There are no shortcuts to any place worth going

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Between September 2013 and May 2014 I had no life, but as they say, hard work pays off. Over these 9 months I had to complete my final year project for my Fashion Studies course at The University of Lincoln. The Final Collection was my first opportunity, within my 3 years at University, to design something entirely based on what I wanted to do. I had to complete a collection of 6 outfits inspired by my own concept.

Due to my love of bold prints and colour, I initially wandered towards the idea of a butterfly inspired collection. But as I began to design, I noticed my drawings were drifting away from the delicate; sheer feel of the butterfly wing and more towards a sharp, tailored look. With this in mind, I decided to create a collection focused on the contrasting differences between the aeroplane and the butterfly.

“Soaring: A contrasting collection inspired by the delicacy and detail of the butterfly against the clean, crisp look of the aeroplane.”

So after 9 months, 2 packets of sleepeaze tablets, a whole packet of plasters, numerous tearful phone calls home, 16 reels of thread, 29 metres of fabric and £1,627.94… I’m finished!

I want to thank my parents for the continuous love and support and the financial help, all four grandparents for the encouragement, my boyfriend and housemates for putting up with my 9 month strop, Spoonflower for their quick delivery in emergencies, my 6 models for displaying my work for my final critique, Jess for taking these beautiful photos and Sophie for looking beautiful in the photos.

Hallelujah!

 

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(Jumpsuit: Silk Linen from Whaleys BradfordPiping: Cotton Silk from Spoonflower, printed with my own design)

 

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(Shorts and Bralet: Couture Dupion Ivory from James HareShirt: Silk Satin from Whaleys Bradford digitally printed at the University of Lincoln with my own design)

 

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(Shorts and Raglan Sleeve Top: Feola Cotton from Whaleys BradfordPrinted Stripes: Kona Cotton from Spoonflower, printed with my own design)

 

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(Trousers and piping on shirtSilk Satin from Whaleys Bradford digitally printed at the University of Lincoln with my own design. Shirt and Stripe on Trousers:  Silk Linen from Whaleys Bradford)

 

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(Pocket DressCouture Dupion Ivory and Silk Organza from James HarePrinted Dress: Modern Jersey from Spoonflower, printed with my own design)

 

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(Panel Dress: Cotton Silk from Spoonflower, printed with my own design. Sheer Panels: Silk Organza from James Hare)

 

 

 

 

 

Life is a journey, not a destination

“Since the dawn of recorded history, something like 110 billion human beings have been born into this world.  And not a single one of them made it. There are 6.8 billion people on the planet.  Roughly 60 million of them die every year. 60 million people. That comes out to about 160,000 per day. I read this quote once when I was a kid, “We live alone, we die alone.  Everything else is just an illusion. ” It used to keep me up at night. We all die alone. So, why am I supposed to spend my life working, sweating, struggling? For an illusion?  Because no amount of friends, no girl, no assignments about conjugating the pluperfect or determining the square root of the hypotenuse is gonna help me avoid my fate. I have better things to do with my time”

Tie no weights to your ankles, live for yourself. Accept the feeling of not knowing where you’re going, so you’re forced to fly. As when your wings are spread, the wind will take you.

Remember that predators prey on strength and beauty, whilst they hold the weakness that they bring out in you. And whilst you will live for today, they only have yesterday.

Fall in love, for where there is love there is life. For nobody has ever measured how much a heart can hold. But before you love, promise me you’ll love yourself. You’re braver than you believe and stronger than you seem. 

Maybe for you there’s tomorrow, or ten thousand tomorrows, or even just ten, but for some of us there is today. And the truth is, you just don’t really know.

You’ll never be younger than you are at this very moment

From my experience, there seems to be two different ways that people feel before making the journey to University. The first being, “My parents are doing my head in! I want space and want to get to University as soon as possible”, or the other, which was me, “Can’t you come to University with me, mum and dad? What if I forget to wash? What about if Bubble forgets me? What is everyone hates me!?”. And even though I spent the night before I left crying my eyes out, doubting ever applying in the first place, “I’M NOT GOING, I WILL DIE, I WANT TO STAY AT HOME FOREVER,” I obviously got in the car and made my way to the University of Lincoln. And here I am, 3 years later, looking back at the best decision I ever made.

