Friday, 10 November 2017

October In Pictures

Royal Caribbean Independence of The Seas Cruise Ship Holiday

Hey Owlets,

Long time no see! It feels like ages since I wrote my last month in pictures post, but I did so little in September that I decided it wasn't worth writing. However, October more than makes up for it as it's been absolutely incredible!
We're technically starting on 30th September with this first photo, but I absolutely had to include it, as this was the day that I embarked on a ship that introduced me to places and people that have been a huge inspiration to me.


Royal Caribbean Independence of The Seas Cruise Ship Holiday Malaga

The first two days aboard Independence of the Seas (1st and 2nd October) were sea days and I don't have any photos as to be honest I was not feeling my most well. I've never experienced sea sickness before but it was awful! Anyway, we'll skip that bit. This photo was taken on 3rd October as for the first time ever I stepped onto foreign soil, spending the day enjoying the Spanish sunshine in Malaga. Well, I say that... the first thing we saw when we stepped off the ship was a ferris wheel. It was meant to be 12 minutes long so we left Mum and went for it, even though neither me or Dad are that fond of heights. We're both fine in the short term, but not when the wheel breaks down leaving you stranded at the top, looking down on a load of Spanish men shouting with a tool box in hand- it would break down when we're at the top, wouldn't it? Also if you'd like to see what I wore in Malaga, you can check that out here!

Royal Caribbean Independence of The Seas Cruise Ship Holiday Cartegena Banos Termales

4th October is a particularly special day for me. Around 15 years ago my god parents moved to Spain and because I wasn't brave enough to travel on my own I hadn't seen them since they left Swansea. On 4th October the ship stopped in Cartegena port which is 20 minutes from where they now live. My aunt picked us up and took us to meet my uncle at the most beautiful hotel I've ever seen, called Banos Termales. We sat on the terrace at the edge of the beach eating tapas. We didn't actually go anywhere else that day - we spent the whole time chatting but it was amazing to finally get to see them after all this time.

Royal Caribbean Independence of The Seas Cruise Ship Holiday Vatican City Rome civitavecchia

5th October was a sea day and there was no chance of being bored as the crew organise a lot of  different activities -dance classes, rock climbing, mini golf and even enrichment lectures- but I'll be honest, having not felt a lot of sunshine in the UK I spent the whole day at the side of the pool (although I was still just as white at the end of the two weeks as I was at the start), and no one needs to see that. Skipping to 6th October, we spent the day in Rome! I'm going to be honest here, I really wasn't that impressed; the overwhelming experience of the city was dirty streets and rude people. The stand out memory from the day was me becoming the but of everyone's jokes, because as I was taking a photo in Vatican City a nun walked past and tutted at me. I don't think my shoulders have ever offended anyone before!

Royal Caribbean Independence of The Seas Cruise Ship Holiday Florence Piza Livorno Italy

7th October was one of my favourite days of the cruise, as the ship called in Livorno port, Italy. The port is half an hour from Pisa and an hour from Florence. The original plan was just to visit Piza, but one of the crew on board told us that it was worth hiring a taxi to visit both and she was so right! I feel like Pisa is one of those places that you need to visit to tick off the bucket list but I have to say, Florence stole the show. It is hands down one of the most beautiful and vibrant places I've ever visited. Of course I would love the fact that it's a very fashionable place, but it wasn't just the shops I loved. Let me know if you'd like a guide to Florence - it's definitely something I'd love to write! Oh, and I definitely couldn't leave without investing in a handbag... or two.

Royal Caribbean Independence of The Seas Cruise Ship Holiday La Seyne Sur Mer Toulon

8th October saw Independence of The Seas dock in Toulon which I wasn't particularly looking forward to. We'd heard a lot of people say that it was a filler port and that there was nothing there. The ship actually docked in La Seyne sur Mer which is a 10 minute boat ride away from Toulon. Royal Caribbean's boat transfer was $20 per person and I think a lot of people refused to pay so didn't go to Toulon. We decided to look for ourselves and I'm so glad we did. When we got there Dad spotted a land train or a "wally trolly" as he insists on calling it - I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that he wanted to go on it! So we bought two tickets for "Le Petit Gare" (I prefer the French version to Dad's!) and climbed aboard. After 10 minutes driving around, we came across this beautiful beach - this photo doesn't do it justice at all, it was like being in the Caribbean! We also met a lovely lady called Sophie on the beach, I swam in the sea fully dressed (no one told me to bring a swimsuit!) and we had an amazing lunch before heading back to the ship. I think it's so important to make the most of everywhere you go even if it costs a little more - I would jump at the chance to go back!

