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Monday, 2 January 2017

2016 Catch Up Post

I failed to post again after the Battle of Hastings, although I have a half written post about Half Term... So, what have I been up to?

Day Trips and Travel:

Shortly after LittleBit's birthday celebrations, during the half-term holiday, we arranged a "day trip" to Blackpool... we'd bought a 'Big Ticket' each, which allows access to each of the seven major attractions which are part of the Blackpool Tower, and which are valid for 90 days, meaning anything we couldn't get to this trip, we would visit again another time.



It's three trains from our house to Blackpool (but it did mean we didn't have to try and park) and our first port of call was the Blackpool Tower Eye. The queues were astronomical, but the views were worth the wait, although I wasn't brave enough to stand on the glass floor (LittleBit was though).






We'd picked up tickets to the circus for the afternoon (no photos allowed), Beloved had only been to the panto version of the circus before, and really enjoyed the 'ordinary' circus show. Afterwards we visited the Blackpool Dungeon in the evening, before finding somewhere for dinner, and we saw some of the illuminations.









We surprised LittleBit when we checked into a hotel with a sea view for the night, and the prom in the morning was lovely to walk along.





At lunchtime we returned to the train station, and then when we changed at Preston, we boarded a train going in the wrong direction, and got an upgrade to first class. We were worried that LittleBit would notice, however, she didn't listen to the station announcements, or to the announcements on the train, it wasn't until the gentleman serving drinks asked if we were going all the way to Edinburgh that LittleBit realised we weren't going home.

We alighted the train at Haymarket, instead of going all the way to Waverley, and then took a bus directly to the hotel, which just so happened to be right next door to Edinburgh zoo. Home to the UKs only Giant Pandas and Koala bears.

The following morning, after a visit to the hotel pool, we walked the two minutes from the hotel to the zoo, booked a time slot to see the Giant Pandas and in we went.




















LittleBit had a football training session, with the Liverpool Ladies coaches, followed by a Q&A session with two of the players (Laura Coombs and Alex Greenwood), and then we stayed to watch the match afterwards.





We visited Chester Zoo...








At the start of December, I travelled to Oslo to attend a book launch! The 50 Exotic Hotels in Norway book was published in English and Norwegian on the same day, and it looks amazing! The photography is stunning throughout. I stayed in one of the hotels, Hotel Guldsmeden in Oslo, which was lovely, and visited Vigeland Park the following day before flying home!























I was lucky enough to win tickets to see the Andre Rieu concert at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, which was amazing. I've seen the Johann Strauss Orchestra play before, but they are spectacular every time and I would absolutely recommend a trip to see them, if you can, some of their concerts are streamed to cinemas fairly regularly, and we have been to see them at the cinema, they are also shown semi-regularly on Sky Arts if you have a cable/satellite tv service.







We went to Tatton Park with family the first weekend of the school holidays. We saw the deer on the way down the drive to the car park, and then visited Father Christmas, saw some of his reindeer, (think it was Dancer and Prancer), and after a bit of time in the farm, we went round the house to see the Roald Dahl exhibition.













We went to Chester Zoo again... 















And then we finished off our Big Ticket in Blackpool. We managed Jungle Jim's (the playbarn, so no photos) the Ballroom (we didn't dance - was wearing trainers, also didn't partake of afternoon tea), then we stopped over at the Savoy (I'm not reviewing hotels), and then we visited both Madame Tussauds and the Sea Life Centre, before a late lunch, and then we came home again

People on the glass floor - brave, mad, people













Cinema:

Alright, so we go to the cinema a lot... Not necessarily in the right order, we have seen (anything 15 or over, LittleBit didn't join us for);

  • Finding Dory - 3/5, it was ok, but I don't think they'd paid as much attention to the plot, or the detail, as I would have liked. It was fun, but not brilliant.
  • Arrival - 5/5, this was clever, I liked the twist. It's a nice story, it had awesome special effects, and a bit of tension.
  • Jack Reacher: Never Go Back - 3/5, I haven't read the book of this one, and I think it skipped some detail which would have explained things more fully. Decent action/adventure sequences, but a few bits I wasn't keen on.
  • A Streetcat Called Bob - 4/5, based on the book of the same name, written by the main character and based on his life, James is a homeless recovering drug addict. He is helped by an amazing support worker, who fights to find him social housing, and he is adopted by a cat, called Bob. It's thought provoking, moving, and has some comedy moments. 
  • Storks - 2/5, LittleBit enjoyed it and I didn't leave part way through, but I was bored, if you have small people to entertain, this will do it.
  • The BFG - 3/5, never my favourite Roald Dahl story, LittleBit loved it though. 
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - 5/5, Set in 1920s New York, the film follows Newt Scamander, who will later be the famous author of a text book Harry Potter has to buy in his first year. The plot is a good starting point for a new series, the special effects are astounding, and there's some nice new characters in it. LittleBit claims it's better than Harry Potter.
  • Moana - 4/5, Disney have drawn a Chief's daughter (not a princess) with more common proportions (no, she is not fat, far from it), but she has spirit. Moana is forbidden from crossing the reef and crossing into stormy waters, but in order to save her people, she goes anyway, to find Maui, and to convince him to return the heart of Te Fiti, mother of the islands. The soundtrack is so catchy, we had to download it to listen to on the way home from the cinema, it contains mild peril, and is fun to watch.
  • Passengers - 4/5, we enjoyed this one, but there was a twist that I wasn't so keen on, but it worked for the story. I had a few unanswered questions at the end, but it was a nice story, good action/adventure and spectacular special effects.
  • Bad Santa 2 - 2/5, I didn't walk out. This was cringe from start to finish, it was amusing, but also wrong, very wrong, and not my cup of tea.
  • Monster Trucks - 4/5, this one was fun, but the trailers gave too much away making some of the film somewhat redundant. Slightly OTT, but it had a nice ending.
  • Ballerina - 3/5, LittleBit loved this one. It was somewhat predictable, but it was alright.
Beloved and LittleBit also went to see the new Star Wars film, Rogue One, but I didn't go with them. I have no issues with other people liking Star Wars, but, I didn't enjoy them, so I stopped making myself watch them after the fifth one.


Misc

Other things included making Christmas decorations in aid of Help the Aged at work. I bought the ones I made because they were both a bit wonky;



And, I went to the Harry Potter themed pub-quiz in the cinema bar on the opening night of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the guys at the cinema had gone all out with the decorations, the money raised went to Children in Need, and did I mention that I won the fancy dress costume? Oh, well I did, no photos of me though, I don't like them!






I did other things too, just not exciting/interesting/photogenic things, and this blog post is getting a bit meaty already!

Anyway, back to work tomorrow, so for now, I'm off to bed!







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