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2 wheels are better than?

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It sounds a little morbid but sometimes when I’ve had only 3 hours sleep and I’m sat on the coach heading to whatever destination I am working in that day, listening to 3 different languages and smelling things that make my stomach turn I just wish to myself that I don’t check out of life on one of these journeys. It’s not how I would want to go and it obviously isn’t a job I enjoy very much. The last point of which I am going to try very hard to fix when I return. The 9-5 world is calling my name. We want our own place and I’m going to work hard to get it!

I know very little about motorbikes and this post will probably prove my ignorance but for me this trip is very different to any other I’ve taken because it will be on a motorbike and I’m unsure of how it’s going to go. I feel I’m either going to love it or be fed up of aching buns and having to look like the Michelin man in 30 degree weather. Very much holding out hope that it’s the former. As mentioned before the bike got messed up by some evil person so it’s in the garage getting fixed. We have a loan bike in the mean time which is a lot smaller and to me a very different experience. As I am just a passenger and my only experience being on a bike previously has been on the KTM that’s all I can go on but I shall attempt to explain why.

For anyone who has never been on a bike it can at first be a scary experience. It can jolt back and forth while gears are changed or when the bike breaks or accelerates and you are gripping on tightly hoping that feeling of flying off the back is only a possibility in your head. When turning you feel as if you’re getting close to the floor and the wheels can fly out beneath you and you picture yourself sliding along the tarmac hoping you don’t lose too much skin in the process. Or perhaps I’m being a little dramatic ;) but the less exaggerated feelings are there. Ok so the KTM 1190 Adventure is big and heavy and feels as though the tyres are glued to the ground and there’s not much chance of you sliding anywhere. When you put the box on the back with the padding it’s like having a nice safe secure little seat and without the helmet and the wind in your hair you could pretty much be riding in a car. The loan bike is a lot smaller and lighter, like most bikes really. There’s a little seat at the back to perch your bum and hardly anything to hold on to. You feel much more free and the fact that it feels less secure somehow makes it more fun. You can tell there’s a lot less between you and the ground but it’s a good feeling, you’re at one with the outside, just as on a bicycle. The fact that being on any bike makes you feel a little bit closer to your surroundings will probably add something to this trip though as we will be visiting or driving through some spectacular scenery and it should be pretty special. I am excited! 6 days to go…

The trip, the dreaming part

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Well some asshole is trying to throw a spanner in the works. Someone keeps deliberately putting screws in the bike’s tyre but this time they’ve damaged the inside of the tyre and it needs repairing. Not only is this horrible and vindictive and if I ever caught the person they would regret it but it’s also munching into our travel funds which could be better spent drinking coffee on a balcony in Venice or something equally awesome.

As far as the actual trip planning I think we have decided to totally flip our route so we head south first then up and round. Two reasons for this decision: One being I had a discussion about the weather with my brother this morning and how our summers are arriving later and so the weather will most probably be better in the south for us at the start then progressively get better as we head north after Croatia. The second reason is I think that after Paris we are much more looking forward to hitting the places along the south route and we can take our time a bit more and make sure we can enjoy those. A lot of the cities in the north we can probably do in a weekend trip if we are running out of time and don’t get a chance to see them or spend much time there.

So the rough itinerary planned out is as follows…

France – Paris, Annecy, Vienne
Switzerland – Berne, Spiez, Gruyeres, Lausanne, Geneva
Southern Germany – Black Forest, Lake Constance, Europa Park
Switzerland – Lugano, Zurich, Rhine Falls
Italy – Trieste, Venice, Verona, Lake Como
Croatia – Plitvice National Park, Zadar
Slovenia – Lake Bled, Ljublana
Austria – Vienna, Melk, Salzburg, Hallstatt, Worthersee
Czech Republic – Karlstejn, Prague, Cesky Krumlov, Karlovy Vary, Plzen
Northern Germany – Cologne, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Belgium – Bruges, Ghent, Brussels

Hopefully we will stick to our budget and be able to see and do everything we want! As most travellers know though, things don’t always work out and there’s always things you find along the way that alter your plans. That’s part of the experience and part of the fun! I always like to write down the proposed trip to look back and see how close it was to the reality. So I guess watch this space :)

Better get moving

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15 days to go. Yesterday we went to buy some motorbike clothing. Essential really if you’re going to spend that amount of time on one, especially as we will be driving all over unknown places. To start with a little context, since returning from Australia last year I’ve gained around 2 stone in weight, luckily I am able to hide it quite well. I’m now your average woman. Scott, the boyfriend and bike rider, has developed a little beer belly and is struggling to get into half his jeans lately. Typical relationship behaviour I suppose, though I attribute mine more to not working for a while as mine is starting to drop off again thankfully!

