Tag: bucket list

Rome Top Tips

Rome Top Tips

If you had been reading a previous post (#17 Complete) here are my handy tips to travel Rome.

 

  1. Don’t book to go in the middle of August!
    Obviously we had a reason to be going on these dates but if you have no ties then go around May or September time. The temperatures are much cooler so more walking can be done in one day.
  2. If flying into Fiumicino Airport, grab the Leonardo Express train to Termini train station in the centre of Rome.
    Follow the signs in the airport, buy your ticket for 14euros and get it stamped. This is important.
    Image result for train ticket stamper rome
    Find one of these machines and pop it in. I have no idea what happens if you don’t stamp your ticket but better be safe than sorry. The train takes around 35 minutes and only stops at Termini. Plenty of luggage holders – although not stacked correctly by humans – and air conditioned carriages.
  3. Italian Metro
    Again very simple to use but its the tickets that I want to tell you about. You have a choice of many but we found that the 100 minute ticket for 1,50euros worked out the best. We did this because we would get the metro out to the furthest point and then walk back to our accommodation (ok we at least had this intention but the heat didn’t help). If you pay out for one of these tickets a day and you stay for a 4 day weekend you’d only spend 6euros. Its 7euros for a 24 hour ticket.
  4. Grab a free map
    This was our bible whilst sightseeing across the city. I got our free one from a guy in the train station terminal. He was rather helpful too. I did buy some maps for others and they cost 1euro each. But having this gives you an idea of how close everything is. A bit like London. You can take the underground from one place to another but you could walk it and see 3 other sights along your way. Don’t be afraid to deface it either. We had many lines, circles and crosses all over the place.
  5. Book Accommodation near a Metro
    This way it just seems so much easier going to and from places. See below the metro map.
    Image result for metro station map rome
  6. Coliseum Tickets
    So in my post about my holiday I mentioned about all the different companies offering you to skip the line and have a tour guide. These could cost 40euros per person. Whereas getting up early and queuing yourself could cost you 12euros per adult. The arena opens at 0830. I was queued out of the metal barriers at the end of the big noticeboard and it took me 20 minutes to get inside the stadium. We must have got there at 0815. If you want to commit and get first in line then you’ll be experiencing gladiator history in no time.
    Also note that the first Sunday of every month the Coliseum open up its doors for free. Tim and I checked out the queue for that on the Sunday and it did seem to be a little longer than normal.
  7. Da Vinci Museum
    Fee to enter was 11euros and to hire a headset was 3euros. You had to leave a 20euro deposit for the headset at the ticket office. The headsets are not necessary as many plaques with text in English are by every exhibit. Some of the exhibits are interactive so you can touch them and move them – so it would keep your kids interested for a while whilst you found out all the boring facts. Surprisingly there isn’t too much in the terms of souvenirs.
  8. Ice Bar 
    With our free map was an advert about the Ice Bar including an offer to get a second drink free. It does cost 15euros to enter which gets you a drink and the use of their coats. Once you come out of the bar you can not go back in. If you dress in long sleeved clothing and had jeans on (compared to my summer dress) you would be able to last in there for 2-3 drinks. In comparison to other ice bars I hear it is relatively small. But the range of cocktails was vast and very tasty. If you can afford to go or have never been before then pop on in.
  9. Baths of Caracalla
    It is just ruins at the end of the day but there are some nice grounds to go with it. If it were a much much cooler day then taking a picnic would have been a lovely idea (it was 4euros for one bottle of Fanta on the cart outside). This way you would have spent enough time to warrant the 8euro entrance fee. There was a big stage being built when we visited so if you researched into what shows they put on, you can always coincide with that.
  10. Gladiator School
    To book yourself onto this activity I went through Viator. The cost is around £50 per adult for a 2 hour session. Where it is based can be reached by taxi for convenience or it is a 1.5 mile walk south of the Coliseum. Fun for all the family. I would highly recommend. Also if you sign up to Viator’s emails they give you a discount for your order. I’ve let it run until after we got back from Rome and have unsubscribed.
  11. Vatican Tour
    Dark Rome is the company I booked this tour with. But the company itself was called City Wonders. Click on this link to see all their tours on offer https://citywonders.com/vatican-tours
    It is a little more expensive but to skip the long queues (potentially in the burning sun) is definitely worth it. The more in depth the tour is the more you’re likely to pay.
    Clothing wise, make sure you cover your shoulders and your knees!
  12. Castle St Angelo
    I pre-booked these tickets as well. It doesn’t take too long for tickets in the morning but by the time we finished our visit the queue was being monitored and reaching the bridge. The most expensive ticket is 14,50euros. Follow this link to find out more
    https://www.ticketsrome.com/en/museum-reservations/castel-sant-angelo-tickets
  13. General Pointers
    Everything is in walking distance like London. You’ll be surprised by how much of the free activities you can see in a day.
    Beware of pickpockets on the Metro. Sometimes its just kids walking up and down the platform then not actually getting onto a train. There are also musicians playing and asking for money or just women and children beggars. Just wave them on.
    Around all of the main tourist attractions you’ll have people trying to sell you things like bracelets. They will ask you questions and be very complimentary towards you, just make sure you don’t accept anything from them. Tim jumped out of the way as guy said ‘catch’ when he threw a bracelet at him. Once you’ve got it, they expect you to pay whether you like it or not. The best line I had was ‘Are you from Africa?’ – yes I’m your white ass cousin. FUCK OFF. We even had the same man try it on with us for 3 days straight when we were getting on the Metro.
  14. Fountains
    Buy a thermos flask to take with you. Some of the fountains have drinkable water plus there are running taps around the city too. This saves you from buying water every few hours and downing it because its cold. This was a life saver whilst in the temperatures of 40+
    57

I think that’s all the serious stuff I have to share with you. If you are interested in finding out how my trip went then check out #17 Complete.

#17 Complete

#17 Complete

I’m very happy to tick another goal off of my bucket list!

At the beginning of August I set off to Italy with Tim to do a weeks sightseeing in Rome! Normally we wouldn’t have gone in the middle of the school break but our friend started a cycle challenge called Rome 2 Home and thought it would be a great opportunity to see him off.

His challenge is to cycle from Rome all the way back to Southampton, UK. Approximately over 1,400 miles over 14 days. He is doing this with one other bloke raising funds for Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity. To find out more about his challenge read my other blog post Rome 2 Home.

So Tim and I left Britain with blistering rain – typical when I didn’t take a jumper or coat – and landed in the heat of Italy. This year we had our first Airbnb experience. For those of you who don’t know, Airbnb is a website that loads up peoples rooms / homes / caravans etc. to rent for a holiday across the globe. It can turn out cheaper than many hotels plus self catering can also help save the pennies. Visit their website here

So after meeting our host to explain house rules and to hand over keys we rushed back out to take a picture of the Coliseum.

