48 Hours in Newcastle!

I’m back! And, as promised I will be sharing with you my time I had in Newcastle at the end of October.

Newcastle will always be a special place for me. If you didn’t know, it was where I did my undergraduate degree. I decided to move 300 miles away from home, a decision which to this day was probably one of the hardest, yet best decisions of my life. Newcastle was my first ever home away from home, so in this post I’m going to share with you some of my favourite places to go in Newcastle and why.

My first stop in my 24h here was Quayside πŸ™‚ Quayside is quite possibly the most recognisable part of Newcastle, with the Tyne Bridge, Swing Bridge, The Sage and The Baltic. But Quayside is also home to lots of other places, including lots of great little bars and restaurants (I was totally unadventurous and went to Pizza Express) as well as Quayside Seaside (which I thought was only there in the summer… turns out it’s there year round!). Quayside holds quite a few memories for me and it definitely a place I’d really recommend going to visit both in the day and in the evening πŸ™‚Β IMG_3870IMG_3874IMG_3881IMG_3886IMG_3891IMG_3897

Also worth catching down on Quayside is the swing bridge opening. You can generally find the times of this online (nb these 2 photos were not from this visit).

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From Quayside a great place to visit is The Baltic. The Baltic is an art gallery, but it is also home to a pretty cool little shop and 2 pretty impressive viewing Galleries. Not forgetting its cafes/restaurants. In the summer it (and the Tyne Bridge) is also home to a breeding colony of Kittiwakes.

Walking up towards the town from Quayside you may come across Newcastle’s Castle. The castle has quite recently gone through quite a lot of restoration and has received quite a lot of lottery funding. It’s a really interesting visit, as well as that it has more great views of Newcastle from the top πŸ™‚

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Next up is the Town itself. Newcastle is a great little city. And I mean little. You can be from Quayside to the other side of town in around 15-20 mins. The architecture of Newcastle is lovely, particularly as you wander up Grey Street. Where quite a high percentage of buildings in this area are listed buildings.

Finally, my visit to Newcastle wouldn’t have been complete without a trip to the uni to reminisce. It is actually a lovely campus situated in the city and is well worth a visit.

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Have you ever been to Newcastle? Are there any places you’d recommend visiting? Would you like to visit Newcastle if you’ve never been before?

 

 

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London Zoo

A couple of weeks ago I decided to head up to London Zoo for the day. It had been a while since I’d last visited and since I work for ZSL, just at the Whipsnade rather than London, I decided it was time for a visit.

I had a great day out but unfortunately I wished that I had longer up there. So many people told me that I could get around it in just a few hours, so I decided to arrive at around 1pm. Although I managed to see everything, it was definitely a rush towards the end.

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London Zoo is definitely a fraction of the size of Whipsnade Zoo (in fact our rhino paddock would fit London Zoo in it), but that didn’t stop it from being a great little zoo. I really enjoyed my day there and would definitely love to go again and have longer there. I’d also love to spend longer there having seen they do history tours. I love a bit of history and the history of ZSL fascinates me, so I think maybe one day I’d like to do that.

What I also really loved was that here around 90% of my photos were taken on my little Canon G7X rather than my Canon 40D + 300mm lens. At Whipsnade a lot of the enclosures are still old, with fencing between you and the animals. London makes much more use of moats and glass in their enclosures.

Have you ever been to London Zoo? If so, what did you think? πŸ™‚

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 Β£10 each to go in the “Signature Lounge” on the crossing which was really relaxing and meant loads of free drinks and some croissants! πŸ™‚

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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 πŸ™‚

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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 πŸ™‚

I’ve put together a little video of clips from the trip πŸ™‚

I hope you enjoyed this post and I’ll see you again tomorrow πŸ™‚

 

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 πŸ™‚ I can also confirm that I’ve got some footage for a bit of a vlog but not much yet! πŸ™‚

I hope you enjoyed this vlog, let me know what you think of it πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚Β 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 πŸ™‚

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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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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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 πŸ™‚

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 PointΒ 

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 –Β Birds, Baby Zebra and LionsΒ