Monday, 14 August 2017

August Life Update; Flash back to July part 2. Birmingham bear hunt and London trip




Hi readers,

In July, I went to Birmingham for a night and a day then on to London for two days and two nights. I had visited Birmingham before a few years back whilst on a canal boat holiday and stopped in what's known as the Birmingham basin. This time, I stayed in the city center and I had a really good time. Currently, they have this bear statue hunt on and there's like over 200 bear statues and some little bears to find. I had great fun doing this and it also helped me navigate about the town center. My favorite bear has to be the first one I found; Shakesbear.  



Around the church yard there were lots and I spent time taking photos and looking at the gravestones. It was a nice place to chill. I went inside the church too and saw the pretty stained glass windows.


My favorite bears here where Peony the panda and this love hearted one. There was also a jungle bear and a metal bear called Snowy.



 I then went over to the art gallery and museum which I'd picked to spend the afternoon in. On the way I found some more bears! This moon and star one is so cute.


Everyone loves the Spock bear.


My favorite in this section had to by Olly bear because he was so funny. Lots of people wanted their photo with him.


It was also at this point I helped someone to find a bear. I had a printed out map but it made it easier as I had already seen and taken a photo of the bear she wanted to see. Later, I picked up a real map from the train station and discovered the locations of all the bears!

I also liked this bear with a northern lights theme. Then I went on to the art gallery and museum. They had a lot of the little bears there and I too far too many photos to post up here. I looked round and did enjoy it, but with the weather being so nice and the wanting to find other bears, I left early.


The bear who cares a lot was the first bear on my list but I didn't find her until we had got back to the train station. She was the last bear I found because we then had to leave for London. I did so want to stay and look for other bears though!


I had a good wander around Birmingham city center and I really enjoyed it. There was lots of shops and people, who were all interesting to watch. I found a cool Japan shop and brought some presents for myself and my boyfriend. I found this like hidden cathedral and this cool waterfall, which the water falls over a poem about the city and it's really interesting to watch. I'll miss Birmingham and hopefully I can go back someday. 



London

Next came two nights and two days in London. Sadly, I wasn't feeling well and choice the first day just to stay close to the hotel which was in Blackfriars, so I just had a wander around there. I walked alongside the Thames and I saw the Eye. I've been on it a few years ago and I saw some of the bridges and some boats. It was a nice walk under lots of trees. 



Then, just wondering about, I found St. Bride's church. I think I'd past it last time I was in London but this time I decided to check it out. It's really small and pretty. The old woman at the desk was so nice and happy too. I went down to see the crypt which had some buried headstones inside of it. No one actually knew about the crypt and foundations until the a second world war bomb hit the church. Then they found that it dated back a long time.


This is like a underground chapel that's just off the main crypt. It was really quiet and cool down here. I took a few moments to chill out.


From there I went to St. Paul's and had a walk around the gardens which I'd missed last time. I also saw and went on the Millennium bridge which felt a bit weird crossing. I only went like half way because I had no reason to cross to the other side.  




View of St. Paul's from Millennium Bridge. 

The next day, I was feeling worse, but I couldn't stay in the the hotel as we'd checked out. I went to see The Temple church which wasn't far away. Though I did get lost and had to ask a doorman where it was. There are lots of doorman in London and they may seem scary but they are actually nice and helpful.


You have to pay to get into The Temple church, but its' worth it. Inside is really nice and bright, it's quiet expect from when a load of tourists come in! They had lots of history information up but I was distracted by the knight statues. It actually took me a good few minutes to figure out this was the Knight's Templar church! You can go to the first floor and look down which gives a nice view of the structure of the tower.


There's lots of knights and other important people statues. There are like from the 1300 and have worn a bit. I found that there wasn't much information about them and some of the statues haven't been identified! There are some memory stones too and it was interesting to read some of them.


The Templar's have a thing about Pegasus, I saw a lot whilst I was there in all the designs of the floor and hangings. There was also one in a stained glass window. I should have asked what it meant, but I forgot.  


I also liked all these little faces which came out of the sides of the tower. These two were like the cheekiest as most were sensible. They made me laugh though.  





I also liked all the old Bibles, prayer and hymn books there were in the pews. I took some cool photos of them. This one is my favorite though. 


Temple Church is really nice and if you want to escape the busy flow of London It's a good place to just sit and chill. Though I'd prefer St. Bride's as it's less busy with tourists.


You can't get into the gardens, even though I wanted to. I had to make do with the courtyard. It was nice with this water fountain, though it was really loud. I read my book for a bit and then had to go back to the place my mum was at because I still wasn't feeling great.