Image may contain: night and outdoor

I was very impressed by how close we actually were to this monument. But also happy to sleep so the next day would come even quicker.

The next morning we were in touch with our friends to plan to meet up. They offered us to go over to their camping village to use their pool. Thank fuck! As it was the bastard heat wave that’s been all over the news recently!

Image result for italy heatwave 2017

After a quick walk around our local area and some food shopping for the apartment we shot over to Roma Camping Village. We had to take the metro and then a taxi but it was well worth it to get ourselves in the pool for 4 hours. Some of you may know that I don’t do well in heat. Like at all. So this was my worst nightmare! Having to have sun cream on for a start – I hate my skin being sticky – plus just sweating from skin pores I didn’t even know existed, I was rather dazed when we finally made it there.
We had taken our Go Pro (definitely an impulse buy around Black Friday) and this would be the first time we had actually used it. But I can safely say it turned out to be rather handy in the water. After showers, beer and pizza it was time for us to head back into the city for some sleep.

Image may contain: 7 people, people smiling, swimming, pool and outdoor

Friday 4th August saw all 10 of us venture around Rome doing as many free touristy sights possible. IN 44 DEGREE HEAT!!!!!! Celsius by the way – us Brits work in Celsius. Please see photographic evidence below…….

Image may contain: outdoor

We started off at the Coliseum to get photos for the Rome 2 Home families wearing their supporting polo shirts (us included). I was glad for a light colour in the heat but by 10am and maybe 10 minutes of standing, my shirt was drenched in sweat. The fact I could see many other people with their clothing items in the same state as mine made me feel much better. We then mooched on to the Roman Forum, Alter of the Fatherland, Trajan’s Column, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and the Spanish Steps.  With many stops for water, ice cream, lunch, slushies and crisps.

We had four children with us who were becoming tired, irritable and generally not coping with the heat. I nearly joined in with Charlie when he cried as he was just so hot! I didn’t blame him for his little meltdown at all. But as a group of 10 you seemed to spur each other on to the next corner or monument. We parted ways at the Spanish Steps as I had hit a wall with walking and the heat plus the Rome 2 Home families were planning on heading back to their pool (bastards) as well. A quick metro ride back to our apartment and I could have hugged the air con unit for being a life saver. A home cooked meal of BBQ chicken with some kind of melon risotto (it was in Italian so who knew what it was) a few good luck messages to the families with the cycle ride and a power cut later, took us to the end of day 2.

Saturday’s temperatures were just as high as the previous days and we were planning to do more touristy things! How British! So by 8am Tim and I were out the door and queuing to go in to see around the Coliseum. You have everyone walking up to you and asking if ‘you speak English?’ or ‘are you going to the Coliseum today?’ IGNORE THE BASTARDS. These guys are selling tickets for other tour companies to show you around the stadium for a more expensive price and the all important queue jump. Just try and not swear or punch them like I really wanted to. You also have men shoving bottles of cold water in your face too. Good if you’re in desperate need of something but there are many other ways around it. Please see my Rome Top Tips entry to find out details.

We got into the Coliseum within 20 minutes. This was through security checks – please don’t be like the guy at the airport who has to unpack their WHOLE BASTARD bag to get their laptop out and then walks through to still set the alarms off because they forgot to take their belt off – Jeez! Take the least amount of stuff as possible. We wanted to originally do the third level tour and the underground tour. But the first available time was midday. This was going to break up our day and our plans so we decided just a normal ticket would suffice.

image6

We managed to get a lot of photos of the arena and there are plaques that you can read for snippets of information. As I was still adjusting to the hottest temperatures of the year my mind was not in the mood for reading. However everyone knows what happened here though so I felt paying a tour guide to tell me specific numbers of gladiators who won or died here was a little unnecessary. Call me cynical but I can also Google it for my scrapbook.

On to the Roman Forum next! The ticket they give you will make the turnstiles unlock for the amount of people in your party. So I wasn’t quick enough to get through the second turnstile from our ticket being scanned and ended up with the turnstile spearing into my thigh. There are many ruins in this area from different buildings for different people blah blah blah. Again I was hot and didn’t want to read many signs. We got ourselves to the top of Palantine Hill where there are beautiful views over Rome. I then shot a video of me doing my tae kwon do pattern on top of the hill with the Coliseum in the background. I did this because my instructor shot a video of him and his daughter doing some set sparring whilst away for a weekend in Devon. So I thought I’d join in and practise whilst in Rome and share with my club. I could have done it with more power but again to pass out in this heat it just wasn’t worth it.

Next stop was Altar of the Fatherland again but this time to go inside and explore. This parliament building took me by surprise. I didn’t know what it was before going but seeing it in person it was beautiful. Clean, crisp shapes and many statue to impress. We got to take the lift to the top and again see more views over the lovely City of Rome.

After a cool down back at the apartment for lunch and a nap – yes I’m still like a toddler. We caught the Metro up to visit the Piazza del Popolo. One of the many scenes from the film Angels & Demons.

A quick de-tour to see what the River Tiber was like and back into the bustle of Roman streets to the Spanish Steps. This time we climbed them to the top and visited the church.

image4

A walk off to the right of the church took us to see Bernini’s triton fountain and then onto the Four Fountains (each at a corner of a crossroad junction) where Tim and I hid in the shade and dipped our wrists into the water to help cool off. Water may have gone over our heads and across the backs of our necks too. I tell you it was necessary.

By walking through the streets you see many different sized shops selling a variety of produce. By chance we found a cheaper area of the city. Water was 50cents per bottle rather than 2 euros! So coming across a supermarket meant we did a bit more shopping for the apartment for more homemade dinners. Plus we were drinking twice as much as normal too so juice and fizzy were already running low. We took our shopping to the Piazza della Repubblica to see the Naiadi fountain where we spotted this church.

image3

The Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli de Martiri. Or as I like to call it the church with the BIG ASS NAME.

It looks like nothing but we thought as we were here, tick it off the list of things we’ve seen. Inside was HUGE. It took me by surprise. There was a massive domed atrium first then it went into the cross shaped church. You could have fit tens of thousands of people in there. Just look at how big the organ has to be for people to hear the tune to the hymn they would sing on a Sunday.

I also spotted this man above drawing one of the statues – rather well I may add. I wanted to talk to him and tell him his work was great but my confidence got the better of me and plus the language barrier. In my head I was imaging a Humans of New York Instagram moment. But boy am I glad to have been intrigued by this church. Another quick metro back to put our groceries away, another meal in and a few games of travel Connect 4 whilst watching a film in Italian, our Saturday came to an end.

