A wicked weekend at Alton Towers theme park

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The sun wasn’t out, but our guns were!

As a foreigner living in the United Kingdom, it’s almost a rite of passage for me to visit Alton Towers, one of the major theme parks in England.

Practically everyone who has grown up in the UK, or lived there for some time, has visited the park before.

But, after almost a year living in Bristol, I (an adrenaline junkie and rollercoaster lover) had somehow not gotten around to it yet!

So, to combat this problem, recently Dan, our friends Will and Elyse, and I headed to to the Towers for a weekend of fun.

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Celebrating Ethical Living and Pride in Bristol

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Last weekend Bristol was inundated with rainbow flags, banners, decorations and fashion as the annual Pride March was held in the city.

Following a week of LGBTQ+ events across Bristol, the March and harbourside festival, held on the Saturday, was the headline event of 2018 Pride, as it is each year.

As if that wasn’t enough for me, another amazing event was happening in the city on the same day: The first-ever Viva!City Ethical Life Festival.

From the same creators of the Viva!Vegan Festivals (Such as the one I went to in Cardiff earlier this year), the Ethical Life Festival celebrated sustainability and green living alongside veganism.

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Learning how to make gin with Brennen and Brown’s Lab Experience

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I must start this blog post by stating that I don’t really like gin.

Yes, I’m actually beginning a post entirely about gin by remarking that I don’t even enjoy the stuff. Good job, Marnie, good job.

But this point is very important to this story.

Gin, to me, is hugely associated with the English – and with a history surrounding English and Dutch soldiers, then it’s major rise in popularity over the last five years in the UK, plus it being my British fiance’s drink of choice, it’s no wonder I associate the liquor with England.

Being from Australia, where gin is not often a drink of choice (in fact, I only have one friend that I’ve EVER seen drinking it) I’d hardly been exposed to gin before meeting my now-fiance, Dan.

Since then, it’s been Dan’s mission to get me to enjoy the spirit, of which he has served to me with various mixers, a large array of garnishes and a number of different botanicals, but to no avail.

However, Dan and I were lucky enough to recently take part in a Lab Experience at Brennen and Brown Distillery in Cheltenham, England.

Despite my lack of fondness for gin, I know how much Dan loves it, so I organised it as a present for his 30th birthday (What an awesome fiance I am, I know! 😆)

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Lantern Parade and Fiery Finale lights up Lismore

Photo Credit: Peter Derrett. Sourced from Lismore Lantern Parade’s Official Facebook Page.

Once a year Lismore’s streets are lit up with hundreds of handmade paper lanterns, carried through the town to the collective sounds of awe and cheer, as the annual Lantern Parade brings together the region.

Running for over 20 years now, the Lismore Lantern Parade and Fiery Finale is a volunteer-organised and run event which celebrates everything wonderful about the Northern Rivers region, and marks the Winter Solstice (the longest day of the year).

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How to make a lantern for the Lismore Lantern Parade

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The Lismore Lantern Parade is the signature event of the year in my hometown region, where thousands of people from across the Northern Rivers come together to mark the Winter Solstice, and to either walk in the parade, perform at the fiery finale, or watch as spectators.

Each year there are new lanterns created, to parade alongside ones that have been star attractions in years past.

Now in it’s 24th year, the Lantern Parade is a seriously fun event – whether you’re watching or participating.

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My Top Five Travel Tips

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France, 2013

If you’re new here: Hi, I’m Marnie, and I LOVE travel.

Over the last five years, I’ve traveled to 36 countries, and I’ve learnt a lot along the way.

I’ve grown from a naive young girl on her first big trip, to a confident female traveler.

Here I wanted to share with you my top five travel tips, which you can find in the video below.

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Sustainable/Zero Waste Fashion and the True Cost of the Fast Fashion Industry

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This gorgeous jumpsuit I wore to a wedding – Bought it for $5 at a secondhand clothing store!

For a while now I’ve been concerned about the pitfalls of the fast fashion industry – both the waste issues, as well as the humanitarian issues like sweatshops and low wage workers, and the environmental problems, like the high rate of pesticides used in the production of materials like cotton, and the harsh chemicals used in the creation of garments.

I’ve always purchased probably 50% of my wardrobe from secondhand clothing stores, but about 18 months ago, I decided to exclusively shop at secondhand stores for all my clothing from now on.

I always thought about it from a waste stream point of view – If I could purchase my clothing from the clothing already out there in the world, without contributing to the growing demand on the fashion market, I would be making a difference – however small.

But recently I watched the documentary The True Cost, and it got me thinking a whole lot more about the wider impacts of the fast fashion industry.

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Mental Health Awareness Week: Five things to do if you’re struggling

 

It’s time for another chat about a very important topic which is extremely close to my heart: Mental health.

I’ve spoken about my own mental health situation on my blog and YouTube channel before (If you haven’t seen that post you can catch up on it here). But today is more about you guys.

This coming week, the 14th to the 20th of May, is Mental Health Awareness Week here in the United Kingdom, where I live.

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Low Impact shopping at Bristol’s first Zero Waste store

Like many other South-West UK zero-wasters, I was delighted to hear about the opening of Zero Green in Bristol recently.

The gorgeous and green shop was opened by two passionate women, Lidia and Stacey, who said:

“Zero Green came about for two reasons; firstly, we were both becoming frustrated about how much packaging there is on everyday items and our understanding of how much damage plastic, and specifically single use plastic, was doing to our planet. Secondly, we realised that if we wanted to see something done about it we would have to do it ourselves! 

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Surprising my family in Australia

I’ve been living in the UK for eight months now, and it’s safe to say that I’ve been missing my family, friends, and home quite a bit during that time.

So Dan and I decided to have a little bit of fun and arrive in Australia for my Gran’s 80th Birthday a week earlier than we’d told my family we’d be arriving – getting there just in time to celebrate my Mum’s birthday too!

Watch the video above to see how it all went down ❤︎