pharmacist about it. She thought that from what I'd told her it sounded like I had gluten intolerance. This was something I already had dabbled with as a theory: I knew anyway I was a little sensitive to gluten due to the fact that whenever I had pizza or good old fish & chips (favourites of mine) I'd get tummy aches, shakiness and often fall asleep within an hour of eating it. It was all a bit suspicious, so I took her advice and decided to go gluten free for a while.
This was alot more difficult than I first thought it was going to be - Gluten is almost in everything. From humble bread to pasta to pizza to soup to sausages. Oh my goodness. Even the little multicoloured flakes on Fab Ice Lollies contain it.
The first two weeks were pretty miserable. Every time I ate, the food going through my stomach would make everything ache. My tummy was bloated enough that I joked to my boyfriend that I looked 3 months preggers, it was truly tragic. Worse still, I continued to suffer from the hypoglycemia and the dreaded exhaustion. It didn't seem to make a difference.

However come the third and fourth week, I suddenly noticed I no longer seemed to have hypoglycemia. It had disappeared. And the tummy aches, along with the exhaustion, began to disappear. I was cured....

......Until I went abroad and got glutened in Poland by an amazing soup. 

Back to square one. Within a week I felt awful again, but this time it was worse - the corners of my mouth split, the fold on my ears split, and the end of my nose starting flaking off. Oh boy.
 But two weeks have passed and I'm in recovery again :) I'm feeling alot better already just by eating decent food. I  try to eat lots of fruit, veg, rice and meat, with the occasional gluten free pasta here and there. I have alot of Indian food and enjoy melted cheese from time to time too...mmm...
The only thing I have avoided besides gluten is sugar. But that's a whole other story....just ask my boyfriend about that. All I will say is when I don't have sugar, I'm a much nicer, better person. :)

Anyway, that's all I have time for, but I will be writing about my travels to Europe in the next few weeks so stick around :) x


Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Holiday to Budapest, Hungary

I've been a little busy and tired since the end of university with sorting out our end of year show and all that, but I've also had a little time to enjoy myself finally too!
To kick-start my Summer holidays we booked a little holiday to Budapest in Hungary for a couple of days - a place I had never been to nor knew anything about.
We flew with Ryan Air....surprisingly not as bad as the media likes to say. Although I will say the day after we landed back in the UK, two Ryan Airplanes at Stanstead crashed into each other. 
 We stayed in a cheap hotel in the City Center (the same name as the hotel!). It was very clean, had tv and wifi but we had to share a bathroom with the other people on our floor. It wasn't that bad but it was kind of awkward in a British sort of way :)
A shrine at 'The House of Terror' - a trip advisor recommended museum in the old headquarters for the Nazis and the Communists (at different times of course). This was a really interesting museum and was on the same road as our hotel.
 A bike shop, these were very popular, much like bikes are across Europe...
Lots of stunning architecture, museums and castles in and around City Park - as you might have guessed - a big park :) We liked it here as it was rather pretty, but the pub here had the rudest staff ever.
The Hungarian Parliament, where the guards did a little display!
We went to the Museum of Ethnography as it was right opposite the parliament, and it was full of interesting objects relating to the culture and history of Hungary. I particularly liked the little vase!
Along the Danube River...
The Central Market building!
Plenty of fruit and veg on sale, aswell as sausages, alcohol and souvenirs. Everything in Hungary was really cheap, and we struggled to spend all our spending money.
Me enjoying an iced latte in the Ruin Bar!
The Ruin Bar was very cool ... it was full of tourists, and the decor was done up like a grotto full of crazy, mismatched stuff with fairy lights.
There was even a room with a load of strung up old computer screens, flashing weird clips.
One morning we went to a Catholic church, which was extremely fancy. It had a gold display case too which had the actual hand of the founding father of Budapest inside it :s kind of strange and mildly morbid.
On our last full day we went up the top of Gellert Hill. Its more or less the highest point in Budapest, and overlooks the city and the river. It was the hottest day of our holiday so far, and I was quite grumpy and knackered! There were also a few odd people about, just sitting around by themselves.
Down from the Gellert Hill, we went to the Basilica and the Fishermans Bastion which were really beautiful and had great views! This part of the trip was on the side of Budapest (Buda) that was less touristy, and more residential. It was quite interesting to see the difference...
On our way back across the river to Pest, we stopped off at Margaret Island, which is dead centre in the river.
It had a cute park there with a big fountain and lots of forested area. There were also lots of mini karts you could hire to drive around :)
When we got back across the river we went straight to the Cat Cafe - one of only two or three in Europe! I'd been looking forward to this all holiday. 
 You buy a drink or two in here and you get to spend a few hours with the Cats! The staff were also really friendly too, much friendlier than any other Cafe or restaurant we had been to throughout the holiday.
They had a very popular little Bengal kitten too....he reminded me of my own Bengal cat Ash when he was just a bubba! But anyway this kitten was lovely <3
On our last night we went back to the Ruin Bar (a different one this time) in an attempt to use up some of our spending money, and I had a really really good cocktail...coconut flavoured :) my favourite. The people in the bars and restaurants round the Ruin Bars were definitely the most tourist friendly (and generally just nice!) in the whole city.
By the end of this trip I was so exhausted - we had walked a total of 42 miles in just three days!
 I think next time I come here, and there definitely will be a next time, I will likely stay closer to this part of the city :)

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