Easter Weekend in Bath

This weekend I visited one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to. Wide streets, cobbled sidewalks, gorgeous architecture, and green rolling hills. It was the perfect location for a short Easter getaway. Bath won me over in 72 hours and I can’t wait to go back.

Since I was unable to go home for Easter this year, I went to Bath with Conor’s whole extended family and stayed in a lovely Airbnb. It was a terraced home with five floors of bedrooms, kitchens, and lounges, along with a quaint back garden. The weather could not have been more perfect, so we spent most of our time in that garden.

The trip to Bath from Cambridge was about four hours due to some heavy traffic Friday afternoon. Conor and I drove, but some of his family took the train, which makes Bath easily accessible from London. When we arrived, we first went to the Airbnb to drop our stuff and meet the family. The room came with these giant fluffy bathrobes, towels, hair dryer, etc. Anything we wanted, this place had it.

Meeting the whole extended family all at once was overwhelming and nerve-wracking, but luckily I fit right in. A few of the cousins, Conor, and I went into town for an evening tour of the Roman Baths. Fun fact: most of the Roman Baths were reconstructed during the Victorian Era, so its more British than it is Roman. All the same, the Baths are beautiful and full of rich history. There’s two floors of exhibits twisting and winding down from the floor above the baths to the basement where the hot spring is. At the bottom, we exited into the bath area where the warm water gathered in a greenish pool. There were staff members dressed in Roman time period clothing taking pictures with the tourists and a band played while we enjoyed the atmosphere. Additionally, they were selling prosecco and sparkling rose, which we each had a glass of. At the end of the tour, there was a spot in the spring to throw a coin in and a make a wish (mine came true!).

Friday night we all stayed up late drinking and eating and playing Cards Against Humanity. I tapped out around 2am, exhausted from the car trip and the excitement of meeting the family.

Saturday was another gorgeous summer day! I woke up and had a nice cup of tea in the lounge with the sun streaming in. Half of the group went on a morning tour of Bath, but the rest of us stayed behind to enjoy a lazy morning. Around noon, Conor and I headed out for a walk to the nearby Alice Park. We had a drink at the cafe and sat in the sun, soaking up the ever elusive British sun rays. We walked around the park, worked up an appetite, and headed back in time for Andrea’s incredible lunch. Unfortunately, I can’t remember what the dish was called, but it was kind of like a lasagna but not. In any case, it was spectacular! After lunch we all sat in the garden and drank Pimm’s– another new British thing. It tasted almost exactly like a Long Island Iced Tea, so of course I enjoyed many glasses.

In the evening, Anne brought out the paints and canvases and some of us partook in an art competition. I painted a bright rendition of the Royal Crescent, one of the most notable sites in Bath. Dinner was another incredible meal, this time cooked by Bex and Jamie- a delicious Asian spread with dumplings, rice, stir-fry, and lettuce wraps. I couldn’t stop eating it was so good! This family sure knows how to cook!

Sunday fun day! Again, woke up late after having a nice lie in and started the day off with a cup of tea in the garden. The sun was shining for the third day in a row- unheard of! We drank Pimm’s and cocktails until lunch was ready around 2pm. And then I stuffed myself full again! There was lamb, chicken, roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and Yorkshire pudding! And at the end, we each got to choose a chocolate egg filled with different types of candies! I chose the Rolos egg, it was delicious! Everyone was in an absolute food coma after that.

After about an hour or so, a couple of us went on a walk around Bath to work off all that food. We went up to the Royal Crescent, then down through the town, and back alongside the river. Bath is so pretty, I love the stone work and how grand everything looks. The river was serene and the houses bordering it were incredible. There were even a couple hot air balloons in the sky! Bath would be a wonderful place to live, not too far outside of London but nestled in a picturesque valley, quiet but still lively.

That evening we all snuggled up on the couches and watched the new Jumanji movie. I hadn’t seen it yet and was pleasantly surprised by it. Jack Black and The Rock definitely carried the movie, but it was a fun, family-appropriate movie. Conor ordered us all Domino’s around 10pm as we were all hungry again. It was the perfect way to end Easter Sunday.

On Monday, we all got up and cleaned the Airbnb. We had leftovers lunch and finished off the rest of the food. Conor and I left around noon for Cambridge and made it back in about two and a half hours, much better timing than the drive to Bath! All in all, the weekend in Bath was perfect, fun and relaxing and a new experience! It was a great break from school work and I look forward to when I can next go back!

Night Routine to Wake Up Feeling Refreshed

Do you ever wake up and immediately start thinking about when you will be able to go to sleep again because you’re just that tired? Or your alarm clock has become your arch nemesis? Even after years of developing a nightly routine, I still feel this way sometimes.

