Burton Screamfest 2018 | Review

Burton Screamfest 2018 | Review

There’s been many times I have driven on the way to Towers, even stayed at a Travelodge near Burton Upon Trent and never made an attempt to visit Burton Screamfest. I was eager to get myself here and experience the wonder that is in store. I’ve heard so many good reviews and I was gagging to try out their mazes. Now that I have finally experienced Burton Screamfest for the first time, I am undecided as to how I feel about it all.

Don’t get me wrong, each maze were solid with plenty of jump scares. I’m not sure whether I felt disappointed as I had high expectations of this event being fantastic or whether due to the busyness of the evening (it was a Saturday night), that it ruined the flow of the evening. Yes, I did pay a bit extra for Fastrack and to be honest, I do not regret that at all. Each maze had massive groups going through at a time which then led to a stopping/starting motion throughout. Actors were trying to give us those jump scares, and it just wasn’t happening – we could see what was going to happen.

There were plenty of places to buy food and merch – this isn’t a massive event by any means – but what they had was good. All mazes are in close proximity of each other which is good in some ways but maybe I prefer a more spread out event? Who knows. As I said above, I’m undecided as to how I truly feel about it all. That doesn’t mean to say I wouldn’t return to this event as there is plenty of potential here. Now let’s crack on with the mazes, there were a couple of favourites of the night.

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Another clown maze, what a surprise. As with any of the other clown mazes I have done, this one was pretty much the same style. A few red and white flaps with a clown jumping out every few seconds. It’s become such a cliché that it has next to no effect on me – just a chuckle or two. The one thing I did like was the splitting of groups towards the beginning with two doors – one for Girls and one for Boys. I actually like mazes that have different choices as it creates a unique experience with your friends. For this, I actually enjoyed the experience.

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DiaDeLosMuertosBurtonScreamfest

I honestly had no clue as to what this maize would entail. Get it? Maize… Anyway, you start off on a short tractor ride with a friendly Mexican lady – make-up was on-point, huge praise for the make-up team here! – and some very jovial Mexican style music. For us it was Despacito which certainly heightens the mood and lets your guard down. Next thing you know, you’ve arrived at the start of the maze which is in a corn/maize field. Following this through, it becomes clear that all is not as it seems. There are chainsaws in this maze… quite a few chainsaws in fact. Nothing too terrifying apart from one who decided to make the walls shake. This was my favourite of the night, purely for how long and enjoyable the experience was, very unique.

DemonicaBurtonScreamfest

Darkness. That’s all I can really say about this maze. It had some great potential jump scares within it and I liked the four doors at the very beginning – splitting groups at a time. After seeing how small the marquee was for this, I was intrigued as to how much space would be used in here or how tight the corridors were going to be. Not going to lie, this was pretty tight in places and extremely dark. Perfect for those jump scares to occur, with demon like creatures around, it was certainly freaky. As much as this did play on my fears, it was a bit lacklustre for me. I didn’t feel like the actors were going for me – yes, I know I don’t flinch too much – but I want to feel somewhat spooked.

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The first port of call being a nightclub toilet, I was incredibly intrigued by how this maze was going to turn out. I was pleasantly surprised and had some great jump scares. As you wander through, you encounter many of the rejects that Professor Heart has taken in his pub, Diced Heart Pub. The theming within here is insane. Disgusting nightclub toilets, tunnels of dampness, plenty of smellpods about (I smelt Terror of the Towers in here!) and add a chainsaw in, just for good measure. The only thing that I feel should have been different is the splitting of groups at the beginning of the maze. Our group was split in half and then we were both let out at the same time. This then made for a massive group as we wandered through the maze. This led to certain jump scares being missed – thankfully I was near the front so got plenty of good scares in. It was a good solid attraction, but batching of groups could have been better executed.

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Final maze of the night was Insomnia. After experiencing a mixed bag of mazes for the night, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Insomnia. Was it going to be a strong maze or a weak maze of the night? Thankfully, I was impressed with the set in here. It was great to walk into a child’s nightmare – very Nightmare on Elm Street-esque – and follow it through. It seemed quite terrifying at times however it was another case of big massive group and lots of stopping throughout the maze. Actors were trying their best to make us jump but we had spent enough time sussing out where they were going to appear. This is something that could be improved upon, especially on a busy night like tonight at Burton Screamfest.

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Xtreme Scream Park 2018 | Review

Xtreme Scream Park 2018 | Review

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Last year was a disappointment, just going to put that out there. I feel like I went on an off night as there were barely any actors about and the atmosphere at the park wasn’t great. So to come back this year, I was nervous as I find that everyone raves about Xtreme Scream Park and all I wanted was to experience that for myself.

