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The 5 Interesting Rides at Skyline Park

The 5 Interesting Rides at Skyline Park

Skyline Park was a park that presented itself as something that could’ve been built in RCT. It was spacious. There were 7 creds to grab plus some other flat rides to explore. This was the next park on our German road trip in June 2019. I didn’t have high expectations but after visiting Bayern Park, I was expecting something on the same level. I was very wrong. Sometimes a little research does help!

Before I begin this post, when I say interesting rides, I mean memorable but maybe not for the right reasons.

Overall park expectations

As I said above, the park layout reminded me very much of a RCT park. The rides and coasters are all spread out across a big space. Our plan of attack was to head towards the back end of the park where Sky Dragster was and work our way back to the park entrance. This definitely worked well for us as the longest queue of the day was for Sky Dragster – low throughputs so it was a painful wait.

The park is split into different sections with a small cluster of rides but generally, there were no trees/fauna dotted about the park. When you’ve travelled to Bayern Park first, it can feel a bit like a downgrade. Unique creds and rides can be a good way for a park to bring in the guests but if you leave out theming and landscaping, they may be left disappointed, in my eyes.

Whilst I am all for parks having their unique style, open plan theme parks can look a tad bland. Adding a bit of theming can bring some atmosphere to an area. I view theme parks as a place for escaping reality and placing a bunch of coasters/rides into a open plan space will only do so much. Skyline Park has more potential with the unique creds it has in the area. And here are five in particular that I remember well.

Sky Rider

This was a popular ride that would feature in my RCT creations as a kid. Why? Because it’s rare and unique. Caripro coasters are few and far between. The only other Caripro coaster I’ve ridden is a BatFlyer at Plopsaland De Panne in 2013. It’s been a while but I remember Vleermuis being fun and somewhat awkward to get in and out of the ride.

Sky Rider is a fun experience where you sit on the ride inwards. Not sure why but I’m not a huge fan of this seating arrangement. Yes, it’s a rarity but I don’t feel there is any real benefit to the ride experience. Caripro are renowned for their unique style of coasters but I wish they thought more about the logistics of riders getting in and out of the ride train.

Ghost Train

The Ghost Train. Oh boy. Where do I start? I’ve ridden a fair few ghost trains over the last few years. Some have been good. Others, not so much. This one on the outside, had a lot going for it. It looked big and a little daunting. So you’d be right that I was a little bit nervous as I stepped aboard the ride vehicle.

Well… it wasn’t scary. It wasn’t thrilling. It was disappointing to say the least. It was coming to the end of our day at Skyline Park so I was hoping this ghost train would give us a good final farewell. Sadly, that wasn’t meant to be. For a large ghost train, I was expecting more to it including some actual jump scares. Disappointment galore.

Sky Dragster

Following on the list of ‘unique’ creds at Skyline Park, we’ve got Sky Dragster. This Maurer Spike Dragster coaster is the only one of its kind in the world – although I believe one is being planned (or built) on a cruise ship. Do correct me if I’m wrong. Since there’s not much talk about this coaster, I had no idea what to expect.

First off, it has VERY slow throughputs. It says a lot that this was the first ride of the day and we queued for around an hour if I remember correctly. It may have been less but effectively, the park was dead and pretty much all rides were walk on… apart from Sky Dragster. I wouldn’t say I came off the ride feeling anything other than, ‘well, that’s different’. It’s okay and definitely a rare cred to have on your coaster count.

Sky Wheel

My first view of this coaster was dread. When I see a coaster that not only looks different from your traditional style coasters, I can’t help but find myself thinking the worst. I had no idea how this was going to ride or whether I would enjoy it. Safe to say, I did not enjoy it. I’ve never ridden a Maurer SkyLoop before so I had no idea what to expect.

The ride effectively starts by ascending up towards the first ‘corner’ – say hello to major hangtime which I despise! – and then gravity takes hold as it winds along the track back towards the station. Sometimes it does go through twice – depends on which SkyLoop you ride, there’s 10 to choose from (according to RCDB) including Sky Wheel.

Log Flume

Wherever I go travelling, I’ll always make sure to give any local log flumes a go. They’re becoming a dying breed in the UK, especially with the loss of Loggers Leap at Thorpe Park and The Flume at Alton Towers. This Wildwasserbahn was impressively long and a fun experience.

I believe this is a travelling model (correct me if I’m wrong.) The experience as a whole was fun. Plenty of lifthills and drops to keep you feeling the anticipation of getting soaked. Located next to Sky Dragster at the top end of the park, I’d certainly recommend giving this a go when visiting Skyline Park. It’ll be one of the only ‘good’ rides at the park.

Have you visited Skyline Park before?

What rides & attractions are you wanting to try out?

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Bayern Park: 350th coaster and Bavarian beauty

Bayern Park: 350th coaster and Bavarian beauty

On Monday 10th June 2019, Jared and I started off our German road trip with a visit to Bayern Park. Whilst trip planning, we wanted to tackle the southern German parks with the help of Coast2Coaster. I didn’t do much research into the park itself and to be honest, I’m glad I didn’t. Bayern Park has a lot of German beauty that makes this a quiant place to visit when in the Bavaria area.

