The Peak District – Cottage Living

After all of us being put through our paces since being back at work a well deserved Covid 19 permitted trip was definitely on the card. After Jack and Maddie had stated they were going to the peaks for a week and an invite later we were on our way to Eyam in the peaks for 4 days to do some walking, talking and chilling.

So a little bit of history! Eyam, where we stayed for the week, in the Peak District is also known as The Plague Village. After being able to keep themselves free of the Bubonic Plague a tailor received a fabrics delivery from London. Making clothes and other bits for the villagers the tailor unknowingly spread the Bubonic Plague around the village after the fabric contained lice and other factors which helped contribute to the spread of the disease. The village itself saw more death than London itself! The village is really historical where you can visit the museum and learn about how the village made a comeback. There’s also lots of historical plaques outside houses where you can learn who died there and how, what their trade was etc.

Maddie found the cosiest cottage to stay in! It was absolutely so beautiful, it had a fireplace in both the lounge and the kitchen which made it super warm. it had everything we could’ve asked for, there was even enough beds for our friend Mason to join us on the Thursday night!

There was a beautiful pink themed double room that Brad and I stayed in, there was another triple room for Maddie and the boys. There was a really lovely outdoor seating area upstairs but we didn’t use it once as it overlooked everyones garden so instead we used the outdoor seating area outside the front of the cottage which was just as lovely. There were two bathrooms and the sitting room had a beautiful open fire and enough seats to relax, stay warm and catch up, plus a fully stocked book shelf! The kitchen was also fully operational, we had all the pots and pans, literally the works so we could cook every morning and night and prepare lunch for our walks. We had all sorts, Maddie cooked the first night, Brad the following and we also met my sister and her man for some pub grub! We had some really lovely food, Jack was on cocktail duty and I made pancakes on our last morning in the cottage!

On our first night we decided to go for a walk around the village! We headed up the hills behind the cottage and had a cute rendezvous with some sheep in a field which were really cute. We then found a pub just down the road so we sat outside and had some hot and alcoholic drinks. I wish I had more pictures of the village but I did get plenty of video footage! So it is definitely worth heading over to look at my youtube footage of the trip!

SW Coastal Road Trip Day 4 – St Ives, Lands End & Newquay

We woke up refreshed andready to go for another day of exploring the South West coast!

Waking up In the Hobbit Homes was really cool and very refreshing. You stepped straight outside into the fresh air so it was nice to have a cuppa and enjoy the fresh morning weather! Once we had walked down to the washrooms, had a shower and freshened up check out was at 10 so we got sorted and headed out to explore St Ives! The washrooms were also really clean and fresh. Although it would have been nice to see someone cleaning it straight after we had used it for other guests we also understand in todays climate that might not be possible!

So we jumped in the car and drive the 10 minute drive into the centre of St Ives. The first mistake we made was driving. Parking is really very limited so if possible park at the top of the hill on your way into St Ives. The walk back up might be painful but not as painful as trying to find parking in the centre because it isn’t really plausible on a busy summers day.

St Ives from the off was so beautiful, the blue water and the beautiful beaches and harbour. It was low tide so all the boats were resting on the sand in the harbour as we waded through the masses of people who had finally escaped after the coronavirus lockdown. Admittedly this was the only location out of the many that we visited where I didn’t feel Covid safe walking through the streets. Usually when we were outdoors I’d keep my mask off but when we were walking through I felt incredibly uncomfortable especially being basically shoulder to shoulder and popped my mask on until we had reached the other side of the harbour. All the restaurants were open and it was Ice creams galore! I love all the stone buildings and the cobbled streets. I imagine in winter its the cosiest town of them all.

We wandered across to Smeaton Pier and followed the coastal pathway along the seafront around to the piece of land known as ‘The Island’. To get there we walked past Bamaluz beach and also Porthgwidden beach to finally make our way up to St Ives head, situated on The Island, and also to take a nosey at St Nicholas Chapel too! It was a really lovely walk with beautiful views of St Ives beaches and the harbour. We then finished off with a picture overlooking Porthmeor Beach and a walk back through the cobbled streets of St Ives (trying not to buy even MORE fudge from some of the delicious shops) and up the dreaded hill to the car!

