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Europe, Travel, UK

Visiting Myrtle Farm – The Home of Thatchers Cider

October 21, 2018

Thatchers cider.

Those two words bring back countless happy memories of sitting in a beer garden in the summer, sipping on a cold pint.

Being a west country girl, I’ve always preferred cider to beer so imagine my delight when I got a chance to visit Myrtle Farm, the actual home of Thatchers! I’d always known that the Thatchers farm wasn’t that far from Bristol but it’s one of those things that you never get around to doing, isn’t it? But on a cold, rainy Saturday, I made the half an hour journey with a group of other Bristol bloggers who were all equally excited to look around the farm and drink some cider.

We were greeted by the Thatchers team in The Railway Inn – a beautiful pub next door to the farm and factory. We warmed up with some hot drinks (tea & coffee only, apparently 10am is too early for a Haze!) and got to pick our three courses for our meal later. The whole menu looked amazing so this took a while!

Food ordered, it was time to get our high vis and wellies on and head out to the orchards. It may have been miserable but I’m still glad we got to go out and see where the apples are grown. I’ve never really given much thought to the process of how cider is made so it was good to hear about the different types of apples and the harvesting process. We were really lucky to be able to visit during harvest season so got to see some apples being delivered. The sight of 30 tons of apples falling is something I won’t forget!

The process of making Thatchers cider was very secretive and we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside most of the factory but we could in the giant room filled with huge oak barrels. I always find it interesting to learn about how something is made. We got to follow the process from the orchards to the cider being bottled and canned.

With our brains full of information, it was time for tasters – yay! Before my visit I’d tried Gold, Haze, Katy and Family Reserve before. These are usually available in local pubs, especially Thatchers Gold but Thatchers have tons of other options which are only available at the farmshop or in The Railway Inn. These vary from the extra strong Redstreak to the delicate Rosé. It was great to try some different ciders and learn how they’re made – it’s amazing what tweaking a few apples will do!

With plenty of cider inside us, it was time to line our stomachs. Now, I don’t know what I was expecting from a meal at Thatchers but I definitely wasn’t expecting food of the standard I got. It. Was. Beautiful. Nearly every meal was influenced by cider or apples and looked and tasted incredible. I had the scotch eggs with Thatchers ketchup to start, followed by the gnocchi and the Haze sorbet (obviously) to finish.

It’s safe to say that a visit to Myrtle Farm wouldn’t be complete without a meal at The Railway Inn.

Thank you to everyone involved in the visit. Thatchers is a family company and it’s clear everyone loves working there. You were all friendly and full of information. It was great to meet the people behind one of my favourite drinks!

My visit to Myrtle Farm included a complimentary tour, tasters and meal at The Railway Inn. The free cider did not influence my views, promise! 

Europe, Italy, Travel

Can you see Venice in just one day?

September 2, 2018

I’ve always thought of Venice as somewhere that I’d visit for a weekend with Stu. One day surely isn’t enough to see Venice? A whole city in one day? I’d never suggest that someone could see Paris or Amsterdam in one day so why should Venice be any different?

However, during our holiday to Croatia this year, one of the trips available was a day trip to Venice. It seemed a good price (about £70 each) and I’d never been to Italy before so it was too good an opportunity to miss.

Our visit to Venice was only the second full day of our holiday so we’d barely seen any of Croatia yet. We were staying near Pula which is why Italy was so easy to get to. Pula to Venice is only a 3 hour ferry trip. Now 3 hours may seem like a long time, especially when you’re coming back later that same day. If 6 hours of your day are spent travelling, how much time do you actually get in Venice? Well the trip we were on gave us 6 hours in Venice. And I’m here to say that I think 6 hours was just about enough for a first trip to this city.

We travelled with Venezia Lines who try and sell you a load of extras like lunch, transfers to Piazza San Marco (the central point of Venice) and gondola rides. My advice is to ignore all the extras and explore Venice yourself. You don’t need to pay for transfers, the square is about a 20 minute walk and you get to see more of this beautiful city. The reviews on TripAdvisor reveal that the lunch is awful and there’s no excuse to have awful food in Italy when there are so many wonderful options out there.

