February 9, 2022

Travelling corner: My winter trip to the Brecon Beacons

I didn’t really plan to write any posts on my one-day trip to Brecon Beacons, but when we arrived at Crickhowell, I suddenly realised that we had visited the Brecon Beacons before, and climbed Sugar Loaf four years ago. Back then there were three of us, and now we came as a family of four! It made me sentimental and also appreciative of those special moments together.

Last December, we decided to climb Table Mountain, and that’s why we first went to Crickhowell. My husband, Greg, had a small business venture there a few months earlier, and he was impressed by the charming little town. When we arrived, we first tried to find the path and somehow we couldn’t (even though we had a map and a guide-book)! Eventually, we took a short-cut to save the time we lost on finding the right way to the mountain. There were walkers, but not too many, and we had truly beautiful weather. The path wasn’t too muddy, and the hike was relatively easy, maybe only the last climb was more strenuous (and muddy). Our 7-year-old climbed the whole path by herself, and our 3-year-old needed to be put in a sling for the last climb (too tired!); overall they both did really well. I mostly enjoyed the views, for me more autumnal than wintery, but likewise beautiful.  Once we were back in town, we chose a cosy little café for a little treat!

I really enjoyed our day in the Brecon Beacons. Do you sometimes go climbing? What are your favourite spots? Please let me know in the comments below.

January 26, 2022

Goodbye 2021 and hello 2022

I used to dislike doing such reflections of the previous year and setting new plans and dreams for the New Year. But, a few years ago, I started enjoying this process of going through my past experiences and setting new plans for the New Year! I find it therapeutic and positive.

So let’s first see my 2021. It was an interesting year, where I re-established my values: I put my family and friends first, then business and then passions. It led to the decision to start home-schooling my daughters (aged 3 and 7). It wasn’t an easy decision, and it’s still a demanding and challenging experience for our family, but we so appreciate this time together and being able to properly get to know each other at different stages in our lives.

In business, we ran all our language courses online for the whole year of 2021. I think we feel more comfortable and professional when running our lessons online and as a consequence both teachers and learners enjoy the process of online teaching / learning even more. Towards the end of 2021, we needed to find new tutors in three languages! I was stressed it’d take us a long time, but it turned out to be a quick process, and we’re so happy with our new additions to the language school. Finally, we celebrated our 9th anniversary; I’m so grateful for our wonderful language tutors and passionate and dedicated language learners.

And my passions. I love travelling, swimming, cycling, learning languages and reading. We went camping twice and climbed Table Mountain in the Brecon Beacons, we swam in the sea, a river (for the first time!) and a lake, we went cycling in snow, rain and wind, I listened to podcasts in Czech, Polish and English, and read books in those languages, too. I think it was a good year!

Now, what are my hopes and plans for 2022? I think I’d like to be more patient when I’m with my children. Only through having children I’ve realised how impatient I am! Even though it’s only January, we already started spring-cleaning our house; yes, I felt it needed some freshness, changes in its interior design and overall organisation. It’s going well, but very slow.

In business, we’ll continue running our language courses and lessons online. I think for the time being, it’s an ideal solution for both teachers and learners alike. However, we’d like to get ready to offer face-to-face learning on top of our online offer, and also to have in-person meet-ups with our students and tutors.

Personally, language-wise, I think maintaining English, Polish and Czech at the right level is going well, but I need to put more attention into improving my French and forming a good learning routine. I also dream about travelling, but slower and more sustainable. I definitely plan to spend more time in nature, by the sea and by lakes. I also want to remain as active as I’ve been last year, doing morning stretching, walking, cycling and swimming (best of all: wild swimming!).

These are my reflections on 2021 and visions for 2022. Do you make plans / visions / dreams for the New Year? Please let me know in the comments below.

December 8, 2021

Book review: Lagom by Niki Brantmark

The right amount is best. (Swedish proverb)

I read and reviewed a lagom book some time ago and this winter I decided to return to this concept. Why? To get inspired by a simpler and more harmonious life. The word lagom loosely translated means ‘not too much and not too little – just right.’ It’s about having a more comfortable and balanced life. Sounds good, right?

In the introduction we read a wonderful story where the author writes about her summer holiday in Sweden. Her Swedish holiday was carefree, uncomplicated and enjoyable. Even though it sounds so simple and idyllic, in my personal experience, I find it difficult to completely switch off and slow down. And now, when the festive season is coming, I’m feeling even more encouraged to try not to put too much pressure on myself to have the ‘perfect’ Christmas and instead to balance my energy to have more relaxed celebrations and to enjoy this special time with my family and friends.

