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12 Date Ideas For Culture Lovers in Suffolk

12 Date Ideas For Culture Lovers in Suffolk

Suffolk is a county with huge historic significance. Its North Sea coast is rugged and untamed in places and picture-postcard perfect in others with its miles of golden sand. Castles and rivers, grand estates and enchanting woodlands all provide ideal places to escape and explore for free. Here’s 12.

1. A midnight walk through a medieval village

    Medieval Lavenham is right in the heart of Suffolk. It’s a small village which packs a powerful cultural punch. Building its wealth on wool, it was once the third-richest place in the UK. While there’s lots to do in Lavenham, and its businesses provide top-notch bars, restaurants, and hotels fit for a king, why not explore it while its residents sleep by walking the cobbles on a midnight date?

    2. Find fairies at an Italian mansion

      While much of historic Suffolk’s architecture can be traced to the Normans and Anglo-Saxons, Ickworth House’s architecture is Italian by design. This opulent mansion is set in miles of impressive mature gardens and parkland where cycling and walking trails will lead you through magical woodlands. It’s rumoured that fairies live and play here.

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      3. Explore a dramatic coastline

        The National Trust describes Dunwich Heath as a rare and precious habitat. They also say that it’s wild and dramatic. It’s all of these and more. Tucked-away sand dunes offer shelter from the North Sea breeze, while the spectacular seascape fuels conversation about the natural world. Sea air, endless miles of sandy beach and great company should be the ideal ingredients for a perfect date.

        4. Find love in a famous landscape

          John Constable was one of the most famous painters in the world, and his works commanded prices most of us only dream of. But you don’t need to own a Constable to see what he saw when he made this romantic landscape immortal through his paintings. A date on the banks of the River Stowe will lead you to the exact spot he perched on with his easel and brushes.

          5. Discover an Anglo-Saxon ship and a UFO landing site

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            Sutton Hoo at Woodbridge will provide you with an excellent date combination. Here, you’ll experience riverside walks and take in the sites surrounding an Anglo-Saxon ship burial ground. Though only the mounds are visible, and the National Trust exhibition and trails require you to pay an entrance fee, research it first and allow your imagination to run wild. Nearby Rendlesham Forest was once said to be a UFO landing site.

            6. Learn about the UK’s unique amber

              The Amber Museum offers an unforgettable journey through the history of locally-sourced amber. Impressive carvings, jewellery and other artefacts are great examples of why it became such a valuable commodity. This region on the south-east coast is where the unique deposits of UK amber have all been found. While jewellers’ price tags might be a little out of reach, there’s no reason why you and your date can’t hit the beach in search of your own precious stones.

              7. A date at Halesworth Gallery

                Renowned for showcasing local talent, Halesworth Gallery has various exhibitions throughout the year, usually including works by local artisans and more well-known artists. Suffolk has a long history of producing fine arts and crafts. What better way is there to understand a culture than life depicted through art?

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                8. Stroll through seafront gardens

                  Felixstowe Seafront Gardens underwent major regeneration work in 2015, providing a perfect habitat for both wildlife and people. The 1920s design will transport you back to its heyday, with plenty of spots to cosy up on a bench and talk sweet nothings or chat about the pretty flowerbeds.

                  9. Get the lowdown on Lowestoft

                    Lowestoft Heritage Centre is where you can learn everything about this intriguing place and its lost village. Dubbed as prime location for a traditional British holiday, Lowestoft has a lovely, wide, sandy beach, cliff-top lighthouse, and a signature ornate pier.

                    10. Get swept away at an old lifeboat shed

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                      The former Old Cromer Lifeboat Shed is now the site of the Alfred Corry Lifeboat Museum. Named after Southwold’s lifeboat No1, the Alfred Corry, the museum portrays a fascinating tale about the important role lifeboats played, their crews risking their own lives day in and day out to save the lives of sailors and fisherman from their sunken vessels. Stories about bravery and valour, though undeniably sad, often spark romance.

                      11. Sunset, sailboats and sandpipers

                        The Broads are home to one of the largest inland waterways in the UK, making it a playground for boat enthusiasts. Categorised as a national park, its wetlands have been protected and conserved for over 30 years. Whether you love nature or the sea, a date on The Broads offers a chance to see rare wildlife and watch sailboats dance across the horizon at sunset.

                        12. A riverside lunch with a castle backdrop

                          Framlingham is a historic market town with links to royalty. In the centre of the village, you’ll find two of the oldest working post office pillar boxes, now a rare sight outside these quaint locations. But a trip to this idyllic countryside setting wouldn’t be complete without seeing its castle. Framlingham Castle is an old Anglo-Saxon fortress, and it was here that Mary Tudor became Queen Mary of England. Views are best appreciated from across the river, a lovely place for a lunch date.

                          Image Source: Lavenham via discoverlavenham.com; Ickworth House via artfund.org; Dunwich via nationaltrust.org.uk; River Stowe via gettyimages.com; Sutton Hoo via nationaltrust.org.uk; Amber Museum via nationalgeographic.com; Halesworth Gallery via foyers.photography; Felixstowe via thesuffolkcoast.co.uk; Lowestoft Beach via coes.co.uk; Alfred Corry Lifeboat Museum via eadt.co.uk; The Broads via broads-authority.gov.uk; Framlingham Castle via english-heritage.org.uk.

                          Featured photo credit: Unknown via thesuffolkcoast.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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