We called ahead to make sure the place had women’s clothing as many of the biker shops don’t really cater for us ladies. Walking into these shops I usually feel a bit intimidated, it’s not really my world…yet. However this one had quite a relaxed atmosphere. Perusing the racks a staff member was eager to help me to find what I need. I asked for a pair of jeans I liked in my usual size and was gutted when trying them on I couldn’t get them past my butt. I heard the staff member ask over the doors how the jeans were and with a shameful giggle I had to admit too small and he returned a few minutes later throwing a bigger pair over the doors for me. I had to go with the only pair I could get in to, a size bigger than I should be but at least I know I will be fairly comfy, although probably quite warm. I knew going in this wasn’t going to be the most confidence filling experience ha. Catching up with Scott scanning the rails for jeans in a size bigger because the ones he tried on were also a bit snug. Oh dear, this wasn’t going great for either of us.

So on to the jacket selection. Scott already possesses two old jackets in a large, which we can both easily fit into but we thought it better I get my own. Bless the staff member for being so tactful when I tried on the first large size ladies jacket and it wouldn’t zip up. I found one that fit but it had too much pink for my liking so we decided to get a men’s jacket which Scott could use after the trip as his was looking very tired. He picked one he liked, grabbed a large and didn’t look happy when he couldn’t zip it up. I commented that we probably both needed to go on a diet and it was the staff member’s turn to let out a nervous chuckle. So after both trying on the XL jacket we were finally kitted out and could relax and banter with the staff at the tills while we paid for our stuff then jumped on the bike to head back home, glad that we didn’t have to do that again for a while.

Usually people return from their holidays having indulged too much and having to adjust their belts but in my case I am usually far happier and healthier on holidays and come back slimmer. Another reason to look forward to this trip! Hopefully I’ll be having to purchase a belt for those oversized jeans while I’m away.

A few more bits to pick up, a little more research to do and we will be ready to pack up and go. Packing I am dreading as we obviously have limited space. No doubt I will let you know how that goes!

And so the countdown begins

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21 days until we begin our Eurotrip on the KTM Adventure. It will come pretty quickly as time really is flying by! You would think I would be used to trip preparation by now but every one is different and for this one I’m attempting to research all ten countries we’re visiting to try and get the best out of them as we can. I’m behind as I’ve only done 3 so far! We do have a rough itinerary though and this makes me really excited because we are going to some of the most beautiful places in Europe. Of that I am aware there are thousands but I am especially looking forward to Lake Como, the Croatian coast, Venice, the Alps in a couple of different countries, the Black Forest and the list goes on. I also still need to kit myself out with bike clothing which I have never really worn before.

I think the thing I am most apprehensive about is spending 6 weeks on the bike. The furthest we have gone on it together so far is Alton Towers. Though that isn’t a good example because it was November, absolutely freezing and we had to stop a lot just to make sure we didn’t lose fingers and toes! Summer will also have it’s disadvantages as wearing trousers, boots, helmets and jackets is probably not ideal but as we go along hopefully we will figure out ways to keep cool. My buttocks on the other hand may never forgive me for this trip haha.

We will be strapping a tent and a double sleeping bag (this will be new for me) to the back of the bike and mostly camping our way around. In the summer camping is awesome and it means we can wake up between mountains and next to lakes for a great price. I am glad though, that we have the option of checking into a b&b on a rainy day, which I’m hoping we won’t need to do!

It would be amazing if there was more if this to come…

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Hello again, remember me?

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I haven’t blogged for ages! I do miss it. I find I have more time to do it at the moment as I spend a lot of time travelling for work. I pretty much get up, shower, leave for work, get in from work and go to sleep. And of course do it all over again the next day. Any free time I have I spend volunteering with SJS Awareness UK, driving lessons or catching up with my lovely boyfriend. I’m flat out working as much as I can for the next 4 weeks as then we will be setting off on his motorbike for 6 weeks around Europe spanning 10 different countries. It’s going to be a pretty epic summer :) Camping most of the time too! Can’t wait until the adventure begins. It’s a lovely warm sunny day today and that always cheers me up. The best thing about my current job is probably that I get to travel to a different part of the South East every day and I think it’s the only thing that stops me from hating it. Yesterday I was in Canterbury, today in Reading, tomorrow Waterloo station and Sunday in St Albans. I’ve never been one for routine and I think the changes in scenery is the only thing keeping me sane. Anyway the reason I decided to blog was something I witnessed yesterday which I felt I had to share.

