On the push and pull of stability and travel

I see so many amazing blog posts from people who have made travel their lives, seeing amazing places and so much of the world. I love travelling, seeing new places, getting away from my everyday life to bigger cities and taller mountains and bluer oceans. When I’m not planning a trip I’m daydreaming of destinations and routes across continents. There’s a bit of me that would love to drop everything, pack a bag and just keep going. I’d like to take the train across continents and the ferry across unknown seas.

And then the practical side of me kicks in… How would I afford it? How would I carry everything I’d need? I’m an introvert, shy, hesitant, I take a long time to connect to people, I’d get very lonely. I’d miss my family. I like my stuff. Where would I put my souveniers if I didn’t have a permanent home? How would I do my hobbies on the move? What about the future?

The reality of me is I need roots, I need stability, I’m unsettled by change and the unknown. Maybe there’s a reason I like hermit crabs so much – I love to travel, but after a while I just want to retreat into my home. I need a safe space to return to where I can rest, unpack, hang up my holiday photos and display the magnets, unusual bottles and ceramic boats I acquire on the way. To have a centre to my own universe.

I believe that where I am in life is the result of all of the choices that I have made along the way. If each decision I made was what I thought was best for me at the time, then my ‘what ifs’ are merely paths I didn’t take because they weren’t right for me. Maybe I lacked the courage to leave my comfort zone, or the vision to do something unusual with life, or maybe I just lacked money. I do wonder what life would be like if I had made different choices and I sometimes want more from life. Yes, I’d like to live in a place where more happens, where I can more easily escape to somewhere for a weekend. I’d like a travel buddy to drag around the world and share the views and make me feel braver and less alone. But I am a quiet person who needs a retreat from the world that is mine and won’t change. So I’m putting my roots down where I am because this is who I am and what I need, and this is where my choices have led me.

My hermit crab shell, the centre of my universe from where I can venture outwards, is a terraced house in central England, because that’s what’s right for me.

All photos are from my trip to Croatia last September 🙂

Palma de Mallorca

At the beginning of April I spent a long weekend in Palma de Mallorca for a relaxing break and some sunshine. A destination mainly chosen due to the cheap Ryanair flights from East Midlands airport, I didn’t realise the city is so beautiful or that there’s be so much to see and do, we easily filled 3 days. I’m not much of a travel blogger but here’s a quick breakdown some particularly nice places.

Where to go and what to see

The old city centre is fairly compact and easy to explore on foot – the map makes it look much bigger but nothing is too far apart. It’s a lovely city to just wander around finding hidden churches, little squares and surprise views. There’s a lot of nice Art Nouveau and early 1900’s architecture to admire, nice bars to relax at with a drink, and some very tasty bakeries 🙂

Some of my favourites places…

Le Seu (the cathedral)

A huge elaborate structure reflected in the water of the Parc de la Mar, built on a staggering scale with stunning stained glass, definitely worth a visit. There’s usually an admission charge but for about an hour over lunch between services on Sundays it’s free to wander around the main cathedral. The buildings are so crowded around the cathedral that it’s impossible to get a full view of the front of the cathedral, in the alley ways around the back you lose sight of it completely, quite an achievement for a building that size! There’s a section of old city walls near the Modern Art museum with good views across the roof tops, go in the afternoon for the sun to be shining onto the facade, or later on to watch the sun set behind the hills.

Castell de Bellver


The aptly named ‘Beautiful View Castle’ is on a low hill to the West of Palma, reached by a set of steps from the edge of the city or up the road by taxi or the City Sightseeing bus. We took the bus, it looks like a bit of a hike on foot. The castle is a lovely structure constructed all at once using mathematical principles and contains a few nice museum sections. The best part is the view from the roof across the harbour, city and mountains. And free entry on Sundays 🙂

Hort del Rei

A small park at the base of the palace the far side from the cathedral, it’s a calm oasis that’s stayed in my memory for the wonderful smell of the orange blossom and as a lovely place to sit and enjoy the sunshine.

Where to eat

The 5th floor cafe of El Corte Inglés on


View from the El Corte Ingles cafe

It’s probably because at the start of April the tourist season hasn’t really begun but we didn’t find a lot of restaurants open late. There’s a cluster of nice restaurants in the Plaça de la Llotja, next to the stunning Llotja (the old merchants hall which is open until 11 and looks wonderful inside when lit).

Beyond the city

A popular day trip from Palma is the old train ride to Sóller, followed by a tram ride down to Port de Sóller. At €30 for a round trip it’s not the cheapest day out but I had a great time. The old train used to transport oranges and lemons through the mountains to the city but now gets packed full of tourists – even in early April the train was nearly completely full. There’s not a lot of legroom but in the front carriage there’s a first class section with sofas which we ended up in by climbing into the nearest compartment as massed tourists attempted to board the train home, all much more luxurious!

