The one with the bastard sink

Started the day off with a major hunger on. The fry up called, and I answered. I treated the three of us and cooked breakfast (don’t say I don’t treat you guys).

 
After that the sink broke a little bit. The pipe underneath the sink appeared to be leaking, and there was rather more water outside of the sink pipes than there should have been. I informed Les of the sink/water situation and he attended the scene. Much swearing ensued, and after calling the sink a “bastard” approximately a thousand times, the issue appeared to be fixed.

It wasn’t. The water was spewing out. The sink was even more of a bastard than it ever was before. Many sodden tea towels later, a rather red in the face Les managed to staunch the flow and fixed the bastard sink. Bastard.

I wanted to go to Bushy Park today, but I felt like I needed to give Les a hand with some gardening before I went out. Seeing as the bastard sink had put him a couple of hours behind, I thought I would oblige and assist him. I donned the gawjus Tesco tracksuit bottoms and the sexy Eminem t-shirt and headed into the wilderness.

It was my job to pull up the carrots and beetroot we were growing. I always think it is an excellent idea to grow things, until you have to look after them and water the plants and weed the earth. My god I HATE weeding. But somehow, some stuff had grown, and there were some healthy-looking beetroot specimens and some things which I was told were carrots.

 

I was quite pleased with the beetroot, but I am not going to lie – the carrots are shit. Some of them are so short and fat and don’t really resemble carrots. One of them is miniature and would probably win an award for the “longest time growing for nothing” award. One of them looks more like a turnip, and one of them is actually yellow. WTF.

Smallest carrot ever

 

Turnip or carrot?
Carrot or parsnip?

I thought I had done my time, but I hadn’t. There was weeding to be done. Oh hell (remember I hate weeding). I did my best, but I am not going to lie, there were a lot of weeds interspersed with actual plants which needed to stay in the ground, so it was pretty hard going. I weeded this bit for approximately 5 hours and hardly made any progress. When I say 5 hours, it was more like 15 minutes, but time takes on a whole new level of slow when you are crouched in the mud pulling up what you are hoping is grass and not a flower.

I finally managed to escape to Bushy Park with Gail. The whole reason I wanted to go was because it was rutting season and all the boy deer would be out doing their thing and showing off to the ladies. There is definitely a joke in there somewhere about them being horny, if only they didn’t have antlers.

 

We saw some of the lads out and about in the park, making that weird mooing sound, I’m not sure whether the girls find it attractive or not. I don’t know if I would be overly keen on a giant antlered man mooing at me whilst I was trying to eat my grass, but who knows – the ladies like what they like.

 

A couple of the boys had a bit of a to do and it call kicked off when one of them gave chase and started pelting after the other one. Nothing much happened in the end, and it was a bit disappointing. I feel like it was all for show, and the ladies barely even looked up as it was going on.

 

We went for a wander through the park and did our best to avoid getting run over by kids on bikes. There was one hairy moment where there was a kid coming at me from behind on a tiny bike, he was bending and weaving like this was the slalom section of the race and I had to take a dive into the long grass to avoid being taken out.

As he whizzed off with his mum following closely behind, another kid tried to take her out, but on a much bigger bike. My internal organs all simultaneously cringed as her foot got caught on the wheel of the bike. All I could imagine was her foot getting caught in the spokes and her going flat on her face, and me not being able to do a single thing to help because I was laughing too much. Somehow her foot managed to untangle itself and we were safe.

 

After Gail and I had taken a romantic turn around the grounds, we headed out and stopped for a coffee. In this coffee shop, I actually had a smoothie called a “Cool Pina”, which had lime, pineapple, cucumber and almond milk in it (unfortunately no alcohol). It was really tasty and I imagine it would be described as “refreshing” if they were to make an advert for it with many descriptors. I felt refreshed as I sipped this refreshingly fresh fruit smoothie.

 

Bonnie

The Fast Arm Slow Feet Hypotheses

I was jazzed today. I went into work feeling GREAT and I was sure I was going to get as much done as humanly possible. As you can imagine, it didn’t really work out like that, as usual. There was a ridiculous amount of traffic on the way this morning, and a journey which usually takes me 10 minutes, ended up taking me 40 minutes. I was not happy about this. There were temporary lights (which I am pretty sure should be in Room 101 – no justification required please Frank Skinner) and I crawled all the way there. In fact, crawling would have been quicker, I’m sure of it.

Eventually I got to work, and I remembered that we had a 2 hour long gathering of the whole company, so watch presentations about all the new stuff that is going to be happening and how good or badly we had done over the last few months. Now, I am super sad, and I love watching these things – all my mates think I am a complete loser. But I like hearing about what other departments are doing, and I like watching people speaking. Also, there are always videos to watch, and I LOVE a video.

Turns out, 2 hours is a long time to concentrate, and I did have to glance at some graphs on a screen, which is quite a distressing thing for me to have to do, and by the end of the 2 hours I was slumped in my chair and staring blurry eyed at the ceiling. Even the complimentary breakfast was doing nothing to keep me from losing concentration. That took us up to 11, and then it’s pretty much lunch time, so there was no point in really starting anything.

It was katsu chicken curry on the menu today as well, and one never gets much work done in anticipation of katsu. No one. It didn’t even bother me in the slightest that I had to queue for 15 whole minutes to get my lunch. In fact, all it does it prove that katsu is THE BEST and it simply cannot be beaten, ever. I ate it all and I felt sick, but it was worth it. I’m still not sure it’s gone down. 

Ellie and I went out for a walk at lunch and discussed the finer points of whether it is easier to walk with fast feet and slow arms, or slow feet and fast arms. It was quite a conundrum, and a puzzle worth solving I feel, so we gave it some thought.

Our reckoning is, that it is easier to walk with fast feet and slow arms, because you can almost waltz it, but if you are fast-arming it, your feet have no choice but to engage in the fastness, and you can’t stop yourself from zooming along like a complete cretin. By the way, to get to this lofty point of knowledge, we had to test our hypothesis, and unsurprisingly, walking like this down the road gets you a lot of looks from the people driving past… A lot of looks. Especially when you are walking past a hospital. I’m not sorry about it though, despite the fact that we must have looked like we were clinically insane escapees, we have done some ground-breaking work on the matter. And that, friends, makes us pretty much scientists.

After all that walking, and at various speeds, I was rather tired, so there was next to no chance of any achievement happening after lunch. Plus, there is only so much you can achieve in one day, and no one likes an overachiever do they?

 

Bonnie

The one with the slippery nipple

I was back at work today. My God, I did not want to go. I even had a tiny cry last night because I didn’t want to go to work – just like a kid not wanting to go back to school after the summer holidays. How sad is that? No need to answer, I know it is sad, and I know it is crazy, you really don’t need to tell me.

I got to work and I took the greatest pleasure in deleting all of the emails I got whilst I was away. I couldn’t remember how to do anything at all, and it took me about 10 minutes to figure out where I needed to save this document, after not having to save it for a month. I wasted a lot of the day on staring blankly at me screen, not being able to recall what I was supposed to do with something, after I had got it.

I also wasted a good amount of time perusing the Macmillan coffee morning charity bake sale. I had completely forgotten about this, so I didn’t have any change, so I had to hit up my contacts and I managed to source myself £1 to get a gluten and dairy free brownie, which was actually surprisingly nice.

Finally, after many hours of waiting, it was time to go home. Well, not quite, it was actually time to go swimming. Seeing as I haven’t done any exercise whatsoever in a month, this was a fairly daunting prospect. I told my friends that if I didn’t make it in tomorrow because I had drowned, that it had been nice knowing them.

I got to the pool, got changed, and quickly realised that I had forgotten to bring a hair band. After scouring the surfaces, the hairdryer area and the showers, I could not locate a hairband. I even went out to reception to see if there was a spare one, but to no avail. Nuts. Trying to swim without my hair tied back isn’t really an option. I have a lot of hair, and if I leave it down, it’s like trying to swim with a bucket of cement on the back of my head. Which is hard, as you can imagine.

I couldn’t see an option. There didn’t appear to be a way around this. Until I looked down at my swimsuit. Now, this isn’t the usual swimsuit I wear, normally I wear a sporty one that flattens everything out and makes you more streamlined, whilst simultaneously squeezing all your back fat out of the back of your costume in horrifying lumps. But today, I had a more fashionable swimsuit on, because I couldn’t find the ghastly sporty, back fat enhancing number.

This swimsuit had a lace up bit at the front. It is like a v neck one, but with some loops and a bit of string that you can use to make cleavage by tightening it up, I guess. I’m sure you already know what I am thinking here. I’m thinking, that I will untie the string bit, take it out of the loops, and use it to tie my hair up. It’s a brilliant idea! What could possibly go wrong? Don’t even start, I know I’m an idiot. I know. I KNOW.

So, I action my plan, and after a bit of fussing I have my hair tied back, and what is now a swimsuit with a VERY deep v neck. I plop into the water, and let’s just say, there were a certain degree of movement, which wasn’t present when the string was instated in its rightful place. I’m not sure I can swim like this; the nips are barely covered. I’m convinced that if I push off from the wall that my swimsuit it going to slip and I will basically be boobs out in the swimming pool. Lifeguards will be looking on horrified and small children will be heard crying in the background.

But, I’m here now, so I might as well make the most of it and try and swim. I tentatively push away from the wall, and everything is going swimmingly (pun intended) so far. Everything is remaining in place, all is where it should be and life is good. I swim for a bit, I do a few lengths, everything seems fine.

I push off from the wall a bit harder, and all of a sudden everything is distinctly less fine. Very much, distinctly less fine. There was a certain coolness against the skin where there wasn’t before. Chillier in places than one is perhaps used to. And when I say that, I mean that nips weren’t in, they were bordering on the out. I didn’t want them to be out. I very much wanted them to be in and a woman was heading towards me, and she was wearing goggles, and she was most definitely going to see, and I was most definitely going to die of embarrassment.

I stopped in the middle of the lane, pulled my swimsuit up violently (and in the process, gave myself a minor wedgie) and scrambled back to the wall. I think I had managed to preserve my dignity, somewhat. Christ Bonnie.

 

Bonnie

South Africa Day 20: Elephant Fights and Hyena Bites 

First thing we saw today were a couple of giraffes having a cuddle. I’m sure they weren’t really having a snug, but that’s what it looked like to me, so that’s what I’ll say they were doing. Anyway, it looked CUTE, with their necks kinda twisted together.

 

We were out looking for a leopard today. There had been some sightings, and we were combing the area looking out for those beautiful spots. The other guests who were in the truck with us hadn’t seen a leopard yet, and they hadn’t done any other game drives, so the ranger was trying his best to find one.

We found some more elephants. There were two young boys play fighting with one another, which was so cool to see. I’d never seen them do that in real life – they were just like human teenage brothers! They were pushing and shoving each other and one of them turned and ran into the bush, swiftly followed by a tusk in the rump from his playmate.

 

They thundered off into the trees and we could hear them messing around in there; crashing into trees and crashing into each other it seems. There was a little one in the herd who was just staring to learn to use his trunk to strip leaves from branches. It was so endearing watching him learning. Struggling to control his trunk and tackle the branches, was just CUTE. They are so like humans in so many ways. 

 

We stumbled upon a hyena laying out in the open. He was so chilled, and it turns out he wasn’t far from their den – so it looked like he had been kicked out. Maybe he came home late or something and Mrs Hyena wasn’t happy? Who knows!

 

Not long after that, we got a call telling us there were some hyenas feeding on a baby giraffe. They couldn’t tell whether the hyenas had taken down the giraffe themselves or whether they had snaffled it off of a leopard. Poor little giraffe. But that’s life I guess – and it’s interesting even if it is a bit horrible, so we decided to head over there to take a look.

On our way over there we hit a roadblock, a giraffe roadblock. There were 6 giraffes standing in the road in front of us, and more to the left and the right of us. They were non-movers. 


We had to wait until the one at the front decided they were going to follow the rest of the group, and ran towards us and went to our left. Soon the others followed suit and the road was clear. These guys were probably the group that the little one was taken from – which would explain why they were acting kinda strangely.


We got to where the hyenas were feeding on the baby giraffe and they were all laying around on the ground. Their tummies were so full that they couldn’t get up, they looked like they had swallowed footballs! They were fit to burst, and all they could manage was to lift their heads and glance at us when we arrived.

Look at that tum

They soon lost interest in us when the pups arrived and started squabbling over the remains of the giraffe. Mum had to wade in, and one of the little ones didn’t take kindly to her interference and started trying to bite her ankles – which was hilarious to watch. He was snapping and snarling at her as she tried to stop them arguing with one another.

 

This was a really nice sighting for our last one of our holiday. We have been really lucky with everything we have seen. Seeing the Big 5, then the Super 7 and only being one off seeing the Dangerous 9. All we need to do is stumble upon a Nile crocodile and we will have a full set (somehow, I don’t think that is likely). Some of the sightings we have had of these animals have been one of a kind and once in a lifetime kind of sightings. They haven’t just been glimpses of tails and ears in the bush, 300 metres away. We have seen animals up close and doing their thing. Which is beyond amazing.

I am really going to miss waking up each morning and seeing all these amazing animals. Going back home and opening the curtains to the odd one-legged pigeon and urban fox rummaging through a bin, isn’t quite the same. I’m sad to leave. I’m really, really sad to leave.

 

Bonnie

South Africa Day 19: Lions Sleeping and Hippos Creeping 

We are at a new place now, which is a lodge rather than a camp. I have to say, I much prefer the camp. There were loads less people and the whole experience was much more personal. We got here yesterday afternoon, so we had a game drive in the evening. I got a really good photo of a giraffe as the sun was going down, with the last of the sunlight on his face.

 

We also saw a hyena going down to the water to drink, which was pretty cool. I hadn’t seen one in the light yet. There was a hippo in the water, and they are super territorial, and as soon as the hyena had started drinking, the hippo was on its way over to it.

 

It got closer and closer to the hyena, until the hyena decided it was time to scoot off, well out of the reach of the hippo. It sauntered off up the bank and disappeared into the bush.

 

The next morning, we were out nice and early, and the first thing we saw was a hyena. They aren’t usually out and about at this time, so it looked like she was coming back from a hunt. Kind of like a “morning after the night before” thing.

 

We saw some more white rhino, which were lazing about and chilling. After our rhino encounter, we saw some elephants, and there were little babies! I don’t know what it is about baby elephants, but they are so endearing.

 

Just as we were heading back to the lodge, we found some buffalo. This now means I have officially seen not only the big 5, but the super 7 too! There were about 150 buffalo in the herd, and we watched them for a while.

 

It was interesting to watch the birds on the buffalo picking off the ticks and parasites from them. Their bright red beaks stand out against the brown of the buffalo.

 

Buffalo weren’t as ugly as I thought they would be, and their horns reminded me of an old fashioned Swiss milkmaid.

 

That afternoon, the first animals we happened on were a group of lesser mongoose. I love these little guys, as the interact with each other constantly. They are always chattering away and playing. Pulling each other’s tails, chasing after one another and engaging in a bit of rough and tumble.

 


We saw another hippo in a watering hole, and a giraffe came down to drink at the edge. It isn’t often you see a giraffe drinking and it was cool to watch the way they have to splay their front legs so they can reach the water.

 


Both hippo and giraffe kept a beady eye on one another, but there was no aggression shown by the hippo. I guess this must be because the giraffe doesn’t really pose a threat.

 

Just around the corner from these guys, were some lions. Yay, more cats!!! There were a few females and a male.

 

I still can’t get over just how much they are like out domestic cats at home. They do all the same things, and it’s so cute to watch.

 

Watching them stretch out and move around is beyond enjoyable. They all had a good wriggle and stayed dozing in the last of the afternoon sun.

 

Bonnie

South Africa Day 18: Elephants from the Shower and Cheetah Power

After yesterday’s game drive, some elephants visited my tent. Eek! As it happened, I was in the shower. The showers have glass doors which look out into the bush, so, if an animal happens to wander by, you can see them whilst you are having a shower. An elephant walked past, just as I was rinsing the conditioner out of my hair. I wasn’t quite sure what to do. Do I run for the camera? Do I just carry on washing my hair?? Do I just stroll out there naked??? Who knows.

In the end, I grabbed a towel and wrapped it round me, and walked onto the veranda, dripping with water, to watch the elephant go about its business. It wandered on by, and went to find some food down the other end. I was just about to get in the shower when another elephant appeared. I wasn’t going to let this one go without a photo, so I grabbed the camera from inside.

 

The elephant walked down towards me, stopping to snack on some leaves and things as it went. I think it stopped to look at me for a bit, we made some pretty intense eye contact, and then the elephant wandered on by.

 

Another one came down, and the same thing happened, but there was less pausing this time. I guess because the other ones had proved it was safe to come through, so the elephant didn’t feel the need to eye me up in such great detail.

 

That afternoon on the game drive, we also saw rhinos. I’m not going to put any photos on here, because of the whole poaching sitch, and I don’t want to be the person that hashtags it on Instagram and points poachers in the right direction.

But we saw white rhino and we saw black rhino too. Funny story actually, we had seen the white rhino and we were driving off to our next port of call. I just happened to look over my shoulder, and I saw some rhino running along behind us. I had just assumed they were the same ones, so I didn’t say anything, and as it happens, the girl behind me in the truck saw them too and we both thought the same. It wasn’t until one of the guys told us what we were looking for, that we both piped up and said we had seen them.

The guys practically had their jaws on the floor, and I don’t think they believed us at first. But low and behold, there they were. Cool little fact about the rhinos, they are actually called wide lipped and hook lipped. It is thought that the Afrikaans word for wide was accidentally mistranslated to white, and from then on, they were called black and white. Another theory, is that because the black rhino is so aggressive, people thought it had demons in it, and it was possessed. And that the black and white thing was a bit of a ying/yang concept.

 

The next morning was out last game drive here in Thornybush game reserve, and I will be really, really sad to leave the Chapungu camp. As it was the last day, we decided to go searching for the final thing on our list; cheetah. The last cheetah sightings were way down in the south of the camp, literally as far as you could go. It was going to be a really long drive there to try and find these guys.

We drove for what seemed like forever. We stopped for a coffee and a leg stretch at a watering hole with some hippos in it. I was about half way through my coffee, when Jacques (the ranger) herded us into the truck and packed all of the coffee stuff up. We were driving at the speed of light, bouncing over the bumps in the road and narrowly avoiding thorny trees and branches. We slowed down and approached another truck which was stopped on the side of the track.

 On our left-hand side was a female cheetah, making her way along through the bush. Shortly followed by 4 cubs [insert major heart explosion here]. These little ones weren’t even 2 months old yet, and they were still sooooooo teeny.

 

They are heart meltingly cute. They little tails stick up in the air when they run and they are so fluffy. They were all bounding around and playing with each other, just like little kittens. They were scrambling up trees, pushing each other out of them, and clambering back up again. They break my heart. It’s like they hold actual power over me.



We couldn’t get close because they were so small, and the guys don’t disturb them when they are that little. But just seeing them playing with each other, was enough to seal the deal for me, and ensure that I would definitely be coming back here again.

 I didn’t want to leave the camp, I’ve had such a wonderful time there. I just wish I could stay on forever. It’s the best place.

 Wildlife seen today: 

  • African fish eagle 
  • Elephant 
  • Hippo 
  • Cheetah – mummy and cubs 
  • Banded mongoose
  • Nyala 
  • Kudu 
  • Impala 

Bonnie

South Africa Day 17 (AM): Elephant Herd and Cats that Purred

We were up and away quickly this morning and out looking for a leopard. The guys were determined to find one this morning, and I think they were willing to go on all day to look for one of these elusive cats. We started off where we had lost the male leopard last night, and spotted a couple of warthogs on the way, having a munch.

 

It turns out, he is new to the area and hasn’t quite established a territory yet, so he is keeping himself to himself. We followed some tracks, but they disappeared across some hard ground, and we couldn’t see which way he had gone from there.

We drove down the riverbed looking for more tracks. It seemed that the leopards had been out in force this morning and there were loads of calls on the radio for leopard tracks leading in every direction. Out of nowhere, we were racing down the riverbed. Someone must have heard something on the radio! A leopard had been spotted, and the guys weren’t taking the chance of a leopard eluding us again.

You could tell how excited the guys were, and we raced towards where this leopard had been spotted. We rounded the bend and you could see her. Wow. She was so gorgeous. And accompanied by her 6-month-old male cub. OMG!! I nearly had a heart attack there in my seat. I love cats at the best of times, but these kitties are so beautiful. The markings on them are out of this world and the way they move and act just makes me want to explode, they are just like kitties at home, just bigger, and so beautiful.

Cub left, mummy right

The little one was feeling playful and affectionate this morning, and he kept walking in front of his mum and brushing up against her. He was stopping her to try and get her to play, but she wasn’t having any of it.

 

He was bounding around, just like a little kitten. Playing with things on the ground, running up trees, and generally making a nuisance of himself. They were chatting with one another and you could hear the little one calling and purring to his mummy.

 

He started jumping around in the trees and trying to jump on his mum. This made my heart MELT. 


His mum stopped and he carried on walking, he had spotted a bird up ahead. He made a good job of stalking this bird, but to no avail, as it flew off as he was about to pounce. Mum looked on in amusement.

 

It was time to make ourselves scarce and leave these two to it, so we headed off in the direction of some elephants. We drove into the riverbed and waited. One elephant appeared and made its way up the bank.

Little and big

The another one appeared, and another one and another one. They were all sliding down the bank on the left-hand side, and walking back up the bank on the right-hand side to feed.

 

There were lots of mummies with their babies. They looked so funny when they were trying to slide down the bank after their mums; we even saw one sliding on its bum.

 

One even trumpeted at us and tried to charge at the vehicle. He was a boisterous little one and he ran off to wreak havoc and bother the other little elephants.

 

There was one female digging for water in the river bed, the dug down far enough and was drinking water from the hole she had made. Her baby then came to try and get some water, its trunk was too short and the little one ended up having to get in the hole to get something to drink. Sooooooo cute!!

 

In total, there were about 30 elephants in this group. We didn’t count them exactly, but there in front of us, we counted 20 and a few had already wandered past and were straggling behind.

 

On the way back we saw some more zebras who looked like they were cuddling. They were actually grooming each other’s backs and getting the spots they couldn’t reach by themselves. Apparently, they sleep this way sometimes, and it’s kind of like a combination of a pillow and “I’ll watch your back, you watch mine” situation.

 

We saw a few vervet monkeys in a tree and a huge male kudu, just as we pulled into the camp.

 

Wildlife seen today:

  • Warthog
  • Giraffe
  • Impala
  • Nyala
  • Kudu
  • Leopard – mummy and cub
  • Elephant
  • Zebra
  • Vervet monkey
  • Baboon
  • Steenbok
  • Dwarf mongoose

 

Bonnie

South Africa Day 16 (PM): Elusive Cats and Flying Hats

We’d had some lunch and chilled for a bit, and whilst we were sitting at the lodge some ngala came up really close to us and were eating some of the vegetation nearby. These creatures are so sweet and they have such endearing faces and eyes.