I was working in Boots when I overheard a girl asking one of the staff about anti-ageing cream. She said she thought she looked old and she smokes so she wants some cream to prevent the wrinkles. Firstly if you’re that worried perhaps quit smoking? Your health would probably appreciate it. The staff member asked her for her age and she replied 25! Is it just me in thinking that this is crazy?!? I didn’t think the girl looked old at all and she probably walked away with £60 worth of product. These companies must be laughing their way to the bank with these things. The girl even told the staff member she tried one cream already and it didn’t work and the staff member even said to her well it’s probably because you don’t have any signs of ageing so there’s nothing to see. She went on to explain that it’s pretty much about hydrating the skin. Im no expert but I’m pretty sure you don’t need a £30 bottle of face cream to do that. I was listening with complete shock to be honest. I can’t believe we’ve got to a point where a 25 year old is worrying about her image so much that she’s spending that amount of money to ward off wrinkles that probably won’t be coming for at least another 15 years. Perhaps it’s because I’m lucky enough to look younger than my age or because I know how hard I have to work to earn enough to pay for just that one bottle of cream but I am screaming insanity for the situation I witnessed! I’m just hoping this young lady is not in the majority.

Christmas gift hampers from Try me! Breads and sweet treats

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Hi guys,

I have designed a scrumptious selection of all homemade products for you to buy for yourselves or for a unique Christmas gift. It will be beautifully presented in a wicker basket, packaging, labels, ribbons etc. Each hamper will include the following:

Mince pies
A selection of shortbread
A jar of port and cranberry sauce
Gingerbread Christmas tree ornaments
A mini Christmas pudding
White chocolate fudge
& a selection of chocolate truffles.

All this for a reasonable £35.

I am open to making little tweaks to personalise your hamper. For example I can make all the products alcohol free, nut free etc. If you have any other ideas to make your gift extra special feel free to message me to discuss it.

You can of course also purchase any of the items separately.

Let’s make this festive season a special one! :)

Claire xxx

Try me! Breads & sweet treats

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Hello lovely people!

It’s been a while! As some may or may not know I have been selling my delightfully yummy baked goods for my enjoyment and yours :)
Below is a list of the things that are guaranteed to be tasty and how little they will cost you. If there is something you want me to make for you I’m willing to give it a try and you get a discount for being the guinea pig. So feel free to send me a message. I will be adding to the list regularly so keep an eye out or visit my Facebook page… https://www.facebook.com/Bakedwithlove.claire where there are pictures.
At the moment I can only deliver locally (near Ilford, Essex) but that will expand a bit once I gain my mode of transport aka a scooter, if all goes to plan.
Thanks guys! Hope you enjoy my goodies :) Get some while they’re still cheap!

White/wholemeal loaf. £1.80
Above with seeds (poppy, sunflower, sesame, linseed etc.). £2.00
Carrot cake (with or without orange icing). Serves about 8. £4.50
Apple & blackberry crumble (serves 4-6). £5.50
Oatmeal & raisin cookies. 40p each, 4 for £1.50, 6 for £2, 12 for £4, 18 for £6.50, 24 for £8, 48 for £15
Gingerbread (in many different shapes) 12 for £3.50, 24 for £6.50
Blueberry muffins. 50p each, 4 for £1.75, 6 for £2.50, 12 for £5
Golden snitch cake pops 75p each, 12 for £7.50
Baileys cookies 75p each, 6 for £4, 12 for £7.50
Gingerbread house £25
Party piece (chocolate cookies & marscapone cream tree) £15
Shortbread Traditional circle of 8 triangles £3, 6 chosen shapes £3, 12 pieces £5
Fudge £5 add £1.50 for gift packaging (box, ribbon and bow)
Truffles £5 add £1.50 for gift packaging
Lemon meringue pie £5
Chocolate chip cookies 60p each, 6 for £3.25
Donuts with glaze or chocolate £1 each, 6 for £5, 12 for £10

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