Having 6 hours to ourselves in Venice was absolute bliss. We wandered the streets, crossed countless bridges and became captivated by this stunning city. I think the fact that Venice doesn’t have dozens of landmarks that you feel you HAVE to see goes in it’s favour. You’re not rushing from place to place and have the time to take in all of the pretty coloured buildings and watch Venetians and tourists go about their days. In fact one of my favourite parts of the day was when we stumbled across a little bar and sat outside with an Aperol Spritz and a beer and just watched the world go by. The free bar snacks probably helped as well.

So our day trip to Venice consisted of lots of walking, a gorgeous lunch (walk away from Piazza San Marco to save yourself some money), plenty of photos and even more people watching. Neither of us fancied a gondola ride which look nowhere near as romantic as you’d expect them to be – too many gondolas competing for space – but there would have been plenty of time for one if we did want one. Oh, and I can’t forget that we even managed to squeeze in the most delicious Italian gelato! I went for a peanut butter flavoured one and it was INCREDIBLE!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there’s plenty more of Venice to see and lots more restaurants and bars that we would have loved to have checked out, but our little day trip was enough for now. It gave me a taste of Italy and although I now don’t feel the need to rush to Venice, I definitely want to see more of the country.

Lifestyle, My Life

Hello again!

June 30, 2018

Hello! Long time, no blog post. I think this is probably the longest break I’ve taken from blogging. I didn’t mean to take a break, I just haven’t felt like writing anything for a while. But apologies for that, I’m back!

So, what have I been up to? I actually hate it when someone asks me that question. I instantly forget everything I’ve done recently and think that I’m really boring. But I have the time to think now so can actually tell you.

I’m still doing lots of running. Unfortunately the Weston half marathon was called off due to all the snow we had in March so I kept the momentum going and entered the Bath Two Tunnels half in May. It was a scorching hot day but a lot of the race is through old railway tunnels which are nice and cool. I really enjoyed the race and got a PB of 1:55 which was 4 minutes off my last time. I then took part in the Hogweed Trot 10k later on in May and got a PB there as well! I’ve got a couple more races in the diary, Keynsham 10k in October and Bath Half next March so I’ll be keeping up the running for a while yet. I may also be doing the Barcelona half marathon next February (flights are booked so we’ll definitely be there!) so that’s very exciting.

May also had a lovely break to Center Parcs in Longleat with Stu’s family. I absolutely love Center Parcs so it was lush to spend 5 days there. Our days were filled with pancakes, badminton and the rapids. If you haven’t been to Longleat Forest in a while, then I can confirm that the new water slides are amazing! We could have thought that Center Parcs could get any better?!

June has been a bit quieter but we saw Ed Sheeran in Cardiff who was great. I’ve never managed to see him at Glastonbury or get a ticket for one of his shows before so had been waiting a long time! It was a great performance and I loved singing and dancing along all night.

Next month I’m off to Croatia in Stu. We’re very excited! It’s our first beach holiday for years and I can’t wait to properly relax. I’m sure we’ll still try and explore quite a bit of the area we’re staying in, I can’t really say that I’ve been to Croatia if I barely left the hotel! We’re staying near Pula so let me know if you have any recommendations!

Anyway, that’s it from me. I’ll be back soon with Croatia updates and hopefully some more posts on Bristol.

Europe, Travel, UK

Escape Hunt Bristol – The Last Samurai Review

April 16, 2018

Okay so escape rooms are my new favourite thing. A few weeks ago I headed to Bristol’s newest escape room in Cabot Circus not really knowing what to expect and I honestly think I could do one every week now.

I’ve wanted to try an escape room for ages so when I was invited to try out ‘The Last Samurai’ themed room at Escape Hunt Bristol, I jumped at the chance. So I armed myself with 3 others and headed to Cabot Circus with a mix of nerves and excitement.

We were all escape room virgins and had no idea what to expect. How hard would it be? Would it be scary? Would we get trapped in the room forever?

We were greeted by our games master, Cody who sat us down and explained all the rules and regulations and then got us hyped and ready to play! Before we knew it we were being led into the room and had 60 minutes to escape!

It’s no phones in the room, you’ve just got your mind and your team mates to help you escape. Obviously I won’t give anything away here as I wouldn’t want to spoil your experience but it’s SO MUCH FUN. There’s lots of different types of clues and challenges which play to different people’s strengths so you’re forced to work together.

After 48 minutes, we made it out! We were absolutely buzzing afterwards and could have gone straight in to a different room if we had a chance, I didn’t want the experience to end! Cody calmed us down with a glass of prosecco each and let us take some pictures with the Samurai props which was fun.

