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lifestyle

Europe, Travel, UK

An Evening with Brooks Hotels Ltd

July 11, 2016

I was recently invited to Brooks Guesthouse Bristol to celebrate the launch of their newest hotel – Brooks Country House in Hereford. This will be the fourth for the Brooks Hotels Ltd brand, with the other two in Bath and Edinburgh.


Carla Brooks, who runs this fantastic chain with her husband, invited some local Bristol bloggers along for an evening of local wines and cheeses and to give us a chance to have a nosy around the Bristol Guesthouse. It’s always nice to meet other bloggers and we all fell in love with this hidden gem of a guesthouse. It definitely helped that we were all crazy about the free cheese on offer too!

The kitchen and dining area was furnished to a traditional country style and I liked the fact that the kitchen was all open so you’re able to see your food being prepared as you wait. It gives the whole place a very homely feel.


The dining area opens out to a lovely garden area with plenty of plants and places to sit. In keeping with Bristol style, Carla had some street art commissioned which gives the outside a very quirky feel.


The street art isn’t the only surprising aspect of this guesthouse though. Situated on the rooftop are these incredible retro rocket caravans! These must be the coolest place to sleep in Bristol! We had a sneak peak inside one and they’re fitted with colourful LED lights which make them even cooler in my opinion. They’re so big that they had to be lifted up from the street to the rooftop on a crane. Can you imagine how crazy that must have looked?!


The new Brooks Country House is going to have quite a different vibe but it still looks like somewhere amazing to stay. It’s a stunning Georgian Manor House and from the pictures, it looks like its been beautifully decorated. I asked Carla and the wallpaper is all from Cole and Son so no expense has been spared!


On the evening, Katharine from bristoletc won a free stay at the Country House so I’m looking forward to reading her blog post after her visit.

Thank you so much to everyone involved in making this evening happen. I had a lovely time and hope to stay in one of the Brooks Hotels soon!

Europe, Travel, UK

Glastonbury Festival 2016

July 5, 2016

Anyone else still suffering from the Glastonbury blues? The long journey to get there, the horrendous mud and the toilets are now a distant memory and all we can remember is the great music, the fantastic array of food and the incredible atmosphere that surrounds Glastonbury festival.

glastonbury 2016 2glastonbury 2016 3

This year was my third Glastonbury and it honestly just gets better. Whether you’re there for the headliners or the smaller acts, there’s something for everyone. You could go to Glastonbury and not see a single performance and still have a good time. Each area is filled with the most random activities and stalls. Boredom is simply not possible at this amazing festival in Somerset.

These were my highlights for 2016:

glastonbury 2016 1

The food! I could dedicate a whole blog post to the food at Glasto. Every cuisine imaginable is available and it’s all amazing. I actually get sad that there isn’t enough time to try more.

glastonbury food

The tributes to Bowie, Prince and Lemmy. These were everywhere – from stage installations to toilet graffiti. A touching nod of respect to these great artists.

david bowie eavis tribute

Bowie tribute pyramid stagelemmy tribute other stage glastonbury 2016

Coldplay’s tribute to Viola Beach. A moving tribute to a band who never reached their full potential. This was the closest to tears I got all week.

coldplay glastonbury 2016

Adele’s accent. The contrast between her singing and speaking voice is crazy. I loved Adele’s anecdotes and jokes between songs. She was phenomenal.

glastonbury 2016 4

I always go through a stage after Glastonbury when I say that I won’t be going again. Then I forget how disgusting I felt and watch some of the performances again on Youtube and before long I can’t imagine spending the last weekend in June anywhere else… See you next year Glastonbury!

Glastonbury 2016

Health & Fitness, Lists

26.2 thoughts on running the London Marathon

May 2, 2016

1. This is going to be fine, loads of people run the London Marathon!

2. What was I thinking signing up for the London Marathon?! 26.2 miles is a really long way!

3. Apparently Tim Peake started the race from Space this year. I wouldn’t know because I’m so far away from the start line!

4. I’ve finally crossed the start line. This is great! Keep cheering my name crowds, I feel famous!

london marathon 2016
5. Is that someone walking after 1 mile?