The town of Sóller appears to be mainly the church, a few shops and cafes, and some wonderful views of the nearby mountains. Port de Sóller is a small beach resort and harbour reached by a tram that travels along the sea front. There’s a few view points around up the hills and some nice fish restaurants by the harbour. I suspect in the summer the beach will be packed but in April it was fairly quiet and a wonderful place for a stroll along the edge of the water. I had a great day out – fun transportation, lovely views and a relaxing time by the sea.

I’ve properly got the travel bug at the moment, I seem to be surrounded by people heading for exotic places… I need to start planning to next trip now!

Month of letters day #6

My second item for the Swap-bot ‘month of happy mail’ swap – a fun card full of quotations, and a bit of decoration on the envelope. I might add a couple of paper bits or stickers too…

No incoming post again today! I’m sure it’s the world telling me I still have outgoing post owing 🙂

And I can tell its still winter because this was my view this morning. The fog and frost didn’t fade until mid-morning…

Too many advent calendars?

Is too many advent calendars possible?! Last year I joined a swap-bot swap for an advent calendar and loved it. I received a huge box of countdown gifts from USA, items still in use include the huge mug currently storing sewing supplies and the toothpaste squeezer – practical gifts mixed in with the craft supplies and sweets. Around October I started to look out for advent swaps but got disappointed, it might seem early but larger swaps that will travel the globe before December starts need time to create and send.

But then I found the European flat items advent calendar!

And the international advent swap!

And the UK stationery advent calendar!

And I suddenly had 3 advent calendars to prepare… By now I have a big stash of stationery, and all kinds of gifts so I didn’t need to buy much to put all the parcels together, although it’s been a while since I posted so much at once!

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Just beyond the city…

I don’t have to go far to find fields and rolling countryside. A few weeks ago it only took a few minutes walk from where I met the Meet-up group to have escaped the city and be able to enjoy the rural autumn. I haven’t done much walking close to Derby, and I don’t know the North of the city well, so it was still somewhere new to explore even if it isn’t exactly the Himalayas 🙂 It wasn’t a strenuous or wild walk, just lots of farms and distant views of the city in the sunshine. We also saw a couple of what I think are WWII watch towers – Derby has a long history of engineering so it was probably a likely target… We only got slightly lost once, and like any good walk it ended at a good cafe for lunch and a chance to properly socialise .

In the new year I want to properly start walking again – before Christmas there’s just too much other stuff to do!

Mincemeat lattic tart

A festive recipe from my Mum’s ancient Good Housekeeping recipe book 🙂

Shortcrust pastry – I used a 500g block of ready made pastry
2 cooking apples – peeled and grated or thinly sliced
Lemon juice
120ml mincemeat – but I used a whole jar…

1. Roll out the pastry and use it to line a greased 20cm pie dish. Trim the dish and keep the trimmings for the lattice
2. Cover the bottom of the dish with the apples and brush with lemon   juice (this stops the apples going brown)
3. Spread the mincemeat over the apples – I just aimed for a good thin covering, the raisins expand when cooked
4. Use the left-over pastry in thin strips to create a lattice on top of the tart
5. Bake at 200 degrees C/ 400 degrees F/ gas 6 for 30 minutes
6. Enjoy!

It’s a surprisingly rich dessert. The mincemeat is definitely the dominant flavour, and the apple adds more in texture and sweetness than taste. Great served warm with maybe a little cream or ice cream.

Postcrossing recently recieved cards

I reactivated my Postcrossing account just before moving into the new flat 2 weeks ago, so I had a lot of cards in the first week 🙂 14 in a few days might be my new record!


1 Austria – peaceful lake view with a quote “calm is the source of strength”
1 Belarus – fun illustration of a giant sunflower
1 Czech Republic – lovely heart made of shells
1 Finland – apparently travelled for 107 days?! Interesting black/blue flower thing
1 Guernsey – my first from here! Asian style illustration of a hot air balloon
3 Germany – a lovely peaceful lake view from a boardwalk,  a great aerial view of the Model valley, a multiview card from Dortmund that was the Postcrossers first registered card 🙂
1 Japan – a beautiful view of Fuji
2 Netherlands – a poem about wisdom, and a nice frosted plant
2 Russia – an illustration of St Sergius monastery and a view with pink flowers
1 USA – a boot with a funny story about shoes in the message

This week was a bit quieter for post although I got all my outstanding penfriend letters written.


An exchange card from Paris, I sent a view of the Peak District
An amazing Buddha from Hong Kong, I’d like to visit there one day (along with lots of other places!)
2 cards from Russia, ‘from Moscow with love’, and a Russian doll card from my postcard pal that was designed by her too 🙂

Post has been going out a few cards at a time, so I haven’t been recording it. I’ve gone back to the tags and swaps now I’ve settled, so hopefully there’s some nice cards on the way.