I wished I'd been better and bale to travel around London more. There's so much more I want to see there. Maybe next year when I hopefully go for my birthday.

That's all for now anyway. I'm off to Sweden on Thursday, so my next post will be all about that. In the meantime please check out my other blog; https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/ I write a new shor story everyday on there.

Thanks for reading and see you soon!


Monday, 7 August 2017

August Life Update: Flash back to July Part 1, Trentham Monkey Forest




Hi readers,

So, because I've been so busy and not writing this blog, I wanted to share with you my visit to Monkey Forest for my birthday. It was one of my boyfriend's colleagues who suggested we go and since it was close enough, I decided it would be a great thing to do as a day trip out for my birthday. Also, it seemed a great way to check out my new camera!

I love animals and could spend lots of time watching them. The best part about Monkey Forest is that the monkeys roam free and you are allowed to get close to them. Of course, you can't touch them and the keepers do scare them away if they get too close, but it's nice to be without bars and cages.

We went at a good time as there were baby monkeys which are so cute!


There are two groups of monkeys that live in the forest. They are the same species but come from different countries which is on the reasons the keepers think they don't mix. Every hour is feeding time which is great because you get to see the monkeys real close and learn more of their behavior. The two groups are fed at different hours, so if you missed the first one you can join in the second one. The talks the keepers give are the same, but they also allow time for questions.  

There's also a lot of birds and squirrels due to all the food about but the monkeys don't seem to made them. Feeding time is also really good for snapping photos because all the monkeys are interacting with each other or else they are sitting still eating.  


We walked around twice as it takes less then hour to do the walk and see a feeding. Though I guess it also depends how much time you spend looking at the monkeys. The walk itself is really nice as it's a quiet woodland area. Though there is a steep slope to go down. We had good weather too, so it was nice to go through again. This time we sat longer watching the monkeys eat and I had one that got real close behind me and made me a bit nervous. A keeper shooed it away though.



Monkey Forest is great for an afternoon or day out. They have a play area for kids, a cafe and shop, plus you can walk through the monkey area as many times as you want. Kids would really enjoy this and any adults who love monkeys would do too. They also have like special encounter sessions with the monkeys, which are more expensive but its just you and the keepers. You get to help feed the monkeys breakfast and have photos taken with them.    


Overall, I had a great afternoon out and loved spending it with my boyfriend and family. It was something a bit different and more special to do on my birthday. I'd love to go again sometime! 



http://monkey-forest.com/

All photos are copyright to me. Please don't use without permission. Thanks.

Monday, 31 July 2017

July Life Update: Manchester Comic Con 2017


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Hi readers, 

Yesterday, I went the Manchester Comic Con for the very first time. I was really excited and it had taken me an age to decided what to wear! Being a big Steampunk fan, I decided that would do, so I went with the costume I'd brought to wear later this year at the Leeds Steampunk Fair. I was worried, I might be the only Steampunk person there, but there were a few others, so I didn't feel that alone! There was also a section for Steampunk, though there wasn't a lot for sale there. There was a stage where talks about what it was and how people discovered Steampunk etc. 

My boyfriend dressed as his favourite anime character and he got stopped often for people to take photos. I got asked like three times and the third time was actually from someone I half know from playing Dungeons and Dragons! My boyfriend looked so dashing in his costume and I was happy as our costumes kinda went together. He had a great time and since it was his first time too, it was so nice for us both to share it. 

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There were lots of people dressed up as so many different things; mostly it was anime, comics and games characters, but I saw Jack Sparrow, the Mad Hatter, a Big Daddy and Little Sister from Bioshock (Unfortunately didn't get a photo!) a T-Rex and Pikachus. I also saw lots of Stormtoopers, Batmans, Spidermans, Harley Quinns and Jokers. My boyfriend and I really enjoyed seeing all the different characters and he pointed out everyone I didn't know to me.    

There was a lot to see and do! Too much for only a few hours really. We didn't see any of the speakers and we didn't queue to meet any celebs. We did see them from a distance though; Warwick Davis and Chris Barrie. I would've liked to meet them but it was a bit expensive for me. Most of the other celebs didn't seem to be there at the times we walked by. I would have liked to hear some of the speaker stuff too, but it was busy and we'd not looked at the timetable for what was on. - Thing to remember next year!   

I loved all the stalls that were crammed together selling geeky things. Even though sometimes you had to wait to get close. I saw tons of soft toys- mostly Pokemon, Totoro and other Japanese icons.   There were many action figures, covering a whole range of themes and styles. There was also the model robot kits my boyfriend likes. The other stalls were selling; comic books, manga, photos, prints, drawings and other collectable items. There was an independence section where you could get an artist to sketch you! There was lots of interesting things in this part and I wished there'd been more time to look. There was a section for food places too and we had pizza for lunch as that was an easy thing to share. Plus, I didn't want to spill anything on my dress!