Overall, it was a much better event than last year, by a long shot. However, the atmosphere on park was still missing, very similar to last year. It wasn’t buzzing compared to the likes of The Howl and Tulley’s, a lot of dead spots here and there. It was very much segregated to each of the mazes. The middle plaza area with the food vans and bar just felt empty and lifeless. It’s a shame as I really wanted it to be better, considering it was a Friday night so was expecting a lot more people to be around this area. Another bugbear of mine were the lack of photo opportunities around the park, especially near the entrance where it is very dark!

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The main reason for the visit is the scare mazes, of course! Xtreme Scream Park have some very beautifully themed mazes and is what made the evening so enjoyable. Whether I will make this an annual visit is still yet to be decided. You cannot fault the detail and each maze is unique. So, let’s crack on with the maze reviews.

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TheVillageXtreme

First maze of the night was The Village – mainly because we wanted to beat the crowds and start with the mazes at the back end of the park. The theming here in incredible. Essentially, you are walking through the village and might meet a few inhabitants along the way, including scarecrows. The actors were on fire and really chose the best spots to get guests. The one thing lacking for me were the lack of scares. It almost felt like a nice wander through a maze than a scary maze. It’s such a shame as it’s so beautifully themed and I wanted this to be one of the best mazes of the night.

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PieFactoryXtreme

Next stop was Pie Factory. For a maze that was sadly short-staffed, it did not disappoint. There were some changes within the maze that made it very disorientating, including pitch black corridors! The smell in this attraction is putrefying and creepy. Pig people following your every move and why not start a maze with a stamp on your hand – I was ‘fresh meat’.  This could give a hint as to whether the actors really wanted to go for you. There were plenty of tight spaces which can be enough to scare anybody. And no factory tour is complete without a chainsaw ending. For me, one chainsaw isn’t terrifying but seeing people run out of the exit makes it all worthwhile. It’s a solid maze at Xtreme Scream Park.

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AshHellXtreme

OH MY GOD! This maze was creepy, intimidating and bloody terrifying. It is a long maze so expect a good 10 mins or so of scares. The best part about this maze is the lighting. Yes, it is dark in places for this maze, but the strobe effect lights mean there are plenty of moments for actors to creep up on you and scare you shitless. It’s intimidating when inmates call you ‘my bitch’, ‘sweetcheeks’ or ‘will you my baby?’, it is a mix of psychological scares and physical touches – I can’t even tell you how many times I was poked, prodded, stroked during the maze. Not only that, there were animatronics that created loud noises echoing through the attraction – a real attack on the senses. It was fantastic and is certainly one of my favourite mazes of the night.

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StiltonHotelSpaXtreme

This wasn’t as strong of a maze as it was last year. Potentially due to the amount of people being sent through at one time meant there were moments we were still, waiting for people to keep on moving. This made the experience less enjoyable and the actors couldn’t really give us the jump scares with an impact. As you wander through, you can’t deny that the theming once again is fantastic. Each room is beautifully themed and tells the story of Stilton really well. Not as strong as other mazes I have been in but a good maze to the line-up at Xtreme Scream Park.

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FinalCurtainXtreme

The weakest maze of the night for me. As with any clown maze, it’s become a cliché at any scream park, to the point that I have become immune to them. Clowns don’t scare me, in fact, they make me chuckle more than anything. This maze can be disorientating but there wasn’t much going for it the whole way round. Compared with other clown mazes I have done, this was one of the weakest. Maybe it is time for this maze to go and a new one to take its place?

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HoodooVoodooXtreme

Now, when it comes to bag style mazes, they can either be a massive hit or a big fat flop. Hoodoo Voodoo did not disappoint at all. The actors in here were working the room non-stop and getting very up close and personal. So much so that I have couldn’t count how many times my face was stroked, leg was grabbed, arm was prodded. It was an attack on the senses, especially when you only have a rope to guide you in this fun-house. But it doesn’t stop there! Your bag mask is forcefully pulled from your face which is enough to make you jump. Then you walk through the Hoodoo Voodoo ritual areas – death is upon you! – and one of the greatest scares I have ever witnessed, a massive Voodoo doll actor. I screamed, a lot! After this experience, this has become one, if not, my all-time favourite maze.

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Dr Fright’s Halloween Nights 2018 | Review

Dr Fright’s Halloween Nights 2018 | Review

Oh boy, where do I even begin with Dr Frights? One word, brilliant.

The atmosphere was fun and the low lighting within each attraction and queue line added to the suspense and anticipation, making you feel uneasy at times, not really knowing what to expect from each of the mazes.