Next up on the agenda was to drive across from St Ives to Lands End! I was really excited for this as I’m from Lowestoft (although no longer residing there now) and Lowestoft holds the landmark on our coast for the Most Easterly Point of the UK! So Complete opposite sides of the country which is pretty fun. So I was very excited when we arrived.

We paid the £7 parking fee which is basically your entry fee and then headed down to the entrance! When you arrive there are so many facilities I really didn’t expect. I was expecting to arrive to the lands end landmark post, the flag and that was really about it. I was shocked to find children’s amusements and also multiple food stalls and places for drinks! There is even a hotel and place for you to stay if you wanted too! It was good as I was hungry so had a portion of nachos for the price of a small London Flat. It was massively overpriced but I guess its the tourist attractions that do that to you!

We wandered past the stalls after some food and headed down to look at the actual Lands End landmark, unfortunately again you had to pay for a picture in front of it. But we didn’t do that and just took a pretty good picture from the other side of the line and our own pictures as we walked down the slope towards the first and last house! It was cool to see the first and last post box and the first and last house, the first and last flagpole and the Lands End viewpoint. I never imaged I’d be that far South West in my entire life. Now all I want to do is go to the most Northern and Southern point! It would have made sense really to go to the most Southern point whilst at Lands End as it was just an hours drive away! Highlight of Lands end was definitely the proposal we saw by the Lands End sign, so nice that even the bad weather didn’t bring the mood down for such a special occasion!

Next location on the adventure for the next two days, the longest we will have spent anywhere on the trip, was Newquay! Now I was so excited to go to Newquay so I could teach Brad how to surf! The drive from Lands End to Newquay was only an hour or so and was really easy.

We arrived at our Airbnb and it was absolutely beautifully decorated and so cosy. We had everything we needed from a coffee machine, bathroom with a shower next door to the room with towels, a TV, a place to put our sandy things from the beach, the COMFIEST double, wardrobe space, Wi-Fi and a TV to relax and watch when we weren’t out exploring. It was like an upside down house, Kylie the host lived upstairs and the room ad bathroom was downstairs. During these Covid times she kept the bathroom sparkling clean also which was amazing. The best part about this Airbnb though? I went to the toilet at 6am and was greeted in an open kitchen door to A HOUSE RABBIT. I must have missed this part on the listing as it definitely states she’s in there but I was so pleasantly surprised, what a great way to wake up! She was super cute!

As we arrived quite late in the evening we decided to walk into Newquay and find some food. Unfortunately at this point the Help out to Eat out scheme had just started and we didn’t even think to book, everywhere was SO busy. We manged to find a table on the main high street at a place called Lost Brewing Co. On a complete whim and reluctantly we went inside and I am so glad we did, it was so good we went back the following day for drinks before our meal elsewhere. Not only do they brew their own beers and sell them here but the food was amazing. I had Halloumi fries, Battered prawns, Chicken strips and some fries as well for finger food as I was just so hungry and couldn’t make my mind up but they are actually super popular for their burgers as well!

All in all another successful day, we headed back to the Airbnb shortly after so we could get some good nights sleep ready for a day full of surfing the next day!

The Global Quarantine Diaries – Helen

Global Quarantine Diaries

Where in the world are you located?

I live in a sleepy little town in Cheshire in the UK. It is picture perfect and we absolutely love it here. Formatively, I have lived in many counties through out the UK due to my Fathers job. In fact this is the longest I have ever stayed in one place! 9 years and counting, for the first time in my life, I have a house that feels like my forever home. 

What is lockdown regulations like there? 

As I am shielding due to an on going argument with that thing known as The Big C, my lockdown regulations have been very strict. I have been unable to leave my home for over 10 weeks. This proves interesting when trying to homeschool 3 kiddies who want nothing more than to do fun stuff and play out with their friends! It turns out I am a terrible teacher, as they are students!

How are you keeping busy?

As a Mum of 3, I never have the time to keep busy! It is constantly a mad house, full of chaos, but most importantly full of love. On the upside, when we have been attempting homeschooling, it has given me the opportunity to think, create and write for my blog and side hustles. I have also taken on an absurd amount of DIY tasks, in the genuine belief we would be bored if we hadn’t got plenty to do. The reality of it is I don’t have time to be bored nor time to get everything done! Who knew how short 10 weeks really were when there was a mountain of things to do on The List of Doom.