The book Lagom: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life is divided into three main categories: personal life, family & relationships and the wider world. The book first focuses on home and personal life and how to make them more lagom, for example through decluttering, buying second-hand, bringing nature indoors, preparing your bedroom for a good night’s sleep, taking good care of yourself (oh yes!), enjoying time in nature, and integrating some exercise into your daily life.

Niki Brantmark also writes about work-life balance: this aspect is important to me, as I sometimes struggle with it. What recently helped me to have some perspective into my work-life balance are my values: putting my family and home life first. As we read further, the Swedes also try to have a balanced work etiquette: they work very effectively and timely (staying late at work is not popular in Sweden!). We also read about the importance of having a break at work or from any other daily commitments (in Swedish it’s called fika aka taking time for a coffee, treats and conversation with friends) and disconnecting from emails and social media.

Another chapter that I found inspiring was on parenting. Being a parent myself, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the amount of work involved in raising our little ones. If we apply the lagom approach, maybe we’ll feel less pressured and plan our family life in moderation. After all, it’s good for our children not to be constantly stimulated and to be actually bored.

The book also contains lagom guides to celebrations (including Christmas and Easter), community, nature and eco-life.

Personally, I found the publication an inspiring and useful reminder about the importance of having a more balanced life. I think I feel ready for the coming festive season and the coming year. Let’s make them more lagom 😉

Have you recently read any books on the Swedish lagom? Please let me know in the comments below.

November 10, 2021

Travelling Corner: North Wales with children

Last month I published here my summer memories and today I want to explore North Wales with my children. Yes, I want to take you on a trip with us, to visit the places my children enjoyed most.

Alice in Wonderland (Llandundo)

Since reading Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, we all wanted to visit Llandundo, as apparently, the ‘real’ Alice spent her holidays in this beautiful Welsh town. What’s more, when we arrived in Llandundo we learnt from the Information Centre that we can follow an Alice in Wonderland town trail and find many sculptures inspired by the book. We all had so much fun walking around and spotting different pieces of art.

Farm and zoo (Llandundo)

We went to the farm but we didn’t go to the zoo. It’s not that my children don’t like zoos as such, but the ticket prices were high and when we asked those who attended, they weren’t exceptionally impressed. However, we did enjoy our farm visit (free-of-charge). The farm is located in Llandundo, just by the promenade. It has llamas, pigs, goats, deer, hens and owls (!). There is a small playground and a café. Just perfect for a day trip 😉

Beaches and pools

Our children had a great time on different beaches in North Wales: in Penmaenmawr, Llandundo and Prestatyn. They enjoyed looking for shells and pebbles, having a splash in the sea and building sand castles. In Llandundo, there is also an open-air paddling pool, located just on the promenade, not far from the farm.

Local trips

What captured our interest in North Wales? We really enjoyed the The Great Orme. You can get there from Llandundo on foot, by car, by tram or by cable car. We all preferred to go by tram (even though the queuing time was around one hour!) and it was a very enjoyable ride with some beautiful scenic views of the town and the sea front. We also went to Dyserth Waterfall which turned out to be very impressive (about 70 feet / 20 meters). The nearby forest is a perfect spot when it’s very hot or windy. We also visited Conwy Castle and walked around its medieval fortress (slings recommended, as tower stairs are quite narrow and steep). What a great place for a short history lesson!

Have you been to North Wales with your children? What did you enjoy most? Please let me know in the comments below.

October 13, 2021

Travelling Corner: My summer memories (North Wales 2021)

I’d wanted to visit North Wales for some time and, finally, this year I fulfilled my dream. We actually visited this region twice last summer, so I’m even more excited to share with you my travel experiences to North Wales.

Castles, churches & chapels

From our very first trip to Wales (which was many years ago!), I remember passing / seeing many churches and back then it made me wonder if it is actually true that Wales has more sacral architecture than other parts of the UK?!

Having this memory, I was very tempted to see the ‘Welsh Lourdes’, as I’d read bout it in my travel guide. Yes, in Holywell, there is actually a holy well where you can taste and bathe in the holy water (sadly, bathing is temporarily suspended) and visit the chapels (one with the pool and one with beautiful stained glass windows). Our visit was beautiful both visually and spiritually.

We also visited the famous Conwy Castle and the ruins of Howarden Castle. In Conwy Castle, you can walk on the walls that originally formed the medieval town. The ruins in Howarden were visible only from some distance and there was only one tower, but the village was lovely. 

