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Category: Bucket List

Jacobite Train (aka Hogwarts Express)

Voted several years in a row as the top rail journey in the world (Wunderlust Magazine), the Jacobite train trip in Scotland has been on my bucket list for some time.

Starting near the highest mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis, it visits Britain’s most westerly mainland railway station, Arisaig; passes close by the deepest freshwater loch in Britain, Loch Morar and the shortest river in Britain, River Morar, finally arriving next to the deepest seawater loch in Europe, Loch Nevis.

The Jacobite runs a distance of 82 miles return between Fort William and Mallaig, including travelling over the stunning Glenfinnan Viaduct.

The route is also the same shown in the Harry Potter films as the Hogwarts Express.

It was fascinating standing beside the engine and hearing the metal go pop pop pop pop bing pop bing as the heat and cold coincided…



I found the Loch Ness monster – well, especially since this wasn’t Loch Ness, perhaps Nessie third cousin, twice removed (below)…





The pub listed below is sooooo remote, I cannot even find a way to get there other than by boat!

What’s wrong with this photo (below)?

For those who are wondering, no, the Cullen Skink is not lizard soup!  Cullen skink is a thick Scottish soup made of smoked finnan haddock, potatoes and onions – and was yummmmm!

When I was waiting for my ride back to the hotel, the crofter from yesterday saw me – “did my cousin email you yet, Bella?” she asked…  I have made several friends here already – it feels like home!

Oh and just in… this video sent to me by new friends I met on the trip, Tony and Kim, and their family.  Thank you!


~ Bella


How to ACHIEVE What’s On Your Travel Bucket List?

It’s one thing to create a ‘travel bucket list’ but then what?

How do you go about managing all the various places on your travel bucket list in such a way when you go off on an adventure, or go on holidays, that you are aware of what’s on your list so you can plan effectively and check off as many as are relevant to that journey?

Give your Google Map the travel bucket list ‘spots’!

I am about to head off on a road trip through Scotland, so today invested time in adding to my Bucket List some places in Scotland that looked really interesting and that I wanted to visit and investigate.

In addition to adding to my Bucket List, I also added each of those places to Google Maps – hence the spots above (that is a screenshot of my personal Google Maps app).

Here’s how that works…

First of all, decide on the location you want to add to your Google Maps ‘spots’…  In this instance, I am adding Loch Ness…

So, first step is to go to your Google Maps app and search for Loch Ness – then you will see a tab called “Saved”…

I add the places I want to visit to the list called “Want To Go”…

That then adds a ‘spot’ onto your Google Maps app so you can actually SEE your travel bucket list!  (ref the first image)

When it comes time to travel to a particular area, I look at my Google Maps ‘spots’ to see what’s on my travel bucket list that I might want to explore while I am in the area…

I find this is invaluable in helping me actually achieve what’s on my travel bucket list.

If you have any questions about creating and managing your own travel bucket list, feel free to reach out to me!

OK, time to start deciding what I am going to take with me on this trip…  🙂   Hmmmm, perhaps that needs to be another post…  🙂

~ Bella

Seaweed Bath Checked Off My Bucket List

While for many, the thought of being surrounded by seaweed is something straight out of a horror movie, for me, having one of Ireland’s famous ‘seaweed baths’ has been on my bucket list for some time.

Seaweed baths are popular in Ireland, but are not a recent phenomenon as many date from Edwardian times, when they were more widespread than they are now. There were baths in most large Irish seaside towns.

According to ‘soakseaweedbaths’, “in 1904 French scientist Rene Quinton published the medical work ‘L’eau de Mer, Millen Organique’ (Sea Water Organic Medium). Quinton’s study indicated that sea water and human plasma (blood and lymph fluid etc) are almost identical in their composition of mineral salts, proteins and various other elements. Indeed it is known that similarities between seawater and human blood plasma are so great that, when removed from the body, white blood cells are able to survive in sea water, whereas they break down and disintegrate almost instantly in any other medium.

Many therapeutic benefits are attributed to seaweed bathing. Scientific studies have confirmed that seaweed bathing helps lower body stress and relieve skin conditions (psoriasis, eczema, acne etc). It has also been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of muscle aches and joint stiffness (rheumatism and arthritis), and excellent for some circulatory problems. Seaweed treatments are associated with body toning, slimming and the release of toxins. Indeed, the therapeutic merit of seaweed can be aptly described as one of nature’s timeless treasures, fostering beauty, balance and vitality.”

