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.

alton towers scarefest 2019 review

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

 

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.

chessington VIP photography experience owlchessington world of adventures goatchessington VIP photography experience penguinchessington world of adventures capybarachessington world of adventures otters

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!

chessington VIP photography experience foxchessington VIP photography experience zebrachessington world of adventures giraffechessington world of adventures reindeerchessington world of adventures ostrich

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

 

The rides which scared me as a kid

The rides which scared me as a kid

Okay, here goes. I was scared of some rides as a kid. I loved visiting theme parks with my family and always had an appetite for getting my adrenaline fix from rides. The big rides were intimidating but I always wanted to give them a go. However there were a select few rides, that I can remember in the very back of my head, that truly terrified me on my first ever experience of them. I was the kid that you would see crying to my Mum or Dad in the queue saying I didn’t want to go on. We were all like that once, right?

The Fear of the Unknown…

Now, before I crack on with this post, you may notice that a familiar theme will appear. Ever heard of the Fear of the Unknown? I had a major issue with this as a kid. Granted with my hearing loss, I didn’t truly understand the world around me so it was almost like an overwhelming feeling that would take over. This perhaps caused me great anxiety and would kickstart that Fight or Flight response. 

I had a major issue with rides that were indoors or concealed. Simply put, if I couldn’t see the ride, how was I supposed to help build the confidence to go on them? My parents dragged me through the queue line, it was an overwhelming situation. My own hearing loss made things tricky to perceive the world around me. I can confirm, I did conquer these rides which no doubt helps gives you the confidence to try out even more rides.

So here are the rides which scared me as a kid…

Credit to Memories of Thorpe Park

X:/ No Way Out (1996)

I was about 5 or 6 years old when I first ventured on X:/ No Way Out. My family & I queued for a good hour before reaching the station. I cried my little heart out. If there are any old Thorpe Park goers from back in the 90s, you may remember the ride had a pre-show section right next to the station. The doors would shut in front of you and the next thing you know; doors open, the station was empty and an empty train awaited. As a result, this put me into a meltdown and I refused to go on – so yes, Mum had to take me out via the exit because I felt so scared. I didn’t realise it was a backwards ride in the dark. The irrational fear kicked in but I conquered my fear. Honestly, I’d much rather have X back – give me those lasers and lights again Thorpe!

Credit to EastCoasterGeneral

Nemesis (2001)

Oh yes, the one and only Nemesis scared me. I was 10 years old and still trying to build up my confidence for the big B&M coasters. I was fascinated by the coaster and the way it worked into the landscape. Seeing the Nemesis monster around the station was a turning point which led me to rethink about going on the ride. I felt so intimidated by the sheer speed, inversions and the Nemesis monster theming. I couldn’t bring myself to get in the queue. In contrast to a year later, I wasn’t even phased by the ride. This was probably the turning point in my theme park enthusiast ‘career’.

Credit to British Theme Park Archives

Terror Tomb (1998)

Mummies. A man intent on stealing a jewel in a Forbidden Tomb. Snakes. Scarabs. Darkness. Couldn’t really go wrong with this dark ride being a theatrical experience. I had no idea what to expect when I first headed into the queue. I have vague memories of the ride including the intense darkness to Abdab looking very scary when he was cursed. Granted after my first ride, I wanted to go back on it. It’s weird how you can build up so much fear and emotion around a particular object or event. Then you find out it was absolutely fine and you love it.

Credit to British Theme Park Archives

Wicked Witches Haunt (1996)

Noticing a trend in this post yet? Where I was scared of rides that are concealed in a building. I only have one main memory from Wicked Witches Haunt and that was the skeleton chandelier in the station. You knew you were in for a dark and scary experience when you saw that hanging above your head. Your typical omnimover dark ride that whilst is simple in concept, add a dark overlay theme and kids will come off feeling terrified. I loved the ride once I got a bit older and was incredibly saddened when the ride was caught in the fire of 2001. A true part of Thorpe’s history in my eyes.

