Tag: holiday

Who thought self hosting was a good idea?

Of course self hosting is good idea overall, I know.

But setting it all up 2 days before you go on holiday, with no time to really look at the results because you should be packing is a little bit daft.

I blame my to-do list whilst between jobs (I’m still “between jobs” and have only watched one HP film and made more of a mess while I sort out our utility room <<insert cliche about breaking omlettes to make eggs here>>). I thought I might feel like I’d achieved something if I ticked off a box. I don’t. I feel like I’ve bolloxed up (technical term) something that at least worked and looked ok.

Actually, who am I kidding? If looking “ok” was a reasonable achievement, I wouldn’t have a (pretty much unused) boxing bag in the garage and 3 brand new lipsticks in my make up bag.

Anyways, just to say if you’re a regular reader I’m sorry about the mess, and if you’re new then this isn’t a truthful representation of what this blog is about, so please pop by again.

The good people at GoDaddy are being rightfully helpful (take my money and stop me being an internet doofus, please) and, thanks to their live web chat, I managed to leave my hair colour on for an extra hour this afternoon. If there are no holiday photos from our impending Greece trip, it’s because I left my hair behind on the pillow in Birmingham.

Also, what an awful logo. And name. I mean, apart from the fact my Dad is dead, I don’t want anyone’s Daddy to be Going on my behalf. It’s all a bit pervy porny, no? And Daddy is wearing god awful hair and sunglasses. GoDaddy that is. Not my Dad. Apart from the fact he’s not around anymore (humour masks my loss), he had impeccable taste.

Having said that, dear GoDaddy, please don’t revoke my (albeit shit right now) blog. It’s gonna get better for all of us, I promise.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

The Big 4-0: Where to Go?

I’ll be 40 in December. 5 months today, in fact.

40 mug

I’ll spare you all the “how did that happen” bollocks, all the “I still feel like I’m in my 20s” bollocks and all the “if I could do it all over again” bollocks, because a) it’s bollocks, b) it’s dull and c) it’s pretty obvious! It happened, because life. I don’t know how old I feel, really, because I don’t know how 40 is supposed to feel, but I certainly don’t act how I think 40 year old grown ups acted when I was a kid. And I wouldn’t do it all over again, thanks. I’m very happy and settled in my life, with myself, with my relationship and with my home, compared to school years and early 20s which were a troubled cocktail of confusion at times!

The biggest issue I have with turning 40 at the moment (and I reserve the right to change this to sheer panic as the date gets closer!) is how to celebrate. More specifically where to celebrate. I’m not a party type person. Not to say I don’t like parties, or social occasions, or fun (I do, and I excel at them, at least in my own head!) but the thought of having a party for me just ticks no boxes at all. If anyone were to organise a surprise party for me I would be livid. It would also be pretty impossible anyway, because my birthday is on 20th December and people tend to be so caught up in Christmas parties/works parties/shopping/visiting family/spending money on presents that there isn’t necessarily room for ickle old me in their plans (this is not a pity statement in anyway, I’m cool with it, I’ve had 39 years to be ok with it and the people that matter always make a fuss regardless).

So, back to the impending 40th. I know it’s just another day, and another year older, and nothing will change, but somehow it feels like I should do something a bit special. And I have always thought/expected that something special would involve a trip. A holiday. And I always wanted the destination to be Goa or New York.

Now the time has come to make plans though, neither of those are really feasible. There’s the proximity to Christmas, obvs. I don’t want to be away over Christmas, because that’s family time, which therefore means travelling before Christmas and having a really long Christmas holiday which neither my bank balance or waistline would thank me for. Also, with moving house this year, annual leave is at a premium i.e I don’t have enough left to take time off for a long haul trip (that’s Goa out of the question). And New York would be incredibly cold (although pretty) and what if we got snowed in and couldn’t get home for Christmas Day? Too risky.

I suppose I could plan the trip for January, but it’s not my birthday then, so…

This leaves me the option of Europe. And while there are heaps of places I want to go in Europe, most of them lend themselves to summer. Lisbon? Summer. Seville? Summer. Dubrovnik? Summer. I’ve been to Prague, and I’ve been to Budapest (for my 30th). Flight timetables tend to be less regular as Christmas gets closer and the limited annual leave I have left gives only a couple of days window of opportunity to fly.

My first thought was Amsterdam. I do want to go there, but don’t really link it with any particular season in my head, so it seemed like a decent idea. It’s a short flight from the UK and there are lots of airlines serving Schipol airport. But the husband said he thinks of it as more of a warm days/light nights destination for wandering the streets and sitting outside street cafes, so the idea was shelved.

So far the frontrunner is now Rome. It has enough epicness to be worthy of a 40th birthday (History? Check! Architecture? Check! Food & wine? Check, check, check!) It’s close enough to fly to for just a few days; the last few years have been surprisingly mild in December, and it will probably be less busy than high season which means shorter queues for attractions, more choice of hotels and less crowded restaurants. I like the idea of hunkering down eating steaming bowls of pasta and sipping red wine in cosy cafes in between marvelling at the Coliseum, St Peters Basilica and the Spanish Steps. There’s an early morning flight from Manchester on the day of my birthday, which would be a pretty exciting start to the celebrations, and the flight home leaves us enough time for last minute preparations before Christmas Day.