We all had such a good time and can’t wait to come back in May to try out the WW2 themed room. Thanks for the invite Escape Hunt!

Myself and 3 guests received free entry to Escape Hunt Bristol in return for a blog post – but it was so much fun and you really really need to go!

Lifestyle, My Life

I Quit Facebook for 6 Weeks

April 8, 2018

If you read this post, you’ll remember that for Lent this year, I gave up two things. Facebook and Bread. Bread was a struggle but after deleting my Facebook, I was never tempted to log on. It made me wonder why I ever checked my news feed in the first place.

When Easter Sunday came around, I was that excited about eating bread and Easter eggs that I didn’t even consider downloading the Facebook app again.

It was a few days later that I eventually logged back on. Scrolling through my news feed reminded me of why I came off the platform in the first place. I definitely need a clear out of my ‘friends’ list, I haven’t had a cull for a few years and I desperately need one.

So why did I log back on?

It wasn’t to keep in contact with people. I didn’t delete all my social media and if someone’s a friend, they’ll have my number.

It wasn’t to stalk someone I used to know from school and it wasn’t because I missed all the annoying videos or posts with names of girls who are going to pregnant in 2018.

It was because of this blog. I’m lucky enough that this blog presents me with lots of amazing opportunities. Restaurant reviews, hotel visits and much more. Some of these opportunities come from Facebook and I don’t want to miss out on something because I no longer use my profile. If I didn’t find so many blog opportunities through Facebook, I would quit for good.

Not using Facebook for 6 weeks means that I definitely use it less though. It’s no longer part of my ‘cycle’ of apps that I check and I only go on if I have a notification. So even though I’m back, adjusting my usage is a good thing to come out of my time away.

So for now, I’m back. Begrudgingly.

Europe, Travel, UK

Being Brunel – Bristol’s Newest Attraction

April 7, 2018

If you’re local to Bristol, you would have heard about the new Being Brunel museum that has recently opened next to the SS Great Britain. I was lucky enough to visit the day after it opened and had a chance to explore with a group of bloggers and their families. Being a proud Bristolian (without the accent though haha), I was so excited to visit. I went to the SS Great Britain on a primary school trip years ago and my only memory is of low ceilings and scary wax work people.

The new museum is a great mix of interactive displays and personal artefacts from Brunel and his family and work colleagues. There were plenty of families with young children visiting and with actors dressed up and a moving train carriage, they’ll definitely be entertained. I loved that there were so many artefacts hidden away in drawers that you were encouraged to open. You can see why your ticket price includes unlimited revisits for a year because there is so much to see!

The huge Brunel in the main room houses a gateway into Brunel’s ‘mind’ so you can experience life in the 1800s. You can also explore Brunel’s office which has been fully restored so you can see where he designed the SS Great Britain.

I was so surprised at just how much I learnt about Brunel. I didn’t even know that the Clifton Suspension Bridge was finished after Brunel died! The team at the SS Great Britain Trust have done a great job and I’m sure Being Brunel will soon become one of Bristol’s biggest attractions.

After walking around the Being Brunel museum, we decided to explore the SS Great Britain for the first time in years. I don’t remember being able to walk under the ship before so that was quite cool but the ship itself is still full of the scary wax work people. In fact, now that they’re 15 years older, they’re probably even scarier!

When we left (about 3 hours after we arrived) there was a queue to get in so I hope the opening weekend was a success. It’s an ideal way to spend a few hours learning more about the man who shaped Bristol.

Have you visited the SS Great Britain or the Being Brunel museum yet? What did you think?

I received 2 free tickets for the Being Brunel museum in exchange for a review. Adult tickets are usually £16.50 and provide unlimited revisits for 12 months. 

Lifestyle, Lists, My Life

I’m a Feminist, but…

March 12, 2018

I’ve been listening to The Guilty Feminist podcast quite a bit recently and they start each show by all sharing reasons that have made them a guilty feminist that week. For example, I’m a Feminist, but I loved the 50 Shades of Grey movie. None of us can be perfect and it’s great way of showing that as hard as you try to be a feminist, it’s not easy to always act or think in the ‘right’ way. I wanted to share some of the reasons why I’m a Feminist, but…

I’m a Feminist, but when a lecturer at uni asked the class who was, I didn’t put my hand up.

