re: Nottingham

Taking a tour around my own city.

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As much as I love reminiscing about my travels in Asia, let me introduce the city I’ve been living in for the past two and a half years to my blog. A friend from Hong Kong recently came to visit for the day, giving me the perfect opportunity to revisit some old sights, share new favourites and also try something new.

A newly discovered favourite, for years I had mistaken Ye Olde Tripe To Jerusalem for a regular pub. Walking inside, however, you’ll be surprised (spoiler alert) at its quaint interiors, having been built into the rocks under Nottingham Castle. My first visit involved cramming into a cosy alcove, making for quite a primitive experience as we ate lunch surrounded by the uneven graffiti covered rocks that made up its walls. It does get incredibly busy here, but on my second visit (~11:30, weekday) it was decidedly quiet and we easily managed to secure a table, eavesdropping on the tour group that had assembled next to us.

After a satisfyingly filling lunch, what better than a short walk to Nottingham Castle? It’s a lovely vantage point from which to view the city, although apart from getting excited at seeing the clock tower of University Park’s Trent Building, the view is nothing truly spectacular. Alongside permanent displays in the castle museum, there are also changing rosters of exhibitions to discover – that we easily spent a couple of hours going through.

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Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side as we arrived at Wollaton Park, suddenly turning gloomy and overcast. We took refuge inside the mansion (known locally as Batman’s crib) and buried ourselves in its history, as told through a new exhibition of delicate paper cut outs that sprang from the pages of open books. There’s also an incredible collection of taxidermy animals within these rooms, although some displays can benefit from better lighting options to be able to appreciate the craftsmanship of this archaic form of perseveration.

I’m still waiting for snow to appear in Nottingham, so I can only say that the best weather conditions in which to walk the grounds of Wollaton Park is sunny and hot. There should be more deer roaming about (we only caught a sad glimpse at a far-away herd) and the sunshine brings out the best in Wollaton Hall’s intricate features. This condition also applies to visiting the University of Nottingham’s main campus, University Park. It’s pretty much what convinced me to apply and boats are also available to rent in the summer, making for that quintessential UoN experience.

We ended our evening with a new venture, Sexy Mama Love Spaghetti. An undeniably eye-catching name crudely scrawled across its exterior, it might be somewhere you’d quickly walk past on any normal occasion. But having heard great reviews, we decided to see for ourselves. The restaurant itself is a tiny squeeze, even for a small person like me, but the food was delicious! Ordering the king scallop linguine was the best decision made that night, it was cooked so perfectly. We both felt the risotto Milanese was lacklustre and the portions were slightly on the small side, but the staff and general atmosphere of the restaurant were lovely.

~

re: ferences

re: Bloggers Recognition Award

embarrassing histories and cool recommendations

I have been happily writing my blog for quite some time now and while you’re somewhat aware of people seeing your posts you can’t be sure of them actually being interested in reading it. It was surprising and lovely to hear that I was nominated for the Blogger’s Recognition Award by Vanessa from WanderlustPlusOne who is an incredible inspiration for the times when you feel that travelling seems impossible – if Vanessa can do it with child in tow, you can do it on your own! I’d love to be as active a traveller with my own family in the future (#momgoals) and will be looking back for many tips!

Here are the rules for accepting the award:

  • Give thanks to the person who had nominated you and a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Briefly tell how you started blogging.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award.
  • Comment on the nominated blogs and let them know you have nominated them and give a link to the post you have created.

I created my first ever blog with a friend when I was around 13. Our aim was to discuss topics on a weekly basis, either chosen by us or suggested by readers, but after writing our introductory post, we were never coordinated enough to make anything else happen. I’m putting the link here for my own reference, I’m surprised it still exists, but who am I kidding, the internet immortalises everything. Anyways, I’m glad we didn’t end up writing more than two posts, otherwise present me would have died from embarrassment (goodbye emo phase). My second venture into ‘blogging’ was a solo expedition into the world of fashion (ref: here), this is slightly less cringe-inducing since I didn’t really write anything, but nevertheless, the twinge of second hand embarrassment is felt. Ushering us all back to present day, my side bar is pretty self-explanatory (for all you desktop viewers out there), I started blogging when I went out on my year abroad to Hong Kong, but didn’t start taking it seriously until coming back to the UK where I started writing about my travels in detail.

