Friday, 16 January 2015

Mombasa Comes To Leeds!

This Christmas was extra special because my dear friends from Kenya came to the UK to stay with us for THREE WEEKS! Here's a few (lots of) photos from their trip (mainly for me to remind myself of the craziness of those few weeks.)

What a fun few weeks spent in London, Leeds, Llangollen, Derby, Leicester, York and PRIMARK. 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Reminder: Katie you need a new passport

Please remind me.

My passport expires this June and I'll never remember to renew it until I REALLY NEED MY PASSPORT.

Tell me, why is it when your passport reaches six months validity left you have to get a new one? I STILL HAVE SIX GOOD MONTHS LEFT. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

Anyway, remind me after payday please. Oh and when I renew it I'm going to have to remember to use my married name. My passport is currently the only document still in my OLD name.

That's going to be weird. Wiping out Mossman for the last ever time.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Free Things To Do In New York - notice how New York and Walk rhyme?

So, don't let anyone fool you. All the guidebooks are like 'oh there's LOADS of free things to do in New York!'

Yes there are and those free things are all based around one thing.


So if you don't like walking, you won't like the big free things all the guidebooks say to do in New York:

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge

It's really long and it's really windy but the views are stunning if you're walking from Brooklyn back towards Manhattan. The little police cars on the bridge are funny. People DO NOT LIKE IT if you stray into the bike lane so stay vigilant guys. Just so we are clear, the bike lane is the lane with the bike drawing on it. I think. I don't speak the local language so I can't be sure.

Walking the High Line

It's an old train line that has been converted into a fantastic walkway that ends up in the fabulous Meatpacking District that I was desperate to visit. It's fun to imagine yourself living in one of the apartments you walk past. *sigh*

Walking around Times Square

When you first see Times Square you're like 'oh my god it's Times Square off the films on the TV' you're second thought is 'wow so lighty with all the lights' your third thought is 'too many tourists and weirdos get me out of here now now now'. Worth a visit though.

My poor phone couldn't handle the LIGHTS
Walking around Grand Central Station

Now this was my favourite of all the walky bits. I didn't expect to love this as much as I did but we walked in and I loved it instantly. Free to roam around the station. Oh and the toilets are free too downstairs. You're WELCOME.

Walking to 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar

So you want to go to a rooftop bar but you don't want to spend any dollar? No problem man. This rooftop bar is free to visit and to take in the views of the Empire State Building and beyond, then you can just leave. I'm sure this is completely frowned upon but shhhhhhh. And YOLO. Wine isn't actually that expensive here which pleased me.

Walking around Central Park

Oh go on, get yourself to Central Park during your stay in NYC! You can pretend you're in Home Alone (the one where he's Lost In New York of course, not the first one) and look for the scary pigeon lady, but you should also head to The Terrace and fountains to listen to the musicians busking BUT I BET YOU WON'T SEE A BETTER LADY THAN I DID. She was an Opera singer and dressed like a pink butterfly. I think about her all the time.

<Lastly, I didn't take a photo as it didn't seem right to, but we visited St. Paul's Chapel which is right next door to where the World Trade Centers were (and where the new freedom tower stands). It was free to walk in and there are tonnes of things to read and see from 9/11. That was such a powerful place to be and to really try to even imagine what people went through that day and subsequent days. I didn't need to pay $30 to go to the 9/11 museum after visiting here. It felt more raw and real than I think the museum could try to be - but I didn't go to the museum so obviously can't say for sure.>

So to sum up, yes there are free things to do in New York they are walking things but for goodness sake get yourself a pair of comfortable shoes as it's a REALLY BIG CITY. 

*Don't even talk to me about museums. I'm not interested in the MOMA, you hear?

A Few New York Snaps

Late last year I finally went to America! I go to New York for five days!

And it was AWESOME. I didn't expect to love it as much as I did.

The buildings! The avenues! The sheer enormousness of it all.

The pizza slices. Oh my, the pizza slices.

The yellow cabs.