I’m a Feminist, but sometimes I let men insist I walk through a door first even when I’m holding the door open for them.

I’m a Feminist, but Love Island was probably my favourite TV show last year.

I’m a Feminist, but sometimes I find it hard to explain to my boyfriend why women don’t have equal rights.

I’m a Feminist, but I hate groups of drunk girls. Unless I’m one of them.

I’m a Feminist, but I’m more than happy for someone to carry my stuff if I’m struggling.

I’m a Feminist, but I didn’t do anything to mark International Women’s Day. Apart from one lame tweet.

I’m a Feminist, but sometimes other feminists annoy me.

I highly recommend Deborah Frances-White’s podcast, it’s absolutely hilarious so be careful when listening in public!

Have you got any I’m a Feminist, but..’s to share ?

Europe, Travel, UK

Bristol Airport – AspirePlus Lounge – An Honest Review

March 10, 2018

If you’re thinking of paying to use the AspirePlus Lounge at Bristol Airport, then I  suggest you have a read of my review first. I paid to use the AspirePlus Lounge myself, so this is an honest and unbiased review.

Unless you’re flying for work purposes, usually the airport is the first chance to treat yourself as your holiday begins. Whatever the time is, OF COURSE you’re going to have a drink. Bar snacks? Stack them up! This is what me and Stu tend to get up to before we go away but the day we flew to Iceland was actually Stu’s birthday so I wanted to do something a little extra as a surprise. So when I got the email from Bristol airport recommending I book one of the lounges, it seemed like the perfect birthday treat.

First of all, you have the choice of the Aspire Lounge or AspirePlus. The main difference is that kids aren’t allowed in the AspirePlus lounge and this was probably the main reason I paid a bit extra and went for the Plus option which came to about £30 each. It also sounded like a wider selection of food and drink and when you consider that Stu and I love food, it was a no-brainer. Booking through the website is really simple, you just select what time you’ll be arriving and then print off the booking confirmation. The confirmation also comes with clear instructions on actually finding AspirePlus once you’re through to the departure lounge.

We were flying to Iceland fairly early (about 8 am) so got to AspirePlus about 6 am. The perfect time for a cooked breakfast and a cheeky pint or prosecco before our flight! We walked into the lounge and there was no one else there. I don’t just mean any other guests, there didn’t seem to be anyone working there. We kind of hovered in the entrance for a moment or two and then decided to just go and take a seat. Once we sat down, a member of staff appeared and asked to see our booking confirmation. They then pointed us towards the bar where the food was laid out ready for us to help ourselves. The staff member then asked if we’d like any drinks from the bar (obviously we said yes). I noticed when we were at the bar that we weren’t going to be having many alcoholic drinks this morning. They have a sign stating that your first drink will be served as normal. On your second drink, you will be reminded that you won’t be admitted on to an aircraft drunk and your third drink will be your last. Admittedly, we probably wouldn’t have had 3 drinks anyway but it just felt like a bit of a killjoy. I guess it needs to be there though as some people will take full advantage of ‘free’ alcohol.

So, the food. Like most ‘all you can eat’/help yourself restaurants, the plates are much smaller than you’d like. This is obviously a tactic to stop people eating a ridiculous amount but it never deters me or Stu. If we have to go up 3 or 4 times until we feel full, so be it. I can see why some people would feel bad for going up this many times though and that’s how these sort of places make their money.

There was a fairly good selection of hot and cold food and we both had a bit of both. As it was a buffet style, you don’t know how long the food has been sat there and a lot of the hot food had pieces of kitchen roll laid over the top. It’s not that appealing to have to peel back the kitchen roll to get to your beans but it all tasted fine. There was a sign that advised that pancakes could be ordered from a member of staff but neither of us got any. I did the standard thing you do at a buffet and chose an array of items that don’t quite go together on one plate. I’m talking bacon and sausages next to a croissant and some shortbread. It’s a great way to start a holiday haha.

As I mentioned before, all the food was fine. Not mind blowing but good enough. Should somewhere called AspirePlus serve more than ‘good enough’ food? It doesn’t quite meet expectations. There’s a few nice places to eat in Bristol Airport which offer much nicer food, just not in a private lounge.

One thing we found was that it wasn’t the easiest to eat your food because the tables are much lower than the seats so you have to kind of hunch over. It didn’t bother us too much but isn’t the best for your back.

