My partner and I visited Scarborough for a week,
as his father owns a fantastic B&B there.
We totally fell in love with the place and it's surrounds.
Here's a little snapshot for you...
We stayed on the North Bay side, and visited the gorgeous beach many times.
From here you can see the SeaLife Centre to the north, and Scarborough Castle on the point to the south. Views from the high points are spectacular!
The day we arrived the sea was so choppy it was coming over the sides. The North Sea felt clear and crisp, inviting for a paddle but too cold for swimming at the moment.
Walking along the promenade at night we came across a giant statue of Freddie Gilroy,
one of the first soldiers to liberate a concentration camp in Germany during WWII.
We were very excited about visiting Peasholm Park, a Eastern-style gardens with pagoda on the island in the centre of the lake. The island is based on the story of the Willow pattern plate designs: two star-crossed lovers who are killed and turn into doves. Unfortunately the island itself was closed when we were there, but the rest of the park was lovely to explore, so tranquil and refreshing. At the far end is an intriguing old cemetery.
Climbing up to the Castle gave us great views of the South Bay, which we then meandered down the hill to explore. We discovered South Bay's lighthouse, arcades, fish and chip shops, market hall and the Grand Hotel with a tram line going up the hill beside it.
For a trip out of Scarborough we visited Robin Hood's Bay with its dramatic Jurassic coastline, tiny town with winding streets, and beautiful mosaics along the seaside wall. We also went to Whitby Bay with the Abbey perched on the cliffs, sweeping beach, and we were blessed by stunning rainbows! We went for an evening stroll to Sandsend on the north side of Whitby, which gave us more lovely coastal views at sunset.
One day we took the bus to Filey and walked the length of the coastline all the way back to Scarborough. A glorious 9 mile trek, and we shared the coastline with cormorants and seals! The way back took us through the Italian Gardens and Rose Gardens in Scarborough, and past the Spa building and Rotunda Museum of Geology.
We absolutely loved visiting Dalby Forest. You have to pay a toll to drive through the main road, but that includes parking everywhere and is your contribution to the upkeep of this beautiful place. We stopped and walked through the woods to the Bride Stones (Nordic for edge-stones). These unusual shaped stones look so other-worldly rising up from the bracken around them, we fell in love with the place!
For a holiday of nature, fresh air and exercise
(not to mention good company and great food- we recommend Az Turkish restaurant )
go to Scarborough, we'll be back soon!
I have just come back from Valencia where my sista-friend Maya is now living.
I went for her, and had no idea where I was going...
I didn't look at any photos, guides, things-to-do before I left...
so wow, what a wonderful surprise when I got there!
Only 3 days of exploring,
but I fell in love with Valencia!!
The Old City was so beautiful, very easy to get lost in, full of independent shops and cafes, a glorious indoor market, and a myriad of churches. Street art adorns the walls, 'purple haze' Jacaranda trees and Orange trees abound, and people sit around in cosy squares enjoying the sunshine...
Running through the centre of the city is the 9km long park that used to be a river. After deadly floods in 1957 the river Turia was diverted out of the city, and in its place is a riverbed park, complete with bridges going over it. Sports pitches, people running and cycling everywhere, and skate parks: the place felt as movingly energetic as the original river.
But the park was also so tranquil, I fell asleep under a tree and meditated under another. Fountains, tree-lined avenues, sculptures and art, each section has a different feel. At one end is the futuristic City of Arts and Science (Tomorrowland was filmed there), and at the other, we meet the river, and climbing the small hill gives great views of the city and the mountains beyond. I walked the entire length of the river park, I felt so energised!
A word on the food... Coconut pudding with mango for breakfast, a mountain of tortilla and olives, and dinner in vegetarian restaurant La Tasta Ollettes: potato croquettes (the carrot one was amazing!), coconut milk rice with mango, avocado and sprouts, vegan moussaka and a apple strudel with soy cream to finish... and I'm in heaven! www.latastaolletes.com
and the beach! Wow! I spent the best part of two days on the beach. I walked the length of it, from the port (full moon and sunset) to the quaint Port Saplaya, otherwise known as 'Little Venice'... stunning and so, so quiet.
And finally... Cat House, a place for homeless cats to find refuge in the city... through a door too small for humans!