 There is not much I would change about my time at University, but there are a few things that I wish I knew before I began. But not just before beginning University all together, there are things I wish I knew about second and third year too. So I’ve written this blog post to try and make things easier for you if you’re starting University in September, are a first or second year worrying about your next year at University but also, if there’s any of you out there unsure about University is for you to try and prove to you that University is for absolutely everyone.

 Firstly, although the movies and tv programmes make out that University is just three years of partying and sleeping, without any outcome, this is obviously not true. You come out from it with a degree, that’s happens to cost you a bomb so you don’t want it to be a degree that you picked because your best friend was doing it too. Pick a course that YOU want to do, a course that will help you move forwards on your career path and a course you think you will still be interested on 3 years down the line. And this applies to your choice of University too, don’t be a fish and follow the flow, go visit some Universities and see what they provide for your course (and check there’s nandos and wagamamas there too). It’s really important to see what the course provides, because even though you will be graduating with a degree of the same title, all Universities have a little bit of a twist to their course. Some may focus on things you prefer, others not as much, so research it.

Once you’ve chosen your course, your University and got the grades necessary you’re not far away from the big move. So eat as much food as you can. Like literally, empty your parents fridges, pantries and drag out the ‘I’m leaving for university lets go out for dinner as it may be my last one’ as much as you can. Because food is not free and food does not cook itself.

 “What if my housemates don’t like what I wear?” “What if they laugh at me because I live on a farm?”. When you begin University you’re a stranger to everyone and they’re all strangers to you too. You could, if you wanted, turn up and say you are Beyonce’s cousin, with millionaire parents and I’m sure you’ll have people begging to be your friend. But then what’s nice about that? You’ll have to live these lies for three more years and you’ll have people being friends with you for your assists, (your lies) and not for who you are. It’s so important to be yourself, don’t worry about what people think, you will make friends! It is impossible not to, you’ll be put in halls with housemates and neighbours, you’ll be bombarded with social events in fresher’s week where you will meet hundreds of new people, you’ll meet people on your course, your friends will have friends… you see where I’m going with this. Just don’t forget that everyone else is in the same boat. You’re not the only one there who’s new to the whole experience and who wants to make friends too.

 So once you’ve unpacked your stuff and had a tearful goodbye to your family, leave your door open. Whether it’s with a yellow pages, a doorstop or a sock, just leave your door open! Don’t be scared. Knock on everyone’s door, ask everyone if they want to go for a walk and explore your new hometown. And then in a few hours fresher’s will begin, hands down the best week of your life. Considering I can’t even handle two nights in a row, I have no idea how I managed it but I did 8 nights in a row in my fresher’s week and I am so glad I did. You’ve got to go crazy, make friends, don’t be scared, get drunk, get everyone else drunk, do jager trains, take photos, just don’t hold back. And please, don’t stress about lectures and deadlines too much in first year. As long as you pass the year, your grades will not count towards your final degree so your priorities should be getting drunk and making friends and memories.

 You need to prepare to share. Even though everyone will arrive with their own washing up liquid, toilet roll and frying pans, when they’re hungover and their pan is dirty they’ll use your pan. When they’re out of toilet roll and aren’t up for popping to Tesco’s hungover they’ll ask to borrow yours. Just go with it, because I’m sure you’ll need a favour from them too. Life’s too short to treasure fairy liquid.

Before I went to University, and even still today, people say “You can’t have fun at University if you’re in a relationship,” and this bit of advice is really important to me. I remember when me and Lewis realised we liked each other and we worried so much about what other people would think, I’d think no one would want to be our friends if we were in a relationship. But me being with Lewis whilst at University has just made things better, we have the same friends, live together with our best mates and have not lost out on anything at all. So if there’s someone you really like at University, don’t hesitate, as after all a boyfriend/girlfriend is just another best friend you gain from University.

In first year you have no choice who you live with, but in second and third year it’s up to you. But don’t stress too much about it. You don’t need to find your second year housemates in the first month, just let it happen. You’ll naturally become closer to your best friends, you’ll notice annoyances in people you’d rather not live with and you’ll notice the friends who’s company you don’t get sick of and who make you the happiest. I ended up living with Lewis, Cameron and Chris in second year and Lewis, Cameron, and Daniel in third year. I remember so many people thought I was crazy living with boys but bloody hell I’m so glad I did. Ignoring the odd toilet seat left up and the non-stop football talk it was definitely the best decision I made at University.