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Then we found a second hall which we'd missed because we'd not walked in that direction. This was more of a games and a kid's play area. There was a professional photo stage, a copy of the Game Of Thrones throne. They also had two cars; a police car and Kit. It was a brief wander as we were on the edge of leaving early. I wish we could have stayed longer but unfortunately, my costume was giving me a lot of trouble, plus I was hot and tried. 

I did buy somethings because you can't really go to a Comic Con and not! I got a fan, which was expensive but so worth it as I was far too hot and having a breeze was nice. A large Jolteton soft toy - once again expensive but he's so soft and cuddly! Jolteon is my favourite Pokemon and I just couldn't leave him behind. I got some choco-banana flavor Pocky and an interesting strawberry drink that had bits of like strawberry jelly in it. I was half attempted to get some of the Lego figures to go with the Batman set my boyfriend brought me and there were so many other things I could've brought, but I'm so trying to save money at the moment. It's needed for Sweden in 2 weeks time (Yes, I got my passport now!) Leeds Steampunk Fair in October and some parts of my car because it needs a service. 
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I had so much fun at my first Comic Con and I learnt a lot too! Next year, I'm going to try and make things better so I can have more fun. I'm so going to make sure the costume I'm wearing is comfy. Even though my dress was nice, I kept catching it when I was walking and I was worried other people might do to, so I had to keep carrying it. The corset I was wearing wasn't comfy after a few hours and come undone at the bottom too. I ended up taking it off before we went home as I'd had enough. My feet also hurt, despite my boots being a good fit. Plus, I so needed to bring a better bag! 

It was very hot, not just because of the summer and the people, but due to there not being much of a good circle of air. So, I might wear my Steampunk costume from last year's Leeds. Half tempted to do that this year too for going back again.Though I might have lost some more weight and be able to fit in my dress better. Wearing cooler, comfy clothes is key, so I can't imagine how hot people wearing bigger and heavy costumes - like the furries and full body suits, felt! 

I'm also going to find like a timetable of what's going on so we could see a few of the talks etc. Maybe see which celebs will be there too. We did know some of them this time but there was more then I remember. Maybe a map of the halls would also be useful! It's easy to get lost in all the stalls. Saving more money to buy a few more things would be handy too. 

Most importantly, is making sure my camera works and taking more photos! That was one of my biggest regrets. I took only 20 odd on my phone and then when I got my camera out to take some photos of people dressed, up my camera took two photos then to told me there was a problem with the memory card and didn't work again. Though it seems I didn't put the memory card back in right and after fixing that it seems okay again. I think also, stopping and asking people was a bit challenging for me, but most people will let you if you ask and there's enough chances to jump in when other people are taking photos too. 

Overall, I had great fun and I can't wait to go again!      

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Friday, 23 June 2017

June Life Update: Applying For A Passport


Hi readers,

I've never had a passport. That might sound strange to some but actually a lot of people don't have one. I've not had the need for one because the last time I left my home country - Britain- was in 1999 when I went to New Zealand. I travelled on my mum's passport and my two brothers went under my dad's because back then that's how children could travel. Now though, they have to have their own passports but since we didn't go anyway else and just had holidays in the UK, I didn't have the need for one.

The first time I looked at getting a passport was in uni because it was a good form of ID in bars and clubs, but it was expensive and a learner driving licence was cheaper plus getting that also meant I could learn to drive! A few years later, my best friend suggested a trip to Ireland and said I'd need a passport. I looked at getting one again but even discounting all the costs of getting one, I was a poor student and couldn't really offered to be travelling. Plus, I had also been diagnosed with my long term health conditions and I just had too much going on.

From then to now, I've been battling illness, finding a job and figuring out what I wanted to do. The wanderlust wasn't in me. Friends and family went travelling the world but that didn't inspire me. I love England, I like the weather and enjoy the rich history and different cultures here. However, I do have dreams of going to America, Canada, Japan and New Zealand again.


So, why now have I decided to get a passport? It's not due to Brexit and other political unrest and changes, like I've read other people are now scrambling to get one. It's because out of the blue my boyfriend decided to invite me to Sweden where his dad has a second house. My boyfriend is aware that I've never had a passport because last year he invited me to Brussels and I said no due to the no passport, ill health and still not having the urge to travel. When he asked me this time, I said no again but when I spoke to my mum after, she persuaded me that I should give it a go. My boyfriend and his dad are going to pay for everything, so money isn't the real problem.