Some pros of the night included the batching of groups. Forget these crazy batching levels of up to 15 people – it is the number of people in your group. So, if you are a group of 2, that is your group size. This is a big perk for me as the actors can really get plenty of jump scares in. Plus, there’s a simple traffic light system at the start of each attraction – ‘wait for the green light’ – which is your cue to begin your journey into each of the mazes. This was great as it meant you had a good enough gap between groups – I wish this was a system used at scare mazes at the Merlin parks.

Not only are there scare mazes, there is a bar area within the marquee area that you can venture to. However, the biggest thing to note is that you MUST complete ALL FOUR MAZES before you can enter this area. I really like this idea as it helps to keep those who can get really drunk and spoil the mazes. It provides some peace of mind that the actors aren’t going to be at risk with drunken people. Great idea Dr. Frights, I feel this worked really well to keep the event fun and enjoyable for everyone.

So let’s crack on with the reason for visiting Dr Frights, and talk about my thoughts on the mazes.

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‘Karloff’s Movie Theatre’ welcomes you to step inside scenes from your favourite scary movies. Come face to face with the most feared characters in horror, including Freddy, Jason and Michael plus many more. This a brand new version of the constant fan favourite!

First maze of the night and it definitely set the scene for what was going to be an epic night. Essentially you walk through some of the famous Halloween horror films including Freddy Krueger, Pennywise and Michael Myers. The set pieces in this maze were impressive, it really felt like you were a part of the films – and as someone who isn’t a huge fan of horror films – I really enjoyed this maze. The actors made good use of the space to really get those jump scares in. Definitely a good starting point if you are new to the event!

WhatTheHell

Do you like human sacrifices? Blood rituals? Banging tunes? Axe wielding bunnymen? Then you’ll love the ‘5 Point Temple’. An abandoned chapel converted into a twisted satanic nightclub by a bizzare and deadly cult. This maze doesn’t get it’s name for nothing. It will mess you up!

After a good start to the maze line-up, I was expecting the same level of jump scares as Hollywood Horror 3. The title says it all really, WHAT THE HELL? In my opinion, this was the weakest maze of the night for me personally however that is more down to my personal preference of a maze having a storyline or contingency within. The randomness did make me chuckle a lot, especially with the likes of seeing Santa halfway through, what the hell was that about? The actors were on top form and really added to the experience. There were moments I caught up with the group ahead of me therefore I could tell where the scares were – one of the good things I found were some of the actors making the most of the area they had including following me at various points.

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Step inside the haunted corridors of ‘Heavensgate Hospital’. Escape a psychopathic doctor and his legion of nightmare nurses that stalk the building. This is an extremely intense, adrenaline fuelled experience like no other. You have been warned!

Now. If there’s one thing I have a soft spot for is hospital style mazes, especially with the likes of Asylum at Thorpe Park many years ago! I didn’t know what to expect, but it really did impress me thoroughly. There were plenty of moments where the actors really got me, especially in the first scene with the bed and one patient grabbed my ankle as I walked past! I wasn’t expecting it at all but it’s those moments that make a maze for me. Of course, with any sort of hospital style maze, there’s going to be a strobe maze. Say hello to Asylum’s baby brother/sister. It was trippy. It was disorientating. And the actors knew exactly how to get you, I had two actors with me at the end of the maze singing Ring a Roses in my ear! Fantastic work and best maze of the night for me.

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The carnival has come to town and has set up shop on ‘Mumma Beef’s Farm’! Witness a blood soaked showdown like no other as killer clowns take on cannibal hillbillies in a twisted game of murder and mayhem. The rules are simple, whichever team kills the most carnival goers (that’s you) wins! Let the game commence!

I knew there was going to be a chainsaw in one maze at Dr Frights. And I was not disappointed. This maze was fantastic and I loved walking in to see the majority of the maze – almost like giving you a false sense of security. Each section is split between clowns and hillbillies. I really liked this as you didn’t know who to expect around each corner. As I only really noticed at different points in the maze, you will get split up from your group. I was held up at one point but once another group came along, I was allowed to ‘leave’ so to speak. I have dealt with mazes where you are split up, Sub Species, I’m looking at you, and it doesn’t phase me. Basically, ‘meet you at the exit’ is said among my group. As you wind around the maze, you can hear (and smell) the chainsaws as you approach the end of the maze. I have certainly gained a sense of bravery towards chainsaws now so they don’t phase me too much. HOWEVER, when there’s two quite literally on my arse and feeling the heat on my hand, that’s enough to send me running out of the maze. It has to be up there as one of my favourite mazes I have done this year alongside Shock Therapy.