Part of me thinks I’m being selfish wanting to be away so close to Christmas, when we’ll already have lots of stuff to do. But then the spoilt brat in me thinks it’s not my fault I was born so close to Christmas (thanks, Mom!) and that if my birthday was any other time of year there’s be no issue in going on a trip. I’m already kinda compromising… (told you, spoilt brat!)

What do you guys think? Should I plough on regardless? Wait til January? Is Rome a good idea or do you have any other suggestions? Help an aging girl out…!!

Thanks, as always, for reading x

Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang

Back to Malaysia for this post, as I still have so much to tell you, and so many photographs to share. I can’t believe it’s already been 2 months since we were there!

We visited a few religious buildings in Penang – Dhammikarama Burmese Temple & Wat Chayamangkalaram in George Town, and Kapitan Keling Mosque in Little India ,but this one deserves a post all of it’s own. It’s a beauty, and an instagram dream. Everywhere you look is something that needs to be photographed – ornate detailing, tiled floors and walls, buddhas and carvings. It’s incredible.

The temple is just outside of the capital, George Town, in the Air Itam area. You can reach it by local bus, the hop on hop off tourist buses, or taxi. We opted for the latter to make the best use of our time and get there as quickly as possible. If you’re accessing the temple from the street then you could quite easily miss the entrance, it’s a little dark passageway which looks like it leads nowhere, through stalls selling cheap bits and pieces, fake clothes and bags, and up a number of stairs. Once we got through this bit we saw that there’s an upper entrance to the temple grounds with a car park, where, in retrospect, the taxi driver could have dropped us. Never mind – all those steps are good for you, and certainly lead to a sense of achievement!

The construction of the temple started in 1890, although further development and building work continues to this day. The temple and connecting areas are now very heavily commercialised, with shops selling trinkets and souvenirs at every opportunity and around every corner (we found this very surprising).Although the temple is free to enter, there are nominal fees to enter certain parts of the development, but these are only a couple of pound each and well worth it.

It probably took us around 90 minutes to get around all areas of the temple; which included a slow amble, stopping off to take lots of pictures, sheltering from a couple of rain showers and climbing all the steps to the highest points possible to make the most of the views below.

The 7 story main pagoda has Chinese, Thai, and Burmese influenced architecture. This was completed in 1930.

Kek Lok Si temple 7 stories

This 99ft bronze statue of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, was built in 2002. A pagoda has since been built around and over the statue, and there is currently scaffold and some work happening around it.

The whole site is a riot of colour, with bright decorations, flowers and gardens.

There are buddhas everywhere! Big, small, printed on tiles – they’re all over the place!

This really was one of the highlights of our entire trip, and certainly is not be missed if you ever visit Penang.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

5 things I go through after I’ve been on holiday

A week ago I was in Lanzarote. I already had a drink in my hand and was sitting by the pool.

Now I’m at work and cold. Pah.

Welcome to reality

(image from The Beijinger)

Here are 5 things I always go through after I’ve been away from home.

Denial
It’s not over yet. It’s not over til I get home. It’s not over until it’s bed time. I’m not going to bed, because then it will be over. I DON’T WANT IT TO BE OVER!!!

Alcohol withdrawal
What do you mean I can’t have a glass of wine with lunch?

Hunger
Why do I have to wait until lunchtime to eat? Why am I only having one course for dinner? WHERE’S MY DESSERT???

Tiredness
Why is my alarm going off? When can I have an afternoon nap? Why aren’t siestas compulsory?

Memory loss
End of first day/half day/hour back at work – have I ever even been away?

Already counting down to the next one!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Holiday vs travel

I love travel. Not travelling. There’s a distinct difference between the two, not least the length and breadth of the trip! I say this, as I know there are travel purists who think that you’re only a traveller if you take a backpack, a dog-eared map and sleep in hostels. Staying in a hotel doesn’t count.

To me, travel is seeing things, experiencing new cultures, eating local food, soaking up atmosphere and language and local customs, visiting must see sights, taking photos and creating memories. It’s ok to bring shampoo and many pairs of shoes. There isn’t a pre-requisite that you should only spend £3 a day on meals and travel cross country on the floor of a train, as far as I’m concerned. There’s a lot of snobbery around “travelling”.

Travel is amazing in a mind blowing, eye opening, life affirming, head expanding, wow kind of way. Even if you do have 2 showers a day and eat at nice restaurants while you’re doing it.

But sometimes it’s ok to just have a holiday. To do little more than eat, sleep, drink, lounge, read, laugh, snooze, wander and repeat.

Passports

I’ve just had a lovely holiday in Lanzarote. Didn’t see any of the island, but that’s ok. We spent quality family time, got some sunshine, my Mom had a great birthday, and I feel relaxed.