First impressions

As we drove towards the park from our hotel in Munich, the entrance is very understated. First impressions for me were: ‘Hmmm, I’m not sure I’m going to like this park.’ Little did I know that there was a lot more beauty to the park once you set foot inside. Sometimes the phrase, don’t judge a book by its cover runs very true. A park with a understated entrance doesn’t mean this is going to be a ‘disappointing’ park.

As you walk inside, the entrance area has your typical shops – perfect for nabbing guests to spend more money on gifts and merchandise before they leave or enter the park. Great sales ploy. Anyway, onwards to the park.

The park overall in terms of beauty & landscaping, it’s up there as one of the most beautiful parks that uses the natural landscape so well. It looks understated but honestly, the rides work so well within the trees/fauna. It’s nice to step away from a park that uses themed buildings to create a more closed in atmosphere. And let’s not forget about how beautiful German architecture is.

First stop for us was to grab the creds. The park is currently home to 5 creds – depending on what you class as a cred. There are 2 Butterfly creds, 2 Zierer Tivoli coasters and a Maurer Launch coaster. Since I was going to be getting my 350th coaster here in the park, I wanted this to be Freischütz. Okay, sometimes it’s fun to let your key ‘milestones’ be random but not for me. Besides, 350 isn’t a big milestone but I’ll still shout about it.

Cred grabbing

Butterfly coasters are renowned in European theme parks. I don’t really see the appeal other than to tick them off as a +1 for my count. These are self operated by simply closing the gates, sitting inside the ride, pulling down the bar & pressing the start button on the ride itself. You go back and forth until the ride comes to a stop. Simple & easy creds to grab without queuing too long. Yes, Jared and I did get some strange looks from the locals but we didn’t care.

Why the park needed two Butterfly coasters? I’ll never know. One is big model & the other is your traditional small model that you’ll see in other parks around Europe. The big model was located inside a building, ‘themed’ to space so I guess it had that going for it. And aptly named ‘Star-Shuttle’. Otherwise, it was two creds to easily grab within the first 30 mins. You’ll also be pleased to know that these are located towards the front end of the park.

Next up was to tick off the two Zierer Tivoli coasters. Again, the park seems to like having a ‘big’ version & ‘small’ version of the same manufacturer. The small version, called ‘Froschbarn’, is a standard layout that’s perfect for young kids. If you’ve been to Paultons Park, the ‘Dino Chase’ coaster is the exact same layout. Short but sweet little cred that’s hidden in the trees. Must admit, the natural vibes of this park were very welcome.

One thing to note about Bayern Park, it’s hilly in places. As you travel downwards, you’ll find the second Zierer Tivoli coaster. Again, the ride blends in well with the natural landscape. I don’t know if it’s just me but I love being surrounded by trees & natural fauna when visiting a theme park. Don’t get me wrong, buildings can work well to disguise open spaces but I love a natural landscape. You can guess that I was the player of RCT that liked planting bushes and trees wherever I could.

The imaginative name of ‘Achterbahn’, the ride layout is a fun layout winding through the trees. The perfect next step up for young kids/thrillseekers. Zierer Tivoli coaster may not be my most favourite coasters but I have a small soft spot for them. I grew up with riding The Stinger/Cat-O-Pillar coaster at Paultons Park so Zierer Tivoli’s were a huge part of my young coaster enthusiasm.

Last but not least, my 350th coaster cred was… Freischütz. Surprisingly, this Maurer X-Car Flying Launch coaster was very enjoyable. The launch packs quite a punch, especially when sat in the back row. Not gonna lie, I don’t like the actual cars/seats themselves as they are ridiculously big and the restraints are super heavy to pull down yourself. I saw many people struggle to pull down their restraint so don’t feel embarrassed. The ride staff will help you out.

The music in the station was funky as hell. If there was one thing I could take away from the ride, it would be the music choice in the station. Random, I know. This park is very pretty yet it doesn’t have any true ‘stand out’ coasters in the park. Freischütz is fun with a great launch but nothing to shout about. Before I forget, the ride entrance is very well hidden. More so if you are located at the bottom end of the park near Achterbahn.

The park is almost split into 3 sections. Upper, Mid & Lower sections. The upper section houses the 2 Butterfly creds and a couple of flat rides including a beautifully decorated chairswing. The mid-section houses Freischütz (this is where the ride entrance is) & Froschbarn. Finally, the lower section houses several rides and attractions including Achterbahn, a Wiegand powered coaster (something we missed entirely!), log flume, rapids and more.

Noteable mentions

Considering we weren’t planning to spend all day at Bayern Park, I’m glad we did. Despite the humidity being ridiculous, we had a great day with some funny moments. One particular moment was riding the log flume. This was your standard travelling log flume layout that takes on the same style as Raging River Ride at Paultons Park or what you may commonly find at funfairs. The ride was not overly wet but as we plunged down the final drop of the ride, we almost capsized!