The music. Frank Sinatra got it ALL RIGHT GUYS. He speaks the truth!

The suits on Wall Street. Hello! I'm a tourist! Am I in your way? I'm so sorry. Do you know the way to Tiffany's?

We took a super cheap flight from Leeds Bradford direct to New York and within seven hours of leaving Leeds we were in Manhattan sitting in a yellow cab *sigh* I love living in an era where we can do this kind of travel. We are so lucky, kids.

Anyway, what with Christmas and everything, I've only just gotten around to moving the photos to here. Enjoy!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Tips for walking the Three Yorkshire Peaks Challenge

It's been one week since completing the Three Yorkshire Peaks Challenge, and boy was it a challenge. 

It was easily the hardest but most rewarding challenge I've ever done; made harder by the fact that we decided to do it in November, one of the months for the shortest daylight hours... GREAT IDEA GUYS!

The average duration for the walk is 12 hours, and we really hoped to complete it in this time but we made it back within 12.5 hours, just 30 minutes over the average time. We decided to go the standard route of anti-clockwise and started in the dark at 5.30am and finished in the dark after a horrific climb down Ingleborough. Battered by gales and hailstorms at the top of Whernside (peak #2 and my personal nemesis) we were exhausted by the time we finished... but we did it! We did it!

We stayed in a lovely B&B in Ingleton (Seed Hill in case you're interested) and drove to Horton-In-Ribblesdale in the morning, you feel like it's a long drive in the car and you know you'll be walking that way in the next ten hours, which is psychologically not a great start to the walk...

Buuuuuut with the benefit of hindsight there are a few things I would have done differently that I'd love to pass along to you. Some are just plain old common sense that just didn't occur to me (thanks brain) but some are just having done it once, listen to Auntie Baxter on this:

* Get a good night's sleep the night before. Your body is full of adrenaline to get started and I only ended up getting three hours sleep despite going to bed at 9.30pm. I just kept thinking 'Don't forget your walking pole' and other annoying thoughts. Don't underestimate how much adrenaline you'll have.

* Take change for the car park (or find somewhere free to park). Funnily enough it didn't occur to us to bring change and so we wasted time moving the cars (in the dark) to somewhere free. We parked by the school which worked out fine, or you can pay £5 for all day parking.

* Take a thermos but only fill it with water at The Station pub. You'll be ready for a tea at the top of Whernside (#2) so just ask the nice folk to fill it up rather than carrying it around for the first 13 miles.

* Have a pint at The Station at your peril. It's pretty hard to drag yourself out of the pub (especially if it's raining like it was for us). It's a good morale booster to stop there but don't stay long!

* Take the gear seriously. Spend the money on your walking boots/waterproofs/clothes and your body will thank you. Waterproof socks are worth their weight in gold when you walk through the boggy fields and your boots get submerged.

* You WILL struggle with Ingleborough - the last peak. By that time you'll have been walking for around 8/9 hours and you come face to face with a mountain of stairs. I hate stairs. Then there's a scramble to the top which turns

* Bearing in mind we took the challenge in November, the path down from Ingleborough to Horton back to the car was in bad condition and tough to navigate in the dark. Pretty sure it'll be better in the summer, but don't underestimate how long it'll take you to complete the final stretch. It's still a good five mile walk from the top of Ingleborough - a long time after your final high five and photo at the top!

The time factor is annoying and I don't like that there's this pressure to get round in 12 hours (you got a certificate dontcha know?) because it's such a stunning walk and you don't get the time to appreciate it when you're head down just digging deep to climb all three peaks. We didn't get the time to stop and take in the view (mainly because it was foggy!) and you don't want to stop for too long in case your legs decide they just don't want to go any further.

Overall it goes without saying that this is a huge challenge. Expect it to be hard, expect the worst and you should even be pleasantly surprised by yourself and the walk. The views are stunning and you'll be very proud of yourself for completing it.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Stop what you're doing and look how gorgeous Yorkshire is

I love Yorkshire. I couldn't imagine living anywhere else right now.