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Overall, I had a truly fantastic experience at Dr Frights. The maze line-up was strong and there were plenty of scares along the way – something that has been lacking at different scare events I have done. If you have time to visit Dr Frights, do it. You seriously won’t regret it. You can still book tickets for the event this year, both online or on the door (cash only). The event has several nights available, from 25th October to 31st October (closed on 29th October.) Based at White Nurseries, right next to the A45 near Northampton, it is easily accessible via car with plenty of free parking right outside the event. The venue is all indoors so come rain or shine, you can still enjoy all the attractions. There is a food van and bar area where you will be able to purchase food and drink as well as toilet facilities. Give it a go and let me know what you think.

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

My Most Anticipated Halloween Attractions 2018

My Most Anticipated Halloween Attractions 2018

Halloween, in the death of the night, hear me scream
I’m coming, I’m coming
Halloween, is the fear that I fight, in my dream
Keep running, keep running …

Halloween season has really grown on me over the last couple of years, and it truly is the most wonderful time of year. I mean, I’ve already written a post on the top 8 reasons to love Halloween season, check it out here. After exploring some new scare events last year, it has really got me inspired to try out even more this year!

So here’s what I’m getting up to this spooky season 2018…

THORPE PARK FRIGHT NIGHTS

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This one is pretty much a given. Every year, I always visit Fright Nights because it’s pretty much a chance for me to have a bloody good time with my friends. Plus the maze line-up is looking so strong this year – especially with the new mazes that were announced a few weeks ago. Okay, I will bloody miss The Big Top but oh my god, there are so many good choices of mazes for this year. I honestly cannot wait to make many trips to Fright Nights this year.

ALTON TOWERS SCAREFEST

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Another staple in my calendar every year is Scarefest. Ever since my first trip in 2012, I have bloody loved the whole event. The atmosphere around the park is insane, and with is being so big, it can be pretty creepy at night. And with a new addition of Project 42 in the Nemesis Sub Terra building, oh my god, I cannot wait to see what this is all about. Us geeks definitely like to speculate about what will be included in this maze, and I sure as hell can’t wait to get stuck in – and maybe never get out? Plus Scarefest is also the chance to ride Wicker Man in the dark – yes please!

CHESSINGTON HOWL’O’WEEN

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Again, another staple that is always in my calendar. Despite this being more family orientated so the scares are not what I would consider scary but they are so fun, and damn, Chessington do some pretty good theming. Creepy Caves Unearthed last year was fantastic so I can’t wait to give it a go again this year! I think having visited the Halloween event at Chessington for a few years, I still have a lot of good memories at the event including The Mystery of Hocus Pocus Hall and Vampire: Haunting in the Hollows, which is why I still make a visit each year.

TULLEY’S SHOCKTOBER FEST

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Oh yes. I visited Tulley’s for the first time last year and honestly, I was questioning why I have never been here before! It is so bloody GOOD! The mazes are epic and each have their own theme. The actors are so in character the whole night that it builds up the anticipation and atmosphere. The general mood is spooky and I don’t think I found anything I didn’t like. So yes, I will be back this year and very much looking forward to seeing Circus of Horrors.

XTREME SCREAM PARK

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Now… I have to say this, I did not enjoy this place when I visited last year. It wasn’t a good visit and the mazes felt very lacklustre and when you hear everyone else saying they had the best time on their trips, I had to come back this year and give it another go. And I want to be scared… so give it all you got Xtreme Scream Park! 😉

DR. FRIGHT’S HALLOWEEN NIGHTS

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I’m not gonna lie, I don’t really know much about this place. Based at White Nurseries, near Gloucester, and described as having a variety of walk through horror attractions of a varying theme. In each attraction you will follow a dark and winding trail that will (hopefully) lead you to the exit. They have received many awards including UK’s Best Halloween Screampark and Best Original Concept and Design at the annual Scar Awards. I cannot wait to give this a try this Halloween Season.

BURTON SCREAMFEST

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I have driven past this place so many times when driving up to visit Alton Towers Scarefest and have never made time to visit! That’s going to change this year as I am very much looking forward to trying out all the scare attractions here. All the reviews and awards this place gets makes me want experience the greatness of Burton Screamfest for myself. Especially the scare maze in a corn field – sounds like an interesting experience awaits…

FEAR AT AVON VALLEY

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This is yet another scare attraction that I have heard some great reviews of from within the theme park community. Based near Bristol, I haven’t really thought about venturing towards that part of the UK, however for this year, I will definitely give it a go. Once again, I don’t really know much about this place but isn’t that kinda the fun of it? The anticipation of not really knowing what to expect – she says, nervous about what awaits her at Fear at Avon Valley. 😉

THE HOWL

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With a name like The Howl, I wonder what you could associate with it… Werewolves perhaps? I am intrigued as to how a park where all of the attractions are linked with the same story thread can be executed so smoothly. Again, it’s another place where I have some fantastic reviews so I am really looking forward to giving this a go in 2018. And to be honest, with the place being created by the same people who did Tulley’s, I am sure this is going to be a real hit.

