Saturday, 26 October 2013

Where do you call home?

I've lived in southern Hampshire all my life and I might be biased but I think it’s got something to suit pretty much everyone who might come to visit.  I was recently asked by Kendra Thornton from Chicago about what I love about where I live and we set about this joint post.

Hampshire, England

For me it is like a picture of England in a nutshell; Fields of watercress and strawberries, steam trains chugging through farmland and rolling countryside, tiny picturesque villages with chocolate box houses.  
Miss Bella strawberry picking in Titchfield
There is such diversity here too though; large towns and cities full of hustle and bustle, beaches for playing and scavenging and forests for adventure or relaxation.  There are snack shacks and Michelin starred restaurants, harbours small enough for fishing boats or large enough for the biggest cruise ships, theme parks and football stadiums and more historic buildings and ruins than you can shake a well thumbed guidebook at.
Falconry display in the ruined cloisters at Beaulieu
One of our favourite places to visit is of course the New Forest.  People sometimes assume that it is just a bunch of trees but the landscape actually varies from true forest to moors, rivers and villages.  It has its fair share of history too which you can find out about in the visitor centre in the pretty village of Lyndhurst.   It wouldn't be the New Forest without the ponies and it always thrills me to see the animals wandering about freely.  Our particular favourites are the skinny-legged foals with their cute fluffy tails but we often see cows and little donkeys in the village on our way to visit Beaulieu too.  
New Forest pony in the frost.
We’re very lucky that a certain prominent member of our household works in Beaulieu, which of course is most famous for its motor museum.  Yes I love the James Bond exhibition with its crazy showcase of vehicles used in the films; and of course the resident transport in the rest of the museum there spans over 150 years, but it is Palace House and the beautiful grounds around the ancient abbey that draw me back. ONE day I will go to one of the paranormal investigations there because there are many tales of strange sights, sounds and even smells haunting the ruins.  The Secret Army Exhibition is fascinating too, detailing how the house was taken over during the war to train spies in various espionage techniques.  And at the right time of year you can take a trip on the historic Beaulieu River from Bucklers Hard where the Bounty ship was built.
Bond boat on display at Bucklers Hard on the Beaulieu river.
The Beaulieu River flows into the sea which divides the Isle of Wight from the mainland.  I grew up just a stone’s throw from the sea side and I am still at my most content on a windswept beach.  Most of The Solent is accessible from the Gosport side of Portsmouth harbour right along to parts of Southampton and then again further along near the New Forest.  They are predominantly shingle beaches until the tide is right out and it’s a great place for sailing and windsurfing.  The seafronts are dotted with play parks, splash parks, crazy golf, beach huts and ice-cream vans.  No walk along the promenade would be complete with a visit to one of the many restaurants and cafes. 
Louis and Harvey on the beach at Hill Head.

A bracing walk to blow away the cobwebs followed by a nice cup of tea?  That’s my home.  That’s where my heart is.

Chicago, USA

My name is Kendra Thornton, and though I love to travel, today I am here with Lisa-Jane at Inside My Head to discuss why we love our hometowns. I was formerly the Director of Communications for Orbitz, and today am advocating my own personal backyard, Chicago.

You can catch up with me on Twitter.

Fun In My City and Yours!

My home city is Chicago, and I have lived in the greater area for my entire life. A trip to Chicago satisfies many cravings. If you’re a foodie, know that mouthwatering aromas and tastes will inundate you as soon as you enter the city. If you love sports, Chicago’s hard-charging teams are sure to delight. And if you are looking for fun, entertaining family attractions, Chicago contains a lifetime’s worth of fun and unique diversions. The following attractions are just some of my favorites.    

1.) Root, Root, for Chicago
Kendra and her lovely family at a Cub's game.
Chicago is a must-see metropolis for any sports fan. The city’s professional hockey, football, basketball, and baseball teams have provided locals with countless moments of exhilaration over the decades. What’s more, the sports venues in this town are unsurpassed. The Blackhawks are particularly popular nowadays given their recent Stanley Cup wins, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love our Cubbies just because they’ve been stuck in a slump this year! Chicago fans are as loyal as they come, and we love going to Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs play during the summer. The 7th inning stretch is capped off with someone, usually famous, leading the crowd in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” and my kids love singing along!

2.) Up on the Roof -- Way Up

For a startling view of Chicago, check out the Willis Tower’s Skydeck. It's located on the 103rd floor of one of the world’s tallest and most beloved buildings. The Skydeck is basically a clear, enclosed box extending off of the window. Three layers of half-inch-thick glass comprise each of the box’s sides. Standing inside the Skydeck provides the adrenaline-pumping illusion that you’re floating amidst the clouds. If you have children, this memory of looking out above the sky will stay with them for years to come!

3.) The Pleasure Paradise That Is the Peninsula

After coming down to earth, you might wish to pamper yourself with the ultimate in Chicago luxury. The upscale hotel called the Peninsula Chicago is just the place to do so. One of my personal favorite things to do in the city is enjoy the spa here. The Peninsula’s spa is first-rate, as are its European-style dining experiences. Plus, its views of gorgeous East Superior Street are, well, superior. The site gogobot can help you look at the amenities offered here, and at any other hotels in Chicago, as well as pricing.

4.) You’re Always Welcome at Lou’s

While the Peninsula is great, there is nothing like a family trip to Lou Mitchell’s. Lou Mitchell’s is among the best of Chicago’s diners, and it has been for 85 years. It’s a Windy City icon, a historic eatery that serves heaps of irresistible and affordable food. As a special bonus, the diner gives free Milk Duds to the women and children who eat here. Why Milk Duds? The person who created this type of candy was not only a Chicago native, but also a Lou Mitchell’s regular.

One of the reasons many people love to travel is to feel alive -- to experience a world different from their everyday lives. And Chicago supplies one experience after another: thrilling sports games, dizzying skyscraper climbs, and delicious eateries around every corner. There’s pleasure around every bend in my hometown, and we Chicagoans wouldn't want it any other way.

So there we go.  That's home for me and home for Kendra, how about you?  What do you love about where you live?

Bye for now


  1. an interesting post Lisa-Jane. I agree with you there is pretty much something for everyone in your neck of the woods. Many places that I love!! Chicago sounds like it has a lot of offer....i hope to get there one day xx

  2. That is a great post Lisa-Jane, there is so much to do in Hampshire x

  3. This is such a fun post, Lisa-Jane! I loved reading about your town, and I have to say that I am a big fan of Chicago! I've been there a few times and it's one of my favorite US cities.

    Gosh, there's so much diversity where you live! This was a really fun read!

  4. Just round the corner from me!


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