And with this, both Jared & I got more than we bargained for. More so for Jared who ended up getting soaked on his left side. Yes, I was wetting myself laughing. It happened so quickly that we didn’t know why it happened. Either we put too much weight on one side of the boat or the run off from the final drop was shorter than anticipated. Who knows? It was hilarious.

Next up was the Rapids ride. Again, another travelling style water ride that picks up a fair amount of speed as you travel along the trough. Fun with a few splashes here and there. Not a soaker even though on this particular day, we’d love a splash of water to cool down. Plus, in the station area, your bags are put onto a conveyor belt so as you exit the ride on the other side of the station, your bags will be there ready for you. I think this is a genius idea and more parks should use this for bag storage.

Granted we didn’t really explore the park to its whole extent. The lower part of Bayern Park doesn’t just have rides. There are animals too. From lynx, deer, pygmy goats & so much more. Gutted would be an understatement but this proves that some research may have helped. This would’ve helped us to understand more of the layout of the park too. Planned out what rides we wanted to do etc. Obviously our original intention was to grab the coaster creds, who can blame us right?

Aside from missing out a fair chunk of the park, we had a lovely day out at Bayern Park. Would we visit again? Probably not unless they build another coaster to a similar scale of Freischütz. The park may not be large in size but it’s a great park to include as part of a large road trip within the Bavaria area of Germany. This is how we did it and we don’t have any regrets going. Overall the park is beautiful and has some fun rides within.

Have you visited Bayern Park?

What are your favourite rides/coasters at the park?

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Life in Lockdown: Seaside Visit

Life in Lockdown: Seaside Visit

It’s June. Time has flown by for me. With the glorious heatwave we’ve been having in the UK, I decided to head on down to Southsea last Thursday. I wanted a little break away from home & my local area. Honestly, it felt like there was no pandemic. Everyone had come down for the same reason as me. To enjoy the beach in the glorious sunshine.

Social distancing is a struggle when you can’t control everybody’s movements. Okay, it was nice to see people with smiles on their faces. Plus some were social distancing with their friends & families. But I think it’s crazy to forget that the coronavirus is still out there. It’s not going to go away in a hurry.

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A short walk along the seafront

Seeing the sea for the first time in several weeks gave me a good boost. I love living near the sea – especially when the weather is a glorious as it has been. It almost gave me a sense of peace. Well, when I took the time to forget about the mass crowds around me. Maybe there was some hope on the horizon (or in the literal sense, the Isle of Wight).

First stop was to walk by Clarence Pier. I wish it was open but as always, the rides were sat there. Waiting for the day they can open safely. Looked behind me and it was a surprise to see the local mini-golf was open. Yes, there were signs everywhere informing everyone of social distancing. All golf clubs & golf balls were sanitized. Staff members had masks & gloves. Screens were added to the till point.

It was surreal but I almost felt a sense of acceptance that this would be the ‘new’ normal. God, I hate that expression. But it’s somewhat true.

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With my new fitness regime, I wanted to get a good walk in. So my plan of action was to walk from Clarence Pier to South Parade Pier. And loop back down to Clarence Pier again. A good solid 4.5km(ish) walk in my eyes. Walking past runners, cyclists, walkers, party-goers, it was nice to take in the fresh sea breeze.

A couple of hours was all I needed to boost my spirits before I headed home. I did spot some new rides over at South Parade Pier – including a ‘new’ wacky worm cred & pirate ship. I can’t be sure if this is a new +1 for me since there’s been so many rotations of wacky worm coasters on the pier over the last few years. If anyone does know if this is a new cred for the pier, do let me know!

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I never thought 2020 would turn into a key part of history but here we are living it. Who knows what will happen in a months time? 3 months time? Or even 6 months time? I hope that we’re somewhat prepared for what is to come. Whatever that may be.

Hope you are all staying safe. Much love. xoxo

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Life in Lockdown: My Favourite Workout Moves

Life in Lockdown: My Favourite Workout Moves

Disclaimer: Please note that this is meant to be a lighthearted blog post. If exercise/fitness is a triggering subject for you, please do not continue to read my post below.

2020 has turned into the year of finding my love for exercise. In particular, it’s been a time to discover my favourite workout moves. I’ve been victim to fad diets and cutting back my daily calories without exercising at all. It wasn’t sustainable so there’s no surprise my weight crept back on.

This year I’ve made it my mission to start being proactive with exercise. I’ve increased my exercise regime and started eating a varied healthy diet. I started all this back in March and I’ve discovered exercise is enjoyable. All whilst staying away from the temptation of fast food & snacks. Maybe lockdown has had some perks, right?

My current workout stands as 3 days of cardio (mix of running & walking) & 3 days of resistance workouts. I like to focus on specific areas of the body including arms, legs & core. I’ll admit that working from home has given me the chance to add in more exercises. But this is still sustainable even when I get myself back to the office. So let’s crack on with my favourite workout moves.

Which are my favourites?

Russian Twists

These are a killer, not gonna lie. However, they are good at helping me to strengthen my whole core. The first time I did this move, it hurt like hell and I honestly wanted to give up with core workouts. Perseverance has shown me that it does get easier as long as you try to work through the burn. Now I’m loving this move and hopefully, I will start to see some results around my waistline over the next few months!

