Image of Keswick town centre

I had to admit when my partner told me we were going on holiday to the Lake District, I was a bit dubious. However, the Lake District is one of the most beautiful places I have been too. Here is my mini guide on what to do and where to eat in the place that has been awarded World Heritage Site status.

Lake Windermere

Image of Lake Windermere

The largest lake created by glaciers and the reason why everyone visits the Lake District. The cruise across Lake Windermere is a must as the scenery is so beautiful. We stopped on Belle Isle, a lovely little island where you can walk, cycle and even have a BBQ and partake in water sports. There are some people that do live on the island and there are even little holiday homes you can stay in. Myself and my partner walked around the island and it wasn’t difficult at all and there was clearly marked paths.

Keswick

Image of Keswick town centre

Keswick is a small town which myself and my partner stopped in for a bit of shopping. The middle of the market town is charming with a lot of original buildings which fits in with the surrounding area and lots of little one off shops if you are looking for an original gift.

Galleny Force Waterfall

Image of a waterfall

Located near Keswick, Galleny Force was a lovely quiet place to have a walk and picnic in relative peace. Parking is quite difficult as the nearest village is Stonethwaite which has quite limited parking.

Ambleside

Image of a runner, running in Ambleside

Where we stayed and it was absolutely beautiful. There was so much to do in Ambleside lots of walks, a thriving place to do a little shopping (I loved the independent bookstore!) and of course home to Bridge House a little house that stands over Stock Beck.

The Sourdough Pizza Company

Image of a pizza from the Sourdough Pizza Company

We stayed just down the road from this delightful little gem. The pizza crusts are all handmade for home delivery. I had the Row Row Row your Goat pizza which consisted of goats cheese, mozzarella, caramelised red onions and spinach.

Walnut Fish Bar

Another night, another takeaway. Wulnut Fish Bar served the best fish and chips, well deserved after summiting Scafell Pike.

Aira Force

Part of the National Trust, Aira Force is 65ft high with water crashing over. It is a lovely little walk which lasts about an hour if that,so there is no need to take the day out. There are benches where people have pressed their coins in.

Image of Aria Force

Coins pressed in on a bench at Aria Force

Scafell Pike

Image of Scafell Pike

I had to admit walking Scafell Pike was challenging, the views were beautiful. I have to admit you have to be exercising fairly regularly to not find this hard work. I have written a previous blog post about this, which goes into more depth. However the feeling of achieving the summit was amazing, two scary parts was when it completely clouded over at the top and I couldn’t see very far in front of me. The second part was when I slipped over and banged my elbow so hard that I nearly passed out.

This is what I got up to on my trip to the Lake District, is there any places in the Lake District that you like?

 

 


(Image: Authors Own)





Frank Chalk is a teacher in a fairly poor inner city school- a school where the kids get drunk, take drugs and beat up the teachers… when they can be bothered to turn up.

He confiscates their porn, booze and trainers, fends off angry parents and worries about the few conscientious pupils.

Terrifying and hilarious, IT’S YOUR TIME YOU’RE WASTING is Chalk’s real- life diary from the front line of the modern edukashun system.

I haven’t written a book review in years. Eeeek….

I have had this book a number of years and it is one of the few books I have read over and over again. I bought it at a time when I really wanted to be a teacher (before I saw sense). It’s Your Time You’re wasting was published by a small book publisher Monday Books, known for publishing real life books. The book narrated by Frank Chalk (not his real name, probably to save his sanity) goes through the tale of his time as a supply teacher at St Jude’s which is based in the Cherry Tree Estate. He tells us tales of sloppy staff and even sloppier school children all of this which is punctuated with descriptions of the Cherry Street estate so you get to understand why the children behave like they do. 

The story is easy to read as it is in a chatty style, there isn’t any chapters as such, there is just one tale after another all following each other (I have noticed this is the style of writing in other books Monday has published). The author doesn’t feel sorry for himself either, you just let the story wash over you as you find yourself laughing and sinking into despair at the naughty children and feeling really sorry for those poor children who are just trying to get on with life.

The book hit a chord with me because you can see through Frank’s eyes how the education system has failed the children. This is through two ways. One the lack of support at home. Frank visits a few children homes to tutor them and he see’s the effect of constant TV, fast food, the lack of books and interest from the parents resulting in the children being disengaged with anything that is longer than two minutes. The result of this being children who vandalise school property, not being able to understand school work and being downright nasty to anyone. You could argue that his book reinforces stereotypes, through the names of the children and the description of the council estate. But this is the reality of modern Britain as it is repeated through books like this one and on programmes on the TV such as Tough Young Teachers. So disillusioned is Frank with the school that he tells parent’s of a child to move to a better school. However, I feel that the author is realistic and what comes across well is Frank wants to teach but with the children not accepting responsibility, there doesn’t seem the point.