 

The wind was still up and it was looking fairly overcast, plus it was quite chilly. We went out to see if we could see a leopard. Victor (the tracker), or Uncle Vic as he is affectionately known as, found tracks of a female leopard. We couldn’t quite tell where she was headed, but he made a guess and we scouted about for a bit, but didn’t see anything. He guessed that he had probably headed off in a particular direction, and we would come back later to see if we could find her.

We saw a few giraffes on the airstrip, which was cool. Apparently, they are a nightmare when light aircraft come in to land and the guys need to clear the runway. The giraffes come straight back onto the tarmac as soon as they are shooed off and they have to be kicked off again.

 

There wasn’t much to see this evening as it was still windy and it makes the wildlife go to ground as they can’t hear and smell as effectively. We drove around for a while following various tracks of various animals, and came up with nothing. We were trucking steadily along when I happened to look up at something which had caught my eye (I assume it was a bird) and my hat flew off. Rats! I wouldn’t have worried about it, but it was brand new and I was using it to try and protect my face a bit from the windburn that was removing my top layer of skin. We skidded to a halt and the hat was retrieved, in one piece, but somewhat dusty.

We headed to a small body of water, where we managed to see some hippos. Hippos are the most dangerous animals by far in Africa, particularly when it comes to humans. They are exceptionally territorial, and if you get to close or upset them too much, they will try to kill you. They don’t eat meat at all, but they don’t think twice about getting rid or something causing them bother.

Classic hippo yawn

The guide told us a story about an impala he had seen running away from some wild dogs. The impala had tried to swim across the water, but the wild dogs had met it at the other side. It tried to swim back, but the hippos had had enough, and killed the impala right there in the lake. They then wandered off to the other side of the water. This goes to show how angry they can be.

We also saw a tawny eagle standing at the edge of the water, taking a drink.

 

We trucked on for a bit and came across some wildebeest running around madly in a clearing in the bush. They were playing and chasing after one another, and kicking up quite some dust. They kept running around in circles and butting in to one another, it was really funny to see. We also spotted some hyenas running down the road and they crossed in front of us. We suspected they were heading towards the giraffe upon which we had seen the vultures feeding earlier.

We followed the hyenas, but as soon as we got back to the giraffe, we got a call on the radio about the leopard we had been tracking earlier. It turns out she had done exactly what the guys had thought she would do, but we had missed it. We raced in the truck to see if we could make it to the area before she disappeared (having to dodge a few bushes along the way), but we missed her, and she disappeared into the thick bush. Damn.

After that, we got another call from one of the guys saying that a male leopard had been sighted next to the airstrip, so we went that way as fast as we could. By now, you could feel the guide and the tracker getting frustrated, we had been after a leopard all day and we hadn’t managed to see one. As we got to the area where the leopard was sighted, we couldn’t see anything. He’d slipped into the bush and the guys were struggling to locate him in the dark, and the dense thicket. All of a sudden, we managed to catch a glimpse of the male leopard, winding his way through the undergrowth, but it was only for a second. Just enough for me to recognise that it was a leopard.

We’d lost him again and we really couldn’t see him this time. In multiple locations, we tried navigating through the bush using the truck. We came crashing over fallen trees and poor Victor on the front was having to fend off the branches and thorns like a madman, practically bending over backwards and laying on the bonnet to avoid being attacked by a tree. I came a-cropper on a number of branches, including one which decided to spear my hood and strangle me a bit.

It started raining, and it was decided it was time to head back to camp. You could feel the guys were raging about having not been able to see the leopard, and were upset that they hadn’t been able to show us. The elusive leopard strikes again! Funny, considering they are the most abundant cat in the area. But you don’t get to be the most abundant cat in the area for nothing. To be honest, I think we all thought it was a great laugh crashing through the bush and getting impaled with branches. Well, I did anyway. 

 

Wildlife seen this afternoon:

  • Giraffe
  • Hippo
  • Tawny eagle
  • Wildebeest
  • Spotted eagle owl
  • Hyena
  • Leopard (briefly)

 

Bonnie

South Africa Day 16 (AM): Excited Rangers and Cheetah Wagers

We had a 5 am wakeup call this morning. When I say wakeup call, I mean someone came and knocked on the door of my tent to make sure I was awake. At 5.30 am we had coffee and rusk (which is a little bit like biscotti in the sense that is hard and best dipped in your hot drink), up at the lodge, and we jumped in the truck and we were on our way.

The guys had been hearing some interesting stuff on the radio last night, and we were in for a long and fast drive, to try and see something special. They wouldn’t say what it was, because they don’t want to disappoint you when you can’t see what they were looking for, but they were clearly buzzing about it and were super excited. I had my suspicions it was a cheetah, whereas Les thought it was a rhino… we will see!

We saw some zebra on the way, which the guy called pyjama donkeys (such a good name). Zebra are so vibrant in comparison to the other animals in the bush, and once you have spotted them, they really stand out against the background… If you can spot them in the first place!


We then spotted some elephant in the bush, it looked like there was only one or two about. The guys wanted to keep on trucking to catch up with whatever we were chasing, so we left the elephant and carried on. At about 7.45 we got to what we were looking for – a pack of wild dogs, amazing! Apparently, these guys haven’t been seen for in ages, they have been up in the northern area for a long while and this is the first time they have come back south in a long time.

 

Mummies and daddies

They need an area of around 20 hectares in which to hunt, and they have the highest success rates of all predators. Some packs of wild dogs have a hunt success rate of 97 percent, how good is that?! They have incredible stamina, and they work together to run their prey down. The lead dog follows the animal they are chasing, and the others work to cut the prey off on the left or right-hand sides. They also use slipstreaming to help conserve some energy, and the lead dog switches over with one behind, to give itself a break.

 

Puppies!

There were a group of 6 adults and 7 pups. They had started off the season with 12 pups, so they have had a better than 50% survival rate, which is really good. They were so sweet, with their giant ears and all laying on top of one another in a big bundle. They were beyond cute.

 

Puppies! Puppies!

We started off on the chase after the thing we were originally chasing, but over the radio the guide had heard no trace of the animal we were after, and seeing as it was another hour away and the wind was getting up, he decided not to continue going after whatever it was. We had the fortune of coming across a mummy giraffe and her baby, alone in the bush. The baby giraffe was less than a week old and he was still unsteady on his legs and was sticking close to his mum.


This little one was so beautiful, and I could have spent all day watching him. His legs were all gangly, and he looked so ungainly when he was running to catch up with his mum who had crossed the road. They are such wonderful creatures, and the height of them just seems impossible.

Running to mummy


We drove down a bit further and saw another, slightly older female, who was expecting a little giraffe, or “carrying”. She was very tall and she had beautiful markings, which were so different from the giraffe before.

We saw an eagle in its nest in the top of a tree, and then we spotted an elephant. And then another elephant. And then a whole herd of them!

There was a little one too, who trotted across in front of us. They are so sweet and they always look like they are smiling and happy.

There was a young male who flapped his ears at us and trumpeted. The males stay with the herd until they are about 22 years old, after which, they get pushed out by the females to go it alone.

A young female legged it across on front of us, and I got some great photos of her in action, with her ears flapping and her tail swinging around.

We watched them roaming around in the bush for a while and doing their thing, then carried on up the road. We saw a female lioness with her two cubs, a boy and a girl, who were about 6 months old.

They were laying out in the open because it was windy, and this gives her better visibility and makes it easier for her to protect them when she can’t hear as well. These guys “belonged” to the male lion we saw yesterday. It turned out, he was just around the corner, and was fast asleep in the grass.

He has a big gash on his leg (which looks worse than it is), but it is taking a long time to heal because he is travelling so much.

They guys took us to a giraffe which had passed away from natural causes (a big male), and it was surrounded by vultures. They were stripping the meat from the carcass and fighting with each other. The giraffe had only been there for a day and a half, and it was already pretty much gone.

 

Gruesome eh?

The vultures make such a racket, and they bicker with one another constantly, and I can’t say they are the most attractive of birds. They don’t have any feathers on their necks like the long ones on the rest of their body; this is so that they don’t get covered in animal innards when they are scavenging inside a carcass.

We saw a few warthogs and I managed to get a really good photo of a hornbill, who had been proving difficult to get a good snap of.

Considering this was all between 6 and 10 o’clock in the morning – I think we did pretty damn good. Oh, and it turns out that the animal they were looking for this morning was a female cheetah and her cubs. Ousshhhhh – I win the wager!!

Wildlife seen today:

  • Kudu
  • Impala
  • Ngala
  • Zebra
  • Eagle
  • Vervet monkey
  • Wild dogs
  • Giraffe – mummy/baby/lone female
  • Elephant – herd/lone male
  • Lion – male/female/cubs
  • Vultures
  • Warthogs

 

Bonnie

South Africa Day 15: Propelled Planes and Frog Games

Today we fly from Port Elizabeth to Hoedspruit, which is around the Kruger National Park area. I can’t say I am sorry to leave Port Elizabeth. There is nothing there and it is one of my least favourite places I have ever visited. We fly from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg and from Johannesburg we fly to Hoedspruit. The plane we took from Joburg had propellers – it has been a very long time since I have flown in anything with props. I think the last time I flew in a plane with props was when we were in Canada when I was about 10 or 11.

 

We had a wait of a couple of hours in Joburg airport, and we sat and had a coffee and I caught up on a few bits of life admin. This coffee place is the second place I have been able to find almond milk on this trip, so I was a very happy bunny.

 

We boarded the plane and set off to Hoedspruit. The airport there is so cute, it’s arrivals and departures “lounge” and more of a garage, it’s tiny. It reminded me of when we flew to a place in Australia and we had to take our own luggage off the plane. This wasn’t quite so involved, and they brought our luggage round on the back of a tractor.

We jumped in our hire car and set out to find the place we were staying; Thornybush Lodge. This turned out to be more easily said, than done. The instructions we had were not helpful, to say the least. We ended up driving round in a big circle, only to realise we had driven past the lodge right at the beginning and hadn’t clocked it (thinking it couldn’t possibly be that close). We eventually got there, after driving down loads of bumpy, dusty dirt roads. Which was really fun, well, for me anyway; not so sure about those in the back.

 

We spotted a fair few animals on our way, seeing giraffe, impala, and warthog. Quite a find, considering it was the heat of the day and it was about 33 degrees when we got there. Giraffe are so majestic, and it was amazing to just see three of them nibbling leaves off the trees as we drove past.

 

We get to the lodge and we are greeted with homemade lemonade and lunch. The lemonade is delicious, as was the lunch, and there are different salads to choose from and light bites. Super scrummy. We then had 30 minutes to sort ourselves out, and we were out on an evening game drive at 4 o’clock in the afternoon.

 

We are in what is called a “tented camp”, but to be honest, these tents are so posh, they are more like houses! They have proper beds and showers, and I even have an outside bath. The rooms point directly into the bush, so there is a chance you might see some wildlife wandering around when you open the curtains in the morning.


Whilst we are out, we see different types of antelope in abundance, including the tiny Duiker, which is very shy. We see loads of birds, including the Hornbill, who you might know from the film, The Lion King. We tracked some Elephant for a bit, but they were much faster than we were, and they made it across the border before we could see them.

By far the best experience though, was when we paused in the truck and a huge male lion leaped out from the river bed to our right-hand side and strolled straight in front of our vehicle. He was massive! The size of his paws was incredible, and he had a big gash on his right hind leg where he had been protecting his Pride from neighbouring male lions.

Shame it’s blurry eh?

We followed him along, and he led us to where 4 members of his pride were laying out, snoozing in the sun. There were two young males, who were about 18 months old and two females. In a few months’ time, the young males will be kicked out of the pride to fend for themselves, as they will be well on their way to maturity.

I love this photo of them all in a line

The lions lolled about in the sun, laying on a nice flat bit of ground where we could get a really good look at them. We were so close, it was unbelievable; I had never thought I would be that close to a lion in my life.

 

After a long time watching the lions and learning about them (did you know that male lions could form a coalition? And they will look after multiple Prides of female lions in the area together? No, me either!).

 

A young male, about 18 months


We headed on for a bit, and found a good place to watch the sun go down. The sunset here is beautiful, and it is wonderful to watch the vibrant colours as the sun goes down, and the stark contrast of this in comparison to the dark trees in the foreground. We had a cheeky little alcoholic beverage as we watched the sun set, and I walked around the area and found some giraffe bones that were 5 years old to take a good look at.

 

Leg bone
 
Pelvic bone

We set off again and came across some baboons playing around in the trees, so we stopped to watch them for a bit. It always amazes me how agile monkeys are, they seem to defy gravity as they are leaping through the trees.

 

It was dark now, and we were looking for a leopard around the dry riverbed. Unfortunately, we didn’t have much luck, but we did see a tree frog, a hare and a cute little bushbaby chilling in a tree!! We headed back to the camp, and the first thing you notice is the sound of the frogs. They are SO loud, and they don’t stop. The only time they stop croaking for a bit, is if someone disturbs them. They stop for a few moments, but soon enough they are at it again. I wonder if it is all a big game to them, and whether they think it is hilarious to croak, knowing we can do precisely nothing about it.

We had some dinner, and then we were off to bed. We’d been up since 5.30 this morning, so we were fairly knackered. I sit here writing this, to the sound of a symphony of frogs. I wonder if they will ever stop, or if I will be dreaming of frogs… Or dreaming of throttling frogs.

 

Wildlife seen today:

  • Giraffe
  • Wildebeest
  • Common warthog
  • Lesser bushbaby
  • Duiker
  • Impala
  • Nyala
  • Baboon
  • Vervet monkey
  • Lion – male/female/cubs
  • Scrub hare
  • Tree squirrel

 

Bonnie

South Africa Day 14: I Think I’m Getting Scurvy

Again, we attempted to find something to do in Port Elizabeth, and again we failed. We ended up stopping at a beach for a bit, where it seemed like everyone who had nothing to do hung out. It was overcast and really windy, so we didn’t end up staying for that long.

Interesting light at the beach (only interesting thing, mind you)

We went for a wander down the beach, and there was loads of coral washed up on the pebbles. I hadn’t seen any coral washed up on any of the beaches before, so this was interesting to me. There were all different types, and it was everywhere you looked. I would like to know why it was washing up on that beach in particular, but I can’t come up with an answer… It must be something to do with the positioning. Maybe I’ll never know!

Said coral

I noticed one of the signs on the beach saying “zero tolerance” and then a list of things that weren’t tolerated, I couldn’t quite see what wasn’t tolerated, so I wandered a bit closer to take a look. On the list of things that were not tolerated, were dogs, lighting fires, alcohol and guns. Now, are guns and dogs really at the same level of public nuisance? Last time I checked, guns and dogs were definitely not in the same category. If you take your dog for a walk on the beach, do you go to prison for the same length of time as if you take your gun for a walk on the beach?! I think not. 

Anyway, there is still nothing to do in this place, so we went back to the hotel and I read my book for a bit. I’m reading The Good Immigrant, which is a book written by 21 black, Asian and ethnic minority writers in Britain today. I’m only a couple of chapters in so far, but it’s been a good read. It’s interesting and it goes into different people’s experiences that they have had in their lives, and I like stuff that is real life.

 

I had a strawberry and banana smoothie and some sushi for lunch at one of the cafes on the bay, and went and chilled back at the hotel for a bit. I feel like I haven’t eaten enough fruit and veg on this holiday and I think I am on the verge of getting scurvy. I had better watch out for that.

 

We went for dinner at the same place we went to last night, which was Something Good. Seeing as it was so nice, we thought we might as well go back there and have what we knew would be a decent meal. There was live music on when we got there, which I love love love. It was just one guy doing covers of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan songs and that kind of stuff, but live music is good and it cheered me up being able to sit and chill, listening to the music. I opted for a tipsy lemonade, which is a homemade lemonade with a double vodka in it. Yummy!

 

I am on my way up to Kruger National Park tomorrow, starting off in a tented camp for a few nights. Who knows if there will be wifi? Not I! So, if you don’t hear from me for a few days it’s because there is no wifi, or I’ve been eaten by a lion. 

Bonnie

South Africa Day 13: Onion Rings and Diamond Rings 

We went out in Port Elizabeth determined to find something to see and something to do. Turns out, it wasn’t that easy. We were supposed to be visiting friends whilst we were in Port Elizabeth, and we had planned to spend time with them, but as everything worked out, they ended up being in the UK whilst we were here in South Africa. If we’d known this earlier, we wouldn’t have stayed here so as long and probably would have been here for just one night instead of three.

I looked like a decent day, so I donned a summer dress and lace shirt, seeing as it was nice and sunny out. This was a big mistake. Over the course of the day it got windier and windier, and my skirt kept blowing up. It was impossible to hold down properly, and I dread to think how many people got a view of my butt. Sorry everyone!

 

We stopped for a drink at a café called Angelos which was on the beach. This tiny section of Port Elizabeth seems to be the liveliest part (but we didn’t know this at the time). I had a pineapple and apple juice, which looked pretty and tasted very much like pineapple and apple juice together. So, we are winning so far.

 

We head to Richmond Hill which is billed as being an up and coming area of Port Elizabeth with bars and restaurants. We arrived, and it was completely dead. There were no people there and no one was sat in any of the bars or restaurants. I appreciate it is the off season at the moment, but the lack of people made it very uncomfortable. We stuck out like sore thumbs and everyone was staring at us. So, it didn’t take us long to head back to the car and drive away. So far, Port Elizabeth is the only place where I have felt a bit threatened. It feels like everyone is staring at me all the time. People beep at me from their cars and shout things out the window. It’s super uncomfortable feeling like someone’s eyes are leering at you all the time.

That being said, I did have a man contact me on Instagram and ask me out on a date. He lives in the area and wanted to take me out. I said that I didn’t think there was much point, nice though he was, as I was leaving the next day to carry on my holiday. He invited me out for a drink in the evening, but, alas, I declined. I didn’t think his idea of a first date would be spending the evening sat at the dinner table with my parents. Maybe he was going to offer me his hand in marriage? Who know?! 

We had dinner at a place called Something Good. A few people had mentioned it as being a decent place to eat, so we cut our losses and headed for it. I had a rock shandy to drink, the alcoholic content in it was zero to none, but it tasted like ginger beer and it was good. Gail had a tipsy lemonade, which was a homemade lemonade with vodka in it, which was really tasty.

 

For dinner, I had The Hangover burger, which came with a fried egg, cheese, caramelised onions, tomato, bacon and a jalapeño popper. I also treated myself to a side of tempura onion rings, which turned out to be an excellent shout. Oh, and the waitress said she loved my top, and I do so love an outfit compliment. It was all really tasty (especially the onion rings). The only downside was that my jalapeño popper gave me unbearable hiccups, and I thought they were going to tear out of my chest. I have never experience internal fire like it. But this is the fault of the consumer, rather than the fault of the jalapeño.

 

Bonnie

South Africa Day 12: Board Shorts and Busy Ports

Oh, I forgot to tell you about dinner last night! It was soooooooo yummy. We went to this Italian restaurant called Mauro’s Restaurant in St Francis Bay. It is right in the harbour and serves some really tasty stuff and has a few speciality dishes.

The waitress there was great, and she took loads of time explaining the menu, their specialities and the specials they had on offer that day. I went for two of their speciality dishes, one which was a prawn soup (it was like a bisque with a mild curry flavour) and a scampi linguine, which came with tomatoes and a pesto sauce.


 
Both were beyond delicious, and I couldn’t fault either of them. They were both so flavourful and you could tell that some real time and effort had gone into making the dishes special and well balanced. If I ever come back to St Francis Bay, I will definitely be going there again. It doesn’t look hugely appealing from the outside, but I would advise you to look past this and go on in anyway. The owner of the restaurant (Mauro, funnily enough), came over and introduced himself to us at the end of the evening, and we had a good chat. He was half Austrian and half Italian, and had lived in South Africa since he was young, going back to Italy to train as a chef.
 

The next morning, I said goodbye to my room, which was about as close to the beach as you could get without being in a beach hut, and headed up to breakfast. I went for scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and tomatoes. I don’t think I have eaten this many eggs in my life, and I am probably on the verge of turning into a chicken any moment now (I think I can feel a beak forming).

 

We headed off towards Port Elizabeth after breakfast and noticed a sign for Jeffrey’s Bay on the way. We followed the signs for Jeffrey’s Bay because we had heard it was a good surfing spot, and we quite fancied watching a few surfers catching the waves. We got there, and it definitely has the surfer vibe. There are loads of guys around with sun bleached hair, in board shorts and bare feet (just what you want from a surfer, I think). We made our way to the beach, and there were about 30 kids all splashing about in the water. It looked like they were a class from a school as there were some teacher looking types on the beach with them (what a great school trip).

 

The beach at Jeffrey’s Bay is beautiful. It’s perfectly sandy and stretches on as far as the eye can see. We spotted some surfers up the way, so we ditched the shoes and the socks and made our way over to them.

 

There was a mix of guys and girls out there catching the waves. We stood there watching them for a while, riding the waves and falling in and doing tricks on their boards. There was one guy who was way better than the others, and he was doing some really cool tricks and running from one end of the board with another. I wish I was that athletic, and in my dreams this is how adept I will be at surfing when I have a go. In reality, however, I doubt I will even be able to stand up on the board for even a millisecond and will probably crash headfirst into the waves, if I can get anywhere near them.

 


Once we were done watching and I had had a paddle in the sea, which wasn’t anywhere near as cold as I had expected, we had a quick drink at a café and headed on our way to Port Elizabeth.


As we drove into Port Elizabeth, there didn’t seem to be a load of stuff here, and it was looking pretty industrial, which I guess is to be expected at a port! But it looked really busy, again, as I imagine a port should be. We found out hotel, which turned out to be pretty easy to locate, and we were shown to our rooms. I lucked out with a twin room, which was way bigger and much nicer than the double Gail and Les are in (heh, heh). It’s nice and noisy here and it sounds like a city. There is lots of beeping or car horns and shouting, which is making a nice change from the silence everywhere else.

It was dark by the time we got out for dinner and in the end, we settled for a Greek place called La Kouzina in Port Elizabeth, which turned out to be really nice. We shared starters of dolmades (vines leaves stuffed with rice), falafel and tzatziki and pita bread. The vine leaves were warmed through and they are a billion times better like that than they are cold. I ordered a mango daquiri, which was also really good. Often, I find daquiris can be a bit hit and miss, as a lot of the time they don’t get the ice smooth enough and it is way too lumpy, but this one was on point.

 

I had a main was good too; I had a wrap thing with chicken and hummus in it, which was tasty. I had another mango daquiri and I ended up finishing Gail’s second caipirinha cocktail (in which many lemons were harmed in the making of), and I was beyond full by the time I had sunk that. But I did it, not wanting to let a good citrusy cocktail go to waste. Because waste not, want not, right? I’m full of good deeds.

