Archive of ‘Adventure’ category

Snowdogs by the Sea

When it was announced the Brighton would be having a public art trail called the Snowdogs by the Sea I didn’t think much about it to be honest, it kind of passed me by and I didn’t pay much attention. I had heard of such things being held before, but never has anything appeared in my hometown.

I grew up with The Snowman, it always had a bit of a special squishy place in my heart because it featured Brighton. Raymond Briggs has lived in Sussex for a long time, and a nod to this can be seen in the famous scene when The Snowman and the little boy are flying in the sky where you can spot the famous Brighton landmarks of the Royal Pavilion and the Palace Pier.

(AND EVERYONE THAT GIIIIVES US PIZZAS AS WE FLLLYYYY)

On 24th December 2012, the Snowman and the Snowdog was aired. I immediately set it to be recorded and it became a permanent feature on my Skybox (until I moved and had to get rid of Sky…sad face). It was just the cutest thing. The Snowdog was everything I dreamed he would be, stupidly cute, frozen and magical. If you haven’t watched it do it… its just too lovely.

Snowman and Snowdog

The Snowdogs by the Sea art trail was announced in early January 2016, and would run from 24th September until 27th November 2016. If you are reading this not long after I have posted it you still have time to go and spot them!! They are placed all across Brighton and Hove. The furthest points being Hove Lagoon, Hove Park, Preston Park, Amex Stadium, and the Marina.

Oh and one all the way over at London Victoria just to be difficult 😉

I am obsessed.

I have been annoying everyone I know with talk of Snowdogs, and flooding social media so now it is your turn!! Moowuhahahaha!!!

The first dog I found was Blot the Dog, positioned outside Churchill Square, if you are local you might recognise his distinctive markings! There is a bus with similar inkings as well as many pubs, bars, shops and art drops around the city. These were all created by local artist #iownthisart, otherwise known as Jason McQuillen.

Blot the Dog #iownthisart

My photo was taken, and I was immediately obsessed with these gloriously decorated dogs and wanted to see them all!

Dave the Dog is positioned on Palmeira Square, and has quickly become one of my favourites. Perhaps because he is shiny, perhaps because I see him most days as he is about 10 seconds from my work. But look at him!

Dave the Dog

A trip to London to see friends at the beginning of October meant I could get the one positioned all the way in London at Victoria Station. Brighton Belle.

Brighton Belle

A couple of special lunch break missions were had to fetch the ones in the far corners of Hove.

A trip to Hove Park uncovered Marty, by artist David Halliwell, and then down to Hove Museum for Max, by artist Sarah Artnett.

Marty Snowdog Max Snowdog

Another mission over to Hove Lagoon on one lunch break to get Boomer who is safely tucked away in the Big Beach Café (otherwise known as Fat Boy Slims café) then a glorious walk along the beach to find The Snowbrador, by Ruth Cooper, on Medina Terrace.

Boomer The Snowbrador

By this point I had seen 16 of the dogs! There were a total of 45 to collect. I had come this far…..

I had the day off after my birthday so off I set on my epic Snowdog adventure. I set off at 9.30 am and had completed the remaining 29 by 3.00 pm. The final dog was Rose all the way up at the Amex Stadium. (I got the train all the way from Brighton to Falmer, got the dog, and came back again! Haha!).

BeFunky Collage 1

I had a glorious day, but was exhausted.

You can see all of the Snowdogs online here and you can find the trail map here

So what is all this in aid of?

The Snowdogs by the Sea art trail is a Wild in Art event in support of the Marlets Hospice. The Marlets will always have a special resonance with me, as they are the amazing people who helped to take care of my Nanny during her final weeks. She passed away earlier this year. While visiting there it struck me how normal things felt. The building was very warm and welcoming, decorated with flowers and pictures. The staff were approachable and friendly. The patients were of all ages, and all walks of life. The staff were wonderful, and even after my Nan passed away the support for the family was amazing. They do an incredible job, and I take my hat off to them.

How can you donate?

There are many ways you can donate! If you love the Snowdogs as much as I do you can even buy one to take home (just a bit smaller) from their store on George Street, Brighton or their pop-up shop located at Churchill Square Thursdays – Sundays. A percentage of all sales go to The Martlets.

You can also purchase them online here

Here is my beloved <3 I kind of want them all!

Winter Lily Snowdog

You can also donate £3 by texting “SDOG16 £3” to 70070.

Donate to The MartletsYou can also donate online; click here

If you have enjoyed the dogs even a teeny weeny bit please be sure to donate to this very worthwhile cause.

Thank you for making it all the way to the end of this post!

