Cambridge city guide - 10 fun things to see and do in a weekend

Cambridge may be best known for it's university and colleges but there's so much more to the city and as we discovered it's a great location for a UK staycation too. If you're also thinking of visiting then here are my top 10 fun things to see and do in Cambridge: 

1. Climb up the tower at Great St Mary's Church
For the best views of the city I would start with a visit to St Mary's Church. Located in the center of Cambridge it offers a great panoramic view of the city. It's a working church so you can have a quick look around before climbing up the narrow staircase for an overview of the local colleges, markets and architecture. Tickets are £4 for entry to the tower with a small discount for concessions.

2. Visit a university college
Once you've climbed down from the tower have a wander around the city center then make your way to one of the local colleges. King's College is one of the most famous and the Chapel is just stunning but I'd also recommend making a short walk to Selwyn College for it's beautiful gardens, especially in the Spring or Summer. Whatever college you choose, soak in the atmosphere and if you're anything like me it'll no doubt take you back to your own university days.

3. Browse Market Square
For a quick snack our favourite was Market Square. A decent sized market with stalls selling everything from dim sum and burgers to artisan breads and cheeses. I'd recommend having a walk around, sample some of the delights on offer and if you can stock up on some local produce to take home too - the cheese stalls in particular have so much choice on offer.
4. Marvel at the Mathematical Bridge
Officially called the Wooden Bridge, this is the most famous bridge in Cambridge. Despite the arch shape it's actually built entirely out of straight timbers hence the nickname. Popular myth is that there are no nuts and bolts holding it together and although not true it's still worth a visit, especially as the surrounding area is so picturesque too. 

5.  Enjoy afternoon tea at Fitzbillies
Another Cambridge institution - Fitzbillies has been serving sweet treats to locals and visitors since 1921. There are now 2 branches serving afternoon tea and their famous Chelsea buns. In particular I loved the traditional feel of their Trumptington Street branch and they have some of the prettiest window displays around.

6. Go punting
If the weather allows then make sure you book in for a punt along the River Cam. If you're visiting in Winter like we did then make sure you have a hot tea/coffee or enjoy a glass of Pimms in the summer as you're taken on a scenic tour of the city. It's a great way to explore and discover more about Cambridge, taking in the stunning architecture, bridges and hidden views of the some of the most famous colleges.

7. See the Corpus Clock
Another quick site to go and see. Officially unveiled by Stephen Hawkings the clock is made up of an striking 24 carat gold plated disc with no hands or numerals. Instead it displays the time by opening individual slits within the three rings which are lit up with blue LEDs to tell the hour, minutes and seconds.

8. Warm up in a pub with a hearty meal and pint
When you're visiting a city as steeped in history as Cambridge you can't not enjoy a traditional English Pub. There are so many to choose from but we stopped off at The Granta which had a nice view and an outdoor balcony for the Summer. It seemed popular with the locals too as there were a good mix of university students and families. My top tip would be to avoid the burger and instead go for a hearty bangers and mash, all washed down with a pint or G&T.

9. Visit one of the many Cambridge museums
For a dose of culture and education why not visit one of the many museums that Cambridge has to offer. We stumbled upon Fitzwilliam Museum which is the most famous and offers a large collection of art and antiques. There's also the Whipple Museum which houses scientific model and instruments as well as The Centre for Computing History to name but a few.

10. Explore Cambridge University Botanic Garden
Sadly we ran out of time to do this but judging by the photos the Cambridge University Botanic Garden is well worth a visit. Think stunning floral displays, pretty rock gardens and exotic greenhouses all set with 40 acres of land - the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city

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Valentine's day gift guide (for her and for him)

Anyone else notoriously last minute when it comes to picking up presents? Whether it's for a partner, friend or even yourself Valentine's Day is the perfect excuse to treat that someone special in your life. And if you've yet to find the perfect gift then I've got a some gorgeous beauty and food treats for tomorrow:

Valentine's Day Gifts For Her
Chocolates may be one of the more traditional gifts but you really can't go wrong with a box of Charbonnel et Walker truffles. A really delicious combination of smooth chocolate truffle, crunchy biscuit pieces and salty caramel sauce. One of the best chocolate truffles I've ever tried and the perfect after dinner treat, especially with a bottle of my favourite prosecco or champagne.

Monica Vinader siren small stacking ring
Monica Vinader make some of the prettiest jewellery pieces and for Valentine's day I think her Siren small stacking ring would be perfect. It's so dainty and delicate and I love the combination of the rose quartz and rose gold. I like to wear mine by itself as an everyday piece but it would look lovely stacked up with a few of the other colours too.

Latest in Beauty date night box
As a little treat for yourself or for a beauty obsessed friend I'd recommend the Latest in Beauty date night box. It's packed with products including a relaxing Sanctuary salt scrub, luxurious Dr Botanicals rose facial oil and a pretty Kiko blush stick. Everything you need to pamper and get ready for a night out and at a bargain at a fraction of the price too.

