Guest Post: Southwest English Towns You Should Visit

Saturday, September 27, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , , | 5 Comments

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Hello lovely readers! I’m Sara from Bristol In My Pocket! Born and raised a Texas girl, I moved to England a year ago to pursue a masters degree as well as make this wonderful country my home. Sound familiar, right? As an American expat living in England, I thought I’d share with you a few of my favorite cities in the Southwest. No, not the American Southwest. The Southwest of England, aka my adopted home. England has so much to offer, and one of my favorite hobbies is to explore my own backyard. 


I’m pretty biased when it comes to Bristol. Bristol is home now, and without a doubt I could not be happier. I moved here having never visited, which was kind of crazy but oh so worth it. Bristol has the small town feel with all the conveniences of a big city. I’ll leave you with my favorite quote, one that describes Bristol perfectly. “I love Bristol because it knows who it is. It's cool and cosmopolitan and it doesn't compete with other cities. Bristol is happy dancing to the beat of its own drum."- Stephen Merchant


Stepping off the train in Bath is like stepping through a time machine. Instantly you feel as if you are in a Jane Austen novel. Bath is England’s most romantic city. It happens to be the home to some of England’s oldest history as well. Visit the Roman Baths and Bath Cathedral just a few steps away. Take a stroll around the cresent and grab a coffee in one of Bath’s many hidden/tucked away cafes. 


The smallest city in all of England, Wells is the setting for the hilarious movie “Hot Fuzz”. Although small, Wells is home to my favorite cathedral in England as well as a beautiful medieval palace. Wells has quite a bit to offer considering its size. Besides the cathedral, there’s a palace, an abbey, and even some caves!


Home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, Salisbury is located 20 minutes south of Stonehenge. It’s local markets and impressive cathedral are must sees on a visit to this medieval city! Around Christmas time you can explore one of the best German Christmas Markets in the area! 


Just 8 miles southeast of Bath, this tiny town is commonly nicknamed “Little Bath”. While the architecture is similar, the atmosphere of Bradford-on-Avon is completely different. Off the beaten track, this town is perfect for capturing true English village life.

My favorite mother-daughter duo

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 7 Comments

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My TV binge watching habits started pretty young. I sat down in the living room every Monday thru Friday promptly at 5 p.m. to watch Gilmore Girls...for a minimum of seven years. (This was always followed by The O.C. on Soapnet at 3 and's amazing that  I got any homework done.) As you can imagine, I watched the series through multiple times. So much so that I memorized those quick-witted, long-winded soliloquies that were Amy Sherman-Palladino's specialty. I watched the series so much that I notice the immediate shift in the tone of the show once Palladino left (*ahem* Logan...)
And in case you haven't been on Buzzfeed lately, you will know that Gilmore Girls is coming to Netflix in seven short days! I now get to watch the series commercial free at a rate when my TV will continuously ask me if I am still watching because I haven't hit pause in several hours. I can't wait. 153 episodes, although I'm still on the fence about watching the last season, I always get frustrated by Rory's behavior and end up yelling at the screen a lot. 

And now for my favorite episodes and GIFs (which surprisingly centered around Paris Gheller, just go with it):

1. Season 1, Episode 1 "Pilot" (le duh) It makes me want to pack up everything and move to a quaint New England town.
2. Season 2, Episode 9: "Run Away, Little Boy” Three words: Chad Michael Murray. The early 2000s really were a great time for television. 

3. Season 2, Episode 19 "Teach Me Tonight" A study session, which leads to a car crash, which ultimately leads to the relationship that all fans rooted for.
4. Season 3, Episode 9 "A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving" Lorelai and Rory prove that they are truly bottomless pits in this holiday episode. It takes much precision, strategy and stretchy pants, but they dutifully make their way from house to house for every variation of Thanksgiving dinner imaginable. 
5. Season 6, Episode 18 "The Real Paul Anka" We find out that Jess, the kid no one thought would amount to anything, actually has his life in better order than most of the cast, and much more so than Rory. What little hope we had of his return to the show ended in this, his final episode. In my humble opinion, the show just spirals downhill from here. 

Beating Writer's Block

Monday, September 22, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 3 Comments

Monday, September 22, 2014

I would like to start this post, by saying that this is written mainly for myself, and in the event that it helps others, well then all the better. I haven't been making an appearance around these parts very much last week. I've been completely wrapped up reading the Outlander series and I have forced myself to take a little break from it. Am I the only one that becomes all-consumed with a book series (especially one that has already been published in its entirety) and won't do anything else until all of the books have been read, typically in a manner of weeks? 

