Day in the Isle of Wight

Last Friday I had the day off and decided to join mum on a trip out to the Isle of Wight. I haven’t been to the Isle of Wight for years and it was only a fleeting visit but I definitely think I’d like to go back again one day!

Our trip started with a 5:30am wake up to leave home at 6am to catch the 8am boat from Southampton. We decided to pay the extra £10 each to go in the “Signature Lounge” on the crossing which was really relaxing and meant loads of free drinks and some croissants! 🙂

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The crossing from Southampton to East Cowes takes only an hour and before long we had arrived.

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During our day on the Isle of Wight we spent some time driving around the island before heading over to Alum Bay, home to the Needles.

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For those of you who aren’t aware, the Needles is a rock formation on the western part of the island and is probably the most photographed place on the Isle of Wight, as well as being one of the wonders of Southern England.

We parked in the car park down the road and decided to get the bus down to the Needles Battery.

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Once the bus dropped us off, we were treated to beautiful views of the Needles from the top.

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The Needles Old Battery is owned by the National Trust, so since we are both NT members me and mum decided to go on in. From inside you get some learn a little about the uses of the place during the war, as well as getting some fantastic views of the rock formation and the surrounding coastline.

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After we’d finished at the Needles Battery we took the bus back to the car park before continuing our drive along the coastal road 🙂

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We then headed back to the ferry for our return crossing to Southampton, where we were treated to a beautiful sunset on arrival.

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Weekend in the Isle of Man

So last weekend I set off for the Isle of Man for a long weekend. You may ask why I went to the Isle of Man this time of year? Well, we have family out there, but other than that there is very little to do out there this time of year.

On Wednesday evening before we were due to fly out to the Isle of Man we were faced with snow. Within the space of a few hours this….

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Turned to this….

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Let’s just say, we weren’t sure whether we would even make it out to the Isle of Man on Thursday morning! After a hairy drive we made it to Gatwick airport and waited to see if we were going to get there…

But we made it!

From the airport we went to visit family. Mum’s Aunt, Uncle and Cousin (and his family) live out on the Isle of Man, so we headed to mum’s aunt’s house first.

After spending some time with little Pixie the dog we went back to check in to our little cottage we were staying in for the weekend.

Mum’s cousin has some horses and chickens so we went to visit them. The chickens had been let inside because it was so unbelievably cold outside!

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My dad was due to fly out to meet us in the Isle of Man on Friday afternoon but his flight got cancelled, so he ended up flying out on Saturday morning instead. Anyway, most of the time we spent with mum’s family (and their dogs).

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On Saturday morning my grandad and I went to the Manx museum to have a look around. It was incredibly fascinating and we spent a good couple of hours there! Plus they did good hot chocolate!

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We went down to Douglas seafront on Saturday afternoon and the destruction from Storm Emma was pretty obvious. Seaweed was strewn all over the road, with railings, paving slabs, roof tiles etc. It was a mess! The photos don’t really do it justice!

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On Sunday we spent some time down at The Sound in the cafe and looking for seals. I’m glad we saved this until the winds had died down as it wouldn’t have been very nice on any of the other days!

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We then flew home on Sunday evening 🙂

I’ve put together a little video of clips from the trip 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this post and I’ll see you again tomorrow 🙂

 

What’s in my Bag – Vlog

So this is my first ever Vlog! I hope you enjoy it.

Today I’m sharing with you what is in my bag for my latest trip away 🙂 I can also confirm that I’ve got some footage for a bit of a vlog but not much yet! 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this vlog, let me know what you think of it 🙂

The Little Book of Colouring: Into the Deep

It may seem a bit random me writing this post, but before I buy any adult colouring book I like to be able to get an idea of what the images inside are like. I don’t know if that’s just me?

Anyway, before I went on holiday to South Africa I decided I wanted to take some colouring with me but all of my colouring books are quite big and I didn’t want anything too bulky to carry around with me. After some searching around I came across several colouring books that were smaller and more “travel friendly” than the ones I have. The only problem was the two that I liked didn’t have many images online about what they were like inside. So I took a bit of a risk and bought two books from the “Peace in your Pocket” range.

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These books are probably both the same sort of size as a standard paperback book (just not as thick), and actually have really good quality pages. I just thought I’d share some of the pictures from inside the “Into the Deep” book for other people who, like me, like to see what the pictures are like before buying.

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I really like these books, they’re nice to use and pack away nicely in a rucksack/handbag for travel. They also have a good combination of more detailed pictures and less detailed ones.

I’ll leave it there for today, I don’t want to make this a long post 🙂 Do you have a favourite adult colouring book? Do you have any to use for travel?

Birds, Baby Zebra and Lions (Safari 4)

So today’s post finishes off my trip to South Africa. I hope you have enjoyed it all?

Again, our final morning began at 4:45 am (which actually worked in our favour because it meant I was so tired that I actually slept on the plane flying home), followed by our last safari drive at 5:30 am.

We had a beautiful sunrise to finish off our last morning in South Africa.

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Within a few minutes of leaving camp we came across a pack of 11 wild dogs. This time we actually saw them running around, and wow do they move fast! This was a different group of wild dogs to the ones we had previously seen. We didn’t spend too long sitting with them though as it was everyone’s final drive so we were trying to find new things.

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Next up we found an elephant in the trees. I love this photo, I’m not sure why!

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After the elephant we continued our drive and found several birds. Firstly some vultures. We’d seen vultures previously but I’d never managed to get a photo of them. They are absolutely massive! :O We then came across Zazu… Well kind of. This is a yellow-billed hornbill rather than Zazu who is a red-billed hornbill. We also found some African Spoonbill birds feeding 🙂

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From the birds Kyle had been asked if he could help track something as we were close by. Turns out we were following the tracks of 2 young male lions. They didn’t take long to find 🙂 They were absolutely massive! These 2 males were around 2 years old and they don’t grow their full mane/start a pride until they’re around 8 years old. For the next 6 years they’ll fend for themselves and once able to, these two brothers will begin their own pride.

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We were starting to come towards the end of our last drive and were on the way back to camp when we came across a group of zebra (called a dazzle). We’d seen one or two zebras during our trip but never a dazzle. It was so sad seeing one of the zebras injured and limping around and knowing it wouldn’t last long out here like that. But that’s nature! We also found a couple of incredibly cute baby zebras!

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After seeing a couple more animals we were back at camp for our last breakfast.

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It was then time to pack up to leave. We drove back to Hoedspruit airport enjoying our drive back through the reserve looking out for more animals 🙂

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We then flew back to Johannesburg airport and after an 8 hour wait we were on our way home.

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All in all I had an incredible trip and I can’t thank mum enough for taking me (I promise I’ll start paying you back when I get a job!). It was educational for me seeing so much conservation in action and I loved seeing all of the wild animals, and I really hate to say it but having the privilege of seeing some of these animals before it is too late.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my holiday 🙂

Find my other South Africa posts here:

Part 1 – Arriving in Cape Town

Part 2 – V&A Waterfront, Robben Island, Two Oceans Aquarium & Cape Wheel

Part 3 – Table Mountain, Signal Hill, Bo-Kaap & Camps Bay

Part 4 – Simon’s Town & Seal Island

Part 5 – Penguins, Baboons, Ostrich & Cape Point 

Part 6 – Kirstenbosch & Chapman’s Peak

Safari 1 – Safari Experience, Wild Dogs & Sunsets

Safari 2 – Giraffe, Elephants, Hippos & More

Safari 3 – Lions, Cheetahs & More

Safari 4 – Birds, Baby Zebra and Lions 

Lions, Cheetahs and More (Safari 3)

Our second full day on safari again started at 5:00 am! It was far too early but the excitement of what we could see woke me up. Again, I quickly got ready, covered myself in sun cream and mosquito repellent and was ready for our morning game drive.

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We headed out and again, guess what the first animal we saw was?!

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The giraffe are everywhere!!!

Anyway, remember I said we were tracking the lions the previous day? Well, quite soon in to our drive another car from one of the other safari lodges had found the lions. So we quickly drove round to find them. They were really tucked away right at the edge of the reserve! For a while I thought I wasn’t going to see lions here, but thankfully we found some!

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See the cubs look almost black? Yeah that’s blood. We could hear them eating away at something, but sadly we couldn’t get to it to see the kill!

We spent quite a long time just watching the lions before trying to find some more animals. This morning the animals were obviously awake and before long we found 2 white rhino having fun in the mud.

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This was the only point of the safari that I got a bit nervous! They came so close to the car, but thankfully they weren’t interested and just walked on by.

We then came across 2 wildebeest. They are the most bizarre looking animals!!!!

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After the Wildebeest Kyle and Joe picked up the tracks for something. They worked out which area it was in and told us to keep an eye… but they didn’t tell us what we were looking for. They just told us it was something exciting… far more exciting than the elephant I pointed out! I had to admire their bravery though as Kyle and Joe ventured off in to the bush at one point to try and find any more signs of what we were looking for.

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Eventually they let on that they’d picked up the tracks of a female cheetah and her 4 cubs. I immediately got excited! After an hour or so of searching with the help of another lodge we had to give up for the morning. It was getting too hot anyway so they’d be unlikely to move anywhere now until later in the day. So we headed back for breakfast.

After breakfast we again sat around in the communal area watching the waterhole, but very little came to drink today. It was too hot. It was around 35 degrees in the shade…. I think this picture that my mum took says how I found the heat!

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Anyway, very little came to the waterhole, but we did have 2 Nyala come and drink from the swimming pool today which was funny! At least they didn’t get in the pool!

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Around 3pm we had our late lunch and were tucking in when one of the other safari guides came over and told us there was a large herd of buffalo at the water hole drinking and sitting in the water! It was typical that we’d spent all day sitting there watching and the moment we left another animal turned up!

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I’d now ticked off 4 of the 5 Big Five (the five most difficult animals to hunt on foot). The last one remaining was a leopard. A couple of hours before our afternoon drive two of the people who had arrived that afternoon told us they’d seen a leopard just lazing by the side of the road on their way in. Kyle knew exactly where they were talking about so we headed off to try and find this leopard…. Sadly it had gone by the time we got there and I didn’t get to tick off all of the big five. 😦

But we did see some more Impala!

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Anyway, we got back on the case of the cheetah. We were searching and before long the call came in from another car that they’d found her. Usually, to protect the animals they only let 2 (maximum 3 if the space is really open) cars in at a time. Since we were the first car to start tracking the cheetah that morning we had “priority” to go in and see it. I think Kyle had heard that the cheetah looked like they were about to head off again, so he drove so quickly to get us there to see them. It was amazing!

At first we only saw a small glimpse of them peeking out from the top of the grass and I was worried that was all we were going to see of them.

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But then they got up and moved. It was amazing to see. Although I took loads of photos I actually just sat there and watched the animals without the camera, occasionally looking through the binoculars.

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It was incredible. There right in front of us the fastest land mammal in the world. Along with 4 healthy cubs.

Before long they’d disappeared back in to the bushes, and I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for the cars that were just turning up to see her.

After the cheetah guess what we found…. More giraffes!

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After sundowners we didn’t find any more animals the rest of the evening and headed back to camp, pretty smug that we’d seen a cheetah and ready to wind Dad up that I’d seen one and he hadn’t.

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Find my other South Africa posts here:

Part 1 – Arriving in Cape Town

Part 2 – V&A Waterfront, Robben Island, Two Oceans Aquarium & Cape Wheel

Part 3 – Table Mountain, Signal Hill, Bo-Kaap & Camps Bay

Part 4 – Simon’s Town & Seal Island

Part 5 – Penguins, Baboons, Ostrich & Cape Point 

Part 6 – Kirstenbosch & Chapman’s Peak

Safari 1 – Safari Experience, Wild Dogs & Sunsets

Safari 2 – Giraffe, Elephants, Hippos & More

Safari 3 – Lions, Cheetahs & More

Safari 4 – Birds, Baby Zebra and Lions 

Giraffe, Elephants, Hippos & More (Safari 2)

Our first full day on safari began with my alarm going off at 4:45 am, followed by Kyle knocking on the door at 5 am. I was soooooo tired having not slept very well thinking about all the creepy crawlys and insects that were outside and inside the mosquito net… as well as the possible snakes and scorpions lurking close by!

When I woke up it was still pitch black , but I couldn’t believe that by the time I looked outside at 5:10-5:15 it was light. It got light so quickly there! Despite being tired the excitement of the day drove me out of bed. I covered myself in sun cream and mosquito repellent and got ready for our morning drive.

As we opened our door we were thankful for the cool breeze that hit us! It was so lovely and cool outside compared to in the chalet! Anyway, there waiting for us right outside our chalet was a Nyala.

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It was a bit weird being so close! I wasn’t too sure how it was going to react but it was more than happy and just let us walk past.

We got in the car and went out at 5:30 am on our first morning drive. Sadly it was a bit of a quiet one (as Kyle said the animals must have all been having a lie in this morning).

We found some giraffes “necking” basically practice/play fighting. It was pretty cool to watch. Apparently it is really unusual to see it. It is so weird seeing the giraffes throwing their necks around. They don’t look like they should be able to… But they can!

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As I said, the morning drive was a bit of a quiet one with not many of the bigger animals around. We saw some birds, hippos, antelopes and squirrels, but not much else in the morning.

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When we arrived back at the camp (at around 8:30) we had a lovely breakfast (I loved the pancakes!!! 😀 ) before setting ourselves up in the communal area watching the water hole for the rest of the day. I decided to stay in the shade! I don’t do well sat out in the sun!

During the rest of the morning and the afternoon we enjoyed watching the animals come and go. We had more Nyala in the camp, as well as watching some leap over the electric fence! There was also a lot of activity at the water hole where Warthogs, Impala and Zebra visited. The Warthogs definitely stole the show, they are absolutely hilarious to watch!

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One thing I was absolutely desperate to see while on safari was a giraffe bending down to drink. And late in the afternoon a giraffe appeared at the waterhole. It stood there for ages thinking about it and eventually it decided it wanted a drink. It was amazing to watch.

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At around 3 pm we had a light lunch/snack to keep us going before getting ready to go back out on game drive again. Just before we headed out 2 male elephants appeared at the waterhole. It was so exciting to see elephants again. They’re such amazing animals. As they were still there at 4:30pm when we went out on drive, Kyle drove us around to the other side of the waterhole to get a better look at them.

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From the elephants we went just around the corner again and found the pack of wild dogs we’d found the previous day. This time it was a better view of them but it was still too hot for them to be doing anything but laying down!

After we’d rejoined the main tracks we soon found a large group of elephants, including an incredibly cute little 1 month old baby elephant! They decided they didn’t want us to get through as we were laughing at the “African roadblock” that appeared in front of us.

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After seeing the elephants we picked up some fresh lion tracks, so we started following the lion prints in the sand. We tracked the lions for a good hour and finally found the area they were hiding in…. But we didn’t see them. The area was too thick for us to get in there. We stopped for our evening drink, and again, I laughed as Kyle asked us not to stray at all far from the car tonight knowing there were lions VERY close to where we’d stopped!

After drinks we tried to track the lions some more but had to stop as it was getting dark and we had to head back to the camp for dinner. But we decided we’d try and pick up the lion tracks again in the morning.

Once we’d had dinner I was so tired even though it was only around 9pm, so I decided to head to bed. It was safe to say that as soon as my head touched the pillow I was fast asleep!

Find my other South Africa posts here:

Part 1 – Arriving in Cape Town

Part 2 – V&A Waterfront, Robben Island, Two Oceans Aquarium & Cape Wheel

Part 3 – Table Mountain, Signal Hill, Bo-Kaap & Camps Bay

Part 4 – Simon’s Town & Seal Island

Part 5 – Penguins, Baboons, Ostrich & Cape Point 

Part 6 – Kirstenbosch & Chapman’s Peak

Safari 1 – Safari Experience, Wild Dogs & Sunsets

Safari 2 – Giraffe, Elephants, Hippos & More

Safari 3 – Lions, Cheetahs & More

Safari 4 – Birds, Baby Zebra and Lions