Mountain Climbers

There’s nothing better than getting your heart rate up with the Mountain Climber move. For me, it not only helps to build up my core strength but it also gives me a guide on how strong my arms are. It’s taken 2 months but I can comfortably do this for 30 secs for at least 3 sets, give or take.

Lunges

Forward lunges, I love. Reverse lunges, I loathe. So why have I collated the two? Simply because lunges are a great way to keep the legs toned and strengthened. Even though using my bodyweight seems easy peasy. Add a dumbbell and you’ve got more resistance to work with. Challenging but effective. Plus it’s been a real help for getting my legs into shape for my runs.

Squats

You see it everywhere. If you want to grow your booty, pack those squats in. Whilst I agree squats are good for helping the glutes, it’s also about strengthening your lower body. Compound moves such as lunges are perfect for toning and building muscle across multiple muscle groups. Again, I always add a dumbbell to the mix to make it more challenging & add more resistance to the move. I will be looking at using my new resistance bands to see how well I can work my glutes & quads too.

Shoulder Press

A killer move where I feel the burn every time. I like to start my arm workouts with this move as it gives my muscles a chance to get into the swing of things. Yes, my arms do start to feel like jelly but I’m always determined to finish the workout regardless. Building my arm strength will certainly help me when embarking on those Go Ape courses – last time I went an instructor had to help me up on the Tarzan Swing because my arms wouldn’t move lol. Embarrassing but bloody hilarious.

Tricep Extension

A simple move that can help to lose a bit of arm fat, or the ‘bingo wings’. Whilst this move may look easy to achieve, I try to add a heavier dumbbell to feel the effects on my tricep. I’ve always looked at my upper arms and think they could be more toned. This move helps me to target the triceps in the right way.

How have you been exercising during the lockdown?

What are your go-to workouts?

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Life in Lockdown: After Lockdown Bucket List

Life in Lockdown: After Lockdown Bucket List

The original idea for this post was inspired by Alice Spake, check out her post here: After Lockdown Bucket List. It made me think about what I want to do when we return to some sort of normality. Granted we don’t know when ‘normality’ may return in the UK, 2020 has certainly turned into a topsy-turvy kinda year.

Okay, it’s not exactly a bucket list we’d all want to be writing at the moment. However, it’s certainly given me some excitement & hope during this lull of a lockdown. These little things in life that I may have taken for granted before lockdown began, I can’t wait to have back in my life again.

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My After Lockdown Bucket List

(not specifically in order!)

  • See my boyfriend Jared – long-distance relationships are hard and I want cuddles
  • See my friends
  • Work back in the office & see my work colleagues
  • Go out for lunch/dinner with my family
  • Visit some country parks to enjoy the beautiful spaces we have in the UK
  • Go to the cinema
  • Have a proper date night with Jared
  • Go food shopping without having to queue to get in
  • Visit a Go Ape course
  • Drive down to Southsea and walk along the seafront
  • Visit various UK theme parks including Thorpe Park, Alton Towers & Chessington
  • Go on a UK cred trip – cause it’s tradition to grab some new creds each year, right?
  • Visit Center Parcs Longleat with Jared – booked our week holiday last year and in the process of moving it to September
  • Go to Nando’s – just can’t beat a cheeky Nando’s!
  • Be able to comfortably run 5k
  • Have a weekend away somewhere in the UK
  • Travel to a European theme park – provided that the COVID-19 situation is under control!
  • The freedom to drive to wherever I want even if it’s to a local business or open space near my house
  • Be confident enough to experiment with my make-up & potentially share on Twitter/Instagram
  • Book Florida 2021 – it’s mine and Jared’s 30th birthday next year so we would like to be able to get our joint birthday celebration holiday booked at some point

It’s not a massive list by any means but it’s enough to keep me going. I hope you are all staying safe & keeping well during the lockdown. Sending all my love to you all. xoxo

What would be on your After Lockdown Bucket List?

What are you missing most during this lockdown?

LOTTIE TRAVELS

 

Life in Lockdown: 25th April 2020

Life in Lockdown: 25th April 2020

Howdy! So it’s been 25 days since I last wrote a blog post… Honestly, I’ve lost all my passion for writing on here at the moment. Granted a huge influence on that is having no freedom to travel anywhere, therefore the main essence of my blog is on hold whilst we all tackle the COVID-19 situation. My creative spark has disappeared slightly so I’ve been putting all my energy into other things. So what’s happened since my last Life in Lockdown blog post?

Not a lot has changed in all fairness.

The UK lockdown was extended for a further three weeks, meaning it is currently set to end on 7th May 2020. Not gonna lie, this extension so far has been more a struggle for my own mental health. I’m missing having the freedom to go out and see my friends when I want. I’m missing my boyfriend. I’m missing theme parks. I’m missing the office environment – I don’t think I could work from home 24/7!

