Forrest Gump Review

Today I am going to be writing a Forrest Gump review and tell you why it is in my top five favourite films of all time. I really hope you enjoy this review and you also want to watch or even rewatch this film! Plus don’t forget to like and subscribe to my blog, happy reading!

The film Forrest Gump was released back on the 7th October 1994 written by Eric Roth and directed by Robert Zemeckis. It is a comedic, dramatic and romantic film about Forrest Gump (played by the great Tom Hanks) a slow-witted but kind-hearted innocent man from Alabama. The film follows through several decades of his life, as well as living and experiencing several iconic moments in American history.

The film starts of as a grown Forrest Gump waiting on a bench at a bus stop, where he speaks to a lady also waiting for the bus. He offers her a chocolate, where he says one of the most famous lines from the film “My mom said life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re goin’ get.” Forrest starts to talk about his life to the lady waiting at the bus stop where we flashback to when Forrest is a child getting braces on his legs to fix his back as the doctor says he has a back like a crooked politician. From this point on you follow Forrest narrating his life to the passengers at the bus stop where it flashes to his past and eventually catches up to present day and the reason he is waiting at the bus stop.

This is the actual bench from the movie that Tom Hanks sits on and I got the chance to visit when I went to Paramount Studios in LA where it was filmed.

Forrest grew up in Greenbow, Alabama with his mum (played by Sally Field). As a single parent she was very aware Forrest’s mental condition, she treated and constantly reminded him that he was a wonderful, normal boy and that he shouldn’t be treated any differently. Even going to the lengths to sleep with the principal to make sure Forrest was kept in his school, despite having an IQ of just 79 meaning he was below average to be in the school.

However, Forrest’s adventures really began on his first ride to school. After getting on the bus and being told by the other kids that all the seats were full he hears the sweetest voice he had ever heard and turns to see the most “beautiful thing in my life, she was like an angel.” A little girl called Jenny offers for Forrest to sit next to her and they talk all the way to school. From this day on they became the best of friends and he refers to their relationship as “peas and carrots”. As Forrest and Jenny spend more time together, Forrest notices that Jenny never wants to go home as she had a very different childhood compared to Forrest. She grew up being physically and verbally abused by her father which left her with trauma causing her life to be later to be filled with drugs, alcohol and abusive boyfriends. But from all of this Jenny is the centre of Forrest’s world and he would do anything for her.

As Forrest gets older anywhere and everything he did, Jenny was always on his mind. He would write to her when he was fighting the Vietnam War, names a boat after her when he went into the shrimping business with Lieutenant Dan, thought about her when he played ping pong in the championships and the most when he went on a running spree for three years, two months and fourteen days (one of the most iconic things Forrest does…Run Forrest Run).

At the end of the film Forrest and Jenny’s life finally align and you find out the reason he is at the bus stop is because Jenny sends him a note that she needs to see him. Forrest goes to see Jenny and finds out he is actually the father of a young boy also called Forrest, the son of Jenny. Jenny becomes very sick with a virus so she and little Forrest moves in with Forrest at his house he grew up in. They eventually marry at the house and they spend the rest of her day’s as a family of three. After Jenny passes just a year later Forrest lovingly cares and raises little Forrest where at the end of the film he takes his son to get the school bus, where little Forrest tells him “I love you Daddy”.

This is just such a heart-warming film that always brightens up my day whenever I watch it. Tom Hanks’ performance is just incredible and will always be my favourite film from Hanks. The story comes full circle for Forrest and although Jenny is no longer there she has taught Forrest so much and she still lives on in Little Forrest.

Thank you all for reading and I really hope you enjoyed this Forrest Gump review and I hope it sparks you to watch or even rewatch this classic film. Don’t forget to comment and like the post. Thank you again and stay safe.


Update

It has been far to long since I last posted on here, but I am back and ready to get sharing again!

Since I last posted back in October, we have entered two lockdowns, celebrated Halloween, bonfire night, Christmas, rung in the New Year and celebrated my birthday. But today’s post I am going to write a life update about what has happened in the last four months.

Halloween for me is one of my favourite times of the year, the air gets cooler, nights get darker and it just has a really nice feel about this time of year. This year as there was still restrictions in place, it was kept low key where me and my friends went to a local pumpkin patch called Cattows Farm in Leicestershire. If you haven’t been already you should as it has the biggest selection of pumpkins in the country! So after looking through 100’s of pumpkins I picked my five ready to carve. This years editions weren’t my best but I am still rather chuffed with what I created, have a look for yourselves below:

Next up we have my absolute favourite time of the year Christmas! This has always been the best time of the year for me, it’s just full of happiness and it’s spent with your favourite people, and this year although was different to previous years was still just as nice. Our Christmas decorations saw an upgrade, we watched more christmas films than usual as we were home more, ate lots of wonderful food, played so many games and just spent time as a family. Here are some of highlights from the crimbo period:

New Year much like Christmas was low key and we just celebrated as a family. We played board games and a gross game of bean boozled, twisted with beer pong which was awful but so fun! We rung in the New Year together and hoped for a much more positive 2021. Although as predicted on the 8th January we was plunged into a third lockdown, which we are still riding out with the hope in March we will have a little more freedom back.

