Grab a coffee and some brunch at the Birdcage

EDIT: March 2015 – The Birdcage has closed down?!?!?! no. NO. Noo. But I’m keeping this post here just in case (please please please) they reopen.

Congratulations to those of you who have survived the January exam season! This post is for any Bristolians who may be feeling a little worse for wear after post-exam parties and are looking for a coffee/brunch pick me up in a quirky and creative cafe.

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The Birdcage, in the heart of the Old City, right next to St Nick’s Market, is a gorgeous, trendy spot to get your caffeine fix. Priding themselves on providing “yesterday’s clothes, today’s coffee and tomorrow’s music”, the Birdcage can give you a bit of whatever you need. Seriously good coffee to go, healthy (gluten free/dairy free/vegan) lunch and an array of cakes or healthy snacks are only a few of the treats available. The charming and eclectic decor, with mismatched leather sofas and armchairs, retro bicycles as wall hangings and cute vintage crockery, makes settling in with a drink and a book both calming and inspiring. They also offer a range of vintage items for sale, as well as a number of (mostly free) music events including a weekly Open Mic Night, perfect spot for an artsy night out. If you haven’t already checked out the Birdcage, do so. You won’t be disappointed.

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Useful Info:

* Opening Times: Monday – Friday 8am-10/11pm.
Saturday 10am – 11pm. Sunday 10am-6pm.
* Food options: Delicious brunch and lunch menu, with dairy free, gluten free and vegan options, all cooked with local produce. (My favourite – Earl Grey poached pears on porridge with warmed honey and toasted pine nuts – £4.) Also snacks including probably the best vegetarian scotch egg I have ever eaten.
* Cup of Coffee: £1.90 Americano. (£2.65 for a vanilla latte – but be adventurous, they have an extensive drinks menu, including frappes, smoothies, and a large range of loose leaf teas) – Full Drinks Menu HERE
* Bring with you: a good book or a good friend.
* Music Nights – Listings on their Facebook page
* Address: 28 Clare St. Bristol. BS1 1YE
* Phone: 0117 929 1130
* http://www.birdcagebristol.com
* @birdcagebristol

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Visit the Cliffs of Moher

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Stretching along Ireland’s western Atlantic Coast, the Cliffs of Moher are definitely not to be missed. After waking up at literally the crack of dawn (a big achievement for yours truly), Larry and I hopped on a coach and, on the rainiest day I have ever experienced, headed off westwards towards this dramatic spot. Here are some reasons why you should do the same if you ever find yourself in Ireland.

1. They’re stunning. EVEN if it’s torrentially raining.
I definitely didn’t take the above picture… This is what it looked like when I went there..
IMG_2469.JPG and this is what I looked like after having been…
IMG_2472.JPG It rained quite a bit. But it was hard to ignore how beautiful the coasts are.

2. They go on for 5 miles and at their highest they reach 214m
This means that if you’re into coastal walks with outrageous views you will be living the dream.
As well as more than 600m of coastal pathways, dotted with viewing platforms and buskers playing traditional Irish music, there is a Cliffs Coastal Trail which is 20km long. A 12km round trip to Hag’s Head, for example, would take around 3 hours. Larry and I, however, found battling along the shorter pathways pretty gruelling enough in the november downpour and heavy wind and so didn’t get to explore the trail, but it is on my list of things to do for my next visit.

3. There is wildlife galore
Apparently you can see puffins, guillemots, razorbills and even peregrine falcons (for you noobs, they’re the fastest creature on the planet.. keep up). Also there are frequent sightings of dolphins and seals and maybe sharks. Larry and I didn’t see any of these. It was very, very rainy.

IMG_2477.JPG 4. Dumbledore went there once?

5. There’s a really warm warm warm visitor centre
It has a cafe, a restaurant (with beautiful cliff views, and home cooked foods using local ingredients), a shop (fairly expensive as you’d expect), some displays and some relatively nice toilets. Perfect for warming up after venturing outside in the rain.

