Monday, 31 October 2016

A Day Out at the Cotswold Wildlife Park

My lovely friend Emma came to visit the other weekend, and as it was a gloriously sunny October Saturday, we decided to head to Cotswold Wildlife Park and spend the day looking at the animals. This is going to be quite a picture heavy blog post, so if pictures of cute animals isn't your thing, I don't blame you if you skip to the end of this one.

Obviously the first place we headed to was the penguins, because they're super cute. One of the major positives of this wildlife park is how close you get to all of the animals, you could reach out to touch most of them, even though there were signs saying not to usually as you may get pecked/bitten.

The penguins were having a great time playing in the water and staring at us staring at them, and I managed to get a lot of photos.

Next up were the meerkats, who I've seen before at Tropical World and they were still just as cute this time. I loved seeing these two sat by the wall, looking as if they were having a chat. Just like the adverts.

The next section had prairie dogs, and I had no idea they were so cute! They'd just had their lunch put out so we got to see them all sat together having a good munch, and I don't know what I managed to catch with the bottom photo, but it looks like he's doing a big sneeze!

There was a huge selection of various birds for us to look at, way more than I've got pictures of here, in a way it reminded me slightly of visiting Thorpe Perrow as the selection was so wide! I loved the owls the most though, and I enjoyed the kookaburra songs again.

We headed into a huge greenhouse type building where there were loads of amazing flowers and plants, fruit bats, birds and this sloth which we managed to get a glimpse of swinging around on the roof. He vanished pretty quickly (for a sloth) though, and we couldn't spot him afterwards. Sorry to my friend Jen for the picture of the sloth - she really hates them!

As we exited a building and were heading to another area I was surprised by these huge fish in a pond. Not your usual exhibit in a zoo, but these fish were beautiful.

The reptile, bat and insect houses are fantastic, full of different things. The most disgusting ones to Emma and I were the cockroaches. They are so grim! I'll be forever thankful that we don't have them in this country.

The Madagascar section where you walk with the lemurs was amazing, especially as they would all run together to sit in the sun like in the pictures above. They almost look a bit like they're meditating, which is adorable! Even though they were running all around us they still kept their distance, which was a relief - I don't know if I'd like a lemur to jump on me!

The other monkeys were really cute as well, I loved these ones with the ginger tummies, especially this cheeky chap who had his tongue out. I don't know if you follow me on instagram (@inelegantwench) but if you saw my story from that day you'd have heard the Siamangs, who were so loud! We heard a shouting laughing noise from a fair distance away and followed it to see them having a right laugh together and making SO much noise. Definitely awe inspiring.

The farm section was adorable, they had house mice and rats in kitchen set ups (behind glass) and it was so cute. The pigs, ponies, guinea pigs and rabbits were all super cute too, and it was a lovely little section of the park, and great as kids could pet the animals.

There was a walk with the goats section in the farm, where the goats were super tame, and would walk up to you asking to be petted. There was two of them who were having great fun locking horns, and it was great to watch, until they made their way up towards me, and I ended up in the middle of them both. I got out of there so quickly!

There were other little exhibits dotted about and I was fascinated to see an armadillo. I had no idea that they were so hairy! Also, have you heard about the man in Texas who shot an armadillo, but the bullet bounced off its shell and he ended up shooting himself? Mental.

The zebras were so majestic, I don't think I've ever seen them in real life before, and their coat (is it coat? Skin? That just sounds weird...) was so shiny and lush looking. Zebras really are just better horses.

The rhinos were awesome, just chilling, looking as grumpy as ever. I loved how all the animals had plenty of space to roam, so it was almost like a drive through experience, but safer, as there was a fence in the way.

I don't believe I'd ever seen giraffes in real life before as well, and they are incredible creatures. At one point they walked past the walkway and I could have reached out and petted them. Insane. They're so incredible. After a short time a group of people arrived to have a feed the giraffe experience, and they immediately headed inside to get all the food!

I absolutely loved our day out at the wildlife park, I'll definitely visit again, and will probably end up getting annual passes as it's such a good place to head with visitors and friends, as you can have a good chat whilst wandering around the park. Have you ever been here before?

Rachel x

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Honeymoon | Celebrity Equinox Food

So, on Wednesdays a few months ago I was chatting all about my wedding and honeymoon, so if you want to catch up, feel free. There was one more post though, and I have saved the best til last though, the cruise food!

Rich and I are huge foodies, and we love to go out to eat, so by going on a cruise we knew that the standard of eating was going to be very high!

As I mentioned in my ship tour post there are two main restaurants, a sit down table service one, and a buffet all you can eat one. We ate most of our breakfasts at the buffet restaurant, which had pretty much everything breakfast related you could think of, and probably every type of bacon you can get, as well as things like curry and burritos. I may have ended every breakfast with waffles, jam and cream, which is apparently a breakfast food? Not complaining at all though! We did have a couple in the posh sit down restaurant though, and a few before trips in our bedroom, which was very nice!

Lunches were a varied affair, often we were on excursions, which meant they provided us with some food whilst we were out, but on sea days we'd often go to the posher restaurant, as they did really good lunches. The gorgeous brownie in the picture above was a lunch time dessert, and I think it may have been my favourite dessert of the whole cruise. It was just peak brownie.