How lucky I am that my parents live very close to La Gacilly in Brittany.
The town grew up around the Yves Rocher cosmetic empire, of which you can see the factory, shop, restaurant and botanical gardens. Look out for live music events outside the Vegetarium. The local area is full of flower fields, where this multi-million dollar company still grow and produce their own local cosmetic products.
La Gacilly is an arts town, full of interesting shops and local artisans.
There is always something new to discover.
One of our favourites is L'Atelier 1110 de Dom,
in which the artist creates intriguing objects from recycled materials.
The town is a beautiful medieval place with old buildings,
winding cobbled streets, and a river running through.
A stunning place to wander around.
Every summer the city comes alive with the photography exhibition.
Huge photographs adorn the buildings, and rows of beautiful pictures wind through the woods and gardens behind the Yves Rocher building (pictured left).
Every month is a music evening at La Marelle bar,
and every November is the soup festival,
both frequently attended by my parents!
La Gacilly is truly a beautiful, lively place
and one definitely worth a visit!
Co-founders Georgina Hemingway and Ian Croft established a sustainable space that provides many NGOs with funding and support, and invests in local educational programmes. The restaurant and bookshop supports the local economy, creates jobs, raises funds and awareness for NGOs, promotes education in Siem Reap, and provides training and career development for its staff.
The cuisine is top quality and very well presented. TRY THE FISH AMOK, a Cambodian specialty which comes lovingly served in three small vine-leaf dishes placed in a wooden boat (see image below!) The ingredients are all locally sourced, often from social enterprises, and waste is recycled as much as possible.
All the furniture and restaurant necessities are locally sourced or recycled. The interior is beautifully decorated to create a peaceful and relaxing place to SIT AND SIP A COFFEE, and the wooden furnishings are designed for a natural feel. The building itself feels old-world, as it is a French-colonial style, three-storey house.
The bookshop includes over 3,000 books, donated by people from all over the world. Browse through new and second hand volumes, including old classics, fiction books, travel, history, politics and so on. Gift cards, note pads and artworks are for sale, and all the shops' profits go to local charities and social enterprises. If you are passing through Siem Reap, you are welcome to DROP OFF BOOKS you are no longer reading. Any subject in any language is gratefully accepted.
The in-house library includes NGO, aid and social books that can be read at the cafe or rented. The book donation programme includes over 1,000 books donated to rural schools and libraries, and counting! They also have a Khmer books lending library.
Any schools in need of books are welcome to get in touch.
Visit for the MOVIE NIGHT every Monday, and watch a variety of educational films. Some excellent movies shown recently include ''The Day the 60s Died'', which is a short feature about the students of Kent State, USA, who were shot dead in 1970, during protests against the US army's invasion of Cambodia. Last week was the incredible BBC documentary ''Jungle in Atlantis'', about the history of Angkor, how the civilisation managed to grow so gigantic, and what led to its decline.
Support New Leaf
- Siem Reap Province is one of the poorest in Cambodia, with only 33% of girls and 46% of boys completing primary education.
- Only 5-9% of children complete secondary education.
- 50% are so malnourished they suffer from stunted growth.
New Leaf helps Siem Reap's children by:
- Giving 100% of their profits to educational projects in Siem Reap, and holding fundraising events.
- Donating English children's books and lending Khmer books to local schools.
- Providing free or discounted office space and a free event space to NGOs.
New Leaf helps local people by:
- Hosting educational events and screenings about local and global issues.
- Sourcing everything locally and responsibly, from furniture to beer.
- Training staff in English and IT, and ensuring they have fair benefits, such as holiday pay, leave for volunteering (7 days paid leave per year),
health insurance, and a staff money saving scheme.
Organisations New Leaf supports:
- Women's Resource Centre, which empowers women by providing health, education, counselling, parent and work skills training.
- Build Your Future Today Centre, which gives economic and intellectual tools to Cambodian people to overcome poverty and attain stability.
- Anjali House provides refuge, care and education to under-privileged children to ensure they don't end up begging on the streets.
- Cambodian Children House of Peace is a residential home for children, providing them with all the tools needed to grow and develop into proper citizens.
Visit New Leaf and support the first non-profit restaurant of its kind in Siem Reap.
For a map and contact info please see their website: http://newleafbook.org/