 

Bonnie

South Africa Day 11: Elephant Sneeze and Weak at the Knees

Today was a real day of firsts. We had breakfast outside on the veranda at the lodge we were staying at and the monkeys were running around and trying to steal people’s food. There was this one monkey which jumped right on the table in front of this guy and he screamed like a complete girl and looked genuinely terrified, which I thought was tres amusant. The staff had a slingshot which they used to scare off the monkeys. Just one look at it and they were off like a shot, back into the trees.

 

We travelled back towards Tsitsikamma National Park and pulled in at the Elephant Sanctuary, The Crags on our way. We had heard some mixed reviews from people about this place. Some people had said it was amazing and they had had a wonderful experience there, and others had said they found it a bit depressing. Most of the people who hadn’t enjoyed it had already been on a safari and seen the animals in the wild. We have become savvy to this mistake, and we always leave things like safaris to the end of the holiday, because we know you can’t beat experiencing animals in their natural habitat. Anyway, it was an incredible experience.

 

There are two different packages you can do, one where you take a walk with the elephants and you get to learn all about them and feed them, and another, where you do all of those things and then get to ride an elephant at the end. We chose the option with the elephant ride, because how many people get to say they have ridden an elephant?!

 

We started off by taking a tour of the grounds and the guide showed us the area in which the elephants sleep (which is always open so they can come and go as they please), then we had a look at the space where the elephants get to roam around in the day. He said it wasn’t as big as they would like and there weren’t very many trees, so they took the elephants out into the bush on a regular basis so they could do all the things elephants like to do. All the elephants here had been rescued for one reason or another. Some of them didn’t have any tusks and some of them had had a portion of their trunks cut off (they assumed as a result of being stuck in snares).

 

We got to hold hands with the elephants and go on a walk with them. When I say hold hands, I mean my hand and the elephants trunk. The elephant I was walking with was the Matriarch, and she had no tusks, but her trunk was fully functioning. They walked a lot faster than I had expected and she ended up pushing me along because I was going too slowly so I had to speed up.

 

We walked through a bit of the bush and stopped in an area where the keepers explained about the elephants. We got to touch the elephants whilst the keepers explained about each individual elephant and told us loads of interesting information about them. One of the cool things I learned was that elephants cry when they are upset, angry and happy, just like humans do!

 

The elephant I was with kept sniffing my trainers, and I was convinced that my feet must smell or something. But the guy told me that they remember by smell and not by sight, so they spend a lot of time sniffing around new people, and that if I came back in 10 years-time, she would remember me.

 

We got to give them some food, and then the elephant I was with sneezed all over me. Yuck!!! I’m so glad I was wearing my sunglasses, because I got elephant snot all over them and I think I would have been blinded if I’d been hit in the eye [hilarious]. It was pretty icky, but then, how many people can say they have been sneezed on by an elephant?

 

We walked back to the area where they spend the day and we got to feed them all some pumpkin. I know elephants eat a lot, but I hadn’t really seen what that meant in action. They ate a whole massive bucket full of pumpkin when we got back and they were still after more! By the end of that I was completely covered in pumpkin and mud and elephant snot, but it was so worth it.

 

After that we got to have a ride on the elephants. This was a great experience and the guide who was on there with me explained even more about the elephants and how they had come to be here. Again, I was surprised at how fast they moved and you could really feel all their muscles working underneath the blanket we were sitting on. It wasn’t as uncomfortable as I thought it was going to be, and to be honest I have had worse journeys in cars!

 

All so soon, the experience was over and we were heading on our way. But not before purchasing something from the shop so we could further help the elephants. I now have a cute yellow enamel bowl with a pair of elephants on it, which I will be using to consume all of my food as soon as I get home.

 

After the elephant experience, it was on to the second experience of the day. Bungee jumping – eek! It was with Face Adrenaline at Bloukrans Bungy, which is a 216-metre-high bungee jump off of Bloukrans Pass bridge. It’s the world’s highest commercial bungee jump, and the highest jump from a bridge. It’s also the highest bridge in Africa. I have never done a bungee jump before, so I thought I might as well start out with the highest one.

 

It was me and 5 or 6 other guys, all of whom were German. We walked across a walkway underneath the bridge, and you could see beneath you the whole way down. Loads of people don’t even make it past that bit, so I was doing well so far. When you are up there, there are so many guys working the ropes and stuff, there are easily 10 of them up there. They play music when you are up there to keep you pepped up and to try and stave off any fear.

 

They put you in order and they strap your ankles up and get you ready for the jump. They check, check and re-check that you are strapped up properly and then it’s time to go. They are taking photos of you and filming you the whole time, so there is evidence of every part of your journey. They made a big show of checking my safety (I don’t know if this was because I was the only girl, but they definitely took longer over me than they did any of the others).

 

Because your ankles are strapped together, you have to hop to the edge of the jump platform supported by a couple of guys. Then you put your arms out to your sides like you are Christ the Redeemer and they count you down. 5,4,3,2,1 and jump. You have to bend your knees and push as hard and you can and jump out as far as possible. It’s the strangest feeling as you leap through the air, because at that moment you are completely weightless and your life is quite literally out of your hands. You free fall for 5 or 6 seconds, and you start to wonder if there is ever going to be tension on the cord as you plummet towards the bottom of the valley.

Looking concerned

Looking less concerned just before the jump

All of a sudden you feel the tension and you are on the recoil. You bounce up and down about 4 times, looking rather like a ragdoll, and then you hang there waiting for the guy to come and get you. You hang upside down for quite a while, spinning around, having no idea if anyone is coming to get you. Out of nowhere, a man’s butt appeared in my face and I was being pulled up into a seated position and being winched up.

Moi


When you get up there they unhook you and unstrap you and pull you up. My legs had gone all wobbly from the adrenaline and I could hardly walk when I got off. I’d gone completely weak at the knees! I would definitely do it again, it’s exhilarating and that moment of pure freedom and helplessness is worth its weight in gold; there is nothing else like it. I have some proper photos of my experience, but I can’t get to them at the moment – but rest assured I will be showing you them as soon as I can.

View from the top

Bonnie

South Africa Day 10: Crashing Waves and Close Shaves

It was a glorious day today; the sun was out and the weather was beautiful. We went up for breakfast and I had some boiled eggs (which I haven’t had for years) and an orange juice. Oh, and I found the resident kitty! Which made me happy as Larry. He was really old (17) and he meowed a lot which I loved, and we had a good chat.

 

I took a couple of photos of our villa in the sun, and the views from the veranda. I donned the dungarees, a white shirt and put my hair in space buns, and we headed out.

 

We drove into Tsitsikamma National Park and headed towards the Storms River Mouth. Here they have hiking trails you can walk along and there is one trail with suspension bridges you can walk across.

 

Having worked up a bit of a thirst, we stopped for a coffee at the restaurant there, and the coffee came in old fashioned enamel cups!

 

The restaurant was right by the sea, and there were some seriously big waves coming in and crashing against the rocks. The scenery was beautiful (I don’t think I’ve seen a bad view yet in South Africa).

 

We decided to go for the suspension bridge trail first. We walked up and up through the trees and there was loads of bird life flitting about around us and some great lookout spots along the way. We also found a couple of good spots to take some photos, and I ended up clambering up into a tree for a good pic. I almost ended up falling out because I put my hand down to steady myself on a branch that wasn’t attached, as it turns out. But I managed to grab on and save myself from any unfortunate mishaps – close shave! If I’d fallen out of that tree my pride would have been very much dented, and I probably would have landed on someone and squashed them, which would have been mortifying.

 

After about an hour we got to the suspension bridge and made our way across it. As per usual, on the suspension bridge, there was someone doing their best to rock it backwards and forwards to scare everyone (dick). Once they had stopped being an ass, we go across to the other side where there was a little pebble beach and some rocks.

 


I perched on the one of the rocks and we sat and looked out at the waves rolling in. Out of nowhere the waves started crashing against the bottom of the rocks we were sitting and the water came spraying up the side of the rock. There is a great picture of my turning round in shock to see the wave crashing up behind me.

 

We headed back across the bridge after taking a few more pics now there were a few less people on there, and headed back down the trail. We stopped for a quick snack and another drink at the restaurant and then headed towards another trail, which was a bit shorter. It was only a kilometre long, this trail, but it was a really steep ascent with hardly any steps. We were doing a lot of clambering over rocks and swinging around on bits of trees.

 

We got to the top of this trail and there was a great view of the ocean where you could sit and watch for whales. We wouldn’t have been able to see anything much because the water was so choppy, so we started out descent. We were supposed to walk alongside this waterfall, but as we got to it, you could hardly see it because the trees were obscuring the view, which was a bit disappointing. I trotted down the remainder of the trail and ran back to the car which was about a kilometre away. I collected the car and brought it back to Gail and Les, as they had been a bit behind me on the trail. Running in dungarees is distinctly harder than in your gym kit, which is hard enough as it is. Not going to lie – I got a proper sweat on.

 

We went back to Hogs Hollow Country Lodge and got ready for dinner. I wanted to get up there a bit earlier than we had the night before, as they served canapes before the meal and last night I only managed to get myself one canape, which is certainly not enough. We didn’t end up getting up there for dinner in time for me to get myself more than one canape [insert cry of anguish here]. I am determined to get at least two tomorrow, even if it kills me.

 

There were some new people at our communal dinner table and there was a couple from Aberdeen who had decent chat. I got talking to the husband and he seemed to take quite a shine to me and we had a really good conversation. He even showed me a video of some people bungee jumping off the bridge in Tsitsikamma National Park (which is what I am going to be doing tomorrow). And he jumped on the defensive when someone at the table said that young people can’t hold conversations anymore. Love this guy! It’s always nice when you get talking to someone you get on with and who clearly enjoys talking to you as well. The joys of the communal dinner table eh?

 

Bonnie

South Africa Day 9: Tangled in the Jungle

It rained here last night, not just a little bit but a properly torrential downpour. It rained all day, from about 6pm, and it was still raining when I woke up and carried on until mid-morning. It was tipping it down and it was so, so loud. I was still awake at 4 o’clock in the morning because it was keeping me up, it was that noisy. I spose I shouldn’t complain because they have a major drought issue here at the moment and they really need the rain (this was the first time it had rained in months really). But, the lack of sleep was a killer and I was shattered by about 10 am and I could barely concentrate on my breakfast.

 

I decided I needed a proper relaxing brain break day. We had been pretty full on, travelling around and sightseeing and whatnot, so I think a day of nothing was deserved. Plus, I was getting to the point where I didn’t have much brain space left and I needed to defrag a bit. I had a really chilled day; I had a bath, dozed for a bit and read my book, which is Jungle by Yossi Ghinsberg. Then I watched Tangled on Netflix (not afraid to admit I’ve watched that more times than I can count). I chose it because I didn’t want to concentrate on anything too much and I didn’t want to have to really listen in and follow a major plot. It was nice to sit and watching something where I knew what was coming, and that was uplifting and made me giggle a bit.

 

I felt kinda guilty not doing anything, but it was worth it to have a day of pure relaxation and sit there and do precisely nothing. As a result of me doing a whole load of nothing, I don’t even have a single photo to share with you. Nope, not even one. Nada. Zero. Zilch. It was good to no worry about social media for a day, and I didn’t bother checking any of my emails or messages or anything really. I enjoyed having a day purely for myself, where I wasn’t worrying about anything or anyone else at all. Pure bliss. I’ll be back to the usual holiday madness again tomorrow I’m sure. But I feel a lot better today after having a kind of “healing” day. Hopefully I’ll have a tonne of energy now and I won’t feel quite as lethargic as I have been feeling.

 

Bonnie

South Africa Day 8: Almonds and Upgrades

We were moving on from Wilderness today to a place near Plettenberg Bay, called Hog Hollow Country Lodge, which is in The Crags. For breakfast, I went all out and had eggs benedict accompanied by chakalaka. I never usually have breakfast, so eating a full meal in the morning time is very rare for me, but I didn’t fancy any of the buffet options and I feel kind of weird not having anything, so I went for the eggs. It tasted very much like eggs benedict and it reminded me why I don’t have this kind of stuff in the morning; it’s just too rich and sickly. But it was still yummy.

 

We popped down the road to Knysna and stopped in a cute little coffee shop there, and low and behold, they had almond milk. I haven’t seen any option for soya milk or almond milk whilst I have been out here, so I have been drinking black coffee, which is fine, but I do so love almond milk. I was a very happy bunny, so much so that I even took a photograph of my almond milk latte.

 

We drove up to The Heads in Knysna, which had a view of the bay and you could see out to sea from there. We saw a tonne of different birds whilst we were walking around up there and we even saw a cute lil’ mousey thing.

After that we stopped off at Plettenberg Bay, where there really isn’t much to look at. So, we did what we usually do, and stopped for a coffee and a cake. In this coffee shop out waiter took quite a shine to me (for some unknown reason) and kept looking at me when he as attending to our table. He seemed really shy and he didn’t speak to me, but he kept looking up at me from under his eyelashes and then looking away embarrassed. If I am ever looking for a husband in South Africa I will make it my mission to find him.

 

We headed back to the car, and after a brief altercation with the parking attendant in very broken English and a torrent of Afrikaans, we were on our way. We haven’t had any trouble with any of the guys up until now. You give them a couple of Rand for looking after your car and seeing out of your parking space and you are on your way. But this guy clearly wasn’t happy with his payment and decided that he needed to shout at me and stick his head in through the car window. I don’t mind giving these guys a bit of change, but to complain that you haven’t received enough money for doing precisely nothing is a bit cheeky in my opinion. They wave you out of a space in which you could easily back an artic lorry out of.

 

We made it to Hogs Hollow Country Lodge, The Crags and we sat on the veranda and awaited our rooms having been provided with a glass of champagne each (don’t mind if I do). Whilst we were sitting there some Vervet monkeys came down and were running around us and chasing one another along the railings and over the canopy above us. As I had my champagne I hand, I didn’t manage to get any photos, but I will be rectifying this as soon as I can.

 

When it came to our room, it turned out we had been upgraded. This meant we were staying in The Villa. Now, The Villa is more like a mansion, it’s MASSIVE. It has its own pool, the kitchen is bigger than ours at home, the baths are pretty much swimming pools and it even has a pool table and a table tennis table. Pure madness. I’ll show you it on a nice day, rather than it on an overcast day; so here are some pics from the site. It is every bit as incredible as it looks.

 




The service here is amazing too. When we came back from dinner, someone had been in and turned down my bed, put a hot water bottle between the sheets and placed a bedtime story on my pillow. I thought I was going to pass out because it was so cute and thoughtful.

 

Bonnie

South Africa Day 7: Chilled Vibes and Pizzas of a Serious Size

It turns out there isn’t that much to do in the area around Wilderness, but to be honest, I was quite pleased as I really wanted a chilled day. After breakfast overlooking the bay, we went for a walk along the beach. I probably didn’t choose the best outfit to go wandering along the beach in; a burgundy corduroy skirt, a shirt, tights and trainers.

 

It was also kind of overcast today, which was a shame, but you can’t be blessed with perfect weather the whole time you are on holiday! We walked down the steps to the beach and as we were nearing the bottom of the steps, I realised the steps were broken. When I say broken, I mean the bottom flight of stairs weren’t there. They just stopped and there was a drop of about a couple of metres. There was no way I was walking all the way back up to go down another set of steps, so I decided to jump off. This could have gone very badly on account of how clumsy I can be, but fortunately I managed this without too much trouble.

 

We set about walking along the beach, and I was looking for a good pebble to pick up. I normally look for a heart shaped pebble when I am at the beach, but these were all way too smooth and round. But I did find a pebble that is pretty much a perfect circle, so that is now safely stowed in my rucksack.

 

We got down to the end of the beach and climbed up a set of steps which were much better maintained, and ended up in what appeared to be someone’s garden. We walked along the road a bit hoping to see a town or somewhere to get a drink, but there wasn’t one, so we decided to head back down to the beach to walk back. 


We were on top of a massive sand dune, which I ran down, ending up with about a kilo of sand in my trainers. Sigh. We walked all the way back and selected a set of steps which came all the way down to the beach and walked back up towards the hotel.

 

After I had emptied all the sand out of my trainers, we thought we would drive to Mossel Bay as the guide book had stated it was an up and coming area. We got there and up and coming it certainly was not. If this was up and coming, I dread to think of what it was like before. There was quite literally nothing there. We sat and had a coffee and whilst we were drinking our drinks we read a leaflet about things to do in Mossel Bay. It turns out there is an iron museum in Mossel Bay. As in ironing, as in laundry. What?! In the leaflet it said that is contained over 900 different irons, some of which are rare. There is even an exhibition displaying different washing machines and mangles. TO be quite frank, I would rather roll myself through a mangle than go and see that. A little disappointed, we made our way back to the hotel.

 

Seeing as it was only the afternoon, we thought we would head down to the spa. So, I donned a bikini. Shortly after, I remembered why I never wear a bikini. It’s actually not comfortable wearing an underwired bra posing as a swimsuit when you are trying to relax, and I always end up so conscious of tummy rolls the entire time I am wearing one. I know I’m not supposed to worry about it, but I definitely still do. Maybe every roll’s a goal? Maybe not. Probably not. Anyway, I wanted to go in the steam room and sauna but they were both closed. Grrrrr. Fortunately, the lady working in the spa turned on the steam room so we could go in there and we sat in the jacuzzi and bubbled around for a bit whilst we waited for it to heat up. After sweating out what I am pretty sure was all the water I had in my body, I exited said steam room and went to get ready for dinner.

 

We struck out for dinner and ended up in a little place in Wilderness Village, a place called Cocomo Restaurant. We went in there because it looked busy and it was absolutely rammed. It does live music every night and it does these amazing looking pizzas. These pizzas are basically the size of the moon. I have never seen pizzas this big in my entire life. They cook them in their own wood-fired pizza oven and they have a serious amount of topping on them, scrimp on topping they do not. I am not ashamed to say I ate the whole thing, not ashamed at all.

 

I shouldn’t have eaten it all, because it took me about an hour to get to sleep because I was so incredibly full. But I feel like it was worth it.

Bonnie

South Africa Day 6: Tall Tales and Beached Whales

Today we were travelling from Hermanus to a place called Wilderness. With no stopping, it would be about a three-and-a-half-hour drive from one to the other. We left the B&B at about 10am and headed towards Cape Agulhas, which is where the Indian and the Pacific oceans meet. It is the southernmost point of the continent of Africa, so it’s a pretty special place. We parked up and we decided to walk the rest of the way, which was just over a kilometre.

 

But first I needed a wee, so I made for the loo. As I walked into the cubicle, I realised someone had left their phone in there. So, I grabbed it and made my way back to the sinks to see if it belonged to anyone. Fortunately, the woman was still there and she was very thankful and thanked me for being such a kind stranger (yay for praise!), but then proceeded to ask me if I would put it in her bag and zip it up as her hands were still wet. I feel like this was a bit of a liberty to take, but obviously, I obliged because I am British and I couldn’t possibly refuse and run the risk of being seen as rude.

 

We started walking down the boardwalk to the most southern pointy bit of Africa. Some of the rock formations here were really cool and they were completely different colours. There were some light grey rocks and some dark brown rocks and some of them had orange bits in them. The views here were breath-taking, but it was also super windy here, so the weather didn’t lend itself to a selfie unfortunately (“how will we live without a selfie. Bonnie?!” I hear you cry).

 

When we got to the place, there was a prime photo taking spot where there was a sign which stated that this was the most southern point and where the two oceans met. We had to wait for a bit until it was our turn and I ended up having to take a few photos of people. I always end up being asked to take photos of people, I’ve been told it’s because I have an open face, but I actually think it is because they look at me and know that if I made a run for it with their camera, they would be able to catch me.

 

We took a few photos here and I clambered up onto the top of the rock the plaque was fixed to. It was pretty high and I really had to jump to push myself up on top of it. I got a little bit stuck and I looked like a beached whale rolling around on the top of this thing. But no matter, all in a bid to get a good pic (I’m not sure it was). 


Then wandered up a bit and I clambered around on some of the rocks; because I can’t stop myself from doing childish things like that. Then, we turned back and headed towards the lighthouse.

 

After all that walking, we had worked up quite an appetite, and headed back towards the town to a little roadside restaurant we had spied on the way in. This place was basically a little shack on the side of the road, but it cooked your fish and chips to order. It was so yummy, the batter they put on the fish was super light, and the chips were just the best things. Needless to say, I ate the whole thing, to the point where I felt fit to burst.

 

All too soon we were back on the road and heading towards Wilderness. We drove for wat seemed like forever, through endless countryside and farmland and even through a township where all the kids waved at us as we drove though (so sweet). I got to the point where I was super tired from driving and I needed to pull over for a break. We stopped off in this tiny town where we couldn’t even find somewhere to get a coffee. Eventually we stopped to ask this guy who was standing by the side of the road and he very kindly invited us into his kitchen/museum/antique shop place.

 

I wish I could tell you the name of the place so you could all go and visit there. Not because the coffee was incredible or anything, but this guy was seriously good value. The amount of pure bullshit that he was spouting was absolutely incredible! I had to turn away and look at the wall to stop myself laughing out loud. The number of things this bloke had done in his life and the number of different jobs he had done, he would have had to have been about 150 years old to achieve all of this. He was telling us that he was training to be a pianist when he was scouted for his talent for opera. He supposedly trained as an opera singer and then lived in Milan for 7 years. My suspicions began to arise when he told us that he was fluent in Italian but could now barely even say hello in the language.

 

Next, he was telling us that he trained to be a chef in Italy, and then re-training in traditional South African cuisine when he got back to the country. He then went about telling us that he had a doctorate in speech therapy and he worked with the same group of eleven children from when they were two to sixteen. He gleefully told us that they had all finally learned the gift of speech around the time they were sixteen and he left them as they no longer needed him. I feel like he can’t have been very good at his job if it took him all that time to get them to speak. But then, I don’t have a doctorate in speech therapy, do I?

 

By far my favourite bit of this yarn he was spinning, was the bit at the end, where he was telling us that he was due to travelling to Milan to perform in an opera. In this opera, he would be accompanied by Andrei Rieu. I must have misheard, surely? Surely, he meant he would be accompanying Andrei Rieu? No, he didn’t. He is genuinely telling us that THE Andrei Rieu, was going to be accompanying him in an opera. Unbelievable. I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard in my life as I did when I got back to the car. I had been holding it all in for so long and I couldn’t stop it any longer. I laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed. And then I laughed some more.

