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Happy Bank Holiday!

Relaxing in Fiji - photo by Katie @ Second-Hand Hedgehog travel blog

Happy Bank Holiday! 

It's been a manic few weeks, so I've taken the weekend as me time. And since today is a bank holiday (UK) and the office is closed, I'm treating today as an extra day. It's a time for relaxation, and for feeling a bit more together, ready for the next round of work. 

It's the calm before the storm. 

At various jobs, I've got two exhibitions looming, a theatre tour, another edition of a magazine, a schools workshop, and a couple of poetry events. Oh, and then there's the odd bit of travelling, and of course, the run-up to Christmas. (We'll be singing carols and eating mince pies before we know it!)

So that's my advice for today: take the day for yourself. 

Lie back and read that book you've been meaning to read for ages. 
Paint your nails. 
Bake a cake and then eat it guilt-free. 
If the weather's decent, head outside and watch the sunset. 
If it's raining, drink hot chocolate by the fire. 
Listen to some new music. 
Go for a stroll down a path you haven't ventured down before. 
Head towards the sea and go beach-combing. 
Tick an item off your bucket list, or plan your next trip abroad. 
Switch off your phone for a couple of hours, and ignore your emails. 
Write a letter to an old friend. 
Call a friend or family member and meet up for coffee. 
Get in the car and drive somewhere beautiful. 
Try out a new recipe. 
Turn your hand to a hobby you've let fall by the wayside, like sketching or playing that musical instrument you used to be so good at. 
Put on cheesy disco music and dance around the kitchen. 
Take your camera around your local area to help you see your home with different eyes. 
Try a new craft, like weaving or paper folding. 
Do whatever you feel like doing. 

I hope you have a lovely bank holiday weekend, relaxing in whatever way suits you best. I'll be back to travel posting after today! 



Saturday Beach: the Solway Estuary

Solway Estuary


The Solway Firth lies between the north of Cumbria and the south of Dumfries and Galloway. It's a narrow strip of sea that separates parts of England from parts of Scotland. It also has a thriving bird-life population, which makes it well worth a visit if you're a bird-watching fan. Even if you're not, the wide spaces and huge open skies aren't something to be missed. 

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Saturday Beach is a series of weekly posts celebrating beaches around the world, whether cold and rocky or tropical with white sand. I love water; I love lakes; I love the sea. But most of all I love the edge of it: the boundary between the water and the land; where one thing turns into another. This is my weekly excuse to share that love with you.

Photo Diary: An Afternoon on Derwent Water


A day out in Keswick and on Derwent Water in the Lake District, Cumbria - photo by Katie at Second-Hand Hedgehog travel blog

The Lake District: 'A sort of national property in which every man has a right and interest who has an eye to perceive and a heart to enjoy.' 

~ William Wordsworth


Ask a lot of native Cumbrians, and they will tell you that a sunny day is a rarity in the Lake District National Park. They say that practice makes perfect, and Cumbrian skies are very very good at raining. 

But once in a while, our luck changes, and we'll get one of those bright sunny days, where the light bounces off the fells until it feels like they're magnetic, and the peaks and crags seem to draw you in. 

I love people watching on those days - which is a good thing, because the Lake District tends to get ridiculously busy in August and the school holidays. I like watching families picnicking on the grass, or couples rowing out on the lake, or children tearing up bread for the ducks.  

So when three of my uni friends came to visit and the sun (finally) came out, we all bundled into my car and headed over to Keswick. After a morning at Keswick market (Thursdays) and a trip to the Pencil Museum, we spent the afternoon rowing on the lake, and then strolling around the shore, soaking up the views. 

I've already posted my (very serious, professional and unerringly factual) video of our escapades in the boat, but I wanted to share some of the incredible views from that day. Cumbria is my home county, and however far I travel, I will never stop being proud of the beautiful place I call home. 

2B Or Not 2B: a Cultural Trip to Keswick Pencil Museum


Keswick Pencil Museum, the Lake District, Cumbria - photo by Katie at Second-Hand Hedgehog travel blog

I like museums. I know they're not everyone's cup of tea, but I enjoy them. They're like giant treasure boxes, full of learning. From the British Museum to the little two-roomed place in my local town, I love going in and not knowing what I'll discover. 

And then there are the more obscure ones. It's no secret that I'm desperate to visit the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb. But until I could make it to Zagreb, I decided to content myself with somewhere a little bit closer to home: Keswick Pencil Museum.

It actually started as a bit of a joke. Four of my uni friends were staying over, and I'd mentioned the Pencil Museum to them in passing a couple of months before. Somehow, the idea took hold. It became one of those ridiculous things that would be a laugh, and something a bit different to add to the itinerary. 

Beyond the occasional bout of the giggles, we didn't expect it to be particularly interesting.

Maybe that's our fault for lacking in imagination. Maybe we're just snobby. Because it turns out, pencils actually are interesting. (Yes, you read that right. It caught us by surprise, too.) 

A Bad Blogger's Advice: How often should I blog?


Photo from Beneath The Boughs poetry installation at Lowther Castle, Cumbria, 2013 - photo by Katie st Second-Hand Hedgehog travel blog

'How often should I blog?' Ask this question of the internet at large, and you'll receive all kinds of answers from all kinds of sources. Let me add my voice to the mix and tell you what I've learned: that there is no right answer. 

Since I started blogging properly a couple of years ago, I've gone through periods of posting twice a week, three times a week, and am currently on four times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday). I know bloggers who post every weekday then have weekends off. I know bloggers who only post every Sunday. I follow a couple of blogs which post on the 1st of every month. Then there are the bloggers who post several items every day - who are mightily impressive and deserve some kind of gold medal for the blogging equivalent of sprinting a marathon. 

It doesn't take a genius to work out that the people who post more often have more content on their sites; that's just simple maths. But it isn't just about numbers. 

It's about quality. 

(Sorry - this is obvious stuff, and I'm sure you know this already, but it's sometimes useful to have the reminder. At least, it is for me.)

So the real question isn't, 'how often should I blog', but 'how often do I have time to blog?