Luxembourg 2K17 (The Holiday we don't talk about)

Sunday, 1 October 2017

When I first declared to my sister that I wanted to travel around Europe, her response was this:

"I don't see why, it's just full of castles and cathedrals."

After a passionate speech about how there's so much more to travel than the destination itself; it's about the culture, the way of life, meeting new people and experiencing new things, she rolled her eyes and we agreed to disagree.

So, as we decided on Luxembourg as a spontaneous destination, booked our flights, Air B&B and finally settled down in front of my laptop to browse 'things to do' I reluctantly turned to her...

"It's all fucking cathedrals and castles."

To which she replied: "You really should listen to me more."

If you ever fancy feeling shit scared of your holiday before you even arrive at the airport, grab yourself a lift with my Dad, he has an almost unbelievable talent of being able to list out every possible tragic scenario you could find yourself in - which is a fantastic trait if you are the co-director of Final Destination, not such a great attribute if you are transporting your two young, relatively nervous, daughters to their flight.

"Do NOT drink too much before you board your plane, you want to have your wits about you if there is an emergency"

"If I'm destined to catapult in a ball of flames into the English Channel, I think I would rather be six bottles of Pinot Grigio down, thanks Pa."

With this in mind, we waved him off and headed straight for the bar, a decision that more than likely aided in my newly-discovered confidence when facing security - something that had previously sent me on the edge of a nervous breakdown - turns out being groped by a tall, dark stranger isn't as exciting as the likes of E.L James would have us believe.

48 Hours in Amsterdam: PART TWO

Friday, 28 April 2017

I was a vision of undeniable beauty.

Bin bag wrapped firmly around my left hand, my tram ticket held tightly between my teeth, and my luggage balancing precariously over my right shoulder, I sprinted awkwardly next to my sister, my limbs flailing dramatically as every item on my person threatened to catapult into the air like a live-action version of Buckaroo.

We had exactly seven minutes until the tram would be pulling into the station, and absolutely no clue where we needed to dispose of our rubbish.

In the near distance Merrin caught sight of several sizeable, grey boxes. I spat my tram ticket into my spare hand as we gracelessly threw down our luggage and pressed on towards what appeared to be a graveyard of plastic containers.

"IT'S LIKE FUCKING CRYSTAL MAZE" I bawled as we manically opened bin lid after bin lid in attempt to find one empty enough to shove in our rubbish.

Four minutes.

Missing this tram would mean missing our slot at The Van Gogh Museum, thus wasting €17 each and throwing a monumental spanner in the works for the rest of our day. We had cheese and wine tasting booked for midday, a cocktail masterclass afterwards and a train to Groningen - essentially, missing this tram would initiate a domino effect of lateness that would lead to unavoidable catastrophe.

48 Hours in Amsterdam: PART ONE

Thursday, 27 April 2017

 I stood nervously at the front of the queue. My bag was heavy on my shoulder, my passport was slowly soaking away in a pool of sweat in the palm of my hand. I was attentively analysing everyone ahead of me, watching them meticulously pick apart their luggage, neatly and efficiently dividing their belongings into separate plastic trays.

These seasoned travellers made me nervous, I had already been convinced that anyone involved in security at an airport is simply a bulldog in a suit, and was positive beyond reassurance that any fumbling about would certainly lead to my arrest and permanent confiscation of my passport. Shit.

Cheese & Wine Tasting at Reypenaer, Amsterdam

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

As a person whose ‘kass’ expertise stretches as far as once enjoying an exotically-flavoured Babybel, I was both eager and apprehensive to take part in the cheese and wine tasting workshop at the Reypenaer store in Amsterdam.

We woke up relatively early and enjoyed pastries and coffee together in our Air B&B, before (literally) rushing off to catch the tram to head over to the Van Gogh Museum, before traveling into Dam Square, where the Reypenaer store is located, for our midday slot.

With a cheery welcome, we handed over our tickets and paperwork before being directed to the back of the shop, where we descended a steep staircase to the tasting room. Here, we were greeted by rows of wooden tables, neatly set out like a Victorian Classroom and adorned with wine and port glasses, various cheeses and a guillotine, that prompted me to make a mental note to not excessively piss off my sister within the next hour.

Escaping Comfort Zones

Monday, 10 April 2017

My hometown is a fish bowl.

