Visiting Ickworth House

My final Suffolk-related post is here! In keeping with the National Trust theme that seems to have emerged, we will be finishing off this little trilogy series with Ickworth House, an impressive stately home just south of Bury St Edmunds, so again, it was another great place to break up the car journey.

Ickworth is a huge property, surrounded by countryside and even boasts its own hotel and spa, yet strangely we had not heard of it. That being said, we don’t really go in the Suffolk direction much. Nevertheless, the unusual Italianate style and Rotunda is worth a visit.

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Ickworth is one of the best NT properties I have been to in terms of walking. On arrival, you are given a map of the estate and there are trails of various lengths to choose from. We did the blue trail, which was about 4 miles and took us through the different backdrops you can find on the estate, from the lake in front of the walled garden to the boardwalk through the forest.

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After finishing the walk, we headed to the cafe for some lunch and then explored the house and gardens. The Rotunda looked beautiful in the sunshine and there was a chance to play archery on the lawn in front of the house. I did not use this opportunity though. If I can cut myself in three places whilst shaving and then make myself dizzy, goodness knows what could happen when I’m let loose with a bow and arrow!

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The most interesting feature in the gardens was the stumpery. The tree stumps come from trees removed in World War Two and there is something mysterious and fairytale-like when you see all the twisting shapes of the tree roots.

We have come to the end of my Suffolk posts now. I hope I have given you some inspiration about where to go this Easter weekend with your family and friends.

Megan x


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Visiting Suffolk

Here it is, post 2/3 of my Visiting… series from this weekend. After posting about Anglesey Abbey yesterday, it is time to get onto the main event, which is, of course, Suffolk. After leaving Anglesey Abbey, we drove to the coast on the tourist route, which takes you through all the pretty villages and countryside that Suffolk has to offer. There were so many gorgeous chocolate box cottages to even count!

We arrived at Southwold in time for a late lunch. As the weather was really warm and it was a Sunday, the seafront was crowded, which was a shame because it would have been lovely to take some photos if there was no one there. Nevertheless, Southwold is a lovely little town, that boasts its own Jack Wills and Joules, amongst an array of independent shops.

The next pit stop on Sunday was Dunwich Heath and Beach, another place owned by the National Trust. The stunning, tranquil landscape is a mixture of grassland, heather, cliffs and beach, with various footpaths to choose from, making it the ideal walking destination. There is also a tearoom and small shop for when you are need of a break. It was beautiful in the sunshine, but sadly very windy and my hair was not in a good state when we left!

It was then time to head over to Framlingham to where our self-catered apartment was. We stayed in Upstairs@TheLemonTree, a beautiful flat above a bistro in the centre of Framlingham. You can see photos of the property here.

On Monday, it was time for Aldeburgh, Snape Maltings and Orford. I last visited Aldeburgh was when I was four and my brother was six. We have a picture of the two of us sat side by side on the beach in front of the colourful houses. Sadly, without my brother with us, no such photo could be recreated fourteen years on.

Like Southwold, Aldeburgh is gorgeous place, with Jack Wills and Joules a running theme. As it was a Monday and we went early, Aldeburgh was much more photogenic though.  I got the opportunity to play around with camera a bit and discover the colour accent settings.

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The Sky was so impressive!

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I just hate a crowded beach!

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This was too cute not to be photographed!

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Colour Accent

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The old Moot Hall

We then moved onto Snape Maltings for a spot of lunch and some shopping. It is home to a music concert hall, several independent boutique shops, places to eat and stay, as well as the River Alde and marshland, for those wishing to enjoy a boat trip or ramble in nature.

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Further down the Suffolk Coast is Orford, another picturesque village and place to walk whilst overlooking the sea. You can also take a boat trip out to Orford Ness, a NT nature reserve steeped in history from the Cold War.

We did a small circuit around the edge of the water and up back into Orford, where I had a peek into the Orford Castle shop, which is English Heritage and…found a Dave Thompson postcard! This made me really excited, so much so that when we got back to Framlingham, I went into the castle shop there and found another Dave Thompson postcard!

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Recognise Framlingham Castle from Ed Sheeran’s ‘Castle on the Hill’ video right at the very end?!