This meant I spent my birthday in lockdown, which only seemed fair as everyone else I know celebrated theirs in lockdown already. Also you know what, although I missed all of my friends, it was a great birthday. We played games on the Nintendo Switch, had a takeaway and just chilled which was really nice.

Since then, not a lot has happened, I have been working from home so apart from my walks and the odd shop for essential items I have stayed home. Which last weekend got exciting as we got so much snow…more than I had ever seen. So of course the 27-year old I am, I made a giant snowman as tall as me (not hard as I am only just over 5ft). My greatest achievement of 2021 so far. Enjoy the snowy, magical pictures below:

I really hope you enjoyed reading my small life update as much as I did writing it. Although times are tough we will all make it through this together!

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September Highlights

So I am not sure where time has gone, but another month has flown by! This post I thought I would share some of my highlights throughout September and some of the activities I got up to. So without further ado, here are my September highlights. Happy reading.

September for me is the start of the best part of the year for me. I like the cooler nights, summer starting to fade away and starting to feel seasonal. As before you know it, it’s Halloween, Bonfire night and then Christmas (best time of the year). Plus for the first time in months I finally had plans booked that Corona didn’t cancel and it was nice to finally see friends that I haven’t seen since the beginning of the year.

Nottingham

My first September highlight was to visit Nottingham. Although I had already been once whilst the shops were shut, it was nice to go back and see the hussle and bussle. We took a family trip to go shopping and have some lunch. Although it was very different to previous times, it was nice to go back and do some normal activities such as shopping, as the last 6 months has consisted of online shopping. So it would have been rude to have not bought something whilst I was there, so I decided that I needed a new pair of trainers as my trusty ones of 3 years had finally seen the end of the road. To finish of a great day, we treated ourselves to some Project D doughnuts which I won’t go into to much detail as you can tell from the pictures they were as delicious as they looked! If you haven’t tried one yet, you are truly missing out.

York

My second September highlight was visiting York with some of my best friends. We decided to take a trip to York as it had been years since we had all been. So we took the 1 hour 30 minute drive to spend the day. When we arrived we walked up the famous Shambles street looking at all the cute small shops that had mostly vintage items or Harry Potter memorabilia. We had a look through vintage shops, sweet shops and the market before going to The York Dungeons. It was AMAZING! If you haven’t visited it really is worth a visit, and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The weather was a lovely warm day, so after the York Dungeons we went down to the Riverbank where we sat outside and enjoyed an ice cold drink and enjoyed the surroundings in the sun. We finished of our day by heading towards York Minster and honestly it is so stunning to see. It really didn’t feel like I was in the middle of York, as it is just tucked away behind all the shops. After a bite to eat it was time to head home, and what a fantastic day we had. Just take a look at some of the pictures of our day in York:

Windsor & Thorpe Park

My final September highlights are when I visited some of my best friends in London, where we took a spontaneous trip to Windsor Castle and a fun day trip to Thorpe Park. During a meal with my friends I had noticed that I saw signs for Windsor, after a conversation it had turned out we was only a 10-15 minute drive from Windsor Castle. This stunned me as I had never imagined how close we was. So after our food we took the spontaneous trip to go and see Windsor castle and to walk a section of the Long Walk (and I say a section as in length it is around 2.5 miles one way). It was as cool as I had imaged, although you can’t get particularly close as we went after hours it was still incredible to see especially as we made it as the sun was starting to set.

My second day we went to Thorpe Park. It was such a great day! Although apprehensive about wearing my mask on almost all the rides, it is not as bad as you would think and it certainly did not take any fun away from the day. I love going to Thorpe Park as I had only been once previous to this as it is quite away from home (2 hours 40 to be exact), it has always just been easier to go to Alton Towers. It was really nice to go on so many different rides and with great company too. Here are some of the pictures of my time at Windsor Castle and Thorpe Park:

I really hoped you enjoyed reading about my September highlights as much as I did writing them. Although times are really tough and by no means back to normal, there is so much to see in this country that is just stunning and I am going to make more of a conscious effort to visit more landmarks and places in the UK.

If you liked this post, don’t forget to like and subscribe to my blog, thank you and stay safe.

My Favourite Books

Hi everyone, I hope everyone is keeping safe and well! Today’s post I am going to write about my favourite books. For as long as I can remember I have always preferred watching TV rather than getting lost in a book, but as I have got older this has changed. I can’t say I have a favourite genre because I will read anything if the blurb interests me. However, I have noticed that I do lean more towards books that have been adapted into films, as it makes the book come to life which I really like. So without further ado here I go, I really hope you enjoy reading.

Tattooist of Auschwitz

So my first book I am going to write about is The Tattooist of Auschwitz. This is a 2018 International No. 1 bestseller novel by Heather Morris. The book is based on the powerful true story of Lale Sokolov who in 1942 arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau and was given the grueling job of tattooing the prisoners who arrived at the camp. It follows the harsh reality that many prisoners in the Holocaust faced, but also a touching and emotive tale of love and selflessness that Lale experiences when he meets Gita, where he may have tattooed her, but she tattooed his heart. This really was an incredible and powerful book to read and I know in the future it will be read many more times.