Which rides scared you as a kid?

Did you always enjoy theme parks & rides as a kid?

When did you start building your love & enthusiasm for theme parks?

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo

Packing for my New Year holiday

Packing for my New Year holiday

I’m heading off to Gardaland and Europa Park this Thursday to see in 2020 – my first time abroad during this period. It’s certainly going to be a new experience for me having always stayed in the UK and avoided booking travel during the Christmas holidays. There’s a lot of things I am looking forward to experiencing including Europa Park’s Winter Season event and my first ever visit to Gardaland. So what exactly am I packing for my New Year holiday?

I am travelling with RyanAir using hand luggage only. Sounds like an impossible task right? Not really if you plan well when it comes to your clothes and toiletries. Not gonna lie, I’ve travelled using hand luggage for various trips to Europe in order to save costs on luggage, and sometimes travelling light can save you a lot of hassle. Whilst some people might wonder how I do it – whether through the fact I am a woman, or some people might call me crazy in general and can’t fathom the thought of travelling hand luggage only. I’m here to tell and prove to you it can be done.

packing new year holiday passport

So what exactly am I planning to take?

Before I even start getting the suitcase open and chucking clothes into it, I actually plan out my outfits for each day of my trip. This not only helps me to avoid overpacking but it actually helps when I am out travelling. Ever feel stuck trying to figure out what outfit you want to wear each day? You won’t have that issue any more! I will write down my list using the Notes app on my iPad. With this trip in particular, there’s going to be lots of theme park days so obvious choices will be t-shirts, leggings, shorts/skirts etc.

Mix and matching outfits is the key part to packing light with hand luggage. I also have a few evening meals planned so nicer outfits are required, whether that is a nice top paired with leggings or a nice dress with tights. Ensuring outfits are easy to fold and don’t take up too much space, like thin cotton t-shirts or dresses, will really help to ensure you can take the basics with you without weighing down your case.

packing new year holiday hotel kronosar europa park

Top Tips:

#1: If you can make some outfits split into multiple uses like transitioning from daytime to evening, this can really help with space.

#2: Packing cubes. If you haven’t used these before, buy some from Amazon – they are not even that expensive, but please give them a go. They have changed the way I pack my suitcase for any future trips. They really help to utilise the space in your case better – ideal for hand luggage trips.

#3: Having a designated travel outfit can really help avoid overpacking. Wearing bulky items when travelling will save you lots of space in your case – this includes hoodies & coats.

#4: Toiletries & make-up? Try to take the bare minimum and avoid anything that is liquid based. That 100ml limit and one liquids bag can be a pain in the arse but you can make it work – stick with eyeliner pencils, lipsticks, powders etc.

packing new year holiday europa park logo on floor

My packing list as follows…

Clothing

  • T-Shirts x5
  • Jeans/Jeggings x1
  • Shorts/Skirt x2
  • Leggings x1
  • Dresses x5 (Including NYE dress!)

Layers & Necessities

  • Underwear x9
  • Bra x1
  • Thermals x1 (Top & Bottoms)
  • Tights x2
  • Socks x4 (Thick socks mostly cause who wants cold feet when walking around a theme park?)
  • Scarf, Hat, Gloves
  • Leather Jacket (Evening purpose)
  • Superdry Jacket

It’s pretty basic but it’s amazing how I can fit 9 days worth of outfits in my carry-on suitcase without going over the 10kg from RyanAir. It’s not magic, it’s practical and sensible packing!

Have you travelled abroad only using hand luggage?

How do you pack? Do you create a list?

Do you shove everything in and hope for the best? What works for you?

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year, see you all in 2020!

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo

2019 Review | My Highs and Lows

2019 Review | My Highs and Lows

Christmas is fast approaching, and 2020 not far behind. It’s a good time for me to write up a 2019 review, highlighting the highs and lows. It’s been a rollercoaster year for me. I’m hoping for a more positive year in 2020. Fingers crossed I can make that happen!

