Posts tagged ‘Europe’

January 6, 2014

2014 Resolutions

Happy new year everyone! As we’re a week into 2014, I’m firmly closing the door on the Christmas and New Year festivities (which I’ve totally loved this year) and getting back into the swing of everyday life. The start of a new school term always brings about a return to routines and the end of Quality Street being an acceptable breakfast food, just as I’ve got used to the idea…

Traditionally the start of January is resolution time. Usually I like to write a giant list of resolutions for the year, some of which I manage to complete and some I don’t. I wrote recently about needing to be honest with myself about the things that I really wanted to do and forget the things that I think I should want to do. So, no marathon running goals for me, this year or ever. Although I think that if you want to make changes to your life, you should start them today, whenever today is, rather than waiting for January 1st, there is something tidy about making new starts in a new year, so I do find New Year’s Resolutions somewhat seductive.

2014 is going to be a year that contains many changes. My career, my home life, and the way I spend my time are all going to change, and not all of those changes are my decision. So, rather than trying to control everything, I’m going to try and go with the flow a little more. Which is terrifying to me! But, I think that trying to force things to happen is bound to end in failure. It is important for me to recognise what I can control and what I cannot.

Therefore my list is short, and perhaps a little vague. But here goes:

1 – Study for my RHS Level 2 exams.  I’ve written about this before, and it’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a while (and really wanted to do) but life has got in the way of my plans. I’m determined to make it happen this time though. And I’m hopeful it may lead to more opportunity and who knows, perhaps a career shift.

2 – Make time. For my family, my friends, my boyfriend. Much of 2013 was challenging, sometimes it was painful and introspective, and it was a year in which my friends all supported me, but I feel as though I gave back little in return. I want to redress the balance and make time to visit my beloved friends and family and support them in whatever they are doing. My boyfriend has a year of change ahead of him too, and I want to be a supportive partner to him as we embrace our future together. (As an aside, I feel far too old to be saying boyfriend, but what’s the alternative? Partner makes it sound like we’re in business together…hmm)

3 – Say ‘yes’ more. And say ‘no’ more. Contradictory as ever…but by which I mean that I want to be brave enough to say ‘yes’ to the right opportunities that come my way, and say ‘no’ to things that I don’t want, need or feel like the right ‘fit’. And I’m not talking specifically about possessions when I say ‘things’, it’s really just a goal about being authentic and true to myself.

4 – Keep cycling. This is a bit of a vague goal, I appreciate, but I have really been enjoying cycling and I want to carry on improving, at my own pace, and just enjoying the ride. I have no challenges, competitions, sportives in mind at all. It will just be me, my bike and my boyfriend by my side.  Though, if you’re in Leeds and fancy a snail’s pace bike ride with a cafe stop in the middle, I’m your ideal companion!

5 – Visit somewhere new. Doesn’t matter where, I just want to keep exploring and having micro-adventures. And I really, really, want to go to somewhere I’ve never been in Europe in 2014. Fitting adventure into everyday life instead of waiting for a big chunk of time is something I’ve enjoyed in 2013, and I want to do more of it.

6 – Move towards being a ‘zero waste’ home. This is a huge goal and one in which I am going to be moving at an evolutionary pace, not aiming for an overnight revolution! On the back of reducing our reliance on the supermarket, the next step is reducing the amount of waste we create – less packaging, which in turn means less recycling. More composting and home-grown food! Which takes me nicely onto number 7…

7 –  Try my hardest to grow as much of our food as possible. 2013 was a dire year on the allotment for many reasons. I paid it a visit over the Christmas period and made a promise to it that I’d try my hardest to make 2014 a great year. Yup, I talk to my allotment. I appreciate that’s odd.

8 – Try yoga. We have a wonderful looking yoga centre near us and I’d really like to have a go at yoga, to benefit my (still too high) blood pressure and improve my flexibility. This is the year in which I’m finally going to do it, instead of just talking about it!

So, there we have it. Only eight things on my list this year. In addition to this are my usual ‘eat well, read more, learn new things’ goals, but they’re so heavily ingrained into my personality that I don’t need to specifically list them. As long as I’m breathing, I’ll be reading…

What are your goals for 2014? And do you have any advice for me in achieving mine? I’d love to hear from you.

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April 20, 2012

Rome: Moses Fountain Hotel review.

We stayed in a fountain in Rome. Not in the watery bit, obviously, but in the Moses Fountain Hotel. It’s a monument with a fountain in it, built in 1585-1587 (under the guidance of Pope Sixtus the Fifth) as the terminus of the new Felix Aqueduct (Acquedotto Felice)  to lengthen and older III Century Roman aqueduct.

The rooms are built into the top areas, originally the fountain keeper’s workshop and apartment. The aqueduct still works and the noise is a dim, comforting hum in the evening. The main Fountain is divided into three arches, with a sculpture placed in each. In the central space is a sculpture of Moses by Leonardo Sormani and Prospero Antichi, showing to his people the water that miraculously sprang out from the rocks in Sinai desert during the Exodus.

It’s  the first time I’ve ever stayed in a building that other tourists were taking photographs of! Can you see the little balcony on the left? That’s one of the rooms! Ours was on the other side…

Located quite close to Piazza Barberini, and a short walk from the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps, the hotel is in a district that, although busy during the day, especially because of its proximity to several Government buildings, is pretty quiet at night. Perfect for us, as we were after rest as much as sight-seeing. I love waking up in a city when I’m on holiday there, and so the morning sounds of people going about their everyday business in the morning were a great pleasure to me after a long, quiet night of sleep in a gorgeously comfortable king sized bed.

Our room, named the Velvet room, was beautiful. Lots of space, contemporary, comfortable fixtures and fittings, and that giant bed made for equally giant smiles of happiness the minute we set foot into it. Add to that the Etro toiletries, complementary mini-bar, dressing gowns, Nespresso machine and flat screen tv and we were in hotel heaven.

With only six rooms, and no standard concierge or reception desk, the Moses Fountain is a little like staying in the home of a great friend. After you’re initially met and shown around by the lovely staff, you’re given a key to the main door and left to your own devices. I appreciate that this not be the best option for everyone, but for us it was great. We don’t need lots of concierge services anyway and are happy to to let ourselves in and out.  It’s possibly a good point to note that there is no lift, so you need to be happy and fit enough to climb a good few stairs.

Breakfast was served on a tray in our room each morning. We had giant bowls of cafe latte, freshly squeezed juice, a variety of different breads and salads. Each day there was also as a little bag containing various biscuits and crackers to take away with us for elevenses, should we need them!

I loved our stay at Moses Fountain. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants a spot of quiet luxury amid a busy city, who doesn’t mind not having some of the ‘traditional’ hotel services and who enjoys having a unique experience when they travel!