Sunday bought us more sunshine so we opted for shade. We took to exploring the Villa Borghese park. We never actually made it to the villa itself – whoops. Walking through the tree lined paths we found the National Gallery of Modern & Contemporary Art and Villa Giulia. We then came across a lake known as the Laghetto where you could row boats. I jumped at the chance!

30

I don’t think Tim liked that the man had to steer the boat but I definitely didn’t make too much effort to swap with him. Within the water are turtles who get fed by locals and tourists plus some seagulls. Another Go Pro opportunity here so I videoed our adventure around the Temple of Aesculapius and even dipped the camera underwater to see what was there. I still haven’t checked out that footage yet! You pay for a 20 minute stint. It doesn’t take you that long to circumnavigate the lake. Unless you suck at rowing. I’m sure if there were queues of people waiting then they would call you back to shore but today the staff didn’t really seem to mind.

After that we headed back to Piazza del Popolo, went into the church and visited the Leonardo Da Vinci Musuem. What a clever man! He managed to be so many things in one lifetime—painter, engineer, architect and scientist. Back in the 1400’s! These days kids get medals for taking part in things. This was the first time where Tim and I paid for headsets. It meant I didn’t have to concentrate on reading plus I didn’t know too much about the man. It turns out he has over 6,000 pages of work (known as codices) all in his own mirror script. He also dissected humans (once passed away) to make detailed drawings of the human body. To the church this practise of dissembling the human body were seen to be a sin. But without this man we would be living a different life now hundreds of years on.

Pizza stop for lunch with the view of the Piazza before heading over the river Tiber. We came across another beautiful church – Scared Heart of Suffrage. With its high gothic nature I naturally wanted to go inside and explore more. However due to it being a Sunday, it was all locked up. So we moved swiftly onto the Palace of Justice.

This was magnificent. Just the detailing of the sculptures, the symmetry of everything and the grandeur place of where it stood at the mouth of a bridge was great. Next was Piazza Navona; another place featured in the film Angels and Demons, plus the famous Fiumi fountain.

As you can see from the pictures above, the piazza looks almost deserted. This is only because everyone was taking shelter in the shade. I was hot and bothered by this point again so my enthusiasm to get different pictures was rather low due to having to stand out in the sun. Tim and I discussed that we shall catch a taxi back again sometime soon. Before finding the taxi rank we visited another church (mostly because I knew it would be cool inside) and found the ‘City of Cats’ but I think it was even too hot for the cats as I never caught a glimpse of any.

I proclaimed my love to the air con unit once again, rehydrated, ate some snacks, had a nap, showered and started to feel normal once again. On our free map from a stranger by the train station, there was an advert for the Ice Bar. Tim and I had never been to one and we were a minutes walk away so we thought why not. Going from +40 degree heat to -15 was bliss to start with. Even with the coats provided, after about 20 minutes I was cold (not that I wanted to admit it). Obviously everything is made out of ice – Tim had to touch a wall just to be sure. The sculptures in there were great and the barman very friendly and good banter. After many photos and finishing off our drinks we went for dinner.

Last year whilst driving around France myself and Tim decided to have a posh romantic evening out in Monaco. I got all dressed up in a black dress with heels and found ourselves sitting in a restaurant with views of the open ocean. Again we had problems with our French and couldn’t really understand the menu. I ordered steak tartare and Tim some fish. I thought it a little weird that I wasn’t asked how I liked my steak cooked. Low and behold it was raw minced meat. I had mistaken steak tartare with steak Rossini (steak with pate) so it was safe to say I didn’t eat too much of it and had to lie to the waiter that I was full up when ask what was wrong. So that night ended up with me walking home barefoot and grabbing a takeaway pizza to eat in my hotel bed.

Sorry I digress, the point to that story is that we don’t do posh. Its just not in our nature. We decided as we had showered and dressed up that tonight would be a good night to eat out. Conveniently the restaurant opposite the Ice Bar had plenty of tables.  We sat down and looked through the menu. I think Italian is possibly the best cuisine for me as I like the most variety in this category (no steak tartare in sight). This time is was Tim that was turning his nose up at things and ended up ordering a burger. *insert monkey see no evil emoticon here*
I ordered the traditional suppli (rice ball stuffed with tomato sauce) for starter (which Tim then ate half of!!!!) and then a duck gnocchi for main. It was delicious. All the other couples were there ordering wine and looking romantically at each other whereas we were there taking pictures like this……..

37

After a good nights sleep we set off walking towards our gladiator school lesson! We chose a path through some shaded gardens south of the Coliseum. We found two more churches on our way – one we didn’t enter due to lots of singing – knowing our luck we would have just ruined a wedding or something. We eventually made it to the ruined Baths of Caracalla. This place was mostly deserted due to the raging heat but anyone who were there were scurrying towards the next bit of shade as quick as they could.  I enjoyed the grandeur of these ruins. The original mosaic floor was nice and you had diagrams showing you where some original rooms were. I was just wishing that they would fill with cool water at any second. Alas I left dry and sweaty.

38

Next a shaded walk to Piramide and Porta San Paolo, mostly for pictures as our time to get to our gladiator lesson crept closer. A short taxi ride away and we ad made it. Some plonker *points finger at herself* booked the lesson at 1pm. When the sun is at its most hottest. Even our instructor said that we must be mad. In my defence how was I supposed to know that it was going to be hotter than hell when I booked this activity? Plus I was thinking we would want a lie in on holiday so not to book the activities too early. Never mind. We ate some lunch and tried to hydrate whilst waiting for more people to join us. No one came. Mostly backing up my silly decision but it did mean that we had our instructor all to ourselves.

First off was the Roman Gladiator Museum. This was just some outhouses put together with lots of memorabilia that I presume the family / staff had collected. Our bloke knew his stuff. I was hooked. He was engaging, told jokes and even allowed us to try on old helmets…..

Next was learning how to fight. Well after the warm up! Safe to say I didn’t need to do it too many times as I was already rather warm. We were given wooden swords and he took us through defensive skills step by step. I felt rather natural due to my martial arts experience. He would show us counterattacks if we did it wrong which I found rather funny – due to the sound effects he put with them. However even at tae kwon do I laugh every time I spar and get hit. I need to teach myself to become more serious. He left us to practise on each other for a while so we set up our Go Pro to catch some of our moves. See results below.

It then turned into point scoring.  Naturally our competitive sides came out and a few hits may have been illegal. We had been given softer swords and shields by this point though. I tried my best but Tim won. We got our certificates which I will treasure forever. I had a blast.

44

Talking to Mr Gladiator man (I never caught his name) we found out that the premises that they have is rented. The local council are not interested in teaching this history to their children and nor do they want to fund it. He also organises proper staged fights in the Roman Forum every year with thousands of people participating and watching. He encouraged us to go, which I would if we could. He also told us about the after school clubs he does with kids who train the old techniques and they get given old style armour too. I thoroughly enjoyed his company, knowledge and laughter. I would highly recommend to all age ranges to check it out.