Too many here spend their lives swimming over algae-ridden gravel, wading through brightly coloured plastic plants and treasure troves, dressed up to provide the illusion they are surrounded by beauty, until eventually, everyone believes it, enough so, they forget about the vast ocean existing just outside the windowsill they're perched upon - why be a goldfish in a small bowl, when you could be the humpback whale, plummeting to the depths of exciting, unknown waters?

The last couple of weekends I've made additional effort to get away, perhaps an element of that is my desperate attempt to escape current difficult situations - if you've been following my blog or social media, I haven't made much of a secret of the fact I've been going through some bizarre, emotional challenges recently, mostly as a result of my recent break-up with my long-term partner.

The fact I have been, although by my own making, catapulted into alien territories has forced me into stepping outside of my comfort zone, something that I believe I have needed to do for a long time so to develop into a more positive, independent version of myself.

Postcards from Lynmouth & Lynton

Thursday, 6 April 2017

 I first stepped foot in The Crown hotel, Lynton, three summer's ago. I was about four or five glasses of wine down - the result of being a sore loser in a pool tournament from the pub before, and consequently sulking into a bottle of Pinot Blush.

As we stepped inside, my step-dad scurried to the bar armed with the genius idea of buying us as many Jack Daniel's and cokes as he could fit in his hands, proudly placing one after the other in front of me with a cheeky grin exclaiming: 'they're doubles!'

Well, that cheeky grin soon washed off his face when half-way through the second I erupted like a volcano of vomit, soaking me, the chair, the floor, and pretty much anything else within a metre radius. The last thing I remember was the stern voice of captain obvious over the bar suggesting 'I think it's time you take her home.'

As we staggered back to the cottage where we were staying, we agreed, for the sake of everyone involved, to never tell my Mother of the incident, and it has, to this day, been referred to as 'the night we don't talk about'

So, when my step-dad, James, told me that he had booked us all into the Crown hotel for our trip back to Devon to celebrate his Mum's 80th birthday, my only thought was: "I really do hope I've put on enough weight in the last three years to become unrecognisable."

23 Things for 23 Years.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

 In four days I am going to be twenty-three. (Unless you're reading this after 20th March 2017, then I already am)

I have no idea where the time has gone, and even less of an idea what I've actually done with it, however, I have declared 2017 as my year of 'getting shit done' and the next few months will, with any luck, see the start of a brand new, positive, shiny Elly.

This is an important birthday for me, not because it's a particularly outstanding, or even very interesting age to be, but because it feels like the start of something new, and that is very exciting.

In celebration of that, I thought it would be fun to note the things that I have picked up over the years. I am, of course, not claiming to be a fountain of wisdom at the grand old age of twenty-three, but I feel through experiences good and bad, I have learned a lot in the short time I have spent on the planet. So, let's see, shall we?

Getting Lost in 2017

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Last week I found myself stood in the Post Office for what felt like the thousandth time, clutching onto my fifth attempt at a passport form, and third set of photos, pretty much certain that the universe was conspiring against me, sentencing me to a lifetime in England. Someone somewhere did not want me to leave this country, what other reason would there be for the endless complications that I had encountered throughout the whole application process.

Saying Goodbye to my Family Home

Thursday, 19 January 2017

I'm going to apologise in advance for how bloody miserable I've been as of late. The past few months have been so strange, with lots of changes and I'm absolutely useless at adjusting to new things.

I don't know whether you can 'suffer' with nostalgia, but if that's a thing, then I'm definitely a victim of it. So, the fact that it has been confirmed that my Mum will be selling my family home this year, has hit me a lot harder than I thought it would.

Now, I know that it's not necessarily a big deal to other people and those who I have spoken about it to have sort of missed the significance of this event for me.


Sunday, 1 January 2017

 As we escaped the clutches of 2016, a year deemed to be one of the worst in history, and entered bright, shiny and optimistic 2017, I ended up feeling the most shit I have in months.

I'm not really sure why I have been struggling so much, but my anxiety has been through the roof, I've felt a bit lost and confused, and as a result have been acting like a pretty massive arsehole, drinking way more than I should be, and have managed to smoothly make the transition from a 'social smoker' to a full-on chimney. Basically, every single New Year Resolution made by every other person on the planet, I have done the opposite tenfold.

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