So I guess the big question is…

How have I been keeping busy?

life in lockdown dumbbells

FITNESS/EXERCISE

5 days after my previous blog post, I ended up ‘overtraining’ myself with my workouts and exercise. For someone who is still very much a beginner in exercising, it’s easy to fall into the trap of overdoing the workouts. Exercising for me has been a great escape from the reality of what’s happening. In a way, I may have replaced my love for theme parks with exercise for the time being in order to keep me feeling sane during these troubling times.

This week, as I write this on 24th April, I’ve started running. And no, it’s not the Couch to 5K kind. Whilst this is a great way for people to get into running, I’d rather build myself up in smaller sections. Starting with a 1k run on Monday and just slowly progress every other day. This can be increasing the distance slowly by 0.5km or trying to run for longer intervals. At the moment, I can run for 1 minute comfortably but making sure my walking interval at least 1 minute or more. Gotta take it slowly obviously!

Having started this, I’ve learnt to love the sport. Okay, I work for a multi-sport retailer so everyday I am surrounded by exercise enthusiasts. Honestly, you can enjoy exercise if you find the right one for you. Exercise releases endorphins so it’s perfect for calming down those overthinking thoughts running through your head. Running can now be added to my list alongside resistance training. I may be losing my excess body fat slowly but it’s more sustainable in the long term. Plus, it’s great for boosting my fitness for when theme parks can open again.

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ANIMAL CROSSING

I was going to write a paragraph about gaming however there’s only one game taking my attention at the moment. Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been a great way to keep me busy during those dull periods when I’m not working or doing my exercise. I’m not an OG player but when I heard about the hype of this game from people on Twitter, I had to discover what all the fuss was about.

I’m a little bit obsessed. Whether it’s catching the various bugs, fishing the finest fish or constructing lots of exciting DIY furniture to place around my island, it’s highly addictive. Plus, you know you’re sitting on a goldmine when Turnip prices are at a really good selling rate! Here’s to many more weeks of me playing this.

YOUTUBE/NETFLIX/DISNEY+

Of course, a good staple to my daily life is keeping up with the latest YouTubers I’ve subscribed to and watching the latest series & new releases on Disney+ and Netflix. Key YouTubers that I’ve been loving at the moment include: Natacha Oceane, Emma’s Rectangle, James Turner, Plumbella to name a few.

Recently I binge-watched the new Netflix Original series, Spinning Out, a drama based around professional competing ice skaters and the turmoil of drug use. It was very well done and some gripping moments throughout the series. I love Netflix Original series as these provide great binge-worthy shows to watch. Other particular favourites of mine include After Life, Orange is the New Black, Tiger King, Cheer and so much more.

2020 is certainly turning into a funny old year. Even though we can’t change the situation we are in, we can certainly find ways to keep ourselves busy. Who knows what will happen in the next few weeks to come. Hope anybody reading this is staying safe & well during these troubling times. Sending my love to you all.

What are you doing to keep yourself busy during this situation?

Who else is loving Animal Crossing?

Any tips or ideas on what else we can do to keep ourselves busy?

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Life in Lockdown: 1st April 2020

Life in Lockdown: 1st April 2020

Well, the last few weeks have been a crazy time, hasn’t it? I know I haven’t written any blog posts for the past 3 weeks, and I’m going to be honest, I haven’t felt like writing anything. The whole COVID-19 situation has really shaken up all our routines. With my blog focused on travel, this will be on hold and I’ll be writing updates about my general day to day life and fitness regimes. Provided I get the motivation to write anything each week that is.

I miss travelling and having the freedom to see my boyfriend and close friends whenever I want to. All I want to do is get in my car and go for a long drive to see the people I care about. I’m incredibly grateful for having my family around to support me and keeping me sane. It’s certainly going to be the new normal for the time being but I’m trying my best to remain positive. We can’t control this situation but we can control how we deal with it.

So, how’s life been for me?

I’m still working but from home. Yes, I’m in a very fortunate position amongst the crowd of people around me who are key workers, been made redundant etc. However, I do feel for those who are unable to work from home. You are all troopers and you will get through this. So effectively my Monday to Friday routine between 8am to 4.30pm has remained unchanged other than my work location. Getting used to working from the kitchen table whilst using Microsoft Teams to keep in contact with my work colleagues where I can.

life update working from home

A couple of weeks ago, I made the decision to start exercising again. I had some dumbbells sitting on the floor in my bedroom so I thought I’d give these style workouts a go. You know what? I’m enjoying this way more than pushing myself to do any kind of running or excessive cardio. My aim was to do at least 3 workouts per week of at least 45 mins to 1 hour. I’ve now increased that to 5 workouts per week however have started to introduce HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts into the mix. I have lost some weight over the last 4 weeks so it’s certainly more motivation to keep going.

Exercising has been an escape for me. It’s 1 hour of my mind focusing on strengthening my body whilst improving my own health. A bit ironic given the current circumstances but it does seem to be helping (in my mind at least). I’m not invincible so who knows when COVID-19 may decide to hit me. I guess this is what I hate. Not knowing when it could strike me or my own family members. Especially with my Mum being a key worker at our local Supermarket. The unknown is well and truly here for the time being.

