Tag Archives: Work

Wandering around The Burren

This last week I was lucky enough to go on a work trip to The Burren in County Clare, Ireland. It was a wonderful trip full of beauty and learning. I’m not going into any details  about my work, but do want to share some of the wonderful photos of the landscape I was able to explore. I also want to share a bit of the history of the place and recommend it as a place to visit.

Meadow
Meadow

The Burren means ‘great rock’ or ‘rocky place’ in Irish and it definitely suited the name. It is a beautiful historic landscape much changed by human habitation, especially through farming. It is a cultural landscape full of archaeological features, some of which are still used today.

Handmade Stone Wall
Handmade Stone Wall

The area is around 250 km squared and is enclosed within the circle made by the villages of Ballyvaughan (visited), Kinvara, Tubber, Corofin (visited), Kilfenora and Lisdoonvarna. There many fantastic finds within the villages such as the The Perfumery and The Larder Deli.

Working in the Field
Working in the Field

It is an area of Ireland I was unaware of until it became a subject of fascination at work. Once we arrived we stayed in Ennis and were pleasantly surprised by the amount of tourists, especially from America. It was a honeypot of activity in the evenings with every bar full and musical entertainment a plenty. We foudn Knox’s and The Old Ground Hotel.

Posing Dog
Posing Dog

I was lucky to spend two full days talking and exploring with local people who look after their land with great care and understanding. This hasn’t always been the case, but in the last 15 years there has been a drive to rediscover how the land is kept in it’s best condition and going back to farming practices that support that and make sense economically for the local farms.

Making Friends
Making Friends

There is a lovely sense of place here and this is supported by the pride of the people I was able to meet. They have an identity here and love the land and the history in the places they live. There is a desire to keep this sense of identity for the future and in recent times many gates have been upgraded to the The Burren Gate, which is made locally.

Burren Gate
Burren Gate

I was able to take some time to practice my photography skills and focus on landscapes and flowers. I’m really happy with how lots of them came out even though I had to take quite a few reference shots for work purposes.

White Irish Orchid
White Irish Orchid

I learnt a lot from my work colleagues on this trip. It was mainly about habitats and flora and fauna found in The Burren compared to home. However my memory is rubbish and so the only ones I can remember are the Irish Orchids. Please shout if you know any of the other flowers I found!

Purple Flower
Purple Flower

Many flowers I took because I found them colourful and stood out against the green and stone backdrops.

Colourful Irish Orchid
Colourful Irish Orchid

If I hadn’t known differently I would have thought many of the fields I was walking through were not farmed in any way, but I would have been wrong. All the fields we went through were used for pasture and some were hay meadows. The quality of the fields are gold star. There was so much variety and colour everywhere we looked it was astounding.

Pink Flower
Pink Flower

It was also a peaceful landscape. There are many roads through the landscape and even less tracks across the farms. Many things are kept very traditional with limited use of machinery across all aspects of the farms. This leaves these beautiful meadows to flourish and benefit from the winterage type farming practices found in the area.

In the long grasses
In the long grasses

The limestone pavement The Burren is located on is a specific landscape. being located on the edge of the Atlantic creates a very specific area and climate that supports it. It’s very mild all year, which means is also very wet all year. It is a mountain climate, without any mountains. We had pretty much all seasons in the two days we were there.

Blue flowers
Blue flowers

I definitely want to go back and explore further than I was able to this time. There is a beautiful coastal road we only got to glimpse as we headed back to the airport. I did not realise how much there was to explore until we arrived. Also the people were so friendly I would like to spend more time sat talking and listening to their stories and music. I totally underestimated this trip and would like to rectify that by visiting again in the future.

Wandering around Snowdonia

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The Location!

A couple of weeks ago I got to go on a trip with work to Snowdonia. A beautiful and extraordinary place in North Wales. I stayed in Betws-y-coed in the Conwy Valley and thought of as the gateway to Snowdonia. I’ve visited here a number of times and fall more in love with the place each and every visit. It’s small, vibrant and peaceful. The locals are friendly and all the visitors I’ve met have been the same.

I stayed a lovely B&B just outside the village called Aberconwy B&B, which was within walking distance of the main area across the stunning Sappers Suspension Bridge built in 1930.

I took the time to practice my photography while I was away as I had time to myself during the evenings. I loved the bridge and the graveyard of St Michael’s Church just beyond and have been using my editing skills to improve the photos. The bridge and the graveyard are my favourite.

As it was out of the main tourist season it was very quiet in the evenings. The pubs and restaurants were busy, but everywhere else was peaceful and calm. The train station was a great photo opportunity as o one else was around.

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The Walking!

My work visit meant I got to go walking in a different area to anywhere I’ve walked before. It was just north of Betws-y-coed, and on land I wouldn’t have been sure was open to access, but I learnt that most areas are and as long as you respect the land it’s okay to explore beyond the paths.

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We stuck to the lower slopes of the area as we were looking at habitats across the land. It was fascinating to learn about this as its central to my work, but I am not a land or farming expert.

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There are some beautiful structures hidden away that suddenly pop in to view as you are walking a long. Farm houses, upland ponds, bridges, across streams, stone walls, views across to Snowdonia, all beautiful and part of the landscape.

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Also lots of sheep who watched us as we passed, but did not come near to say hello. We didn’t see another soul while out walking all day. We stuck to a Nation Trust path in places and wandered off the beaten track on others, but didn’t see anyone else in the area. It made a nice change to walking up Snowdon as that can be super busy that you never get away from people. I loved the peace and details you could pick up by being a  small group in a big landscape. It gave a different perspective on the area and I felt small, but in a good way. A way that tells me the world is an amazing place that will continue on without us if needs be. We impact it in so many ways and when you see nature fighting back or doing things despite our interference it is truly inspiring.

