Tag Archives: Travel


Wandering around the Olympic Park and Taking a Dip

Last weekend my swimming club got the chance to swim in the pool that was used for the 2012 Olympics! We had a 2 hour session and a wander around the park to make a great day out.


We set off from the local pool carpark at 7:30am on Saturday and headed with a bus load of kids and adults on our way to London. The good thing about the weekends is that there is no congestion charge so we got to go right through the centre of London and had an unintentional sightseeing tour on the way.

The downside of this trip was finding the way into the swimming pool for the coach; the signage was very bad and we ended up having to loop back and go through several traffic lights that refused to turn green! But we got there in plenty of time to have a look round at the pool and stands and also see what would have been the warm up pool. It looks very different from how it did on the TV as all the extra seating has gone and all the Olympic branding has been taken down. Also 50m pools look deceivingly shorter than they are! We released it’s because the lane ropes are pretty much the same proportions as the 25m lane ropes and therefore our brains just see the same distance – until we started swimming!

We had a 2 hour session and swam with the competition squad and had a good laugh. One of the coaches had found out the Olympic swim times for 50m and we did some time trials to see how much difference there was in our swimming – mine was a lot as I hate sprinting – give me a 1500m swim over 50m any day!




We finished our session and headed the Westfield shopping centre to grab some lunch and a coffe. We then headed into the park to have a wander and enjoy the sunshine. We didn’t walk too far as it was super-hot that day and the park trees are not yet big enough to provide any shade, so we took it slowly and just enjoyed people watching and having an ice cream.







It was great to finally visit the park as I didn’t go when the Olympics were on as I wasn’t sure I would be at home and I hate the logistics of getting around when it’s super busy. It’s definitely worth a visit and to see a different part of London.

Wandering to Uffington White Horse

A couple of weekends ago my parents were home and we spent one day of the weekend visiting a National Trust place non of us had been to before – The Uffington White Horse.


This is thought to be the oldest white horse known, having been constructed in the Bronze Age. There are several around where I live and even more in the wider area. It’s hard to see the whole thing on the ground, so I included a photo of the book above. It was also lovely to spend the day with my parents doing something easy and free (if you have National Trust membership).



My dad likes to read all the signs and stand right on top of things!



My mum is content to view things from above.



I really love the history from my local area. Being close to Stonehenge and Avebury it’s too easy to forget what else is around and the white horses are amazing! Lots of people were out on a warm, but windy day.



It is a bit of a walk from the car park, but on a day like we visited you could see for around 30 miles (my dad guesses) and could see Swindon and Didcot and maybe Oxford.


This was the map my dad used to guess how far we could see. I love maps like this, but normally you can only see directly in front!


I love the random history and myths you find on these signs. For example it is thought that the white horse leaves his hill once a year to eat the grass in the manger below :)



I love that everything is still a mystery. No one know why these kinds of monuments were built or what they were for. But they are impressive today and when you think there would have been a lot less civilisation around they would have have stood out even more!

The other myth is the flat hill that can be found below the horse and above the manger is to be where St George slew and buried the dragon. Nothing grows on top of the hills and it is believed the dragons blood is the cause.  The other legend is that Uther Pendragon is buried there!

20130818-152052.jpgThere is also a castle above the horse – well a castle in the sense the is a ring mound of earth, that is thought to have been a castle. It was fun to walk around and see for 360 degrees!

I would highly recommend visiting this place is you are between Swindon and Oxford!



Adventures in Coffee… Costa Spiced Passionata

Just found these photos form my trip to Porto, where one day we found a Costa. The coffee was really good in Porto, but it was always in espresso form and unfortunately there are times it is just needed to have a large coffee. So we were extremely happy to find this place.

I made sure I tried something that wasn’t available at home – Spiced Passionata – a flat white coffee spiced with cinnamon and chilli. A really nice warming drink, but also refreshing. I love a proper flat white and this took it to new level.20130424-214906.jpg

It must have been a new shop as it was so quiet when we went in, then the next day it was super busy!20130424-215036.jpg

It had the same things as the ones in the UK, but also some different things. Plus they served beer! My twitter friend Ellie found out that that there are ones in London that do this, and they are known as platinum stores. 20130424-215048.jpg

It was located in a lovely place near the amazing book shop.20130424-215105.jpg

See beer!20130424-215116.jpg

I also tried the cherry and white chocolate cake. This was really light, which was a nice surprise :)20130424-215127.jpgI love trying new places, but then it is nice to find something slightly familiar as a break to relax and reflect.



Wandering in Porto

Last weekend  I got to to explore Porto with my friend Ingrid!

It was so nice to get away and that it was warm was an added bonus.

Porto in Portugal is a lovely city that impressed me greatly and I would recommend anyone to visit. Its a beautiful city on the river and close to the ocean. We walked everywhere to explore the city. It is very hilly, but worth it to get close to the river and then the views from higher up.

We stayed new the main square, which seemed to be the centre for arts.20130428-183959.jpg



The main bridge was designed by the man who designed the Eiffel Tower. It was lovely to sit by the river and watch the world go by.


The bakeries were amazing! So many different cakes and breads. We tried a variety over the weekend – no wonder I put on weight, but worth it!


There was also an amazing bookshop which I could have stayed in for a really long time if it hadn’t been so busy. If it had been quiet it would have been a really peaceful place to explore.20130428-184111.jpg


I love all the red terracotta roofs.20130428-184152.jpg

We went a on river boat trip and also Port Tasting, but I’ll cover that in another post :)20130428-184221.jpg

We spent a lovely afternoon at the Crystal Palace gardens.20130428-184252.jpg

Lots of the churches have amazing tiled walls.20130428-184311.jpg

Overall it was a lovely weekend away. Four nights is perfect for a European city break. Porto held more wonders than I had expected and it is a lovely place place to visit with reasonable prices too.


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