The problem is my main long term health problem. It's better controlled now but unpredictable and highly embarrassing. At it's worse, I can't be more then a minute or two away from a loo and it's like having a stomach bug but ten times worse. Attached to it is all the psychological problems, stress and anxiety that make me worse. I've had my condition for about 13 years now and it'll never be cured, (unless have insides removed and that's only a very final option when everything else has failed and I give up the fight.) Even just small afternoon/day trips out can be tough! One day, I will write a blog post about this.

I know I shouldn't let that stop me from doing what I want and I do try hard but sometimes its all just too much. However, I've decided that I want to overcome this now. If I want to see those other countries I need to make some kind of start. So yeah, I've decided to apply for a passport and give it ago. Though one big down side is that the holiday is booked for 7 weeks from yesterday and it takes 6 weeks for a passport to be delivered and there's no getting around that due to the fact I've never had one before.



So, I spent Wednesday researching how to apply, what I needed and what all my options where. I decided that due to the fact I'm doing it on my own as my parents are still in France this week, I would do 'check and send' with the post office. They make sure you've filled the form in have all the right documents then send it off for you. If changes are needed they tell you and you can come back as many times as needed. That seemed to suit me better then just doing it all online because you still have to print stuff and post everything special delivery. They do change more, but that includes the postage and checking meaning it's highly likely to be put straight through.

I went to the post office, got the form I needed and all the instructions about what to do. Which turned out to be real simple. I just needed my birth certificate, both my parents' birth certificates, their passport information for the form and two correct photos. I also needed someone to countersign the form and a photo which my supervisor has agreed to do today. Luckily for me, I have all that and with me and my parents being British and them having passports, it means I don't need other information.

However, it turned out that my birth certificate has gone missing! I've now spent about 8 hours searching my house for it and it's no where. So I've fast track ordered one and it should be here Monday. Then all being well I can send off my application.


My next hope is that they don't call me for interview! It's not compulsory but highly likely I might have to go due to never having a passport before. If they do send me a letter, I'm going to go for the next available appointment and I'll be able to take my mum as she'll be back home by then. I'm nervous about getting the questions wrong, especially if they ask me for my parents' birthdays and marriage date because I'm no good with remembering numbers.

I read that it's not like a test and many people get things wrong but they still get through. When I book my appointment I shall explain all my needs and see if my mum can come in with me. Hopefully, that'll go fine then in a few days after I should get my passport. Most of the chat room / message boards etc I've looked at to help better under what people have had to do and the timelines say that all together it takes 4-5 weeks. Though one person had said it took 4 months for them. But I'm hoping there's no issues and it'll be plain sailing.

Then I better get everything else sorted, pack and prepare myself! It's going to be so weird and my  
anxiety is going to go through the roof. I have no fear of planes and I do like travelling and seeing new things, but like I said my health is a stopping factor. Perhaps, though this what I need to do to prove to myself that I can't allow my health problems to hold me back. I'm actually excited too, this is going to be a great experience and it'll open the door to so much more.

 Stockholm, Sweden.

(All images from: https://pixabay.com and https://www.pexels.com)

Please check out my other blog: https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/

Monday, 29 May 2017

Book Review: Rosario + Vampire Season 1


Hi readers, 

Today I wanted to share with you this manga series that I've been reading. It was written a few years back and its still popular enough. It's a short series with only 10 books in the first season and like 14 in the second. 

The plot is that a high school boy finds himself at a high school for monsters! They are all pretending to be humans as they are practising to fight into the human world. He doesn't have any easy time fitting in though and in fact a group of girls ends up forming around him because they are all in love with him! 

He has a crush on the vampire in the title and she likes him too, however due to her giving him some blood to aid them in the battles with other monsters, he gains vampire powers. 

The plot feels very simple and it's not until a good few books in, once all the main characters have been introduced, that things get interesting. There is a lot of fights and action scene which help speed things along and creates good conflict. There is also conflicted between the girls but this made to come across as being cute. 

The art style is pretty good to, but there are lot of - what I call 'fanboy shots of the girls - lots of down the tops and up the skirts. Which if you don't mind is fine, but there's just too many placed in for my liking. I guess that it helps make this manga more appealing to the young male audience it's aimed at. 

The characters come across well, with each their own wants and problems. I'm hoping that that the second season of manga sees them all further develop. Of course, the vampire is my favourite! There's also the typical manga characters too but they did get little lost in the background, which I don't really mind. 

I really enjoyed reading this series because it's fun and simple. There's enough to keep you entertained too and it's really short which also helps! 

I can't wait to read the second season now and find out what happens.