The Rural Diaries

The next book is The Rural Diaries by Hilarie Burton Morgan. This book is the latest one that I have finished and as a fan of Hilarie Burton since she first appeared on One Tree Hill as Peyton Sawyer, it really did not disappoint. In a heartwarming biography, Hilarie explains her life since leaving LA and moving to Mischief Farm with her Husband Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who I also love. She is raw, honest and open about everything she has faced in her life and how it has led her to where she is now and how a community, farm and family helped her along the way. It has been my favourite biography I have read so far and I really hope in the future we continue to hear more about life down on Mischief Farm.

Great Expectations

Thirdly I will talk about perhaps my favourite book of all time Great Expectations by the incredible Charles Dickens. I remember when I first heard about the book and nothing drawed me to reading the book, but as part of a school assignment we read Great Expectations and ever since reading the first sentence “My Father’s family name being Pirrip, and my christian name being Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip”. This first sentence just struck something with me and as I continued to read the book, the journey that Pip follows really hits home. When he meets Miss Havisham and Estella it really add to the content of the book where you get so invested in Pips life. What I love even more about this book even more is the amount of Film and TV adaptations there are. It is one book that I know I will never get bored off, even after reading it 3 times I know I will be reading it many more times in the future.

The Time Traveler’s Wife

Now this book I had read in an unconventional way and I had actually watched the 2009 film starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana before reading the book. I try not to do this now as I have noticed I much prefer to read the book first then watch the film after and watch the characters come to life. That is not to say that it ruined the reading experience for me as I still absolutely loved the book by Audrey Niffenegger. It is a classic romance in my opinion that is something different from the typical genre. The story of Henry and the struggles he faces time travelling and never having a choice of when he comes and goes really pulls on your heartstrings. A timeless classic that again I know I will never get bored of reading, even after reading it twice already.

The Fault in our Stars

I remember when this book came out and became an instant hit and of course I joined in on the hype. The Fault in our Stars was written by John Green and is a No. 1 New York Times Bestseller and a 2014 motion picture featuring Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley. It follows Hazel who has is a 16-year-old girl with thyroid cancer that has severely impacted her lungs. Forced by her parents Hazel attends a support group for other people in a similar situation and it is at these meetings that she meets Augustus Walters an ex-basketball amputee. As the story progresses you see their romance unfold into something that is funny, thrilling and tragic business of being alive and in love. This book was a great read and was very much a great adaptation too. Although it is not something I tend to re-read I have seen the film a few times now as it was such a good adaptation.

Twilight

Lastly, of course this had to make the list along with the other books in the saga. Twilight came at a time where again there was a huge hype and interest in the books written by Stephenie Meyer. This mostly happened after the first film was released staring Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner. , From the release of the film the book sales soared as everyone wanted to find out what is going to happen in the other films. This was exactly how I joined the hype and became obsessed like every other teenager in the world at the time. The books follow the story of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen who become involved romantically, but later in the book you find out that Edward is in fact a Vampire. This is a classic teen novels and something I will always cherish. Although now there is a slight cringe when I watch the films, I think about the amazing times I had had when reading these books and then seeing it evolve at the cinemas when they were released. In fact recently Stephenie Meyer has just released Midnight Sun which follows the story from Edward’s perspective rather than Bella’s in the original novels, and I honestly cannot wait to read this. So look forward to a review on this when I finally get to read it.

So that is it my favourite books and a short review of each. As I said at the beginning although I predominately watch more TV and Films, I have now found comfort in reading a book and now I look forward to the evening to read. I hope you enjoyed and I can’t wait to hear some of your favourite books.

Gilmore Girls

Today I am going to write about another one of my favourite TV series, Gilmore Girls. I have watched this show since I was around 12 years-old when I saw it on TV one day after school and ever since I have been hooked. I really hope you enjoy this review! Don’t forget to like and subscribe to my blog, happy reading.

The pilot of Gilmore Girls aired back on 5th October, 2000 and was written by Amy Sherman-Palladino. The show is centred around a single mum named Lorelai and her daughter Rory, who are more like best friends rather than mother and daughter. Lorelai got pregnant with Rory when she was 16 years-old and her wealthy parents Richard and Emily were far from pleased with the news. Lorelai decided that she did not want Rory to grow up in the same circumstances as she did in the high society life. So they settled in a small town in Connecticut called Stars Hollow, filled with many different walks of life but a tight knit community. Lorelai a manager of a hotel and Rory being a grade A student, earns herself a place at a very expensive school called Chilton. To be able to send Rory to Chilton, Lorelai must re-establish her relationship with her parents in order to borrow money for Rory’s education. As a result, they negotiate the money but Lorelai and Rory must agree to Friday night dinners with her parents. The show follows them as they try to reconnect with their family, their relationships and their life experiences.

Here is the Netflix trailer to series 1-7:

Why you should watch Gilmore Girls

The show really is something that I have never seen before. The relationship that Lorelai and Rory have is so special and no other show has even come close to depicting the same relationship. But also the relationships that you see evolve through the series with Emily and Richard, Rory’s father Christopher, the multiple love interests, friendships they all just have something that you don’t see on other programs.

Another reason you should watch the show is because of the realism. Of course there are moments where you would be like, that would never happen but the friendships and relationships are very realistic and strikes a cord when watching the program. I in particular love the relationship between Lorelai and best friend Sookie, through all the heartaches, children, business and (SPOILER) Sookie moving away in the revival, they are always there for each other.

