Monthly Archives: June 2016

June Roundup

june

Image courtesy of @puffyfreckle02 @ we heart it

 

June has seen some beautiful weather but also some crazy weather with horrendous rain, thunderstorms and flooding!

June has seen my garden continue to bloom. I love looking out there and seeing what’s new. It feels like each day something new opens up at the moment.

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I popped over to Portsmouth on the Gosport ferry and took this picture of the Spinnaker Tower. From what I can gather the locals have mixed feelings about the Tower. One day I’d love to go up to the viewing platform at the top. The pictures I’ve seen show the view from up there is immense.

I received my employee of the month voucher to spend at West Quay and bought these beauties. I love them.

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We took a drive up to Portsdown Hill in Portsmouth and I took this picture. I wish I’d taken my digital camera up there but still thought this snap on my iPhone showed the amazing view quite well. This overlooks both Portsmouth and Gosport.

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I snapped this picture of Gary the Event Director of our local parkrun doing the Run Director brief. Next week marks a year since it started and I’m so proud to be a part of it. It’s become a big part of my life and the people there have too. A year ago I only knew work colleagues down here and now I know many more thanks to parkrun. It’s the anniversary run on 2nd July and I’m gutted I have to miss it due to a work commitment. I’ll hopefully make it to the picnic afterwards though and hopefully I won’t miss too much.

So that’s my June in pictures. What was your favourite part of June? Do you have anything special planned for July?

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Cath Kidston Sale Haul

Back in March I was voted Employee of the Month at my workplace. The winner gets a £100 gift voucher to spend in West Quay shopping centre. I recently received my voucher and knew exactly where I wanted to spend it, Cath Kidston! Luckily for me, my visit coincided with a sale which meant I managed to get more for my money. Always a bonus! In the end I chose three bags, two of which I’m showing here. The third I just couldn’t get to photograph well.

The first one is the mini leather double zip bag. Oh my word this bag is beautiful. I included the red version of this bag in my Valentine’s Day wish list post and have been lusting after it ever since. However when I got to the shop they had the powder blue bag and I was smitten. It was £50 instead of £65 so I snapped it right up.

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The second bag I bought is the button spot embossed bowler bag. I’ve recently saw this bag when we went for a day trip to Brighton but it was near the beginning of our day and I didn’t want to be carrying bags around with me so when I saw it in the sale I knew it had to be. This bag was reduced from £80 to £45! Bargain!

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I love Cath Kidston bags and with over 50 you could definitely say I’m a hardcore fan!

Have you ever bought a Cath Kidston bag? What’s your favourite Cath Kidston design?

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London Travel Guide – Off the beaten track

London Travel Guide

London is the capital of the UK and there is so much to do there. In this guide I’ve tried to include things I have discovered that you might not know about, those little places tucked away and hidden gems. This is the third and final instalment of my Travel Guide series. Be sure to check out the Scottish Travel Guide and the Florida Travel Guide. As usual all links open in a new tab/window

Houses of Parliament – So you’re probably thinking The Houses of Parliament?! How are they off the beaten track?? But did you know you can go on a free tour of them if you’re a UK resident? Simply arrange the tour through your MP then a guide will take you through The House of Lords, The House of Commons and Westminster Hall. This building has so much history you’ll find out loads of interesting things. Find out more here on how to find your MP and book the tour.

Big Ben – You can also go on a free tour of Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower if you’re a UK resident. Again you arrange it through your MP and then climb the 334 steps inside the tower. Book quick as there are going to be some refurbishment works taking place meaning tours will be suspended after 16th December 2016. Find out more about the tour and how to book it here

London Transport Museum – The London Transport Museum is a great place to visit and although it’s in Covent Garden you can easily walk past without noticing it hence me including it here. It’s a great little museum to visit, especially if you have a passionate child who loves transport or an enthusiastic grown up who loves trains and buses!

