101 things in 1001 days: Go to a music festival and visit Stonehenge
I think I should start this post by pointing out that I am not the festival/outside camping/ being one with nature sort of person. I get cold easily, I have no balance (in muddy areas this has caused a number of soggy muddy bottoms) and I dislike all bugs. However one of my closest and longest friends the wonderful Leanne Carr asked me if I fancied a gander to Newquay to go to the Board Masters festival. A slightly bored Lizzy thought, hell, why not.
Two days later, a chipped windscreen, a confusion over tickets, a trip to Hertfordshire to pick up a new ticket (thanks parents) a near miss on the train down to Silverstone and a very tired Lizzy who had forgotten her toothbrush (darn) we made the six hour journey down to Cornwall. Leanne being an adult and a very organised person suggested we go to Stonehenge which has been on my list of things to do but due to my very lax knowledge of the geography of the United Kingdom had no idea where it was. However, we made a little detour and ended up at the very busy but utterly mesmerising Stonehenge.
Tickets at £15.00 weren’t cheap but when we got to the stones we were both in utter awe. I, not knowing really anything about them, had imagined them about waist height. Much to Leanne’s amusement they are just a little bigger. We spent the next hour taking selfies with the stones, listening in on a tour guide’s spiel, and weaving in and out of the reconstructed houses of the prehistoric people who built the monument at the time. We learnt so much about the spiritual importance of the stones and came out a little enthralled.
Four hours later we drove into the sunny town of Newquay; taking our tent, bags and my haul of food down to the entrance we found out you had to take all of your alcohol down first time round. So back up to the car again, we checked in to have a mirror quickly taken off of us. Setting up the tent we went back to the car to pick up the roll-mats forgetting to pick up our confiscated mirror. Four trips down we cracked open the cider, with our friend Jenny who we met there, and made our way down to the arena to see Everything Everything and Faithless. I took this time to a little drunkenly eat a steaming hot tub of mac and cheese, which was everything.
We spent Saturday at the beach, legs out, arms out, sunning ourselves and eating ice-cream; clotted cream for le adults (ie Jenny and Leanne) and a mega chocolatey one for yours truly #noregrets. Back at the campsite we had a proper catch up after not seeing Jenny in over four years, and drank too much wine and & cider before stumbling down to the arena. Pushing our way into a mosh pit (well done ladies) we were bashed about a bit whilst rudimental lit up the stage. Incredible stage presence and so many of their hits played, bloody bang on.
The final day we were all feeling a little exhausted despite getting quite a bit of sleep. I decided to spray my hair pink managing to get most of my neck and pyjamas involved in the process. Deciding to go back to Newquay, once arriving to go to the aquarium we decided instead it was time to find one of Char Balds suggested pasties; pork and apple. We found one in a dinky little pasty shop and my god it was beautiful. Back at the tent we drank the rest of the cider (rip liver) ate both a bag of salted caramel popcorn and doritos. We managed to see both Clean Bandit and I wolfed down a burrito before we finally went to see Bastille. Foot tapping, lighters out and hands swaying it’s one of the best live vocal performances I have seen to date. Tired out and exhausted we went back to the tent, waved goodbye to Jenny and snuggled into our sleeping bags.
The last day of the trip was spent packing up the tent, (getting a pop up tent is brilliant for putting it up but getting it back down again is another story.) picking up all our rubbish and making the seven hour trip back to Silverstone for me to later get the train back to Stoke-on-Trent. Armed with energy drink and minstrels we were immediately in traffic. Taking the alternate route we ended up on a road only big enough for a single car. Tired and exhausted we were happy to finally speed along the motor way and make it back pretty much on time. The next couple of days were exhausting but back at home wrapped in a duvet after a long hot shower the festival was just, brilliant. Not only something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but sharing it with two wonderful people was just spot on. Festival = done.
Marco Polo: Thailand
A different review today! I absolutely love travelling, and in the past years, I have travelled extensively over Europe; Paris, Orleans, Rome, Pompei, Florence, Venice, Koln, Belgium, Switzerland, and many others and further a field to places like Borneo in Malaysia. However one place that has so far eluded me is the bright lights of the beautiful Thailand. So, when the lovely Hayley of ‘bitterballenbruid.wordpress.com,’ (PLEASE go check it out, it’s an absolutely beautiful blog!) sent me an email to review this travel guide by Marco Polo, I was very happy to give it an honest review. Now I must admit I have never done one of these before, however I’m going to give it a very good go! So with no further a due, on to the review! Let’s go travelling to the delightfully beautiful and magical Thailand!