**Don’t forget to read through my Rome Top Tips to find out more**

A walk back to the apartment through the Aurelian walls and past the Coliseum meant it was time to cool off and chill out for the rest of the day. We had a home cooked meal and an early night ready for the last adventure tomorrow.

0545 wake up call this morning. Safe to say we had gotten used to naturally waking up this week. But we had a tour booked in Vatican City of the Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s Basilica and the underground Crypts at 0720. Once we had found our meeting point, been given stickers and headsets (to amplify our guides voice) we queued to get into the smallest country in the world. There are lots of turnstiles and security to go through – so again don’t be annoying and bring everything with you there’s no need. We walk up some steps and out into a courtyard where you have a view of St Peter’s dome.

46

Our guide (whose name I cant remember – I need to work on this skill) was telling us all about Michelangelo and his works. Also a leaflet we were given showed the breakdown of each segment of the Sistine Chapel Ceiling and the wall with his painting of the Last Judgement. I found it rather interesting as I knew nothing about the Vatican, only snippets like the white smoke to elect a Pope and watching Angels and Demons.  We then moved on to a whistle stop tour of the Vatican Museum Halls. We saw the gallery of tapestries and the hall of maps. These in itself were impressive, the ceiling designs, the original tapestries and the paintings of the maps themselves.

Following our guide down and around some steps we entered the Sistine Chapel, the piece de resistance, through the door of hell of Michelangelo’s Last Judgement wall. HOLY COW. What a place! I think my neck ached from looking up so much. I can see why millions of people visit this every year. Its definitely worth seeing once in your lifetime.
Image result for wall paintings in sistine chapel

Image result for sistine chapel ceiling

I have used pictures off the internet here because you aren’t allowed to take any pictures inside the chapel. In the museums beforehand you could but with no flash so the paintings and tapestries were not ruined. I did sneakily take some using the forwarded facing camera and pointed it upwards but the quality isn’t that great.

I took a religion quiz the other day. Possibly not the most legitimate way of finding out what category I am under the religion umbrella but my result was pretty accurate. I am an agnostic atheist. The definition from Wikipedia is as follows;

Agnostic atheism is a philosophical position that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism.

Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact.

The agnostic atheist may be contrasted with the agnostic theist, who believes that one or more deities exist but claims that the existence or nonexistence of such is unknown or cannot be known.

So I believe there could be some ultimate being but I need proof plus I don’t think the world was made in 7 days I believe more in Charles Darwin’s evolution theory. I know religion is the probably the worst subject to talk about along with politics but I ask people not to judge.

BUT being in that small chapel just sitting and looking at all the stories on every inch of the walls and ceiling its hard to not re-think. Due to its beauty I think it engulfs people into their own belief system especially because of the silence, I feel it adds to the experience. I think if I was younger, brought up in a very religious Roman Catholic family that attended church and I was questioning my belief, this would seal it.

After our allotted time in the chapel our tour group split. Some went off to do the rest of the museum rooms within the Vatican and others moved on to St Peter’s Basilica. We were part of the latter group. We walked down the same staircase as the Pope does through to a courtyard. Our tour guide stopped us and she talked now about the history of St Peter’s. Catholic tradition states that the church is the burial site of St Peter, one of Christ’s Apostles and also the first Pope. This church is also the biggest in the world! Second largest is St Paul’s Cathedral in London. We made our way around to the entrance after being told flashes on cameras were allowed again and that only priests can talk within the church. I think this is due to how early we entered our tour. Once normal entrances open is when tour guides can talk and give facts. Again my neck hurt from looking skywards so much. There is just minute details everywhere you look. First item of interest is the sculpture of Pieta, it depicts the body of Jesus on his mother Mary’s lap after the crucifixion.  It is the only thing that Michelangelo signed. Due to a man attacking the statue with a hammer in the 1970s was it then placed behind bullet proof glass. There is a bronze statue of St Peter himself but his feet have been worn down. This is due to pilgrim’s kissing or rubbing his feet for protection.  

You can see the orange glow from the Dove of the Holy Spirit at the back of the basilica. Due to it still be early, other barriers had been put up for tourists to not go too near as nuns and clergymen were still praying. St Peter’s Baldachin is a very prominent feature this is over the top of the Apostles’ tomb. We spotted our guide and she told us why we could now use our flashes on cameras – all the paintings were mosaics. You had to look really closely but you could see the teeny tiny squares composing the full portraits. We then descended down into the crypts underneath the church floor. This is where many pope’s tombs are kept. For protection St Peter’s is kept away from tourists with bullet proof glass and strictly no pictures in this part whatsoever. We were directed to the front of the church with the view of St Peter’s Square where our tour came to an end. All done by 0930.

51

The square is huge. Plus directly in the sun. The queues for normal entry was miles long and all those poor buggers didn’t have any shade. I was glad to have spent that extra money on this excursion. A pit stop to buy some postcards and stamps for my scrapbook then we headed towards the obelisk to see the wind rose – another recognisable item from Angels and Demons. We left Vatican country and heading back into Rome towards the castle.

52

Tim and I love a castle. This one hasn’t got many fancy turrets but what you pay for was well worth the visit. There is a kind of one way system which takes you up the castle and exploring different floors until you reach the roof. Again spectacular views of the city – just so darn hot in the direct sun! You then work your way down to an air conditioned museum. Definitely took the edge off. You exit the castle to the side of the main entrance over looking the bridge of angels. So we headed back over to look at the bridge and to take plenty of photos.

Everywhere I travel to I get a tattoo to commemorate the trip. I’ve got about a three quarter sleeve. I kind of cheated and researched what to have before I went over there –  you know to definitely say I’ve seen it. One of the Angels is my next idea. I already have a St Christopher on my shoulder and I didn’t want to be too predictable and have the Coliseum. However a fountain on the outside of the Altar of the Fatherland is appealing to me now too. Help me decide!!!

Anyway after seeing the bridge of Angels I was done. I had had enough with the sun and wanted to sit down. Tim agreed so we shot back to our apartment before midday. We grabbed some refreshments to rehydrate and told ourselves we would wait a little while until we went out for some lunch. We discussed how bad we were getting everyday regarding our tolerance to the heat. It must have been really draining us. Next thing I know I’m running to the toilet to bring up my cool drink I had just inhaled. Oh Joy. So that meant I spent the next hour in bed trying to recover and making sure I could keep food or drink down. After some salted crisps making me feel better we headed out for our last lunch. We only walked 500 yards. I think we were determined to spend the least amount of time out as possible.  We hurried back and stayed out of the sun until 1800. Thinking it would be cooler (more fool us) we headed out for an evening stroll to the Capitoline Museum and across Tiber Island. A drink and small ice cream stop later, we made it to our desired restaurant, an American Diner. Yes look how cultural we were being! I didn’t care I had a great steak with jacket potato and I was fully satisfied afterwards. *burps*

Wednesday came and it meant we were heading home.

