Blackpool Illuminations 

Only living a few hours away I am embarrassed to admit in my 27 years I still hadn’t made it to Blackpool for the annual Illuminations festival. 
Once a year the whole of the beach promenade is lit up with the lights from the Blackpool Tower and festive Street lights, from late September until the Christmas lights switch on people flock to the seaside town to see the lights in the glory of winter…. Personally I think people want to start the festivities early and get into the Christmas spirit! 


We visited early October and were surprised as to how busy it actually was, car parks were filled, the roads were blocked and the streets filled. Make sure to arrive early and be preapred to leave the car, we parked at the football ground only a short walk from the south of the promenade and the Blackpool Tower.

I love the British seaside, penny machines, fish and chips and no matter the weather a 99 cone.

With more displays and projections than ever before you can easily spend a weekend enjoying the lights and the local attractions during the days.

Check out 2016’s illuminations, and check up online for a trail map to follow to see them all! Click here.

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Cadburys World, Birmingham, England

I have fond childhood memories of visiting Cadbury World on school trips and family day trips alike… My clearest memory was just how much free chocolate you received! I have to admit I was a little disappointed to see this is no longer the case!

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After spotting a tweet from @Cadburysworld for an afternoon tea and entry deal I had to take them up on the offer. For £19.95 per person you were given entry to the factory tour and an afternoon tea with a selection of sandwiches and cakes with tea and scones.

Read more about the offer here on their website

Rallying up a couple of friends to join me wasn’t difficult, especially after I showed them the sample menu online.

Part of the conditions on the offer is your tour must start after 12:30 and you must complete both the tour and start your afternoon tea before 3pm. It wasnt a problem for us as it meant we could have a slow start to the day and have time to pop into the Bullring for a spot of shopping.

Raring to go I had my carrier bag at the ready once we got into the queue for entry on the tour and was super excited when I counted three bars being added to the goodie bag and started drooling at those still to come.

If I’m completely honest, nothing has changed in the factory since my visits 20 odd years ago. Wandering about brought back great memories of visiting all those years ago and wanting to play on all of the interactive games set up to entertain you along your walk through.

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Telling the story of how the Cadbury family set up their business and built the town of Bournville really is interesting, however knowing know that cadburys has been taken over by Kraft Foods I found this to be a little sad knowing this no longer is the case and the Cadburys family no longer have any ties to the business. What was once a great British product has now been replaced by something that could never compare to the original standards.

Alas we completed the tour within an hour of entering and was disappointed to discover one of my favourite parts of the tour; watching the chocolatiers go about their day and watching the big robot arms moving the finally wrapped produce has now been removed. Rather than being able to watch the magic happen you now are separated by a non appealing metal wall where they have a few facts about Cadburys dotted about for you to read.

I was however glad to discover they hadn’t got rid of my favourite treat of the tour, a pot of melted chocolate! 😉

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Being able to rush through the tour due to the lack of it meant we were out in plenty of time to have our afternoon tea, which if I’m honest we’d been drooling over since reading the menu!

We were pleased to see they could cater for vegetarians with no fish (Only when pre booking and advising online) sitting down in an area dedicated to those booked with afternoon tea we were eagerly awaiting our lunch. Two large stands were delivered to the table and we were overwhelmed with how much there was. With 4 different sandwich fillings, scones jam and cream, and a choice of cakes and sweet treats they certainly offer you your monies worth!

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Edinburgh’s Hogmanay New Years Celebration

  1. Hogmanay (Scots: [ˌhoɡməˈneː], Scottish English: (HOG-mə-NAY) is the Scots word for the last day of the year and is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year (Gregorian calendar) in the Scottish manner.

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Hogmanay is a world known NYE street party celebration in the heart of Edinburgh, Scotland. Having been on my bucket list for years, I was finally ready to give up a year of High heels and expensive club tickets for my scarf and boots for the event listed as one of the “top 100 things to do before you die.” With festivities lasting over 3 days from the 30th Dec it’s worth an extra day or two to get the full experience.

Arriving into Waverley station we didn’t have far to walk to our hotel Travelodge Rose Street, which was so convenient for the city centre as you are walking distance from Princes street and Edinburgh Castle. When I was researching my trip I read about something on the Edinburghs Hogmanay website about a torchlight procession which I wanted to participate in. For a reasonable £4 you could purchase a torch (A candle on a stick) to walk with, however participate is free even without the torch purchase The walk leads you from the starting location (can change yearly) along Princes Street to Waterloo Place up to Carlton Hill, where the finale sets the sky alight with a warm up firework session to the main even on the 31st. It’s a pretty cool experience and have never done anything like it so if you are around make sure to take part.

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Onto the main event on the 31st Dec, The street party officially opens at 9pm but access in the City centre is restricted from the early afternoon and is a ticketed event. Purchasable from the website above, they are approx £!5 per person, and are needed for entry at the gates. Now once your in, your in. Alcohol is allowed and you are able to bring your own, however there is no glass in the event areas, There is so much happening its fantastic, there’s live music, street performers, funfair rides, ice skating, food stalls and bars set up…there’s plenty to keep you busy. We settled on a bottle of Vodka Tango and the REW1ND3R stage which was a brilliant set by Hot Tub Time Machine with music from 1954 to the most recent chart toppers and really got the crowd going, I’m a massive fan of the Dj’s now and would love to see them again… Maybe at Sydney festival if they play again 😉

We didn’t move from the stage all night and in fact it worked in our favour as the stage is located at the top of The Mound (Street) we had a great view of the midnight fireworks.Singing Auld Lang Syne (A well known Scottish poem to bid farewell to the old year at the stroke of midnight) surrounded by strangers was the highlight of my evening and a memory I won’t forget.

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After a lie in recovering we woke on the 1st off to take part in another free event in the city(At the time of post), “Your Lucky Day” a scavenger hunt over the city with a difference. Pre registration for the event is required and can be done of the Edinburghs Hogmany website. At the starting location we were given 2 dice and had to roll to get our next destinations location. It was a really well thought out activity and is a great way for visitors to see the city. By rolling the dice we were given a card with a map to the next destination where there would be some form of free event, from Choir singing to dancing shows to free tea and scones. The event changes every years with the production staff always coming up with something new, even having done it before I’d be signing up for it when I visit again!

Meeting These Beauties In Norfolk, UK

Every year during November to January the Common and Grey seal come ashore on the east coast beaches for pupping season! 



Having been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember I knew this year I had to go! I travelled down to Norfolk and made my way to Horsey Beach. During peak season, Novemeber to late January beach acess is restricted however a viewing walk above the beach is accessible for seal spotting. As I was traveling just out of the season the beach was no longer restricted! Armed with my wooly hat and scarf, wellingtons and my anorak I braved the bitter winds out on the beach to see if I could see anything!



It took a while but eventually we came across three little pups alone, dozing. It was wonderful to see them in their natural habitat, they weren’t performing for the tourists but instead were lazing about and sleeping.

Walking further along we found ourself amongst a group of 20 large males. There was so many of them! All around, swimming in the waves and huddling together on the beach. I was suprised how many I did actually see, and highly recommend visiting.

Please remember these are wild animals and to not approach them, feed them or touch them. They are protected by the national trust and there are numbers to report any wrong doings.