Some advice for new bloggers?

  1. It’s terribly clichéd, but start a blog because you love writing, creating new content, sharing your creativity, etc. Don’t be too bothered about gaining millions of followers, otherwise you’ll find that writing blog posts will become a chore. I love to document what I did as another means to keep in touch with people I know and for something to look back on (probably cringe at too) when I’m older. Your memory might not always be as clear as it is now, but at least you have it written down!
  2. Explore tags and interact with others in the blogging community! I love reading about other people’s experiences with places I’ve visited and places I haven’t. It’s a constant stream of inspiration and information that’ll motivate you to keep writing and sharing. Don’t feel that you should only limit yourself to following blogs within your own area of focus either, there’s so many wonderful writers out there – where would my life be without beauty bloggers?

Here are some of my favourite blogs to read: Sorry, I’ve just included 10 as this post was getting rather long!

  1. Travelling Matters

Mel and Suan, you’ve probably been nominated for so many of these awards, but it’s well deserved! I’m always amazed by how many places they’ve been to and there’s always another trip bubbling in the pipeline! There’s never a lack for something interesting and refreshing to read, with articles exploring aspects of travel that I would never have considered.

  1. ah petrichor

I’ve only just come across Ching’s blog recently and I wish I found it sooner! She writes in both English and Chinese (traditional), which is perfect for a language learner like me, looking to improve their reading comprehension. Each post is also accompanied by really beautiful photographs. Although the WordPress app is convenient for those on the go, I’d really recommend taking the time to browse her posts via the desktop site to get the true beauty of her website theme!

  1. The Humble Explorer

Another great blog ran by YipChu and Jotina, I was drawn in by their amazing photographs and their content is equally on par. Each post is helpfully embedded by pins on Google maps, making it all the easier to track down that zoo café in Bangkok you wished you discovered. I love that we’ve travelled to a lot of similar places, yet have wildly different experiences – it’s a sign of a good travel blog that makes you want to revisit a country after you’ve just left!

  1. Jules Verne Times Two

Writing under the mysterious pseudonym of Jules and Verne (inspired by their favourite writer) comes another blogging duo I highly rate! They have a wonderful style of writing that I adore and each post is full of interesting narratives and personal anecdotes that are worthy of being compiled into a book!

  1. Stylish Wanderer

Combining fashion with reviews on travel, Stylish Wanderer has awesome posts reviewing accommodation, which can come in handy if you’re stuck for a place to stay. Her posts on Korea are full of interesting places I wish I had time to visit when I was out there!

  1. The Bellezza Corner

Amanda runs a great lifestyle blog covering a whole range of topics such as fashion, beauty and travel. As a novice in the world of beauty, her posts are filled with really useful information! A simple girl make-up wise, I especially loved her post on necessary nudes and neutrals to have in your make-up collection. Intrigued by the MAC lip-liner, I ended up going in store and purchasing a foundation too!

  1. An Aesthetic Mind

Despite running primarily a travel blog, I’m hooked on all things food, beauty and fashion. Julia’s blog is filled with lovely, clear photographs and everything she owns looks so pretty! I love the mix of travel posts, which initially prompted a follow, interspersed with posts on fashion and other aspects of life.

  1. 90s Kids Travel

Erica hasn’t posted for a while, but I hope she continues to write again! Her posts are packed full of great information and price references, which is very useful for a student like me who loves to plan and budget.

  1. Under Clouded Stars

There’s something romantic about writing poems and this blog is sure to alight a desire to visit every place that is covered. Her photographs fit the tone of each poem so perfectly and it’s lovely to see how thoughts and experiences can be clearly conveyed in just a few words.