“You’ve got your freshmen, ROTC guys, preps, J.V Jocks, Asian Nerds, Cool Asians, Varsity jocks, unfriendly black hotties, girls who eat their feelings, girls who don’t eat anything, desperate wanabees, burnouts, sexually active band geeks, the greatest people you will ever meet and the worst: beware of the plastics.”

And lastly, I’m going to be completely honest, before University I could count the friends I trusted on one hand. University isn’t like Mean Girls, High school and Sixth form where the social ladders are too high and reputations are too adored. When you go to University you move away from the past, you move away from cliques. Everyone grows up and everyone is equal.

I’m not using this blog post to tell you University is easy, because it’s not. Moving away from home is so hard, managing your own money, growing independent and meeting degree level deadlines are all very challenging but I just hope that even if it’s only one of you I convince, that if there’s someone the other side of the screen reading this post unsure about going to university that you do it! I promise you that you will meet your best friends in the whole world, make the most unforgettable memories and realise what’s most important in life. And for those of you who are already at University, make the most of every minute, it will be over in a blink! Go buy a bottle, get drunk and go out.

“Enjoy your youth. You’ll never be younger than you are at this very moment.”

I’m loving 2014 already

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Just want to let any of you know that have been following my recent blog posts that I heard back from UEA yesterday and got a place for my PGCE and I can’t explain how happy I am! HERE IS THE CAPS LOCK I SAID THERE WOULD BE! Best start to the year for me, and I am so grateful for this opportunity!

I hope you are all having a brilliant start to the year too. Happy New Year Bloggers 🙂

Top Ten of Twenty Thirteen

The story of Lofty

When me and Lewis were visiting home from University at the beginning of November, we woke up to find a black cat was hit by a car outside his house and passed away. After asking the houses down their road, we discovered it was stray. Kate and Colin, Lewis’ parents, also informed us that they’d found a dead kitten in their garden the night before, but none of us put two and two together. By the next night, we were back at university, but Kate and Colin heard a very scared little meow whilst they were trying to sleep. After a lot of searching, It turns out the mother cat had somehow got into their loft from the outside and had given birth to two kittens up there. So this little lonely kitten, now named Lofty, had never seen daylight or humans before. Kate and Colin were so caring, and gave him lots of love and food but because they have two golden retrievers and live on a road where quite a few cats have been hit by cars, little lofty now lives at my house, settling in with Bubble, Jimmy and Boots. So we’re all winners, Lofty is now living with three other cats on our farm, and is a very smitten kitten and we now have a fourth cat to add to our cat zoo.

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Birthday Bubble

As my previous post has told you all, I love Bubble as much as I love my entire family. I got him when I was 5 and he’s my absolute world. As far as pets can go, I don’t think I will ever have one that means just as much to me as Bubble does. This year he turned 15 and although that’s old, it’s okay because he’s got at least another 15 years in him, he promised me.

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Unforgettable Florida

This Summer, in June, I was completely spoilt and taken to Florida with the Everett’s as part of Lewis’ 21st birthday present. We got to swim with Dolphins at Discovery Cove, go to Disney Land, Universal, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Islands of Adventure, Wet and Wild, Epcot, Amazing Beaches, Massive Shopping Centres and restaurants which served incredible food (in my sort of portions). I will never, ever forget my time in Florida, and will always be grateful for being taken there, and even more grateful for my boyfriend and his family. I’m a very lucky girl.

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Special Sandbanks

 I have been to Sandbanks once a year since birth, with my Parents, Grandparents, Aunties, Uncles, Great Granny, Great Aunty, Brother, Sister and cousins and each year we have the most amazing year. Sandbanks’ is an incredible place to be and has recently been in the news, as explained in my previous post, but to me it’s more about the memories and traditions that my family have there. And our time in Sandbanks, in 2013, was no different.

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Second Year grades

Whilst in Sandbanks this year I got my grades for second year, which I was extremely happy about! I worked my absolute bum off last year and am so happy I did because I received a 2:1 and that’s what I had hoped for.

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Our special Lily

Valentines day is about the people you love, but unfortunately Janurary 14th in 2013 was the day I had to say goodbye to someone I love dearly. My great granny, Gar, sadly passed away at the end of January last year and valentines day was the day of her funeral. Although it was one of the hardest days of my life, it was one of my most truly memorable moments of the year as it was a day to celebrate her life, to send her off in the way she would want and deserved to be and to show her just how much she meant to us all.