So unless I wanted to discuss the pros and cons of 18th century Jacobite politics (although the fact that I was reading the books while Scotland was much more peaceably looking to break away from England was not lost on me), I was facing an acute case of writer's block when I sat down behind the computer screen last night. The mild fear that comes with the blinking cursor almost made me want to call it quits. Multiple times.

Then I flipped through the journal where I jot down ideas for blog posts, and what do you know I found? A list of ways to beat writer's block that I must have written at a time when the words and ideas for sharing on the Internet were plenty. 

And now I'll share the same advice that I am taking myself in order to overcome the singular fear that all writer's fear the most: a blank screen (or page, if we're going old school.)

Take a walk. 

And no I don't mean on the elliptical while you catch up on all 153 episodes of Gilmore Girls soon to be on Netflix. The temperatures are slowly dropping so it is the perfect time to take advantage of the fresh air. It's good not only for your waistline, but also for your creativity. 

Jot down all half-thought out ideas you have and revisit them later. 

Some will be absolutely horrible. Or may be better as a witty tweet rather than an entire blog post. However, some will be gems. Write everything down, no matter how trivial because perhaps in a few days or weeks, you will have new experiences or new thoughts to expand on the initial thought. Mull them over, discard the ones that don't interest you anymore and save the rest for a rainy day. 

Find beauty in the ordinary.

One of the first lessons you are taught when writing is to write about what you know. This is why novels often have the note in the front: Any character resemblance to a person is purely coincidental. Start with writing what you know, even if it seems quite ordinary and dull to you. It might strike a chord with someone else, you never know. 

What do you do to beat writer's block or a lack of inspiration?

5 Reasons I am Not an Early Adopter

Friday, September 19, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport|| 9 Comments

Friday, September 19, 2014

Walk past any gleaming Apple store, all glass panes and silver today and you will most likely see crowds standing in line waiting not so patiently to get their hands on the latest communication gadget that is smaller than an iPad Mini, but larger than a toaster pastry. 

Me? I am comfortably in bed, checking email on my (now apparently) obsolete iPhone 4S. With the way some people talk you would think I was playing Snake on an old brick of a Nokia. 

It's safe to say that I'm not an early adopter when it comes to technology. I enjoy to follow all of the Apple press conferences and find out about the latest updates and inventions, and yes, I am quite an Apple snob when it comes to my tech, but you'll often find me a step (or two, or three) behind the techies.  

1. $300 on a phone that typically only has a two-year lifespan (conveniently the length of a typical cellphone contract) is an absurd amount of money. 

2. There are always bound to be bugs and glitches with the very first round of products released. See point #1 about not wanting to drop a large amount of money on something that could be messed up. 

3. I like messing around on friends' phones to see if an upgrade is really worth it. Simply put, I want to test drive the phone before committing to it. 

4. Fun phone cases haven't quite come out yet. Although, having an older phone, it is also hard to find phone cases. Take note: Stock up on all of your favorites while you can find it, because in a year, they will be scare. 

5. The one reason I am excited for today is because the 5S is now only $99. Sadly my current phone has been retired and before too long won't even handle iOS updates. I remember when I still had my 3G, long after most people had moved onto thinner and better phones, and it didn't support the update that contained iMessage and I was thoroughly confused by what it was for the longest time. Yeah, I was that person. 

And there you have it. I am not an early adopter when it comes to phones, or sushi, emojis or jeggings for that matter either. 

To Prove Why Everyone Loves Doxies

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 5 Comments

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Photo: Outnet

Perhaps everyone simply loves dachshunds (or doxies, as I love to refer to them) or maybe doxie owners are simply the most vocal dog owners about the superiority of their pups. Whether it's national wiener races or doxie Pinterest boards, the preciousness of doxies could only possibly be surpassed by the cuteness of the shark cat on a roomba chasing a baby in a shark costume. 

Which brings me to the most popular doxie of the week: Sergio the Shoe Hunter. Sergio is a working dog and his job is to capture a dog's eye view of London Fashion Week thanks to a camera strapped to his collar. 

How could you say no to his little bow tie? I'm here to tell you that this pup is getting closer to a Fashion Week than I ever will and I'm only a little jealous that he will be rubbing ankles with the most well dressed crowd. 

Needless to say I have enjoyed following #SergioShoeHunter on Twitter and Instagram because I simply can't get enough of his cuteness.

