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Thursday, 7 November 2013

Alton Towers Scarefest!

 

Going to a theme park over Halloween is something that I highly recommend if you get the chance. Usually we head to Thorpe Park because it’s closer but this year a group of us decided to head to Alton Towers and spend an entire weekend there.

The hotel at Alton Towers itself was a bit pricier than what some of us wanted to pay – for two adults sharing a room at their Splash Landings resort over the scare-fest next year it is nearly £300 for two people per night! I’m sure that there are ways to get better deals but a few of us decided that it was all a bit mad for just two nights away in England!

So our friend Faye found a hostel about a 20 minute drive away from the resort;

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If you’ve never stayed at a hostel before then you may not hold a hugely positive view of them, I have friends who swear that they’d rather pay over the odds for a hotel rather than spend the night at one. What they then miss out on is stuff like this. Ilam Hall is a beautiful National Trust property, they have dormitories as well as small private rooms. A four bed private room with a bathroom could set you back as little as £80 a night between all four of you! They charged £4.99 for a cooked breakfast, cereal, croissants etc in the morning and also served dinners and packed lunches for a reasonable cost.

The tickets for the park itself we purchased online. It’s the best way to save money if you are going into the park for more than one day, the earlier that you buy the tickets the more money you can save. It cost us £46 for two days in the park per person, if we’d booked a few weeks earlier then we could have saved a bit more.

During the Scare Fest the park stays open later, until 9pm. This gives everyone in the park a chance to take the rides in the dark. There are also events and shows through out the day and their terror mazes to visit.

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Here’s a picture of me looking rather soggy holding a tarantula at one of their bug shows.

It rained heavily pretty much the whole time we were there – the Friday and the Saturday. This worked to our advantage a bit on the Friday, the park wasn’t as busy and all the rides were still open so the queue times were slightly less. We only waited an hour and a half for the new Smiler ride on Friday whereas on Saturday the wait time was two and a half hours before it closed down.

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Waiting underneath the Smiler. This was one of the best rides, not sure that I would have waited two and a half hours for it though, nothing is that fun!

As for the scare mazes I only visited one, the Zombies! Scare Zone. I wasn’t that impressed with it, we were in and out within a few minutes, there wasn’t really a proper theme or story that came across. Some of our group went to the Carnival of Screams scare maze but it had an hour and a half waiting time, during the time our friends were in there Chris and I managed to go on the Enterprise, the Sonic the Hedgehog pinball rollercoaster and Oblivion 3 times. And buy some hot chocolate. Our friends said that The Carnival of Screams was good but they regretted wasting so much time on it during our last night there.

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Things I would recommend would be:

  • Waterproof stuff! I bought my snow boots with me thinking that I was being a little bit overdramatic. Until it poured with rain for days and I was the only one with dry feet. My raincoat soaked through eventually because the rain was so crazy!
  • If you know you spend a lot of money on food and drink, try their all day dining pass. It is pricey but it covers pretty much everything (not Ben n Jerrys though) so if you usually buy lots of meals and hot drinks n snacks it could end up saving you some money.
  • The single rider line. If you don’t mind the possibility of sitting next to a stranger for the 30 seconds that you spend on a rollercoaster then this could save you so much queuing time! You can still queue up with your friends and it gives you a much better chance of trying out all of the rides.

So overall we had a fabulous weekend, who else enjoyed going to a Halloween event at a theme park this year?

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Small Primark Haul

 

I haven’t done a shopping post in aaaages! I’ve been doing pretty good at curbing my spending over the last few months because of sorting out my car’s MOT and needing some new tyres before Winter really sets in. I headed into Primark a few days ago after work, I think the intention was to buy something warm and awesome looking for our trip to Alton Towers.

I failed miserably at buying weather appropriate clothes and ended up getting these two beauts instead.

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The leather dress was just £16 and the fluffy jumper (on my must have list for months) was only £10! And I’m totally in love with both items. I was tempted to buy the jumper in a few other colours but they’d sold out of my size in the black, burgundy and pale pink!

This was what I wore to Highgate Cemetery – see previous post. Not the most practical outfit for a slippery graveyard but well suited to the Halloween film night that I headed too afterward.

If you have a few seconds please vote for my outfit on Primark’s website here; http://www.primark.com/primania/look/20378

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My dinosaur pumpkin. Because dinosaurs were scary too!

There are also some really fabulous dresses in Primark at the moment, I limited myself this time but there is a tartan dress that is just screaming my name!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Highgate Cemetery

 

What’s Halloween without a trip to a graveyard?

Now I’m not usually keen on stuff like this, for one I don’t really think that if there were any ghosts that they’d be chilling in the place that they were buried. Surely you’d haunt where you died, or some people or something. Another reason is because it feels weird walking amongst dead people that you didn’t know and aren’t coming to visit for any particular reason.

But Highgate is known for being very old and beautiful and also having lots of famous people buried there. We went to the West Cemetery because you didn’t have to book a guided tour for that, the East side is tour only and had already sold out.

The Highgate area in general was very pretty, the road along side the cemetery had some amazing architecture including this collection of houses;

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Holly Village – 1865. It’s a collection of private houses built for the purpose of renting out during Victorian times. They are so beautiful, like something out of a strange fairy tale.

Then into the cemetery itself.

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The East side is the newer extension, opened in 1860, it costs £1000 a day to maintain so they charge an entrance fee of £4 per adult which is well worth paying.