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From my workouts to healthy eating. I was quite worried about doing mindless snacking whilst working from home. In the office, I like to have a couple of snacks with me – mostly fruit but a little sugary treat every now and again doesn’t hurt. However, by some miracle, I’m not snacking as much as I used to. Why? I have no idea. However should I need to have a quick pick-me-up, I’ve got a couple of bags of almonds & mixed dried fruits to keep my satisfied. And yes, I do still have chocolate but that’s the last resort if you know what I mean. *wink*

Since the UK lockdown last Monday, the Government have said we can go out for exercise once a day, whether that’s a walk, run or cycle. As long as we comply with the social distancing measures, it’s been nice to get out of the house and take a walk around my local area. I always make sure I keep my distance from people, crossing the road if necessary. From what I can see around my area, people do seem to be observing the social distancing rules which is great to see. Hopefully, this lockdown can be lifted over the next couple of weeks. Fingers crossed, ey?

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Of course, this lockdown has meant I can’t see my boyfriend, Jared. We’re in a long-distance relationship, roughly 1-hour drive from each other. We live with our families and have high-risk people in our households. This means it’s incredibly risky to see one another (physically at least). However, the joys of technology have allowed us to be able to FaceTime every day. It’s been a real pick-me-up and I’ve tried to be the rock in our relationship for Jared. I hate seeing people I love struggle through a situation they can’t control, and I can’t be there to help them.

And that is my life in a nutshell at the moment. When I’m not working or exercising, I’ve been using my spare time to play some Animal Crossing: New Horizons on my Switch – those tarantulas are a pain in the arse but I’ve managed to catch one now! Alongside this, I’ve been playing Smurf’s Village (thanks to Jared!), Candy Crush Saga, Tetris etc on my phone. I’m also currently looking at starting my scrapbooks which were Christmas presents. Certainly, the perfect time to start them once I’ve managed to sort through the photos I want to have printed. Sometimes you need to look closer to home to find new things to keep you entertained.

I hope you are all well and staying safe. Sending my love to you all and just a small reminder that we will get through this together.

Much love xoxoxo

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Chessington VIP Photography Experience Review

Chessington VIP Photography Experience Review

When Chessington World of Adventures announced their brand new VIP Photography experience, I couldn’t resist buying this for myself and my partner. Last Sunday (1st March), we thoroughly enjoyed the whole day and are now even more keen to get out there and take photos using our SLR cameras.

After 3 sessions so far, we were in the trial phase. The whole experience is still being firmed down and finalised before an official release later on this year. Due to half the theme park being shut, we weren’t able to go down to Land of the Tigers to see the Amur Tigers or head into Lorikeet Lagoon. Whilst this was disappointing for us, it’s clear that this will be included later on this year when the park is fully open.

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SO, WHAT DID YOU DO?

The Chessington VIP Photography experience was split into a fun & jam-packed itinerary. First up was an hour brief with Sally Beard, professional photographer at The Photography Boutique, teaching us about the basics of photography and how to take professional photos of animals. This was perfect for me since it’s been well over 10 years since I was taught how to use SLR cameras at college.

Afterwards, we headed into Amazu & Penguin Cove to get ourselves used to Manual mode. This was almost a good starting point to adjust the settings for ISO, aperture and shutter speed. We had front row seats to the Animal Antics show & enjoyed spending an hour on a Safari truck, taking photos of the Giraffes & Zebras in their paddock. Definitely worth adding to the bucket list!

You’re given an hour for lunch. Don’t worry about preparing any lunch as you’ll be given a VIP lunch voucher. This entitled us to a standard meal deal at any of the available food and drink outlets at Chessington. This is great for fussy eaters who can choose their favourite F&B outlet in the park – we opted for Captain’s Fish & Chips because it was quiet.

The afternoon session was pretty much flexible with the whole group. We enjoyed walking through the Trail of the Kings, front-row view of the Sea Lion Show & grabbing some cool shots of the Otters & Reindeer. This added flexibility was great as we could take as many photos as we wanted of the animals we cared the most about. Especially when feeding time came around for the Lions & Gorillas.

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So what exactly did I learn from this VIP experience?

MANUAL MODE ISN’T SCARY TO USE

That’s right. Once you know the basics of ISO, aperture & shutter speed, the rest is pretty much simple to follow. It’s so easy to let the camera automatically adjust the settings for you. Sometimes that perfect shot can look overexposed or underexposed. With manual mode, you have complete control over how the photo looks. I’m now a changed woman and will opt for manual mode – it’s a lot easier to adjust than you think!

ANIMALS CAN BE FUNNY CHARACTERS

You’ll learn throughout this course that observing the animals can showcase their personalities. When I’ve visited the zoo at Chessington, I don’t really spend a lot of time observing the animals. Sometimes it’s a quick wander around and looking into the enclosures. Then it’s time to move on and see the next animal. Having my camera out made me think about the different angles and compositions of the photo I wanted to take. And you really see how funny the animals are, from headbutting each other to refusing to stay still!