I felt relieved to be leaving the heat but not the City. It is very quirky and had plenty on offer to see. If I ever go back it would only be for a couple of days just to relive the ambiance.

Don’t forget to check my Rome Top Tips for more detailed information on activities.

 

 

Out with the old and in with the new

Assessing my finances and relieving some pressure. I have decided to swap 2 of my challenges for different ones.

#3 Bolivian Salt Flats is now – #3 Help save the Ocean

#20 Play rugby for Hampshire is now – #20 Recreate the Love Actually Wedding

Is this cheating? Quite possibly. But I want to feel a sense of achievement by completing all my goals rather than becoming stressed that I haven’t. 

Since my travel bug was well and truly caught in 2009 I have non-stopped day dreaming of all the places I have wanted to go. Machu Picchu has been high, if not, the highest on my list. So originally I thought if I’m going all that way to South America for Peru I may as well add on a trip to Bolivia. But now I’m realising that we just wont have the money. We have worked our way out of debt from moving into a house so I’m putting my sensible head on (sad face) and deciding to put all of our energy and efforts into the Machu Picchu trip. Plus I also think my answer to Tim’s ‘So why are we going to the Salt Flats?’ was ‘Because why not?’ just didn’t make the cut.

To find out why I chose to help save the ocean click on the link below
#3 Help save the Ocean

Changing the rugby goal was a tough decision for me. I’ve been playing since I turned 16. I’ve been committed to the sport for over a decade now but my mental health has in recent years corrupted how I play. I’m fine playing with my close rugby pals at my original club. However women’s rugby players can be few and far between so when we joined forces with another ‘somewhat’ local team I had different people to deal with. Some of these negative situations have made me think again and again as to whether I want to play. Deep down I do want to play but the travelling to training and games can be a bit tedious. Plus Sunday (game day) is the only full day I have to spend with Tim. This makes me feel guilty. It makes me over think – again.
After recent weeks concentrating on my Tae Kwon Do grading I have come to like the routine of this training. Instead of ruining that routine to replace it with another that may not be as successful, why would I change it? So I made the decision to not go back to rugby next season. I then found my new pair of club socks in my drawer and I sighed. Plus I got very jealous of my rugby pals talking about the up coming season. I think now this is more of a friendship issue than it is a playing the sport issue.
If I stop going to rugby, are my rugby friends still want to hang out with me? Are they going to create a different Whatsapp group? Are they going to find someone better to replace me? All these crazy reasons run through my head. The only way to find out is letting it pan out and trust my decision. Get rid of my FOMO!! (Fear Of Missing Out). I’m the oldest out of these rugby girls so my life is taking a different path to theirs and naturally people move on. I need to think of the positives, maybe this will lead me to bigger and better things. Maybe things wont change. I’ve just got to put my big girl pants on and take a plunge into the unknown.

To find out why I chose recreate the Love Actually wedding as a goal, click on the link below:
#20 Recreate the Love Actually Wedding

 

#18 Complete

#18 Complete

This morning I decided to make a Kiva loan. I’ve just been paid and was feeling generous.

A quick run through of a Kiva loan is you can lend people money for different projects across the world. Once they reach their target they then have a time length to pay back the money you lent them. I can then decide to transfer my money back out into my own account or reinvest it.

I have helped Zakayo from Molo, Kenya to purchase a water tank and water pipes for his farm. Read more of his story here: https://www.kiva.org/lend/1323318
The reason for sponsoring Zakayo was pretty simple. He only needed $50 to go. So I have been able to complete his loan which makes me feel rather happy.

I now have a portfolio on the Kiva website. It keeps track of who you’ve lent money to. There are 78 different countries I could help. So my aim is to pick a loan from each of these countries before I withdraw my money. This may take a while but I now know directly who my money is helping.

I’m giving myself a pat on the back for doing a good deed.

To find out more information on giving a Kiva loan yourself follow this link: https://www.kiva.org/

 

#14 – Day 2

#14 – Day 2

If you haven’t read #14 check! Day 1 then it may pay to otherwise this may not make much sense.

Saturday morning bright and early I was awake and not feeling hung-over. Bonus. Queued up for the famous toasties my friends were talking about. It was good. I had Hawaiian – cheese, ham and pineapple. I made a friend as there was a queue discussion as to how yucky or yummy pineapple is.

Our first game wasn’t until 1140 so plenty of time to get ready. Everyone was very excited to put on our designed kit. And I have to say I was too, even though I knew there had been a mix up in my shirt size plus I hadn’t miraculously lost that 2 stone I’ve been praying would just disappear. Our team name is Maul of Duty. Play on words from the famous console game.

12

**Please excuse my face. I’m feeling like a fat butch lesbian right now**

**Also my shorts are up so high to suck in my chub – the next day I let the chub hang**

We all rocked up in our kit and set up base camp on pitch 7. Our first opponents were Southampton Ladies. A big rival of ours within our normal rugby union league so the mentality of ‘we’ve got to win’ was inevitable. I then became more and more anxious. I knew I wasn’t fit enough to be running the whole length of the pitch if I missed a tackle. My thoughts kept building up and it made me not want to play.

I have been battling this with my mental health for a couple of seasons now. I’ve been conscious to my team mates reactions when I’ve been making mistakes or the wrong decisions. One time I came on as a sub on a critical cup game, (I hate being a sub as you get warmed with everyone and pumped up then you stand and watch) so I wasn’t raring to go like I was 50 minutes prior. I missed a tackle, the opposition scored (meaning they were now beating us) and swiftly after I got subbed back onto the bench. After seeing the captain lose her shit and talk to the coach – you didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that it was about me.  This scenario has been etched in my brain since that day and has affected the way I play. I’m now always negative about my performance.

  1. I feel I carry the ball into contact too much.
    In my head = I’m keeping the ball in our possession as I know I can create the perfect ruck but not pass the ball 8 metres to my left (weaker hand).
    Friends thoughts = When I take the ball into contact I can either break through a gap to gain ground or I can take 2-3 people out of the game as it takes that many people to tackle me to the ground. Therefor creating an overlap opportunity.
    Other team mates = Immediate reaction to become frustrated and show it.
  2. I’m shovelling shit. (technical term used by my first rugby coach)
    In my head = I’m aware I need to pass the ball more so I’m trying to eliminate problem 1 but I’m now forcing the pass and creating more issues.

I could go on but you get the drift. I literally do my own head in.