 

Eventually we made it to our hotel in Wilderness, which is really beautiful, and I found myself a chair suspended from the ceiling to sit in. I tried to fight the urge to swing in it, but I couldn’t, and soon I was swinging wildly about the place in my spherical seat. Les enjoyed giving me a bit of a push, and the highlight of the evening was when he went to put his phone in the inside pocket of his jacket and it fell all the way through. More laughter ensued (and much snorting) and I seriously got the giggles.  I think I had got a bit hysterical at this point.

 

Bonnie

South Africa Day 5: Whales Tails and Fails

Today we were going whale watching a few miles outside of Hermanus. We had to drive to the place in the morning for 9.15 am so we could get on the boat and go and see some marine life. Seeing as I was going on a boat, this seemed like the perfect time to don my nautical tee. I got this t-shirt from Primark for like £2.50 and it is white with blue anchors and tiny red hearts printed on it – super cute. Obviously, I teamed this with dungarees, and I went for white trainers and a white scrunchie (because I do so love colour coordinating).

 

We headed down to breakfast and the table was beautifully laid out (another shout out to Les Baleines bed and breakfast in Hermanus), and everything looked super scrummy. There was yoghurt already waiting on the table for us, and a muffin, granola and a piece of fruit each. I declined the yoghurt on account of the whole dairy thing, and Les quickly relieved me of the bowl. To make up for it I ate his granola out of the little jar and I ate Gail’s too. I inhaled my muffin too, which was really good and served in a tiny flower pot (appealing to my obsession with miniature things).

 

Soon we were on the road and heading towards our whale watching trip with Dyer Island Cruises. When we got there, we were greeted with coffee and muffins after we had signed in and paid for our trip. We were taken through a safety briefing, and we were also given a talk about the African Penguins on Dyers Island. Not so long ago, there was 23,000 penguins on the island, and now there are only about 2,000. This is due to the harvesting of the penguin guano from the island, which the penguins used to burrow down into to make their nests. The team at Dyer Island Cruises are doing some really cool stuff to help the penguins. They have devised some penguin houses which they make out of 100% recycled materials, which they put on the island for the penguins to nest in them. Apparently, the penguins love these things and they are desperate to get in there are soon as they can, and they are already carrying in twigs for their nests before the team have finished!

We got kitted out with a life jacket and a fetching orange waterproof jacket to keep off any spray, and we headed down to the launch point. I hadn’t realised that the boats were taken out of the water after they were used, so we got to watch the guys reverse the massive boat into the water on a trailer with a tractor and let her slip. We all got on and took our seats. Now, this boat had four 250 engines on the back of it, which had some serious oomph behind them. The second we were out of the harbour, we were going full throttle and absolutely flying over the waves. A few people got seasick, but fortunately I don’t get seasick like this. Put me on a boat in a force 8 and I’ll have no problem, but on the ferry from Dover to Calais I’ll get sick as a parrot – funny eh?

Sexayyyyyy

Not long after we got out to sea, we saw our first whale. It was a Southern Right whale, which gets its name from being in the Southern hemisphere and being considered the “right” whale to hunt. They were considered the best whales to hunt because they spend a lot of time near the surface, they move really slowly and they also float to the surface once they are killed. There’s a little fun/not so fun fact for you. 

Hey girl

This whale was super chilled and she was lazing about and rolling around and laying on her back. She showed us her flippers and we chilled there with her for about half an hour.

Catch you on the flip side


Then, behind us there was a young male, who leapt out of the water and breached. I missed the first one (which was the best one) but I saw the next two which were slightly less enthusiastic. I managed to sort of get a picture of it.

 

After that, they spotted some more whales off in the distance so we headed over in that direction towards them. As the boat was moving away and we went over a wave I managed to lose my balance (the boat was barely moving) and I ended up kneeing a fairly hefty chunk of metal and I have a nice purple bruise on me knee – standard. The funny thing is, I actually pride myself on my sea legs and being good on a boat and not getting seasick. And there I am going arse over tit when we go over the tiniest wave known to man. Lets just say it caught me off guard okay? FAIL! Anyway, we moved over to the whales which had been spotted. At first there was just two, but then soon another pair appeared and all four of them were hanging out together. The spot where we saw the whales is a breeding ground, so I think they were there to make babies.

 One of the females was diving and kept showing us her tail which I managed to get a few snaps of, which I am pretty pleased with! It’s so hard trying to judge where and when they are going to go down and come back up, so I had my camera at the ready the entire time and took so many photos – most of which I deleted because they were of precisely nothing because I had missed the good shot.

 

Once we were done with the whales, we left them to it and headed over to the Cape fur seal colony on Geyser Rock. There are 60,000 seals here so it was super noisy and busy (and seriously stinky). 


Sealed with a kiss

They were all playing in the water around the rock when we got over there. They were splashing about and jumping out of the water and messing about with one another. There were some really little ones there as well, which were super cute.

 

All too soon we were on our way back to the harbour. We had been out for hours and hours, but I still didn’t want to go back. I love nothing more than seeing animals in their natural habitat and it was such an amazing experience.

Suns out, tongues out

After that, we had some soup and a bread roll at the place, then we were on our way back to Hermanus. It was still early in the day, so we went for a wander around the town and stopped for something to eat and drink in this cute little café called Aromatish Café and Bakery in Hermanus. They do the best looking cakes in there, and we had a milk tart, a slice of banting cheesecake and a carrot cake to share. Delicious doesn’t even describe it, particularly the banting cheesecake which I have never had before. It had an almond base to it, which is way better than the biscuit base on your standard cheesecake which I always leave.

 


Before we went bck to our B&B for the evening, we went down to the beach and had a drink in a beach bar type place called Dutchies which had been recommended by a few locals and then went for a paddle in the sea. Which was FREEZING, but it was fun running into the sea and then running away from the waves. It was like being a kid again – so freeing.

 

Bonnie

South Africa Day 4: The Road to Hermanus

Today we are making our way from Cape Town to Hermanus via the coastal road. We went and dropped of our rental car from yesterday and picked up our rental car, which we will have for the next ten or eleven days. We were geared up for a difficult trip around the city, with my crappy map reading, but it actually wasn’t so bad. Everything is much easier in the day light and we recognised a lot of landmarks and road names as we were driving along. We stopped off at the first car rental place to drop off Gail and the luggage and paused to have another look at the map, to try and locate the second car rental place to drop the car off at.

The view from our apartment in Cape Town

The second we stop, that is when I lose my bearings on the map and start getting really confused. I have no idea which direction we are facing once we have stopped and the whole map thing makes even less sense to me than it did before. I try pointing the map in the direction we are travelling, but then I can’t read the road names and I start to get flustered – stupid illogical brain. But, as it so happens, the other car rental place was literally 100 yards from where we were. All we had to do was drive across the intersection. This was made much more difficult by a massive truck with a digger loaded onto the back of it, trying to make its way up this narrow road, and a very impatient Fiat Punto behind us.  After a tiny bit of gesturing and waving, we managed to free ourselves of the truck and angry Fiat man, and made it to the place to drop the car off.

We loaded all of our gear into the back of a Hyundai Tuscon and made our way out of Cape Town. At this point I feel the need to mention that I have never made it out of a city so easily, as we did Cape Town. It was really clearly signposted and once you were on the right road, you were out of the city in no time. As we started driving towards the coast, we headed past a few townships (which I love looking at). Townships are like shanty towns or favelas, for those of you that don’t know. And all the houses are made out of bits of corrugated tin and plastic and whatever else can be found. Soon we were driving down the coastal road, but it was a teeny bit overcast and everything was looking a bit grey.

After a failed attempt to find breakfast in Gordons Bay (which was basically a ghost town and made us feel super uncomfortable), we found somewhere to eat in Pringle Bay. We found a cafe with some seats outside and I settled for a rosti stack; which is posh for hash browns, bacon, tomato and omelette. But a glorious stack it was, and it certainly filled a hole.

Yummo!

The waitress who served us was really sweet and she was practising her English (she spoke Afrikaans) and she was telling us about a riot that was going on in a neighbouring town, which had meant some of the staff couldn’t get in today. We had to go through this town to get to our next destination. Gail wanted to find a route around it, whereas I wanted to drive through it so I could see what it was like (classic Bonnie). It was my turn to drive, so I decided we were going to drive through said riot town, so we could have a look.

As we were driving towards the town, we could see some smoke rising. It looked like there was either something on fire, or a very big chimney spouting a lot of smoke. As we drew closer we could see there were lots of smaller fires as well as this big one. It was difficult to see whether it was houses that had been set on fire, or just fires that had been built, as it was up on a hill. As we got into town there were loads of police blocking off the main road and the fire engines were on standby. We had to bypass the main road and weave our way through the back streets to make it out of the town.

Once we were out of the town we headed towards Betty’s Bay. As we were getting closer to it we started seeing some signs for penguins. Yay! Another penguin colony! I followed the signs and we entered the bay where the penguin colony is. It was much smaller than the penguin colony at Boulder’s Bay and the penguin colony at Betty’s Bay was infinitely better in my opinion. The jackass penguins at Betty’s Bay were much closer and there were hardly any people there, so you could take all the time you wanted to look at them and take photos. The colony of African Penguins at Betty’s Bay was about a quarter of those at Boulder’s.



We wandered up the viewing platform and we came across one little guy right next to the walk way. I could have reached out and touched him, and I was desperate to, but I stopped myself. Knowing that A) he would have bitten me, and B) you shouldn’t touch them. 

So cute

I took about a thousand photos of this little penguin and had a long conversation with him about the price of fish. Well, more just the random rambling (normally) one sided conversations that I have with animals I come across.

That face tho

After I had my fill of the penguins we started heading back to the car and we saw a dassie, which is like a big rodent thing and looks kind of like a guinea pig. This little guy was clearly in need of a back scratch and kept rolling around on his back. He looked so funny and it made me laugh like a complete idiot (checkout my Insta to see a video here).

Jus’ chillin’

After that we whizzed all the way to Hermanus without any stops and located Les Baleines bed and breakfast after much driving around. This bed and breakfast in Hermanus is all kinds of beautiful. The rooms are gorgeously decorated and the bathroom is incredible. It’s worth staying a little outside of the town for such an amazing place. For dinner, we went to Burgundy restaurant on Marine Road. It had been recommended by the staff at the B&B and in a couple of the guide books too. The food was incredible. End of. We started off with some homemade bread which was sweet and full of seeds and nuts, and I had a main course of bobotie which is a kind of curry with an egg topping. I had the veggie version which was made with lentils and came with pumpkin fritters. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

 

Bonnie

South Africa Day 3: Cape Point, penguins and pics 

Today we were travelling down to Cape Point by car, and for that, we needed to hire a car. Last night we had asked the lady at the front desks to arrange us a hire car, but when we came down the next morning it seems she had forgotten, so we had no hire car. Great. We thought it might be a good idea but o see if we could pick up our hire car for the next leg of our journey a day early. 
Turns out, this was not a good idea. It took the woman at reception FOREVER to sort this out with the car hire company, and then we got told we couldn’t have the car until 2 pm, which the woman said yes to without asking us. Clearly 2pm would have been way to late, considering at this point it was 8.30 in the morning. We asked her to cancel that (which she looked less than pleased about) and set about arranging a separate car for us to hire for the day. There were no cars left with the same company, and she had clearly had enough of our unreasonable demands at this point, so she put us in a taxi and sent us on our way to hire a car from Thrifty. 

When we got to the place, it was closed. I like to think that she knew it was shut and the place had moved units and she just sent us there to mess with us, but we will never know the answer to that. The note on the door pointed us towards another unit, but having no idea where that was, we were a bit stuck. Fortunately we managed to wave at our taxi driver before he made it round the corner and he came back and picked us up and very kindly dropped us where the car hire place were operating from for free. What an amazing bloke, whoever you are, I salute you and I am forever in your debt. 

By the time we got to the car hire place it was about 10 o’clock and all of the hire cars had gone. Winner! (that was sarcasm by the way) and we were stuck with a pretty pricey Mercedes hatchback. We couldn’t work how to out the blasted thing in drive, so we had to call the guy back out to show us, which he looked terribly amused about. Eventually we were away and driving. It took us a little bit of time to figure out where we were on the map, not helped by the fact that the scaling in the map was way off and you were looking for a road that you had actually gone past 2 minutes ago. We managed to get out, and soon enough we we’re heading down the road to Cape Point after only a tiny family argument in the car. 

We drove back towards Hout Bay, where we had been the day before and decided to stop for some breakfast. Just before Hout Bay we spied this busy looking little cafe called Ta-Da, so we went in there. It was full of people and had an amazing vibe and an even more amazing breakfast menu. This place was basically like a shack on the side of the road, with wooden benches out front. I settled on a French toast combo, with fried banana, bacon and syrup – which was all kinds of yummy. 

All kinds of yum in my tum

We sat there and watched some kids climbing around in the trees, in what was a beautiful Sunday morning and after a while we went on our way, but not without a trip to the loo first. 


Cape Town is experiencing a major drought at the moment, hence the sign, but it made me laugh and I do love having something torrid on the back of the toilet door. We carried on driving down (or up? Not sure) the coastal road, stopping at view points along the way to take in the scenery and get some pics. 

View looking back to Hout Bay


After a couple of hours we made it to The Boulders where they have a colony of penguins you can view. Now, I love me a penguin, they are so cute the way they waddle and they look like little old men. The viewing platform was chocca with tourists, but I still managed to get some decent pics and a selfie, of course. We spotted another viewing platform, so we made our way back the way we had come and around to the other platform. 

Many mini penguins
Many mini penguins avec moi

On the way we saw some penguins chilling in the bushes with their babies. Amusingly one of the penguins tried to bite Gail when she was crouched down trying to take a photo of it. 



We stood and watched the penguins on the beach for a bit, the best bit is when they try to walk up the beach after coming out of the water and a wave creeps up behind then and knocks them over, so cute! 


After we’d had out fill of penguins, we carried on towards Cape Point. Along the way there warnings about baboons on the side of the road, so by the time we got to Cape Point I was dying to see one, and I wasn’t disappointed! We saw some adult ones jumping from car to car, and I saw a little one messing around with a car arial, who posed for a nice photo for me, before he started scratching his ear. 

Baby baboon

We started walking up the hill to Cape Point, I quickly dismissed the funicular railway because I like to think I am a hardy, athletic type [insert laughing, crying emoji here] and I started ploughing my way up the hill, leaving Gail and Les in my wake and narrowly avoiding some baboons who came pelting towards me. 


After clambering up what felt like a million steps, we made it to the to of Cape Point, whilst catching our breath and mopping our brows, we looked out over the water and took the opportunity to take some photos. Then we started heading back down the steps, which I personally find worse than walking up, as it’s pretty hard on the knees. 

Getting hotter and hotter



I’m kind of getting to the point where I’ve had enough now. It’s about 4 o’clock in the afternoon and we’ve been out looking at stuff all day. On our way back, we stop off at Simons Bay for some food. The palace we had been recommended was closed, so we settled for Bertha’s on the harbour of Simons Bay. I opened for a seafood platter for one, which came with calamari, butterfly prawns, mussels and the catch of the day, the catch of the day was angel fish, which I kind of felt bad about eating because they are so pretty, but less bad once I tasted how delicious it was. 


We drive back through the towns, rather than along the coastal road, which was interesting to see, if not quite as beautiful and ended up back in Cape Town as night fell. It was pretty difficult to get a bearing on where we were in the dark, and we had to do a few circles until we recognised where we were. That being said and all things considered, I think we managed to get back to our apartment without too much trouble. My map reading skills are shocking and I always start to panic when I can’t see where I am on the map, so it could have gone a lot worse. I have to say all the roads aloud as we go past and I think people think it is to help the driver, but it really isn’t – it’s purely so I can tick it off in my head as we go past. I’m that incapable. 

Bonnie 

South Africa Day 3: Table Mountain and butter butt

I had planned to wake up at 7.30 and go out for a run today (harhar), but as you can imagine, that didn’t happen and I ended up sleeping in until 9 am. We had planned to hire a car and go to Robben Island and take a drive around the Cape Peninsular, but by the time we got down to reception it was about 10.30 am and it was kind of too late to hire a car, plus there were no tickets available for the ferry to Robben Island as they were all booked up. That will teach us for not getting our arses in gear and booking beforehand.

The view form our apartment

It was a clear and warm day however, so we decided we would go up Table Mountain instead. The past couple of days had been a bit cloudy, so Table Mountain hadn’t been an option, mainly because you couldn’t actually see the thing. If I hadn’t known it was there, I wouldn’t have believed you if you had told me it was there. We bought tickets to go up Table Mountain online before we went, having heard that if you get a ticket when you are up there, you end up having to wait in a queue for hours.

We got a South African Uber up to Table Mountain, the driver was very knowledgeable and took the time to explain how to drive to Hermanus, telling us what landmarks to look out for on the way. I forgot all of this immediately, so I still have no idea how to get to Hermanus. I think I’ll probably just follow the sat nav to be honest, or I’ll just use the force. The force always seems to work out for me. I’m like a homing pigeon, I’ve got that internal compass.

We get to Table Mountain and we join the queue for those who already have tickets. Funny isn’t it, joining a queue so you don’t have to queue? It feels very British. It doesn’t take too long to get through and we are waiting in the loading bay for the cable car in about 20 minutes. Now, I hate cable cars. I know they are 100% safe, and it’s not even the height that bothers me. It’s the swaying. The swaying gets me and it completely shits me up, so I start getting a nerve on as we waited. This was relieved somewhat by watching the Chinese group of tourists in front of us taking photos of one another. They were taking shots of one another on their Hwawei’s like it was nobody’s business, and I spied a few hilarious chin shots being taken. These pics were legit 85% chin and 10% visor and 5% scenery, and I had to turn away to stop myself snorting at them.

The nervous ascent

We got on the cable car and it turned out it wasn’t so bad. The floor rotated As we went up so we could get a 360 view of the mountains and the views from it, and this kind of distracted me from any swaying. We stepped off the cable car and WOW. We were greeted with an incredible view. When I say incredible, it was genuinely astounding.

On the way up

The sky was so blue and the greys of the mountain rock were a stark contrast. I got some amazing photos from the top of the mountain, which isn’t so flat when you get up there. In comparison to other mountains it’s still super flat, but there were lots of rocky bouldery bits, which made for great pics when you stood or sat on them, looking like you were about to drop off the edge of the world.

Sat at the Table

We stood on the right hand side of the mountain and we wanted some clouds rolling in. This was such a beautiful sight. Because the top of the mountain is flat, the speed of the cloud coming in was amazing. It sped across the top of the mountain, and then dropped over the edge and ran down the side, just like it was dry ice. I have never seen anything like that before in my life.
Does it need a caption? I think not.

We spent about three hours in total on the top of the mountain. We walked all the way around it and took photos at all possible angles. The air up there was so clear and it was so worth it, but I just wish there weren’t quite so many people up there, so we could have had a bit of peace and quiet to experience it in. 

Glorious

If I ever came here again, I think I would get up super early and go to the mountain ready for the first cable car up to the top. I reckon this would be an incredible place to sit and have a romantic breakfast picnic, so if I ever locate a significant other, I will be forcing them to Cape Town and up the mountain and ridiculous O’clock in the morning. So, sorry about that future husband or wife.

Couldn’t leave yah without a selfie could I?

Myself and Gail atop said mountain

After the mountain we took a ride to Hout Bay. The drive to Hout bay was incredible. Something that has surprised me about South Africa is the incredible difference in scenery in such a small space. You can absolutely understand why so much filming is done here, as the diversity of surroundings is amazing. The coastal road we drove down to reach Hout Bay had some amazing views, and I would have liked to have been able to stop more and take some photos, but you can’t have everything (plus we were on a meter).


When we got to Hout Bay, I was half starved, so we went straight into a restaurant on the Mariners Wharf and had some baby Kingklip, covered in garlic butter (I can tell you now, I lived to regret this). We went for a wander along the beach and took some photos of the bay. We wanted to have a paddle, but the wind had got up by then as it was late afternoon and I think I would have turned into a block of ice the second my toe touched the water, so we avoided any paddling this time.



We got the bus back from here to Cape Town, and again, the views were absolutely astounding. It’s pretty hard to take decent photos on the top of a a bus, but I managed a few, trying my best to hold my phone steady over the rail of the top deck of the bus, whilst hold on to the camera, my rucksack and keep an eye on my iPad, which I was using to start writing this post.


Once we got back to Cape Town, this was where I started feeling the ill-effects of my butter consumption earlier in the day. I’m not supposed to eat dairy, and I know this, and yet I still insist on trying it and seeing whether it still has the same effect on me. Well, funnily enough, it did, and I ended up having to race back to our apartment pretty swiftly, so I could park my arse on a familiar loo. As soon as I did, all hell broke loose. I won’t horrify you with the gory details, but “better out than in” springs to mind. As does “natural disaster”. Heh.

View from Cape Town

Bonnie

South Africa, day 2: the cheetah and the sore nose 

Today we headed outside Cape Town to the wine region. At 10.30 am Roderik (our guide) came and picked us up from our apartment. We didn’t really want to spend the whole day drinking wine, because we aren’t upper fussed over it, so we headed to the cheetah sanctuary that the guy at the reception at the apartment had suggested we go to. 

The outfit: black dungarees, jazzy shirt, frilly socks and white Nikes. Oh, and the rucksack. 

I’m always a bit nervous about going to places like zoos or animal “sanctuaries”, because I worry a lot about the welfare of the animals and I can’t stand seeing the animals suffering, it breaks me. We went to Seaworld in San Diego when I was a kid (this well before the whole Blackfish thing) and even at 10 it broke my heart to see those beautiful creatures contained within concrete walls. I also remember seeing an elephant at a zoo not so long ago, swaying from left to right (just like a person rocking backwards and forwards in the foetal position), and it genuinely reduced me to tears. Seeing such intelligent and wonderful animals in such a state of clear depression – I can’t deal with it. So, I was a bit nervous about going to see the cheetah at the sanctuary. 
We arrived at the sanctuary and we paid to go in and have a “cub experience”. This was where you got to go in the enclosure with the cubs (who were around 9 months old) and stroke them and sit with them for a bit. Here we met Kito and his brother. These two little guys had been born at a sanctuary a few miles away and their mother unfortunately hadn’t made it. They had been brought here and had grown up in the sanctuary. The people looking after the cheetah made is very clear that under no circumstances were we to touch their faces, tummies or tails, as this was more likely to agitate them – just like it would your domestic cat. 
We had to always keep one foot planted on the ground if we were in a kneeling position, so you could move away quickly if needs be, and you were only to stroke the cheetah with a flat palm, so it didn’t tickle them. The lady who was telling us about Kito and his brother, is old us his brother was a bit agitated today and we wouldn’t be able to have any contact time with him; he kept jumping up and looking at what was going on around him and was distracted by the cars moving around outside and the comings and goings of the people. The staff let the animals get up and move around as they pleased, and we were to move out of the way if either of the animals wanted to get up, look at something or have a wander. 
I was the last to stroke Kito, he’d decided he wanted to leap up and jump on a box when someone else was stroking him, so I got to stoke him whilst he was sitting up rather than laying down. After a few strokes, he started purring, and I stared talking to him (just like I do my kitties at home) and told him he was much bigger than my little cats back home. He turned around to face me and looked at me with his head cocked slightly to one side. The keeper who was standing by him said he never does that with anyone and that he must like me, which obviously made me feel like the Queen of the Cheetah, and I went out of the enclosure a very happy Bonnie. 
Kito’s fur was rougher than I had imagined it was going to be, and at least I can say I have stroked a cheetah and put some money towards a sanctuary. I still hate seeing them cooped up like that, but they have been born in captivity, and it’s much better than them being someone’s pet. 

