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Xmas Eve

As Xmas Day itself draws ever near, the Cumbrian weather has been all the more soggy and gusty. However, it’s nothing that can’t be endured by wearing an extra layer or two. The big grocery shop went well, with no instances of trolley rage to be reported – although I’m sure if I was in the shops today I might not be able to withstand the crowds and lack of orderly queues.

I’ve managed to resist the traditional panic buying brought on by supermarkets closing for a whole 24 hours. As I’ve got older I don’t suffer the need to test the limits of my body’s ability to consume food/drink anymore, and I reckon I’ll feel all the better for it by Boxing Day. Even with a dash of portion control, I’ll still need to take a brisk walk in the afternoon to aid the digestion. Luckily the scenery is fantastic, so I won’t find it hard motivating myself to step outside.

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Posted by on December 24, 2013 in Clothes, Food, Health, Holidays, Outdoors, Shopping, Travel, Xmas

 

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Grey Xmas

I’m already resigned to it being a rainy Xmas this year rather than a snowy one, though brief bursts of hail have whitened to hill tops of Cumbria. With enough warm and waterproof clothing, none of this is a problem at all.

Whilst some people might enjoy activity filled holidays, I prefer to wind things back a notch and slow down when taking a break. Laying in bed each morning is allowed, breakfasts last longer and lunches take place whenever they can be comfortably slotted in. Rushing is never allowed and everywhere is explored at a steady pace. Plans for the week are loose, with only a big Xmas grocery shop being the immovable object in the calendar.

It seems that every time I pay for something in a shop the person at the checkout asks me if I’m ready for Xmas yet. I think I’ve been ready for it for some time – I have no worries about last minute travel plans and frantic trolley dashes round the stores. So I’ll be ambling around the Lakes, taking the occasional photo and making sure I meet my daily quota of mince pies.

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2013 in Clothes, Food, Holidays, Outdoors, Shopping, Travel, Xmas

 

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Weigh Your Veg Out


Being on holiday means that everyday, mundane things become exciting. Just because they’re a little bit different and in a different place, the novelty of it all brings out a sense of fun that you wouldn’t have back home. Seeing familiar brands with different names and flavours, for example, always makes me smile. Just about any food can be bought with Angry Bird packaging these days too.

Shopping for groceries never fails to amuses me in Helsinki, primarily because of the way you weigh your fresh vegetables/fruit before you buy them in the supermarket. In itself this is neither strange nor unreasonable, but I’ll never forget the ‘eureka’ moment I had when I first figured out how to use the label-printing scales.

If supermarkets aren’t your thing, then there are plenty of regular old-fashioned markets to buy your fresh food from. In particular, fish and bread are best bought from one of these. Being a port, Helsinki is a great place to eat fish. Admittedly, I’m not overly adventurous, but whether you like your fish to be fish shaped (like I generally do) or if you like things with more tentacles and shells, then all kinds are readily available.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Food, Shopping, Travel

 

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Downtime

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Today I was lucky enough to have achieved that fabled, fabulous and rare thing – booked a day off from work. In reality I get as many holiday days allocated to me as the next wage slave. However, as I needed to have 3 different kinds of eye test performed on me (long story) I thought that I may as well take the whole day off from work and spend some time doing… um…

Well, that’s the question isn’t it? What to do when my time is my own? As much fun as sprawling on the sofa/in bed can be, the inactivity makes me restless. Window shopping is fun, but I buy most things online these days (Windows shopping?) but it makes a change to flick through a rack of albums or Blu Rays. Lunch with the Sock Mistress is a bonus and so much nicer than a Tupperware lunchbox of sandwiches at my office desk.

The best thing about my day off though is just taking a break from the usual routine. Being able to take a coffee break when I want to take a coffee break. Not having to see the same faces on the train, answer the same kind of questions on the phone and not having to rush through the day bound by somebody else’s ticking clock. Today I haven’t even worn a watch and there’s something slightly liberating about that.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2013 in Food, Health, Holidays, Shopping, Travel

 

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Let The Festivities Begin!

With Christmas just around the corner, the Sock Mistress and I have escaped from our usual habitat to a cottage in the Lake District for the week. I’ve been looking forward to this tremendously over the last month or so and now it’s finally arrived I’ve got that ‘big kid’ feeling that only Christmas can really bring.

During the past week at work there’s been the usual round-the-watercooler type of conversations with colleagues about everyone’s plans for the festive season and (rather pleasingly) I’ve been able to trump them all every time. Most people were bracing themselves for marathon drinking sessions, marathon child-wrestling bouts or just wanted a few days relief from the office. Telling them I’ll be in a small cottage by a lake beneath snow capped hillsides just caused people to turn glassy eyed as they drifted away with the thought of it.

Even in the most remote corners of England, you’re never too far from a decent WiFi signal or a Co Op with reasonable opening times. As such I don’t feel as though civilisation has been abandoned, it’s just been put to one side for now. I have a fridge filled with full-fat milk, local eggs and butter. I have underfloor heating and a bathtub I can stretch out in. I have a Christmas tree in the corner of the room and no particular plans to stick to. That all feels very civilised indeed if you ask me.

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2012 in Food, Holidays, Outdoors, Travel, Xmas

 

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All At Sea

Today I will be setting off on a three day mini cruise from Helsinki, Finland to Stockholm, Sweden. The enormous ships that fill Helsinki harbour are impressive in their size and in the variety of facilities onboard. Bars, shops, live shows and buffets that are reminiscent of orgies from the Roman Empire. Early morning aerobics with Moomin Mama and Little My are also held, but they’re for children only.

Although Helsinki has a reputation as being an expensive city, I think Stockholm has the edge on it (and both pale in comparison to the shockingly pricey Olso). I’m not intending to do a great deal of shopping in Stockholm, though I’ll probably be unable to resist the bargain booze/sweeties whilst I’m onboard the ship. However, it will make a pleasant change of scenery as this holiday enters its second week.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2012 in Food, Holidays, Shopping

 

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An Eye For Design

Time spent wandering around Helsinki’s Design District is always time well spent. From clothes and jewellery to furniture and antiques, there is more than your average person will be able to absorb in one visit. Retro stores and shops selling hand made craft items are plentiful and though some of these won’t suit everyone’s tastes, if you look for long enough you will find something you would love to take home with you – if only you had enough Euros.

This is the dilemma that I had to face up to this morning, so as the famous saying goes, “If at first you cannot shop, then eat a massive cake…” It has held true for me in the past and so too did it today. Luckily an afternoon of browsing in the multi-floored Stockmann’s department store was sufficient to save me from a humongous sugar-high. 

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Socks

 

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