Archives

Lifestyle

Kinky Boots – A Review & Backstage Tour

February 28, 2019

If you’ve seen the striking advertising around Bristol (who can miss those huge red boots?!) then you’ll know that Kinky Boots, the musical, is currently at the Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday 9th March. I was lucky enough to watch the show last night and had the chance to meet some of the cast and go backstage for a quick tour.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t know the story behind Kinky Boots beforehand and didn’t know anyone who had seen the show so I had no idea what to expect. Luckily the cast of the show and the team from the Hippodrome were on hand to fill me in.

Kinky Boots is based on a true story and follows Charlie Price who inherits his family’s struggling shoe factory in Northampton. Charlie attempts to turn the factory’s fortunes around with the help of the fabulous Lola, a drag queen from London. I won’t give any spoilers away but if you love drag queens, appreciate a good shoe and can’t resist a song and dance, then this is the show for you!

As I mentioned, we were lucky enough to go backstage and even have some pictures on the stage before the show. It was fascinating to see the space where the cast change and how all the props and set pieces are set up beforehand. We were all living our best lives on the stage pretending that it could have been us performing that night. We can dream!

Obviously what we all wanted to see and learn about was THE SHOES! The shoes for every cast member in every Kinky Boots show around the world are handmade by an Australian company called Stepping Out. They take 21 measurements so each pair is the perfect fit. The Bristol show required 48 pairs to be made with each pair costing approximately £2500! Unfortunately, even though the shoes are custom made, the cast don’t get to keep their shoes and they go to the London show to be used as spares. I’d be gutted!

As always, I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities I get through my blog so thank you very much to the team at Bristol Hippodrome and Kinky Boots for a fantastic evening. I’ve been singing the songs all day which is a sign of how good the show was. I’m even listening to the soundtrack as I write this!

As of writing, there are still tickets left for this week at the Bristol Hippodrome and I highly recommend you go. Visit atgtickets.com/bristol for full ticket details. The last show is on Saturday 9th March so be quick!

I was gifted two tickets to Kinky Boots in return for a review but all views are my own.

Croatia, Europe, Travel

Plitvice Lakes – A Croatia Day Trip

February 4, 2019

A trip to Croatia wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the beautiful Plitvice Lakes National Park. A chain of 16 lakes linked by the most amazing waterfalls is a sight you really don’t want to miss.

As we were staying near Pula, the Plitvice Lakes were a 3 hour plus drive for us, but I promise you, the long journey is worth it. We went on a group trip organised by our TUI rep but some people rented a car. There are pros and cons to each obviously, but the benefit of going on a coach is the ability to nap! I get that some people prefer the freedom of not being restricted on timings (I’m usually the same!) but our coach trip didn’t seem rushed at all.

When you arrive at the National Park, you’ll notice on all the tourist information boards that you have a choice of walks around the lake. They all explain which walk is suitable for you depending on how much time you have and what the terrain is like. The walks do have a few crossover points so you have to keep an eye out for the coloured arrows around the park which point you in the right direction.

One thing to note is that the Plitvice Lakes are extremely popular. They’re really beautiful so you can understand why everyone wants to visit but be prepared to wait in line at the popular photo stops and for a bit of congestion at some points. Me and Stu are quite easy going so it never bothered us but you could tell some people got frustrated at points. My advice is to just be patient and enjoy the view around you!

The lakes and surrounding trees bring together the most beautiful blues and greens – it’s simply stunning. We saw a bride and groom having some wedding pictures taken and they must have looked amazing!

Plitvice Lakes National Park shows off just how beautiful Croatia can be. When I thought of Croatia before I wouldn’t have imagined it was home to somewhere like the lakes, I just thought of Kings Landing in Game of Thrones, to be honest! It’s changed my view on Croatia and it’s always somewhere I recommend when people tell me they’ve got a Croatian holiday booked.