Back to the festival…

With these thoughts now running through my head and the pressure I was feeling, I decided to sit out of this game. I had nothing to worry about as we won 34-5. I should have gone on to get the nerves out of my system. Hey -ho.

Our next game wasn’t until 1400 so we went off for a look around.

15

At different stalls they give away freebies or you can earn them for doing a challenge. We came across the SCI-MIX zone which gave us a free drinks bottle and a tester of their protein shakes. (https://www.sci-mx.co.uk/)

They had a bungee run where if you tapped both hands on the gold bit of the inflatable you got a free hat. For taking part you also got yourself a free ladies vest. So naturally we all tried it being our competitive selves. Here is my video below….

Please let me know if for some reason the video doesn’t work.

My friend managed to tap the gold area on her first go as well thinking she had won the hat. But the organisers then changed it to you then have to grab the hat to win it – sneaky bastards. So that’s why I took my 2nd and 3rd go. They sneakily hold the hat on the peak end so its harder to grab plus the hat isn’t fully extended, again making it shorter. I was gutted to just miss out but I was the closest out of our team. However I still managed to get a freebie top. For the ladies it was a lovely slinky vest. The small fitted my friend who is possibly a size 6 so I knew I wasn’t going to be fitting into one of them. Luckily I got a men’s XL t-shirt instead. 

8

We made our way back for our second game against the Manchester Ladies. These guys were clearly on tour and not taking it as seriously as us. My perfect game. So I made sure I started and played well. Nothing spectacular, like a break through the line or a try but I played. My mind calmed down. We won this game too.

Another two hour break was ahead of us and my feet were already aching from all the walking and running plus the sun and heat had arrived. So I opted to stay and look after everyone’s stuff instead of walking around making my legs worse and getting hot and bothered.

I enjoyed my alone time chilling on my lazi-bed and watching some rugby. Big mistake. My pals came back and told me they had all met Lewis Moody (ex England rugby captain). I could have cried. Only because it reminds me of a time when me and Grace were walking through the crowds at Twickenham and spotted Matt Dawson (another ex England Player) walking the opposite way. We ran back and got all excited and flustered asking for our picture with him. I took the photo first on Grace’s camera (our mobile didn’t have cameras back then) of her and Matt then she did the same for me. Both thanked him and ran off back to our friends. Later, whilst bragging to our other friends about who we met, we found out there was no picture of me and Matt Dawson. Grace had turned the camera off rather than pressing ‘capture’. We were both drunk so I get that these things do happen. But I still don’t let her forget it. Here is the proof I was in the same vicinity as Lewis Moody but I didn’t get to touch him. **cries**

14

He was there promoting his charity ‘The Lewis Moody Foundation’ which supports those who suffer from life threatening illnesses. Read more by following this link https://www.thelewismoodyfoundation.org/

Maul of Duty’s last game of the day was against Tequila Ruckingbirds. I played again in this game and was getting into the flow of the tournament. We came out winners after this game too. I took a notepad and pen to take notes for scores and such like but I ended up forgetting it and writing down all the funny shit we said instead. So I’m sorry for the lack of score info. But who cares we were undefeated. Our friends we made the day before aka ‘the army lads’ or ‘Team Harambe’ came to watch this game and were impressed. As we were done for the day – I was kinda bummed as I was just getting into the swing of it all – we all went back to our tents and started drinking.

Tonight was fancy dress. Army style. So our team name and kit designed all flowed through the weekend. Us ladies like to be all organised like this.

I love fancy dress. A motto I’ve used a lot is ‘go big or go home’. I’ve dressed up as the old guy from Disney’s UP! I drew the house and attached balloons to it all myself. I also went as a cereal killer to Halloween last year. As you can tell I like to do proper dress up, not sexy dress up or loosely dress up. I expect because fancy dress outfits don’t go up to my size or I’d feel absolutely ridiculous even if they did. I like to be comfy. So army vest, black shorts and boots – done. Myself and a couple others asked the army guys to do our cammo. I mean who better to do it and correctly?! So 5 minutes of a somewhat stranger stroking my face with paint I was ready.

9

The lads were dressing up as cheerleaders. So we returned the favour and did some make up and sorted out their wigs. Its funny how men act when dressing up as the opposite sex. Some had a good walk on them and others had the pout and fluttering eyes down to a tee.

We all went at pre-drinks rather heavily. We had smuggled in some spirits and I was making my way through a bottle of Archers. Team Harambe said we could go into their tent and pre drink with them too. We managed to fit in their yurt two of our lazi beds to create more seating – result. We mostly talked about our rugby games that day and also sang to anything that DJ ‘JB’ put on. These ranged from Disney’s Moana (I still haven’t managed to see this yet) to Queen. Considering we had been serenaded this morning by these guys singing Les Miserable to the whole Glamping area I wasn’t surprised by their song choices. I loved the fact all these boys were singing along. It was great fun. I think the bottle of Sambucca that was being passed around constantly also helped with all of us to let our inhibitions go and not give a fuck. I vaguely remember a Bournemouth 7s official videographer coming into the yurt filming our antics. We then repeatedly sang ‘there’s only 24 people in the yurt’.

Somehow it was decided it was time to go dancing. The plan was to head to the VIP area. Obviously it took all us girls longer to get there than if we were sober. Mostly because one guy was on crutches and Maul of Dut-onians had tour calls. We had;

  • man the tanks – consisted of 3 people making a tank
  • grenade – falling to the floor as if a grenade had gone off
  • sniper – laying on the ground with your imaginary gun 
  • attention – saluting (correctly I’ll add, we all had a lesson before heading out)
  • and others but I can’t remember

10

So ‘quick march’ wasn’t ever quick. Although I do remember 3 of us having a race and not stacking it or smashing into others around us – impressive eh?

The VIP tent was playing a good mixture of classics and newer songs that I knew, could sing and dance to. I didn’t care what people thought of my dancing, I was having a great time so I threw a lot of my massive dance shapes all over the tent. Nina even gave me a massive drunken hug and shouted in my ear ‘Lydia I’m so glad you’re here’. Who doesn’t love comments like that?

I know my limit when it comes to drinking so I didn’t buy any beers when we went ‘out out’. Except one for crutches. He asked me to hold his drink but somehow it ended up on the floor. So I squared up with him and we were all good. A cheap night again for me.

You’ll be pleased to know everyone left early to go get food. Hurrah! First decent bit of food. I went for Chinese. Sweet and sour chicken, noodles and chicken satay. Lovely Jubbly.

You see everyone making their way back to the camping area with their new best friends or weekend fling. I saw my toastie buddy from this morning so hugging each other like we were long lost relatives and skipping back to our tents made the trek much quicker.