The best way to wake up refreshed in the morning is to focus on what you are doing at night. My biggest piece of advice: set a bedtime.

I know, I know. We’re adults, bedtimes are for children. WRONG. Setting a bedtime will get your body into the habit of going to bed early to wake up early. By having a set bedtime, you are setting your body clock. Keeping consistent is important to waking up feeling refreshed, especially during the work week. On the weekends, I try to keep to my routine, but with late nights out or lazy mornings in, sometimes that doesn’t work.

Next, know how much you need to sleep to wake up refreshed. For me, I need at least eight hours of sleep, but I prefer a solid nine. Others may not need as much, but for adults an average of seven is healthy. This number will vary on who you are, but by now you should know how much sleep you really need, what’s too little and what’s too much.

Before I go to bed, I have about a half-hour routine to focus on me. I always wash my face, apply toner, and moisturize. Sometimes, I will throw in a face mask, nose strip, or relaxing bath into that mix. I brush my teeth and use mouth wash. Then I do a night time short yoga session. I find these routines through YouTube. I like to mix it up, but Yoga with Adrienne is one of my favorite channels. Doing a short 10 minute yoga session helps me feel calm and ready for bed. It also helps me wash away the stress of the day and reset for the next day.

I set an alarm on my phone for the following morning and then I flip my phone over and leave it for the night. I know it’s recommended that I should have like two hours of no phone time before bed but that’s honestly unrealistic for me. Instead I set my alarm, turn it over, and then read for a little bit. So at least, I’ll have ten minutes of an electronic detox before bed. Usually though, I try to read for thirty minutes. It depends on the night and when I’m getting to bed, so it’s not every night but I am trying.

And that’s it! Basically I try to wind down for bedtime about an hour before I want my head to hit the pillow. I understand this might not be feasible for everyone, but even incorporating one of these steps can help you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start your day!

A lot of waking up feeling refreshed also depends on your morning routine as well, so look out for another blog post on my morning routine for starting your day off on the right foot!

Tips to Destress for the Stressed

It’s that time of the year again, when exams are starting soon, I’m busy job hunting and writing essays and trying to socialize, and for some reason, I am having a terrible time sleeping, waking up in the middle of the night, having vivid dreams, and unable to get a good night’s sleep. And by “that time of the year”, I mean the time when I realize the full extent of how stressed out I am.

Personally, I carry stress in my sleep. During the day, I handle it quite well, so well that sometimes I don’t even realized I am stressed…until I can’t sleep properly. People carry stress in different ways, sometimes I get headaches, other times my eyes feel tired. During my day to day activities, my body has gotten used to feeling stress and dealing with it in ways that I don’t notice. Which works for awhile. But if I don’t handle my stress properly, that’s when I start having terrible sleep and I realize it’s time to get a handle on my stress.

Relaxing at a cafe with a new book and a delicious snack!

So here are my tips for ways to handle stress in a healthy way:

  1. Evaluate. Why are you stressed? What’s going on in your life that seems overwhelming? I like to list out or think about all the things that I have going on. Usually there’s that one straw that broke the camel’s back, but it’s important to recognize everything that is contributing to my stress to truly get a handle on it.
  2. Reschedule. As a university student, I live a pretty busy lifestyle, jumping from library to class to meetings, etc. If I don’t slow down every once in awhile, it can really hurt me. When I do start feeling overly stressed, I reschedule some things. I reprioritize what I have going on so I can take time for myself, take a load off.
  3. Me Time. Me time comes in all different shapes and sizes for me and for everyone else. Somedays, it means doing a face mask and thinking about nothing for those twenty minutes, just breathing. Other days it means going to my favorite cafe to drink tea and eat my favorite treat. Recently, I have started getting into yoga and using that as a relaxation technique. I also picked up a few new books recently, as reading allows me to escape this reality. Or I relax with some buttered popcorn and Netflix. However you do Me Time, make sure its really about relaxing and unwinding, recognizing that its necessary for you to live a healthy and productive lifestyle.
  4. Reevaluate. The final step, after relaxing and getting your head clear, is to reevaluate your priorities, lifestyle, etc. Now that you know what is stressing you out, how will you change? It could mean doings less in general, dropping some things here and there to allow breathing room into your schedule. It could mean better prioritizing your time and productivity. There is always a change that can be made, and should be made to get you back to living a healthy lifestyle.
My favorite breakfast- tea, raspberries, Eggo waffles, and yogurt with granola!

Stress is a natural part of life, you will never have a stress-free life. But, it should be minimal and manageable. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone about your stress either – usually I call my parents and they help me with the reevaluating process. Stress can make life seem daunting, exhausting, sad, and all other sorts of things. But knowing that is the key to managing it. I am no professional, but I hope some of my tips can be helpful for some of you in managing your stress and getting back to being and doing your best!