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Showing posts from 2017

At The Top - Burj Khalifa, Dubai

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I got to spend a few days in Dubai recently, with my husband currently working in Saudi Arabia it is one of several more convenient locations in the region for us to meet up when the opportunity arises. My last visit to Dubai was nearly six years ago, when we went there on our honeymoon so it was good to go back again. Much of the trip was really just about relaxing and catching up but we did have one touristy day, returning to the viewing platforms at the Burj Khalifa.

We did this when we were in Dubai previously and it's worth doing if you're there. In fact it was only when I was up there previously that I truly appreciated that Dubai is in the middle of the desert. The white sandy covering over the land looking almost like a dusting of snow when viewed from so high up, but with temperatures on this visit reaching the 40s and with a 'feels like' of 50°c on one day there clearly was no snow around!


There are three observation decks in the building, on the 148th floor, 1…

St. Andrews, Scotland

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St. Andrews was somewhere I knew predominantly for its connection to golf and latterly as being the location where a certain royal couple met whilst at university there. I'm still learning with regards to my geography of Scotland so wasn't altogether sure where it was in relation to Edinburgh but it's not actually that far and by car it can be reached in about an hour and a half. Asides from the golf, university and royal connections though there's plenty of other things there to make it a worthwhile visit.
We've actually been two times since moving up here, our first visit was an overnight stay and on the second we took a visiting friend for the day. We don't have a car, you don't really need one in Edinburgh as it's a pretty compact city, but every now and again my husband will get a hire car for the weekend. This will sometimes be to do those inevitable jobs that do require a car (i.e. going to the tip) but mainly so we can go a little further afield …

Portobello Beach, Edinburgh

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When I moved to Edinburgh I'd never really thought about how close it was to the coast and so when I heard it had a coastal suburb with a beach I was, I'm not going to lie, surprised. It definitely does though and it's a really lovely beach to visit if you're in this part of the world. I appreciate now that Scotland actually has some really stunning beaches all over its coastline. Having only been to the beach at Aberdeen on an incredibly cold day a few years ago (and no I didn't appreciate that one that day) it would be good to try and visit some more whilst I'm in this part of the world.


From the city centre it's easy enough to get a bus direct to Portobello, or Porty as it's known locally, and just a short ride later you're there at a proper sandy beach and breathing in the fresh sea air. You'd never think you were so close to Edinburgh and yet somewhere so very different. On the Sunday that we headed there it was a stunningly beautiful, if n…

Street Art of Georgetown, Penang

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I've always loved seeing street art wherever I am, there are some really creative pieces in many locations that really add something to their environment, even Singapore has some which are well worth seeing. Georgetown though is known for its art and really does do it wonderfully with great pieces of work, both large and small, literally on every corner. I couldn't share blog posts about our visit there without sharing a little of what I saw.

It seems anything goes, whether it be an entire blank wall on the end of a building with a floor to roof piece or an everyday feature like a pipe cleverly turned into a cigarette, cats do seem to be a very popular subject, but then who doesn't like cats? I'm sure even if you haven't visited Georgetown you'll recognise some of these pieces of art. 

Here's just a few of mine, but which are your favourites? 











Stockbridge Duck Race, Edinburgh

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Two duck races in two different parts of the UK in two years is normal right? Well Sunday saw me get to watch my second one, the annual duck race in my now home here in Stockbridge a suburb of Edinburgh. I first heard about it last year but at the time I wasn't living here on a permanent basis and wasn't here the weekend that it took place so this was my first chance to see it. I mentioned I'd done two duck races in two years didn't I, well coincidentally my home village of Loose near Maidstone in Kent also has an annual duck race and despite knowing about that one pretty much my whole life last year was the first time I'd ever seen it take place. I wrote a post about that one too if you're interested.
There were similarities and differences between the two races but the main similarities were that the aim of both is to raise money for charity (you buy ducks to race), for everyone to have some fun in the process and, of course, the races involve rubber ducks and…

Clove Hall, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

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Our stay in Georgetown was only brief, though we seemed to fit an awful lot in, but of course we also wanted to stay somewhere memorable too. As I've mentioned previously we were quite last minute in booking this part of our holiday and our stay in Singapore and Penang coincided with Chinese New Year. We deliberately did this as we had always enjoyed this time of year in Singapore and all the festivities associated with it. Whilst it wasn't the actual public holiday part of the CNY celebrations when we were in Penang it was only a few days after and as anyone familiar with this part of the world will tell you it's a popular time to travel and as a result hotels can be hard to come by or else very expensive. In the end this luckily didn't prove too much of a problem and we struck gold with our choice of Clove Hall.

