Framlingham Castle #DiscoveryFriday

Another week, another Friday, another discovery! I love being able to say that I take as much opportunity as I can to discover new things in all my small ventures. Be it a weekend trip, or time with my family, I always like to discover something new, like food, music, movies, places, you name it I want to find it.

This weekend just gone I had the pleasure of visiting Framlingham Castle. For over 2 years I have been visiting Suffolk but had yet to visit the castle inside. I had seen it several times, perching on the hill at the highest point of the town. From Framlingham college you see it reflecting on the mere and its mirror image is as mighty as the building itself.

The castle which dates back to the 12th century, was owned by the Bigod family who held great power on the East Anglian region of England at the time. It has been owned by many influential families and in the late 13th century when Framlingham extended its parkland and became a ground for hunting it was considered a luxurious home town for many.

It is a fascinating historical building, having seem family conflicts, been torn down, rebuilt and expanded. Families have added extensive gardens and sections of entertainment to the area, it was even once part of Pembroke College, Oxford University, and it even survived World War II as it was part of the regional defences against potential German invasion. It is a true delight and so affordable to visit. The audio guides are free and quite entertaining. The small bridges that link each section of the building as you walk across them might give you mild vertigo so do be careful.

I totally recommend seeing this practically intact historical building and imagining that you are shooting arrows from the narrow windows to defend your home. It is stunning, majestic and represents another little bit of British History.Travelling inside the UK can be just as filled with wanderlust as can the rest of the world.

Happy travels and reading!

2015 in Discoveries

Can you guys believe that 2015 is coming to an end? I feel this year has absolutely flown by and so much has happened and taken place, so much that I have yet had the opportunity to share with you all. I feel like this year has really shaped me as a person, from personal development and overcoming turbulent situations, to simply discovering things about myself through some experiences and adventures I have had. I wanted to share with you how I feel that instead of planning new year’s resolutions that may or may not come to be, reflecting in the year that has just passed is always an important ritual for me. It is an opportunity for me to really think about all the things that I am grateful for this year, grateful to have worked my hardest to be able to experience as much of the world as possible and to see that another little section of my complete person has been chiseled.

Travel

This is very exciting! As you all know I am a lover of all things travel! I had the opportunity to go back home to Macau which was lovely, but the highlight of Asia for me was discovering another corner of the Philippines that I did not know. I LOVED Cebu! It is honestly stunning and the cross of cultures is brilliant.

I also had the chance to go to France twice! And Paris really did take my breath away. I knew that it was beautiful, I mean there are thousands, millions, billions of photos of Paris roaming the internet, plastered across travel brochures and travel memorabilia, it is one of those cities with so much iconography everywhere that it is used for everything and anything used with travelling. Still, after knowing this and seeing these images everywhere, I was still in awe of how beautiful it was, and it really is the city of love. I was such a melt the entire time!

I discovered that I really actually enjoy staycations/weekend trips within your country. It is so important to explore and love the place you live and I LOVE England.

Finally, and although you won’t hear about this until 2016, I am going to Mozambique on the 27th of December! How exciting! A post will follow on how to travel from winter to summer, and what to pack, but the trip low down will come afterwards upon my return in January. This is really exciting! I have never been anywhere in Africa, and am so excited that the first country I will be visiting there has a rich cultural heritage and Portuguese influence.

Theatre

My theatrical highlight of 2015 has to be… Mamma Mia! I know I know, it’s like saying a blockbuster film should have won best script at the Oscars, HOWEVER, I was completely overjoyed at this musical, I loved every second of it. This was pre-blog so I never wrote a review of it, but I will give you a Throwback or Flashback one of these days for you to know what it was like.

I also loved Memphis, more than I can say! I know I criticised a few of the choices, but I am quite a critical person when it comes to things like this, I like to analyse and understand and that is why I question things. You can read my full review of this awesome musical here.

Activities

I have done some things this year that I really didn’t expect to be doing. From returning to pantomime as a spectator, to joining an amateur dramatics society and performing, to going to the Adnams Brewery to taste beer! It has been a year of adventures, but by far my favourite activity, which will be featured soon, was an indoor skydive! It was ridiculously cool, I loved every second of it and was so upset that my partner was not allowed to do it due an injury, but I will do it again with him one day. Keep your eyes peeled, this is coming to the blog very soon.

Hidden Treasures

Some true little gems have been discovered, from recently speaking about the wonderful everything of Mulled Wine – not mould, I have made that mistake quite a few times – to a huge discovery which was the little village of Lavenham. Lots of hidden little treasures that I had no idea I would love or even existed have occurred.

I absolutely fell in love with a restaurant in London, Covent Garden area, called Sarastro. That was one of my favourite discoveries, I booked it for my mother’s birthday surprise that my sister and I organised, but I ended up being mostly surprised myself. It is a theatre restaurant, and you will only really get what I mean by looking at it. Tables are sat in their own little theatre boxes, and the restaurant is famous for their performances during the week. Let me not forget the FOOD! Which is just absolutely incredible and delicious, the Turkish oriented menu, with flavoursome Mediterranean dishes is absolutely divine, so much choice and it is not as costly as expected!

Mostly, I think my favourite discovery of the year, was that I learnt I don’t have to sacrifice my career or my passion for travel to see the world. You can read all about this in one of my very early blog articles, ‘Travelling on a time limit’. I have found a very healthy balance and am really enjoying my trips and staycations, discovering England has been a huge thing for me and I really want to go to Jersey next year and maybe even Scotland. I won’t let anyone name my wanderlust ‘tourism’ because my desire to have a healthy life balance does not make me less of an explorer, it just makes me practical. I think it has been a huge learning curve for me, as it has been my first year in full time employment and I have learnt that actually this profession has opened a lot more doors for me rather than shutting away my life. I am currently in the process of requesting a sabbatical from work to see if I can travel for 3 months in 2017, and if that goes through I still have my job in hand for my return as well as enjoying the trip of a lifetime in South America, hopefully.

2015 has been an incredible year and a stepping stone for me. I can tell that this is a strong foundation for the way I want to build my life and I have so many more lessons to learn. I am already dying of excitement to discover 2016 and share it all with you guys. How was your 2015?

Discovery Friday – Adnams Brewery

This weekend just gone I had the pleasure of discovering the Adnams Brewery!

Sat at James’ house wondering to ourselves what on earth we should do for the day, we came across the tour online for only £12. It is James’ favourite beer and I was all up for any activity and cultural experience.

This was honestly lovely and such a pleasant surprise, as I did not expect to enjoy it at all because I do not actually like beer. That being said I found the scent of the factory intoxicating, with Hops from all over the world being brewed into the highest quality beer. We got to try some of the seeds used in the production of the beer, smell the most tropical of hops, and we were even invited to taste some of the finished product.

Personally, I preferred the lagers, one of them had the taste of mangoes and passion fruit and it was my favourite, though I still don’t think I could have stomached a whole glass of the stuff. We also tried some of the award winning Gin and Vodka they produce at their very young distillery and the Limoncello. We were all given vouchers to take a free beer home, which was great for James because he took mine and his, and we also had 10% off in the shop afterwards. I got my father some red wine produced in Argentina in a vineyard owned by Adnams, as well as some Mulled wine.

It was actually one of my favourite activities, because it was something so far from what I would have typically chosen to do and be interested in, but I truly enjoyed it. I would recommend it to any boozy person or couple to go, as well as anyone who just wants to try something new and different!

Adnams also offer Distillery tours and a make your own gin workshop.