Life

Longleat. It’s really not just for kids!!!

 There is nothing like a fun day trip on a sunny weekend, especially if that day trip includes a safari and wild animals!!!

Matt and I invited my brother, Sam, and his girlfriend, Rosie to join us on a trip to Longleat as I had great memories of the place, however I was slightly apprehensive that it was going to be a bit childish (probably because I was around 8 years old the last time I went). Turns out I haven’t really grown up and it is still AMAZING!!!

Do not be fooled by the happy faces - the car was a furnace!

Do not be fooled by the happy faces – the car was a furnace!

We left Bristol at around 12pm (not 10am like we planned) and arrived at Longleat at around 1:30pm, it probably would have been quicker, however the sign posts are slightly confusing and we tried to enter through the caravan park which was a no go.

Just a quick heads up – it is not cheap. £32.95 per adult, but if you order your tickets online more than 24 hours before you go you can get them for £28 (£5 more towards animal food in the park). There are various family tickets and one year pass options see here.

Before you head in to the Safari you get given a CD which is definitely for kids, but is really informative about the animals that you see. The first part of the safari is on foot, which was a huge relief as it was boiling hot and Matts car does not have air conditioning (by the end of the day my make up was pretty much an exact copy of the baboons arse).

Meet my new boyfriend...

Meet my new boyfriend…

We were slightly unfortunate as we paid £6 to feed the Giraffe’s, however when we got to the bridge they were no longer interested in food (these animals are spoilt).

Our leaves were not good enough for the overfed Giraffes.

Our leaves were not good enough for the overfed Giraffes.

Black with white stripes!

Black with white stripes!

After we were reimbursed for the leaves we went on a walk to see the Wallabies, Leemurs and finally came across two turtle’s who were ‘making love’. The noise the male was making was pretty disturbing and Matt has a video, click on the link if you are intrigued (you sicko).

One of those moments when you really should look away, but you cannot bring yourself to do it!

One of those moments when you really should look away, but you cannot bring yourself to do it!

Video 04-07-2015 15 03 18 – This is the video if you really want the full experience!

Anyway back in the car and on to the main Safari we went. I have included a few pictures below of some of the amazing animals that we saw, but I have to say my highlights were most definitely the monkeys and feeding the deer.

Friendly sting ray!

This Ostrich was not intimidated by the car - it was his road and he was not moving!

This Ostrich was not intimidated by the car – it was his road and he was not moving!

Safe to say we did not spend a huge amount of time around these guys!

Safe to say we did not spend a huge amount of time around these guys!

One of the less exotic but equally cute animals in the park!

One of the less exotic but equally cute animals in the park!

Despite the heat, as we drove in to the monkey enclosure, I was definitely pleased that we brought Matt’s car. The monkeys were very active and stole Matts aerial. We made one special monkey friend who I think might have smelt the peanuts that may or may not have been strategically placed by the window.

My favourite animal of the entire day!

My favourite animal of the entire day!

We also made a huge number of friends in the deer enclosure. £1 worth of food went a long way and was so worth it although at one point I thought they were going to jump in to the car.

Selfie with deer #whynot

Selfie with deer #whynot

Their noses are so soft!!

Due to our late arrival we only had one hour in the main park once we left the safari, but I have to say I think we saw all the main attractions. We jumped straight on the boat which was brilliant as we were introduced to the Hippos, Seals and the 52 year old Gorilla who lives on his own island in the middle of the Lake (he was my absolute favourite probably because he reminded me of my dad – sorry dad).

He knows when the boats are coming and comes out of his house to watch everyone go by!

He knows when the boats are coming and comes out of his house to watch everyone go by!

The seals were very cute!

The seals were very cute!

Luckily the seals were still hungry!

…and still hungry!

We had 20 minutes to spare as we jumped off the boat and we went straight to the Penguins…..and straight back out again as the smell of fish was slightly overpowering. We then went to see the sting rays and to finish off we visited the birds. I do not even like birds so god knows why I agreed to buy some nectar – within seconds I had about 4 of them perched on my head and my arm.

The love the nectar!

The love the nectar!

This was on top of my head!

This was on top of my head!

If we had more time I would had loved to have seen some of the shows they put on in the park and taken a look round the beautiful house. Worth mentioning that Centre Parcs Longleat is just around the corner and we all said how great it would be to combine the two places over a weeks holiday.

Lion spotted having a pee!