Lil’ Kito

After meeting Kito, we went to Spiers 1692 and went for their premium wine tasting option. This was made up of 6 wines; 2 white and 4 red. As someone who is certainly no wine conesoir, all of these wines were very pallettable, rather than tasting like vinegar. 

Moi in picture frame

My favourites were the Sauvignon blanc and the Pinotage, and we were soon feeling rather sozzled. 

Moi avec wine

I went to the shop after and bought a bottle of the Sauv to take home with me – so, Claire, if you are reading this, please free up your schedule for my return. 

The white

The red

The snacks

The highlight of this day however, had to be when Gail walked into the glass door on our way out. It was like a slapstick comedy, and she strode straight into it and bonked her nose on it. I thought it was absolutely hilarious and I had to walk away as she recovered to save myself from laughing in her face. At this point she couldn’t see the funny side of it and was still insisting that she hadn’t seen it, rather than it being as a result of her wine intake (whatever you say mama G). 

Sulky Gail

After that we went to another winery which was actually closed for renovation, but the door was open and the lady inside gave us a free glass of wine for our troubles and we met a massive dog panned Gustav. I generally don’t like dogs, but be was super chill and I even forgave him when he dribbled on me a bit. 


Our final stop was another winery called Tokara which was beautifully situated and also grew its own olives. 


We tasted their house wines (2 red and 2 white) and I’m not going to beat about the bush or sugarcoat matters here; they were disgusting. They practically too, the skin off of the roof of my mouth and they burnt my throat on the way down. 

So, my advice; if you want a decent wine, pay for a decent wine. If you don’t want your throat to feel like it has been stripped with acid that is. Practically like Oprah aren’t I? Full of good advice. 
Bonnie 

South Africa: day 1 – drizzle and dinner 

Our flight was at 9 pm Thursday night and we landed in Cape Town on Friday at about 2.30 pm. It was an eleven hour flight to Johannesburg, a 2 hour wait at the airport there and then a 2 hour flight from Jo’burg to Cape Town. It’s weird, because we did so much flying and we are only one hour ahead in South Africa which is a bit of a mind fuck.

I watched Deadpool before I went to sleep and I actually laughed out loud at it (which is rare for me). It’s just the kind of humor I like and I love Ryan Reynolds, not even because he’s pretty, but because he is a genuinely hilarious man. I was stuck with the crappy plane headphones so I didn’t hear 100% of what was being said, so I think I will watch it again when I am back and get the full experience.

I know I slept for quite a while on the plane to SA, but I feel like I hardly slept a wink! There was a spare seat next to me, so I manged to lay down and put my feet on Gail so get comfy. Which was all well and good until she leaped up in the middle of the night with cramp in her leg and chucked me off. I managed to doze off again with my hoody on backwards and the hood up over my face, but soon the lights were up and it was time to awaken for breakfast.

Spare seat – winning at life

After breakfast I started watching Lego Batman, which I know is super sad, but I was actually really enjoying it. But then we were landing, so I had to turn it off. Fingers crossed I’ll manage to finish that off when I am flying back. 


We landed in Jo’burg, and got off the plane and went through customs. This was probably the quickest I have got through passport control in my entire life and all the staff were really happy and chatty – a complete contrast to the government employees in the UK who look like they would rather be hanging off the edge of a cliff by their finger tips with a spike shoved up their arse. Oh, and, I GOT A STAMP IN MY PASSPORT!!!! I was so excited about this, because I’ve only travelled to Europe recently and my passport is so naked. All my visas and stamps are in my passport from before, and I feel like I haven’t been anywhere cool in ages.


When we got to Cape Town, it was raining (of course it was), but we didn’t let this dampen our spirits (LOL) and we made the most of the evening we had left, and went out in the pouring rain to get some dinner.

Should not be having to wear a jumper on hols

 I had butternut soup to start which was all kinds of yummy and snoek (which is a type of fish) for my main. We trudged back to our apartment in the rain, but not before asking the somelier in the restaurant for the best wine tasting places to go to. We have a name of a guy and he is going to give us a private tour, so lord knows how that will go! So we shall see how that turns out.

Snack of snoek

Anyway, I’m shattered and I can barely see straight, and it took me way longer than it should have done to type this out. So I am going to hit the hay, or the unknown bed in the unknown apartment that will definitely be uncomfortable.

Bonnie

’twas the night before holiday…

I’ve been packing for my holiday this evening. I am the WORST at packing; I’m genuinely awful at it. Once second I want to take everything with me, the next second I only want to take a pair of jeans and two t-shirts. I’m so haphazard when it comes to doing stuff like this and I’m seriously disorganised. I know it is a great idea to write out a nice list with all the things you need to take with you and then tick them off as you pack them. But, in reality, all I do is grab stuff out of drawers as I see it and hope for the best. I always, always, always forget something, but is it even a holiday if I haven’t forgotten something? Doubt it.

Packing for South Africa is a bit of a weird one, because its going to be about 23 degrees in the day, but goes down to about 9 degrees a night. So, I need stuff that is warm enough and flexible too. Fortunately most of my stuff goes together so I don’t have to worry too much about taking “outfits” (another win for the lazy person). Pretty much everything that I have packed, I can mix and match, so I can breathe a sigh of relief. And if a chill sets in, I’ll just have to wear 2 of everything so I have layers.

Anyway, I shoved everything in my suitcase and tried to close it. Obviously it didn’t close, no matter how hard I squished down the top and grappled with the zip. I didn’t want to fight too hard with my case, because it is new and it would be a bit insane to push it to breaking point on its first official outing. FYI I love my new suitcases. I got a voucher from work for my birthday for Debenhams, so I used the money to treat myself to a new set of luggage. My old suitcase was super heavy, and it was basically my entire luggage allowance without any clothes in it. So, I treated myself to some bronzey/rose goldy coloured Tripp suitcases. My eyes turn into love-hearts each time I look at them – they are the stuff of dreams.


But anyway, I turned it upside down (the case) and emptied it all out and made an effort to fold things and place them in, rather than throwing my clothes in and hoping for the best. My method still wasn’t really working here, and I was somehow managing to leave loads of gaps in between things, and more things were at an angle than I would have liked.

I emptied everything out again and made a very conscious effort to do it properly this time, because you can only do things three times before you give up and just accept that it can’t happen. I properly fold everything; really, super neatly (which takes aaaaaaaaaages) and place it all nicely in my case with some thought about how best to use the space. It was kind of like Tetris but with clothes, and less fun. Eventually I managed to fit everything in and my case zipped shut like a dream, and I only had to encourage it to close a teeny weeny bit.

I heaved my case of the bed (not going to lie, I was breaking a sweat by this point) and I went off to find the mini weighing things you use to see how heavy your case is. The moment of truth: I clipped the mini weighing thing to the handle of my case. I waited for it to turn on and have a small malfunction before I lifted it up and took the weight of my case. Taking the strain, I lifted my case up and watched the number creep up to a grand total of… 16 kilos?! Wow. That’s super light! I thought it was going to be near to the limit if I’m honest. I could pack a few “just in case” bricks and still be under the 23 kilo limit.

Because it is so under weight, I feel like I must have forgotten something. Like, something major. Pants? Or shoes? Who knows… But I guess we will find out! I’ve got a few bits out to take with me on the flight as well, a couple of books and… Well, that’s it really. But I’m sure I’ll manage to get the rest of the stuff I need out before I go, without cutting it too fine. I must remember to take all of the chargers I need – chargers are always a hard one to remember I find. And I do not want to be frantically raiding Maplin at the airport for a dodgy looking iPhone charger. Although, I have located my luggage tags, passport holder and travel wallet (which all match by the way). They are also all stamped with my initials, which makes me basically feel like the Queen, the Queen shops at Aspinal of London when they have a 20% discount right? Right??? I knew it! Always had the feeling Queensie was thrifty.

My precious

Bonnie

Party and wallpaper paste 

My best friend Claire has been planning a surprise birthday party for her parent’s 30th wedding anniversary. Over the past few months, our garage has been filling up with things she needed to hide from them and it has taken all my strength not to crack open the case of prosecco that has been living with us. All my strength. Claire and her boyf Pete came round to collect everything the other day, and I have to say, I was sad to see the prosecco go, but I’m sure I will cope with the loss.

Anyway, they popped round to collect everything and stuck their heads in to say hi to my dad who was decorating the living room. Claire made the mistake of asking why my dad (Les) was using ready-mixed wallpaper paste. The exchange goes something like this:

C: Les, why on earth are you using ready-mixed wallpaper paste?

L: Claire, do not even speak to me about the wallpaper paste

C: Christ Les, what on earth happened?

L: well, I bought some paste to mix up myself. I mixed it up as I usually do and hung the wallpaper just like I usually do. I’ve been mixing wallpaper paste for decades and never had a problem. But I come downstairs the next day and bastard wallpaper has fallen off the wall!

C: Did you use too much water?

L: [after giving Claire the eye] I had never experienced such a thing before, so I rang up Solvite to talk to them about it. The lady on the end of the phone suggested I may be using a contaminated bucket. So I went to the shop and purchased myself a new bucket for the steep price of £1.02. Just in case I had mixed it wrong, I read the back of the packet and mixed it as per the instructions. Then I set about steaming off the paper that hadn’t quite fallen off, at which point the bloody plaster fell off the wall, leaving a great big hole.

C: That’s an added aggravation for sure

L: Indeed. But, I set about hanging the wallpaper for the second time, with the freshly mixed paste. Everything seemed to go well and I was pleased with the result. Until I came down the next day and the BLOODY WALLPAPER HAD FALLEN OFF AGAIN! In a fit of rage and despair I went to Homebase and bought some ready-mixed wallpaper paste. So do not ever, EVER ask me about wallpaper paste.

C: it must have been a dud batch

B: told you not to ask him about the wallpaper paste

 

After this exchange that had left Pete with a look of horror on his face and enough ammunition for wallpaper related nightmares for the rest of his life, they left to carry on setting up the party. It is now the evening of the party and I am running late because it took forever to get out of London and back home. I race in and thunder up the stairs to get ready. In 15 minutes I have showered, put on some makeup and got myself dressed – I think that must be a world record for the fastest time ever to get ready for a formal do.


The look: I’m wearing a pale/mint green strapless dress from New Look which I got in the sale and I pair of silver shoes and a matching clutch bag. The makeup is minimal, and all I have on is a light layer of foundation, a bit of eye shadow, mascara and a hint of eyebrow. I’ve had my hair in a bun all day so it is nicely curly, and all I do it sweep it over my shoulder and put a couple of pins in it.

From the front

From the back

I make it to the party about 9pm and I’ve just missed the food (killer!) so, after greeting everyone I hang around in the kitchen and pester the caterers for some leftovers. I shove a couple of lamb and chicken skewers down the hatch in a gannet-esque way, top up with my glass with prosecco and make my way back out to mingle.  I sink another couple of glasses of prosecco in quick succession, seeing as it’s free, and spy Pete’s dad. Last time I had met Pete’s dad we were rather worse for wear at the army vs navy rugby in Twickenham, so I made my way over to him and his wife to strike up some conversation.

And strike up conversation we did. We always have major laughs together, myself and Paul, and Helen was quite the third wheel during proceedings. Until a man that I had never met before came over to pay me a compliment. Unfortunately he was no handsome young millionaire man. In fact, he looked like one of the house boat people, and by that, I mean he had that grimey look about him that told me he didn’t like to waste water washing. He had teamed a fetching Berghaus fleece with a pair of shorts, boat shoes and a rather eye catching pair of orange over the ankle socks. But, he did say I looked gorgeous, so I’ll take it – whatever the sock situation. 

End of the night slow dance

All of a sudden everyone had disappeared around us and Claire’s dad was serving me a voddy, lime and soda which was particularly heavy on the voddy. I was feeling fine though and we packed everything up and Claire dropped me home. It was at this point that I became drunk. I had to wobbled up the stairs to my room and Gail greeted me at the top of the stairs. She asked me if I was alright, to which I replied “I don’t think I’m not” and then stumbled into my room. 

Fave selfie of the eve

Obviously I thought it was a good idea to start messaging people at this point. Surprisingly my spelling was perfect (it wasn’t) and I was making total sense (I really wasn’t). This was like the moment I Wolf of Wall Street where Leo’s character Jordan thinks he has driven the car home fine when in fact he has smashed it up, leaving a trail of destruction around him. Clearly my misspellings aren’t quite as dramatic as that drug fuelled carnage, but they are funny nonetheless. 

I also managed to take a few horrifying selfies when I was under the influence. Clearly I was thinking I was Kate Moss or something. Kate, I certainly am not. Not even slightly. Horrifying. 

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Bonnie 

Room 317 and a couple of Asian guys

This weekend was ridiculously busy. On Friday afternoon I came home from work and baked two cheesecakes for a friend. That took a couple of hours and then I needed to pack for the weekend. I was leaving at 7pm to travel to the ExCel Centre in London for a rowing competition where I was looking after some kids for the weekend. I packed all of my stuff up and started on my travels to get to the ExCel centre.

Chocolate cheesecake
New York cheesecake

We got there, signed all the kids in and got them settled down for the night in what is essentially an aircraft hangar – I do not envy them sleeping in that. They were all shouting and screaming and generally making a nuisance of themselves, so we left them to it and made for a bar. We went to one of the hotels nearby and got a couple of drinks. Two drinks cost £19.25 – I was aghast! £19.25?! You must be having a laugh!!! Thank God I wasn’t paying because I probably would have had a heart palpitation at the bar.

Still reeling after the price of the drinks, we headed outside to grab a seat. I spied a table where there which looked like it was taken, but no one was sitting there, so I sat down there, because I am just like that. I like to see what happens when people come together unexpectedly and this is a great way to force an interaction. So, we sit there for a couple of minutes and these two guys head towards the table we are sitting at. They come up to the table and start taking their stuff of the table, at which point I say “OMG is this your table? I am so sorry, please, let us move!”, like I didn’t already know. The guys actually asked if they could sit with us instead and of course I said yes.

Packing light

Meet Mandeep and Suraj. Mandeep and Suraj are a little bit on the merry side and they have just returned from the bar with a glass of Japanese whisky each. We get to talking and it turns out they are good mates who haven’t seen each other in a couple of years and they are here to catch up on old times. They insist on incessantly pointing out that they are Asian, but not at all religious which I find terribly amusing, and point out on a number of occasions that “God doesn’t go here” – whatever that means. We chat about any old thing for a couple of hours, me coming out absolutely side-splittingly hilarious quips and them falling about laughing over my sarcastic tone and dead pan delivery (that’s how I remember it anyway).

Somehow it comes up in conversation that Suraj is here and staying at the hotel because he’s upset his wife. He won’t go into any great detail over exactly what he did (even though I tried my best to force it out of him), but I naturally assume it is something sordid – because a tiff just wouldn’t be interesting. He then starts saying about how he could be out sleeping with other women and getting up to mischief, but instead he is here with one of his mates, having a chilled night at the hotel. This makes me even more sure it has to be something like an affair, because why would you even mention it otherwise? After this, he starts getting a bit cuddly and putting his arm around me, and then the other guy makes his way round to my side of the table and sits next to me. So, I’m the filling to a manwich at the moment, and a manwich that is getting decidedly drunker by the second.

Morning glory?

His mate starts getting a bit on edge and gets up to go, he’d been looking at his phone on and off for a few minutes, so I assume he must have got a better offer. Once him and his mate have had a bit of a spat about him leaving, I ask Suraj what he would be doing this evening if he hadn’t met us, and the following dialogue opened up:

S: snorting cocaine and watching porn in my hotel room.

B: what sort of porn?

S: anything.

B: that’s a bit broad isn’t it?

S: maybe I’m into some freaky stuff, you don’t know I’m not.

B: maybe you are, but I seriously doubt it.

S: I could fuck you until the cows come home, you know that right? I could absolutely fuck you until the cows come home.

B: A charming sentiment indeed, but I don’t eat beef.

At this point my eyes were watering because I was laughing so hard internally. This guy was being deadly serious and it was taking all of my power not to laugh in his face. Myself and my mate (whose name is Nick by the way, I just realised I forgot to mention that) gave one another the eye and we stood to leave. I wasn’t overly keen on being fucked until the “cows came home” by Suraj and neither was Nick I don’t think.

We said our goodbyes and Suraj seemed very keen on coming to watch the rowing comp the next day (as if he actually was) and he wanted to know where he could come and watch (as if he actually did), and promised he would be there the next day (as if he actually would). We said goodbye and hugged it out and Suraj said rather loudly in my ear “my room number is 317, if you want a comfy bed for the night”.

The bed I actually slept in – 317 might have been a shout

Bonnie

Hair today, gone tomorrow

I finally got my hair cut tonight!!! It has been months and months and months since I last had it cut and it had got soooooooo long. Considering the length of time it’s been since I last had it done, it didn’t look that bad. I don’t know how I kept managing to miss the family hair appointments, but I just never seemed to be around.

Anyway, I have had a few inches off now and I feel so much lighter. I swear it was starting to give me neck ache because it weighed so much. At least I will be nice and light for my holiday and I won’t have to pay excess baggage for my weighty hair on the flight. I’ve got attached to having it so long, and I started getting a bit panicky when it was coming up to the chop. Thankfully my hairdresser is all for my hair being long, and together we have decided we will grow it down to my bum. I’m not sure exactly how we as a pair are going to encourage it, but I am sure we will find a way. Oh how I LOVE Sam the hairdresser – he always knows exactly the right thing to say.


After our usual gossip about the various dates we have been on since our last encounter (he’s been having the same amount of luck as me – AKA none), he set to work. I now have my layers back and it looks so much more neat and tidy than it was, and all those nasty split ends have gone. I went for a pretty sleek blow dry, with a bit of movement at the ends. I never ever dry my hair, so this is always such a treat for me. I don’t dry my hair for a a couple of reasons. One, because I am super lazy and it takes forever to dry because it is so thick, and I really can’t be arsed to spend the time on it. And two, I don’t want to end up as one of those people whose hair snaps off because they have damaged it so much. Ick. That is one of my worst fears and it haunts my dreams.


It was actually just really nice to sit and chill for half an hour. Not thinking about work, not thinking about all the stuff I have to do and not worrying about anything. I’m feeling really stressed out at the moment and it was nice to shut my brain off for a bit.


Bonnie

Dates Not Mates: the one with the regrettable boots

After having been in a very long relationship for a very long time, it would be safe to say that my dating experience was limited. And when I say limited, I actually mean non-existent. Until recently, I had never, ever been on a date. How mad is that – I had made it to 22 without ever having been on a date. Needless to say, I have certainly rectified that now, but it meant that I had absolutely zero idea what to expect when it came to the dating game.

After the breakup, I got myself on Tinder and started merrily swiping away. This guy was one of the very first people that messaged me on there actually, and the very first person that I went on a date with. Having no idea how to do any of this at all, I agreed to travel to Fulham to meet this guy and get a drink. Obviously, because I had never been on a date before, I had no idea what to wear and I thought that looking sexy was key. So I donned a pair of black skinny jeans, a top showing a bit of cleavage, a full face of makeup and to top the whole look off; black, high heeled, over the knee boots. Looking back, I clearly looked like a complete and utter tart, and for any of you that know a single thing about me, you will know that this look is very un-me.

I totter up to Fulham in my ridiculously high heels, thinking I am the most glamorous girl going. I get to Fulham and get a message saying he is running a bit late and asking me to walk towards him. So, I start teetering towards him in my inappropriate attire, stumbling on the odd occasion and working up quite a sweat from the exertion. I spot the guy and head towards him. Having no idea how to greet a bloke you are meeting for the first time, I blindly go in for a hug and kind of get smooshed into his armpit – winner!

After our awkward first encounter, we head to a bar for a couple of drinks. We sit outside at a table, mainly because I was so hot from all the walking in my stilts, and we get chatting. When I look back on it, this conversation was probably THE dullest conversation I have ever had. But, because I was so nervous on account of it being my first date, I don’t think I realised this guy wasn’t wowing me conversationally. The night went on and it was time for another drink. Out of pure politeness, I offered to get the next drink in, never expecting in a million years that he was going to take me up on it. But, by Christ, he practically twisted my arm off for this drink, so I begrudgingly obliged.

I then spent the rest of the night feeling very hard done by, that I had somehow manged to select a man who wasn’t willing to run with the “guy pays for the first date” thing, and I spent the rest of the evening turning this over in my head. Fortunately he managed to redeem himself somewhat by walking me back to the station. On the walk back to the station, obviously I turn my ankle in my utterly ridiculous shoes and he has to catch me before I face plant into the front of a Tesco metro. I am absolutely mortified and my face goes entirely red. And obviously I get that awful sweat on, that you get when you have had a near death experience, like when you slip on a patch of ice.

We finally make it to the station in one piece and we sit and wait for my train to come along. He keeps touching my knee and I come to the realisation that this bloke is expecting a kiss. I somehow manage to avoid having to kiss him for the whole time we are waiting for my train, but, when my train arrives, utter horror ensues. I get onto the train and turn around to say goodbye, at which point he gets all up in my face with his face. He pulls me towards him for a kiss, all the while people are herding onto the train around me. I’m getting pushed and shoved as people edge round me to get to their seats, whilst I’m latched onto this blokes face. Fortunately the doors start to close and the whole ordeal is over.

It will amuse you to know, that I went on another few dates with this guy. It wasn’t until much later, that I realised that I actually really didn’t enjoy the dates or like this guy in the slightest. It just goes to show how crazy we can be when we get a bit of male attention, especially when you haven’t really experienced male attention before. I look back on this now, and I am genuinely mortified that I went on these dates and thought that’s how they should go. Thank goodness I am more date savvy now and I’m not stupid enough to offer to buy a drink on the first date. As for the boots, I don’t think I’ve worn them since.

 

Bonnie

It’s Friday Night and the Lights are Low

My girl Tara invited me out on Friday night, so we did the usual; we went to Kingston… Old habits die hard right?! She’d just been dumped by perhaps the fuckiest of fuckboys, so this was prime time for her to let her hair down. Oh how I love the breakup sesh.

 

The outfit: burgundy dungaree dress, light pink/peach coloured tee and black clumpy boots. 