Like a rollercoaster, the beginning of the year started off with hope and positivity through my work and general life. I felt ready to take on the year head first. First of all I wanted to continue to gain more experience within Marketing. Secondly I had some great holidays booked to Europe which always gives you motivation to go to work, right? It was shaping up to be a great year from start to finish. Then Summer came around and I lost my motivation. Through my job, my life and I felt rather helpless over my general health. This left me neglecting my blog, the people who’ve stood by me all the way and who I am as a person. This probably explains why I ended up very ill between October and November. Crazy how stress & general illness can get to you.

I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. I wondered where I was heading from a 27 year old to a 28 year old. It’s so easy to get scooped up into other people’s lives and think, why am I not where they are: moved out of the parents house, married with my soul mate, enjoying lots of holidays, earning a reasonable salary based on my age & gaining more work experience? Consequently I’m now ending the year taking on the mistakes I have made. I’m learning from them and trying to fight my way back to where I was at the start of 2019. I’m ready for whatever 2020 throws at me and to embrace a better version of me (with the addition of hearing aids!).

Aside from my self reflection & low points, there’s been some key memories from 2019 that has made this year a jolly good one…

2019 review highs and lows heide park horizon

Favourite Theme Park: There’s been a lot of theme parks I have stumbled into this year, both revisited and brand new for me. It’s been one hell of an adventure and I’d love to hope that 2020 will be in a similar vein – even if its one major trip abroad, I will be happy. So which theme park was my favourite from this year? It has to be Heide Park. The park is certainly one of the prettiest parks I have visited under the Merlin portfolio, a lot of beautiful scenery around and the lake gives some great views of a coaster horizon. Plus, there’s Colossos & Flug Der Damonen which were fab in my eyes. If you are heading to Hamburg, make sure to tag on a day trip or two to Heide Park.

2019 review highs and lows zadra wooden rollercoaster energylandia

Favourite Rollercoaster: Well… I’ve gained well over 100 new creds this year, and a few have been some pretty solid coasters. So which one was my all time favourite? Zadra. It has to be Zadra for me. There is not a single ride I have ridden that compares to it. It was phenomenal to ride. The airtime wasn’t painful compared to Untamed. The sheer speed from start to finish was pretty damn impressive – and it maintained this throughout the day, even to the point it was incredibly fast. Anybody who is going to Energylandia in 2020 are in for a treat.

2019 review highs and lows longleat house

Favourite Visitor Attraction: Away from theme parks, I’m an avid traveller so I enjoy exploring an array of visitor attractions around the UK. From Moors Valley Country Park to Longleat Safari Park, I’ve explored some pretty cool places. I’m hoping to go exploring even more in 2020. So my favourite place to visit was Longleat for their Festival of Light event. It was a magical experience to see all the lanterns and explore the Safari Park – always a plus when you’ve get the chance to see Amur Tigers, Lions, Wolves & more.

2019 review highs and lows meeting john wardley

Favourite Memory: Meeting John Wardley will forever be my absolute favourite memory from this year. I fangirled a lot. I can now tick this moment off my lifetime bucket list. You know that list of celebrities you’d love to meet. It was a fantastic opportunity to have chat with him about his passion for rollercoasters. He was a truly humble and inspirational guy to so many people in the theme park community.

2019 review highs and lows rock of ages mayflower southampton

Favourite Musical: Rock of Ages was a true delight to watch. The film has always been a guilty pleasure of mine so as soon as I saw it was heading to the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton, I had to buy tickets. It had the jokes & gags to get me belly laughing. Likewise the actors & actresses singing ability were incredible. If it comes back on tour, I’d happily watch it again, and I think you should too.

What have been your highs and lows of 2019?

What has been your favourite memory from this year?

Any new theme parks or rollercoasters you’ve ridden that’s been a tick of the bucket list?