Once back ‘after party’ was announced over at Team Harambe. We all bombarded in there ready to go. I saw one guy already tucked up in bed with duvet over his head either passed out or trying to sleep. I announced it wasn’t fair as I love my sleep too and made my way back to my tent. As girls do, we talked about the goings on of the night and discuss what’s going to happen with the girls still partying. Around 3am I think I crashed. The cammo left on my face can wait until the morning…….

 

 

#14 check! Day 1

#14 check! Day 1

First item can be ticked off the bucket list! #14 go to a festival.

The day had finally come that me and my rugby pals were all going to Bournemouth 7s. All the build up and excitement over the past few months decided to disappear, instead I had the sense of ‘WTF did I sign myself up for’. Not the best of starts.

Not sure where I was going – fuck

Loads of people – double fuck

Sun was blazingly hot – triple fuck

Seeing as my pals had been to Bournemouth 7s already they knew the drill so I followed like a little sheep until I got my bearings.  However I found out that I walk considerably slower than everyone else. (In the past I have refused to walk at ‘Londoners speed’ whilst visiting the capital because I had no rush to be anywhere). Once I knew where the toilets and many a beer tent were I was fine to dawdle.

I’m not too bad when it comes to a vast amount of people. What does it for me is my mind constantly thinking ‘were they looking at me?’ ‘are they judging me?’ ‘they are sure thinking I’m fat’ ‘they just made disgusted eyes at me’. Which is absurd. I’m sure half of the 30,000 + people that attended the weekend didn’t even know or care that I were there. But my mind told me differently. What a bitch.

The blaring hot sun. I have a love/hate relationship with that too. I love a tan but I just can’t do anything in the heat. I literally shut down as I get too hot very quickly. So there I am wearing a heavier t-shirt and shorts to cover up from the sun which meant that I sweated a lot more than if I had had a vest top on. Delightful. My mind now telling me everyone is staring at my sweaty brow. However I managed to keep on going to get our stuff in our tents so we could then get on with the rest of the weekend.

I had paid for a span dangle wristband of V.VIP so this meant I could jump the queue with 3 of my friends. It was so worth the money as the queuing system had no shelter. I would have melted if I had to wait for 2 hours in the midday day sun. But also on the other hand, if the British weather was its usual pissing with rain, everything would have been soaked.  I felt rather smug whilst walking past people who had clearly forgot to apply sun cream. That would teach the hot guy who was just wearing budgie smugglers to be ‘peacocking’.

The other half of my wristband was GLAMPING. No lugging a tent to and from the car or having arguments with your friends whilst trying to put it up or take it down. These tepees or yurts were fab! Blow up bed already set up for you with duvet, pillow, free coconut water and fairy lights to help you see at night. But we still had to do 3 trips to the car as we had seemed to have brought a metric tonne of crap with us. Plus side – I did my 10,000 steps by 3pm.

Unpacking done, now time for a little chill before the evening of drinking commences.

We had recently bought lazi-beds from Go Outdoors (click on link to find out more; http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/freedom-trail-lazi-bed-lounger-p397884) which were the best invention ever! We set them up outside our tent and sat in the sun trying to not get burnt. Some guys also thought they were cool as they ended up coming and siting with us for the rest of the afternoon. We all became fast friends. Yes that’s me with an umbrella hat on. I’m the definition of cool.

4

Friday night is a party just for players. So only one third of the arena was opened and only 4,000 people were on site partying. After having a shower and getting even more sweaty in the porta showers, we all headed out. My new friend is officially my bum bag. I’m a big fan of pockets myself but the bum bag had more room and was safer.

Tonight I was still working out my bearings and how I stood with some of my other team mates. I’ve known them now for nearly 3 years but I still get nervous and anxious in case they actually don’t like me and wonder why I am there. So I didn’t drink too much tonight. Bonus for my wallet but I may have looked a little awkward dancing as I definitely felt it! I’ve come to realise that I don’t actually know too many of the new songs out in the charts, so everyone was screaming when a cool new song came on but I was there like ‘Who is this?’ ‘I cant hear the lyrics’ like the 80 year old I am. **I am the eldest out of these guys at 27 and have been known as the fairy squad mother**

I hate dancing at the best of times. I prefer a good Macarena or cha cha slide where you know where you stand with the dance moves.  But after a while I relaxed and threw some of my medium shapes around the Somersby Cider tent.

Making plans for a group of people is always hard. The organiser makes sure everyone else is happy. You feel obliged to

2

But this night I wish I had! **Booooooo hiss bad friend** I all hear you shout. Well when it comes to friends and food – I chose food! Especially if you haven’t eaten properly all day and had a few cold ones. Drunken walk home food is essential for any night out.

I made actions to people I was getting food but then it was decided we would all go together at a certain time. So like a sheep I followed suit and waited. The time came and people were still having much fun making friends with guys. So I went off with another friend who was actually ready and found out that the food stalls were CLOSED. I REPEAT CLOSED. So then its having to explain it to everyone and the people moaning the most were the ones who weren’t ready at the scheduled time. So from that moment on in my eyes it was every man for himself. Don’t worry we didn’t all go hungry. We had snacks back at base but nothing substantial.

Got into the comfy bed and started to shut off. But there is never silence at a festival. There’s always one person who can stay up all night talking with the loudest voice a human could possibly have. I’m not one to complain as I’m sure I’ve been that person at some point so I snuggled down for some sleep.

Until

3

the heavens open and a beautiful lightning show illuminated our tents until the wee hours of the morning. I love my sleep so I thought I would just sleep until late morning, an hour or so before we had to play rugby. No, no. I was up and awake at 0630.

5

More shenanigans to follow….

 

Packing a love/hate relationship

B7s
#14 on my list is go to a festival.

I actually quite like packing for holidays. I normally do it a month or so in advance. Because I’m excited and also to test out weight limits.

It’s now 10 days before I go to Bournemouth 7s and I have no clue what to pack! So currently hating the thought of packing random shit and hoping for the best.

(If you want to know more about Bournemouth 7s click the link here; https://bournemouth7s.com/whatisb7s/)

I’m rather excited as I’ve been jealous of my friends for 4 years now but I have always had reason why I could not make the festival. It has been a huge topic amongst my rugby pals since October 2016 and lately I have given up being patient. I want to be there now!

We’ve organised our fancy dress outfits, tour shirts and designed our own swanky rugby kit for the occasion. We used a major sponsor of the festival; Viper 10 who make kits for rugby and netball teams with a cool 3D Kit Designer (follow link to find out more; https://viper10.com/ )

Its all well and good wanting to jump the gun and wish my work days away to be with my friends, playing the sport I love, drinking, dancing and feeling carefree. BUT what the fuck do I pack?

