Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Torquay - It's a Three Generation Kinda Thing.

So this Friday I went on a trip to Torquay.

I packed quickly on Thursday night after my pole lesson shoving a few bits in a bag for our weekend away. Mum and I left the house at about 9 am and sadly I didn't leave myself enough time to have my morning coffee, a travesty right?! Don’t panic too much though as we thankfully needed to stop to get some petrol on the way to pick up our other travelers so I was able to buy a latte. Considering my option at home would have been instant coffee it all turned out better than I planned so we were off to a grand start.
Arriving in Alton half an hour later we collected the rest of our party which consisted of my amazing Grandma and her lovely friend Grace (who is in her 80’s but won’t show it!). From where I live it’s roughly 180 miles to Torquay so generally it would take 2-3 hours..... it took us 5. To be fair to us we did stop twice, once for tea which is always necessary on a long journey and then for a quick bite to eat, also essential. We managed to find a really traditional road side cafe for lunch, it was small, dated, right on the motorway and the food was incredible. I may have only had a ham and cheese toasty but my god was it all kinds of tasty.

The rest of the weekend was equally moreish as on arrival at the hotel (The Grand) at around 3 pm we enjoyed a cream tea which is one of my all time favourite things... coming second to afternoon tea obviously! The hotel itself was beautiful with the interior being just what you would expect of an old fashioned seaside hotel - lots of red and gold colourings and ornate trinkets dispersed all over the place. The rooms were HUGE, no word of a lie and the beds were like sleeping in a giant marshmallow. Heaven.

The first afternoon was spent exploring the coast that was right outside our front door. We actually came across a rather unexpected bird of prey, I’m not sure whether it was supposed to be there, had had a shock or was an escapee but it was sat on the fence and let me get really darned close before having enough of me shoving a camera in it’s face and flying to a safer, higher perch.

That evening we were served a two course meal, the taste and presentation were just insane and I couldn't help but get a picture of the desserts which were more like works of art and I am definitely not used to that sort of finery. The evening was all finished off with a glass of wine and being serenaded by a talented pianist in the hotel lounge.

The second day began with a breakfast buffet which as expected I over indulged on, but who can say no to hash browns? After a quick freshen up we headed out on a half hour boat ride over to another coastal town called Brixham, full of colour, pirates and fresh salt air. We couldn't leave without a quick trip on The Golden Hind, a bit of lunch and buying a few gifts for the Dad and sister who didn't come.

The afternoon shot past with us making use of the hotels pool and Jacuzzi until it was time for yet more food, this time three courses of deliciousness. A bit more wine and music blasting from the wedding party room and we headed to bed for one more sleep.

The last morning spent in Torquay meant another excessive meal for breakfast and then it was time to begin the journey home. This time around the drive only took 3 hours as stops were reduced to a single one for lunch. Pulling off the motorway to find a pub rather than a service station was the best decision we made that day, the staff were friendly and catered to us even if we were super awkward by not wanting to have a main meal! Compliments to the chef.

In the end the weekend was perfect, I got to spend time with some incredible women and explore somewhere new! If anyone has debated going to Torquay I highly recommend it.

If you wish to see more of my photos Click Here


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Awesome Of The Week: 21 Day Kindness Challenge.

This is a challenge that I tried to take part in last year and honestly didn't accomplish as much as I'd hoped soooo I am signing up again this time around.

It is an annual challenge set up by the lovely people over at kindspring.org (I have mentioned this before but go and take a look around their site because it is a fantastic project). They are aiming to encourage as many people as possible to complete an act of kindness every day for 21 days.
The challenge begins on October 2nd and continues throughout the month, now thinking up 21 different acts is actually kind of tricky so if you join this challenge each day you will be sent an email with inspiration for that day.

There is no pressure to complete the specific task they set in the emails and you can do whatever sort of act you wish, if you see something that you think would be a lovely thing to do then go right ahead. The emails are simply a push in the right direction if you need a helping hand.

If this sounds like something you would enjoy then sign up here for the emails etc. Small acts can have a huge impact not only on those around you but also on you, doing kind things promotes more kindness. The reactions you receive will encourage you to notice and take advantage of any opportunity for kindness, it will also encourage others to do the same and that can only be a positive thing.

So go forth and increase those warm fuzzy feelings.


Saturday, 20 September 2014

Weekly Update.

So I am trying something different with this post, I always feel that my life is pretty uneventful and recently decided that I need to start making an effort do to things I enjoy and realise when interesting things actually happen to me.
I want to take a moment every so often to document what I have been up to and notice that “Hey I actually have a life!”.
I stayed with my housemate from uni last weekend in Crawley and as she lives in such close proximity to London it would have been rude not to go! We spent an incredible day going round Leicester Square including M&M World, Cyber Candy and then onto Trafalgar Square and The National Gallery to pretend that we are cultured.
We also experienced Five Guys for the first time – now if you are unsure of what this is (I had no idea of its existence until this weekend) or have never been then I shall explain. It is possibly the GREATEST BURGER JOINT OF ALL TIME. This is not a statement I would put out on the internet without some serious consideration as I take my burgers and more specifically my 50’s style American diners very very seriously. I am an avid fan of a restaurant chain called Ed’s Easy Diner which is also in Leicester Square and so wanted to give Five Guys a go, now the menu seems somewhat limited on first viewing but it doesn’t even matter, the food is so beautifully crafted that you need not ask for anything more.
The burgers look and taste completely homemade, the chips (fries) are hand cut and made fresh every day, they even have a blackboard hanging on the wall to tell the customers where the potatoes for that days chips (fries) came from which I assume is always a small English farm. Getting food from smaller farms and companies is always great and when I see such big restaurants doing this it makes me enjoy eating there even more.
Your order comes in a big brown bag with burgers wrapped in tin foil and fries in a paper cup, leaving no washing up for the hard working staff and also if you wanted it is all recyclable waste! As is evident from my babbling I loved everything about this restaurant, the food, the service, the atmosphere and highly recommend it to anyone who likes a good burger.... just maybe plan on an early lunch to avoid too much of a queue as it is extremely popular.