6. How do so many people need the toilet already?

7. I feel incredible right now, this is the greatest race ever!

8. I did think the runners would have spread out a bit by now.

9. Oh great, a Runners World pacer surrounded by hundreds of people.

10. I wish I had a shorter name, the crowds seem to struggle with 4 or more letters…

11. Has that man got a washing machine on his back?!

12. I can’t believe I’m not even half way yet.

13. People are actually stopping to take selfies at Tower Bridge.

14. Oh great, I can see people who are at the 22 mile mark already. They look fast…

15. Did I just get overtaken by a dragon?

london marathon fancy dress
16. This slight incline definitely counts as a hill. They told me London was flat!

17. Why are there so many people drinking beer in the crowds? Happy Sunday guys! Can I have some?

18. I’m practically finished now, right?

19. I still have an hour left of running to do!

20. Where’s that Wall everyone talks about?

21. Oh there it is.

22. This is now the furthest I’ve ever run!

23. Forget everything your parents ever told you about taking sweets from strangers, you need all the help you can get right now!

24. 2 miles to go, just think of this as a little run after work.

25. Longest. Mile. Ever.

26. Hi Queenie.

26.2. Is that the finish? It is! I suddenly have the energy to sprint! It’s about to end! Do I want this to end?

london marathon
Trust me. The London Marathon is the most incredible race. It’s worth all the months of training and I genuinely enjoyed running it. Thank you to everyone who sponsored me. I smashed my target for Make A Wish!

Now, what marathon shall I do next?

Europe, Travel, UK

Easter Weekend in London

April 13, 2016

Easter may seem like forever ago but I’ve been a bad blogger and haven’t got round to writing about my trip to London with my family. So now you can sit back and remember how nice having a 4 day weekend at Easter was and look forward to our next bank holiday in May! Not that I’m counting or anything…

Anyway back to London! Over the Easter weekend, I went to London with my Dad and Stepmum. Thinking about it now, it’s probably the first time that we’ve ever done something just the three of us as there are usually other family members in tow. I’m really glad we got to spend that time together. Travelling definitely made me realise how important it is to see your friends and family as much as possible.

We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn hotel which is right next to the Hatton Cross tube station. It’s about a 40 minute journey into Central London but you get a bigger and much nicer room than most inner city hotels which is a big plus for me! We stayed for two nights and I thought it was a lovely hotel. It’s full of lots of people going on holiday as it’s near Heathrow airport which made me extremely jealous! I also loved the breakfast buffet – purely because it had a toast conveyor belt and those little glasses of juice you get on holiday. It made the trip feel even more like a holiday for me (I know I’m weird…).

Now obviously there’s tons to do in London and this post isn’t going to tell you how to see all the typical tourist sights in one weekend. What I will do is share with you some of the highlights of our weekend. We seemed to do loads and I enjoyed myself so much. So in no particular order, here’s what we got up to!

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Both Sarah and I had read the book by Mark Haddon, which is fantastic, so we were really looking forward to seeing how it translated into a play. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone but you definitely won’t be disappointed. It’s a very clever set with talented actors who draw the audience in to the story. One of my pet peeves is when a play or film deviates too far from the original story so I was relieved when the play did stay true to Mark Haddon’s book.

The London Dungeons

Now I had no idea what to expect from the London Dungeons. Friends had told me that it was really scary and I’ve been around the Saw Maze at Thorpe Park before which has actors and that seriously freaked me out. However this was a lot more family orientated. All of the actors were good and stayed in character the whole time but I only jumped a couple of times and that was probably due to my Dad trying to scare me! It’s more of a fun thing to do and not scary but you do learn some of London’s history which can only be a good thing.

The Imperial War Museum


Now if you really want to learn some history then I suggest you visit the Imperial War Museum. This is a fantastic place to go if you like your military history. I had quite a few modules in my degree about the different wars in the 20th Century so I found it particulary interesting. I don’t think you have to be a history nerd like me to appreciate the IWM though as it covers such a broad timescale that there is bound to be something that interests you, whether that be Hitler or 9/11. One of the best exhibitions is the floor dedicated to the Holocaust. It’s a harrowing exhibition which might make some people feel uncomfortable but it’s a subject that everyone should learn about to ensure it doesn’t happen again. If you’re after something a little different to do in London, you should definitely visit here!

Camden Markets


Last on my list is Camden Markets. Incredibly, I’ve never actually been to Camden before. Seeing all the different stalls selling such an array of items and food reminded me of Glastonbury festival. I love wandering about markets and seeing all the different shops and smelling all the food – even if I rarely actually buy anything! We walked through the Stable Market with all the horse statues and then saw the Amy Winehouse statue on the way out. I’d like to visit the markets again soon and see what hidden treasures I can find.