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20 years on

As always, I love to celebrate my birthday with my nearest and dearest, and this year was no different. Some of my friends came from just up the road, and others travelled over 5 hours on a train to be there, and that made me extremely happy. I had an amazing night… Bring on my 21st next year though. Everyone keep August 2nd free 😉

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The two L’s

Although me and Lewis spend a lot of time together due to us living in the same student house, we rarely get a moment when it’s just me and him. So London is our little getaway, and this year we’ve been twice and, as always, both times were very special.

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Fingers Crossed

Getting an interview at UEA for a PGCE in KS2 primary is definitely one of my highlights of 2013. If I get a place I will start in September, and will be on the road to where I want to spend the rest of my life. My heart has always been in teaching, and I know it’s the career I’m destined to be in. I’m due to hear back from UEA within the next two weeks so fingers crossed!

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Together Again

When I was at High School I would see my best friends almost every day, but now being at University I know how much I took that for granted. On Christmas Eve this year me and 5 of my oldest, best friends were reunited after about a year and it was like we were never apart.

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I’m grateful for everything 2013 brought to me, and everyone that was a part of it. 2013 was a memorable year for me, and I hope 2014 is just the same! I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year!

The waiting game

As I grow fond of Olives, constantly crave a cuppa and get excited for a night in with Bubble, I wonder if maybe what I thought would never happen, may just be happening. I’m growing up.

Of course I still love a night out, but spending over half a week either drunk or hungover isn’t as appealing anymore. University has been the best years of my life and I’ve learnt so much about myself and am so happy I went but after three years of waking up to a kitchen smelling of beer, where you have to tip toe over pizza crusts from the night before isn’t all it’s cracked up to be anymore. Especially when there’s a farm house in the middle of the country side, with a fridge full of bacon, rooms filled with cats and a family full of love not far away. Possibly I’m growing up? Perhaps three years is long enough? But maybe, it’s because everything is starting to fall in place and I’m getting excited about what’s to come.

 As many people believe, Friday 13th brings bad luck, but on Friday 13th of this month, I got a very exciting e-mail. “Thank you for your application to study PGCE at the University of East Anglia. We are pleased to inform you that you have been selected to attend an interview at the University.” How exciting… I thought.

I ring mum, but she doesn’t pick up as she’s working. So I ring dad, resulting in tears of happiness. But in-between the time of speaking to dad, and mum ringing me back I had received an email to tell me when the interview would happen, only  7 days later, and what the interview entailed: A 45 minute interview with a head teacher and lecturer; a book presentation which involved me choosing a children’s book and presenting why I felt the book would be beneficial in a classroom, to the other applicants, the teacher and lecturer and completing a written task within the three hours I would be there. So by the time mum had got back to me, I was crying all sorts of tears.

So the next 7 days were full of tears and tantrums, nerves and nightmares. What will I wear?! What questions will they ask?! What if my book doesn’t arrive in time?! How do I get there?! What if the reason I got my interview on Friday 13th was because it’s going to go wrong?! What if I forget everything and just burst into tears?! What if I forget what my name is?!

7 sleepless nights later, the morning arrived and I’d never felt so nervous in my life. I think the reason I felt different this time to previous interviews was because of how much I want it. For once in my life, I was 100% sure on something and if I get a place this year I won’t have 16 months to fill before I could apply again.

I’m not going to go into the details of the interview because I’m sure that wouldn’t interest you… Well I guess I could pretend that was why. But more honestly, I’ve got a new kitten and I want to go and tickle his tummy. But oh my gosh, I think it went really well! Every question I’d prepared myself for came up and I managed to answer every one well, I think, and very naturally. I managed to present my book without any nerves popping up, and I remembered my name! And I have a lovely little feeling inside, that it may have been down to a very special flower up there who was holding my hand throughout.

So now I wait for a response, 1-3 weeks to go and I have all my fingers crossed and that’s more than you have on your hands as I’m from Norfolk. So if you wouldn’t mind, could you cross your fingers for me too please and hopefully you’ll be reading a blog very shortly, filled of excitement in caps lock.

Fresh, once more

For some reason I feel like I should apologise, apologise for promising a lot of blog posts over the summer and not writing a single one. But then reality hits me and I remember that I’m not one of those ‘famous bloggers’, with millions of subscribers all over the world and in fact, I’m just a 20 year old who has too much to say and knows where to put a comma, I think?

