9.20.2014

What You Just Can't Miss in Cambridge


Dreamy, isn't it?

Yeah, Cambridge is drop-dead gorgeous. I'm surprised I hadn't been there before in my year of living in England. Only a 45 minute train ride from London and about a 10-quid ticket, Cambridge is really worth the trip. 

The one thing you really can't miss in Cambridge? Punting. 

What the hell is punting, you ask? 

Well, punting refers to pushing yourself along with a pole in a small boat made for shallow water. So, you're not rowing, but actually using the riverbed to push the boat down the river. Well, we were lazy, so we got someone to punt for us. And you should too!

 I couldn't help but think this dude looked a little like Jesus. 


We just sat back and drank a little champagne whilst Jesus did all the work! 'We' refers to my old flatmates, Jen and Becki, who were kind enough to meet up with me in Cambridge as they no longer live in London. I convinced them to go punting with me (a fairly touristy thing to do), but they ended up liking it as much as I did! The pictures below will show you why:



 THOSE WEEPING WILLOWS, THOUGH! I'm in love with them. Not to mention the gorgeous Cambridge campus which surrounds the river. 






 Yes, there were also drunk men in costumes...no clue why! 



Once we got off the boat, we explored the town a little...need I say it? Cambridge is surely posh. Great for a visit; as for living, I will always prefer the gritty reality of London to the poshness of Cambridge. Still, look at this place!




 Above: Cute little candy shop with jelly bean mosaic of Wills and Kate. Below: More of the Cambridge campus.




 DO visit this delicious Italian eatery where I scored a free Cannoli and ate amazing pizza: Aromi Cambridge.





 I also recommend The Pint Shop. We had these amazing, fresh gin concoctions seen below. 



Formula to make a happy Ashley is pretty simple. Rain + Gin + Italian Food + Beautiful Scenery = A Smiley Lady. Yeah, that about does it.

I took the fast train from Kings Cross Station straight to Cambridge, and darling, you should too! 

9.15.2014

The Mary Poppins of Little Alcohol Bottles


On the train back to London from Scotland, a very jolly intoxicated man sat across from us. He glanced over and asked, "Would you ladies like a drink?"

"No, no...we're fine, thanks," I replied.

He reached into his pocket to reveal a mini gin bottle. "Oh nonsense," he said, "Do you like gin?"

Being the honest girl that I am, I had to nod my head yes to such a direct question, but told him to keep his bottle. He handed it over anyway and then asked what my friend Laura would like. We again, told him to keep his bottles, to no avail. Drunk man pulled out all types of alcohol bottles from his pockets and pants--vodka, whiskey, gin, wine--and handed them over to us. We were laughing so hard every time a new bottle came out, asking, "Sir...how many do you have??"

Eventually we had a collection of bottles, and as the man stood up for his stop he glanced down at the stash and exclaimed, "Wait! I gave you all of those?!? Oh, go ahead and keep it!"

I couldn't ask for better train service. 

9.10.2014

A Three Sentence Movie Review

1. Tiger Eyes

There's something very moving about this movie. I loved the natural love story in it--one that seemed genuine and unforced (although some characters were a tad predictable). Ultimately a tale about losing one thing, gaining another, and learning to transcend.






2. Wicker Park

Josh Hotnett (erhm, Hartnett) plays a brokenhearted man who has been searching for his lost love and thinks he's finally found her. It's a puzzle of a movie, and while some of it is silly and overdramatic, WP is your typically fun early 2000 film. And if nothing else, watch it for eye candy (seriously Josh looks as hot as ever).







3. Begin Again

Cute, but not as touching or deep as I expected it to be. The kitschy nature of this film is laughable at times, and the story is completely pedictable: love-scorned, folksy singer/songwriter (Knightley) finds redemption in washed up record exec and makes a life-changing album, gaining independence once again in her life, yada yada yada. However, the almost all-star cast doesn't disappoint too much--despite the somewhat lacking script, there's heart here.






4. Coherence

A must watch, I tell you! Creepy, mind blowing film mostly set at a house dinner party at night when a comet passes over the earth. Weird things happen--like cell phones cracking and power going out, except for one house on the block--and indeed, you will be weirded out (I loved it!!!).
















Image credit: 1/2/3/4

9.09.2014

That Girl is on Fire (A Post on Changes)

There have been a lot of changes in my world of late. Life has become abundant with possibilities, which has both an intimidating and freeing effect. Mostly, I'm excited with what's to come--I feel like I'm on fire! 

I recently quit my job as a copywriter (I worked that for about 9 months) in pursuit of a study abroad advisor career once again. On Friday, I begin working part time with an esteemed study abroad program (the very one I went through to get to London!). This has the possibility to turn into something full time, but that's not guaranteed. Thus, I am also applying to jobs around the country! I even applied to one in London today. I'm not really ruling any city out (including San Diego), as my main concern is going after a career I can really get behind.

I just wanted to share this news with you all because it's scary every time I even think of venturing out of my comfort zone. Every time, it frightens me. But it also feels like my molecules are standing upright (is that even scientific?). Basically it feels a lot like living--a bit scary, but always worth it.


9.08.2014

A Tour of Scotland by Bus

Looking for a bus tour in Scotland? I'd highly recommend Haggis Adventures, especially if you just have 3 days to spare for sightseeing.

First of all, for guides like this: 


Callum, the crazy dude you see above, is hands-down the best tour guide I have ever had. It didn't hurt that he played a phenomenal playlist which included Crosby, Stills & Nash, Queen, and Marvin Gaye. That makes a person alright in my book.

Haggis Tours also did the work of picking the sites--complete with awesome narrative from Callum-- and booking accommodation; however, keep in mind that accommodation was in hostels, so if that is not your thing, this may not be the tour for you.

Lastly, there's something great about getting to know the group of people traveling with you. These people came from Australia, Austria, China--you name it!

I told Callum he reminded me of the Genie from Aladdin. Turns out Robin Williams was one of this inspirations. 

 Our pub quiz team name. If you know what a Shiraffe is, you get extra points. 


 By the end of this night (pictured above), we may have been singing "I Will Always Love You" with a bit a bunch of booze in the system.


Definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip was listening to Callum's playlist (seriously, it was good) and capturing scenes like this out the window:




This bus tour offered all the makings of a perfect road trip. Check em out!

**P.S. Nobody asked me to write this review, I simply felt like sharing a bit of good traveler's info for those wanting quality tours!

9.03.2014

Scotland: Ever-So-Cool Edinburgh

Where do I start? Edinburgh is one cool cat. The sleek buildings are built high into the heavens, roads stretch over hills and valleys, winding staircases take you through hidden passageways...there's even an underground city below the current city! Edinburgh has seen it all before--wars, the plague, the invasion of the English--and here it still stands, unmoved.

Just look at this cool, dark wonder! You will want to explore every alleyway once you venture there; for now, come along with me...


Laura and I started with some breakfast before we explored the city in which (sadly) we only had one day in! 







There are so many fun things happening in every crevice of Edinburgh, it's hard not to wander down every turn. 


We did NOT forget to do more whisky tasting!!




Either the whisky had me seeing things, or I really did run into Frankenstein! 

 We also happened to be in town for the Fringe Festival, known as the world's largest arts festival! 






Sadly Laura and I had to catch our train back to London by the end of the day, and so I had to say goodbye before I was ready. To those unexplored alleyways and staircases, I think I'll come back for you!!