24 January 2013

Things to See and Do: Bath

After handing in my essays in the first week of January I went to visit Pete. We arranged a trip to Bath as part of my visit; it's somewhere I've always wanted to visit and Pete wanted to test out his driving having recently passed his test.
We stayed in the gorgeous Brooks Guesthouse; our room was so big, with a gorgeous bathroom and huge comfy bed. It was in a really good location too.

We went for a wander just after we arrived and decided to visit the Roman Baths; the site where Romans took advantage of the naturally heated water to bathe and worship. It was really interesting to learn all about the Baths and it looked so lovely. It was absolutely freezing outside so I really wanted to hop into the hot water and get warm!

We also sampled the spa water before we left but it was pretty gross! It was warm and tasted like blood so I'm pretty certain I wouldn't have that again.

After the Baths we popped over to Sally Lunn's, one of Bath's oldest houses, and tried a Bath bun. Silly me forgot to take a picture on my camera before I wolfed it down- there is one on my Instagram (secondhand_news) but I can't work out how to upload it here! I had mine with jam on and it was delicious.

Next stop was Bath Abbey. The building was absolutely gorgeous and the stained glass window at one end was so stunning. There was hardly anybody in the abbey which added to the atmosphere. 
Check out the gorgeous ceiling too.

I'm not particularly religious but honestly the abbey was so beautiful and peaceful that I would recommend checking it out if you got the chance. You can also go up the tower but it cost £6 each and we weren't that bothered as it was getting dark by this point, but on a summer's day I can imagine it would be stunning.

I really wanted to go to the Jane Austen Museum the following day before we left but it was closed for refurbishments, so we went to Bath Spa instead. Like the Roman Baths, it showcases the naturally warm water but this time you can jump in! We had two hours to spend there and most of that was spent in the open-air rooftop pool which was amazing. It was a clear day so the view was great, and it was so cold outside that it made a great contrast with the warm water. I wasn't allowed to take pictures there which was a shame, but I can assure you it was amazing and a great experience.

After the spa, we went for a spot of lunch and then sadly our time in Bath was over! It was a bit of a whistle-stop tour so I'd definitely have to go again and see a bit more.
From what I saw, Bath is a gorgeous city with amazing architecture and lots crammed in. The only downside was that we just didn't have enough time to do it all, so I'd love to return.

Have any of you been to Bath? Have you done anything I might have missed out on there?

11 January 2013

Book Club: The Equality Illusion by Kat Banyard

Well, I have finally handed in my two monster essays- 6,000 words each, due one day after each other, no thank you- and have had a lovely few days off. In that time, I managed to finish The Equality Illusion which I'd been reading for a few weeks before Christmas.

The books takes as its inspiration the often peddled idea that men and women today are pretty much equal. Banyard uses the book to dispel this myth, and does so brilliantly.

The book is set out in the form of a typical day for women; from getting out of bed to going to sleep, as well as a chapter on 'tomorrow', setting out how to change things.
From the first page, it's an eye-opener. Banyard has interviewed over 100 young women, gathering opinions on everything from body image to abortion. It's packed with astonishing statistics too, that really show the depth of inequality in the UK today.

It's quite hard to describe the book as it is all factual, but it is so worth reading. Everything is laid out clearly and it's very accessible to anyone, even without any previous knowledge of feminism.
There's also an excellent resource section at the end, with information on organisations for help and information.
This is a really excellent book that I think will open the eyes of anyone who reads it. It's meticulously researched but not written in an academic way, and the interviews with women who have lived the issues first hand make it so personal.
I'd really recommend this book, although it did make a bit angry when I realised just how shitty things really were!

A word of caution- Banyard interviews women who have worked in the sex industry, and some of the descriptions they give of things that happened to them are quite graphic. 

Have any of you read The Equality Illusion or any books like it? I love getting book recommendations!