If you would like to see more of my photos from the dog trail be sure to go and find me on instagram.

<3

Amy

Chit Chat – Rediscovering things

I have spent this past week in one of those weird foggy sick hazes. It was threatening all of the previous week. After having to ascend the 193 steps from Covent Garden tube station last week I developed a hacking cough for an hour, further cementing the fact I was getting sick and also that I am horrendously unfit. It’s one of those weird ones where you spend a few hours feeling like you might die, then you think you are okay for a bit and do something strenuous, y’no like have a bath, and then you feel like you might die again. Great.

Lemsip Face

I thought I was okay yesterday to go back to work however after venturing to the outside world to run a wedding related errand I rapidly realised that I was the only one that was sweating and swaying in public, and I probably needed to go back to bed. Fast forward to today, I have managed to drag myself out of my pit of despair and to the sofa. Progress is being made.

Anyway, I wanted to do another of those posts where I essentially blabber on about some rubbish about “life” and this bloggy little website I have got myself. So here goes;

I have been working on various bits for this blog and I feel like it needs a bit of an introduction, as it’s something that you haven’t seen on the blog before and you might be a bit confused about an apparent change in direction. I am not changing direction, just throwing something new into the mix.

Ever since I was teeny weeny I enjoyed writing. I used to walk around with a note pad making scribbles which was doing “writing”. One of my Mums favourite stories to tell is about how I came back from my first day at school complaining that I hadn’t learned to read and write. Haha.

I loved doing creative writing at school. In my early years at secondary school, encouraged by my English teacher, I formed a creative writing club. I had reams and reams of stories that I had written. Alas as technology moved and so did I, things got lost. I am sure there is a zip drive somewhere… probably in my possession I just cant find it. Probably for the best I bet they are brilliantly embarrassing!

As I grew up I lost it. Well, I don’t know if I lost it, I just stopped writing. So here I find myself, trying to rediscover what I used to love and so I have started some creative writing again.

I have to give a huge thank you to my wonderful friend Beth, (whose brilliant website you can find here), who has helped encourage me and helped me to activate the part of my brain I turned off. The switch isn’t fully on yet but we are getting there, it’s a dimmer switch.

Anyway, I feel a bit like this is a very long winded way of me telling you, that you have some poems and stories heading your way in the next few months. Please be gentle with me, I am using the blog as a big brainstorming board, a giant notebook if you will, of me trying to get my brain working again.

I have also really enjoyed doing my little holiday videos. I did a huge amount of editing at Uni so it’s fun to get to grips with that again. I am also hoping to throw more of those your way soon.

Speaking of which, here is another one for you! (Nice, see what I did there? Smooth.) In September a group of chums and I went to the New Forest for the weekend. I made another video of our adventuring! Please excuse the terrible video quality, I am hoping to get my grubby paws on a new camera soon :)

That’s all for now. I am off to put the kettle on for more lemsip, throw away the sea of used tissues I am surrounded with and probably watch Mean Girls. I know how to live.

April – Month Update

If you read my last post you will know that March was a difficult month and one that I was quite glad to see the back of. Although my Nan’s funeral was planned for the middle of April it was a much more positive month.

The day of the funeral was in a strange way, a really nice day. As my mum quoted from Dickens “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. Despite being terribly sad, and it sideways raining, it was really lovely to spend the day with all of my close family. We cried together, we laughed together and we ate the biggest Chinese take-away I had ever seen! At the end of the day I thought to myself, “Nan would have really enjoyed today” and that made me smile.

This was like a box of chocolates - there are two layers!

This was like a box of chocolates – there were two layers!

April started off with a bang when Jezz, myself and 3 friends went up to London to see Infected Mushroom at The Ministry of Sound on the 1st. We planned this quite a few months back. I last saw them about 8 years ago, and we have kept missing them since then so there was no way we were missing this one! We went with our friends Chris, Adam and Adam aka Number 2 (he did not like being called number two). The boys had decided that we would go VIP to make it extra special. My 14-year old self would have literally shit her pants at the knowledge that I was in the VIP section at The Ministry of Sound in London. It was ludicrously expensive, but amazing.

The VIP actually saved us I think, I was somewhat worried about the prospect of pulling an all-nighter (it’s been a while!) but it was great having a table to return too and somewhere to sit. It worked out perfectly for us, we had drinks, danced for 2 hours straight while Infected Mushroom played and then went back until they kicked us out.

I had the best time, it was awesome.

Group Shot! Out with the boys.

Group Shot!

We had two awesome road trips in April, for the first we popped over to Bristol for the weekend to see some of Jezz’s friends that he hadn’t seen in a couple of years. We had a brilliant time, we enjoyed the first BBQ of the year, had some drinks in the sunshine and then yet more drinks in a pub, then some more drinks at someone house. So drunk, so very very drunk. I had literally the worst hangover ever on the Sunday! But had a really great time. We are going to a festival in July with a few of them so super excited for that now. Woop!

I didn't take any photos in Bristol... here are some sausage rolls I made instead. They were lush.

I didn’t take any photos in Bristol… here are some sausage rolls I made instead. They were lush.

We also went on a trip up to Leeds to wish our brilliant friends Alex and Andy a fond farewell before they jet off on an epic adventure to South America. We embarked on a pub crawl all dressed as Mexicans. Our friends Toby and Lina that travelled up with us stayed with Alex and Andy at their flat, and Jezz and I stayed in a really nice hotel about ten minutes walk away. We had a really great weekend, on the Sunday we headed over to Tropical World (lord knows I love an animal related attractions – aquarium and zoos ALL OVER IT!), and had a nice evening just chilling out together and watching some TV.

Leeds Mexico Leaving Party   Amy Jezz AlexLeeds Mexico Leaving Party

We had all booked off the Monday so we didn’t have to rush back from Leeds hungover on Sunday. So we made a slow wonder back to the South via Ikea in Croyden. I shit you not, we spent 4 hours in there. I am pretty sure that Ikea steals hours from your life in the form of scented candles, flat pack, meatballs and all the storage my heart desires.

It was a really lovely weekend all in all.

Road Trip to Leeds

The Queen also turned 90 in April, and seeing that she is obviously such a massive fan of the blog, she wore an outfit to match our engagement cake. What a legend.

Who wore it best?

Who wore it best?

That was the exciting parts of April, we were lucky to have two marvellous adventures this month. I love going on car adventures, so excited to plan more for this year now we have a car! :)

HIVEDATE = The saga continues… I decided that my two culprits were either the biological washing liquid I had recently started using, or perhaps the new Dove body wash/body lotion. So I stopped using both and it seemed to clear up. HURRAH. No hurrah. On the Sunday of our adventure to Leeds I woke up super rashy and itchy. WAH. I have been taking anti-histamines since. It flares up for a few days, then I am okay again. I am keeping an eye on it. I would like to say that hopefully I will not have to write about the hives saga again, however seeing as I am typing this from May… I can tell you it will not be the last hivedate. Sigh….

Cambridge Adventure Part 2

See Part 1 Here

On Wednesday we decided to go to the Centre of Computing History. After breakfast at Frankie and Benny’s we walked over the railway bridge to the centre which was located really close to the apartment we were staying at. However, we decided to take the scenic route through a park which ended up sending up completely the wrong direction and we ended up back where we had started!

2015-09-16 13.58.16

After eventually finding the centre we paid our fee and went in. This was a funny little museum run by volunteers but it was fascinating.

2015-09-16 13.02.50

Jezz obviously enjoyed it but I really enjoyed it too! It was interesting looking at all the different types of computer from years gone by. It is an interactive museum too so you could use the machines and play some games. I even tried my hand at a bit of computer programming!

2015-09-16 13.43.48 2015-09-16 13.44.19 2015-09-16 13.44.30

We spent quite a long time here playing with everything and it was mid-afternoon by the time we left.

2015-09-16 13.10.20

We headed back via Currys PC World (Jezz takes me to the best places) where we spent FAAAR too long looking at 4K TV’s. We then headed back to the apartment for a cup of tea and a rest.

For our last evening meal we walked back into the historic part of Cambridge and went to a really cool Thai street-food restaurant called Thaikhun. The food here was AMAZING, we were starving when we arrived and ordered far too much. To start we had the “Sukumvit 38 Platter” which had salt & pepper squid, fish cakes, chicken spring rolls and honey pork. The pork was amazing, my personal favourite. Jezz’s was the tiny fish cakes. For our mains we shared the “Pinto Siam” which comprised of Chicken Massaman curry, stir fried pork belly in red curry sauce, beef in oyster sauce and egg fried rice. Oh and prawn crackers. Oh AND pork scratchings. Two extremely full bellies later we waddled back to the apartment and packed up our things for our departure in the morning. I felt a bit sad to leave this lovely little apartment. I had enjoyed playing house somewhere new.

2015-09-15 15.12.51

On Thursday we rose early to check out of the apartment by 10.30 am, handed back the keys and made our way over to Milton Keynes.  Our destination was the Xscape Centre to SnoZone for another ski lesson. I can’t lie, I was terrified. I had built it up quite a lot in my head by this point and had a bit of a panic. I was very quiet in the morning and through lunch. I didn’t really want to do it. However, once I got going it wasn’t half as bad as I remembered. I think the teacher (I believe his name was Harry), this time was much better than the previous, and the class was also a little smaller with only 6 students. Harry spent quite a lot of time making sure we were confident and even when you didn’t think he was looking he would pick up on things that would help and make suggestions. I finally started to feel a bit like I was getting the hang of some of it and this was a definite confidence booster. I don’t think I am ski ready by any means, but I am a step closer. This isn’t going to be a quick process I think, it is something I am really going to have to push myself with and stick with if I am ever going to conquer it.

2015-04-19 15.48.57

I was also presented with a problem during my ski lesson. Whenever I involve myself in any kind of physical exertion I get a very hot head and red face. A somewhat embarrassing trait and even more problematic when skiing apparently! Hot face + cold air = glasses steaming up. We moved higher up the hill, and the faster I went, the less I could see, the more I would panic… you get the picture. I was just getting the hang of changing direction, and the instructor put out some cones. I failed at going around every one apart from the first! Now I don’t know if this was because of the lack of ability or the fact I couldn’t see a bloody thing. I will blame not seeing for now 😉 anyway… this has resulted in me getting contact lenses. But that is a story for another day.

2015-10-07 19.13.50

After skiing and feeling a bit better about myself we headed back to Brighton via Cobham Service Station (Jezz’s favourite service station… it’s a thing) where we had curry for dinner. We got home about 8.30 pm. Jezz had to return to work on Friday but I had booked another day off work so I spent the day doing really exciting things like washing my clothes and cleaning the bathroom.

All in all a really very lovely week off. I am definitely feeling more like me again now. What a relief.

Cambridge Adventure Part 1

After a busy busy summer and lots of stress, Jezz and I decided to take a few days off and go on a mini adventure somewhere. After throwing around a couple of options, we finally settled on Cambridge after it had come up in conversation that neither of us had actually ever been there.  Well, I had once been about 4 years ago for a conference with work, but the most I saw was the sights whizzing past as a taxi took me placesOn so many occasions at work I am asked about Cambridge and what it is like, so finally I would be able to find out for myself!
On Monday we woke around 9 am and headed to the car rental place to pick up our trusty steed for the next few days. A rather comfy silver BMW (free upgrade thank you sir) and off we went. It took us around 3 hours to reach Cambridge after a bit of dithering at a service station and some slow traffic a la M25 slowed us down but we reached Cambridge just after 2 pm. 
We stayed at CB1 apartments, which we booked through booking.com. Rather than it being a hotel it was  a self-catering apartment which was perfect for us.
It was a one-bedroom flat, on a quite modern and fancy square which was around 30 minutes walk from the historical part of Cambridge.
It was also literally about 5-minutes to a shopping area which had a huge Asda, HomeSense, Hobbycraft, TK Maxx, Toys’R’Us and lots of other shops. The apartment also had secure underground parking included which as a definite plus. As we were within walking distance of everything the car was parked up when we arrived and stayed there until we left.
On the first day we got ourselves settled into the apartment and then went and had a wonder around the shops close by. Spent some money in HomeSense on silly things for the house (another large wooden cat to join Gerald the existing wooden cat Jezz bought me a few years ago) and Jezz bought a bag for work. (Terribly exciting eh?) We then headed out for dinner to the recommended CB2 restaurant close by.
We were really happy that we chose to eat here, it is a somewhat unsuspecting place from outside and if honest we probably would have walked straight past it if we didn’t have it recommended. It was a little bit cafe like in appearance and we were not sure if we should sit/wait/stand etc. However, after some awkward British dithering we sat and were served.
The food was certainly pretty good. We had mini fish cakes and asparagus wrapped in smoked salmon to start. The fish cakes were really delicious I enjoyed those, the asparagus and salmon was interesting. I love both of these flavours but I am just not sure they go together. Jezz enjoyed it though.
For our mains I chose the Tuna Steak with bruschetta tomato, rocket, orange dressing and spicy chips and it was divine! Jezz had Milanese Chicken breast, salad and spicy chips which was also very good (but not as exciting – essentially a giant good quality chicken nugget!) A bottle of Prosecco washed it all down. A lovely meal all in all and quite reasonably priced. The service was also very good.
 
After our meal we decided that we would catch a late viewing of the new Mission Impossible movie, with a couple of hours to kill we went to a nice little bar/cafe called The Snug where we had a coffee and an Aperol Spritz. 
The movie was okay, a typical Mission Impossible film – very bangy crashy and fun. 
We headed back to the apartment afterwards and crashed out. I slept really well in a very comfy bed. 
Lovely.
On Tuesday we headed into the historical part of Cambridge and walked around the beautiful streets. The sun shone for the morning and we sat outside a nice Italian restaurant at lunchtime. 
After lunch we went for a punting tour, when then heavens opened. We got soaked! It pretty much rained solidly from that point until we left on Thursday. 
The tour was great fun, and the guide seemed pretty knowledgeable. He shared a great little bit of information that when Prince Charles attended Cambridge University his bodyguard also did the same degree and come results day the bodyguard actually got a better grade than Prince Charles. While Prince Charles got a 2:2 his bodyguard came away with a 2:1!
 
 After the punting tour we went to The Anchor Pub (the first pub that Pink Floyd played their first gig we were informed) for an Irish Coffee to warm up and we went for a little wonder around the shops. 
 
Quite soggy at this point and starting to get hungry we headed back towards the apartment via another recommended place, this time a pub that did food cooked on hot rocks called The Geldart. It was delicious! We shared pork loin, and fillet steak, salad, vegetables, chips and wedges and washed it down with another bottle of Prosecco. 
We headed back to the apartment and watched some Netflix and relaxed. 
Part two coming soon…. 

Holiday to France May 2015

In the wee hours of the morning on Saturday 23rd May 2015, 3.20 am to be exact my alarm went off. EAK, I went to bed gone 11 pm which probably wasn’t the wisest decision but it was okay because I was going on holiday!!
Every year for the past 3 years myself, Jezz, my flatmate aka “my wife” Jo, our friends James and Beth and their little boy Joshua have jetted off on our holiday. This year we had 2 new recruits! Ed, Jo’s boyfriend and Annabel the newest member of the holiday clan, born in September 2014.
This year we flew to Bordeaux in France, we were staying 2 hours south of there at a camp site called La Vieux Port. We booked the holiday through Eurocamp and were staying in 2 separate holiday homes. Beth, James and the kiddies in this one;
and myself, Jezz, Jo and Ed in this one;
Unfortunately due to a slight oversight on our part and the fact we had booked separately we were not actually right next door to each other, but it was fine. It was about a 2 minute walk between two holiday homes.
The weather wasn’t all that great to start, the first couple of days it was a bit overcast and rained a bit but as the week went on the weather improved and most of us came back with adequate sunburn.
It was quite an action packed holiday this year! We spent the first full day chilling out at the camp site and on the next day (Monday) we went to the next closest town Biarritz. It was wet and windy to start with, but the sun soon came out and shone on us for lunch.
I had moules et frites.. had to be done!

 

After we ate all the fish we went to the aquarium, Musee de la Mer and looked at the all the fish! Fish fish fish!!!
I bloody love an aquarium and my friends all know how to keep me sweet (or stop me going on and on and on about aquariums…)
After the aquarium we were all a little peckish and needed a sweet pick me up, so decided to have a wander into the town centre to look for a patisserie. On route we found this little window selling churros…
Jezz bought 30.
It was silly, we drew a crowd and all felt remarkably sick afterwards! #churrosgate
On the Tuesday we rented bikes! After a bit of a shaky start (I am pretty sure the last time I rode a bike was in France about 5 years ago!) we were flying along!
We rode all around very bumpy trails and flew along concreted roads it was so much fun! I think Annabel enjoyed her bike ride.
On Wednesday Jezz, Beth, Jo, Ed and myself went paddle-boarding! Jezz was the only one that had done it before so we were all a little nervous.
As predicted I was the first to fall in the water, and I fell  in it A LOT. Aside from getting very wet it was really fun. We paddled around a big lake and then through a little tree covered stream.
The guide/leader took my camera (with the confirmation that he never falls in lol) and so we got some shots. Unflattering shots, but shots non the less!

 

 

 

We spent the afternoon with the bikes again as we had them for a few more hours. I think everyone was quite glad to give them back after 24 hours – sore bottoms for all! Hahaha!
On Thursday we decided to have a relaxed day at the camp site again, we had a trip to the beach and played in the sand
We flew a kite
And we buried the boys in the sand
As Thursday was our last full day we packed up that evening and played poker after the kids had gone to bed.
On Friday we woke up and checked out about 10.45 am then drove back to Bordeaux.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We spent the day walking around and around and around until it was time to head to the airport around 7.30 pm.
We landed at Gatwick very late on Saturday morning and got a taxi home. Tired, sunburnt and very very happy.
Had a super brilliant holiday with some of my absolute favourite people in the world.
Thank you Jezz, Jo, Ed, Beth, James, Josh and Annabel for a brilliant holiday!