For a more home inspired gift what about this really gorgeous Vera Wang photo frame and LSE mini vase from Amara? The photo frame comes in the most beautiful presentation box and the brushed silver design is so classic yet stylish. You could even print off a photo of the two of you together for a more personalised gift. 

As an alternative to just flowers I'd also recommend getting a beautiful vase too. That way she'd have something to keep for after. I love this mini table vase from LSA as the shape is just so perfect. And thanks to the small size it can be used for other items like make up brushes and pens too.

Valentine's Day Gifts For Him 

Over the years I've brought the Mr pretty much every brand of whisky but for something a bit different why not try Metaxa 12 stars. Originating from Greece it's a spirit which combines aromatic Muscat wines with fragrant May roses and Mediterranean herbs for a toasted fruity spiced flavour. Serve on a rocks or mixed with apple juice for a refreshing drink. It comes in a lovely presentation box and is a great alternative to the more traditional whisky or brandy. 

I remember when we were planning our wedding and so many people told us to pick a special wedding day fragrance so that you'd always have a scent to remember the day by. If your husband did something similar then why not pick up a bottle of his perfume or matching shower gel/body lotion for a really memorable gift. Jo Malone also do matching candles and reed diffusers too so the options are endless.

Finally for the gentleman who likes to look his best I'd recommend the Braun series 7 smart shaver. Not only does the sleek silver design look great, it also comes with 5 shaving modes and can be used both wet and dry for the ultimate convenience. Other features include autosense technology and adaptive shaving foils for a close shave and an advanced clean and charge station for easy cleaning in between uses.

Are you also a last minute shopper? What will you be buying for Valentine's day?

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Life lately - My January highlights

It feels like only yesterday that I was writing up my 2017 highlights and now here we are at the end of another month. Unlike previous years January seems to have been surprisingly busy with birthdays, anniversaries and blogging events as well as a lot of time researching and planning for our honeymoon in Singapore and Thailand:

January de-clutter and shopping
January started with a much needed de-clutter and I've dug out my trusty Marie Kondo book for some inspiration. Her method may be a little extreme but it's certainly very motivating and I'm glad to have cleared out part of my wardrobe. Over the last few years I've gotten into a real style rut so it was good to throw out the old and to make some space for some exciting new purchases. Speaking off which I took advantage of the sales and treated myself to a gorgeous new navy Kate Spade Wallet and sparkly peach H&M jumper.

Treatment and blow dry at Rush hair salon
As a little treat I was booked in for a blow dry at Rush Westborne Grove just after New Year's. A relatively new salon I loved the sleek modern decor and the fact that the salon uses Kerastase products. There's magazines to browse whilst you wait and refreshments are complimentary too, with the Lindor chocolate going down particularly well. We started with a personalised Fusidose treatment which was designed to soften and add shine to my hair. As I was going out later that evening my stylist Jo then used a hair straighter to create a tighter look so that they could drop yet still maintain a curl.

Fitness and personal training
After a month of overindulgence and 2 weeks off at Christmas it wasn't the easiest getting back to the gym but as always having a PT really helped. If nothing else it forces me to go to the gym and once I'm there I'm usually happy to work out. We're continuing to work on my strength with a mixture of cardio and weights although with our honeymoon coming up I'd like to focus more on fat loss this month. I also did a park run in January and managed to achieve my fastest 5-10k speed to date.

Batch cooking with John Lewis
Towards the end of the month I was invited to a batch cooking class in association with John Lewis. Held at the Waitrose Cooking School in King's Cross, we made a simple but tasty tomato sauce, learnt how to use it to make a pizza and Shakshuka before putting our cooking skills to good use by making fresh pasta and Puttanesca sauce. I've never made pasta before but it was surprisingly quick and simple and tasted absolutely delicious too. For more batch cooking tips and all the recipes check out their blog post here.

Visit Madeira and meeting new bloggers
Since returning to blogging last year I've made an effort to share more travel content and last week I attended my first Visit Madeira event. The Barbican Conservatory made for a beautiful backdrop and we got to sample some delicious Portugese food as well as some Poncha cocktails which were strong but very yummy. We also learnt all about Madeira wine and how it was traditionally fortified on long sea journeys when the excessive heat would transform the flavour of the wine. Safe to say it's a new favourite and I've picked up a bottle from the supermarket already! It was lovely to meet some of the other travel bloggers at the event too.

6 months anniversary and honeymoon plans
And finally my favourite highlights this month - celebrating our 6 months anniversary. It's crazy to think that we've been married half a year already. I still remember the stress of planning a wedding and it really doesn't seem like all that long ago! We celebrated with a really lovely meal at London Steakhouse Co. as well as lots of prosecco and truffles at home. On a related note we've also finally decided on some dates for our honeymoon and I can't wait to explore Thailand and Singapore later this year.

For more photos and daily highlights you can also follow me on Instagram here. 
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