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo

 

3 misconceptions about my hearing loss

3 misconceptions about my hearing loss

3 misconceptions hearing loss

A bit of a different topic on the blog tonight – away from all the travel and theme park talk! I didn’t think I would have the confidence to write about this subject on my blog. Honestly, I don’t want to hide something is a part of my identity. After a few hospital visits this year, I’ve come to learn more about where my hearing loss has come from and how to deal with it. So I want to debunk 3 misconceptions about my hearing loss.

A short history into my hearing loss…

I’ve always been diagnosed with High-Frequency Hearing Loss since birth. From this, I would say my childhood was somewhat difficult. I misunderstood the world around me & had a wide variety of friendship fall-outs. I was bullied for the way I talked and coming across as dumb in a variety of subjects at school. It’s amazing how one psychologist told my parents I wouldn’t make it past Year 2 at mainstream school. Well, here I am. At 27 (almost 28) years old with a career in Marketing. I’ve achieved a 2:1 degree, 3 A-Levels and 10 GCSE’s!

After several hospital appointments and an MRI scan, I’ve been diagnosed with a genetic disorder, bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. The nerves in my inner ear are damaged therefore the signals to my brain can’t function properly to help me hear at a normal range. Simply put, my inner ear anatomy has developed differently to everyone else. In turn, this has affected hearing in both ears. It is more high frequencies that I struggle with. So mainly softer sounds, whispers, female voices & conversations in an environment with a lot of background noise. However, I can continue to live my life as normal.

Even though various audiologists told me hearing aids won’t help me, it’s quite the opposite! So, in fact, I’ll be getting a pair in due course. My disability, whilst hidden, has provided me with a lot of challenges. Especially when it comes to people perceiving me. In particular, there are 3 misconceptions about me and my hearing loss that I want to debunk. I don’t want the world to treat me any differently. I’d like them to have more of an understanding of the struggles that I contend with on a daily basis. Believe me, my hearing can be great one day and then terrible the next.

Misconception #1: I’m ignorant

Whilst I’m sure there are people who probably don’t assume this about me but in the past I have found people can have a full-blown chat with me and I won’t even realise they are talking to me – this is particularly prevalent when I’m at work completing a project. I am not ignoring you or coming across as being rude, generally if there’s a lot of background noise and your voice is on the quiet side, I will struggle to hear you. The only way I’d be able to focus is via lip reading. Yes, you might need to grab my attention more. Trust me, it’s better than assuming I’m ignoring you. I will apologise if I don’t hear you at first glance – just be patient and I will catch up.

Misconception #2: Distance myself from others

This sort of fits in with my social anxiety. Sometimes I find it difficult to get involved in conversations. Particularly when I can’t hear everybody in the convo with lots of background noise etc. I don’t want to be that person who has to ask people to repeat themselves. Whether that is because I’m too shy to ask or I’m feeling overwhelmed by a social situation. I don’t want people to assume I don’t want to be involved with their group conversations. I just find it difficult coping with social situations as a whole. Add in my added hearing loss, it makes it more of a challenge. A little bit of patience goes a long way to helping me out.

Misconception #3: I’m deafer than I actually am

This one is probably the most prevalent in my life. Understandably with any kind of hearing loss, nobody knows how much I can hear, apart from myself. Shouting at the top of your voice is not necessary. Speak as normal unless I ask you to speak up slightly if I cannot hear what you are saying. My hearing loss, in particular, is fairly mild therefore I can still hear at a good range but require a bit of assistance with softer sounds and background noise. One more thing, please don’t get put off if I’m lip reading. It’s something I do rely on at times to understand a conversation. There’s nothing in your teeth or on your lips, I promise!

Hopefully, this has given you a little more insight into my own personal hearing loss. Maybe you have a friend or family member with hearing loss, or suffers from the same genetic disorder I have, feel free to ask me any questions – I won’t bite! Just remember that we’re all human. We should all be treated equally.

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo

My Most Anticipated Theme Parks for 2019

My Most Anticipated Theme Parks for 2019

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Well, you know it’s that last stretch of closed season when you start seeing an influx of theme park trips coming together within the community. Not gonna lie, I bloody love trawling through rcdb, coast2coaster trying to work out which parks are on my hit list to visit. Now that I have spent a good 2 years staying within the UK, it’s time for me to spread my wings and go travelling again!