So where have I been, you ask? Well, I’ve just been so busy, managing 4-day jobs, 1 evening job and caring for my newborn and I just haven’t really had the time to blog. I hope you can all forgive and forget.

If only I really did have an excuse like that… Lets go back to an evening back in August, where I bumped into an old school friend, Ewan, who before conversation had barely begun, told me off for not blogging enough. Blog? Blogging? What’s that? And then it clicked. I’d clearly been enjoying summer too much that I had completely forgotten I had a blog. So thanks Ewan, for not only sparing a few minutes to read my blog every now and then but also for giving me a kick up the arse and getting me back to the keyboard.

Although, I do feel I deserve a little bit of a pat on the back for something. This summer I have been working my absolute bum off with University work and I’m feeling very prepared to begin my final year when I return back to Lincoln. Yet on the other hand, I do not feel ready to go back at all. I mean, how do you prepare yourself for 7 nights of solid drinking after having a summer consisting mainly of nights on the sofa with a handful of cats? Unfortunately, no matter how many Barocca’s I could drink, Pizza’s I could polish off at the end of a night and how much I could pretend I’m on Geordie Shore, I don’t think there’s anything I can do to avoid the next mornings hangover… and the 6 after that. But where’s the fun in thinking of the morning after? This is the last fresher’s of my life, I’m living with my boyfriend and two of my best friends and you only bloody live once! YOBLO. So no excuses, I’m going to make sure I’m out 7/7 nights and am going to make sure it’s the best week of my life to date.

I read something the other day that went:

If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of the world. If you have money in the bank, your wallet, and some spare change you are among the top 8% of the worlds wealthy. If you woke up this morning with more health than illness you are more blessed than the million people who will not survive this week. If you have never experience the danger of battle, the agony of imprisonment or torture, or the horrible pangs of starvation you are luckier than 500% million people alive and suffering. If you can read this message you are more fortunate than 3 billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

So whilst I sit here moaning about an upcoming hangover, praying for one more Pringle to appear in the bottom of the tube I realise just how lucky I really am, (Not just because I ate the whole tube and didn’t have to share.) This summer I’ve treasured every minute I can with my family and my very precious Bubble, I’ve made sure I’ve seen all 4 of my grandparents at least once a fortnight, I’ve got some of the best friends in the whole world, two of which I’ve got back after 4 years and some who I can’t wait to catch up with back at Uni. Lewis and me are as good as ever and I’m very grateful for his family who has made me feel so welcome. I’m healthy, I’m happy and for that, I’m very grateful. I’m going to go back to Uni and hopefully leave this year again with a 2:1, I’m going to dive into fresher’s like its my first one all over again and I’m not going to take anyone or anything for granted.

Look at me, rambling on again pretending to myself that there’s someone the other side of the screen absolutely engrossed. (If anyone is still reading, and remotely interested, top effort.) I promise my next post will be less deep, and more recent than in 4 months time.

I hope all of you have had a lovely summer, take care xxx

Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs

Unfortunately there’s a time in your life where answering, “A princess” to the question, “So what do you want to be when you’re as old as mummy and daddy?” isn’t acceptable.

Whilst I was at sixth form, at the age of 17, I had to decide on what I wanted to study at University and where I was going to pursue it. Coincidentally, at this age I also had absolutely no idea of what career path I wanted to follow. And what was worse, it seemed that everyone else around me had already decided where they were going and what they were doing.

Obviously not everyone wanted to go to University, I mean some people were happy with a job in Topshop for the rest of their life, but where’s the dream in that? For me, University has always been a plan. I felt, and still feel, that 18 was too young to end full time education, but also too young to start full time work. I mean, who wants to be working 9-5 when there’s jäger bombs out there that need drinking?

But what was I going to study at University? 3 years is a long time to stay motivated on just one subject and £9,000 is a huge amount to go in-debt to, to something that you’re unsure about. So I listened to my teachers and my family, who both suggested that as I was uncertain of the career path I wanted to follow, I should take a degree on something I enjoyed and was good at, as it would help me to stay motivated and achieve a high grade. So that’s why I took Fashion Studies.