Royal Caribbean Independence of The Seas Cruise Ship Holiday Gibraltar Rock

9th October was another sea day and I'm pretty sure no one needs to see me looking like a gross mess in a bathing suit, so instead here's a photo of me and a monkey arguing over my pride and joy. 10th October the ship docked in our penultimate port of Gibraltar. Mum and Dad wanted to go shopping but having never travelled before I really wanted to go up the rock and see the monkeys, so we left Mum with a coffee and went on the cable car. There's this weather called "Levanta" which is where a cloud sits on top of the rock. It's so strange - it feels like the air is heavy, and after an hour at the top I had a migraine. We may not have gotten to see much, but I did get to meet the monkeys so I was beyond excited - even if this one did take a liking to my camera! We then went back down to Main Street for some retail therapy. Although one thing to warn you - it's like no one in Gibraltar has heard of Google My Business, so good luck finding anything without stopping to ask a local.

Royal Caribbean Independence of The Seas Cruise Ship Holiday Lisbon Portugal

On 12th October the ship called at it's final port of Lisbon, which was hands down one of my favourite cities to visit. I felt like everywhere we visited had it's own quirks that made it unique, but Portugal was something different entirely. When we got off the ship we went on the city sightseeing bus so that I could have a look around, and it was amazing to see so much variety in such a small area. It's one of those places that you could stay for a week in and still not get to do everything that you planned to see. We ended up stopping for lunch in a street cafe as we only wanted a snack, and the food was fine but the desserts stole the show. Our waiter only spoke Portuguese and me and Dad only spoke Spanish so the language barrier was a bit of an issue. Inside they had a huge display and there was a cake that looked like a piece of Toblerone, so I asked Dad to order it for me (mean, I know!). It's at this point that I walk out to dad making a triangle with his hands, repeating the word "cake" until the waiter went "pyramid?" to which dad said "Si! Cake!" while still making a triangle with his hands. In fairness though, it was worth the effort because it's the best cake I've ever eaten and we found out that "one more" is the same in both Spanish and Portuguese, because Dad had to order Mum her own.

Royal Caribbean Independence of The Seas Cruise Ship Holiday All Access Tour

13th October was bittersweet as it was our last day on the ship. However, we were determined to make the most of it! Dad booked us both onto a ship tour where we got to go into the crew only areas - it was amazing to see everywhere, but for me the highlight was our trip to the bridge. The crew work in teams to have a look out as well as someone actually steering. We were chatting and the man showing us around told us that it's not just boats they look out for, and it's quite common to see dolphins and whales swimming with the ship. I was instantly gutted that I hadn't seen one, then just as we were getting ready to leave a few dolphins jumped out of the water from nowhere like they'd heard my disappointment. I didn't get a photo but it was one of the highlights of the holiday for me. Can we also agree that I would make the most sassy captain ever? Thanks.

South Gloucestershire Council Ambitions 2017 Event

We got back very early on 14th October, but I'm just going to gloss over the three days that I spent catching up on my sleep, and I'll skip straight to 17th October. Every year I teach GCSE age students as part of an event that our local council puts on to help students work out what they want to do when they leave school.  It's probably one of the things that I look forward to most every year - I'd love to teach more than just these two days, but getting to do even this much is great. P.S. Can you spot the Royal Caribbean jacket? Not super stylish but believe me, the hall they hold the event in is freezing!!

Longleat Safari Park Stingrays Warminster Wiltshire

Skipping forward to 23rd October, Dad and I were going to Wiltshire to review The Bath Arms (have you seen my post yet?), so decided to make a day of it and went to Longleat for a wander. I've not visited since I was quite young and to be honest not a lot has changed, but there's been a few things, and even now I'm older we had a great day. The highlight for me was easy to pick out - they now have a stingray pool and, despite the sharp bits, they're really friendly creatures and actually come up out of the water to see you. It was really weird stroking a stingray like you would a pet cat, but it was so cool! They're really slimy though!

Birmingham Broad Street Park Regis Hotel Rofuto Afternoon Tea Prosecco

On 27th October I was back in my favourite city to visit Rofuto with my Brum blogger friends - this time for afternoon tea. I'd broken up with Adam the day before (read more here) so I wasn't exactly in the party spirit, but I have to say a huge thank you to some of the most amazing girls I've met through blogging because they made me realise that being upset while sat on the roof terrace of a luxury hotel in my favourite city was pretty stupid. We drank prosecco, ate sushi and Asian-inspired desserts and I had an incredible time! Clearly prosecco, afternoon tea and a girly day in my favourite city was all I needed, because after that I never got upset again. Expect a separate review coming soon!

Essex Dartford Crossing Sunset

So, onto the last weekend of October. My godparents live in Essex and we visit each other once a year to spend the weekend together. This year it was our turn to visit them, so on Saturday morning we packed up and drove to Essex for a few days. I don't actually have many photos from the weekend, but she knew I'd just broken up with Adam so we did some serious retail therapy, we found the perfect outfit for something really exciting that you'll find out about soon, and spent the whole weekend relaxing!

I hope you enjoyed seeing what I got up to last month - I feel like I've spent an entire month relaxing, but after the last few months I definitely needed it! There may have been a lot of negativity over the last few months but now I'm free, happy and can't wait for the amazing things I've got coming up over the next few months! 

What have you been up to recently? Let me know in the comments below!

Love and Feathers, 
 The Owlet 💜 

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