NO PRESSURE TO TAKE LOTS OF PHOTOS

When you’re in Auto mode, it’s easy to get trigger happy and take 1000s of photos. In manual mode, you don’t take nearly as many photos. Why? Because you’ll be spending more time focusing on getting the settings right for that perfect shot. After taking each photo, I was always checking over what I took to see if the exposure was correct, my depth of field was looking sharp etc. It might take a bit more work but the finished results were amazing!

PERFECT FOR BEGINNERS, AMATEURS & EXPERTS

This course is perfect for anyone with an interest in photography. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never worked with manual mode on an SLR or you’ve taken so many professional photos that you want to branch out into animal photography, this course is designed for everyone. I would say I’m a beginner with an interest and passion for photography. Yes, there were 3 other photographers with way more experience than me (my partner included) but that didn’t stop me from doing this course.

To conclude, I’d highly recommend doing this VIP Photography experience from Chessington. It was priced at £100 per person (during the trial period) which I feel was pretty reasonable. Considering you get at least 5 hours of photography, 1-hour editing workshop & lunch included. Of course, the price & course structure will be different when the course launches later this year. Would I do it again? Almost definitely. Even if just to get some fab close up shots of the Amur tigers!

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That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

 

Top 5 Energylandia coasters you can’t miss

Top 5 Energylandia coasters you can’t miss

In October last year, I boarded my flight to Krakow in search of coaster creds in Poland. I had to get a trip booked in after the announcement of Zadra’s opening date. Flights were going cheap for late October so had to get them booked, didn’t I? Visiting Energylandia for the first time was a bizarre experience for me. I had previously watched Jordan’s vlogs from her trip in April and knew it was a park I wanted to visit. Just not as soon as I did. I was very eager to tick off the 15 creds and there were at least 5 coasters at Energylandia that I couldn’t miss.

Cred anxiety is a known thing. Were we were going to get spited by a major coaster? Was the weather going to take a turn for the worst? Thankfully it was like a UK summer heatwave all over again! Energylandia as a park reminded me of a RCT (Roller Coaster Tycoon) park. Coasters dotted all over the place, with the odd bits of theming added in. The layout made no sense without the help of a park map. It was somewhat confusing but once you get your bearings, you know exactly where to go.

tall wooden rollercoaster with blue sky
tall green water coaster with blue sky
bright multicoloured rollercoaster for children on green track
chairswing ride with flowers and bushes neatly placed around ride
top 5 energylandia coasters

With 15 creds to grab, it seemed fitting to pick out my top 5 coasters at the park. There’s a lot of kiddie creds and that’s not an understatement. I know some people aren’t hardcore ‘cred whores’ but there are some solid coasters in the line up. Aside from the obvious reason for my trip in the first place. Can you hazard a guess as to which coaster? Anyway let’s crack on with my top 5 coasters at Energylandia you can’t miss!

wooden rollercoaster going through inversion with pumpkin statue to right

Coaster #1: Zadra

It was obvious that this would be number one for me. I loved Zadra, a LOT. From the moment you leave the ride station, you knew this ride was going to pull out all the stops to be an incredible ride. It had the speed, the forces, the inversions, the whole package in my eyes for a world class coaster. I’d love to be inside the mind of Alan Schilke when he comes up with the concepts for his coasters. Zadra is a force to be reckoned with. The whole area around the ride is stunning – just be prepared to walk in the ridiculously long queue line to get to the station!

race car style rollercoaster on red track

Coaster #2: Formula

I’m gonna just put it out here now and say that I didn’t think I was going to love Formula as much as I did. For a compact layout, it packs a punch even with the launch at the beginning of the ride. It’s a fun ride that is pretty intense in places (not as much as Lech coaster in Legendia though.) I cannot wait to see what else Vekoma is going to come up with in the future as I’ve been very impressed with Formula and Lech Coaster in Poland.

tall rollercoaster on black track with lights on side of lift hill

Coaster #3: Hyperion

Now, I know some people who’ve ridden Hyperion are going to wonder why I’ve put it beneath Formula. Hear me out. Overall, Hyperion is a good coaster as it packs in some cool airtime moments and whips you round the ‘Dive Drop’ element after the first airtime hill. Yes, I rode Zadra first and probably got completely spoilt by how amazing it rode. BUT I just felt like there was something missing from the whole ride experience – even after 4 rides, I still came off Hyperion feeling flat and unimpressed.

top 5 energylandia coasters

Source

Coaster #4: Dragon Roller Coaster

There’s not a lot to say about this coaster other than it is fun. I have a huge soft spot for these new style Vekoma suspended coasters. Flight of the Pterosaur at Paultons Park, Orkanen at Farup Sommerland & the list goes on. I believe this is the same layout as Orkanen at Farup Sommerland – don’t quote me on that. They incorporate the water element to the ride really well. The dragon head was beautiful to look at and worked so well as a near miss element. It’s a basic suspended coaster that is fun for the whole family, cool ride layout with some fun turns and something I consider to be re-rideable – if you need to waste some spare moments on a quiet day.