So that was our weekend in London! It was good to be a tourist in my capital city and explore some different parts of London. Thanks to my Dad and Sarah for a such a good weekend!

 

Next time I’m in London will be in just over a weeks time for the London Marathon. Wish me luck and please sponsor me if you can – details here.

My Life

Reflections on 2015. 

December 28, 2015

Last year I posted my reflections on 2014 so I thought it was only right that I did the same this year.

Spending a year at home after a year of seeing the world is hard on any backpacker. It’s the part that no one talks about. For me, 2015 was less about travelling and more about working, saving money and most importantly spending time with loved ones. I think Christmas always makes us appreciate the little things in life and this year it really hit home for me. There isn’t anything more important than your friends  and family. Enjoy every moment you spend in each others company and cherish every memory you make. You might not always get along but we should forgive easily and try and be the first to reach out to those who we have lost contact with. Lots of people make resolutions at this time of year but I don’t usually bother. Next year though, I aim to spend more quality time with my friends and family because no matter how busy life gets, we should always make time for others.

2015 also taught me to do more of what makes me happy. I thought this blog would fizzle out once I was home but I’ve kept it up and amazingly, I’ve now had travel companies ask to work with me. That’s not something I ever thought would happen when I started this before Stu and I went away. I want to keep writing, not because of the opportunities it can bring, but because I enjoy it and I know I’ll love looking back at this blog in years to come. I also started a new job because my previous one was making me unhappy. I was worried that it was too soon to leave but I knew that I shouldn’t force myself to do something that I hated. I definitely made the right decision and now I’m much happier.

I don’t know what 2016 will bring but I’m going in to it feeling positive about life and I can’t ask for much more than that!

Reflecting on 2015

 

Travel Advice

Christmas Ideas for Backpackers!

November 17, 2015

It’s always difficult knowing what to buy someone who is travelling over Christmas. You want to buy the backpacker in your life something special but know that they probably don’t have room for much more in their bag! Well luckily for you, I’ve come up with a few ideas for presents that a backpacker would want for Christmas and will have space for.

  1. Food from home.  When I was away, I missed British chocolate so much! It just didn’t taste the same in Australia and they didn’t even sell some of my favourite products. Sending a backpacker a parcel filled with food from home will go down a treat – they’ll easily be the most popular kid in the hostel if they have a big bar of Galaxy to share around. British Online Supermarket sell  a whole range of items that can be shipped worldwide.
  2. An ASOS voucher. ASOS also ship worldwide so if you think that clothes would be more appreciated than food, then a voucher is the way to go. When you’re travelling, you grow tired of your clothes really easily. By buying them a voucher, they will be able to easily freshen up their wardrobe/backpack.
  3. Underwear! A backpacker always needs more pairs of pants. When their pants are all dirty, they have to do their laundry – something everyone hates to do in a hostel. More pants = more time between washes. You’ll be loved!
  4. Coordinates Jewellery. You can now buy jewellery with engraved coordinates which I think is a lovely idea. You could send someone a bracelet with the coordinates of somewhere they’ve visited or even the coordinates of their home. Even the most avid travellers like to think of home sometimes! This gift is a great idea if you want to get something extra special – have a look around on Coordinates Collection.
  5. A handwritten letter and photos. Let’s get traditional now. Nothing is really going to beat a letter from home and some recent photos. It will be really appreciated if your backpacker is feeling homesick and they can carry it around with them to read over and over again. Definitely include a picture of the family pet as I found most people miss their dogs more than their siblings!

And for the traveller who has come home for Christmas, head to Paperchase and check out their great range of scrapbooks and photo albums to make sure they remember their special trip forever.

Christmas ideas for backpackers

Europe, Travel, UK

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

August 11, 2015

It’s official. Bristol loves balloons. The whole city went balloon mad last week. Facebook and Instagram were full of arty shots of the Clifton Suspension Bridge and some balloons in the sky.

To be fair, when the weathers good, the Balloon Fiesta is a good day out. We went to Ashton Court on Saturday afternoon with some friends so we managed to watch the balloons go up, have a few drinks in the sun and then watch the night glow and fireworks afterwards. There’s also lots of fairground rides and stalls to keep you entertained if you spend the whole day there.

You don’t have to go in to Ashton Court, lots of people sit in the Clifton area and just watch the balloons take flight which can be a much nicer experience than battling the crowds to get a good spot to watch the night glow.


If you haven’t been before the night glow is basically the balloons being lit up in time to music – it looks much better than it sounds, trust me! The balloons are all different shapes and sizes, from Minions to Penguins and everything in between. What was your favourite this year?

The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is yet another reason why this city is so great! Did you enjoy the balloon fiesta this year?

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Lists

12 Types of People You Meet In A Hostel. 

August 2, 2015

Unless you are travelling with an unlimited budget, you will inevitably spend a lot of time staying in hostels. Love them or hate them, they’re a big part of the backpacking culture. Whether you’re in Bangkok or Sydney, the types of people you meet in a hostel don’t seem to change. Here’s a quick round up of those hostel people who you can’t seem to avoid!

1. The one who thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to turn the lights on at 3am and start packing their bags. It’s even better when they leave the dorm and still leave the light on.

2. The one who thinks your food is their food. Say goodbye to any milk that you leave in the fridge!

3. The one who has spent too long in Asia and now has dreadlocks, lives in baggy pants and has forgotten how to wash.

4. The one you never see. Their stuff is by their bed but they don’t seem to sleep in the hostel or ever be in the room…

5. The one who is always there. Usually asleep or watching a film in bed.

6. The one who unplugs your charging phone so they can use the plug. Cheers for that!

7. The one who is about 15 years older than everyone else.

8. The one who decides to eat a big bag of crisps when everyone else is trying to sleep.

9. The one with a guitar. Let me guess, you only play Bob Marley?

10. The one who gets so drunk they lose their passport/bag/dignity.

11. The one who gets so drunk they climb up to their top bunk and then wee themselves, causing it to drip on to the bed below.

12. The one who asks too many questions. I’ve just got off a 12 hour bus, can I shower before we swap life stories?

Somewhere amongst this group of weirdos are your best friends so embrace the hostel life as some of your funniest memories will be made there!

This post 12 Types of People You Meet In A Hostel appeared first on Frankie Goes To…

My Life

The Footman James Bristol Classic Car Show

June 16, 2015

Last weekend, Stu and I were invited to the Bristol Classic Car Show by Footman James. Now I appreciate what I call a ‘nice’ car but I don’t really know anything about them so I didn’t really know what to expect when we arrived.


The show was held at Bath and West showground in Shepton Mallett which has both outside and inside areas to display the car collections. And there were a lot of cars!

  
 The cars ranged from old police vehicles to VW campers to original Minis and everything in between. Some where in beautiful condition and really made you appreciate just how much love and attention went into that vehicle, my little Clio really does not compare!

  
 As well as the standard manufacturers, we saw makes and models that have long stopped being produced. Stu was glad to see a Triumph as his Grandad used to work there!

  

My favourite was this lilac Morris minor which was beautiful! I always wanted a VW Beetle when I was younger so I think I was reminded of that.

  

 Stu and I would love one of these campervans to continue our travels – they are the best form of transport for a backpacker. Nothing compares to that freedom!


As to be expected at a classic car show, you could buy every car part imaginable. What looks like junk to you and I, is a car enthusiast’s treasure!


Stu and I visited the show on Saturday but on the Sunday they were auctioning off some of the cars – I would have loved to have seen how much some of them went for, they must be worth so much!

  
 We both really enjoyed our day at the Bristol Classic car show, it was something different to do on a weekend and I would recommend going next year. Thank you very much for having us Footman James!

  
    

The post The Footman James Bristol Classic Car Show appeared first on Frankie Goes To…

Europe, Travel, UK

The Cotswold Way – A Walk to Remember

May 27, 2015

Going for a walk with your family and dog on a bank holiday Monday seems like a lovely idea doesn’t it? My family don’t do things by halves and we decided to walk 16 miles in the Cotswolds with my little Cocker Spaniel in tow.

_MG_0797The Cotswold Way is 103 miles long in total, running from Chipping Camden to Bath. My mum and Gary have been walking it over the weekends for the past few weeks and Stu and I joined them for the last stint, Hailes to Chipping Camden. I don’t mind walking but this was a hard walk with lots of uphill sections. Even my dog was tired and I have never seen him actually want to go to bed before! I’m still aching 2 days after finishing so it’s not for those wanting a gentle stroll in the countryside.

The views made up for the pain though. Last year Stu and I saw so many wonderful sights around the world so it’s really nice to remind ourselves just how pretty our own country is.

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The Cotswold Way – A Walk to Remember appeared first on Frankie Goes To…