Rory can be seen to also have a similar friendships with Best friends Lane and Paris. Although Lane and Paris are polar opposite characters, they represent real life friendships in many ways. Lane who has been Rory’s best friend since childhood and Paris who she meets at Chilton they both help delevop Rory’s character. Lane is empathetic and understands Rory’s life, but Paris challenges Rory academically and encourages her through her life at Chilton and Yale.

Finally, the secondary characters in the show bring again something that I haven’t watched before in a series. They bring so much fun and quirkiness to the program, they make you feel like I lived in Stars Hollow too. Although there are so many secondary characters, they all manage to get their own arcs that run throughout the episodes which makes you feel like that you know everyone in the town.

Discussion

As I have said above, the main reasons I love the show is because it is nothing that I have ever seen before. The relationships feel so realistic at times and it just makes me feel happy and content when I watch it. Since following the series since I was 12, I have rewatched it multiple times and I can honestly say I could never get more of watching Gilmore Girls. So without further ado, let’s get into what I love and don’t love so much about Gilmore Girls.

One of my favourite things about the show is the theme tune. Not many shows get you hooked on a theme tune, but “Where You Lead” by Carole King is one of my favourite theme tunes of all time. The images from the series and the words just make you fall in love with Lorelai and Rory before even getting further into the episodes.

Here is the opening introduction:

Some of the things that I am yet to decide about is the Revival. To those who haven’t watched yet, the series originally ended in 2007 before Netflix released Gilmore Girls: A year in the Life in 2016. The show followed Lorelai and Rory 10 years later and where life has took them since. One thing that I thought lacked in the revival was the depth of the characters progressing since the finale of season 7. Rory and Emily are the only ones that have had changes in their lives, everyone else is in the exact same place as where we left off, except everything is more modern.

Although Rory’s life had taken her to London she was portrayed as a stuck up freelance journalist who was sleeping with her ex-boyfriend whilst she was already in a relationship. You can understand that the writers did want to show that she has not been on an easy journey and life’s not perfect. But i found it just made Rory’s storyline so unrelateable compared to the previous seasons and I really struggled to empathise with her throughout. I was also very upset to see how they portrayed Luke and Lorelai’s arc. To believe they had waited 10 years to get married is just craziness! If the original series had continued, they would have been married in a year or two. Instead the whole journey to marriage was really unemotive and again I really struggled to find the realism in the arcs of the characters.

Finally, as mentioned in reasons why you should watch the show, the secondary characters were a massive part in the series. However, when we reached the revival, they really had no storylines of any significance and you found yourself wanting more questions asked. You never really got to find out much about where life had took, Lane, Paris, Jess, Dean and Sookie other than a short line of a backstory. I just felt like there was not enough details in the reasons why I originally loved the show, and there was too much of useless storylines being explained. Although it did come full circle with the ending and has left many fans including myself wanting more, but of the original series content.

My Top 3 Favourite Moments:

  1. One of my favourite moments of the entire series is Luke and Lorelai’s first kiss in Season 4 episode 22. The moment had been building up since the pilot as the chemistry they have is undeniable. When they kissed it was a moment of relief and excitement to see where their journey together would take them.

2. In second place is Rory and Logan in season 5 episode 7 with you jump, I jump Jack. It was the first moment where I realised that Rory and Logan were meant to be (sorry to all of you Jess shippers). Logan sparks something inside Rory that neither Dean or Jess did and their relationships was one of my favourites.

3. Lastly, the finale episode of season 7. It really brought the story of Lorelai and Rory nearly full circle. It followed Rory getting the job she had been wishing for and Lorelai and Luke finally getting back together after seasons apart. The love that Lorelai and Luke have and their love towards Rory is just magical.

Conclusion:

Gilmore Girls really is a different genre of TV and has helped develop so many female driven stories that we now see on TV today. The show is funny, clever, heartwarming and never fails to put me in a better mood. Although, personally the Revival was a very different move to the original series it did help get a glimpse of where the character are now 10 years-later and with the cliffhanger at the end, has left opportunities for the show to be revived once more.

Thank you all for reading, I really hope you enjoyed. If you have watched Gilmore Girls, what were your favourite moments? Don’t forget to comment and like the post. Thank you again and stay safe.

Barcelona

Hello everyone, I hope everyone is keeping safe and well. Today’s blog will be about my time in Barcelona. It was one of the first European cities I have ever visited and it really did not disappoint. I hope you like my tips on visiting the city and places you can explore whilst on a budget. Happy reading!

I went to Barcelona in July 2018, with my best friends from university and we flew from Gatwick airport. Flights to and from Barcelona were relatively cheap costing around £150 return with Easyjet. Although if you are taking a suitcase you will need to pay extra, but I took a travelling bag that I could check in as hand luggage, which really helped. The reason for taking hand luggage only was because after my four days in Barcelona we was travelling to Benicassim for a festival (which I will review in a seperate post).

When looking at accomodation we opted for Airbnb as it really was the cheapest way for us all. It cost around £438 for 3 nights but split between 4 people, it worked out much cheaper than staying in a hotel. Our Airbnb was situated on Carrer de València which was around a 10 minute walk to the nearest metro station, which allowed us for easy access across the city during our stay.