There we have it. A short account of my time in Suffolk. Make sure to keep an eye on the blog tomorrow for the last in my Visiting… Suffolk related series. Start guessing what NT place we might have stopped at on the way home!

Megan x


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Visiting Anglesey Abbey

Another one for the Visiting… series. On Sunday, I went to Suffolk with my family to enjoy a peaceful couple of days by the sea. The last time I had been to Suffolk was when I was about four. I will admit that I did not remember anything about it, so it was lovely to go back and refresh my memories. Before I start on the Suffolk post, which will be coming tomorrow, I thought I would share my thoughts on Anglesey Abbey, a beautiful National Trust property near Cambridge.

You have probably heard me go on about the National Trust enough by now, but having membership really is great. At the moment, I am still included in our family membership, but I’m seriously considering buying myself student membership which is only £32 for a whole year!

Anglesey Abbey is situated near Cambridge, which was perfect to break up the 3 hour journey between Leicester and Suffolk. What with free parking for NT members, beautiful parkland and gardens to stretch your legs and a lovely cafe and shop, the Abbey was a great way to extend our mini holiday.

We did not go into the house on this occasion because we had been here before a few years ago, but nevertheless the house looked stunning in the sunshine. The weather was definitely our friend this weekend!

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Probably the most impressive thing about Anglesey Abbey is the silver birch wood. It is the finale piece to the Winter Garden, designed to be in bloom for the whole year. The flowers along the path leading up to the silver birches were beautiful. It is not often that walk round a corner and are met with the sight of dozens of white trees towering above you, so it really was spectacular.

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Even without this beautiful nature area, Anglesey Abbey is, like any other NT property worth a visit for the countryside surrounding it and the facilities on offer. I can never not go into a NT gift shop and not gaze lovingly at the throws and rugs!

That’s it for today, make sure you check the blog tomorrow for my main Suffolk post, followed by Friday’s post for my National Trust property review that was our stop on the way home.

Megan x


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All about #BlogConLDN

Yeah, you’ve probably already guessed it. Here is my #BlogConLDN post!

As explained in my YouTube video (yes, I’ve done a video), this blog post is about the event itself, and you can see my haul of all the goodies I managed to collect on my video which I will post.

I cannot even remember how I came across #BlogConLDN, but I booked my ticket in October. I was pretty keen! I knew I wanted to go to a blogger event,
but a lot of them are in London, which is hard for me to get to, and if I was going to go to one, it needed to be worth it.

London’s first ever blogging convention with over 400 bloggers and workshops and brand stalls was definitely worth it!

In terms of travelling, it did not seem that bad. On Friday, I went from Leeds to Leicester, which is about a 2 hour trip. On Saturday, we drove to Rugby station and got the train to London Euston. I don’t know why we have never done this before. With my railcard, a return ticket to London was £16 for me as an individual. Far better than £50 or £60 from Leeds or Leicester!

The location of BlogCon was unbelievable. It was held in the QEII Conference Centre, which is next door to Westminster Abbey. You can’t get better than that!

As it was so central, there was also a bit of time before and after the event to have a stroll around London, which is always fascinating.

There was not really time to stop for food at #BlogConLDN, so I had brunch in the Embankment Cafe, a great little place over looking the Thames, with lots of outdoor seating in Victoria Embankment Gardens. We also walked into St James’ Park, which was looking lovely and we even saw a heron!

After the event had finished, we popped into Southbank Centre, which we had discovered on our trip in November to see Les Mis for a cup of tea and some much needed food for me. The dulce de leche brownie certainly hit the spot!

We also walked through Somerset House on our way back, which we had never seen before, but definitely a place for a proper visit! I can see why the open air cinema events in the summer are such an appeal.

 

Anyway, enough of the little extra ramblings and onto #BlogConLDN itself.

I was a few minutes early, so had to wait in the lobby. The bloggers who were already there seemed to be in groups, which was daunting as I was alone. Luckily, I was not the only blogger who felt the same way. I met Emma from The Amateur’s Guide to Fashion, and she was so nice. If you haven’t come across her amazing blog, go and check it out! Our first port of call when we got there was Chi Chi London, who were giving away some fantastic gift bags. Emma and I also used their fun photo mirror.