Continue reading “My Most Anticipated Theme Parks for 2019”

Pros and Cons of a Solo Theme Park Trip

Pros and Cons of a Solo Theme Park Trip

Here’s the scenario, you’ve got a day off (yippee!) and you’re thinking, ‘What do I want to do today?’. That little voice in your head is telling you to go to a theme park. Great idea! Let’s see who is available to join you. Disappointment ensues when they all say they’re busy. ‘Dammit!’ What to do ey?

You could chill out at home, spending you day off wishing you were at a theme park…

Or you could make a day of it and make it a solo trip?

In a situation like this, it can be incredibly daunting to travel to a theme park by yourself, especially if it is your first time giving it a go. Here are the pros and cons of visiting a theme park as a solo traveller!

PRO: You can plan the day how you like it

That’s right. You have the freedom and flexibility to enjoy the day, however you want. You don’t need to worry about frequent toilet breaks (if you have those sorts of friends!) or worrying about wanting to re-ride a ride without your friends. If you want to go ahead and spend all day whoring your favourite coaster, you do that. Love photography? A solo theme park trip can give you the chance to walk around the park at your own pace and take as many photos as you feel like you are ‘dragging your mates’ around the park with you. You want to try out a brand-new food outlet, go right ahead. Sometimes it can be like a breath of fresh air to enjoy a theme park by yourself.

CON: First time moments can’t be shared – unless over social media

If you are visiting a theme park for the first time, those first-time moments can’t be shared in real time. Grabbing that first-time cred? You can’t truly share that moment with  no-one around. Yes, in this day and age, we have the power of technology and social media, but it’s not really the same, is it? Nothing beats getting a cred with your friend (or other half) and seeing your reaction – especially when it bloody good cred too.

PRO: Single Rider Queues are the best!

Whenever you are travelling solo, you have the power to use single rider queues and make the most of your day. You don’t need to worry about stupidly busy queues as you can simply bypass this and walk straight on (not always guaranteed!). Of course, if the theme park you visit doesn’t enforce single riders or even have them, you will have to join the queues. Just keep yourself busy with your phone or why not be funky and bring a book?

CON: You don’t have a photo buddy

Now, you might be thinking, a photo buddy? I am on about that faithful friend or ‘Instagram husband’ who takes your photo. You’ve found a fantastic spot for a photo opportunity, but wait, there is no dedicated photographer in sight and you’re on your own. Your only option, to take a selfie. And it’s never quite the same is it? Selfies only work for certain opportunities, not all of them. And before you say it, a selfie stick is not really a good alternative – unless you want to risk your phone being stolen… No thanks!!

PRO: Appreciating the parks in their entirety

As a geek, I know that I want to see an entire park, especially if it is a new park! Now, I don’t mean, ticking off the creds and having a small walk into each area. I want to explore the beauty of a theme park – unless the place is truly awful, in which case it would be a quick cred grab. Sometimes, if you have friends with you, this is not always easy to experience. They may not share the same values as you and will be focused on riding the coasters/rides. As a solo traveller, you could find areas that you never knew about before. Take as many photos as you want.

CON: It can be lonely…

This point is a given. You cannot truly avoid the loneliness of travelling solo, no matter how hard you try. Not to get too science-y or technical, but as humans, we are sociable creatures. We thrive on interaction with other people and chatting with strangers is not quite the same as chatting with your mates. Of course, that doesn’t mean to say that you are cut off, you do have your mobile phone on you. However, think about those parks that are secluded – phone signal won’t be great which can make communicating difficult to achieve. And if you are in a foreign country, there is the difficulty of the language barrier. Always a good excuse to learn a new language though? It’s not all doom and gloom, make the most of chatting to the ride hosts/ops or if you’re feeling brave, chatting to people in queue lines if you find a friendly face. You never know whether they are a solo traveller too!