What do you miss doing the most?

Having coffee with my girlfriends. In all the years of friendship I have been fortunate to amass with my besties, I have never had to go so long without seeing them. I struggle with zoom/facetime interactions as I find them stunted if there are more than a couple of people on them. I can’t wait to go for a walk with my pooch and a cuppa with my besties. 

What is the first thing you’re going to do once lockdown is over?

Spend time by myself! It turns out I am a very solitary person, and I am really struggling being in a house full of lunatics 24/7. I can’t wait to drop the kiddies back to school (hopefully in September!) and enjoy the silence of the car journey home. Then I am driving straight to my aforementioned besties house for a long over due hug! Turns out for a loner, I really enjoy a cuddle.

Find me here:

https://www.instagram.com/alittlecupofhelen/

https://www.alittlecupofhelen.co.uk

The Global Quarantine Diaries – Ash

And we are back with Week 2 of The Global Quarantine Diaries!

First up on this week’s post we have Ash!

See how she is dealing with Lockdown in Ireland below!

Where are you located?

1. I’m in Ireland.

What is lockdown like where you are?

2. Lockdown is slowly lifting here. Phase 1 was basically that we should stay home except for essential workers and grocery shopping, and people shouldn’t travel more than 2km from their home (unless its for work and they have proof incase they get stopped). Phase 2 is just started so they’re relaxing the rules a little. Smaller shops are opening and restaurants like McDonalds are open for Drive Thru orders.

How have you been keeping busy during Lockdown?

3. I’ve been so busy! I was very busy before this, but since my part-time job has been closed I’ve been appreciating the time to focus on passion projects like music and creative writing. I’ve also had more time for cleaning up my blogs. I haven’t actually spent much time on Disney Plus or Netflix at all.

What do you miss the most?

4. I miss being able to get coffee with my friends and eating out.

Whats the first thing you’ll do after lockdown?

5. The first thing I’ll do is realistically go back to work, but outside of that, I’ll probably have a night out with my friends when it’s safe to do so.

Follow Ash’s socials below to see more!

Blogs here! http://thisdreamsalive.com and http://pricklypineapples.ie

Twitter here! https://twitter.com/thisdreamsalive

My London Bucket List – Climbing the O2!

This was something that had been on My London Bucket List for quite some time, Climbing the O2! Brad received a few vouchers for a special occasion and was totally gassed when he said I could come with!

LONDON TRIP!

We got the train in on the Sunday to London from Sandy! It only took us an hour to reach Kings Cross station and then from there we headed to Liverpool street to meet Sam and Alex! Brad’s sister and her fiance! ‘Twas a family affair and so much fun!

We then from there headed to Stratford for the O2!

We needed to eat as we were climbing the O2 at around 7:30pm so we were hoping to catch the sunset. We went inside the O2 and it was strange not being there for a concert as I’d never been there for anything else! I was shocked to find out that there was an entire designer outlet in the O2 with beautiful glitter stairs leading up to the shops and a floral area naturally for some candid photos.

We ate in TGI Fridays before heading over to ‘Base Camp’!

When you arrive you are ushered into a room with clipboards, there you sign the waiver saying you’re liable and capable to do the climb! Then you watch a briefing video and meet your guide who will be climbing with us, our guide was a really cool and nice guy! Naturally I didn’t get any pictures on the way up as you definitely can not have your phone out until you are at the top!

You pop your personal items in a box which is at the other ed for you when you finish and they give you 3 items of gear, a gilet, shoes and a harness with a clip on the end which you attached the wire on the pathway on route up! Before you start your climb they bring you you to the start of the route where they take professional pictures of you before you climb!

Unluckily we missed the sunset but seeing the skyline at night and from the top of the O2 was just amazing! You attached your harness to the start of the line, as the instructor taught us how to use them we discovered we had to get through 196 clips from start to finish! but they were easy once you got the hang of them after the first 5 or 6!

The pathway is elevated and it was like walking on a trampoline, naturally the instructor said to hide your childhood inhibitions and do not bounce as it sends a huge ripple down the pathways, the end of the line would’ve been bouncing everywhere if I even so much as jumped at the start.