6. O’Brien’s Tower provides even further panoramic views of the cliffs.
Built in 1835, this tower overlooks the coast and gives some pretty fantastic views of the coastline (€2.00 extra). You can see as far as the Aran Islands to the west, the Twelve Pins in Connemara and all the way to the mountains of Kerry.

What’s stopping you?!

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USEFUL INFORMATION

* Admission: €4.00 for students. €6.00 adults.
* Opening times: 9am – 5pm (Closing time varies throughout the year depending on the month. In June/July it closes at 9pm)
* Bring with you: A waterproof, A camera, A Flask
* A cup of coffee – about 2EUR depending on which cafe you choose.
* Guided tours available for 45EUR. See here for more information
* Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland.
* http://www.cliffsofmoher.ie/
* @cliffsofmoher1

2014 : reflections

This post is admittedly a little overdue, as we are already racing through January, but I thought it would be worth taking some time to think about the adventure that was 2014 and look forward to all that 2015 holds.

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For this adventurer, thinking back over 2014, I am filled with memories of some truly overwhelmingly happy times, as well as some of the most challenging. It is so reassuring to think that despite a rocky start to the year (to put it lightly), with no adventuring and frankly no desire for any enterprise more daring than lurking under the safety of my duvet, I am still able to think back and remember some fantastic and exciting days spent with some fantastic and exciting friends. I feel like I am successfully escaping from what seems now to have almost definitely been a curse or bewitchment cast over me by some super mean and grouchy witch. So, for now, please indulge me while I recap some of 2014’s adventures – perhaps it will inspire some of you for whom happiness seems scarily distant.

Travelled by boat to Hurst Castle and learned about Henry VIII’s coastal forts.
Flitted from pub to pub and band to band for Bristol’s Dot to Dot Festival.
Got extremely muddy and equally glittery at Love Saves the Day.
Headed off to Paris with the best people, staying in a 4* hotel at the Place du Vendome.
Sprinted around Disneyland Paris and hopped on Big Thunder Mountain more times than we should admit.
Cycled from the Eiffel Tower along the River Seine all the way to the Bois de Vincennes.
Boogied to Kool and the Gang at Guilfest. Cried at my first ever Opera experience at Glyndebourne.
Picnicked on the beach at Lepe (Read more here).
Visited an impressive number of castles (including Cardiff which I also wrote about).
Made a hell of a lot of bunting.
Visited Dublin and travelled across to County Clare to see the Cliffs of Moher.
Volunteered at Bristol Zoo Gardens (I wrote a post about this place) and got hands on with butterflies, lemurs and lorikeets.
Sang/played at my first open mic night in years.
Got incredibly lost returning from the Bristol Balloon Fiesta and discovered Leigh Woods by accident.
Learnt how to dance a little bit.
Saw a truly fantastic performance of Julius Ceasar at the Globe Theatre as well as a bunch of other fantastic theatre performances.
Met a guy who is pretty cool.
Celebrated in the new year on a boat on the River Thames.

I suppose the main thing that I can take away from what might seem like a relatively short, or rather tame list of activities, is that popular definitions of the word “adventure”, yapping on about “reckless or potentially hazardous actions”, with reference to “danger” and “the taking of risks”, seem to be somewhat lacking. I visited a number of art galleries and public museums, I went on a number of coastal walks, I learnt how to bake – hardly risky exploits. And yet the sense of achievement, the feeling that I have returned, successful, from a thrilling, exciting and emotionally daring undertaking is still there, and surely that must be what adventures are all about. Throwing yourself into the world despite uncertainty of what might be in store and (re)discovering a sometimes lost sense of excitement in all there is out there to experience. I think realising the joy in this pursuit might have been my biggest and most challenging adventure yet.

adventure
noun
Sarah’s Official Definition: TBC

For now I could give you some words that rhyme with adventure instead? Helpful? No? (Bencher. Denture. Wrencher? Trencher. Dementia?)

Ok the end.

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