  1. Awkward Introvert Traveler

With a blog name I can relate to, I am vicariously living through Luke and Des’ posts from when they embarked on a road trip around the US (it’s on my bucket list!). I’m just discovering how stunning America’s national parks are and their posts are just filled with wonderful photographs to highlight this. Make sure to check out their Instagram page too for more amazing photos.

re: Macau

Part two of my guided adventure.

Arriving at the Ruins of St. Paul was a little underwhelming, although I have a tendency to imagine things much bigger than they usually are, so don’t be dissuaded from my thoughts. Somewhat surviving three fires, it is still quite a magnificent structure to visit and marvel at its determination to remain standing throughout such unfortunate circumstances. Since we arrived around 5/6pm, the site itself was incredibly crowded, making it difficult to get a photograph without someone in the background. Instead, we took advantage of the remaining sun and relaxed on the steps with a cup of milk tea and grass jelly before heading off to the next location.

To be truthful, I was actually pretty amazed with The Venetian. There’s a certain charm to all its artificial beauty and it was fun to see what is basically a giant shopping centre structured in this way. There are real, working gondolas equipped with gondoliers to explore its artificial canals, but which we skipped on account of the huge queue and limited time we had there. A very quick breeze around the shops and a visit to Lord Stow’s for their famous Portuguese egg tart (delicious, but a little too greasy) was pretty much all we had time for before we headed back to the port to try and get an earlier ferry back.

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If you find yourself with a return ticket far later than you wanted to stay on Macau, you are able to wait in a reserve queue for an earlier ferry. At the front of this queue, it’s very likely you’ll be admitted on board! We were thwarted by huge reserve queues for earlier ferries, so ended up taking the ferry back at the original time. It’s also worth noting that you can take the ferry back to either Hong Kong Island, or Kowloon, depending on which is more convenient for you! (The ferry does not dock only in Kowloon as my friend Sandy adamantly insisted).

Although it’s only an hour from Hong Kong to Macau, I’d like to return and stay for a night or two to fully explore the city and nightlife. While the private tour was great in allowing us to see the main sights for that day, we really didn’t have much freedom to just walk around and discover sights for ourselves. I’d love to go back and walk around Macau’s old town as well as walk its strip of famous casinos in the evenings!

re: Macau

A story in two parts.

When my family visited we took a trip to Macau, on a brisk whistle-stop tour of the SAR’s main attractions. It was our second attempt to visit since no one thought to bring their passports (and I also forgot to remind them, oops). An easy mistake to make, but even then, our second attempt wasn’t without event. As usual, the ferry ports were ridiculously busy and we ended up purchasing a late afternoon ticket with late evening return.

With 8 members of my family in tow and an age range of 12-65, I was anxious we wouldn’t get round to seeing all the sights in time. However, the benefits of travelling with your family (and to an extent, a large group) revealed itself when we arrived in Macau. Approached by a lady, we managed to arrange our own private car to drive us around for the day at a pretty respectable price! Feeling a bit luxurious as we were chauffeured around, my worries subsided (after we were sure this wasn’t some scam) and we were able to see Macau’s main sights in the short period of time we had there!

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Stopping first at the Kun Iam Statue, which was quite stunning to view but really offered not much to do otherwise, we hopped back in the car to A-Ma Temple. We were greeted with a serendipitous performance of traditional Portuguese Folk dancing before we wandered off to explore the little temple and its surrounding area where we found stalls selling freshly made snacks! I loved the little streets and buildings around this area, which due to the Portuguese administration were refreshingly different from the typical Chinese style I had become accustomed to. If it wasn’t for the Chinese signs, it was almost as if we had gone on our usual European holiday.

This feeling only intensified as we walked around Senado Square and also reminded me of Ho Chi Minh City (or more chronologically, HCMC reminded me of Macau – my posts have become a bit disorderly since returning!). I really enjoyed being surrounded by this style of architecture, it appealed greatly to my love of quaint pastel designs (I mean, The Grand Budapest Hotel is a dream to watch, heart-eyes all around)! Most sights are within walking distance from here and there’s plenty of great street food around this area so we stopped for a quick bite.

Part II coming next week!