Especially because we got halfway and Sam tells us she is afraid of heights! So it was best to be thoughtful and also kudos to Sam for doing it and conquering her fears!

When you get to the top there is a platform where you can unhook from the clip and walk around! The view was amazing and it wasnt that windy or cold, just a breeze! And it is hard work so the breeze was perfect. When you get to the top if you want you can also pay an extra £7.00 to have some glasses of prosecco or another choice of drink! It was so cool and so unique, like nothing we had ever done before. Getting our group pictures at the top of the O2 overlooking the skyline of Canary Wharf and the Thames, the air was so fresh!

Once you’re up there for 15-20 minutes you then start your descent down to the bottom!

You hook your clip on again the descent for the first 3 quarters of the trip is really good and not too difficult, easy on the calfs. its when you reach the final descent it gets really steep on the walk down! Going slow was definitely essential, the couple in front were in a real rush so I had to slow down as they were making the walkway bounce they were practically running. They ask you to keep an arms length of space between each other but I made sure to give them plenty more.

Once you’re down the bottom you’ve made it! I’ve never been around that side of the O2, not that there is anything there but I found it pretty cool. You then de-gear yourself removing your clip, shoes and harness at the second ‘Base Camp’. All your belongings are there already as you get your shoes back on which is nice having to not go back for it!

You then can buy the professional photos and key rings that they took at the start of your climb! They had a really good package for both photos, a key ring and a fridge magnet for only £25! Usually things like that cost about £40 so that was a given we had to get it!

All in all it was a really awesome experience and being able to say I have climbed the O2 is pretty awesome.

What an achievement hey! It isn’t too expensive per person either so I definitely recommend doing it as well (as long as you’re not afraid of heights!).

Airports, what’s not to love?

I couldn’t even begin to tell you why, But I love airports.

I’m lying, I can totally tell you why I love them.

They’re busy, exciting and full of so many different adventures and stories, different walks of life.

For a lot of people the airport is the place from hell, flights being delayed, too many people, disorganisation, security, you name it chances are there is someone out there that dislikes everything about the airport.

A prime example is as I was writing this one of my colleges saw the title and said “everything, everything is not to love”, So I guess he had made his mind up about that pretty quick.

f258fe85835e8f42d5c141ed78cc1330I can’t really say I’ve had many horror stories of the airport at all, just one really. But that certainly did not change my opinion at all. I just think its the atmosphere of the airport, does wonders for me and I have no idea why. (You can read my airport horror story below).

Apart from security, no one likes security, who has time to undress themselves basically completely, shove themselves through a scanner and re dress themselves? Everyone actually as it a necessity, IT JUST TAKES SO DAMN LONG. 

But other than that I would say the airport is my fave.

I usually get a lot more excited for the airport than I do that flight or the travel, I cant work out if its the excitement of the fact I am going abroad or just being in a place with lots of energy, energises myself!

I love to splash the cash, jokes I DON’T HAVE ANY. But I love to do Duty Free shopping as well. You’ve got Milka? Great, I will have the lot. Discounted VS? I’m down for new underwear always. Discounted cigarettes and booze? Even better. Duty free is the basic holy grail to be honest and I have a field day each time I am there. 

Naturally it is so wonderful to be watching the Arrivals. Family members returning after being away for a while, lots of cuddles and tears. Partners being reunited, ugh it makes me emotional just thinking about it. The airport itself is just So HUGE, and so BUSY. It makes my life practically, its like a mini city inside another city. Judge me. 

I’m going to have to go home and watch ‘Arrivals’ On Channel 4 now and cry for a bit. 

***

My Airport Horror Story

So we were flying to South Africa, And it’s not so much a horror story, just a unfortunate turn of events.

So the flight to the SA is 11 and a half hours long. Economy class as always, I love getting as cosy as I can as its a long flight! 

Now I don’t ever sleep on planes. Planes, trains, buses you name it I will not sleep, I’m not sure why it is too this day I can just never seem to be comfortable ENOUGH to sleep. So we set off on our flight to South Africa in the evening, it was a night flight due to it being so long.