We then also made a spontaneous decision to get tickets to see a show – I had never seen a show in the West End until this point for one reason or another even though I adore the theatre (correction apparently according to my mother I saw Beauty and the Beast when I was little!). I didn’t want to include that in this post as it would be too long, if you’re interested you can find a separate post here.

This Wednesday I had my second Brownie meeting as an actual leader, if you are unaware I volunteer at one of my local Brownie packs and recently had to take over the running of it – see post about thathere – and for the first time I truly felt in charge. It was scary but pretty exciting too, I can’t wait to plan meetings and new things for all the girls to do. I think Brownies is brilliant but is in dire need of a fresh set of eyes to bring it up to speed. This week we made a scarecrow for the local competition in my village where different groups compete to make the best looking scarecrow, and of course ours is wearing Brownie uniform. We got very messy with paper mache to create a head and stuffed some old Brownie uniforms to make the bodies, it all went surprisingly well and fingers crossed the judges appreciate our efforts!

I went to Pole on Thursday as normal, I was super tired and the session didn’t go quite as well as it could have but I got some practice in and fingers crossed we will soon have a space to practice in for ourselves! For anyone wanting to find some form of exercise or class that can help with fitness, in particular strength then pole could be for you. I am not someone that enjoys exercise or is fit in any capacity, to come across pole which I actually look forward to going to and feel it working the next day was quite a win.

The end of the week was pretty chill, I had the house to myself so two friends came to see me and we drank cider and talked until half 2 in the morning. After a long week at work there isn’t much better than seeing friends that you can laugh with but don’t actually have to make effort with .... that sounds pretty bad. What I mean by that is relaxing is nice or more accurately necessary on a Friday and although socialising feels like hella lot of effort having people around you makes the evenings a bit more interesting. When I say friends I “don’t have to make effort with” I don’t mean people I don’t care enough about to try with, but friends that have known me for so long at this point that nothing would phase them meaning very little effort is required to enjoy their company.

Aaaaand that brings us to today, Saturday, sitting on my couch flanked by a cat on each side, coffee in my Maleficent mug, Tangled on in the background and writing. Utter bliss.


It's The Theatre Darling.

The theatre and shows are not something I have really talked about online much but I am very passionate about it. When I see a show it can completely change my outlook on life, even if only for the few days following - the songs, the costumes, the dancing and the stories are something so magical and what you get from the theatre can’t be found or experienced anywhere else, it’s simply... unique. Now I don't profess to be a west end buff by any means, more just a fan and someone that can appreciate the talent and beauty of it all. So here is what I thought of my evening seeing Wicked.

In my 22 years I have sadly not had many opportunities to actually see a lot of live shows and in fact have only seen one in London, but seeing my first west end show this Saturday led to the inspiration for writing this post. I had the fortune to see Wicked with my lovely friend Sophie and needless to say it was one of the most incredible spectacles I have had the joy of witnessing.
I knew by its reputation that I would love it, I also knew a couple of the big numbers already but am glad I didn’t know anymore than that. Of course I had an idea of the basic storyline but after the first half I honestly had no idea what might be coming next, it turned out to be one of the most cleverly and stunningly written pieces I’ve seen, the twists and turns even I didn’t expect and actually had me in full on tears at one point.
The songs I was yet to hear have now found a firm and permanent place in my brain.... and yes the soundtrack has been ordered. The main characters were portrayed incredibly by Kerry Ellis and Savannah Stevenson who both bought their own quirks to both Elphaba and Glinda and it must be a daunting task to follow in the footsteps of the original goddesses that played them on Broadway -  Idinia Menzel and Kristin Chenowith.

Another surprising fond memory I will have from it is the moment I realised that the character of Boq was being played by (an amazing) actor called Sam Lupton who we by chance had already seen in Avenue Q when he played Princeton in Bath.
This show has had such pressure thrust upon it by its uncountable accolades, and you find that sometimes if things are over credited, when it’s finally your chance to see it, it’s well a bit of a letdown. It couldn’t be less true in this situation however, no matter how many compliments this musical is given it wouldn’t ever be enough. Ever.
I could go on for an inordinate amount of time on the subject but I don’t want to bore you witless and also don’t want to give anything away for those who have yet to see it, but honestly what are you even doing with your life?

I am still obsessed and completely overwhelmed by what I saw at the Apollo Victoria Theatre and can’t wait for the chance to go again because I will 100% be seeing it as many times as is humanly possible!


Saturday, 6 September 2014

Awesome of The Week: Wispa Biscuits

 Food is something very close to my heart so it should be no surprise it has come up in only the second week of this segment.

Any biscuit or chocolate fanatic will have undoubtedly come across these new Cadbury products. I think it started with caramel and then moved on to crunchie (don't quote me on this), which were both equally moorish.

But try and refrain from getting too worked up over these until I inform you of the latest release.... Wispa. Yes you heard correctly, Wispa.
On first taste you might be tricked into thinking it is simply a delicious shortbread biscuit covered in milk chocolate but you would be oh so wrong.
The further towards the middle you venture you'll be over joyed to find how much more this little snack has to offer. Balanced beautifully in the middle of the shortbread, hidden by chocolate, is the aerated centre normally found in the heart of a Wispa chocolate bar.

If you are yet to experience the joy that this biscuit can bring then go purchase a pack and you can thank me later.