When thinking about an itinerary we only had one place on our agenda that we wanted to visit, and that was the famous La Sagrada Familia. To get there and travel across the 4 days we purchased a 4 day travel pass. Which cost only around £20 it meant that we could travel via bus and metro all day at no extra cost. To get to La Sagrada we went via Metro and took around 20 minutes and from when you come out of the metro station the first thing you see is the building. I just stood there in awe, due to the size and the beauty of it. There was so many different elements to the building that I just loved.

Here are a few pictures I took:

After our time at La Sagrada Familia we decided to look at the other work that was done by famous Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi. These were scattered all over the city which was great as we really got to explore the city in depth from visiting each place.

Our next Gaudi sighting was Casa Mila, around a 20 minute walk from where we were. Again, the building was just spectacular and the level of detail was just amazing. What made it even better was there was a cafe just outside where we managed to have a cocktail outside

Just a 5 minute further walk onwards was our third Guadi stop of the day, Casa Batllo. This building although had similar shapes to Casa Mila there was so much more detail and the colours really made the building stand out to the others. Although you can pay to look inside each of the buildings, we opted not to pay in the three we had already visited as there was so much to see outside too and we were on a budget.

We looked at what other Gaudi buildings were nearby to Casa Batllo and the next one happened to be quite a walk away to Park Guell. So we got on a metro and ended up a 20-minute walk to the entrance of Park Guell. Now if I could give you any advice if you want to visit park Guell, get a taxi or get a bus to the top as the hill as it is very steep and in that heat, not an easy walk. When we arrived it was very busy but you could see the buildings and it was utterly breathtaking. Although this time you couldn’t get close to the buildings like the previous ones, you had to book tickets. So even after the long walk we decided it was worth a visit so we booked to come back in a couple of days time.

Our next day we decided to visit the gothic quarter of the city and look at their indoor markets. I had never been to a market so big and full of so much food. But I do highly recommend to get away from the heat and take in the culture. After the market we took walks through alleys and really got to see some of the hidden gems of Barcelona, like this old church pictured below:

On our third and final full day we went to Park Guell, which I will just show you the pictures as it was breathtaking, from the views to the architecture, it was worth every penny (€8). Just take a look below:

After our visit to Park Guell, we took a walk back down to the beach but this time to look at the harbour, which was really nice. It was nice to unwind over our last three busy days and reflect ready for our next part of our trip to Benicassim. We ended our final night by having what some would say a typical spanish tea. Although I am not so adventurous, one of my friends ordered chargrilled rabbit and pigs ears, which I don’t think he will be ordering the ears anytime soon. I just stuck to the lovely but simple patatas bravas, it really was a great ending to our time in Barcelona.

On day 4 was where we met up with the rest of our friends and made our travels by coach to Benicassim ready for the Fib festival where I will be writing about my time there in the upcoming weeks, so keep a lookout.

Our trip was fantastic and really was inexpensive. We took sandwiches everyday and only ate out once a day and the meals were relatively well priced. We managed to see so much of the city without spending a penny other than the ticket we had paid at the beginning of the week for the metro and €8 for Park Guell. Overall, i really do recommend Barcelona for either a quick, cheap get away or even a week long holiday if you want to explore the buildings even further.

I really hope you enjoyed my review of my time in Barcelona and hopefully it has helped with any questions or tips if you are due to go. Thank you for reading and keep safe.

Back to Reality

Hello everybody, it has been a long while since I last posted on the blog, but I guess life had just got away with me. But I am back and I want to give a new life update about what I have been up to in the last month or so. I really hope you enjoy reading.

Since I last posted there have been a few changes in my life; I have been taken off furlough, been on a short holiday and hit a big milestone in my self care journey that I started this year. Although this time has been unprecedented, I really feel like I have used my time well and I am really proud of the direction I am heading. I just can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings and take you all on this journey with me.

Self Care & Self Love

In my post about being on furlough, I spoke about the self care and self love journey I had begun to change my life for the better. This has been a rollercoaster of a journey but has been one of the most rewarding ones I have ever been on. Mentally, I notice that I am more positive and the little things that would always get me down or upset no longer do so. One thing that I had never thought that would happen whilst on this journey is that I no longer hate or dread doing exercise. I now look forward to my morning walks before work and even trying out new exercise routines. Physically I have noticed the biggest difference. When I first started this journey in March my walking pace was 20:35 per mile now it has gone down to 18.05 per mile which is just incredible and never thought I would be able to do this as I just didn’t like walking, now I can’t imagine life without my daily walks. But this biggest physical change I have is that I have finally lost just over 1 STONE!!! Which I just can’t believe. I am so proud of the journey I have been on. Especially as at the beginning, even though I wanted to lose the weight I just imagined I would stick with the routine for a couple of weeks then stop. But to hit this milestone means everything. It is far from over but I can’t wait to take you all on this journey with me.

Here is one of my progress pictures. The left was back in March and the right was just 1 week ago.