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From there, it was really just a chance to explore and discover some amazing new brands, most of which I mention in my haul video. Love Inc., STM Goods, Johnny Loves Rosie and Forever were also some brands which stood out though!

Just see how beautiful the stalls were!

I could not visit all the beauty stalls, without getting pampered a little bit. I had some super hair braiding from Natural World, nail painting from Glam App and lipstick done by Lipivir.

Last, but certainly not least, I went to a couple of the blogging talks that were on. There were three tables, and all had bloggers talking on different subjects for half an hour each.

The talks I wanted to go to stretched the whole of the last hour from 3-4. First of all was a photography talk, and then how to stay true to your brand and not copy others.

These were both really useful!

I guess the final thing to say about #BlogConLDN is a huge thank you to Scarlett London and her events company for organising this! It was such a success and I thoroughly enjoyed my first proper blogging event!

Megan x


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Visiting the Cotswolds

As you may have seen from my Twitter or Instagram, yesterday we went to the Cotswolds, so here is my post as promised.

Whilst the weather was not at its best, cloudy with some rain, probably left over from Storm Doris, making photography go completely out the window, it was still a really nice trip and definitely something worth blogging about.

First of all, we stopped to check out Moreton-in-Marsh. This was mainly due to the fact that a cup of tea was much needed, but the town is very picturesque and was a great place to stretch our legs for a bit. Visiting these Cotswolds towns and villages always makes me think of when I used to read the Agatha Raisin books by M.C.Beaton as Agatha was always doing her shopping there.

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By Mark Hogan from London, UK (Moreton-in-Marsh Uploaded by Snowmanradio) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

The next stop was a quaint little village called Longborough. The main purpose of this was family history. If you followed me as part of Charlii and Meg, then you will remember how much my mum and I love family history. Mum has been doing some research on her side of the tree, and had discovered that some of her ancestors came from this area, so we spent some time at Longborough church to see if any of the gravestones matched our ancestors. Unfortunately, the tombstones were all really worn and you could not see the names. However, we did discover a gorgeous country pub, that sold ales from a local brewery, Donnington Ales.

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Then it was onto the main reason we decided to go the Cotswolds. Bourton-on-the-Water was described as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’ on one of the tourist information boards. The river that runs through Bourton has a series of footbridges leading up to the town, but whether I would compare it to Venice I’m not so sure, but it was still lovely and unique.

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See what I meant about the weather and photography?!

We had lunch at The Croft Restaurant, which is linked to the Chester House Hotel. Whilst it was essentially pub food, there was a modern, bistro feel to it. I did not take a picture of my main, which was steak and red wine lasagne, as by the time we had sat down to eat, I was pretty hungry and forgot to take a photo (don’t judge me!). My mum and I, being major chocoholics, could not resist the warm chocolate brownie and ice cream for pudding though!

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Bourton-on-the-Water really is a tourist destination. Full of pubs, tearooms and souvenir shops, visitors will definitely be kept busy. There is also the Dragonfly Maze, Birdland, Model Village and the Cotswold Motoring Museum.

My dad went in the motoring museum, whilst Mum and I checked out the shops, but also we had been there before when I was a lot younger, so I could still remember some of it. The museum is even home to Brum (anyone else remember Brum?!).

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This one’s just the cardboard cutout outside

By the time we had done all this, it was time to head home. Of course, this was nothing to do with the fact that my dad wanted to be back in time to watch the Watford match!

Hope you are inspired to take a trip to the Cotswolds now!

Megan x

Visiting York

Yesterday, I decided to take a trip to York to do something different and refreshing after a heavy week of university work. The last time I visited the city was a good 8 years ago (how long??) on a trip with my primary school, so it was lovely to go back and really appreciate all the wonderful things that the city has to offer. Plus, with a railcard return price of £8 and a short 20 minute train journey, it is the perfect day out for a student.

Whilst I love Leeds and think it is a fantastic place to be a student in, York holds a certain old charm that perhaps a more modern city like Leeds does not have.