Lion spotted having a pee!

My favourite thing about Longleat is the space that all of the animals are given and how happy and healthy they all look. If you are at a loss for things to do this summer, I really recommend Longleat as it is something different and a really fun day out!

A very enjoyable day had by all!

A very enjoyable day had by all!

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Budapest

Smiles all around

Smiles all around

Last week I was lucky enough to visit Budapest with my Mum and Nan for my Nan’s birthday (I am not allowed to say what birthday, but it was a big’un). I would be lying if I said my first desire to go to Budapest was not inspired by George Ezra, however since then a number of close friends and family have recommended it as a great city break without the extortionate price tag = WINNER.

My first problem was what the hell do you pack for a boiling hot city break? The words Cool & Chic come to mind, but easier said than done if you have a huge mane of hair and big boobs. Anyway I managed to pack and off we went!!

So I have made a little list of all the things I would recommend and my favourite activities in Budapest which I hope might come in handy if you are planning a trip  or you’re on the look out for a cool city to visit….

We stayed in the Eurostars Budapest Centre Hotel which was very roomy considering all 3 of us stayed in one room, very clean and very comfortable (apart from the two short power cuts we had due to the freak lightening storm).

They even had 3 little pieces of birthday cake with candles waiting for us on arrival!!

When we arrived in Budapest safe to say we had no clue where we were or where to go and I truly think when you only have a few days to explore a new city they best thing to do is to jump on a hop-on / hop-off Bus Tour. This way, you can get to grips with your surroundings and figure out all the most important places to visit. If you visit, I recommend the Big Bus Tours as they were very regular, with a good guide and you receive a free boat tour as well. Make sure you haggle fro a good price (my mother is the queen of haggling and managed to get us a 48 hour pass for around £13 each).

Free boat tour with the bus tour - love a freebee!!

Free boat tour with the bus tour – love a freebee!!

A few of the places we visited included the:

The Hungarian Parliament Building

The Hungarian Parliament Building, also known as the Parliament of Budapest for being located in that city, is the seat of the National Assembly of Hungary, one of Europe’s oldest legislative buildings.

Buda Castle

Buda Castle is the historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings in Budapest. The castle is a part of the Budapest World Heritage Site.

Buda Castle is the historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings in Budapest. The castle is a part of the Budapest World Heritage Site.

Szechenyi Baths.

No holiday is complete without a cheeky sunbathe and dip in the pool!

Budapest is well known for its Baths and there are many to choose from, however Szechenyi was recommended to us and we were able to take the tour bus there which was great. For one day entry to the Baths with full use of the thermal baths, sauna, swimming pools and a locker it costs less than £5 per person. The decor and the building was very traditional, however the facilities felt very modern and clean which was a great combination. There are places on site for refreshments and food. If you would like a sunbed then I recommend going early and being quick!!!

Matthias Church

The current building was constructed in the florid late Gothic style in the second half of the 14th century and was extensively restored in the late 19th century. It was the second largest church of medieval Buda

The current building was constructed in the florid late Gothic style in the second half of the 14th century and was extensively restored in the late 19th century. It was the second largest church of medieval Buda. It is a really breathtaking building.

The Liberty Statue

It commemorates those who sacrificed their lives for the independence, freedom, and prosperity of Hungary. The original inscription upon the memorial translates as  "To the memory of the liberating Soviet heroes [erected by] the grateful Hungarian people [in] 1945".

It commemorates those who sacrificed their lives for the independence, freedom, and prosperity of Hungary. The original inscription upon the memorial translates as  “To the memory of the liberating Soviet heroes [erected by] the grateful Hungarian people [in] 1945”. No one knows why she is holding a palm leaf!

Amazing view from the top!

Amazing view from the top!

Stunning view!!!

Even though it was actually thundering and lightening it was still beautiful!

There are many places to eat and drink and we found many gorgeous spots for a beer such as the Kiosk where we sat on a few bean bags and ate a watermelon bigger than our heads (which is saying something because I have quite a large head).

Kiosk bar.

Kiosk bar.

I was not going to let the watermelon defeat me!

I was not going to let the watermelon defeat me!

On one evening we strolled along the river and found the most amazing restaurant with an incredible view overlooking the River Danube. There was also a string band who were playing some great tunes!

View from inside of the restaurant.

View from inside of the restaurant.

Red sky at night!

Red sky at night!

Mum and Nan enjoying the band!