I’ve been a *whispers* girl guide so I can survive in a bivvy bag overnight no problem. However I have a feeling its not just as simple as that. My preconception is that a festival is also a catwalk. To look your best with a pair of wellies in tow. **Except my calf muscles are so god damn big I cant fit in wellies**

How does a chubby tom boy do this without feeling inferior to the slinky girls in crop tops and flower headbands?

My ‘don’t give a fuck’ inner self is – go comfy – don’t give a second thought about people’s opinions. I’ve always had the mantra of changing in public places / rugby clubs – ‘if they don’t like what they see they wont look again.’ Please note I don’t just get naked in public for the sake of it.

My reasonable inner self is – pack for every occasion – compromise and take something half decent so you feel part of the crowd but travel there and back in my trackies and rugby top.

My anxious inner self is – buy EVERYTHING new, get the latest trends, ALWAYS BE COOL – but I don’t have the money and I’d probably feel more self conscious because I’m dressed up in things that I feel potentially do not suit my body shape.

So I thought I’d search on Google and see if some websites gave me any more insight.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/style/the-practical-guide-to-festival-dressing2/

http://ticketnews.eventim.co.uk/the-essential-festival-checklist/#axzz4h8K0glVM

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/06/06/the-honest-festival-guide-2014_n_5458410.html

After giving these a read I feel more relaxed about taking some items of clothing that I don’t mind getting beer and possibly mud on. (these are inevitably comfy – winning!)

Some handy tips I picked up and didn’t think about packing were; plasters, torch, bin bags, magazines plus notepad and pen (to write down some memories for this blog). Then, most importantly, ID! This may sound silly but I HATE taking a bag anywhere. This probably is because I used to take a rucksack on days out with friends and I’d end up carrying all THEIR crap in MY bag. I quickly learnt that pockets were the way forward. Also because I really only drink at my local rugby club where everyone knows I’m over 18 I forget to carry ID on me. So a post it note is stuck on my kitchen table at home so I don’t forget.

So now I’ve got my clothes all sorted, my next mammoth decision is what to do with my hair! Pictures of the weekend’s events are inevitably going to be uploaded onto social media. Plus some nice ones to post on here.

As I am growing my hair to eventually cut off for charity (#19 on my list) I can’t just go short to eliminate all my problems. I already have an undercut to help me not get too hot with having long hair. Plus I shall be sweating. Regardless of the weather, I shall be sweating. I’ll be dancing and get hot, I’ll be playing rugby and getting hot so my hair is likely to go greasy pretty quickly.

Again I took to Google and found some ideas and tips from the ghd website. This is mostly due to me only having 3 hairstyles – down straight, up in a pony tail or up in a bun.

https://www.ghdhair.com/articles/festival-hair-tips

https://www.ghdhair.com/hairstyles/occasion-hair/festival

I’m thinking of plaits for most of the weekend to keep my fringe out of my face plus maybe a cool pattern in my undercut.

After making my bed look like a tip I have managed to organise and pack as much as possible now to reduce the panic and stress of last minute packing. I have also breathed a big sigh of relief.

Fingers crossed I don’t forget anything!

 

 

May’s Mission

So in order for me to Sky Dive I need to lose weight. Who knew there was a weight limit?

To keep things simple and not deprive myself of everything that is tasty I looked at my bad eating habits (too many to actually list). I came up with the challenge for Tim and I to not eat garlic bread for the month.

This may sound silly to some but we have a tendency to eat this with everything.

Spaghetti Bolognese – garlic bread

Lasagne – garlic bread

Curry – garlic bread

Mid afternoon snack – garlic bread

You get the idea.

However it wouldn’t be just a slice or two. It would be a whole garlic baguette to ourselves (hangs head in shame – also hopes people do this too).

I saw this pop up on my news feed on Facebook the other day and had to share.

4

For more silly memes visit the site below

https://www.facebook.com/Garlicbreadmemes/

So we are 9 days into the challenge and we have had two pasta dishes. Luckily there is no garlic bread in the freezer otherwise it would have been cooked. I can’t say I’m missing it at the moment. Maybe it is just a habit we didn’t even know we were doing.

I will admit though – I had a garlic naan with an Indian at the weekend. But that’s completely different right?

Fingers crossed we can keep it up and possibly see a difference on the scales. Which reminds me I need to buy batteries for the bloody thing…..

The Big 30

I’m not actually sure why 30 is a milestone birthday but I’ll take it and have it as an excuse to party. I suppose it is a bit of a limbo age. You’re not old old and ready to sign up for your pension but you’re old enough to refer to everyone as “like 12” because they are younger than you. On the flip side you’re also not a teenager as your hangover takes two days to get rid of and you get excited about buying duvet sets or a new kettle.

I think it was the day after my 25th birthday I genuinely forgot my pin number for my card (my card was not contactless at this stage). So I have low hopes for my memory in my thirties!

Anyway I digress here is the big list of 30:
(Don’t forget to click on the activity to read more)

  1. Sky Dive                                                                                              
  2. Machu Picchu                                                                                   
  3.                                                                           
  4. Achieve black belt in Tae Kwon Do                                                             
  5. Start my own business                                 
  6. Buy a drink for a stranger                                                            
  7. Go to Titanic museum in Southampton                                  
  8. Climb Snowdon                                                                                               
  9. Visit Wales                                                                                        
  10. Be a vegetarian for 2 weeks                                                       
  11. Dog Agility Classes                                                                        
  12. Learn Origami                                                                                  
  13. Learn to say hello in 30 languages                                            
  14. Go to a Festival                                                                                
  15. 5km Colour Obstacle Rush                                                         
  16. Gain another qualification                                                           
  17. Visit Rome & Vatican City                                                            
  18. Make a Kiva Loan                                                                            
  19. Cut my hair for charity                                                                  
  20.                                                          
  21. Go line dancing                                                                               
  22. Disconnect for 1 week                                                                
  23. Volunteer at a food bank                          
  24. Go on a Ghost Hunt                                                                      
  25. Give Blood                                                                                      
  26. Lose weight                                                                                       
  27. Watch a Rugby World Cup Final Game                                                                         
  28. Muddy Dog Challenge                                                        
  29. Start a blog – no need for more info here
  30. Go to a Silence Retreat
                                            

 

Well here goes….

Procrastinating at work, like everyone does, I gave myself a mini challenge to tick off 30 things before I’m 30. One of those achievements was to start a blog. So why not blog about me completing my bucket list!

I am known to be honest and straight forward about everything. So be prepared for many of my tactless musings. Please don’t comment how horrible I am – I kinda already know.

I have had many opportunities and experiences to complete a bucket list already as I’ve travelled a fair bit and have eagerly volunteered myself to try new things since I was young. But as a Sagittarius I love adventure, am curious about many a subject and love to learn new things that change my life and my view on the world. So let’s begin this new chapter!