The makeup: mascara, neutral tri-tone eye makeup, minimal brow, smidge of foundation, concealer and blusher. 

I would normally wear trainers when I was going to Kingston, but because my outfit was already super casual I thought I would go for a proper shoe and opted for some black boots with a chunky heel. I am not ashamed to say that I wore these with a pair of cat socks (you will not change me!).

The Uber arrived and it was perhaps THE most gangsta BMW possible, complete with the driver reclined impossibly far back in the drivers seat. How he could see where he was going I will never know. But we made it to Spoons in one piece, so I shan’t complain. We get into the pub and get ourselves a drink, mines a double voddy, lime and soda and Tara’s is a double voddy and lemonade.

We assume our usual position (in front of the bar watching the dance floor) and we drink up, waiting until we feel merry enough to get on the floor. Time for a second drink, we turn round to the bar and promptly get a couple of drinks thrown all over us. WTF?! Where did that come from? Turns out, these two blokes were having an argument, one of them goes to chuck his two drinks over the other bloke and the other bloke swiftly steps out of the way and we are in the firing line. Only we could get swilled during someone else’s fight.  Anyway, that descended into flying fists so we backed away and grabbed some serviettes to dry off.

Clearly enjoying the loo too much

Eventually drunk enough to throw some shapes on the dance floor, we head into the mass of bodies and bust out our best moves (I legit have no moves). Tara gets a Snapchat from a couple of the lads and we tell them to come on down and meet us there. So until they arrive we dance, drink, dance, repeat. The lads finally turn up and we drag them onto the dance floor (there’s a few more of them than we expected and a couple of them are army lads). We decide we need to venture to DA CLUB, but shock horror. One of them is banned from Pryzm (our usual haunt). Christ, what are we going to do? Oh my life we are going to have to go somewhere different. I don’t know if I can cope.

Apparently one of the lads is banned from Pryzm because he got into a fight. Apparently we were there. Neither of us remember it, so as far as I am concerned we have nothing to do with it. Someone decides we are going to Hippodrome, so we begin to drunkenly meander our way there, being led by a couple of army lads who have no idea where they are going. I am excellent at leading from behind.

We manage to navigate the entry and I manage to get nothing confiscated from me. I normally end up having something taken off me, be it gum or tweezers (many a pack Extra has gone to waste at the door to the club). Now, if you have ever gone to Hippodrome, you will know it it the grottiest place around. There is literally gaffa tape holding the floor together and more carpet than there should be in a club. But, the music was on point. The perfect mix of current, old school club tunes and a bit of cheese thrown into the mix. The DREAM.

We dance the night away and only venture to the smoking area for some not so fresh, fresh air, once. The photographer definitely took a group pic of us, but I can only assume we cracked the lens because it is nowhere to be seen on their Facebook page. But, however, we did manage to secure a glorious Snap of our faces, in what is my all time favorite club pic of 2K17 so far.

 

We stumble out of the club just before 4 in the morning and manage to squeeze our way into the chicken shop moments before it closes. We lean against the wall outside with out chicken and chips and watch multiple fights ensue, resulting in multiple arrests. Because, is it even a night out in Kingston if you don’t see someone get arrested? I certainly think not.

Bonnie

The holiday countdown begins: 19 days until South Africa 

It’s not long now and I’m starting to get excited for my trip to South Africa!! In just under 3 weeks time I will be boarding a plane and flying across the world. I feel like I haven’t had a holiday in FOREVER even though it wasn’t actually that long ago. But still, it was ages ago and I’m getting withdrawal symptoms. I need a holiday! 

So I’m having one, and it’s a long one, and I can’t wait. I’m so psyched for all the incredible things I’m going to do and see. But most of all, I’m so excited for a proper break. I can’t wait to not have to go to work and sit in front of a screen all day and look at work stuff. 

I CANNOT WAIT 

Bonnie 

Does anyone else have a place where… 

Does anyone else have a place where they go to chill? Or go for inspiration? Or just one of those special places that you go to think? 

I have a few of them and one of them happens to be my windowsill (don’t worry, I promise I won’t fall off). It’s good to have somewhere where people don’t bother you and where you feel completely chill. 

Yeah, I get a few weird looks from passersby in the street and a few people in cars have stopped to stare at me, but I like it up there. It gets the sun and it’s leafy and green nearby, and I like being up higher than everyone else and seeing them when they can’t see me. 

But, anyway, it’s my chill sill. 

Bonnie 

A grand day out: the 12 hour day sesh

Saturday was the day we were going for brunch at Jackson Rye in Richmond (we being myself and Claire). We’ve had this in the calendar for what seems like months and I was getting so excited to see my best friend and spend some QT with the girl.


Lets start with the most important thing; the outfit. Who even knows what to wear out for a day where you have no idea how long you will be out, and no idea what you are doing? You wear jeans of course. I donned the trust M&S mum jeans which are about 2 sizes too big these days and turned those suckers up (I am a FAN of an ankle). I whacked out a blue Primark shirt from last year which has hearts all over it and buttoned that up to the top. Next followed the “gold” (obvs gold coloured) collar clips, white frilly socks and grey suede trainer things. Obviously I do nothing with my hair because I am lazy… Outfit: COMPLETED.

#awkwardpose


Claire’s boyf v. kindly drives us to Richmond in his gangta BMW and we arrive at Jackson Rye at precisely 1.30 pm. Which is good for me because it turns out, that I am rarely on time.  We order a bottle of prosecco and a Farmers breakfast each and eagerly await its arrival. The prosecco arrives and you would have thought we’d ordered a bottle of Bolly the way the bloke was treating it. Everything was done with a flourish and a mouthful of the good stuff was provided for us to taste. Obviously it is tasty AF and we give the guy the “okay” to fill those glasses up.

That bacon slab tho

Breakfast arrives and our beans are in tiny saucepans (I frickin’ love anything that is miniature) and we set about devouring what I thought was a relatively reasonably priced plate of food. Considering it is in Richmond and it’s by the river, I didn’t thing £8.95 was too steep. After this we toddled off down the river towards Slug and Lettuce in the search for a cocktail (or two… or three). We start off the proceedings with an apple mojito and delighted in some “banter” when the barman smashed one of the glasses. “You just don’t know your own strength do you!?”, I exclaimed, in the typical sarcastic tone of Bonnie. Both a compliment and an insult at the same time – my speciality.

Cocktails with bae

We swiftly followed the apple mojito with a raspberry version and it was at this point that we noticed the pineapple vodka behind the bar. There was nothing strictly pineapple on the cocktail menu, so with a bit of cajoling and sweet talking, we managed to persuade one of the guys to make us a pineapple cocktail. Mint, lime, crushed ice, pineapple vodka and pineapple juice, topped up with soda. THE DREAM. He still wasn’t convinced though. But I am fairly certain we have created a new drink and I won’t be surprised if we see it on the menu next week. At this point we decided we needed a Cinnamon Social Slice from Ole and Steen which is perhaps the tastiest thing in the world. I can’t even describe it, you literally just have to try it.

Oink oink

We ambled back to the riverside, locating a kitty to stroke on the way, and sat on the edge to admire the view. Obviously by this time we had worked up quite a thirst, so back to Slug and Lettuce we went for another pineapple masterpiece. It was during the 5th cocktail that we decided we simply must get the boat down the river to Kingston. So, we mooched along the bank and jumped straight on the boat. Arriving in Kingston, obviously we had worked up quite a thirst, so we headed to The Ram and treated ourselves to a bottle of wine (because there is nothing quite like mixing drinks) and sat in the garden, discussing work and deciding that we could do a better job than any CEO out there because we know what we are doing better than anyone.

Selfie galore

We decided we were hungry and we made our way round to Las Iguanas for some tapas. Obviously we had worked up quite a thirst, so we ordered 3 plates of tapas and 4 cocktails (sorry not sorry), which judging by the photos, definitely had pineapple in them. If I cannot stick to one form of alcohol I will at least stick to one form of fruit juice, because that’s the kind of girl I am. We’d finished the drinks and we decided we needed a change of scenery. So, we tottered round to the Spoon’s. Obviously we’d worked up quite a thirst, so we made haste to the bar and ordered 2 Desperados.

Quality of shots diminishing here

We spotted a lad that we knew so we invaded his personal place and plonked ourselves down at his table. Some of his mates turned up and proceeded to ignore us completely whilst they served the freshest of banter (not) and talked about cars. We couldn’t even tempt them into buying us another drink, so we made our way to the dance floor. We had a cheeky dance here before we went over the road to Pryzm, because is it even a night out if you don’t make it to Pryzm? We dance, we drink, we dance, we drink. I’m not sure how much more we drank, but at some point we left and got an Uber. My phone had run out of battery at this point so I spent the Uber ride home eating chicken nuggets and chips and probably gettting mayo over the car seats (maybe that explains the 4 star rating). I stumble inside and up to my room about 1.30 am.

A great day out. A great night out. Nothing like the day sesh eh? The day sesh which turns into the evening sesh, which turns into the sesh. It’s funny really, when you think about it, because we thought we would be back about 6pm. We probably should be dead in the gutter. 


Bonnie

Jazzed for jazz @ Ronnie Scott’s

Jazz, jazz, jazz. I like jazz, not all the time, but a lot of the time. So I was jazzed for it when I was asked if I wanted to go to Ronnie Scott’s to see Mingus Big Band play. Having never been to a jazz club, I was pretty excited, and I had visions of a dimly lit space, frequented by jazz lovers; reclining on seats covered in red velvet.

I had to get the train straight after work, meaning I had to interview a potential candidate at the speed of light to make sure I got out in time. Fortunately we rattled through my set of interview questions pretty quickly, although, I made sure I saved time for my fave question “what would you say is your biggest failure?”… awful, aren’t I?!

As soon as we were done, I legged it out of the interview room, grabbed my rucksack and raced to the car. I drove as fast as was allowable and parked up near the station. Because I’m tight, I refuse to pay for parking, so I parked away from station, meaning a walk up the dreaded hill. I was running a little late by now, so I picked up the pace and started on up the hill. I was really running late now, so my fast walk turned into a bit of a trot and I imagine I looked like a ginger Shetland pony making its way to an evening of jazz.

Legit me

I arrived at the station, grabbed my ticket and raced down the stairs in time to meet the train as it was arriving at the platform. Seated on the train, I thought it wise to make myself look somewhat presentable by putting some makeup on. Due to some recent late nights, I was sporting a bit of a panda look. I got as far as putting on a lick of mascara, before a man in an interesting fleece sat down in front of me, and proceeded to stare intently at me whilst I was coating the lashes of my left eye. That put paid to the application of makeup, so I stared out of the window instead, trying not to catch fleece mans eye.

I get off the train at Tottenham Court Road and begin to wind my way through Soho. Obviously I get lost, because if you don’t get lost in Soho, did you even go to Soho? 


Eventually, after walking around in a bit of a circle, I meet Gail, Les & Co. outside Ronnie Scott’s. We go in, and it is EXACTLY how I imagined it. The lighting is low, everything is intimate, with dimly lit corners and the seats are upholstered in red velvet. It’s the best when things are exactly how you imagined them to be.

The classic bathroom selfie

We take our seats on the lower level, right in front of the stage. I quickly nab the seat facing the stage as close to the middle as I can get (sorry, not sorry). We order some food and drinks, and at this point I must mention that the prices are a tad on the high side. I had a cocktail called a Watermelon Man, which, surprise, surprise, had watermelon in. This cost £11 (ouch) and I had the cheapest thing on the menu what wasn’t a burger, which was tofu, at £17.50 (double ouch). I know you need to expect these things to be expensive, but still, £11 for a cocktail is a killer.


Anyway, minor moan over – lets get to the music. It was SO GOOD!! I knew it was going to be good, I had never doubted it was going to be good, and yet I was still surprised at how incredible Mingus Big Band were. And to make a great night even better, the guy on alto sax was pretty easy on the eye. Oh, and he had the BEST facial expressions – I spent more time than I should have done, watching his sarcastically raised eyebrows.

Such a hunnaaaaay

I’m always in awe of anyone that can play a musical instrument (as you may know, I certainly cannot) and I love watching people do something that they so clearly enjoy. I love live music in general, and I will listen to pretty much anything, but listening to these guys (and girl) do their thing, was absolutely incredible. I enjoyed it so, so much and I will definitely be going again as soon as I can.

Take a look at what is coming up here – I might see if I can get tickets to go and see the Blues Explosion! Can’t wait!!


Bonnie

Never go to Grantham

Having finally made it to Wisbech after it taking about twice as long as it should have done, we had some cake, opened birthday presents and engaged in some good convo (obvs, cos I was there).

We decided that tomorrow we would go to Belvoir castle in the morning, as apparently the tour is really interesting and it looks like a fairytale castle. I’m immediately interested and I’m having visions of me being the princess that I am and swooshing around the castle. So I go to bed, happy in the knowledge that I will get to be a princess the next day. Oh, and obvs we stay up until the small hours exchanging Tinder stories (as girls do).

We set off around 11 to the castle. I am driving and the sat nav says it is going to take about an hour and a half. I drive all the way there, navigating some fairly small and ridiculously fast country lanes on the way there. All goes well until the last moment, where I take a wrong turning and end up driving right up to the door of the castle like I was the Queen or something – oops! But no matter, I swing the car around, narrowly avoiding a 4×4 and making Gail flinch (haha) and head off past the castle again and down to the car park.

It was when we got to the car park that things started to go downhill. As we pulled in, it looked suspiciously empty, like, there were maybe 7 cars in there. We went to the kiosk to by tickets for the castle tour and we were told it was closed. CLOSED?! Closed on a frickin’ Saturday?! Are you actually kidding me? Oh my life, I was so annoyed. I drove an hour and a half for precisely nothing. A tantrum ensued and I went and locked myself in the toilet for 5 minutes to display my distaste for the situation.

belvoir2
this is the castle I didn’t get to see 

My mum suggested we first go for lunch, before we made a decision on where to go next. We drove back towards a sign for a pub we had seen on the way here. We got to the sign, but we couldn’t see the pub. We drove round in circles for a good 5 minutes trying to locate what was clearly a fictitious pub, before I completely ran out of patience and drove away at speed. Now in a seriously bad mood, I carried on driving until a pub leaped out at me from between the trees and I violently swerved the car into the car park. All the while, everyone was apolgising for the fact that I had driven for an hour and a half for no reason.

We get inside the pub, and take a seat. Me with my diet coke, everyone else with a shandy. I lose, again. And I sit down at the table and continue to pout. I continue to pout until our food arrives (which seems to take an excessively long time to me, but hey ho). Fortunately lunch saved everyone from the torrent of abuse which was on the verge from escaping through my lips. I had a club sandwich – this is always a good choice because there are 3 slices of bread and all kinds of filling. When it comes to choosing a sandwich, stupid I am not.

Clubbing.

After we had eaten, we decided to go to Grantham to have a look around – apparently this is where Margaret Thatcher was from, so I was expecting everyone to be dressed in a skirt suit (it won’t surprise you to know that they weren’t).  This decision was made after it was suggested that we travel to another stately home for a look around. This idea was promptly rejected by Gail (thank you), because I certainly didn’t want to traipse around learning about the “well off” after the morning’s trials.

So, we get to Grantham and it doesn’t actually look that bad. A bit industrial on the outskirts, but it looked kinda cute and quaint as we got further in. We parked up (I made no attempt to reach for my purse to make payment) and we headed towards and antique shop we had seen on the way in. Georgia and I headed for the vintage clothing section in the basement for a look around. Hilariously there were some pieces made of polyester that had been made in China, that were billed as “vintage”, and there were also some very retro looking pieces in there from New Look (seriously?!).

Nonetheless, I have a laugh and don a glorious synthetic hat covered in blue flowers and team it with a fabulous blue dress and jacket combo. Stylish or what?

Getting my 1960s on

Eventually we make it out of the shop after seeing some weird and wonderful things, including coat pegs made out of deer hooves mounted on wood… No, I’m not kidding. 

Vom

And we wandered through the town in search of a coffee shop. By this point, it is about 4pm, not an unreasonable time to be searching in the hope of finding a cup of caffeine. And search we did. We must have walked around for a good 20 or 30 minutes trying to find a coffee shop that was open. Every single place we walked past was either shut, or boarded up. Absolute nightmare. Eventually we found a place that was extortionate and dirty, and they started shutting up around us.

The long and the short of it is, don’t go to Grantham. Oh, and if anyone ever suggests you visit a castle – check the website first to see if someone is inconsiderately having a wedding that day.

Bonnie

I crawled to Cambridgeshire this weekend

I drove to Cambridgeshire this weekend, Wisbech to be more precise. I was going to see one of my friends for her birthday and Gail was in tow. The journey started off well. We made it all the way to the M25 (about 15 minutes drive) without any mishap. The second we got on to the motorway – TRAFFIC.

From this point, we literally drove at 40 miles an hour the whole way down the motorway. Where are all these people going at 2pm on a Friday afternoon?! That’s what I want to know. Can’t be anywhere interesting, can it? Wherever they are going, I’m not going to be there, so how can it be interesting? Anyway…

We get a bit of speed up as we get off the M25 and onto whatever the next motorway is. Everything is going well, roads are clear, we are laughing at all of the holiday makers with broken down cars and then BAM. Traffic. Shit. The second we enter Cambridgeshire we slow to a crawl. There is so much traffic, it is unbelievable. I don’t think we got above 30 the whole way through Cambridgeshire.

At this point I started losing my patience. I had been driving for hours and I was tired, and starting to lose my temper. If any of you have seen Ice Age (the first one), you might remember that bit where Manny the mammoth is walking against the flow of traffic and that funny animal loudly says to him “Hey! Do the world a favour. Move your issues off the road!!”. That’s what I kept saying over and over again in my head – in the voice too.

I’m not being funny, but where are all these people going? I simply refuse to believe that I am sitting in a queue of cars in Cambridgeshire due to “volume of traffic”. There aren’t even enough people in this place for each town to have a train station, let alone create this much of a traffic jam. Are they all coming here for a holiday? If they are, then I’m sorry guys, but someone sold you down the river on this one. There is literally NOTHING HERE. Unless all you want to do is reside in a field and be pestered by the local yokel, I promise you there is jack all here.

There was no accident, there was no livestock on the road… Nothing. There was nothing to see that made sitting in the traffic even remotely bearable. How can there be no reason for this?! Anyway, I was supposed to be telling you about my weekend in Wisbech, but I’ve got myself all hot under the collar now and it will have to wait until I have calmed down I think.

This was needed

Bonnie

Review: The French Table, Surbiton

We went to The French Table in Surbiton for my birthday; my mum, my dad, Claire and me. It’s turned into a bit of a yearly pilgrimage, and this place is my Mecca. My mum had told them it was my birthday and when we were shown to our table, there were menus printed with “Happy 23rd Birthday Bonnie” at the top [insert grinning emoji here].

The lady who showed us to our table was very attentive and made us feel very welcome and she took the time to find out whose birthday it was and wish me a happy birthday. Before going, I had pretty much decided I wanted to sample the tasting menu with wine matching. I hadn’t looked online at a sample menu as I didn’t want to ruin it, but I’d never experienced wine matching and I wanted to see if it was all it cracked up to be.

The classic awkward “at table” pic

And boy oh boy it was. The food was incredible (as always) and having the wine matched with the food made such a huge difference. I’m not always the biggest fan of wine, but all of these were spot on and I enjoyed each of them. They taste of them also wasn’t majorly altered by the food – I seem to find that food just makes wine taste YUCKY, but not these ones! So kudos to whichever aficionado selected those. There was even a wine from Kent, which was super tasty and I will definitely be seeing if I can buy some in the shops.

The set menu

Each course was absolutely insane, but if I had to choose one, I’d say the cod was my favourite. The cod was accompanied by brandade, peas, romanesco, caviar and a lobster and miso sauce – and it was on point. I couldn’t get enough of it. And when our dessert came out my plate was decorated with “Happy 23rd Birthday Bonnie” and candles. Yay!!


They really know how to look after you here; the service is excellent and the food is incredible. I can’t wait to go back! I’ve heard that lunch is amazing too, so maybe I’ll give that a try next.

Bonnie

 

Lunch @ The Estate Grill, Great Fosters

So, we all went for lunch at The Estate Grill at Great Fosters for my birthday. When I say “we”, I mean the work lot, and when I say “for my birthday”, I actually mean for a new starters welcome lunch. But I kind of upstaged him – sorry Ross!

We wanted to go to Great Fosters for a bit of a change. We always go to the same places when we lunch with work and we fancied something a bit more up market than the local Italian and I can tell you now, it didn’t disappoint.

The building itself is so beautiful and the fact that you get to go through a tiny little door on your way in, completely floated my boat. It basically felt like stepping through to Narnia, but with exemplary service and impeccably seasoned food. I got sat down at the head of the table because it was my birthday (again, sorry Ross) and a napkin was placed in my lap. I love it when they do the napkin for you, it makes you feel like literal royalty.

Seeing as it was lunch and I was driving and I had to go back to work, I settled for a Diet Coke to drink (boo). We were brought some bread for the table and it was literally the tastiest bread I have ever eaten in my life. There was some amazing bread with rosemary that was absolutely delish, and I am not ashamed to admit that I had both pieces before anyone else could get a look in. 


We had pre-ordered from the set lunch menu, so I eagerly waited in anticipation for my fish. When my plaice was set down in front of me OMG it looked incredible. It was accompanied by new potatoes with caviar, samphire, cucumber and brown butter. I mean… WOW. This plate of food was to die for – it was absolutely delicious. I love samphire so much and I never seem to manage to cook it for myself, so whenever I have it is such a treat, the same with plaice as it goes. There is nothing worse than eating a plate of food that you could have cooked at home yourself. That was not the case here and the whole thing was delectable.

For pudding I had Ivore mousse which was equally delicious. I don’t normally go for a pudding as I tend to prefer savoury; but everyone else was having one so I bent to their will. The mousse itself was seriously luxurious and it melted in my mouth. It was surrounded by shards of bitter chocolate and was accompanied by kumquat and orange. It looked so beautiful on the plate and I wish there was double portions!

Then they bought me out a little birthday cake with a candle in it and “Happy Birthday” written on the plate. Obviously I absolutely loved all the fuss and lapped it up, completely upstaging the new guy again (sorry Ross).


After that I took a it of a tour round the gardens which are so beautiful. There is a amazing little wooden bridge over the water in the main gardens, covered in wisteria which smells glorious and the rose garden is equally as beautiful. You can have afternoon tea here as well (and I LOVE an afternoon tea), so I will be taking my mum here as a treat for sure.


All the staff there are great and so well mannered and welcoming and it was genuinely a great experience. Considering the quality of the food here, 2 courses from the set menu for £19.50 seems all kinds of reasonable to me. To top it all off, on my way out I spied that The Tudor Room is now Michelin starred – I absolutely will be trying this (if the bank balance allows).  I can’t wait to go back!!