Returning to Work

At the end of April I received a call from my manager explaining that they would like me to come of furlough and to return to work. I was so happy to get the call as it hadn’t really sunk in that I didn’t work for nearly 4 months, even now after being back for 4 weeks it still feels very surreal I was off for so long. But I have never been so excited to go back to work and finally get into a new routine. Although I had been on such a journey whilst being on furlough, it was nice to get back to some sort of reality. It was also nice to finally see colleagues or even people that I hadn’t seen in months was great and my employer made me feel so welcome to come back and let me get back into the swing of things which I was so thankful for. I have now been back in the office for 4 weeks and it is so nice to be back and so lucky to have a job as I know so many may not be so fortunate.

Holiday at Burnham-On-Sea

It has hard to imagine that normally at this time of year I would be about to go on my summer holiday overseas, but this year with the global situation me and my family decided to take a 4 night break to Burnham-On-Sea. We stayed in the Haven Caravan Park situated on the beach front, which was just beautiful. Although there were hesitations about going on the holiday with the COVID-19, there was really nothing to worry about. Haven were very professional and did everything they could to ensure they were COVID secure and put all of our minds at ease. The break away was what we all needed to get away and just enjoy some proper fresh air and see the beautiful areas around Burnham-On-Sea.

Whilst we was there we took a couple of day trips and the first day trip we went to was Weston-Super-Mare which was only a 15-20 minute drive from our caravan which made it even more perfect. The day was sunny and very warm and made walking across the beach front such a beautiful experience and even had a cheeky ice-cream on the promenade. The next day we visited a very popular destination in the UK, Wookey Hole which was around 40 minutes away. This was a great family fun day out and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves looking at the caves and the history as well as the different activities they had for you to do, including mini golf. Our final day we visited another popular destination, Cheddar Gorge which was 25 minutes away. Oh my it was such a beautiful place to visit, the views were breathtaking looking at the gorge and the small village of Cheddar. Of course the visit included trying Cheddar cheese in Cheddar which was really yummy. It was such a nice day out and would definitely recommend a visit, I think I shall even return when it is back open for tours to really experience Cheddar and the spectacular views.

Here are some of the pictures that I took whilst I was on Holiday:

I really hope you enjoyed reading an update of my life from the past couple of months. Don’t forget to like, subscribe and share some of your adventures too.

Thank you for reading, keep safe.

America Part 2: Los Angeles

Hi everyone and thank you for all your support so far. Here is the next part of my travels in America as part of my university course. I will talk about my time visiting Griffith Observatory, Paramount Pictures, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Universal Studio, Warner Bros and Downton LA. I hope you all enjoy, happy reading!

After my five days in Anaheim, myself and the rest of my group travelled to Los Angeles. We stayed for our remaining 6 days in the Hollywood Walk of Fame Hostel, which cost around £30 per night for a 6 bed co-ed room. The hostel was really clean, the staff were really helpful, and if you are worried about sharing a bathroom, don’t because it is constantly cleaned. The location was also perfect for me as it was opposite the Hollywood Highland Metro station, the Highland shopping centre, Dolby Theatre, Chinese Theatre and Disney’s El Capitan Theatre all less than a 2 minute walk away. The only slightly negative point from this hostel was if you are based at the front of the hostel it can be quite noisey, but for the price and the location it is definitely worth it.

My first day in Hollywood I took the walk from the hostel to the Griffith Observatory with my course group, which took around 1 hour 10 minutes (4 mile walk) so we could watch the sunset over the city. Something I will say is prepare for a long hilly treck from the bottom of Griffith Park to the Observatory, if you are unable to walk up hill, I would suggest an Uber to the top. But make sure this is on your list as it was spectacular to watch and you can also see the Hollywood sign from here too. Here are some of the pictures taken:

The next day I went to Paramount Pictures studio tour. To get to the studio I again walked from the hostel to save money and it took around a 45 minute walk (2.3 miles). The studio tour itself was great especially to see things such as the Forest Gump bench, the Titanic oscar, some props from Grease and the set of Dr Phil. Although it wasn’t one of my favourite Hollywood studio, it was still very impressive to see. Here are just a couple of photos from my day at Paramount Studio:

My next day I went to Universal studio’s with some of my group, which was INCREDIBLE. The journey from our hostel consisted of getting the red line Metro from Hollywood Highland where you are on it for one stop to Universal City. From there you are able to get a tram to the top of the hill to the entrance. The park was busy but it was expected for the Harry Potter World and for the studio tour. We made our way around the park going on all rides we had wanted too and eventually going on the studio tour which was amazing. I got to see the sets from The Grinch, Bates Motel, Jaws, Fast and Furious and Desperate Housewives. This theme park and studio tour is really worth every penny (the price of a ticket was around £90). Here are some of my favourite moments from Universal Studios:

On my fourth day I went to Santa Monica and it was great, as it was a little more relaxing as I just went with the flow. We got the metro from outside our hostel (Hollywood Highland) to Santa Monica which took around 1 hour. I went and sat on the beach and had a look around the pier, then walked up to Venice beach and stopped off for some vegan ice cream which was surprisingly delicious. The vibe in Venice beach was great and was completely different to the vibe just 30 minutes to Santa Monica. I looked at Muscle Beach, looked in shops and had one last moment on the beach before I left. These are the photos from Santa Monica and Venice Beach:

My second to final full day me and two others of my group went to the Warner Bro’s lot. I paid around $70 for a tour and it was worth EVERY PENNY (or cent if your in the USA). As part of a guided tour of around 10 people and lasts around 3 hours. As I can’t remember the exact order of the sets I have listed what I remember. I got to see the Gazebo from the Gilmore Girls as well as Miss Patty’s, Lorelai’s and Sookie’s house. The school from Back to the Future and Pretty Little Liars as well as Ezra’s house in the woods. The set of Big Bang Theory which at the time was set up for shooting. The outdoor set from LALA Land, Fuller House, the El Entrance from ER. Some of the DC Universe, The Harry Potter sets (which the UK studio tour for Harry Potter was much better) and finally my favourite part of the entire tour, the set of FRIENDS Central Perk. This tour is honestly worth every penny. The staff and the arrangement was very professional but super friendly, which I didn’t seem to get from the other tours. That night I also went to the El Capitan Theatre to watch Beauty & the Beast, which at the time had only been out for around a month. It was incredible to watch in such a grand theatre and was the perfect way to end the day. Just to make you all jealous here are more photos:

My final full day consisted of taking an adventure to Downtown LA. I just hoped onto the Metro to Downton LA and just walked around for a little bit before deciding to go and visit the Chinese Quarter and the Disney Symphony Hall. Although it was one of the more uneventful days it was really nice to see actual LA and not the hype of Hollywood which we had become accustomed too. It really was a nice way to tie up the whole trip with something more low key and to just immerse myself with the culture. For one final time here are some of the images from Downtown LA.

My departure home was again a very long one, just like the journey to America. To get to the airport, me and my group was originally going to get a bus, however it proved easier to get an Uber, which I would highly recommend especially for the long journey ahead. Although it was much easier to check in at the airport than it was when we arrived, I was stunned how little there was in the international departure lounge. There was no food places I had heard off and it was very expensive. So I ended up just sitting there for around two hours before our flight left for London, so I would advise full charged devices and a book to fill the time as you also only get 30 minutes free wifi. The flight home took around 11 hours and I felt every minute, but it was really nice to get home and relax after a really busy 11 days.

I hope you have enjoyed this entry of my first time in America and have found bits useful if you are due to go or are thinking of going in the future.

Life on Furlough

In this post I am going to share with you all how I have been using my time on furlough. I will give some of my tips of how I have kept myself busy during this crazy time. I hope you enjoy!

Since being on furlough and being off work, I have used this time to make sure I have been self caring and being productive so I can use this unprecedented time to my full advantage.

Self Care

At the beginning of the year, I set out my New Years resolution to be a year of self love and self care. In the first three months leading up to lockdown, I had used the time to sign up to my local leisure centre for swimming and to join a Korfball team (a post about Korfball will be uploaded in the upcoming weeks). Prior to lockdown I was doing swim sessions 2-3 times a week before work and 1 – 2 hour Korfball session, but I really wasn’t seeing any benefits. As I was seeing minimal results, I took the opportunity with resources being provided in lockdown to workout 5 times a week and to try and walk at least a mile a day (Joe Wicks and his PE Sessions have been amazing and are free). To me this was a major increase to my fitness and I have seen such big results in my physical and mental wellbeing.

Additionally, in the last month I have changed my eating habits to try and eat cleaner and healthier food. Before lockdown, I would find myself eating out at least once to twice a week which I have seen the effects this can have on your body, mentally and physically. Using the app MyFitness Pal has been a fantastic help, ensuring that I don’t exceed calories on too many foods, as well as being able to track my weight loss. Now I am not saying that I am eating perfectly everyday, as sometimes you do need to listen to what your body is telling you. A treat every now and again is going to do you the world of good too, I personally just try and think of the journey I have been on and how far I have come and I now know when to stop.

Something else that has been essential to my self care mentally, is making sure that you have time for family and friends. I try and remember that I am not the only person going through this and that my family and friends are too. One way that I have kept in touch is by doing weekly quizzes. This is something fun you can do in an evening for an hour or too and to catch up with your loved ones. Zoom is a fantastic video platform that is free and allows all of your friends and family to join in at the same time.

Being Productive

From the beginning of lockdown in the first week or two I really did struggle to be productive. However, I knew that I couldn’t keep that up lifestyle of staying in and watching TV all day. I really needed to do something with my time, the first thing I thought of was what can I do to strengthen my professional skills for my career? As someone who works in the marketing industry I had a look at some free courses to do on LinkedIn. One of these was a beginners guide to Google Analytics, which is free to do and I have so far completed over half of the course. At the end you receive a certificate to say you have passed the course, and will be something I will be able to add on my professional CV.

If you are reading then you can also tell that I created this blog! The reason I did this is because I love to read blogs and I want to be able to connect with readers like yourselves and become part of a wider community. I have opened my mind creatively too, which when you are doing your full time job can be sometimes hard to do, so I have really enjoyed created this blog.

If I was to give any advice of how to spend this time productively, it would be to write a list of what you want to do. I started by making a 10 year plan and ways I can help achieve that plan. What stages I need to take and at what times to make this 10 year plan successful. But also making smaller lists that can be down during being off work such as reading more, doing an online course, or even organising your space better, just so you have a sense of achievement when you are able to tick them off your list.