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The most famous person here being Karl Marx. Whether you agree or disagree with his socialist ideology it is definitely one to visit.

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Douglas Adams, writer of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy.

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And this fabulous mason who had pretty much the best job title I have ever seen;

“ISSACHAR ZACHARIE M.D. FIRST GRAND SUPREME RULER OF THE MASONIC ORDER OF THE SECRET MONITOR WITHIN THE BRITISH EMPIRE”.

There were so many different architects, scientists, philosophers etc. who had done so many different things for modern society and they were mixed in with young men who had lost their lives during wars, families who had lost so many children so young and just general members of the public. I think this is one of the biggest parts of the cemetery’s charm. There were so many different types of memorial, we didn’t get to see them all before the cemetery was closing and it was dark.

I recommend a visit if you live in or around London or are planning on sightseeing. Wear some good shoes though, the ground was covered in leaves and super slippy when we went.

Monday, 28 October 2013

This is Halloween!

 

I love Halloween, it’s one of my favourite times of year, I love Autumn anyway but who doesn’t love a chance to get dressed up all crazy?

I did feel like a bit of a cop out this year, I wasn’t feeling very imaginative and didn’t have much free time for making anything awesome, so I bought this dress from ebay;

$T2eC16V,!)sFIZMwm 72BSSqqNYEg!~~60_35

For £12.99 here.

Luckily when it arrived it fitted ok, I was worried it would be a bit thin, didn’t want people to be able to see my underwear, it was alright though and not too bad for the price. It was not quite the same as the picture, the neckline was higher and the imagery was different but that usually happens when you buy things from Ebay shops!

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Fabulous picture taken in a pub toilet ;) my boyfriend has no full length mirrors at his house. So you can see how different the dress is here!

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Eating some jelly brains!

So we did a fabulous pub crawl…

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It was pretty much one of the best nights of the year so far, every weekend should be like this.

I look forward to seeing what you all get up to this Halloween!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Recommended recipe–Apple Pie!

 

A few years ago a friend of mine who really couldn’t bake (I’m not kidding – her sponge was like a brick) suddenly made the most amazing chocolate and raspberry cheesecake. It was so good that I had to know her recipe, this was when the Hummingbird Bakery first entered my life.

I bought the cookbook…

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You can buy it here  for around a tenner. I have to say it has become a firm favourite in my house, it has a mixture of simple recipes and impressive bakes and everything I have made from it has gone down well when I’ve bought it to a party or gathering.

So today’s recipe is the humble apple pie, Hummingbird bakery sell the pie in their shops and you can order it online here. The recipe in the book is apparently the same as the recipe they use in their shop.

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Pictures are copyright of the Hummingbird Bakery.

Obviously I cannot reproduce their recipe for you on this site as it would be breaking all kinds of copyright laws and I’d feel a bit cheeky cos I do love these guys.

Their pie recipe is my favourite apple pie so I’d recommend that you give it a go, it can be a bit time consuming if you like to make your own pastry (I love it) the inside though is packed full of comforting apple and cinnamon warmth that is perfect now that the days are getting colder.

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And here’s my pie! My pastry did crack a bit and I’d recommend that you grease the dish with loooads of butter, it can be a bit hard to get it out to serve otherwise.

Has anyone else tried this recipe? I can’t be the only blogger that loves this book!

*Fabulous disclaimer – my reviews are not company endorsed*

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Good Bye Granny bedroom!

 

Happy doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt after finally getting around to redecorating my room after having put up with the previous decoration since we moved in nearly a year ago!

It wasn’t the colour of the room that I was particularly against – it was just a standard beige that eeeeveryone paints their houses, I was more offended by the hideous fitted wardrobes that were still clinging to the 80’s in a big way. I felt like I was living in an old peoples home!

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It was one of those really enclosing ones that go up and over the bed in the centre, talk about claustrophobic! The day that I removed these bad-boys was totally rewarding.

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You can see how long the wardrobes had been there, this flower power paper was still up behind it. Along with some hideous woodchip (why would anyone ever choose woodchip? So grim!)

Then there were so many things to do! Stripping wallpaper, painting doors/skirting boards/radiators/coving/window sills/ceiling, putting the plain wallpaper up, picking a paint for those walls, putting the patterned wallpaper up, picking a carpet and laying it, putting together my parent’s old pine wardrobe.

Ah! And then my little brother decided to come home in the middle of it – I was using his room to store everything whilst decorating because he’s away at Uni. So there was a mega panic to try and get it all finished before he came back.

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Flamingo wallpaper <3

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So this is the finished room (minus the furniture) Ignore the wall on the left, my room goes around a corner a bit and I was trying to get as much of it in as possible!

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As with most things it was the finishing touches that helped my room to really start to feel like my own finally, bringing my mannequin back in completed that for me.

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So I’m feeling pretty chuffed that it’s all done (apart from curtains, I need to make those myself once I can decide on a fabric) but boy did I underestimate how long it takes to properly redecorate! And I suppose I’d better do a shout out to my lovely Dad who put up the wallpaper and fitted the carpet for me so that it would all get done in time!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Vegetables from the garden

 

We’ve finally been able to start digging up our home grown veggies. Nothing has grown very large, the leeks probably need a bit more time, but everything tastes good.

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One of our crazy potatoes that looks like a person!

We’ve got some winter veg planted now too, so if all goes well we might end up with some cauliflowers, beans and swedes. This is definitely one of the most rewarding hobbies ever. What do you guys think?