Of course I’ve had my days, normally once I’ve handed in a deadline, where I’ve absolutely loved it and have wanted to spend the rest of my life working in the Fashion industry. But I’ve had a lot more days where, although I’ve been enjoying what I’m doing and am working hard, I just know I wouldn’t be happy doing it forever.

And about a week ago, a light bulb switched on in my brain, a bulb that had flickered similar thoughts many years ago. I’d decided, well re-decided, that I wanted to be a primary school teacher. I love children, helping others and I’m a little bossy. The hours are perfect, the pay is good and the holidays are very generous. I don’t know what it was that made me suddenly decide or what it was that really put a full stop to any more ideas, but I’m so glad it happened.

Once I’ve finished my third year in Lincoln, I plan to pursue a Postgraduate Certificate in Education Primary Level (PGCE), at the UEA, in September 2014. It is an 8.30am-5.30pm course, 5 days a week, which lasts 38 weeks and includes at least 120 days work based in schools.

After a little research, I discovered that if I continue to get the grades I’ve been getting, (I got a 2:1 for second year, yay), I should still have a chance to get on the course. My degree is just as beneficial for the course as one would be in any other subject, so I have absolutely no regrets. I know that if I were to have done a more academic degree, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much, therefore would not have been as motivated.

Life is too hard to do something because it’s the ‘easy option’, and I know this is the perfect job for me. There’s no problem with a well-dressed teacher. I mean, just as Oscar Wilde stated, “You can never be too overdressed or overeducated”.

Our little secret, Sandbanks

“But this is no ordinary English sand dune. On it, and around it, lie stunning golden sands, clear turquoise ocean water, luxury yachts, vintage champagne spilling out of every well-heeled resident’s mouth, and houses that are currently going for an absurd £10million apiece.” That is Sandbanks, as Piers Morgan described on his documentary aired on ITV1, ‘Piers Morgan… on Sandbanks’.

I bet if you asked anyone what he or she thought of Sandbanks around 45 years ago there answer would be the complete opposite. So I did…

In the summer of 1971 my grandparents visited Sandbanks for the first time with their 3 children, my mum, aunty and uncle. My Granny said to me, “Back then Sandbanks was nothing like it is today. It was simple. It was just a cheap, easy, remote destination to spend two weeks on the beach with the children”. And since that summer they have returned at least once a year, every year, with their children, parents, brothers, sisters and grandchildren.

All 15 of us used to stay for two weeks in a small bungalow called Flintshore where it’s back garden led, and looked over, the beach and this is the place my grandparents stayed from 1971, and I did from 1993 until 2005. In 2005 this very modest bungalow, in need of modernastion, sold for nothing less than £3 million. Of course you don’t believe me, Here’s a reliable source to prove it. http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2005/nov/02/property.uknews 

So what was it that turned this sleepy sand dune into “the fourth most expensive place to live on the planet?”*

In 2001, a canny local estate agent named Tom Doyle sold a 1,200 square foot flat on Sandbanks for an easy £1 million.* Consequently he realised that this deal made it the fourth most expensive square foot in the world, resulting in it being ranked on influential property listings. And there it was, the Sandbanks phenomenon was born and property prices soared higher than ever imagined.

Flintshore is now on the market for £10 million, but apparently the inside and outside pool, spa, gym and home cinema aren’t what you’re paying for. In an interview with Piers Morgan, Tom Doyle stated, when asked how he could possibly justify the price, “The view. Six million of that price is for the view”.

Piers continued his documentary by interviewing Harry Redknapp who brought his home in Sandbanks 40 years ago for £600,000. Apparently he gets people knocking on his door every month offering up to £15 million for his key located home, but he stated not even £20 million would tempt him. “Where else would I find a home like this, this is just paradise to me”

The clear common dominator here is money, I mean even a small Orange Juice in the Café was pushing a fiver. Don’t get me wrong, Sandbanks is easily my favourite place in the world, but the special place that used to be my families little secret is now an overly desired destination, and I don’t like it. Sandbanks is now known for its flash cars, heavy wallets and of course pompous residents. I mean who saw the most recent news report? Apparently residents are planning to boycott a newly built Tesco Express because they wanted an M&S. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2325510/Sandbanks-residents-outrage-plans-open-supermarket-exclusive-town.html#ixzz2YNPb0Sr2

To me Sandbanks never has been about the money or fame. When I was in High School my friends used to be so surprised that every year my family didn’t leave England to go on Holiday but I didn’t care. It’s somewhere I’ve spent my summers, growing up with my family. From skinny dippy in the sea at the age of 4 with my cousins, to drunk walk backs from the pub with my granddad, uncle and dad when I’m 20. I’ve been every year of my life and every single year I leave I cry, just incase it could be the last.