First things first Clove Hall isn't a hotel, it describes itself as a private residence and with only six suites is a far more personalised and unique exp…

The Ghost Bus Tour - Edinburgh

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If you know anything about Edinburgh you'll know it has a gruesome side to its history, think Burke and Hare and Deacon Brodie to name just a couple of the city's less savoury characters from its past. There are many, many tours taking in lots of different aspects of this ghastly side and a lot of ghost tours too, indeed we've done a couple since we got here ourselves. Not long after I arrived in the city though I spotted that Edinburgh also had its own ghost bus tour too.

Years ago I went on one of these tours in London and I gather there is also one in York too, anyone done that one? Anyway the one in London was lots of fun so I figured the Edinburgh version was bound to be pretty good too. So tickets were booked, making sure that by the time our tour left (we went on a Saturday evening so chose the 9pm option) it would be dark, what's the fun of a ghost tour in the daylight?!? Obviously if you know Scotland in the summer you'll also know that it is still semi lig…

Old Protestant Cemetery, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

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If you read even just a little of what I share here and on my other forms of social media you'll know I have an interest in cemeteries and the history within them. So you can imagine my excitement when the Protestant cemetery in Georgetown came recommended by a friend as somewhere worth a visit. There was no choice for my husband, it had to be visited.

Although disused now it is listed as a Class 1 Heritage Site and has a lot of very important people from Penang's colonial past buried within it. The cemetery was established in 1786 and was the first cemetery to be consecrated after Captain Francis Light founded the Prince of Wales Island settlement, later to become Penang Island, in 1786. The oldest recorded burial was in 1787 but the exact location of this grave is now no longer known. The oldest actual surviving grave stone dates from 1789 but again the exact location of the grave itself is unknown, the stone having been moved to a wall of the cemetery. The last burial in the…

A Change Would do You Good

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Anyone who uses Facebook will be familiar with the memories feature. It's great for those, 'wow, was that really x years ago??' moments, the good times and obviously the not so great ones and, in my case, the mundane and the frankly quite random memories that I no longer even recall what I was talking about. A lot of mine tend to focus on big news, often a change of some kind that excites me and that I want to share with friends.

Recently the memories coming up from a year ago have predominantly been about my husband who was in the process of relocating up to Edinburgh for a work engagement, a change after returning from Singapore and temporarily being based in Kent. Memories like this certainly remind you how time moves fast. I can't believe that was a year ago and whilst Edinburgh is still our base a change has taken place again since then in that my husband is now working on a project that has taken him to Dubai and Saudi Arabia. This isn't actually as out of t…

Tunnel: The Archaeology of Crossrail, Museum of London Docklands

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I spent a few days down in Kent recently for my Dad's birthday celebrations (which were lovely by the way) on the way down to Kent we spent a night in London and so I got to spend a touristy day there. I pretty much made up my mind before we left Edinburgh that I'd go to one of London's many museums and also try and get to one I'd not been to. I had a few on my list, sadly one of them I decided to remove after discovering there was a quite considerable entry charge just for the regular exhibits. This did come with the caveat that the ticket could then be used as much as you wanted for the next year but when you don't live in the city I wasn't really convinced I'd get my money's worth or if I'd even want to go back there again and again. Although I got used to paying entry fees for museums in Singapore I'm far more used to the free entry with the option to make a donation that is pretty much the norm in the UK at most museums and only specificall…

Penang Hill, Penang, Malaysia

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We decided to go a little further afield whilst staying in Penang and to the west of Georgetown, our base for our visit, is Penang hill. The hill was mentioned in all the guidebooks we read so we got our guest house to book us a taxi and off we went. Once you arrive at the base station where the taxi dropped us off, to get to the top of the hill you take the funicular railway. It's fun but is quite nerve-rackingly steep and you seem very exposed on the hill as it climbs up to the top. We went mid-week and reasonably early but it was still insanely busy at the ticket booths, I can't imagine what it's like on a weekend or a public holiday so probably best to avoid those times if you can. To ease the queueing a little you can pay more for a fast lane ticket at the ticket counters, once you get to the front of that queue! This means you can then skip the next queues for the train both on the way  up and on the return journey down. It also means you get priority boarding so you…