Okay, I think this list has become way too long but as you can see, I want to try out more new scream parks. I can’t wait to see what all attractions have in store for me and I’m sure I will have a lot of tales to tell you on my blog so watch this space for reviews this Autumn!

That’s all for now.

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Top 8 Reasons to love Halloween season

Top 8 Reasons to love Halloween season

Hey guys, I’m back from a short hiatus! It’s September, can you believe it? My inner Morticia Addams is already waiting to come out, yaaas.  It also means that Halloween season is upon us and for those lucky few, Halloween events have already started abroad.

I love this time of the year so I was inspired to write about the top reasons to love Halloween season. Of course, there are some who do not enjoy this time of the year – all I will say is, don’t be a wimp. Read on for my top 8 reasons to love this spooky time of the year.

Pumpkin Top 8 Reasons To Love Halloween Season

#1 Atmosphere

The atmosphere at Halloween events are so fab. Everyone really gets involved, whether you are a scare actor, scare host or a member of the public. When the sun sets, and the incoming darkness sets the scene for what awaits you. Honestly, a scream park or theme park can change completely when it is night-time. And that’s the best part. Sometimes you might be lucky enough to get some fog which can really make things disorientating.

 

#2 SCARE MAZES

You either love scare mazes or you hate them? For me, they are awesome! Yes, I’ll admit I get nervous when it comes to trying out new scare mazes but you have to try them. Honestly, Halloween season would be pretty bland without some scares in place. And with scream parks dotted around the UK, it’s the perfect excuse to have a small road trip around the UK – or why not travel abroad and find some Halloween there?

 

#3 Nighttime riding

For all the coaster geeks, this is a personal favourite. The best part about night time riding is how rollercoasters take on a more menacing persona at night. Plus, there’s the added effect that your favourite coaster can appear faster and more intimidating than during the day. It’s another perk of the longer opening hours during the Halloween season and when the clocks go back, even more, nighttime goodness to enjoy.

Merch Cookie Top 8 Reasons To Love Halloween Season

#4 Halloween Merch

If you love collecting merch, then you might be lucky enough to purchase some exclusive Halloween season merch. Pin Badges? T-Shirts? You name it and more than likely, you will be able to buy it. Who wouldn’t want some spooky merch to add to their collection – give me pumpkin inspired merch any day.

 

#5 Dressing Up

What’s the best thing you can do at Halloween? Dress up as anything you want and make it spooky. Even if it is just a simple face paint job – Halloween season is where you can see people’s creativity come to life. Plus, you might be able to trick people in scare mazes that you are a scare actor (happened to me last year when I went through The Big Top maze at Thorpe Park). 😉 Get your creative thinking caps on and start prepping for your scary costume this year.

Hot Chocolate Top 8 Reasons To Love Halloween Season

#6 Hot Drinks

Am I the only person who loves grabbing a hot chocolate whilst on park at this time of year? When the weather is cold, the best thing is walking around park with a hot chocolate to hand. However, this can slip into general Autumn vibes when it comes to flavoured hot drinks – Pumpkin Spice Latte anyone? It’s just one of those fab little things.

Autumn Top 8 Reasons To Love Halloween Season

#7 Cool Days, Cold Nights

It isn’t really Autumn without the weather becoming cooler and you have a reason to wear that thick coat and put your boots on – probably doesn’t apply to you fellas out there but you know what I mean. I love getting cosy with a thick coat, scarf etc and wandering around theme parks/scream parks till late at night. That for me is a part of Autumn and why I love Halloween season. Of course, if you are abroad and it doesn’t get as cold as it does in the UK during October, that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying Halloween season.

 

#8 So many Scare Events to visit

Basically, you can be spoilt for choice when it comes to scare events. There’s so many to choose from around the UK, let alone if you want to go abroad! It’s the perfect time of year to see theme parks in a different light and compare events – see how good UK scare events are compared to scare events abroad. My personal opinion, some UK events are fantastic but when you go abroad, they can be in a whole different league.

Okay, this might have turned into a reason to love Autumn but you get the idea. I honestly get so excited when this time of the year rolls around, it just goes by way too quickly! If only Halloween season lasted all year? 😉

That’s all for now.

LOTTIE TRAVELS