To conclude, this book is well worth a read if you want to while away an afternoon or want some escape. If you truly hate your job this book may also be of use, as by the end of reading you may think your job isn’t too bad 😉

(Image Source)

So you have bought a house (well done you!) and now you are thinking about moving. Moving was by far the least stressful part of the whole ‘buying a house’ process ironically. My partner and I were sharing a two bed flat before with no garden. Therefore, we had a lot less stuff to move than a family would. We were adamant to keep it as cheap as possible, therefore, did lots of research and work before hand to make the move as smooth as possible.

Have a Big Clean Out
Although the house sale hadn’t gone through yet. We knew it would be very last minute so decided to have a giant clean out, a month before. It also gave us the chance to sell unwanted items on eBay in plenty of time and a lot of stuff was given to charity so hopefully will go to a new home.

Ask Around for Boxes
Everyone does this, but it is really worth asking. We got lots of plastic boxes off my partner’s parents when we moved which I reckoned saved around £15.00. We bought 15 cardboard boxes off Amazon for around £15.00 as well. We had to make them ourselves, but it didn’t take long. We packed up everything the weekend before (it was a bit risky, the sale didn’t go through until the Thursday after) but we didn’t want to take any time off.  

The Removal Men
You could hire a van however since we lived on the second floor of the flat we didn’t want to drag all our appliances downstairs. As we were moving to a place that was originally half an hour away we didn’t want to pay a lot of money as we knew that with all our things the move wouldn’t take an entire day. With this in mind my partner found a local company that paid per hour rather than the whole day. The whole move was done in three hours meaning we only paid £130 whereas if we had gone with a different company and hired them out for the whole day then we would have lost £400.

With this company as well as they were charging per hour we decided to put as much stuff as we could in two cars. Before they came, we reckoned that save another hour.

Clean and Fix as Much as Possible
If you clean and fix as much possible this will decrease the need for the landlord to have to do it themselves out of your deposit. If after the landlord checks there is still problems. You can always take it up with the Deposit Protection Agency. (DPS). Remember, the Landlord needs to take wear and tear into account and should not be using your deposit as money to completely redecorate.

Keep All Screws and Parts in Place
When taking down furniture my partner and I counted all the parts and put them in small freezer bags and popped them in my handbag. This will save you money as you don’t want to have to buy small parts again to replace the ones that went missing.

Make Sure to Redirect All Post and Change All Addresses
Ok I never bothered to redirect my post because I worked on the assumption that I don’t get much post anyway and as I have changed the majority of addresses already I shouldn’t get post with my name through the other door. BUT definitely change addresses as soon as possible as you don’t want anybody to commit fraud or let bills go unpaid.

Read Your Meters
So you don’t get charged for another person’s usage.

I hope this is useful for you. We saved a lot of money so we are happy with them. Have you got any money saving tips?

Checking out the local scenery in my new area
(Photo: Authors Own)

Recently my partner and I managed to get on the housing ladder (read about how to buy a house here). One of the main worries when house hunting that everyone will have is finding a house that is right for you in the location that is right for you. Today I write about what we looked for when buying a house:

Location
You may already have an idea on where you want to live. For us, we wanted to move to a quieter area and be closer to my work. Our priorities for location was:

  • In the countryside.
  • Not near a flood plain.
  • No more than half an hour commute from my workplace. 
  • Not near a busy road.
  • Close to a train station with trains that will travel to London.

So what to think about is:

  • Do you want to be in a village or in a town?
  • If you want to live in the countryside you have to think about how close you want your amenities to be.
  • How close you are to public services (particularly important if you need to rely on them.)
  • What type of social environment do you want to be in (i.e if you want to be in a fast paced environment then a sleepy village may not be the best option for you).
  • How close you want to be to your family!
Facilities
Obviously a town is going to have everything you want. For us, we wanted to have a doctors surgery and supermarket close by, but happy to travel a bit further to do some serious shopping. We both drive so bus services were not as important to us.

What you need to think about facility wise?
Proximity to medical services eg, doctors, dentists and hospitals, supermarkets and shops.

The Area
My partner and I did a lot of research into the area, as our home is a home that we want to stay in long term.  We looked at the specifics such as flooding, schools and nature. When we visited the house, we drove around the surrounding area at day and night for a better idea of area it is.

The House Itself
We were a little greedy and wanted quite a big house. An en- suite wasn’t as important to us but a large kitchen was. What you need to look out for:

  • Do your neighbours windows look into your windows?
  • If the property is near the main road or trains (Don’t laugh I used to hear the train rumbling past my old flat window!)
  • If you want a garden, is it big enough or the right type (e.g I did not want a terrace garden).
  • Is your house big enough? 
  • Is the kitchen big enough? My old place had a tiny kitchen and we hated it.
  • Does it have a garage or a driveway? Do you have to share the driveway?
  • How much land do you own?
  • What boundaries are yours to maintain?
  • Are the windows and the frames in good condition? Also are the windows single glazed, mind if they are as it can be very cold in the winter time.
  • Is there any mould? Be weary of fresh coats of paint that could cover mould up. 
In my experience house buying is always a risk and there never is the ‘perfect’ house. The majority of the time you have to sacrifice something. However, if you do your research properly it certainly reduces the risk of getting it wrong.  

* Disclaimer: this is my views only. Seek professional advice.