Wild swimming

North Wales is a good place for wild swimming and the water is rather warm (!). We visited the beaches in Penmaenmawr (quite empty, so you can almost have the beach to yourself), Llandundo (I found three: one on each side of the town and one hidden) and Prestatyn (an urban beach with very high tides that make the beach disappear).


One of my little pleasures is a visit to a café. I used to go to cafes quite regularly, but now I try to treat it as something special and visit not too often. Let me give you some flavour of my favourite cafes in North Wales. One was in Llandundo: Providero. I enjoyed their leafy teas and the open-spaced interior. The other café was in Howarden, in their farm deli. The café was beautifully decorated with books and paintings, and just sitting there made me happy. But, trying their scrumptious plum bun was a very nice addition to our visit (!).


Last summer we decided to go camping: we camped near Llundando and Prestatyn. We enjoyed our experiences, we had some epic sunsets, were surrounded by beautiful nature and met many friendly families. What challenged us was the weather: very unpredictable; they were days of rain and wind. However, overall, I wouldn’t change our choice to more comfortable accommodation. Camping is a wonderful travel experience, natural, sustainable and slow.

How was your summer 2021? Please let me know in the comments below.

September 8, 2021

Travelling corner: Bristol by bike (part 4)

It’s not so easy to cycle when it’s windy, or it’s raining or snowing (of yes, we did cycle in the snow this year, what an experience!). But, even then, cycling is my favourite means of transport J In the last several months, we repeated many of our previous bike trips, but we also managed to (re-)discover a few new cycling paths. Today, I’m taking you on three bike trips in / around Bristol. Come and join me!

Ashton Court

We accidentally discovered this cycling path and we’re so glad we did, as it’s an excellent short-cut to Ashton Court. If cycling from Shirehampton, we first cycle along Portway Road and then we turn right onto the small bridge, which I think is called Plimsoll Bridge, to reach Bedminster. There, we go under the large bridge and then follow the number 33 cycle path.


First, we need to cycle to Severn Beach along the number 41 cycle route (or you can go by train) & then head along the main road towards Aust. We cycled there in winter and back then the cycling path from Severn Beach to Aust was closed. I think it’s open now, so we plan to re-cycle this route in summer. In Aust, there is a small beach with impressive cliffs above. Aust is famous for fossils and rock formations.

Blaise Castle

Blaise Castle can be approached from many different directions. We usually cycle from Shirehampton along the number 41 cycle route. However, Blaise Castle can be also approached from Combe Dingle. We can cycle there on the main road from Shirehampton then go via Sylvian Way and Dingle Road.

These are three great locations to visit by bike. Where do you enjoy cycling to in/around Bristol? Please let me know in the comments below. 

August 11, 2021

Book review: The Lido Guide by Emma Pusill and Janet Wilkinson (with my own recommendations!)

That’s such a useful publication: a well-researched guide to open-air swimming pools in the UK and Channel Islands. It contains a long list of lidos with some practical information about them, like addresses, website, contact details, short description of the pool and a couple of photos. In the introduction, we read that the majority of the open-air pools are community run by groups of volunteers who have often saved the pools from closure. We’re encouraged to visit the lidos on rainy and windy days, too (sounds adventurous!). There is even a short extract on the pronunciation of the word ‘lido’ (is it lee-doh or ly-doh?), as well as a mention of the historic pools of Britain. What personally surprised me was that Wales only has one open-air pool?!

As a swimming enthusiast myself, I also want to include here a short list of the lidos I have visited:

Bristol Lido

Clevedon Marine Lake

Portishead Open Air Pool

Weston Marine Lake (visited in August 2022)

The Rock Pool, Westward Ho!

Chagford Swimming Pool

Shoalstone Seawater Pool, Brixham (visited in June 2023)

Bude Sea Pool

Jubilee Pool, Penzance

But, with this lovely catalogue of different lidos, I feel well-equipped to explore more open waters.

Lastly, I want to mention that the marine lake in Weston-super-Mare is being currently refurbished (June 2021), so I am hoping to go there for a splash in summer 2022 (yes, it was re-opened in 2022)!

Do you have any favourite lido(s)? Please let me know in the comments below.

April 28, 2021

Travelling corner: Wild swimming in Poland

I love wild swimming and had many opportunities to try it out last summer in Poland. In Poland, there are swimming pools and lidos which are popular in cities and towns, so if you have a stay-cation, you can still enjoy some cooling down on a hot day (oh yes, it is sometimes 30 degrees in Poland!). But if you’re in nature, there are some wonderful natural reservoirs to have a proper dip.