Bonnie

It’s ma birthday… Well, it was

It was my birthday last weekend. I love my birthday! I love all of the attention, all of the fuss and all of the presents. I know it’s not fashionable to say that, and I should be all like “it’s the thought that counts”. But in real life, it’s more like “PAY ATTENTION TO ME AND GIVE ME COOL STUFF”. I’m just telling it how it is right?

I was excited as usual for my birthday, but this year I was feeling a bit funny about it. A lot of stuff has changed in my 22nd year of life and I wasn’t feeling like I was ready to leave it behind quite yet. Saying “I am 23” seems so much older and different to saying “I am 22”. I can’t really put my finger on quite what it is, but I was definitely feeling weird about it. Also, it was on a Thursday so I didn’t take the day off, because you don’t just waste a days holiday midweek.

I had to get up extra early on my birthday to go and get snacks for the office (I should have done it the night before but I’m lazy AF and I didn’t), so I didn’t even get to see my parents in the morning and open presents. WAH. But I did get some seriously good snacks, and I treated myself to my fave granola squares from Tesco – I know they sound healthy, but FYI – they really aren’t.

Deskeration

I get to work and my team have decorated my desk [insert grinning emoji here], so there are banners, balloons and table confetti everywhere. There are so many tiny metallic stars over my desk I think I am going to pass out from the joy. OHMIGOD!! So after basically hyperventilating because my desk looks so pretty, I spy presents. Yesssssssss!!! One of the girls got me new goggles for swimming and some super cute cat earrings. I love the earrings SO MUCH. I even went as far as to struggle around with the earrings I had in so I could change them straight away. These earrings are the bane of  my life; I love them because they never fall out when you are drying your hair or whatever, but when I actually want to get them out its nigh on impossible. Before I have been so angry with them, I have been tempted to rip them out of my ears with pliers. And I would have done, if I knew where we kept the pliers.


Cat earrings are now in, and I am BUZZING. I literally bounce around the office for whole morning with a grin plastered all over my face each time someone says “happy birthday”. We go out for lunch with the work lot (I’ll tell you all about that soon) and then all of a sudden it’s time to go home. The afternoon seems to completely run away with me after that – I’m not sure where it ran to. The presents seem to follow the cat theme and I got a cat wallet (which I will be using on nights out) and a cat rucksack. I nearly passed away when I opened by cat rucksack (thank you Claire). It has a cat face and fluffy ears. ITS SO FLUFFY.

The cat bag in its natural habitat

After that we went for dinner (that deserves its own post too) and much wine was consumed. It was such a good day, I had so much fun and I forgot all about my strop about turning 23. Truth be told, I do still feel a little bit funny about it, but this is definitely one of those times where it isn’t worth worrying about it because you definitely can’t change it. Unless I’m a witch or something. Am I witch? It’s a possibility… One for another day I think.

Bonnie

If I don’t remember it, it didn’t happen

If I don’t remember it, it didn’t happen right? I feel like that’s absolutely the way to live life. Because if you don’t know what happened yourself, how can anyone else be clear on the situation? Well, they can’t can they. Can they? Crap. So I’ll tell you all about it and we’ll see what you think.

The best stories start with a work party, and this one does just that. After a day of team building and talks from various important people, we were let loose in a theme park. There is a cute little beach at Thorpe Park and my company had decked out the beach with a DJ, festival face paints, beanbags and flip flops (the literal dream). Straight away I went and got my face painted with festival glitter – because what self respecting 22 year old would let that opportunity slide?

GLITTERATI

After that we went on the rides the park had opened just for us. They had the main roller coasters open, and there is a rather glorious photo of me on Nemesis Inferno with my fringe blown back. All I’ll say is it proves why I have a fringe okay? I screamed a lot (obviously) and rendered myself rather red in the face. My mate next to me thought this was majorly hilarious and he laughed at me the whole way round on every ride. Hmmmpf.

#nofilter

After this, it was back to the beach for some soju spiked cocktails. The trouble with these bad boys, is that they went down hella easy. There were passion fruit ones and raspberry ones and it was basically just like drinking juice. YUMMO! After making sure we loaded our bags with free flip flops and towels, we made our way to the party in the tent. So, at this point, I’m obviously a few bevvies in, but I’m feeling fine. I drop my bag at the cloakroom and put my ticket in the back of my phone case. I’m a bit parched by now, so I make straight for the free bar. I order 2 drinks for me (voddy, lime and soda) and 2 gin and lemonades for one of the girls. I make my way back to my pals and drink a voddy on the way. I felt a bit hard done by that one of my drinks had already gone, so I kept a gin and lemonade for myself, because she would be none the wiser.

There are no words

Right about now I start to dance. Like I’m properly hyper and jumping about all over the show (this is very normal by the way). I’ve leaped about to much that I’ve got a bit of a neck sweat on and I solve this by procuring a hair band from the wrist of my manager. Obviously as a result of all the leaping, I’ve worked up a thirst, so wine is required. I consume the required wine and it doesn’t quite hit the spot. Obviously another wine is required – spot hit. Now, around this point, things start to get a little blurry. I remember doing a Jaeger Bomb (I don’t like Red Bull or Jaegermeister). I remember dancing to Westlife (I don’t like Westlife). I remember making friends with a man (I don’t like making friends). I am starting to suspect I have consumed a little too much alcohol. I’m dancing with a woman from work. When I say dancing… I mean DANCING. I fear there may have been a vag touch. But onward and upwards. Or not?

Apparently this is all I had for dinner

BLACKOUT. I don’t remember anything from this point on. Nothing. Nil. Nada. I am told I careered outside into the garden area and lay face down in the shrubbery vomiting up the nights excess. I am told I tried to make it back inside and was found surrounded by security with someone else’s bag. I am told I was sick all over my friends legs who had come to assist me. I am told I vommed all down someones back (more fool them for carrying me I say). I am told I wasn’t allowed in the taxi – why this was I am not sure. I am told I was located laying in the middle of the road having a nap. I was also informed that my father was called. And some say I was posted into the back of the Chelsea tractor with harsh warnings not to vom over the leather upholstery.

I believe none of it of course. I don’t remember it, therefore it didn’t happen.

Bonnie

Justin Bieber, is it too late now to say sorry?

Never have I seen one man, loved by so many, give so little in return.

I was excited to go and see Justin Bieber at BST in Hyde Park – I was really excited actually. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and Despacito was playing on the radio. So we turned up at Hyde Park in the afternoon to collect the tickets from the box office. We collect the tickets and it turns out these tickets grant us access to the guest bar and get us closer to the stage: winner!! So, majorly excited we made our way to the guest bar and had ourselves a couple of cocktails (because it would be rude not to right).


We’d got there just in time to see Martin Garrix, so we popped on over to the stage to see him in action. I have to say, I’m not sure Martin Garrix was quite the right vibe for the Bieber crowd. Justin has a very young following, so there are a lot of kids there with their parents. So, the rib cage shattering bass lines probably left a little to be desired in these circles on a Sunday afternoon. But I enjoyed it, so WHO CARES.

The Bieb was billed to be on stage for 8.15pm, so we settled in for a bit of a wait, as he is notoriously late to appear. So when he popped up on stage at 8pm (which is EARLY), we were all rather surprised. It seemed to go downhill for him from the off. He obviously had a cold and looked a little worse for wear. He didn’t engage with the crowd at all, and he was saying things that people were not wanting to hear.

A lot of the songs he didn’t sing a long to, and a lot of those he didn’t bother miming to. He looked like he would rather be anywhere else in the world, instead of here. He blew his nose on an item of clothing he took from one of his fans and didn’t even give it back. He kept repeating how ‘happy’ he was to be here, in the flattest voice and a sour look on his face. How little insight could one guy have?

At one point, nearing the end of the show he went and sat down on the stage, and had what I could only describe as a meltdown. I honestly thought he as going to lose it and burst into tears. And then it ended. That was it. No encore, no final song. Finito – and no Despacito.

I could have been angry with him about his attitude and I could have raged about it all the way home. But I actually just felt really sorry for the kid. He is clearly a terribly unhappy young man. We are the same age, and I cant imagine having lived such a portion of my life in the limelight as he has. It must be incredibly difficult to be him. I know you will say he is blessed to have a gift and have all the money in the world. But he probably thinks you are blessed to live a normal life.

So I’d like to say: I’m sorry Justin. I’m sorry for the pressure we put on you as fans. We forget how young you are. We don’t think about how hard we are on you. We don’t realise how difficult it must be to live your life in the limelight the way that you do. We have forgotten that we never really gave you a chance to grow up; we expected you to go from a child to a man with no in between. If you don’t want to do it anymore, just stop.

If you do happen to read this, which I know you wont, but if you do… Don’t feel guilty about having a break if you need it. We will be okay without you, and we will be here when you come back.

Bonnie

 

I never realised how much time I spent on my knees until…

Here’s the story about how I came to realise how much time I spend on my knees.

At the weekend I was helping out at a kayaking regatta (because I do that sort of thing at the weekend). Clearly I enjoy getting up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning and zooming around the Thames on a boat, in my trackies, with no makeup on. Anyway, the course needs laying and the signs need floating in a dinghy and anchoring at either end of the course.

Anchoring is hard work. Never have I engaged so much core, as when I am heaving an anchor on and off a boat and then lowering it in to the Thames. Once I have anchored these dinghy’s, I set about laying the course. All this involves is putting weighted buoys in the water in a straight line. This is easier said than done. An hour of leaning over the side of a boat and heaving what felt like 1000 buoys into the water and getting completely soaked, they were finally out and the course was laid.

Next came the kayakers. They needed to be transported to the start of the course, with their kayaks and their paddles. Have you ever tried fitting 4 kayakers, 4 kayaks, 4 paddles a helmsman and me in a boat? Of course you haven’t, and my advice is not to try it.  The only way of making this work, was to get the 4 racers to sit in the cabin of the boat out of the way. Shove two of the kayaks up against the cabin (so you can no longer see the people) and me stand there in front of the kayaks holding them up. Next you put two more kayaks in front of me to hold, and you have the guy steering the boat. But, because of all the kayaks in the way, there is no way he can control the speed of the boat. So I am forced to awkwardly squat down whilst holding on to all kayaks and do the throttle control. HA. We had one slightly hairy moment where we almost crashed into a stationary boat because I had thought the guy steering the boat had told me to speed up when he had asked me to slow down. But all told, I think one near miss isn’t too bad considering the circumstances.

When we got to the start of the course, we had to swing one kayak out over the side of the boat and into the water, hold it there so the kayaker could get in and repeat until all kayakers were in the water. Now, this sounds easier than it is. Me trying to steady a kayak for a burly teenager, who is certainly not light on his feet, is hard work. I spent the whole day half laying on the floor with my legs pressed up against the side of the boat, so I could get enough purchase to hold the kayak steady. It was more like having tiny elephants jumping into kayaks, I swear.

By the end of the day my shins are shot to shit and my knees have been officially crushed. I quite literally cannot walk and I’m staggering around the place like a drunk. There is no way I can bend my knees and I am lurching to the car stiff legged like a maniac. At this point I realise I am going to have to bend my legs if I want to drive home, so letting out a throaty screech I throw myself in to the car and assume the seated position.

Its when I get home that everything really starts to go pear shaped. I have to practically roll out of the car because my legs are stuck in that position and I can’t move them. Then I have to drag myself up the stairs using a fair amount of upper body strength (I looked like one of the un-dead at this point), with much grunting and groaning – I imagine I sounded like a warthog in mating season. I finally make it to my room and kneel on my bed. Why I did that I still cannot explain. I have never experienced pain like it. I screamed so loudly that my dad came rushing in thinking something terrible had happened, only to find out that I had knelt with too much gusto (yes, my dad is aware I am 100% nuts). My shins were so sore that even the duvet pressing against them was too painful and I ended up sleeping in the cold all night because that was better than the hell that ensued each time I tried to snuggle up.

Who needs knees when you have these?

There is more kneeling involved in my average day than one might think. It turns out, I kneel a lot. I kneel to reach for things, I kneel to carry out activities, I kneel on my chair, I kneel on my bed, I rest my knee against pretty much everything all of the time. I pretty much kneel or rest my knees against something 100% of the time, and 100% of the time, is a lot of the time. In fact, it is all of the time. I actually swore in the office when I bashed my knee against the printer. I received a good deal of disparaging stares as I hopped about the print room like a demented flamingo, swearing under my breath.

I never realised how much time I spend on my knees until… I’d helped out at a kayaking regatta. My advice? Don’t.

Bonnie

 

 

A note on selfies

Its international selfie day today apparently, who even knew that was a thing? Not me, that’s for sure. Anyway, it got me thinking about the advent of the selfie. Having grown up with technology, my generation has been in a unique position. I have grown up as technology grew up. I don’t remember life without the internet. Although I am just old enough to remember going to the library to use the computer and connecting to the internet using the dreaded dial-up connection.

When the selfie first came to town, we were turning around our digital cameras and blindly taking photos of ourselves, hoping for the best. Tres amusant. I used to hide away in my room for what seemed like hours, trying to get a good photo of myself, where I A) wasn’t blinking, and B) you could actually see my face in it and it wasn’t just a pic of the ceiling. How hard life used to be.

The advent of front cams on phones was a massive gamechanger. The Lord quite literally had mercy on our souls when he gave this to us – because it was genuinely life changing. Gone were the days of having to turn your phone round and blindly stab at the shutter button hundreds of times, hoping that your new makeup look was being captured. Only to find that you hadn’t taken a single photo of your face and had in fact, only managed to delete half of your apps #firstworldproblems. But in all seriousness, it was all kinds of frustrating, coupled with the fact that the camera wasn’t that good anyway, so any photo you did get was bound to be blurry.

But sometimes front cam hates us and it wants to hurt us. You open up your phone, click on the camera, and get a full screen of unexpected double chin. Vom. And this is guaranteed to make you feel hideous for the rest of the day. Who knew I looked like such a potato from below? These are the times when I am glad that I am short and no one ever really sees me from that angle.

I know lots of people have their complaints with the advancements of technology and our increased use of social media. But I just think that these people have forgotten how hard it was to get a good outfit pic back in the day.

I’ve gone back through the archives and here are a couple of ‘classics’ I think you will enjoy. There are some serious TREATS here.

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The classic ‘peep through the fringe’ look 
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Throw back to when I used to wear Hollister garms and employ mysterious lighting tricks 
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When I was from the hood and all my pics were in a hood 
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Bathroom pout: still going strong in 2K17
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The only word I have for this is MORTIFICADO. What am I doing??!! 
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With Canon, you can. I’m not going to lie, I actually still love this pic. No Shame. 

Bonnie

When I was a princess for the day

Every year we have a raft race as part of our village fair. Each year there is a theme and this year it was princesses and pirates. Not one to say no to an opportunity to release my inner princess ad dress up for the day I got a team together and we put our names down, Now, this is where I have to mention that the only people I could get to do it with me were 3 kids and they all wanted to be pirates, But whatever… They aren’t going to stop me from being the true princess that I am.

Just before I got sprayed in the face with a water cannon and drank half the Thames

So once we had filled in the form I started looking online for princess outfits. I don’t know if you have ever tried to find a princess outfit for an adult but it is nigh on impossible (this I hadn’t anticipated), The only options you have are trying to squeeze yourself into an age 13-14 Elsa dress or purchasing a less tan appropriate slutty princess outfit. There is no way I was going to be able to squeeze my boobs and butt into a kids costume and there was even less of a chance of me wearing stockings and suspenders to the family fair, So the only option I had left was to make it myself.

Tiaraing

Needless to say I didn’t give it much more thought than that. I had an idea in my head and there was no way I was wavering from that. I looked online for material which is a ridiculous thing to do, because how can you tell what material is like on a screen? So I came to the conclusion that I was actually going to have to go out and look in a shop for said material. I had a look in a local fabric show and there wasn’t anything that took my fancy, I wasn’t sure what colour I wanted and I was just sort of hoping I’d know it was ‘the one’ when I saw it. Anyway, I couldn’t find anything I liked the look of in this fabric shop, so I decided that the only other option for me was to find something like a set of curtains or bed linen that tickled my fancy.

So I went in to places like Marks and Spencers and Next, where I came to the conclusion that all their bed linen is madly expensive and I couldn’t possibly justify spending £65 on a fancy dress outfit. One of the last places I went to was Matalan, and low and behold there was a lilac double duvet cover that was just what I was looking for (for the mere price of £12 no less)! As soon as I got home I set to work straight away – again I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and I was just winging it.


I cut out a massive circle from the plain bit of the duvet cover for the skirt part, making sure it was big enough to fall from my waist to my shin with extra for hemming. Then I hemmed it all the way around the bottom which took FOREVER as I was doing it by hand. Once I had done the full mile of hemming I cut a hole in the middle of the circle so it would go around my waist and then hemmed that bit. It was at the point that I had hemmed that part that I suddenly realised there was no way of me getting it over my head, so I cut a small slit in the wait and added a popper so I could do it back up. Perfecto…Not! But it will do.

Now for the top – I used the quilted bit of the duvet cover for this because I thought the contrast in materials would be nice, and it was also a thicker material. Essentially all I did here was make a tube out out of the material so I could simply slip it over my head and tuck it into the skirt. Obviously this looked hugely messy and I wasn’t happy, So I decided that I would need to make a belt to cover up the join. I did this using more of the quilted material and added some poppers so I could fasten it. After a cheeky press on the ironing board it was time to try it on. My god I am excited. EXCITEDDD!!!

So I struggle into the skirt (despite the split and popper fix, I still have to dislocate my shoulder to get it over my head), and wriggle the top on over my head. After much wriggling I have broken a bit of a sweat and I have to have a rest before continuing. I put the belt round my waist and popper up. Its a tad tight, but no matter, I will just not breathe when I am wearing it. I don the tiara and the white gloves I bought on Amazon. And OHMYGODILOOKLIKEAFREAKINGPRINCESS!!!!! I am beyond pleased with the outcome of my incredibly haphazard and risky attempt of dressmaking.

The finished article

I am genuinely so pleased with how well this turned out and I really did feel like a princess for the whole day and I really didn’t want to take it off. If I hadn’t have got soaked with lovely green Thames river water I probably would have slept in it.


So here’s to giving it a go and not being afraid to princess it up now and again!

Bonnie

Then before and after

My top 3 first date ideas

My absolute least fave thing to do on a first date is to go for dinner. I think it puts way too much pressure on when you are meeting someone for the first time. Think about it… In what normal situation would you be forced to sit in front of someone you don’t know and eat a plate of food? There are way too many variables – what if you spill food down yourself? What if you panic when you are ordering and the waiter can’t understand and you have to repeat yourself? What if you hate the guy and there is literally no way of making an exit? Too much to worry about! Which is why I propose the following 3 things as my top first date ideas. You are going to tell me that they are boring and so conventional, but they are traditional and established for a reason, I promise you. So here they are:

  1. Just meet for a drink. Now as classic as it may be, its got to be the top one right? And here’s why: its easy and its simple and you both know where you stand. You meet at a local pub or bar and we all know where the boundaries lie. You can have some dutch courage to make you feel a little bit more confident and take the edge off (not too much mind), and its easy to get up and leave if you have to. Because lets be honest, sometimes you meet people and you just don’t get on with them – no shame in it! But equally it can go on as long as you want if you are having a good time. The best dates I have had have been having a couple of drinks in a nice pub by the river and just talking. Chatting about rubbish and not talking about work and all that dull old lark.
  2. Just grab a coffee. This is the equivalent to number one, but minus the alcohol. So if you are a massive lightweight and one JD and coke is going to tip you over the edge, this is the one to go for, equally if for some strange reason you don’t drink. Again, we all know where we stand with a coffee and again you can get up and leave if you have to. Its good if you are going on your date in the morning or the middle of the day and its a bit early to start on the alcohol. Plus if they take you to Starbucks you then immediately know you can’t go on a second date with them because they clearly don’t like coffee.
  3. Go for a walk. Now this is a bit of a different one but I like it for a few reasons. Firstly, if you are really nervous about meeting this person and you think your nervous ticks are going to give you away, actually doing something during the date is really good at hiding this. If you are walking, you legs can’t nervously jump up and down and there is no way you can knock a drink flying off the table. If you struggle with things like making eye contact this is great because you don’t actually have to look one another in the eye. Also, if you tend to find it difficult to think of things to talk about, going for a walk is a great idea as it generates things for you to discuss as you go along. If you find the typical ‘first date’ scenario a bit daunting and intense then this is the one for you.

 

So like I said, they are typical and established classics for a reason. They keep the stress to a minimum and you can save the expense of a nice meal or tickets to go zorbing for when you know the person you are dating a bit better. You have enough to worry about without having to worry about taking part in a new activity and whether your gym leggings are going to show your cellulite. Just keep it simple (I’m bored of hearing myself say that now).

Bonnie

First date outfits 

First date outfits: I’ve tried sexy, I’ve tried stylish and I’ve tried everything in between. But as with my post about first date makeup – I kept coming back to ‘simple’. Wearing heels just means I have to worry about tripping and making a fool of myself (like the time when I was wearing 6 inch platform over the knee boots and I tripped up a curb when slightly drunk on a date in London). Wearing anything low cut just means I spend the whole night pulling my top up and spending far too much time thinking about whether you can see my bra, rather than listening to what they are saying. And wearing anything too restrictive or difficult to get in and out of just means that it takes me forever to go for a wee and they just think I’m a complete weirdo for being in the bathroom for too long. 

Most dates I go on tend to be in the day and in a pretty relaxed setting, which I much prefer. This negates the need to wear anything particularly seductive as we aren’t enjoying a candle-lit dinner and a bottle of wine in a fancy restaurant. Dates in pubs by the river and coffee shops in the high street are much easier outfit-wise in my opinion. When I select an outfit for one of these day dates, I make sure they are A) comfortable, B) flattering and C) ‘me’. I think one of the worst things you can do is ‘dress to impress’ as it were, and end up displaying an image of yourself that isn’t true to you. When I say this, I don’t mean that you shouldn’t look nice and make an effort, what I mean is, that if you don’t wear tops normally that display a load of cleavage, now is not the time to start. You will only feel uncomfortable and you are essentially making yourself into something you are not so as to impress someone, which is never a good thing right?

So I normally go for something like the following; shirts/tshirts and denim tend to be my go to’s – be it jeans and a top or a skirt and a shirt. Plus frilly socks are a must for me; I cannot leave the house without them on! 



I end up having to wear a belt with everything as my ass is distinctly expansive inncomparison to my waist and having your trousers fall down mid date is not attractive. 

Let me know what your ‘go to’ outfits for first dates are or what you think of mine! 