So, after a minor sleep-in, and getting a few hours of work done – upon arriving at the hotel’s spa, I changed, and after spending a relaxing 15 minutes or so in the ‘relaxation room’, I was shown through to the seaweed bath.

Imagine a lovely hot bath…  That’s essentially what it is… only it is sooooo much more…

The water feels ever so soft to the touch… and there is a lovely film on the surface of the water that feels like a gloriously expensive moisturiser…

…and contrary to popular opinion, they do not smell like the beach at low tide!

After soaking for about three-quarters of an hour, a gentle rapping on the door indicated it was time to extricate myself from the tub and return to the ‘relaxation room’ ready for my pedicure and hot stone massage.

Btw, a hint – if you do have a seaweed bath, don’t rinse off the water from either your body or your hair – it is a fabulous conditioner!

Then, after a total of four hours at the spa, and purchasing several boxes of the dried seaweed to take home with me, I relocated to the bar to do some more work and have an early dinner… (and I do love being seated next to old and dusty bottles of wine…)

All in all a most glorious day!

~ Bella

PS:  While I was eating dinner, and then again while I was awaiting the car to take me back to my apartment, I was dismayed (that is putting it mildly) by the number of disrespectful and unruly children – and parents who were little better…

…and yes, I realise that statement exudes snobbishness, and I do not apologise for it in the slightest.

I was thinking that it is a shame there is not more of an appreciation of the manners and respect of old…

When the taxi arrived to take me back to my apartment – a half-hour ride – I was absolutely delighted that my driver was an elderly man who asked me if I minded if he played on the car stereo Gaelic love songs from 50+ years ago…

“I miss times when men were men, and women were women, and children knew how to respect their elders,” he said.

= Heaven!

1066 Battle of Hastings

1066 Battle of Hastings – 950th Anniversary

I feel ever so honoured to be here in Hastings for the 950th anniversary of the 1066 Battle of Hastings.  Battle Abbey is magnificent!  I will add information and commentary later – wanted to at least upload the photos now…

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roman baths

Historic Bath and the Roman Baths

Bath is one of the most beautiful of places – and the Roman Baths are extraordinary!  I am yet to add the information to this post – but wanted to at least get the photos up…

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Stonehenge is on just about everyone’s bucket list and when I finally checked it off mine, the feeling was very surreal…  I wanted to at least get the photos up…  Will add details soon…

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travel bucket list

Creating Your Travel Bucket List

travel bucket listDo you have a travel bucket list?

Creating your travel bucket list should be fun. It is what should inspire you to lead a more exciting and fulfilling life. But, sometimes, it can be difficult and overwhelming creating one. You have so much to see and experience in the world and only just little time to do it that you might be wondering what places of interest you should incorporate into your travel bucket list.

So, how do you begin creating your travel list?

The first thing you need to do is to get some basic tools ready. Whether it’s on physical paper or online (my favourite tool for this is Evernote), you need a place not only to write down your ideas when you get them, but also to add web clippings and other information as you come across things. Also, as you accomplish each item on your list, you will cross it off.

Accomplishing each of them can be incredibly satisfying – at least it certainly has been for me!  Here’s my bucket-list, complete with both items achieved and those still to achieve.

Now, grab your pen or open your program, and start brainstorming all the exciting and wonderful places you would like to visit in not too distant future.

Your bucket list should be very personal. You might include all the travel destinations you have always dreamed of. Think back to the periods you were younger and places you dreamed of visiting when you grew up. If you had wanted to travel to many parts of the world, why not list them down now?

As people age, they often tend to dismiss their childhood dreams as unattainable and unrealistic. However, these childhood dreams can be a great resource for your travel list ideas, and depending on your present lifestyle or taste, you can turn these dreams into achievable goals. You will discover that creating your list from your fantasies can be fun.

If you have heard about some fantastic cities like Paris, Sao Paulo, London, Dubai; and some countries such as Guatemala, Italy, South Africa and other beautiful travel destinations, you might include them on your list.

Also, think about your interests or hobbies. Which of those travel destinations can provide you with your hobbies or interest? Then, proceed to list them in your travel list.

When you look at my bucket list, you will also see activities such as swim with dolphins, go horse-riding in the snow, or be a volunteer at “il Club di Guilietta” (ref ‘Letters to Juliet’)…

As you progress through life, ensure that your travel bucket list notebook or app is always within your reach. As time goes on, your notebook/app will remind you of fantastic places you want to visit.

Sometimes we just need a little reminder of our dreams in order to take the first step toward them…

…and let me know what amazing items are on your list.  You may inspire me to add to mine!