All is fine for a while, take off etc and we are away! We get about 3 hours into the flight and all of the sudden the lack of cabin crew is actually kind of evident, we were curious as to what was happening as we then saw our server Gavin run through the cabin with a first aid bag.

now FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, I fell asleep on the plane. So the last thing I saw was Gavin and his first aid bag running down the cabin.

I woke up shortly after, Or what I believed was shortly after, it had actually been about 4 hours. So I was pleased, naturally for me that was nearly the whole journey! Or so I though. 

We had landed! But not in South Africa. We were on Barcelona Runway at Barcelona Airport. 

So I woke up a little confused, I turned to my friend Sam and asked her if we were in Africa. Her response? No.

AS IT TURNED OUT, One of the flight attendants appendix had burst. So we had to make a detour to Barcelona Airport so we could get the gent of the plane to to safety. The gent was sent to the hospital where he was treated correctly and was alright which is definitely a positive for sure!

The only downside for us, the plane and the cabin crew was that we wouldn’t make it to South Africa at our arrival time. This meant for the flight itself we had to head back to the airport, unload the plane and sit in the airport! 

We arrived back in Heathrow at 6am in the morning, The compensation was a free Starbucks and That was something I could deal with because the situation was completely out of everyone’s control. And I wanted a cuppa tea and some breakfast as it was early.

They had to do a complete turn over of the plane, they didn’t unload the bags which was good but the plane was completely cleaned and one of the main reasons for the plane to return to Heathrow was the change over period for the air hostesses. I believe they can only fly for so long before they have to change over the teams, which made complete sense as if you’re hostessing on an 11 hour flight and usual shift is 8 hours then having the issue with the flight means that you’ll have to clock off once you land.

But don’t take my word for it, I’m not an air hostess, So I don’t really know shit. 

I literally did not move form my position at Starbucks for the whole 5 hours we were waiting to re-board the flight.

FINALLY, at 11am, we were aloud to head back to the terminal and re-board the plane. And then away to South Africa we went! For me it literally made no difference to the holiday, I would’ve been Jet-lagged the day after the flight anyway.

I was just pleased that the gentleman was okay after the predicament!

So that was my Airport Predicament, Whats yours?

 

Orlando – Universal S(unburn)tudio’s

Universal Studios was incredible, We did both sides of the park and of course we visited more than once, my all time favourite ride is at these parks, duh, The Hulk! Universal is sick, from The Simpsons world to Harry Potter world and all the other awesome rides and places it has to offer its definitely a come back more than once job!

Of course we all had our photograph of us on the giant fake blue wave in the entrance to the parks, it would’ve been rude not too, and I also absolutely LOVED the Billabong shop they had so of course I did spent a little too much time there. Theres also the beautiful view of the river that runs through the entrance to both universal parks and the entrance to the Hard Rock restaurant, the best time was when the sun was setting, it was gorgeous.

And not forgetting the rather large spinning earth and Universal Studios sign before you enter the park on the right side, I mean did you even go to Universal if you didn’t get a photograph in front of it?

Of course upon entering the park for a majority of the day all I was doing was applying suncream, which didn’t work, because I got royally burnt as per usual when is anything ever different with me. My face and my nose flare up so much when they’re burnt you may as well call me Rudolf. So many great rides at universal and so little time, but regardless of that we went on the Hollywood Rock It probably the most, although The Hulk was definitely a close second!

278My favourite time on the Hollywood Rock It was when I went on the ride with Imi, obviously you get on the ride and you strap yourself across your legs and stomach and whilst you’re making your way up to the first drop you get to choose what music you listen too as you go around the course, and at the time they were also filming your experience for you to take home instead of a photo. Id decided to listen to Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger because what other banger is better than that.

So it was video’ing Imi and I as we went round, and I’m pretty sure after watching it back with Ims she passed out on nearly every single drop on the ride and then came back to life screaming and smiling whenever we weren’t on a drop or loop, and the ride managed to get it all on film! I wish, I WISH I’d bought a copy of the film because we were hysterical laughing!