This is a small list off the top of my head, do you have any other pros and cons when embarking on a solo trip? Let me know in the comments!

That’s all for now.

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Waterpark Wish List

Waterpark Wish List

Following on from my favourite water parks blog post, I thought I would compile a list of water parks that are on my wish list to visit. There’s so many fantastic water parks all around the world, and since I love to travel, I’d love to go and explore these places! As I said in my previous water parks post, a water park can be a great addition to your holiday planning. It is the perfect way to break up your trip and enjoy a new adrenaline rush away from rollercoasters.

Let’s crack on with my waterpark wish list…

Siam Park, Tenerife
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Siam Park | Tenerife

This has been top of my list for quite a few years. Having never visited Tenerife before, even us theme park geeks need a chill holiday from time to time. And with the bonus of Siam Park, there’s plenty of reason for me wanting to go. With so many attractions available and watching all the vlogs on YouTube just makes me crave a trip here even more.

Aquaadventure Waterpark, Dubai
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Aquaadventure Waterpark | Dubai

I mean, it says it is the ‘best water park in Dubai’ – don’t need to be convinced anymore now, do I? And from the photos and videos I have watched of this place, I can see why everyone wants to go.

Tropical Islands Resort, Germany
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Tropical Islands Resort | Germany

I believe I have got the right name for this. Honestly, I just want to see what it is like since it an indoor water park, inside an airship hangar. That is purely the main reason for me wanting to go.

Rulantica @ Europa Park, Germany
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Rulantica @ Europa Park | Germany

Okay, it isn’t open yet, but I must include this on my list because it will be open in 2019. I cannot wait to return to Europa Park and explore their new theme park. It will be the perfect addition to their resort and following the construction is making me even more excited.

Volcano Bay, Universal Orlando Florida
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Volcano Bay | Universal Orlando

When this was announced, I just knew that this would be a must-do when I return to Florida. Seeing the photos of this place and watching, once again, more YouTube vlogs, I just had to see what all the attractions are like. The volcano centrepiece in the park is just, INCREDIBLE.

Aquaadventure Atlantis Waterpark, Bahamas
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Aquaadventure Atlantis Waterpark | Bahamas

Now, I remember seeing this place in a film from the Mary-Kate and Ashley days. If you have ever heard of their film, Holiday in the Sun, then you will know exactly what I am on about. As a kid, this place that became a bucket list item since I was a young girl. And to this day, it is still very much on my wish list! The slide, Leap of Faith, that goes through the shark tank is so fab, but daunting at the same time!

Yas Waterworld, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
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Yas Waterworld | Abu Dhabi (UAE)

Basically, if I’m ever making a trip to Dubai/Abu Dhabi, this will be on my list of places to visit. Plus with a name like ‘Yas Waterworld’, makes it so fab.

These are just some of the water parks on my bucket list that I really want to visit! It won’t be a surprise if this list does grow in the future as I discover new parks that I want to visit – and maybe find myself a money tree that can help me to travel more than I already do… One can dream. Are there any water parks that you think should be on my list? Let me know in the comments below.

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Not Dogs at Chessington | Review

Not Dogs at Chessington | Review
NotDogsChessingtonReviewSource

#MeatyWithoutTheMeat

Recently opened at Chessington World of Adventures is their brand new food outlet, Not Dogs, formerly Mexican Cantina in Mexicana. I went to visit Chessington on Saturday to try out this new outlet and I have to say, I was very impressed with the food!

‘Not Dogs was created by Katie and Jane; one meat-reducer and one vegetarian, both with a love of quick, very tasty & exciting food. Together they struggled to find mouth-watering veggie food and trustworthy meaty meals that satisfied that ‘fast food’ fix. The aim of Not Dogs is to provide food lovers with a delicious, fun, quality menu to excite and amaze.’

‘Veggies, vegans and meat-eaters cannot resist the unique menu of Not Dogs, burgers, breakfasts, sides and fries.’ – I can certainly agree with this statement as a meat-eater!