Acton Transport Museum – If the London Transport Museum whet your appetite and you know someone really keen on transport then be sure to hop on the tube to Acton and visit the Acton Transport Museum. Be sure to check when the website for when the museum is open as it does only open for some weekends but this is a serious homage to transport and a must for any enthusiast.

The Household Cavalry Museum – Again, another tucked away hidden gem. This museum is located right behind Horse Guard’s and has a fantastic collection of ceremonial uniforms as well as other items used throughout history in parades. There is also a large window where you can watch the working stables that contains the horses used on duty.

The Museum of LondonThe Museum of London is fantastic but is in the City of London meaning if you’re based in central London you’re going to need to walk or hop on the tube. Personally when I’m in London I like to walk up the Southbank to this Museum as you pass some great sights on the way. The Museum of London provides you with a walk through of London’s history. There are some great collections here and it’s definitely worth checking out.

That’s all for my London Travel Guide. Hopefully it’s introduced you to a couple of new places to check out next time you’re in the capital. Be sure to check out my other Travel Guides for Florida and Scotland

Keep in touch with me on Twitter, Instagram or add me on Snapchat – @bigmugoftea

 

 

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Florida Travel Guide – Off the beaten track

Florida Travel Guide

Florida, the Sunshine State, we’ve all heard of it and the attractions it has to offer. Disney, Universal etc. We all know them but below are some of the places that aren’t always talked about, places where you’re less likely to find tourists and more likely to find locals. As with my Scottish Travel Guide where possible I have include the Wiki sites of the places mentioned and all the links open in a new tab/window.

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Titusville – Titusville is a small Florida town that is a gateway to some amazing places. However don’t just drive through it. If you’re a fan of seafood then you have to visit Dixie Crossroads where they do amazing Rock Shrimp and one of the nicest Key Lime Pies I’ve found. Be sure to check out the water they have around the restaurant where you’ll see Turtles and Fish as well as their Shrimp statues (above) that are fun to take a selfie or two with!

 

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Canaveral Seashore – The Playalinda Beach (Spanish for beautiful beach)  is only $5 a day to park up and really enjoy the Florida weather and is close to Titusville. When we went the sea was as warm as bath water! As you can see from the picture (above) it wasn’t as full as Brighton Beach on a Summers Day that’s for sure!

 

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Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge & Blackpoint Wildlife Drive – Again close to Titusville and well worth spending some time at, especially if you enjoy wildlife. You’re bound to spot Alligators, Turtles, Bald Eagles, Osprey, Water Fowl and Herons all in their natural habitat.

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Old Haulover Canal – Come straight out of the Wildlife Drive and head to the Old Haulover Canal to view Manatees swimming right up to the shore so long as it’s the warmer weather months you are pretty much guaranteed to see them. Above are three we spotted one time we went.

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park – If you go to Florida at a time when Manatees aren’t at the Old Haulover Canal then why not pay a visit to Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park? It has manatees there the whole year round. There are also other animals there such as Eagles, Alligators and Lu the Hippo who we found to be a bit of a show off!

That’s all for my Florida travel guide. I hope you’ve found it useful if you plan on visiting Florida or if you just wanted to read about Florida and some of the places it has to offer. Now why not look at my Scotland Travel Guide?

Keep up to date with me on Twitter, Instagram or add me on Snapchat – @bigmugoftea

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Fathers Day Gift Ideas

Father’s Day is less than a week away so here are a few last minute gift ideas that might just impress your Dad. All links open in a new tab/window

First up is a gift for the techie Dad, he’s got a gadget for this and a gadget for measuring that so why not buy him the Apple Watch which can bring all of that together for £259.

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The Sporty Dad, well what better to buy him than the England away kit to help him support them through Euro 2016? £50 from John Lewis

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The Dad who loves a bit of DIY can sometimes be tricky to buy for but what about a personalised hammer? These are fun and you can add any message. They’re by Auntie Mims from Not On The High Street and are only £20!