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Christina of Route Bliss

Follow along: Route Bliss | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Favorite Starbucks seasonal drink? 

Ummm ... not sure if its at Starbucks (since I don't drink coffee), but Peppermint White Hot Chocolate is my favorite seasonal drink!

Were you one of the kids who looked forward to summer ending and school starting? Or did you wish the long days would continue forever?

Kinda. When I was younger (before my brother came along), I looked forward to going back to school to be with my friends all the time. By the time I hit college & grad school, I kicked myself for taking classes nearly every summer!

Currently reading any good books? Are there any on your "must read" list?

Just finished Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks. So didn't expect that ending even though we all know he throws us for a loop! Definitely buying tickets to an upcoming lecture he's giving at my alma mater's distinguished lecture series!

Coffee Talk

Saturday, September 13, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 4 Comments

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Image via
Looking to cook for yourself in your college apartment or are still intimidated by full-blown recipes? These 10 easy meals will give you enough to get started so you aren't eating PB&J for breakfast, lunch and dinner. (Not that I've done that before or anything...)

This Buzzfeed article about things white girls do in the fall is hilarious. And I do all of them. All of them. It's spot on. And most of the time, multiple fall stereotypes are occurring simultaneously. Wearing flannel while #thankful

It was hard to know just how large the iPhone 6 Plus would be. Thankfully someone determined that it is smaller than an iPad Mini, but larger than a Pop Tart. Finally measurements I can relate to. I think I will pass on toaster pastry sized phone. Thoughts?

If I could eat grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup forever, I would be ok with that. Especially this caramelized onion and mushroom grilled cheese. So fancy!

I will never understand or come to know these 8 lessons learned after giving up television. It's not going to happen.

Am I alone in utter confusion about picking a shade of lipstick (or if we're being honest, tinted lip balm is pushing my comfort zone.) Love these shades, especially after seeing them on someone who shares my fair complexion.

I look forward to Lauren's yearly trip to Iceland probably as much as she does. And being able to see Viola frolicking in the fields and by the waterfalls is precious.

What you missed this week:
Books worth re-reading
My newfound TV love, Outlander, and a look back at my trip to the Highlands
A Q&A with Sara of Bristol in My Pocket
An outfit inspired by my new favorite Warby Parker frames (if only I had a need for a spare pair of glasses right now!)

Friday Favorites: Books Worth Re-Reading

Friday, September 12, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 2 Comments

Friday, September 12, 2014

I divide the world into two groups of people: Those who love to re-read their favorite books, and those who cannot stand the practice. Obviously I fall into the first category. To start, there are the classic books on my shelf whose spines are constantly creased, which include Harry Potter and all of Jane Austen's works.

Other than those, here are a few of the books that get better with age, even the third or fourth time they are read. Perhaps it's another life lesson learned, or another connection made in a complex plot, but there is something I enjoy about knowing the general ending that let's me work backwards and connect the dots.

These books tend to fall on the polar ends of the seriousness spectrum. Either they are mindless and easy distractions, or they make you constantly think and ponder. Quite rarely do they fall in the middle.

1. The Seamstress | This novel is set in Brazil, perfect for the World Cup not too long ago and the Olympics around the corner. The characters are deep and complex, a far cry from "good" versus "evil." It tells the story of two sisters who go down quite different paths in life and neither one turns out quite as they had expected. Is that summary cryptic enough for you? Just trust me, it is worth reading again and again.

2. The Twisted Thread | Similar to The Secret History by Donna Tart, The Twisted Thread is set in the ivory covered halls of a New England prep school and, as happens at all prep schools, there is a secret society and murder. It is a who-done-it the likes of Gossip Girl has never seen.

3. The Historian | I read The Historian at the height of the Twilight/Vampire Diaries phase when nocturnal mythical creatures were taking over popular culture. But The Historian is so much more than your average vampire novel. It follows a father and daughter as they are led on a journey in search for Vlad the Impaler, the historical person whom Dracula was based off of...except in The Historian, Bram Stoker's Dracula is not based on fiction, but on fact. 

4. The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets | 1950s London was a glamorous time for the young British upper class, filled with parties that got out of hand more than those of their parents. I love the line from the description on the back cover: "Rice writes about the young British upper class with sharp wit as well as compassion, and her characters, beneath their glittering charm, are appealingly vulnerable and utterly memorable - in short, brilliant company." I couldn't say it better myself. 

What are your favorite books to read over and over again?