Every afternoon at 4pm we would have canapes delivered to our room, as part of the package we were on, and it was always great fun opening the lid to see what we'd got that day. It was a little odd that in a room for two people we got one of everything, but we tended to have a bite each of each thing so we could try everything. It was a great little start to our evenings, as we'd usually be in our bathrobes slowly getting ready at this point.

We ate every evening meal in the main restaurant, aside from our visits to the speciality restaurants and the one time we got stuck in a river in Colombia so missed our slot and went to the buffet. The service was top notch at all the restaurants, and the wine waiters (sommeliers) were amazing. We would tell them what types of wine we usually like and they'd just appear next to us with bottles to try from, and then they'd just keep topping up your glass throughout your meal. We may have gotten very tipsy most nights whilst eating our meals, as neither of us have the highest tolerance for wine.

There was always a bread basket on the table, which as we were usually a bit tipsy, we would hit, hard. As we were on our own little table of two I didn't feel embarrassed by it, so if we go on a cruise again I'll definitely make sure to try and get our own table!

We'd be presented with a menu, which changed daily, and I found it so hard to make decisions. However, we soon learnt that if we couldn't decide, we were allowed to have two of a course, at no extra charge, or trouble to anyone. Yep, I basically had two desserts every night once I discovered that. Amazing!

As I knew that if I didn't like something I could always have something else, I took the opportunity to try a lot of foods I'd never had before, like frogs legs (basically just scrawny chicken wings), snails (one of the best foods in existence) and baked Alaska. It was great getting to try things I'd always wanted to, without having to run the gauntlet of potentially getting menu regret.

The speciality restaurants on our ship were all excellent, there was a very very posh bistro type one, a gourmet pub grub type one, and Silk Harvest, which was Asian fusion (pictured above) and that one was our favourite, so we headed back there on the last night, and I ate so much food I could barely walk back to our room afterwards.

All of the food was incredible, and it is no wonder at all that I put on 10lb in two weeks. Next time we go on a cruise, I am definitely dieting down before we go, so I don't end up in the same situation where half my clothes don't fit me part way through the trip!

This is the last post of the wedding and honeymoon series now, and I hope you've enjoyed reading about it all. I also did a vlog of the honeymoon which you can watch below:

It's nearly our year wedding anniversary now, and it has flown so quickly!

Rachel x

Monday, 17 October 2016

Back in the Real World...

I am so glad to be back, and boy do I have a lot to tell you!

The Move / New House

The move went really well, we didn't pack this time, we let them do it for us, and it was SO much better. Not having to worry about boxes being everywhere meant that normal life pretty much carried on for us up until the day before, whereas normally I'm surrounded by boxes for weeks before hand. 
One of my highlights of the move was the removals guys complimenting us on our huge selection of games and consoles - #geeklife!

Now I mentioned in my last post that I was worried about not having seen any photos of the house so had no idea if all our stuff would fit. It meant that as soon as we arrived down south I wanted to drive to our new house and peer into the windows (like a stalker) and from that I was a lot more relieved, but obviously couldn't see upstairs. On our moving in day I was so eager, and as the lady was showing us round with our keys I was doing my happy dance. The house is huge. Even though we've downsized from a 3 bed to a 2 bed, the master bedroom in this house is insane, and it's even got a little extra room leading off it. I'll do a house tour soon, as I'm sure you all want to be nosy.

Talking of the little extra room, it is the perfect size for an office (or nursery but let's not go there quite yet!) but it has no plug sockets. I know. It has a window, a radiator, and even a phone socket, but no electric sockets. What the actual?! We're attempting to see if we can have some put in, but what else can I do with it? I was thinking reading room, but it'll be useless when it's winter as we can't put a lamp in there. At the minute it's known as the room with no purpose, and shall remain that way until it gains a function!

The Job Situation

Leaving my last job was really sad, the girls were so lovely and amazing, and I was utterly spoilt with leaving gifts. I even had a custom cake made for me by my friend Anna, with a little model of me sat on top at my desk, working away. It nearly made me cry when I saw it as I was so touched. I don't think I've had a custom made cake made for me since I was very very small, so it meant a lot to me.

Before I moved I'd spent some time applying for jobs down here, mainly ones on the base Rich is working at, as they'd be super convenient. Whilst I was on the website I happened to notice a job at the UK Space Agency, which sounded really cool from the job description. I didn't quite meet the minimum entry requirements, but I thought I'd go for it anyway, because I'd got nothing to lose. They offered me an interview, which was scheduled for a week after we moved in, and I was gobsmacked. I thought I had no chance, and I'd been offered an interview! Well, after a very nervous interview, I only went and got the job didn't I!!! I was so surprised, I was dancing around the house with excitement and happiness for hours.

The only downside is that the new job requires me to have some security clearance done, and as I was changing my address on everything, it took a little while to get the paperwork together that was required, but it's all been sent off now and I'm just awaiting the clearance back then I can start work. It does mean that I've had 5 weeks off so far, which is crazy, but very much needed, as I finally feel like I've recovered from the crazy commute I was doing.

All of this means that I should hopefully begin to blog more often, at least until I start work again, but as the commute is less than half of what it was before I'm hoping that I'll have time for hobbies again!

Rachel x
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