Some of the other rides that deserved just as much recognition has got to be The Mummy Ride, The Transformers 4D ride and the Men in Black shooting/game ride was so much fun. Im a pansy and hate simulator rides, so the Twister ride was lost to me, which is such a shame as I love the film! After being in Orlando a while I was starting to get sick of eating crappy foods so universal was my saviour in terms of the huge big tubs of fruit they sold around the park, easily my favourite buy because I was starting to forgot how good the sweet nectar of fruit was whilst we were out there.

269Of course The Simpsons world was fun, although I bottled it on the ride they had to offer, so I held the bags whilst everyone went on! But it was so cool how they had a Moes Bar and all the other Simpson related statues and venues! I even got to have a cute photo with Millhouse!

From The Simpsons world we went across to the Men in Black ride which was interactive, where you sat in a carriage of 4 and shoot things and get a score, I was crap, of course.

 

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For those who are massive Harry Potter fans you’ll know just how incredibly impressive Diagon Alley and Harry Potter world, Hogwarts, the train and the Duelling dragon rides are. Not to mention the Butter beer, So sweet but so good. Nothing was cooler than walking along Diagon Alley and realising that the dragon breathes fire down at all of us walking through the street! We also had a pretty good chat with the man who was running the ‘night bus; in the park, he was pretty up for a photograph and a natter! Now I’m not a huge Harry Potter fan, but It didn’t take much to absolutely blow me away with just how impressive the place was.

We took the train from platform 9 and 3 quarters across to the other side of the park which was awesome. It was newly opened when we headed there, there was 5 of us to a cubicle and the movie they showed on the window and the special effects with the carriage doors was so cool, so fascinated and great to be reminded of what happens in the Harry Potter films! The train dropped us in the adventure island part of Universal where the duelling dragons and the village with Hogwarts was, Im not sure how it happened but after a few tears from one of our youngest members of the families, we managed to bag ourselves a quick tour of the Hogwarts castle and then on the ride that was inside Hogwarts!

The Duelling dragons were good fun, and of course we had to go on both the Red ride and the Blue ride too see which one was better! I preferred the red ride hands down.

NOW of course because we’d come across to the other side of the park there was a whole new park to explore basically, this side of the park consisted of Dr Seuss’s area, as well as Jurassic Park and the Marvel area, which is definitely my favourite area!

228Jurassic Park was good fun because at Universal they have the water ride for Jurassic Park, not only was Imi terrified of all the dinosaurs that jumped out, and I don’t blame her either, but as we were making our way up the massive hill to then go down the HUGE drop they have, which FYI soaked me through even though I was holding a waterproof coat over GJ and myself, one of the padre’s our group had his Go Pro out and you can just hear some america voice say “Can you please put your Go Pro away sir” over the intercom, but, I’m sorry love, we didn’t hear you, what was that???? It was wild fun, I’ve NEVER been on a water ride with such a steep drop! Scared the living daylights out of me! But of course we were soaked, and it was great, kept us cool for the duration of the day as to was a scorcher!

Carrying on through the park the Spiderman 4D experience ride was tonnes of fun although it made me a little nervous in terms of simulator rides, but it was good’un in the end! AND I got to meet Captain America and HOLD HIS SHIELD, But typically, with my rather short shorts its made me look very naked…

Got to meet Optimus Prime too! The transformers costumes were seriously impressive, I couldn’t tell if they were ran by remote control or if there were people actually inside them, but they were really tall and so detailed, they were so impressive.

My favourite part of the holiday in terms of food in Orlando, was the Hard Rock Cafe Orlando in Universal Studios, I was excited to eat there before we’d even arranged to go there put it that way. Not only was it huge inside and out but it had a Cadillac just in the middle of the restaurant spinning around above the bar below it! When we arrived there was 13 of us and they even took a group photograph of us before we all went to sit down, and it was a great picture as we didn’t get another like it the entire holiday.

The food was incredible, I had a burger with bacon, cheese and the sweetest BBQ sauce, then all of us girls had mocktails because boo hoo the drinking age being over 21 in the US, none of us qualified for that haha! But the mocktails were nice none the less! I loved looking at all the famous musicians outfits dotted about the restaurant too, I’d also never eaten in a Hard Rock before this night either so it was a fun experience!

Id love to go back to Universal soon as they have opened a Kong: Skull Island ride, and it bet its phenomenal because I LOVED the film! One day I’ll head back.