 

First impressions of the whole outlet, it looks simple and refreshing. I don’t have many memories of Mexican Cantina but I’m pretty sure it is the same layout as before. There are plenty of tables and chairs for guests to sit down and enjoy their meal. Once you have placed your order, simply find a table and wait for your meal to be delivered to you – half fast food/half sit down restaurant.

As someone who works in Marketing, the whole branding is brilliant. It’s quirky and fun plus the colour scheme is fab – Orange and Purple. Almost similar to the ‘Tiger’ colour scheme that is around this year at the park. Go and check out Land of the Tigers AFTER making a visit to Not Dogs! 😉 Plus there was super cute bunting all over the ceiling – LOVE IT!

 

So, let’s get on with the Not Dog food menu including prices! Worth noting that Annual Pass discount does not apply here. 

View the full Menu.

NOT DOGS – ADULTS

Meal Deal: Not Dog, Side, Drink – £9.50

Individual: Not Dog – £5.75

SIDES: Not Dog Nuggets / Waffle Fries – £2.75

EXTRAS: Load Them Up Fillings – Extra 50p

KIDS

Meal Deal: Puppy Dog, Sides, Drink – £7.50

Individual: Puppy Dog – £5.00

BURGERS

Meal Deal: Burger, Side, Drink – COMING SOON

Individual: Burger – COMING SOON

DRINKS

Nice Shakes – £3.75 / With the Meal Deal  – £2.00

Soft Drinks (Diet Coke, Fanta Zero, Sprite Zero) – From £2.50

It is also worth noting that Not Dogs can cater for those looking for Gluten-Free options as well as for Vegans – just ask the server as you place your order. At the time of visiting, Burgers were unavailable however they were advertised as ‘COMING SOON’ so I definitely have an incentive to go back and try out the ‘Chris-P Chicken Burger’.

 

What can I say about the food? It was bloody delicious and the Nice Shake was on another level. As someone who tries to avoid dairy products, having a shake made with Rice milk was very welcome! All ‘meat’ products are from Quorn, if you have ever tried Quorn products, you are going to love this! You wouldn’t know the difference in taste at all – it is just as tasty as a Hot Dog.

One thing I did notice is the prices are not clearly visible for guests, they are not included on the small menus located at the entrance of the outlet – this can be confusing for guests! You’ll need to walk in and view the price board behind the counter where you can view prices including the meal deal and individual options. As above, it can be pretty pricey for your average food outlet at a theme park, but the quality of the food is worth it in my opinion. Don’t knock it before you try it!

You have the choice of a meal deal where you can choose a Not Dog or Burger, Side and Drink or you can have an individual Not Dog or Burger. There is also the option to have the ‘Bit on the Side’ as an individual meal too – perfect for a quick snack on the go! I would personally choose a meal deal option as value for money – for what is included in the meal deal, it is worth it. A main, side and soft drink – what more could you need to fulfil those hunger pangs. However, if you need to tuck into a snack ‘on the go’, Not Dogs also has you covered.

Annual Passholders, be aware that Not Dogs do not offer refills on the Quenchers.

 

Overall, I couldn’t fault the service I received at Not Dogs. The staff were very friendly and helpful to answer any questions you may have. Yes, with a new food outlet, it can be tricky to work out what to do or what is on offer on the menu, but I felt confident I could ask the staff for the help if needed. Seriously, give it a go next time you are visiting Chessington. You won’t regret it, plus you don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy the food here. Fab job, Not Dogs!

A little more info about Not Dogs:

‘The aim of Not Dogs is to provide food lovers with a delicious, fun, quality menu to excite and amaze. Not Dogs is an all-veggie company and taste and satisfaction is of upmost importance. Veggies, vegans and meat-eaters cannot resist the unique menu of Not Dogs, burgers, breakfasts, sides and fries.

It’s simple, we love animals, the environment and you! Not Dogs was created to offer a better fast-food menu for all three, happy animals, happy health and happy planet.’

That’s all for now.

LOTTIE TRAVELS