mayan temple building with rollercoaster to the left

Coaster #5: Roller Coaster Mayan

Say what? A Vekoma SLC is in this list? Oh yes, people. This SLC has the new trains and restraints from Vekoma and blimey, you can tell the difference. As with any SLC, it isn’t what I call silky smooth. However our first ride on Mayan was very good. Baring in mind the temperature reached highs of 25 degrees so the ride had plenty of time to warm up. This is where the painful reminder of SLCs came back in focus. The new restraints didn’t give me too much of a headache, thankfully! I did still felt sore and battered after my second ride later in the day. Whilst this is my favourite of all SLCs I have ridden so far, it still provides with that raw old school Vekoma roughness that we all know and ‘love’…

girl posing in front of massive pumpkin
rollercoaster through loop on red track
wooden rollercoaster with red topper track
formula red rollercoaster track during sunset
top 5 energylandia coasters

I can’t wait to return to the park over the next few years. I’d love to see how the park develops, plus I’m intrigued by the new Vekoma Shockwave, Abyssus, opening in 2020.

Are you planning a trip to Energylandia this year?

Visited Energylandia, which rides are your favourites?

What are your top 5 coasters at Energylandia?

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

5 Self-Care Tips | Theme Park Edition

5 Self-Care Tips | Theme Park Edition

I’m going to start by being honest with you all, I’ve been struggling with my mental health recently. My self-confidence has been knocked and I feel like I’ve hit a brick wall. Picking myself back up has been a challenge. Even when I’m doing my self-care routine. My mind ends up telling me I don’t deserve it. The closed season is probably taking its toll on me since I don’t have many opportunities to visit theme parks on the weekends. So I thought to myself, why not write down a list of 5 self-care tips that us theme park enthusiasts can do to help pick ourselves up when life gets us down.

Now, this isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ list. Everyone has their way of channelling their emotions and that’s okay. This is what I do when life wants to throw curveballs at me. Sometimes they work a treat and I feel better instantly. Other times, it takes more time for me to heal my mind. Sometimes the best thing is to do it at a pace that suits you. Since the development of the #BeKind movement after the tragic passing of Caroline Flack last weekend, RIP, we need to think before we speak. We don’t know what is going inside the head of everyone around us. So let’s start being mindful of this, alright? Anyway, here’s my 5 self-care tips theme park edition.

5 self-care tips watch theme park vlogs

Self-care tip #1: Watch theme park vlogs

Theme park vlogs are a good way to take yourself away from reality. I like to dedicate at least an hour of my day to chill out and look after myself. So when it comes to theme park vlogs, I’ll choose to watch either Theme Park Worldwide or Charlotte Ruff‘s Disney Park vlogs. Not only do I find them fun to watch but they inspire me to think about booking my next trip abroad. I have major wanderlust so I’m always dreaming about my next road trip.

5 self-care tips theme park cds

Self-care tip #2: Listen to your favourite theme park soundtrack

There’s one theme park soundtrack that picks my mood up instantly. The Chiapas soundtrack by IMAscore leaves me feeling giddy and reminds me of all the good times I have had at Phantasialand. No, I’m not biased since Phantasialand is my number one theme park! Whatever soundtrack you love to listen to, whether it is from a Disney park or your local park, give yourself a little break and plug in your headphones. It’s the perfect way to give you a little boost when things get a bit rough.

5 self-care tips read theme park books

Self-care tip #3: Read your favourite theme park book or blogs

I have a handful of books surrounding the theme park industry. Whether it’s reading about Walt Disney or diving into the review of a theme park online, it’s nice to take your mind away from the negative headspace. There are lots of talented bloggers in the theme park community, so there’s plenty of blog posts to get stuck into. However, if I need a break from my Macbook or phone, the joys of an 8-hour office job sat at a computer all day, I like to get stuck into a book. If you have any recommendations for theme park books I should read, leave them in the comment below.

5 self-care tips visit theme parks

Self-care tip #4: Take a trip to your local theme park

Okay, when it is the closed season, this can be more of a challenge. However, you could visit your local funfair or park to take your mind off things. I live near Portsmouth so I am lucky to have the seaside a good 10/15 mins away from me. A walk along the beach can help me to think clearly about things and enjoy my own space. Plus, exercise is a good way to boost your mood. But during the open season, a trip to my local theme park gives me the adrenaline rush I need to forget my worries. Plus, a day trip with your friends is the perfect pick-me-up in my opinion.

5 self-care tips be artistic

Self-Care Tip #5: Be artistic

I have left this last self-care tip very open because everyone is artistic in their own way. For me, this could be writing blog posts or compiling an Instagram post. For other people, this could be making theme park artwork, scrapbooking, taking photos, coding a website, dancing etc. The list is endless. What I am trying to get at is: take the time to look after yourself in an artistic way. There are so many talented people in the theme park community. Use your talents to give you the mental boost you need. Sometimes we are our own worst critic but that shouldn’t stop us from enjoying the things we enjoy.

These are my 5 self-care tips which follow the theme park theme. Whatever happens on those bad days, just remember that it isn’t a bad life. Hard to believe when you feel helpless but know you’re not alone. Even when your brain gets into that negative headspace, there are simple ways to get you back into a better headspace.

What do you do for your own self-care routine?

Who’s ready for the theme park open season?

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS