Sunday, August 30, 2015

Live From The Lido Deck Does Blackpool

I am back from our two week adventure to England. While I wont go into much detail of our time in Manchester, as we spent that time visting with family, I will go over our 2 day stay in Blackpool. Blackpool is a neat seaside town about an hour or so north of Manchester via train. Arriving  mid week, we were able to experience the area without a large group of tourists. Our first day we mostly went shopping at a local garden center and an outlet mall. It was interesting to walk around and compare pricing for similar items at home especially stores we have in the States like the Gap.

For dinner we headed to Harry Ramsdens, known for their fish and chips, they have been on the Blackpool Promenade for years and have been serving the UK for over 75 years! Although I am not a fish fan, I tried my sisters and the cod was great. The chips were delicious as well. I had the Jumbo Prawn Shrimp Cocktail, which was a mistake. It took a while for me to realize, that although similar, England is different food wise than America. The Prawns, to me, tasted as if they were straight out of the ocean and there were very few of the large shrimp. Most of the dish was made up of the small salad shrimp and despite it being shrimp cocktail, they did not serve with cocktail sauce. In fact, the waitress didn't even know what I was talking about. Something I am just not used but must adapt to as I travel. On future trips, I hope to make a better effort to try things out of my comfort zone.

After dinner, we walked it off along the shops next to the Restaurant. The following day we came back for a visit to see what Blackpool is all about. First stop, a fortune teller on the beach! I have never had my palm read so it was an interesting experience and the woman had been there for decades. We continued to walk along to our destination: Blackpool Tower! They offered a multitude of ticket options if you combined different events. They offer a circus,  the dungeons tour, Madame Tussaud's, etc. Tickets are cheaper online vs buying day of so consider that if you are planning a trip to Blackpool.

Once tickets have been purchased, you move your way along the queue stopping to take some green screen photos you can purchase in the gift shop afterwards. Once your group photo has been taken, you head into a small auditorium (standing room only) and watch a 4D movie on the history of the tower. I enjoy 4D experiences at theme parks and thought this was a cute idea. After the 10 minute show you head into a waiting area where they have more in depth historical facts. There are two sets of glass elevators used to take you both up and down the tower from the first of three viewing areas.

The first viewing area is completely enclosed with windows all the way around. There is a penny press for anyone who collects those (they were all over England) as well as the glass bottom floor viewing area. I am not usually afraid of heights but the glass bottom floor was a no go for me. The first viewing area I was 100% comfortable in but as we took the stairs up to the second area I got a little sketched out. Unfortunately,  the stairs were one way up one way down so I had to make it half way around the tower before I could head down. My sister, Nana, & cousins headed up to the third viewing area so I gave them my camera and headed back down with my great aunt. The tower did offer amazing views of Blackpool and the coast so I definitely recommend going up to at least the first viewing area.

                                     My sister showing off the view from the third level viewing area.

We walked around and shopped a bit more before heading back to our cousins to have a quick dinner and then made our way to the train station towards Manchester. The trains both ways were nice and seemed pretty popular with the locals, many I am sure travel via train as they commute into Manchester for work as there are multiple stops along the route.Arriving late Thursday night, we had one more day to spend in Manchester before we excitedly headed to LONDON!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Sisterhood of the World Blogging Award

I am so excited to be nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award! Thanks to Marian, @travelshopgirl , who always has amazing destinations on her blog whether visiting by land or sea! She is always headed somewhere new so check her out for travel inspiration!

The Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award is a way to connect fellow bloggers and encourage ladies who love to travel! I am excited to nominate some myself down below but first the rules!

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you!
  • Answer the 10 questions generated by the blogger that nominated you!
  • Create 10 new questions for the bloggers you nominate!
  • Nominate female travel bloggers that inspire you!
  • Proudly put the Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award Logo on your blog!

 Here are Marian's questions!!

What makes you get up every day and want to have a blog?

I write my blog because I hope it could inspire someone to step outside of their comfort zone. I mostly write about cruise based travel and cruising scares many people. I know plenty of people that I tell "I love to cruise!" whose eyes get real big and tell me I am crazy. For some it is the fact that you are on such a large ship in the middle of the water, some are definitely afraid that it will sink and others just think cruising is a boring thing that older people do.

If you weren’t blogging, would you still write?

I would love to be a professional travel writer at some point and I think my blogging helps me become a better writer.  I am not sure if that will ever happen but if not, I would like to still write small pieces here and there. It is just so fun to tell a story from your view.

At what point while doing your blog did you realize that blogging was something more than writing for yourself?

When I joined twitter I started to get a lot of great feedback from other writers and realized that people do read and appreciate my writing. Even if they didn't, I love writing about my travels as a way to remember amazing moments that I have spent with friends or family.

If you couldn’t write about travel, what would your new blog be about?

Ooooooh such a great question. I think I would write about home decor and design. I am about a month out from my house being finished and I love to go on Pinterest and read different articles about how to style each room.

What is your all time favorite destination?

London. I just got back from a 2 week trip to England and I absolutely fell in love with London. There is something for everyone and it is just stunning. I think it is so neat to walk down the River Thames and see an old, amazing building and have a skyscraper right next to it. It opened my eyes to European destinations.

Do you have a favorite dining experience from your travels?

On my first cruise we tried escargot. It was delicious! It taught me to at least try things, you don't have to like them but it may turn out that you do!

Best cup of coffee you ever had was where?

I am not a huge coffee drinker but on cruises I love to get up early in the morning and grab a cup of coffee as we pull into port. The views of the island with the sun rising are beautiful.

Where are you off to next and why?

My girls and I are taking a mini race-cation weekend in October to run the Baltimore Marathon Relay! So excited to get back into running! Other than that I don't have anything official yet for 2016. Considering an Eastern Caribbean cruise in late April for my anniversary and trying to find the perfect destination for my BFF's bachelorette party at the end of the summer!

What one item is a must have in your travel bag?
 Zip lock bags. Seriously I bring them on every trip. They are great for toiletries but also for little things you don't want to lose or don't want to touch your other stuff. I have used mine to store a still slightly wet bathing suit on the flight home, some sand or sea shells from the beach or to keep track of small souvenirs that I don't want to get lost in my bag.

Do you have any special tips or tricks on social media that you’d like to share?

My only tip is to use it and use it often. Social Media is a great way to reach out to others. I love to spend about 30 minutes at the end of each day going through Instagram posts. Liking and commenting on other peoples posts is a great way to get other people to interact with your page.

My 10 questions for my nominated bloggers!!

  • What destination did you visit that inspired you the most?
  • Is there a destination that you would not travel to again?
  • What is one thing you tried while traveling that you never pictured yourself doing?
  • Have you ever traveled solo? If so, how did it affect your travel experience? 
  • Was there a particular trip that made you want to start travel writing?
  • What is your most successful/ popular blog post to date?
  • Do you tend to pack light or over pack?
  • Have you ever traveled without a round trip ticket or an exact date that you would be returning home?
  • Do you have any travel rituals?
  • Would you ever consider moving to another country for an extended period or becoming a citizen of somewhere else for good?

Now to my nominees :) I cant wait to read you ladies answers!