The best times we’ve had on earth are usually with those we love – Van Harden.
And with just three short, incredible, lovely days, the final bank holiday of the year is over. I had been looking forward to it for so long that I nearly despise the fact that it is back to normal until Christmas… in terms of national holidays, that is. I haven’t celebrated a bank holiday properly in ages. You know how people gear up for a night of carnage on the Sunday? Or, brunch to the max and make so many plans just because it has that one extra day? That is probably because I’ve either been in work or I’ve been in holiday mode. This time, however, I planned so many things, mainly because Mum came to visit! It was such a fabulous weekend and we packed so much stuff in that I definitely have enough photos for the ‘gram for the next week… #priorities. All joking aside, it was one of the best weekends I have had in ages and I got to experience new things as did Mum and Warren. That is what a holiday – at home or abroad – is all about! Perhaps, through my super high highlights, there will be a little bit of travel inspiration for your next trip to this beautiful, picturesque place in the world that I now call home.
PICKING MUM UP FROM THE STATION
There is no feeling like the pure elation you feel when seeing a loved one for the first time in ages (even if ages is just a week or two!). We spotted each other whilst the train was beginning to pull into the station and I half jogged, half held back (avoiding a parking ticket) towards my Mum. She smelled like home.
The best start to the weekend.
BRUNCH AT VICTOR’S
Jessica from Journeys with Jessica recommended this stunning venue for a Saturday brunch in Oxford with Mum. Having only visited once before, I don’t know the city too well to understand the brunch scene with its pretty backdrops and delicious food. Victor’s did not disappoint! As it was a glorious day – how amazing was the weather this bank holiday?! – we opted to sit outside and bask in the sunlight. The hostess took us to our table and sent for a a bottle of water (the good stuff, Harrogate – it even came in glass) to quench the thirst that summer heat always produces. I ordered the usual: a round of avocado on toast, complete with poached eggs, feta crumbs and chilli flakes. I ordered bacon on the side because I love a little bit of crunch with the avocado. Mum had the bacon muffin which she thoroughly enjoyed and our drinks lived up to the hype too. The one little bugger (a few actually) was in the form of a mini wasp army. They would not leave us alone! Had there been zero wasps, I would have finished my breakfast in peace, but the pesky things would not let up around the food. I must have looked a show jumping out of my seat, squealing and hiding my eyes behind a napkin. Next time, I’ll be dining indoors with the beautiful decorations. Twisted flowers, beautiful chairs and gorgeous chandeliers adorn the ceilings and walls. I’m already making a mental note to return!
WANDERING THE STREETS OF OXFORD
One of my favourite things to do is explore a new city, see its architecture and meander around the streets. Despite visiting before, Oxford is still relatively new territory for me. I had never been to the train station or that entire side of town before, nor had I ventured into the grounds surrounding the library. The windows, the architecture and the entire ambience of Oxford is something else. We saw students head into halls with their trollies full of alcohol and food, people from around the world, musicians of all cultures and nationalities, places that have stood the test of time and an old London bus with Just Married on the back of it! There is something magical about the cities in summer. Everyone is awake, bustling away, soaking in the last of the sun before it goes dormant for the rest of the year.
BBQ AT THE TRUEMAN’S
There’s nothing like a good family feast on a Saturday night, especially when it includes a barbecue, drunken hilarities, laughter and a bit of traditional culture from the other side of the world. Not to mention the prosecco!
A trip to a local castle is always on the highlight reel, wherever I go in the world. Whether it is ruined and decrepit on a clifftop edge, or a popular tourist attraction, full of historical artefacts and information, castles are those magical places that have stood the test of time, a gateway into another time and another world. Warwick Castle is legendary. Built in 1068 by William the Conqueror, it has certainly seen changes over time. From wood to motte-and-bailey and eventually stone in the 12th century. It was a strong-hold, evident from the tall towers and winding steps that we climbed and descended, until it became home to the Greville family. A truly magnificent fortress that houses so much history about the castle itself and the world around it for nearly 1000 years. We didn’t visit the Dungeons this time, although the gaol was bad enough, if you used your imagination. Down in the dark pit were chains and shackles, letters and tallies scratched into the cold, dank stone and even a tiny hole that was fenced for those who would never see the light of day again. It is horrifying and remarkable that people were treated this way. Following the castle, we stumbled across the Bird of Prey show. Beautiful birds glided and flew through the air, over a crowd that watched and gasped in amazement of these brilliant creatures. I’ll be returning very soon, that is for certain!
I wish every weekend was a bank holiday weekend. Don’t we all? But then, would we become so accustomed to it that we would eventually need a fourth day every now again? I feel like this bank holiday was one well-spent and, in a way, I am glad that it was the final one in the year. It finished the unofficial summer time on a high and I can’t wait to make more memories like these in the future weekends to come. For now, I want to slow it down a notch, save money and start making plans for the future. Does anyone else feel this way after an epic weekend?
Did you have a fab bank holiday weekend? What did you do?
Love, Faye xo