Let’s just hope the heavy wallets don’t sink this island.

 
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http://www.sandbankspoole.com/ http://www.primelocation.com/homes-news/has-sandbanks-gone-bust/

You don’t need fairies to experience magic

Yesterday I had the most magical day of my life and I’m going to try my best to put it into words for you but I have a feeling it isn’t going to do it much justice.

We’ve been in Florida 11 days now and although every day has been absolutely incredible, deep down we’ve all been waiting for today. At 7.30am we arrived at Discovery Cove where we were given our snorkel, wet suit and the time of our dolphin swim, 12.10.

Whilst we were tucking into our unlimited breakfast buffet we decided that we would begin by taking the rapids through the aviary, otter and mandarin habitats which allowed you to be within a metre of all these animals, pet and feed them.

We then headed over to the ‘Great Reef’, which was a man-made coral reef covering 2.5 acres of land, home to 10,000 different fish, stingrays and sharks including 125 different species.

So we put our snorkel and goggles on and dived straight in. Well, we tiptoed in very slowly, easing our bodies into the cold water, trying so carefully not to get in the way of any fish. But I soon learnt that the fish were ready for me and soon darted out of the way.

And down I went, gazing deep into the reef, absolutely mesmerised by what was below, around and on top of me. Suddenly being cold was no longer an issue and it was just me and the fish, amazed at the flashes of colour and the variety of species and shapes. As I floated in a dream-like state, I watched the fish live their lives in their schools, delving into the reefs grottos and crevices, un-phased by my company. And then a pair of massive bloody stingray’s were heading towards me and the grace I had been carrying soon turned into a mess of screaming and splashing. I kicked as fast as I could, until me and my embarrassed face were washed up to shore.

And then I looked at the time and It was time to go down to the dolphin pool, the pool where it would be just us, the trainer and a dolphin… We were also teamed with a family from Texas but lets forget about them.

Soon we were introduced to Thelma, a beautiful dolphin who we were going to spend the next 30 minutes with. Thelma was a 20 year old mother to 4, who had lived her whole life at Discovery Cove.

For centuries, mankind have often referred to dolphins as ‘the angels of the sea’, and I was about to see just how perfectly they suited that description. Thelma glided over to us, popped her tail above water level and gave us a welcoming wave. All 9 of us, including Thelma, were soon smiling from ear to ear.

Our time began by the trainer telling us a little about Thelma, where she would respond so humanlike with nods, shakes, waves and squeaks. The trainer would shout “shark!”, and Thelma would squeal and cower. He would twist his wrist in a certain manner and Thelma would glide away about 10 metres to surprise us all with a perfected back flip. The nicest thing about it was that she was so willing to do it, with a few fish fed to her throughout, Thelma was the happiest thing.

Next we were able to have our photo taken with her, where she would kiss us and smile alongside us for a photo. She then took us separately for a ride where we held onto each of her fins and she would, so delicately, glide us through the water where it was so clear how protective she was of us. One of the younger boys from the Texas family accidentally let go and Thelma, with no hesitation or command, quickly turned around and picked him up again, this brought a tear to my eye.

I was worried that holding onto their fins would cause discomfort to her and mentioned this to the trainer who soon assured me that Thelma was quite happy to partake and that if any of the 46 dolphins at Discovery Cove don’t want to do anything, they won’t, and the trainers allow this and simply just use another dolphin.

After a few more photos and tricks our 30 minutes had very quickly come to an end, well they do say that time flies when you’re having fun.

What amazes me the most about dolphins is the emotions they can make you feel. Thelma was full of grace, with a loving and protective nature. Everything she did, she did with elegance and a smile, and it seemed that nothing could dampen her mood.

I’ll never forget the poise, pride and grin that Thelma had about her, and I will never forget my day at Discovery Cove. That 30 minutes of my life comes on par with my Australian Skydive, and I insist that if anyone is planning on a day with Dolphins, they should pursue it at Discovery Cove, Orlando. It needs no hesitation, I can promise you will have one of, if not ‘the’, best experience of your life.

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