I rarely go lake-swimming in the UK (any tips, do let me know in the comments below), so happily welcomed the opportunity to spend some time by a lake in Poland. We went to Pogoria which is a complex of lakes in the Silesian region. The lakes are surrounded by forests and have many cycling paths. We decided to spend a day on the beach. It was warm, sunny, windless and as expected, the water was super calm 😉 Our girls loved splashing in the lake’s waters and enjoyed the temperature of the water— you could easily spend the whole day there: splashing, swimming and playing. Very comfortable and highly recommended if you’re ever in Poland.


Oh the sea… More and more I dream about living by the sea, so I am using every opportunity to be able to wet my feet in the salty waters.. The Polish Baltic shore is a long stretch of sandy beaches, forests and lakes. It’s a perfect place to enjoy some time in nature and this is precisely what we did when we were in Poland. We went to a small village, just outside Ustka and explored the surroundings on foot or by bike – mostly by bike.. We even found a wild beach in Orzechowo with the most beautiful colour sea. The sea in Poland is cold, especially when it’s calm, however its temperature raises when there are waves.

River swimming is also popular in Poland. I didn’t try it out this summer, but it’s definitely on my travel to-do list!

Did you enjoy some wild-swimming last summer? Where did you go to? Please let me know in the comments below.

April 14, 2021

Language learning: What works when you organise your language learning

Today, I want to share with you some reflections on language learning. Through speaking with our school’s students and language tutors, I have some language learning tips which may help you organise your language study and achieve your desired outcomes quicker (and better!).

Whether you attend a language course, individual tuition or are a self-learner, you may think about following all / some of the tips mentioned below. Studying regularly is an important factor when learning / improving / maintaining language skills, so how to do it the way it works for you and your lifestyle.

End goal

Why do you study this language? What’s your end goal (be specific)? What exactly do you want to be able to do in this language? Write down your learning goal.

Weekly schedule

Look at your life and see how much time you can daily / weekly devote to your study. Are there any gaps you can fill with some language learning (e.g. commuting, house chores, free evenings). Mark all those gaps / slots and see how much time you want to put aside for language learning every day / week. Make a note of these. 


That’s really important. When planning your language learning, try to follow your interests even above all the grammar and all the recommended vocab. Why? Because, you’ll then find the whole idea of language study more fun, interesting and worth your (free) time. You can also swap the language of your regular free time habits to the language you currently learn.  


I think to have a more flexible attitude to the idea of self-study is crucial. Why? Because, if something doesn’t work, be prepared to drop or amend this activity, move on and to try out something else. It doesn’t mean to stop learning altogether, you just adjust your learning style so that it suits your life, personality and interests.

I think these are the points I wanted to share with you today. Below you’ll find my learning schedule, just for some inspiration or guidance.

I currently learn French and maintain my language skills in three other languages: Czech, English and Polish.

MY GOALS: To finish a French textbook from my secondary school (A1 level), to read Czech novels (C1 level), to have a better pronunciation in English (C1 level) and to be more familiar with education-related vocabulary (C2 level).

FRENCH: I follow my secondary-school textbook, it’s one chapter per week with some quick revision of the previous chapters. I’d like to listen to a good learning podcast in French, any recommendations?

CZECH: I like reading novels in Czech, watching stand-up comedy shows and I sometimes listen to a podcast on healthy lifestyle and food.

ENGLISH: I watch videos to improve my pronunciation in English. I also enjoy reading books on language, travelling and education.

POLISH:  I listen to a Polish podcast on education and read a magazine on home-schooling.

Now I’d like to know how you organise your language study. Please leave your comment down below. 

March 24, 2021

Travelling corner: Winter wonderland in Stourhead (Wiltshire, England)

In December 2020, we gave ourselves a beautiful treat; a visit to Stourhead. It was our first visit there and we didn’t know what to expect. It turned out to be a magical experience. Especially since, in December, along the path way there were Christmassy decorations with some lights installed for the late-evening visits. The place is a true gem for garden and nature lovers. It seems that every detail was carefully designed with many different types of trees, shrubs, plants and water animals. As we read on the NT website, it’s a world-famous landscape garden and can be described as ‘a living work of art’.

As we visited the garden in winter, we’d love to visit it in spring, summer and autumn, as it’d be lovely to observe the seasonal changes. We’ll keep our blogging journal updated and will share more stories from our visits here.

Have you recently visited a magical place? Please let me know in the comments below.