Europe, Slovenia, Travel

Why Lake Bled should be at the TOP of your bucket list

February 1, 2019

Slovenia, and Lake Bled especially, might just be one of the prettiest places I’ve ever visited. I felt like I was in a real life fairytale. But I hadn’t even considered going to Lake Bled or Slovenia until about a week before I actually did. I’d seen the iconic pictures of the lake and the church but it wasn’t on my bucket list at all. But I am so SO glad that we went on a day trip as part of our Croatia holiday. Yes, you read that right, we went on ANOTHER day trip to ANOTHER country when in Croatia. Read all about our other trip to Venice, here.

So, back to Slovenia and Lake Bled. As Lake Bled is fairly north in Slovenia, we had another early start for a coach trip across the country. It was actually really nice to see some of Slovenia. Stu definitely saw more of it than me because I have this magical skill of falling asleep on any form of transport within seconds…

When we arrived in Bled, we headed to the castle first which involved driving up a really steep hill. And I mean, crazily steep. But, obviously, there’s always someone out there who loves a challenge and we saw people cycling up this hill! Absolute madness.

The castle is now a museum, gift shop and restaurant but the main reason people head there is to look out at all the beautiful scenery. You’re surrounded by mountains and one side of the castle you get the money shot that people travel to Bled for. Looking out across Lake Bled is just breathtaking. You’ll obviously take a ton of pictures but you really need to take a moment to just appreciate where you are because photos just can’t do it justice.

We were with a large group for this trip but decided to do our own thing for the next couple of hours and had lunch and then walked around the lake. You can get a horse and carriage ride down to the lake but we preferred to walk to be honest! There were lots of people enjoying the lake, either on boats or going for a swim. It seems like Bled is a popular holiday destination. For lunch, we went to Caffe Peglez’n and sat outside to make the most of the scenery around us.

Next up was a trip to the island in the middle of Lake Bled. We got a boat across and all the rowers are from the same three families and use a special rowing technique to get you across the water which I thought was a pretty cool fact! Situated on the island is a church and tradition says that to get married in this church, the groom must carry his bride up the 99 steps which lead to the entrance. Quite a feat! Stu and I decided to cheat and just have a picture at the top of the steps with me on his back haha!

There’s also a bell in the church which apparently grants you a wish if you ring it. So obviously you have to pay to ring the bell… Not something I’m going to do! We had an ice-cream instead and looked back at Bled Castle which we visited earlier.

So for a place I hadn’t really considered visiting before, Lake Bled turned out to be one of the most spectacular places I’ve been and somewhere you should definitely consider if you’re going to Slovenia or one of the surrounding countries.

Lifestyle, My Life, Travel

Reflections on 2018

January 15, 2019

So here we are. 2019. Two thousand and nineteen. How did that happen? As always, the past year has absolutely flown by but I want to take the time to reflect as usual.

I’m not necessarily one to count countries (I have the ‘been’ app on my phone to keep track but I don’t have a target number ofcountries that I want to visit) but this year I managed to visit 6 new countries! Here’s a quick sentence on each:

Croatia (Pula and Plitvice Lakes National Park) – A better colosseum than Rome (apparently) and lakes so blue you won’t believe your eyes.

Italy (Venice) – The perfect place to wander for hours, only stopping for pizza and an Aperol Spritz…

Slovenia – Lake Bled and the surrounding area is like something out of a fairytale –breathtakingly beautiful.

Slovakia (Bratislava) – Not the prettiest but it’s got an interesting history and plenty of places to buy cheap beer and food – what’s not to love?!

Austria (Vienna) – You’ll spend the entire time looking up at the amazing buildings. The neck ache is worth it.

Hungary – A ‘been but not seen’. I literally ran around the tri-point of Slovakia, Austria and Hungary and walked into Hungary for a few minutes. I’m counting it though haha…

I’ve got two European breaks squeezed in before Brexit hits (if it happens at all…) but hopefully there won’t be too much disruption to my love of a city break! What are your plans for the year ahead?

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.