Right from when you step out of the train station and into the city centre, the route you take is along the historic city walls, which very few places in the UK have. The famous view looking down onto York Minster is not something you get to see everyday.

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York Minster is a sight to behold. Every architects’ dream, there is not a single aspect about the cathedral that is disappointing. Situated in the north corner of the city centre, York Minster is surrounded by a vast green space and an array of quirky independent shops, enough to make any tourist or shopaholic melt to the floor.

The city boasts a number of other historical remains, from abbey ruins, churches to Clifford’s Tower.

One thing for sure is that you will not get bored in York. Whether you are shopping in the old streets of the Shambles Market or visiting one of the many art galleries and museums, it really is a great day out for all the family. A particular attraction which caught my eye, which I am pretty sure we did not go to on the school trip, was the York Chocolate Story. York is full of confectioners making mouth-watering treats, which I believe originated when the Quakers settled in York. If you have even the slight inkling of a sweet tooth, you will not be disappointed in York due to the amount of chocolatey goodness on offer.

There is of course a lot more food than just chocolate. I have never seen so many places to eat! From fancy restaurants to good old British pubs and tearooms, your tastebuds should always be satisfied. Two places that stood out for me were the famous Bettys cafe and the teddy bear tearoom!

I had originally hoped to find some more Dave Thompson postcards, but sadly this was not the case. I did not come back empty handed though. I picked up this gorgeous bag from the National Trust shop. It was reduced from £35 to £12 and the print is inspired by Dulwich Heath in Suffolk. The bag is perfect size for me, as I can often have just one hour a day, so my current bags are either too small or way too big. This one fits the bill though.

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I hope you decide to visit York after reading this post. Let me know how your trip goes!

Megan x

CLC World Free Competition – Win £25 Worth of Vouchers to Spend at the Bullring in Birmingham

It’s that time of year when it is cold and icy, when we no doubt dream of jetting off somewhere warm and sunny. CLC World  offer fabulous holidays in sunny Spain and Tenerife, just to name a couple!

Of course, if you are someone like me, Christmas is also a time for cosying up in front of the fire on those cold winter nights and seeing the joy on people’s faces as they tuck into a delicious Christmas lunch and unwrap some lovely presents.

I am delighted to be hosting a free competition with CLC World to win a £25 voucher to spend at the Bullring in Birmingham. Whether you might want to do some last minute Christmas shopping, or indeed treat yourself to some much needed retail therapy in the January sales, the competition is perfect, as it also gives you the opportunity to find out about some of the fantastic holidays you can have with CLC.

The rules are quite simple:

  • Follow CLC World on Facebook and Twitter
  • Follow my blog – if you are a WordPress blogger then that is easy, but otherwise use the email subscription form and make sure you confirm your subscription
  • Comment on this post which CLC resort (found in link) you would love to visit
  • Don’t wait too long as the deadline is Sunday 18th December!!

 

That is it! Entering the competition only takes a few minutes and you could win a Bullring voucher!!

Megan x

Here is the small print that perhaps is never that interesting, but it has to be included:

STANDARD TERMS AND CONDITIONS 
  • Competition details form part of these terms and conditions.
  • Entry is open to residents of the UK except employees (and their families) of CLC World, its printers and agents, the suppliers of the prizes and any other companies associated with the competitions.
  • The entrant(s) must be aged 18 or over. Proof of identity and age may be required.
  • Use of a false name or address will result in disqualification.
  • The competition opens at 14/12/16 and ends at 18/12/16. Entries that are incomplete, illegible, indecipherable, duplicated or which contain profanity will not be valid and deemed void.
  • To enter, applicants must state which CLC World resort they would most like to visit, either by commenting on the competition post here: XXX, which is listed on the blog, Megan Elizabeth, as well as following @clcworld on Twitter and the blog Megan Elizabeth Lifestyle.
  • All entries must be made directly by the person entering the competition.
  • No responsibility can be accepted for entries lost, due to computer error in transit.
  • The prize is as stated and comprises of one £25 gift card for the Birmingham Bullring to be awarded to one winner. The prize is not transferable to another individual and no cash or other alternatives will be offered.
  • Prizes are subject to availability and the prize suppliers’ terms and conditions.
  • Prizes will be posted to the winner within 7 days of them providing their postage details.
  • The winner will be announced by social media on the [19/12/16].
  • The promoters reserve the right to amend or alter the terms of competitions at any time and reject entries from entrants not entering into the spirit of the competition.
  • In the event of a prize being unavailable, the promoter reserves the right to offer an alternative prize of equal or greater value.
  • The winner(s) agree(s) to the use of their name, photograph and disclosure of county of residence and will co-operate with any other reasonable requests by Megan Elizabeth and/or CLC World, relating to any post-winning publicity.
  • Unless stated otherwise the winner(s) will be drawn at random from all correct entries received by the closing date stated within the promotional material (18/12/16).
  • Reasonable efforts will be made to contact the winner(s). If the winner(s) cannot be reached within 7 days of being notified of their win, or they are unable to comply with these terms and conditions, the Promoter reserves the right to offer the prize to the next eligible entrant drawn at random, or in the event that the promotion is being judged, the Promoter reserves the right to offer the prize to the runner(s)-up selected by the same judges.
  • Confirmation of the prize will be made in writing/via online correspondence to the winner(s).
  • Failure to respond and/or provide an address for delivery, or failure to meet the eligibility requirements may result in forfeiture of the prize.
  • Where applicable, the decision of the judges is final based on the criteria set out in the promotion and no correspondence will be entered over this decision.
  • Competitions may be modified or withdrawn at any time.
 

 

 

 

A Day in London

Hey everyone! Pleased to say I can now write this post after finishing two assignments.

On Saturday, I went to London to see Les Miserables!! After watching the film, I had been desperate to see it on stage, so for my 18th birthday, my parents got me tickets.

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So sweet!!

My family were quite late in discovering the Les Mis phenomenon. We only decided to watch the film because we had heard all the hype, so thought we better check it out. Little did we know that 3 hours later, we would emerge not only crying but true Les Miserables converts.

I thought after that experience, the film could not be topped. I was wrong. The play was absolutely amazing!! I still ended up crying on a few occasions and came out feeling emotionally exhausted! It was all worth it though.

We had really good seats in the stalls that were really central, so you could always see what was happening, even the emotions on the actors faces.

The best parts were when all the cast were singing together. It was so powerful and really sent a chill down my spine!

Whilst we were in London, we had some time to visit Covent Garden and the Southbank Centre. Apart from the weather (as you can tell from the photo), it was a fantastic day and full of new discoveries. I had not been to the Southbank Centre, but it was a revelation. It is really modern inside with a great cafe and shop. When we there, there was also some live music as part of the BBC Radio 3 Jazz Festival.

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Southbank Centre on the far right. 

Covent Garden is a pleasure no matter what the weather. The Christmas decorations added an extra something special.

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Highly recommend Les Miserables. Easily the best West End show I have seen!

Megan x

Visiting Saltaire

My lovely parents came and visited me this weekend, and on Sunday, we decided to explore Saltaire, a UNESCO World Heritage Site near Leeds. Saltaire is a model Victorian village, with the main focus being the Salt Mill, but the wonderful setting next to the river with the moors in the background is definitely worth coming for.

It took us about half an hour to drive there, although as Saltaire has its own station, the train from Leeds only takes about 15 minutes.

 

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Salt Mill

The Salt Mill was at one point the largest factory in the world. And it is big! Although now, the impressive surroundings and stunning architecture make it a building to be admired.
Art is the defining attraction in the Salt Mill. It holds many works by David Hockney, and there is a fantastic art shop on the ground floor.

 

The shopping is another great attraction. In addition to the art shop, the mill boasts the best book shop EVER with beautifully presented versions of every single book. The homeware shop is equally as impressive.

From inside the mill, you get an amazing view of outside, which really makes you understand the spectacle that is Saltaire.

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Exploring outside, we found some more lovely buildings, including the church, Victoria Hall and other places that are now used as everyday work places.

 

Before it was time to go, I got my mum to take some pictures of me by the river. I had chosen my outfit carefully and the dark reds/purples were a lovely contrast against the stonework.

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Saltaire is a fantastic place and I had a lovely time there. I hope this will make you want to go to!

Megan x