Mum and Nan enjoying the band!

We enjoyed our last night in a great bar called Buddha Bar, which is possibly the trendiest bar in Budapest. We only meant to have a quick Shisha and get going, but we ended up staying for a bottle of champagne, food and then went upstairs to the main bar where there was a cool DJ and we had a couple of G&T’s (Tanqueray 10 and Fever Tree obvs). It was a fabulous evening and close enough to our hotel to stumble home.

MUMM is the official Champagne of the Grand Prix. As the Grand Prix was taking place in Budapest whilst we were there - it seemed like the right thing to do?!

MUMM is the official Champagne of the Grand Prix. As the Grand Prix was taking place in Budapest whilst we were there – it seemed like the right thing to do?!

Casually hanging out in Buddha!

Casually hanging out in Buddha!

TOP TIP: As soon as you get to Budapest get to grips with the 5 main bridges and their names. This way if you do not know where you are – head for the River Danube and look for the bridge which is closest to your destination – it works a treat!

Personal Sat Nav!

Personal Sat Nav!

All of the bridges!

If you can’t remember the names just remember the colours!

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Reasons why I am not a Londoner….

londonSo a couple of weeks ago I spent 8 days living in London with my job, which was very fun! My colleagues and I rented an apartment in Liverpool Street and I was running a pop-up bar in the 1901 Wine Bar in the Andaz Hotel for one of my sparkling wine clients, Franciacorta (try it – its delicious!!!) As much as I had a great week and could not be more thankful for the opportunity and experience, I could not wait to get back to Bristol!

London friends before you shout at me, I am not denying London isn’t cool and exciting, but it just doesn’t do it for me and here are a few reasons why:

borrisLondoners are grumpy (unless you know them). I am by no means saying that everyone who lives in London is grumpy, but generally when you are walking around no one smiles, says ‘excuse me’ or even cares about anything else around them. Also it is ridiculous the amount of times I have experienced that awkward moment when you cross paths with a fellow commuter, go the same way and do a weird side step dance for what feels like a decade!!! Speaking from experience – in this situation, do not giggle as its apparently not funny and Londoners do not have time for this silly behaviour!

overcrowded_D_20090603151206The tube. Firstly, it is a playground for germs. Commuting on the tube in rush hour was one of the most stressful experiences of my life. As I was walking down to the platform I was mentally preparing myself for the heat, lack of space and general smell. Actually the smell in the morning was quite pleasant, fresh deodorant and herbal essences, but MY GOD on the way home, pretty much pure B.O (especially if you’re not the tallest of people and you find your head in some tall blokes armpit). Also if someone sneezes apparently no one says ‘bless you’ and if you do everyone stares at you because pleasantries are now weird. (No word of a lie I am currently sat on a cross-country train to Weston and I sneezed – guess what? Some lovely girl said, ‘Bless you!!’ – my faith in humanity is restored). Also the tube map – WTF?!

Oh Ryan!

Oh Ryan!

Choice of food. I am a massive foodie and love discovering a new place to eat and telling everyone about it. Staying on top of recent additions is difficult enough in Bristol where there is a new place popping up every two minutes, but in London its impossible to stay in the know. My ‘Around me’ app nearly had a head-fit when I asked if to find all nearby restaurants – so many different types of food – how is a girl to choose!

Feel her pain...

Feel her pain…

Nights out. London has some of the best clubs and I am not disputing the fact that the nightlife is better than Bristol, it is! My problem is when it comes to leaving the club. In Bristol you can be out of the club, remove your heels, hop over to Jason Donervan, grab your chicken wrap, jump in a taxi and be at home in your PJs eating your wrap within 20 mins. In London however there is so much walking, the late night buses are cold and take forever, taxis are super expensive and your food will most definitely be freezing by the time you get home.

UJ_Magnet_PoundHefty price tag. London can be very expensive, especially when you need to find a decent place to rent on a tight (client) budget. Also never trust any website that claims the room is ‘spacious’ – this is most definitely referring to London standards or dwarf standards – take your pick.

Cycle commuting stockCyclists. There are so many cyclists in London – I think I have nearly been run over more times by a cyclist in London than I care to imagine. Also some of them genuinely have a death wish – the amount of times I have been in a taxi and feared for a cyclists life is just not cool.

Rant over. London friends don’t hate me, just be thankful I wont be permanently taking up any of the much needed space on the tube any time soon…..

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