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The Food!

You cannot talk about Wales without talking about the food. It was amazing as always. Much of it locally sourced and even getting a picnic for lunch from the local bakery was a wonderful experience. The B&B served an amazing breakfast and recommended the bakery for my lunch needs.

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I ate at the local pub one night and then found a fairly newly opened pizza place that has a proper wood fired stone oven. Good quality food is becoming so important to me nowadays. I was able to sit and not rush and really enjoy the moment of being away from home and free from normal responsibilities for a couple of days.

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I totally recommend visiting North Wales and I hope to visit many more times to explore different areas. You have to visit Snowdon, but also make sure you get away from the main tourist honeypot areas to explore hidden places that are beautiful in different ways.

Summer Solstice at Stonehenge

I started this week by making my way to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice celebrations. This is one of the only time it is free access to the site and to the stones themselves. I’m lucky that with my job I get to take part in volunteering activities like this as in all honesty I do not get the point of sitting in a field all night. However I am grateful for being also to experience it in a golunteering way instead.

It was a beautiful evening and I took my camera and borrowed a friend tripod to try and get some lovely photos. I’ll share those in another  post  though as they need editing slightly and I would like some help from my teacher to do that.

It was an amazing sky with bright sunshine, but lots if scattered clouds to heal things up and add colour.

It was also a full moon or strawberry moon, which only happens a couple of times a century on the solstice. It was all beautiful to watch.


When my shit finished my friend and headed down to the stones themselves to experience threat thing. This year was quiet I’m told as they introduced a parking fee and banned alcohol from the site. When we went in there were only around 6000 people, compared to closer to 20,000 normally. It was really calm and chilled. The atmosphere was friendly and welcoming really. 

It is odd at the same though as they light up the site with huge flood lights that give off this fake moon like glow. For safety and ease of walking around to was great, but compared to last year at Aberbury where they don’t provide any lighting, it is a completely different experience. 

We even g pretty much in to the centre of the stones which was a first for me. I got to touch a few of the stones, which was important to me. It felt like touching and being a part of the history of the place. The stones are so old I feel as though they hold so many stories and memories of the world. My fantasy geek ended coming out there!

I wish it was the moon in theses photos, buts it’s not it’s just the floodlights!

In a week that has ended on such a down note for me and many others, the start of the week feels so long ago. The connection I felt to our past had slipped away in the last few hours. It’s odd to sit here now and think we are going backwards. I refuse to dwell and I’m glad I voted for what I believe in and will continue to do that. Now on to a happier weekend catching up with Ingrid and going to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child! 

Wandering around London

Where has May gone? Honestly I feel like it should be 10th, not the 27th! It has been a busy, but great month. I feel like I have been making the most of each moment and taking time where I need it to check in with myself. I’ve also been more social that I have been for a long time and it’s been fun. I do need to find my balance and make sure I do say no when I need to. It’s all feels good though.

Last week I got to go to London for work and as I was on my own I made the most of my trip by staying overnight and doing some exploring that evening. I also got to practice some of my photography skills. I wandered from Victoria area over to Buckingham Palace and St James Park. There were lots of people around and I realised after it was the Queen’s Annual Garden Party. It was fun to stop and people watch for a while. Lots of uniforms and fancy outfits wandering around. Also watching the British tradition of queuing in formal wear. I was entertained for free and it was fun.  it was a grey evening, but lovely and warm so walking around was a pleasure and it was nice to slow down and observe the business of London and take the photographs below.

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St James Park
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Buckingham Palace Gates
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Lion man
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Outside Buckingham Palace
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Top hat man
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Keeping Watch
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View from St James Park

I’m lucky that I get to to some lovely places with my job and that my work encourages taking time when visiting a place to properly visit, learn and appreciate what it means to be there. I’ve a few trips coming over over the next year where I am making the most of the opportunity to explore and fulfill my wanderlust in more ways.

A case of impostor syndrome

impostor syndrome

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These last couple of months I have been having a serious case of impostor syndrome. It refers to high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalise their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud” (source).  This is exactly how I’ve been feeling, although I don’t necessarily put myself in the same boat as the people I consider to be ‘high-achieving’, but rather as someone who is driven to do the best I can in any situation.

Since moving jobs within my organisation it’s been a great step up in work and responsibility. At the same time I keep having this sense that I could be doing more or better and that some day someone is going to call me out on this. I have no evidence for this though. I’ve been getting great feedback on all the work I’m doing from those people I now work with and my old team who see me around.

It is a weird sensation to feel this way. I keep looking for evidence to prove it correct, rather than believe the evidence that says it is false. This is something I know stems from depression ways of thinking. I talked about this when I was doing CBT therapy. I even did an experiment to look at this way of thinking. It all comes back to the simple thought of ‘Im not good enough’ . It’s made me realise I need to take time to tackle this and not ignore it because I’m busy. These are very destructive thoughts and unhelpful to life I want to live.

I’ve been reading up on the subject and taking inspiration from famous women who have spoken out on the topic, such as Emma Watson. It’s important to speak out on the subject as others can take heart they are not alone. This has led me to look more at the topics of feminism and body positivity. It’s opening a whole new world to me and inspiring me to think differently about myself and how I let other people treat me and make me feel. It’s quite freeing. I’m going to continue to look at these topics and find inspiration in new areas, rather than focus on diet and fitness.

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