Travel guides are the travellers, go-to. We hold them like sacred books that tell us the dos and don’ts of where we are going; where is the best place to eat a real Spanish paella? When is the best time to visit the London Eye? When is the best time of day to go shopping in Venice to avoid the siestas of the locals? How to get away from the tourist track in Berlin or where to buy the best peaches in Brussels? They are extremely important to travellers far and wide, whether travelling far or not-so-far, whether it is a short or long trip, with family, friends or even alone. Travel books are hallowed and we all know the dangers of using a bad one. But this one is a real gem and I’m going to tell you why! If you want to experience Thailand take this lovely little guide, packed with up-to-date attractions and go to places. No matter what you want to experience, food, attractions, sports, activities or just a little shopping this is a ‘go-to’ book. Marco Polo describes it’s book most impressively with the line; ‘most holiday makers want to have fun and feel relaxed from the moment they arrive at their holiday destination- that’s what Marco Polo Guides are all about.’ It’s a big claim but as I continued to look through the book I did feel very much in safe hands. Not only will you find out where the best place to stay is, in the exact location you would like to stay, but additionally the best night-life hotspots, tips on where to shop and what you will find most often on each of the different floors, but also tips for the budget. Whether you are a penniless student, or a high-flying tourist looking to spend all of their pennies you will find exactly what you need to plan your perfect voyage. Whether this is meditation or a search for exotic cuisines similar to the eating challenges on ‘I’m a Celebrity,’ or trekking and diving; Marco Polo reduces this to a size in which it is perfectly pocket-ready. This coupled with beautifully taken photographs and colour-coded locations help to make this book even easier to read and this makes the book even quicker to get to grips with!
One of the things I liked most about this book was its extremely simple but helpful layout. Colour co-ordinated for different locations including North, South and Central locations, whether you were looking for folklore dancing in Chiang Mai, or Pattaya’s floating market it is easy to search and read. Overall this is a simply laid-out book with many tips and secrets. We all know that Thailand is a world of alluring surprises distant and exotic, but this book condenses it perfectly into a hand guide that would fit into the pocket of any rucksack of any traveller. With the additional road atlas and pullout map you cannot help but think that the publishers of this book have not missed a single detail. The aspect I thought was the most special was the addition of a ‘blogs, and apps, section.’ Sometimes the most important part of a holiday guide are the real comments made by real travellers and by having a selection that relate especially to the location you are travelling to, is extremely helpful when planning a trip. Additionally I couldn’t get over how extensive this book is as it really covers everything a traveller would want from a trip! I could not believe the detail and the depth that this book goes into. This is further seen in the ‘insider tip’ notes on some of the descriptions, these are extra special details that allow you to get the most out of your trip; these include secret, less known spots, and more extraordinary or unusual activities; so look out for them!
Overall this is a simply lovely book that really gets to the heart of what travellers want; tips and tricks fused with perfectly co-ordinated and organised travel destinations. If you want something that covers an extensive guide of a certain holiday destination I would not miss a beat in taking this trusty book with me, right away!
Straight Talking: Jane Green
So, it’s a day for the chick-lit. I deeply apologise but after four weeks of hardcore studying and essay writing I could not face a deeply complicated plot, or intricate storyline Therefore big apologies but it is another chick-lit; I promise tomorrow no more chick-lits for a while! I am always reviewing new books, the most recent, the latest and most current and fresh. However I am always looking to the back of my bookshelf and looking for the hidden gems that I have forgotten about and giving them a new lease of life. My review today is therefore a forgotten gem, one from the back of the shelf that really deserves to be put in the forefront.
The main character is Tasha, a woman in her thirties, still single and searching for love. A successful producer for Britain’s most popular early morning breakfast show working under a nightmarish boss, Tasha hasn’t quite had the time to find her Prince Charming. However Tasha is not new to the dating game and neither are her friends. Meet the gang; Andy, a tomboy and lover of passion who can’t quite escape the ‘mate’ label of the men that she tries to date. Secondly Emma, who is hopelessly waiting for her long-term partner to finally commit and propose, and finally Mel, the most desperate of the group. Stuck in an unloving and hurtful relationship Mel is unable to stay but unable to leave her loveless relationship and is constantly waiting for the spark to re-appear. Tasha also has a problem with men, and there are three. Andrew, Adam and Simon. Throughout the book Tasha bounces between these three men each a different cocktail of pleasures and problems with Tasha having to make decision between the three to decide who could finally be her Prince Charming.
I will be honest like many romantic, ‘chick-lit’ books ‘Straight Talking,’ has the fairly stereotypical four friends, each with different personalities having interwoven contrasting stories each with a problem, men/job/ family etc. However the tone of the book is brilliant! Funny, hilarious and sarcastic the book is written in first person, which places the reader right in the action. Additionally it makes the novel a lot more personal and creates a bigger connection between reader, writer and character. Many of the jokes and quips about the single life are spot on and there are a number of really laugh out loud moments.
I really enjoyed this. Although the characters were not as explored or developed as deeply as I would have liked and therefore lacked a certain amount of depth and the plot at sometimes was very similar to the stereotypical chick-lit I still really enjoyed it! If I’m honest its probably a holiday read with a suntan, beach towel and a cocktail of sex on the beach! It’s a easy, cheeky, girly read and although it probably won’t set your socks on fire it will definitely be a pleasurable page turner!