Good & Bad Days

During this unprecedented time we are all going to have good and bad days, you are only human! Something that I have learnt is that not every single day is going to be productive, and that is OK. Somedays I wake up and feel amazing and have so much energy for the day, but then others I have no motivation and I want to lounge about watching Netflix all day, and that is OK too. You just need to take each day as it comes, no one expects you to have this new way of life figured out and that is OK too! We will all get through this together and will come out stronger on the other side.

Thank you for reading, I hope you are all staying safe.

America Part 1: Anaheim

So today’s post I thought I would give you my tips and experiences from my visit to America, where I visited Anaheim in March 2017. This was part of a trip with my university course (there will be a part 2 focused on my time in Los Angeles). So I hope you enjoy part 1, happy reading!

The flight was from London Heathrow and I thought that it was a pleasant experience considering it is the biggest airport in the UK and normally I would fly from Birmingham International which is a lot smaller. There was plenty of places to eat (although as expected did come with a big price tag), places to shop and browse before your flight. Everything went very smoothly and there was no delays.

My flight lasted roughly 9 hours 45 minutes, despite it originally planned to take 11 hours 10 minutes (which was an added bonus after an early set off at 3am). I arrived around 3pm at LAX which was rather weird, as it was the first time I had encountered an 8 hour time difference. At the airport there was a long delay getting through security and passport control, eventually taking over 1 hour. By the time we had all grouped together, we got an Uber to our hotel based in Anaheim, called Kings Inn Anaheim (Uber was our preferred travel for long distances as it works out cheaper if you are in a group). Take a look at some of the amazing views from the flight:

From the Airport it was around a 1 hour 10 minute journey to the hotel due to peak time traffic, which was ok as it meant I was able to have a look at the surroundings. The hotel cost around £60 a night and I shared a room with two other people which made it much more affordable. It was around the corner from restaurants, a 15 minute walk to the gate of Disneyland and a 10-15 minute walk to the Anaheim Convention Center it was the best location for us (even better that it also had a hot tub and a pool).

My first night consisted of going out for food as a group and unpacking, as we was going to be here for five nights before moving to Los Angeles for the remainder of the trip. For food locations there was something to cater for everyone including, Chinese, IHOP, Denny’s, Bubba Gump and a CVS & 7-Eleven if you were just after a sandwich or snacks.

The first day in Anaheim was one of my favourite days from the entire trip, I went to DISNEYLAND. As a major Disney fan and going to the original Disneyland it was just incredible. It took around a 15 minute walk to get to the gates of Adventureland and Disneyland, I had purchased a ticket for Disneyland as I wanted to see the castle and the fireworks at the end of the evening. Although if I had been there for an extra day, I would have loved to have gone to Adventureland too.

I went on all the rides I had wanted too from Peter Pan, the Haunted Mansion, It’s a Small World, Goofy’s Drive School and so many more. Something that stunned me the most about Disneyland after visiting Alton Towers for over 10 years I had become accustomed to the long queues most of the time taking over 1 hour. However, I don’t feel I ever queued too long, especially considering the amount of people at the park.

Food at the park was somewhat how you would expect, unhealthy, fried and expensive food. But for my first day I didn’t seem to mind (the one thing I loved was the size of the meals as it reduced the amount I needed to buy and kept me fuller for longer).

The evening ended with fireworks by the castle, which was great! The best firework display I have ever seen (and even better that from the hotel at night you could see the display too). Even though Disneyland was a dream come true and I loved it, it was a very exhausting day. You spend around 10-11 hours here and I do not recommend doing it the day after you arrive and being jet-lagged. If I was to do it again I would have preferred to have gone a few days later so I could enjoy it even more. Have a look below at some of the pictures from the day:

The following three days was spent at WonderCon at the Anaheim Convention Center and the reason I was on this trip with my university. As someone who has never really took an interest in Comic Cons, I must say I was pleasantly surprised and it has completely changed my view on attending them in the future (just maybe different ones).

As I knew how expensive it was inside Disneyland, on my walk over to the Convention Center, I passed a CVS that sold sandwiches crisps and drinks. This was something that I did for my remaining time in Anaheim and something I did in Los Angeles too. I was saving at least $5-10 dollars each time by purchasing food from a store than when out and about. It also gave me a break from the food at night as compared to food in the UK it was very greasy and heavy.

The Convention Center itself was great and had so much to look at and different panels to attend, the fact I had three days there meant I was in no rush. One thing that I found to be great was the air con in the building, as at that time of the year it was around 20+ degrees so it was nice to go into a cool building. Although I would recommend taking a jumper/jacket as after an hour of being in the main hall I was cold and found myself wondering outside to heat up on the first day.

Some of the stalls and panel talks were great and even found myself enjoying my time here. I met fans of Back to the Future, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and sat watching the panel of the new Prison Break along with the premiere episode, which was awesome.

Although I really enjoyed my time at WonderCon, I can’t see myself wanting to attend in the near future, as I feel like it would have to be a spectacular panel to make me want to go. Otherwise, I don’t feel like much would change each year except the panels. But I would have a look at other Comic Cons to see what they had to offer. Have a look at some of the images that I took during the convention:

After the convention had ended, the next day I left to move onto our next part of my trip to Los Angeles, which will be in my America Part 2.

I really hope you enjoyed the insight into my experience and tips for visiting Anaheim, including visiting Disneyland and WonderCon. Don’t forget to like, comment and share your travelling tips too.

Part 2 will be coming soon!