At least I did until a 3 hour flight delay on the way home (thanks, French air traffic control, you swines). And some unexpected health news from my mother in law. And my sister’s boyfriend being attacked by 3 men in the street, while she was with him.

Real life sucks.

But that’s the thing about real life. You have to return to it sooner or later, whether you’ve been away for an extended holiday, a week, a few days, or even just a weekend.

Welcome home to me!

My first…

I thought I’d start something a little different, with it being the first of the month, and share my first “something” and then perhaps you can share something back and we can all have a good old laugh, or cry, or reminisce or whatever and it will all be grand.

Failing that, I will share my first “something” and you can read it or not read it!

So, for the first in the series…

My first…holiday abroad!

Bucket and spade

I’m firmly in holiday mode now, having planned and booked two trips. I love holidays. I’m always thinking where to go next, looking for good deals, searching city breaks and checking out hotels. There’s nothing I’d rather spend my money on than travelling (although obviously shoes, clothes and food feature heavily in my life too!)

I first went abroad when I was 6 years old. In fact, I first went abroad before my parents! My Nan and Grandad on my Dad’s side always went overseas on holiday, and they asked my Mom & Dad if they could take me. My parents were pretty young when they had me, and money was quite tight for them so they wouldn’t have been able to afford to go themselves. Which makes me feel pretty sad and special and very humbled that they paid for me when they didn’t have much money themselves. That’s love.

My auntie (my Dad’s sister) is just over 2 years older than me, so we grew up together and spent a lot of time together. Going on that holiday to Ibiza, with my Nan and Grandad and young auntie, was such fun. There was (and still is) something different about being on holiday abroad. An attitude, a feeling, a laid back nature that I’ve never known in the UK. Maybe it’s because you know the sun will be shining every day. Or because hotels on the continent are so much more laid back with things like meal times and dress codes, compared to the prim and proper UK B&Bs where breakfast was served between 8.30 and 9 and you were expected to wear long trousers for dinner. I remember the freedom of running around on the beach, playing in the white Balearic sand and paddling in the warm as bath water Mediterranean sea. Staying up until it was way past my bedtime and speaking to strangers who my Nan and Grandad had made friends with. Looking at all the ceramic pots in the market and picking a vase to bring home for my Mom. Being mistaken for twins with my auntie because we were dressed the same and looked so similar. The blue and white bathing suit with the multi colour palm tree that said “Tropicana” on the front. Peeling sunburnt skin off my auntie’s back and her doing the same to me. Eating continental breakfast and trying apricot jam for the first time. The smell of the heat and the warm balmy nights. Fishing with bread like the local fishermen. Seeing a man catch a squid and watching the ink run along the promenade. Being out on a pedalo.

I’m forever thankful to my parents for sacrificing their own enjoyment so that I could have such an experience at such a young age, and for instilling a love of holidays and travel in me that grows stronger with every year that passes.

Share your first holiday memories with me!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Malaga – way more than just an airport

My travel retrospective yesterday got me thinking about past travels and city breaks.

I love getting away for a weekend. Short breaks concentrate your efforts in terms of seeing everything and doing stuff. Whilst not the most relaxing of times, I always feel fulfilled and satisfied by just how much I’ve managed to do. No time for having a lie in or an afternoon nap. It’s all about cramming it all in.

Quite often a city break for us can stem from seeing a cheap flight and investigating whether the destination is worth visiting. Which is how we ended up in Malaga 5 years ago.

For most Malaga is a gateway to the Costas. Brits who have holiday homes in Spain flock to the airport, or through the airport, from the beginning of the sunny season through til the end. Families on their two week escape looking for sea, sun and sand will land at the airport and be whisked away by tour operator coaches to their coastal destination of choice. But there is so much more to Malaga.

I don’t recall what made me look into it as a destination in itself, but I was so glad I did. Husband wasn’t convinced but I implored him to trust me. In mid April, flying out on a Thursday, flights were still reasonable and we got a basic but modern, adequate and well situated IBIS hotel at a steal. The actual trip cost us around £100 each for two nights.

First things first…Malaga is very Spanish. Which seems a case of stating the bleeding obvious, but it’s true. Because it’s not a tourist destination there is no “need” for everyone to speak English. As a result (and refreshingly so) Spanish is the first language. There is a need to communicate via pigeon English and pointing at menus when ordering food. Shops don’t have English signs. There’s a real feel of being in Spain, despite the influx of Brits through the vicinity on a daily basis.

Malaga, for me, has it all. The climate (it was 25 degrees in the day and around 15 degrees at night, and that was end of April), the food (bars and cafes serving authentic tapas, and tiny backstreet alley restaurants delivering the best paella ever for about 10 euros), the architecture (white washed buildings, cathedrals and a castle in the hills) and the sea (it’s on the coast. Who knew?!)

Oh, and when we arrived, they’d had a film festival in the city, so there was a red carpet running through the pedestrian area. And not to welcome us, as I thought might be the case.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking,

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Malaga is all about timing. Due to it’s popularity for reaching coastal destinations flights can actually be prohibitively expensive in summer. But time it right early or late in the season, with a mid week flight, and it’s well worth a visit.