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11 Cultural Date Ideas In Cheshire That Won’t Cost You A Penny

11 Cultural Date Ideas In Cheshire That Won’t Cost You A Penny

Cheshire is a county rich in cultural significance, with many of its ancient towns and landscapes strewn with impressive historic buildings calling to be explored. The medieval Beeston Castle, and the opulent moated Little Moreton Hall, are but a few examples of early architecture dating back to the 15th century.

Britain is famed for its boundless rolling countryside too, and Cheshire is no exception, providing endless miles of trails, such as the iconic 34 mile Sandstone Trail, perfect for long romantic walks through this fairytale landscape. Though many of Cheshire’s attractions don’t come free, here are 11 date ideas that do.

1. Hang out in Happy Valley

    Residents of Bollington refer to their hometown as Happy Valley. From a nondescript backwater to a vibrant mill town, a trip to the Discovery Centre tells its story, and even provides a free Majestic Mills trail guide for you to go off and explore the old cotton mills, canals and cobbled streets. Surely a date can’t fail in Happy Valley?

    2. Create your own Watergate scandal

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      Impressive works by the likes of Jack Vettriano, Bernhard Vogel, and Kerry Darlington might ignite a whirlwind romance on a date to the Watergate Street Gallery. With such vibrant pieces at every turn, it’s easy to see why anyone can be seduced by art.

      3. Walk Chester’s medieval city walls

        There’s arguably no better way to appreciate a land than from above. Without taking to the skies, view historic Chester from on top of its medieval city walls. Dating back to AD 120, this mixture of Victorian and Roman architecture are the only complete city walls in the UK. Built to defend Chester from numerous enemies, you’ll follow in the footsteps of Roman foot patrols and archers. Will cupid strike?

        4. Warm your heart in Port Sunlight

          Recognised as one of Europe’s finest art galleries, Lady Lever in Port Sunlight houses Britain’s best collection of decorative and fine art. Stunning exhibitions featured throughout the year compliment the 18th and 19th century displays of Chinese porcelain, and Wedgewood jasperware unrivalled anywhere in the world. Its founder, William Hesketh Lever, dedicated the gallery in memory of his wife. Much of the works come from his own private collection. If this doesn’t warm your date’s heart, find another.

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          5. Spot red squirrels on an ornamental lawn

            Walton Hall Gardens span 30 acres of a managed estate in Warrington. Mature trees, ornamental lawns and formal gardens provide an excellent habitat for Walton Hall’s red squirrel breeding program. Bring cucumber sandwiches and Pimm’s for a quintessential British afternoon picnic.

            6. Visit one of the UK’s oldest museums

              Opened in 1857, the Warrington Museum & Art Gallery was one of the first museums in Britain. With over 200,000 fascinating things to look at, including Warrington’s own dinosaur, you can’t go wrong by taking your date here. Free admission is almost unheard of in an establishment like this. Recent features include works by Banksy and Tracy Emin.

              7. Watch boats from a bandstand

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                Take a stroll along the promenade by the River Dee and stop off at the pretty bandstand to watch the rowing boats. Caught up in yesteryear in a setting like this is what romance is all about.

                8. Exotic species to set your passions on fire

                  A date to Ness Botanical Gardens is a treat for both newbie and seasoned botanists. Arthur Kilpin Bulley created the gardens in 1898. Sponsoring global expeditions to bring new plant species back to the UK, he developed one of the most significant botanical gardens in the country. Each corner of Ness is a delight guaranteed to ignite your passions.

                  9. A romantic walk down a Victorian railroad

                    Although remnants of the old railway line are scarce, the Chester-to-Birkenhead line offers miles of trails through what is now known as the Wirral Country Park. Cosy up in a bird hide and dare to steal a kiss. Take advantage of the on-site BBQ area and show off your culinary skills.

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                    10. Romance at Thor’s Stone

                      Designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the nature reserve at Thurstaston common is spread over an impressive 250 acres. It is also a place of legends and myths. Here is the home of Thor’s Stone. Combining Viking folklore and the natural world makes for a fascinating day out and a memorable date.

                      11. Pet pigs at an urban farm

                        How do you think your date will react to a farmyard full of animals? The Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm surrounds a historic cottage where you can expect to see anything from a bee to a baby guinea fowl flying through the air, plus all the usual suspects, such as goats, ponies, sheep and cows. They say animals are a great judge of character, what do you think?

                        Image Source: Bollington via happy-valley.org.uk; The Watergate Street Gallery via cutthecap.wordpress.com; Chester City Walls via philandgarth.com; Lady Liver Art Gallery via liverpoolmuseums.org.uk; Walton Hall Gardens via warrington.gov.uk; Warrington Art Gallery via warringtonartsfestival.co.uk; River Dee via visitchester.com; Ness Botanical Gardens via nessgardens.org.uk; Wirral Country Park via clickar.co.uk; Thurstaston Common via gerryco23.wordpress.com; Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm via tamoshanterfarm.org.uk

                        Featured photo credit: Unknown via clickar.co.uk

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                        Last Updated on September 10, 2019

                        7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

                        7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

                        Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

                        Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

                        This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

                        One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

                        Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

                        Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

                        1. Gratitude

                        Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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                        The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

                        Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

                        So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

                        Gratitude-Quotes

                          2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

                          This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

                          For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

                          What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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                          Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

                          3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

                          This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

                          Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

                          An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

                          Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

                          write down goals

                            4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

                            According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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                            There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

                            5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

                            Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

                            Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

                            6. Rise Earlier

                            The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

                            For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

                            So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

                            Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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                            7. Listen to Uplifting Music

                            Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

                            Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

                            It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

                            Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

                            More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

                            Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

                            Reference

                            [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
                            [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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