After a bit of peace and quiet? This may be the perfect place for you to start your trip. But for me, there’s a difference between somewhere being peaceful and somewhere having zero atmosphere. It felt awkward to talk in a normal speaking voice for god’s sake!

I understand that they need to make money, but the lounge didn’t seem to be designed to do what people go there for. You feel awkward for drinking, awkward for asking for the additional food and when you have the food, it’s awkward to eat. In all honesty, I wouldn’t hurry back. I’m much happier having my breakfast in the Brunel bar with the masses.

Have you ever used a private lounge in an Airport? What was your experience like?

Lifestyle, My Life

Goodbye Facebook. It’s not me, it’s you. 

February 11, 2018

This year I’m giving myself the best Valentine’s gift. I’m deleting my Facebook account.

I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while so by deleting my account for Lent, I can see how I get on without it and then make a decision in 6 weeks time about whether the deletion is a permanent one. At this point, I think it might be.

So why Facebook? In all honestly, I don’t think I get any happiness from Facebook. Yeah, I get tagged in the odd funny meme and video but most of the time I’m scrolling past a load of content that I don’t really care about. I’ve had a few culls of Facebook ‘friends’ over the years to get rid of those random people you met in Freshers week or Sophie, who you sat next to in Year 9 Maths but I still get bored by my feed. It used to be full of status updates and photos that I was interested in but now it’s just endless videos that I don’t watch.

I considered deleting all my social media accounts for Lent but I actually enjoy Twitter and Instagram. I literally LOL at a lot of things on Twitter and am regularly amazed at the beautiful photography I see on Instagram. That’s the reason that I interact on these platforms and not Facebook. I can’t remember the last time I came off Facebook feeling better than I did when I clicked on the app. I honestly just scroll through the app out of habit and I’m looking forward to not doing that anymore. Why should I spend time doing something that doesn’t make me happy?

I’ve had a think about what I might miss about Facebook and nothing immediately springs to mind which probably speaks for itself. I’ve made the decision to keep my blog’s Facebook page as I want to be able to still share my posts with the people who follow the page but my personal account is going to be deactivated and I’m actually really excited to do it!

Goodbye Facebook. It’s not me, it’s you.

Blogging, Lifestyle

My Blogging Goals for 2018

January 16, 2018

I’ve spoken already about what my plans are for 2018 but I want to talk about what my plans for this blog are.

Last year I had lots of grand plans and wrote them down in a notebook and then promptly forgot about them. I’m hoping that by making them a bit more public, I’ll be more inclined to stick to them. Fingers crossed anyway…

So, my main goal is to create regular, engaging content.

Very vague.

What I mean by this, is that I get more enjoyment from my blog when engagement is high and I find that posting more regularly leads to more engagement.

I’ve got a few tips to try and help with this.

  1. I’ve signed up to Sophie Cliff’s e-course to learn how to grow my blog with a full time job. I’m loving the course so far. It’s really inspiring and I can’t wait to put it all in to action.
  2. Make time for blogging. I quite often say that I haven’t got time to post regularly but that’s just an excuse really. I’ve found time to run every day in January so far so I’m sure I can find time to blog.
  3. Quality over quantity. I don’t want regular to mean I post some half-hearted rubbish 3 times a week. I want to make sure I only post what I’m happy with and would enjoy reading on someone else’s blog. After all, if I wouldn’t read it, why would I expect my readers to?
  4. Engage with other blogs more. I’m hoping (though I have no evidence to back this up) that engagement leads to engagement. I want to like more tweets and Instagram photos, comment on blogs and photos, take part in twitter chats and just generally share the love in the blogosphere a bit more. I know how happy it makes me feel when I get comments or someone shares my post so I want to do this more for the blogs I’m enjoying. I also find that blog comment sections are a great place to find other blogs to follow.

So, how does that sound? Achievable? I think so.

So let’s add some goals that seem less achievable to really push myself.

I want to work with 3 brands in 2018.

I want to increase my following on Twitter and Instagram by 20%.

Okay, that was scary to write down. But with this post to hold me accountable, it’s something I can work towards.

Make sure you’re following me on Twitter and Instagram to be a part of my blogging journey in 2018 (cheeky plug to help me achieve my goals…). Let’s do this!

This post is part of my entry to win a place at The Bloggers’ Retreat, wish me luck!