Top 5 Great British Summer Festivals

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With the annual summer holiday exodus about to hit offices, those left behind to pick up the pieces can still escape to a weekend of fun and freedom at one of many Great British Summer Festivals.  Proving there’s so much more to summertime frolics than Glastonbury, we’ve compiled a list of the most eclectic festivals taking place across the British Isles this summer. From hot air ballooning to oyster shucking, there’s a festival to suit everyone – some even with luxury toilets.

landing of the oyster, Whitstable Oyster Festival

Whitstable Oyster Festival The landing of the oyster

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Dungeness: a day trip to the end of the world

A desert, post-apocalyptic housing and a nuclear power station: Dungeness is guaranteed to be one of the weirdest places you’ll ever encounter.  Described as “the end of the world” due to its remote location and barren stretch of coastline, it’s a mecca for nature lovers, photographers and Londoners seeking the ultimate “out there” holiday home location. After a week submerged under the shadow of sky scrapers, I boldly ventured where few bloggers have gone before.

close up of a dilapidated house in Dungeness

dilapidated house in Dungeness

 

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The Sky Garden in your lunch break

For a lunch break with a view, there are few venues that can top London’s Sky Garden. Offering sweeping panoramas across the great metropolis, the 155-metre bruiser offers a high-rise oasis of calm.  Raising you above the stress of office life, you can kick back, relax and gaze loftily at your fellow worker ants scurrying through the City streets.

views from the Sky Garden, London

views from the Sky Garden

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An afternoon of thrills and spills at London Nocturne

With bikes now constituting up to half of all road journeys on some central London routes, cycling is taking the capital by storm.  And with bike racks now as customary as breakout space, there’s never been a better time to get on your bike.  Keen to get a piece of the two-wheel action, I headed down to the City to catch a peek at  London Nocturne.

teams of cyclists on the first lap of London Nocturne

cyclists competing at London Nocturne

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Getting down and dirty after work at Stepney City Farm

Farming may seem a far cry from office life but with a growing number of city farms springing up, you can now swap the boardroom for the pig pen. With a never-ending cycle of feeding, grooming, exercising, cleaning and cuddling, volunteers from all walks of life are in high demand. Being a country girl at heart, I ditched the stilettos for wellies and got down and dirty with the pigs, goats, hens and rabbits at Stepney City Farm.

rounding up chickens at Stepney City Farm

Rounding up chickens at Stepney City Farm

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Beyond Prague: Bank holiday adventures in Kutna Hora

“Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones” rang the soundtrack in my head as I visited the infamous Bone Church or “Ossuary” in Kutna Hora, Bohemia.  Crammed with the remains of more than 40,000 mortals displayed on walls, ceilings and cherub-topped pyramids, I didn’t know whether to be impressed or repulsed.

Church of Bones, Kutna Hora

Church of Bones, Kutna Hora

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Winnie the Pooh 90th anniversary hike

With 2016 marking the 90th anniversary of the first Winnie the Pooh book, I needed no better excuse to head off on a day’s hiking to Ashdown Forest: the inspiration for A.A. Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood.  Spurred on by my recent celebrity-inspired hike to the Chilterns, what better way to relieve corporate stress than with a game of pooh sticks and a honey sandwich or two?

Ashdown Forest - Winnie the Pooh 90th anniversary hike

Ashdown Forest

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An afternoon off at the Vaisakhi Festival

Living in a city that’s home to 270 nationalities, I’m constantly amazed by the different cultures that surround me daily. And with such a range of faith festivals, there’s ample opportunity to learn more about those I regularly rub shoulders with on my daily commute. Intrigued by the brightly coloured turbans that grace our city, I decided to spend an afternoon immersed in Sikh traditions at the Vaisakhi Festival at City Hall.

Sikh man in a costume at the Vaisakhi Festival in London

A costumed Sikh man at the Vaisakhi festival in London

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Essential Sunday tasks for a stress-free week

Do you start Monday mornings in a state of panic?  If the working week overwhelms you before you’ve even set foot in the office, help is at hand. The trick to conquering Monday mornings is to treat Sunday as your preparation day. By sacrificing a couple of hours, you can start the week feeling organised, serene and ready to take on the world. Get ready for my essential Sunday tasks for a stress-free week.

close of up of an Oyster card - essential Sunday tasks for a stress-free week

World of lard Oyster Card

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My top 5 lunch break travel reads

As spring-time beckons, there’s nothing like reading a good book in the park to transport you from the day’s stress.  Offering an instant gateway into exotic lands,
travel books provide blissful escapism and a chance to relax and unwind during your lunch break.    From the bubbling cauldrons of Marrakesh to America’s wide open plains, here’s my top 5 lunch break travel reads that continue to inspire my own personal journey.

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A celebrity inspired weekend hike to the Chilterns

From Roald Dahl to Mary Berry, leafy Buckinghamshire’s charms have attracted their share of celebrities. And with historic churches, idyllic villages and acres of stunning countryside, what’s not to love? In a bid to blow away the corporate cobwebs, I set off early on Saturday to embark on my celebrity inspired hike from Great Missenden to Amersham.

Roald Dahl's gravestone in Buckinghamshire

Roald Dahl’s grave

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