Bonnie 

First Date Makeup Tips

Having nightmares about first date makeup? Don’t we all! We’ve all been there. We all know how difficult it can be to decide on an outfit and makeup when you are meeting someone for the first time. So I’m going to tell you exactly what I do makeup-wise just in case it helps you. It might not help you, but if it does then yay!! We are on for a winner.

So having been on a fair few first dates in recent times I have honed my first date makeup ‘look’ and I now refuse to stray from this. Having made the decision on what you are going to do with your face before-hand takes a tonne of stress away from what is a classically worrisome situation and a bit of an ordeal. When I first started going on dates I always wore a full face of makeup and made sure I was done up. But after one particular date where my right false eyelash released itself from my lash-line, fluttered momentarily in the breeze and then unceremoniously dropped into my vodka, lime and soda, I thought ‘no more’. You can’t explain that away.

The more product, the more panic

So now I keep it really simple and I only put 4 makeup products onto my face for a date. I know that sounds minimal (because it is) but trust me on this one. The chosen products are as follows:

  • Benefit ‘They’re Real’ mascara
  • The Body Shop ‘All-in-one face base’ (pressed powder)
  • ‘Rosy Lips’ tinted Vaseline
  • Sleek brow kit


I know, you think I’m mad don’t you? But I promise I’m not and you should trust me on this one, and here’s why…

When I’m on a date I don’t want to spend the entire time worrying about my face. I don’t want to have to go to the bathroom to check my makeup and I certainly do not want to re-apply at any point. I don’t want to concern myself with my concealer cracking. I don’t want to fret about foundation. I don’t want to lose sleep over lipstick. All I want to do is spend my time getting to know this new person with as little worry as possible.

I’ll describe my routine to you:

  1. Wash face to remove general day grime
  2. Exfoliate to reveal fresh layer of smooth skin (I use St Ives face scrub)
  3. Apply moisturiser so face doesn’t look scaly (I use Simple rich moisturiser)
  4. Take the sheen off face with pressed powder
  5. Do a ‘minimalist’ brow with just powder (I find if I use the brow wax as well they look too ‘done’ for this)
  6. Apply a sweep of mascara to top and bottom lashes
  7. Achieve pouty, kissable lips by smearing tinted Vaseline upon them

That’s it. That is all. Finito.

I don’t know about you, but if I wear a full face of foundation I find it really highlights any imperfections in my skin and draws attention to any breakouts or problem areas. I also find that if I wear too much mascara it starts to smudge under my eyes and I start to look more panda than pretty, and if I wear a colourful lipstick, I somehow always manage to end up with some of it not on my lips (like on my chin or something). So why do it to yourself? Why cause yourself additional stress?

Another reason I go for such a minimalist look is because I think your date should be able to see what you look like. They aren’t going to ask you out on a date if they aren’t attracted to you, so why worry about it when you know they already think you are nice to look at? We all know that most guys don’t understand makeup anyway and when asked in these polls and questionnaires they are always saying they prefer a girl that wears less makeup. So ditch the slap and show off your beautiful faces I say. If you take one thing from this, let it be to keep it simple. Don’t worry, don’t obsess. I don’t have perfect skin (far from it in fact) and I have exactly the same worries as everyone else has on a first date. So just rid yourself of the makeup worries so you have time for the real worries, like whether you should admit your addiction to Peep Show on the first date or not.

Of course, if your date has only ever seen photos of you with a Snapchat filter applied you are completely fucked and you will need to fashion yourself a pair of furry ears and transplant a blemish free face onto your own. Or just make sure your date is somewhere dark, like in a cave, which is where you should be anyway in my opinion if you use the dog Snapchat filter.

Bonnie 

First date look ft. Sultry pout

Followed by normal face…

Madrid: Day 3, uncorked 

Our last full day in Madrid left nothing to be desired – it was exactly as we wanted it to be (which happens less than you may think on holidays). I think the reason behind this was becasue we had no time pressures, we weren’t going to see anything,we had nothing planned and we had no set timings. We also had no preconceived ideas of what the day was going to be like or how we wanted it to go.

We woke up around 11 am, so we had a good lay in (which to be honest I hardly ever get a chance to do when I’m away because my days tend to be packed full of things to do). Once we were up and about we wandered back to a shop we had found the day before which sold empanadas, where we bought not one, not two, but four different empanadas to share. We also picked up a bottle of wine, some lemonade and some crisps in a little super market. Now laden with picnic items, we began to meander our way to the Buen Retiro Park. 


We got there and there were these really odd trees, the had been shaped so they looked like strange little puffs of green stuck on the end of the branches – so that obviously meant 10 minutes of iPhone photography to try and nail the good lighting through the tree that made us look all glowy (you tell me whether we succeeded or not – I suspect not). With the photo shoot completed we walked on toward the ‘lake’. Now ‘lake’ is a very loose term here, as what it really is, is a giant swimming pool with some fish and a few terrapins in it, but it has boats on it, so a lake we shall call it. 

We found a nice sunny spot next to the lake with a bit of shade from some trees so I could hide my pale skin from the inevitable burn when the sun got too hot. We laid out the picnic blanket with a flourish and parked our buttocks firmly on the (slightly damp) grass. The menu was as follows:

Empanada 1: spicy tuna – yummo

Empanada 2: chicken – not sure where the chicken was 

Empanada 3: cheese and ham – tasted like a cat food filled doughnut 
Empanada 4: chorizo [insert Spanish lisp here] – yummo 

White wine: nice and tasty, but harder to consume than planned, which I will explain. 
We made the classic idiot English mistake of buying a bottle of wine with a corkscrew in it and not a screw top. And not being seasoned alcoholics, neither of us had a corkscrew in out bags. I know, I can practically hear you sighing at me over this. It is THE classic mistake to make when getting wine for a picnic and you look so typically touristy googling ‘How to uncork wine without a corkscrew’. So stupidly, the first thing we tried to do was push the cork inside the bottle. Now I think about it this is clearly a terrible idea as obviously you can’t push it inside the bottle because of the pressure, but I’m going to say we had had to much sun at this point and it had affected our intelligence. We then read online that you can get the cork out but firmly hitting the bottom of the bottle against a tree or similar, but we were too scared to do this for fear of the bottle smashing and wasting wine or resulting in serious injury.
So forlorn and seriously sober, I began to search through my bag for an implement that may assist us in our quest for alcoholic grape juice. And low, the holy grail was found – a pair of tweezers. I promptly set about gouging out the cork (which was halfway down the neck of the bottle after the previously ill fated attempt at removal) which took distinctly longer than I had anticipated. One pair of ruined tweezers later we were finally able to consume our wine, and thank God it was decent to drink – otherwise I think I would have lost my shit after all that effort. 
Wine consumed, we decided it would be a great idea to take out one of the bathtubs they were calling a rowing boat on the lake. We hired a ‘boat’ for 45 minutes for the mere price of €6, which we thought was rather reasonable. We plonked ourselves down in the boat and headed out on to the lake. To say it was utter carnage out there would be an understatement. Boats were lurching around in all directions, the oarsmen bearing no regard to the other vessels. We managed to make it out to a clear spot, on the way to which we saw a dead fish (cod rest his sole) and a terrapin, or a floaty tortoise (which I think is a much better name). Here is where Claire spied a ledge that she thought would be the perfect place to precariously rest her Polaroid camera so we could use the remaining 2 photos doing ‘action’ shots of us rowing. 


We rowed into place, rested the camera precariously on the ledge and set the timer and with the 3 seconds we had, pushed off hard from the side and quickly posed for the camera, then rowed hastily back to the side so a gust of wind didn’t blow our polaroid away. We did this twice in all, and it is safe to say we must have looked like utter nutters to any passers by, of which there must have been many. But I don’t care, because the photos were great and the proof is here for all to see.


Bonnie  

Madrid: Day Two

We were going to go to the park today but when we woke up it was properly overcast and I had a strong intuitous omen of rain coming (my intuition helpfully provided by the weather app on my iPhone). So we changed our plans and headed for the Chocolateria San Gines which is supposedly THE place to go for churros in Madrid. The churros typically come with this really thick and luxurious hot chocolate for you to dip them in. They looked incredible in the photos and the place gets some really great reviews online, so we thought ‘why not’?

I’ll start off by saying the experience wasn’t great from the off. We arrived and there were tables and chairs outside like your usual café type place, so we naturally assumed we could take a seat and someone would come and take our order. OH NO. We tried to sit down and promptly received an ear bashing in Spanish from a lady clearing one of the tables. Now, I have very limited knowledge of Spanish but I am 90% sure I heard the word ‘caca’ in the torrent of aggression that poured forth from her mouth, but I couldn’t be sure. Eventually a man in a chefs hat appeared next to us and lead us toward a counter where we were to place our order. It turns out you have to order first, get your receipt and a ‘ticket’, find a seat and then someone collects your ticket and brings your order to you. Self explanatory it was not.

#sauce
We ordered 6 churros and hot chocolate and 2 ‘porras’ which are basically churros but the size of a babies arm. They turned up at our table really quickly, accompanied by what looked to be the worlds tastiest hot chocolate – such anticipation – we were practically foaming at the mouth. What ensued was not the delectable assault on the senses we had been anticipating. I’m not over exaggerating when I tell you that they were genuinely disgusting. They weren’t light and crispy as we had imagined; they were dense, doughy and chewy. They tasted of overused cooking oil and essentially how I imagine a part cooked doughnut to taste. The hot chocolate wasn’t much better, it was oddly tasteless and bitter and didn’t do anything to enhance the greasy batter sticks we were attempting to enjoy. We were disappointed to say the least. When you read reviews that say things like ‘the place to go for churros’ and ‘best churros ever’ you expect at least half decent product. I have made churros in my own kitchen that were 10 times better than these horrors.
The offending ‘churros’

Just to top off the event, the woman that had shouted at us earlier was lurking nearby desperate to be rid of us so she could clear the table so the next lot of tourists could consume the disappointing fare. My arse had barely left the chair before she swooped in and cleared away the remnants of our ‘churros’ (they are not worthy of the name). The only redeeming factor for the whole affair were the rather gorgeous guitar-playing buskers who were in my eye line the entire time. I even gave Enrique and Jorge (assumed names) €2 for their troubles, and possibly also so I could hide my blushing face in my bag under the pretence of ‘searching for money’ when they came round with a collection box.

My Spanish stallions
Somewhat deflated but equally inflated, we went back to the places we Segway’d to yesterday for some pics with less chins in them in front of varying ‘places of interest’, where we were mobbed by groups of British tourists asking us to take photos of them. My mum says its because I look ‘approachable’, but we all know they look me up and down and are so sure that they could catch me and beat me in a fight if I ran off with their phone, that they are quite happy to take the risk and place their £700 worth of tech in my hand. But whatever, my face is just so approachable. We nailed the awkward arm poses in our very own photo shoot and even swung about a lamppost like we were in the cast of Singin’ in the Rain – it was a glorious feeling (damn right I did).
Couple of swingers
Bonnie

Madrid: Day Juan

It started the evening before when I couldn’t check in on the BA app. As soon as the check in failed I KNEW that the flight was overbooked and we were going to have troubles. But being the good pal I am, I didn’t voice my concern over the matter to Claire, because what is the point in both of us worrying about it?

So we get up at 4.45 in the morning and Les (my dad – the good lad that he is) drops us off at Heathrow  after making  a string of wrong turnings in the car which I will put down to lack of sleep and not senility. We try to check in on one of the machines in T5 and unsurprisingly it doesn’t work, because we can’t check in, because there are no damned seats left. So, we head over and join the queue that you join to be told that you can’t get on your flight. As I am sure you can imagine there is not a single queue in the British history of queuing that moves slower than this one does, a ‘snails pace’ does not even begin to describe the rate of progression. Everyone in the queue is angrily tapping their passport against their hand and is looking for the argument that we all love to have with the innocent employee of the massive company whose fault it is certainly not.

Approximately a millennia later we get to the front of the queue and low and behold; our flight has been over booked and we cant get on (the audience gasps in surprise, not). We get told we have to wait until the gate closes and come back, and at that point we will find out whether we get on our flight. We are issued with a £5 voucher to spend on food and drink (for our inconvenience) and head to the nearest cafe. No sooner have I picked up an extortionately priced bottle of OJ does the lady from the desk come hurtling over to us and tells us to ‘HAUL ASS because you got a flight to catch bitchez’. Obviously she doesn’t say that but I like to think that’s what she’d say if this were a film. So we run. We run all the way through T5 to the gate. No word of a lie, I am pouring with sweat by the time we plonk ourselves down in our seats. The man next next to us looks at me aghast like I’m some kind of freak show (which I guess I kind of was at this point) and goes back to watching Narcos on his iPad with a distinct look of distaste on his face. Whatever mate. Get with the programme, Narcos is sooooooo last season (all puns intended).

Because no one has ever seen the wing of a plane before

We make it to Madrid and get the Metro from the airport to the hotel, because we like to think we are cool well travelled types, and then climb up a hill which I don’t lightly say was definitely more of a climb than Mt Snowdon and more than likely resulted in altitude sickness.  Into the lobby of the hotel we go and I shit you not, it had duvets as a lighting feature. Duvets??? Whatever next?!

We had a quick shower and bounced straight out for our Segway tour; which I was a tad apprehensive about, seeing as I have the innate ability to make a fool of myself stood still, let alone on a set of wheels that rely on balance (of which I have limited reserves of). I got on fine with the Segway after emitting a few small sqwarks of terror initially and off we rolled to see the sights with our guide Angel – no joke. 


Now, I would be lying if I said I understood what the bloke was saying and if I remember rightly he was half Venezuelan and half Spanish, which meant he was rather difficult to understand. But we nodded along and pretended we understood every word he was saying because we are polite and British. Plus, he did take some terrible double chin shots of us in front of a palace, so I can’t really moan. He also recommended an incredible place for dinner which we went to in the evening and ate all of the empanadas and paella, and drank all of the wine. Yummo. Nothing like kind of local knowledge to get you a good place to eat eh? I’ll be hitting him up for a good place to eat if I ever venture to Venezuela.

Apprehensive ‘no hands’

Oh, and we saw a unicorn on a Segway.

 

Bonnie 

Post-itgate 

Scandalous. Absolute downright, dirty, rotten scandal. Who the hell does that to post-it notes?! A line was crossed today in the office and there is absolutely no way we can return to a situation where the line is in full view again. 

Let me explain the goings on. A person (who shall remain nameless) came to my desk earlier. They wanted to use a post-it note. Now I know this person quite well, so I didn’t feel too uncomfortable about passing over my pad of post-its for use. Now my trust in this person at this point becomes relevant, because I had a post-it note ‘on the go’ stuck to the top of the stack. I had assumed that she (or he… it’s a she), would peel off the top post-it, use the one underneath and leave the post-it that was in use stuck to my desk or similar. 

The horror that ensued, I can barely bring myself to speak of. But I will speak of it, for you, in a bid to stop similar heinous acts being committed in the future. I urge you to steel yourself for what happens next. Instead of peeling off the top post-it note, she yanked off a whole wad of the blighters. When I say a whole wad, this is minimum 8 post-it notes, absolute minimum. I stared on aghast as this poor, sorry collection of tacky papers were disconnected from their family and thrown with complete disregard to the other side of my desk. 

I nearly blew my top. I’ve no idea how I kept my cool and didn’t immediately storm round to HR and call for her dismissal. Worse and more destructive thoughts ran through my mind at this point, but I shan’t speak of them. She who shall not be named leaves my desk with her prize of a post-it note levered from mid stack. Honestly, what cretin does something like that? It breaks just about every unwritten rule there is regarding stationery etiquette. Every damn rule. 

I fruitlessly tried to stick the stack back together, knowing full well that it was never going to line up properly and that I’d always be able to see the fault line style break that had been administered to my post-its in a terrifying reminder of the horrors of this life. Jesus. They are going to have to go in the bin. There is absolutely no way I can continue to live in this fresh hell. 

I’ll tell you this one for free: no one puts me through an ordeal such as this and gets away with it lightly. No one commits an atrocity of such a level and walks away scot free. You will not go unpunished. Next time I go to the coffee area to grab myself a cup, do not even think for a moment you will be offered one. That’s right, feel the sting of that burn. I will absolutely be sticking something over her mouse sensor so it doesn’t work in the morning *laughs evily*. 

Bonnie 

Review: Pink Floyd – THEIR MORTAL REMAINS exhibition 

So this was incredible. Far and away the best exhibition I have ever been to and I would thoroughly recommend you go. It’s at the V&A museum (get off at Knightbridge tube station and walk for a couple of mins) and it’s pretty busy so I’d suggest you book online beforehand and pick a slot. I went for the 11:30 slot and I was a bit late, but fortunately they give a 15 minute window for each time slot to give everyone a chance to queue up and get a headset. 

‘Oh god, a headset!!’ I hear you cry. But don’t worry, it’s not THAT kind of exhibition, it’s not one of those ones where you have to type in the number of the display you are looking at to hear an electronic voice drone on in your ear about a particular 16th century piece changing the face or modernism or something. Everything is automatic; I’m assuming it’s done on sensors or something and when you walk past a display or a screen you hear what there is to be said about it. Coupled with the fact, that there is Pink Floyd in your ear hole pretty much all the way round. 


So let me give you a quick walk through the exhibition. There are crazy painted telephone boxes throughout with all bits of memorabilia in them, there are photos, album covers, videos and props from their shows. The exhibition walks you through the age of Pink Floyd, starting at the first concert and ending with the last. It talks you through the changes in the group and all of the incredible artistry that went into producing their great works. 


In the final room you take your headphones off and you can sit and watch their last creation on big screens with a psychedelic light show. Everyone lays on the floor and looks up at the screens and just enjoys the moment. As it says on the website, it’s an ‘unparalleled audio-visual journey’ and I couldn’t agree more. 

Bonnie 

Feel how you feel

I had a bad day today. Something happened before lunchtime and I ended up spending my lunch hour at home sobbing into my pillow with my kitty cat and my jim jams on – sad huh? Not really, just normal I think. It wasn’t really that bad, but it had just come out of the blue and got to me ya know? Taken me by surprise and the unexpectedness of it had brought on the tears, no one wants to the girl that cries at work either, so slid on out to the car and snuck off home for a bit. 

I think I just needed a few minutes to be upset about it and then some time to talk about it. It was at this point without everyone else’s opinions blurring my vision that I realised it wasn’t exactly as I thought it was. The awful thing that had happened wasn’t as awful as I thought it was and it was actually probably quite a nice thing in disguise. But someone had told me it was awful and I automatically assumed that they were right about it. 

It goes to show how easily innfluenced I can be, and we as a general human race. Someone says something and we just assume that what they are saying is right without any further thought. So here’s a thought, that person that tells you things are bad or good and offers opinions and advice all the time – they might be wrong. Because at the end of the day you know you better than anyone else does. You know how you feel about things and you know the situations you are in and they don’t, not really. 

So next time someone tells you something is wrong or right, bad or good, think for a moment and consider whether that is the way YOU feel about it. Because what is important is how you feel about things, not how others feel about things. Please don’t pretend to feel one way about something purely because it’s the way you are ‘meant’ to feel, feel what you feel. Because feelings aren’t right or wrong, they are just that, feelings. So do me a favour – make sure you are feeling how you are feeling, not how anyone else is feeling. 

Bonnie 

Review: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Concert 


Last Thursday I got my nerd on. I went to see Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in concert at the Royal Albert Hall. The film was accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, who were of course, absolute perfection. 

For the first 10 minutes I could not take my eyes off the orchestra and completely ignored the film! I always struggle to stop watching the orchestra and pay attention to what I’m supposed to be watching, I’m constantly astounded by their skill and how goddamn easy they make it look. I am forever jealous of anyone that can play an instrument, unfortunately it is not something I excel at. 

I spent a good few years attempting to learn the piano. About 2 years into the lessons my piano teacher clocked on that I couldn’t read the music and it all went downhill from there. I used to drive old Dorothy absolutely potty – she used to ask me where I was on the page and I never could tell the poor old love. She thought I was making mistakes when I hit the wrong notes, what was actually happening, was that I was sounding out the notes until it sounded right to me. I think she deemed me unteachable and my lessons ceased not so long after. 

Anyway, I digress. After I’d got used to the orchestra being there I finally managed to concentrate on the film. I’d forgotten how tiny Harry, Ron and Hermione were! They were so unbelievably little and I have to be honest, their acting certainly improved over the years. But nonetheless it was really enjoyable to see a film that I hadn’t seen in years and relive my childhood accompanied by an incredible orchestra. Definitely a evening well spent and I would recommend it to anyone if there is a film showing they enjoy. 
Bee. 

Reason 1 on why not to run 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never managed to find a sports bra that, well, works. God knows I’ve tried, I’ve tried different brands, different sizes and none of them seem to do what they are supposed to. All I want is a sports bra that holds everything in place so I don’t feel like my boobs are going to rip off the second I stumble into a light trot on the treadmill. 

The reason I’m rambling on about this today, is because recently I purchased an ‘ultra high impact’ sports bra. Now, when I saw this in the shop I thought I’d inadvertently come across the Holy Grail. I thought to myself ‘this is it, finally. No more bouncing boulders’. Life made. So I bought it, obviously it was extortionately priced, but who am I to put a price on comfort? 

So I go to the gym earlier, eager to try out the sports bra to beat all sports bras. I’m struggling into it in the changing room (its one of those that zips up at the front you see) and I’m not going to lie, saying it was easy to get into would be a complete untruth. But I endeavour, and I finally get zipped in, having broken a sweat before even getting into the gym. 
It’s at this point I notice it’s a tad, well let’s just say a tad on the restrictive side. Sort of rib crushingly tight and kind of already making my right shoulder go numb, but it will pass I’m sure. I can’t breathe, but breathing a whole lungful of air is overrated in my opinion anyway. 

So we are at the treadmill. I step on gingerly. No jiggling experienced when stepping up – this is a good sign. So I start off with a steady trot and all is well… surely this is too good to be true? I up the speed until I’m settled into a strong canter. It’s at this point I realise that it is too good to be true, and in fact, I feel like my tits are being ripped off to be used as a sacrifice to the Gods. 

OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH MUST STOP MUST STOP MUST STOP. My eyes are watering so much I can’t see to lower the speed, so I’m frantically flailing my arms around in the hope that I hit the emergency stop button. WHACK. Thank Christ. Finally it stops. I can’t breathe. Both my shoulders have gone numb now. It’s all I can do to manage to wobble my way to the changing room and rip the damn thing off after clawing at the zip what felt like 6 years. 

I’m not sure what happened after that but I somehow made it home. It’s all a bit hazy. I can see it lounging on my bedroom floor as we speak. The sight of it fills me with rage. I’d throw it in the bin in an aggressive manner if I’d managed to get my breath back. I’m almost pretty sure I’ve punctured a lung. 

Bee. 

Review: Beauty and the Beast 

So I went to see Beauty and the Beast at the cinema the other day. Yes I know it’s been out for months and months, yes I know I should have been to see it sooner