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Some Dad’s love nothing more than pottering around in their garden or allotment so a grow your own chilli kit could be right up his street. It’s only £12.95 from Tesco

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Is your Dad in to Super Heroes or maybe he is your Hero? These socks are a great choice and also perfect if you need something on a bit of a budget! They’re only £4 from F&F at Tesco

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I hope this post has given you some inspiration or ideas for a last minute Father’s Day gift! Make sure you all spoil your Father’s on June 19th.

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Scotland Travel Guide – Off the beaten track

Scotland Travel Guide

Scotland has so much to offer. There are beautiful landscapes a plenty, great places to shop and plenty of opportunities for adventure. I’ve holidayed in Scotland many times now and I’ve done the common tourist sites and have started looking for more. Where are the places that aren’t always talked about? The following places were all accessed from Inverness where we stayed in a beautiful lodge situated just outside the capital of the Highlands. Where possible I’ve linked each place to it’s Wiki article for you to find out more. All of the links open in a new tab/window.

Smoo Cave

Smoo Cave – Is located in the village of Durness on the A838 road. Smoo Cave is a large sea and fresh water cave made of multiple chambers. Within is a beautiful water fall that drops in to the cave through a sink hole. There are steps leading you down to the cave so some physical fitness is needed. There are also toilets, something handy to know when exploring the Highlands!

 

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The other side of Loch Ness – Everyone has heard of Loch Ness and the famous Loch Ness Monster but most people explore the West side of the Loch where the gift shops and tourist attractions are located, but seldom travel the East side of the Loch. Driving around the East side of the Loch is beautiful. There are some wonderful views and perfect Kodak moments that seem to change with the seasons. The above picture was taken in September but visit in Spring and its much greener rather than the autumnal orange and browns seen here. As you visit the other side of Loch Ness you’ll pass through a couple of small villages such as Dores and Foyers. When passing through Foyers be sure to stop off at…

 

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The Falls of Foyers – The Falls of Foyers has two waterfalls located just off the B852. It’s a short descend down from the road through a lovely woodland walk. The Falls of Foyers are from the River Foyers which feeds in to Loch Ness.

 

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Mallaig – Mallaig is a port town on the West Coast of the Highlands. There are two options to get there, drive or go on the train. You can catch the regular train but for a treat why not pay to travel on the The Jacobite steam train aka The Hogwarts Express. This can be caught from Fort William and will take you to Malaig where you’re free to explore for an hour or two and then back again. You travel over the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct where Ron and Harry fly the Ford Anglia. Mallaig is home to many beautiful seafood restaurants.

 

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Mallaig – If you prefer to drive to Mallaig be sure to stop off at the Glenfinnan visitors centre situated on the A830 road. If you’re feeling fit there’s a climb from the car park up to a viewing point where there are stunning views of the Glenfinnan Viaduct. Using the viewing point gives you a closer view of going up the Glenfinnan monument. You can also visit Loch Shiel here which is known as Hogwarts Black Lake.

 

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Dunnet Head – Most people believe John O’ Groats to be the most Northerly point of Great Britain but actually it’s Dunnet Head! There’s a lighthouse and some old buildings from World War 2 to look at and if you go at the right time of year there are Puffins nesting. For another place to visit try Duncansby Head which is the furthest place by road from Land’s End in Cornwall and is easy to visit after John O’ Groats and Dunnet Head.

 

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Loch Morlich – Loch Morlich is a freshwater loch near Aviemore. It is so pretty and picturesque. In the day it is a hot bed for water sports but go on a late Autumn evening and you’ll get some beautiful pictures of the sun setting and reflecting on the water. Loch Morlich, unusually for a Loch, has an award winning beach!

 

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Rogie Falls – Rogie Falls are a series of water falls near Contin on the A835 road. There’s a car park that allows you to park up and explore these water falls easily. The views are simply stunning.

That’s all for my Scottish travel guide. I hope you’ve found it useful if you plan on visiting Scotland or if you just wanted to read about Scotland and some of the places it has to offer.

 

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