Monday, 16 September 2019

The Selfie Factory Pop-Up ~ Bluewater Shopping Centre

After seeing The Selfie Factory advertised as a pop up at Bluewater shopping centre earlier this year, I knew it was the perfect outing for a girlie day out.  

With plenty of photo opportunities available set out in individual sets the only difficulty was getting all the photos you wanted within an hour (unless you opted for the unlimited ticket which then allows you all day to snap away to your hearts content).  

Not only did we all get a camera roll filled with photos but we laughed, a lot too.  Who knew that taking photos to fill up your Instagram grid could be such funny business.

Sometimes time spent with good friends is all the medicine you really need.

The Selfie Factory is returning back to Bluewater Shopping Centre this November, be sure to check it out if your close by.  Perfect for that little break from the Christmas shopping  or even something to keep the little ones entertained for an hour.  Pre-sale tickets are on sale now via their website

~ Gem x

Monday, 9 September 2019

Returning to East Sussex

I've now lost count how many times myself and James visited East Sussex and in particular Freshwinds Camp Site near Hastings, however I'd not been back since our break up, well until April this year.  I was looking forward to returning and seeing Tim, Anne & Holly again.  It had been quite some time since I'd seen them last.  And I was missing East Sussex, it's a really pretty part of the country.

On the way to Pett I stopped at Rye to wander the streets of the little fishing village.  For such a small village there is so much beauty to been seen, I'd say you'd only need a couple of hours to see it all if that.

After settling in to the Shepherds Hut, home for the next few nights, it was off to Hastings for a walk along the beach to see the sunset.  I'd forgotten just how much I had missed this place.

The next morning I drove back into Hastings for a wander in daylight before driving on to Battle, a favourite place of mine in East Sussex, it feels like you are stepping back in time and is so pretty.

The best thing of all though was time on the farm.  The views are just breath-taking, it is so peaceful and calming and those little lambs are just adorable.

And as the sun set on the last night it was the perfect time to light the fire and rip open the chocolate biscuits and marshmallows to make some smores, I mean is it really a camping trip without smores?

It felt so great to be back.

~ Gem x

Friday, 6 September 2019

New York City

Back in February I was lucky enough to jet of to the big apple for 3 nights, yep New York City, so great they named it twice.  The catch, I had to escort 34 teenagers, now I know you're jealous.  All joking aside though, apart from it being a really full on, hectic and tiring  trip, it all went without a hitch and I had a great time.

Once we had arrived and checked into our fantastically located hotel (which lets just say was very basic and not quite the standard I'm used) it was straight back out again to visit The Empire State Building.  Now I've been to New York before but I don't think you could ever tire or not be amazed by the sites of this city.  It really is something quite special, and for the second time I was not disappointed.  What was even nicer this time around was seeing the faces of those around me who were seeing this for the first time.  It was a great way to end the first day.

The next morning we headed out on a superheroes tour.  Probably not the best thing to have done on our first morning as we were all still tired from the previous day and not feeling quite as energetic as our tour guide, but she did well to keep going in an attempt to entertain 34 unresponsive teens.  For me having not long before found a love of Marvel films this was a great opportunity to see filming locations for some of their films as well as many other superhero films such as Hulk and the highlight for me Superman.  Being able to step inside that famous News Building and seeing it for real was pretty cool.

After the tour we had a quick stop for a coffee and in my case a cake to go with my coffee, before we hopped onto the Staten Ferry, which I will be completely honest about, I was dreading.  I don't do very well with boats at all so I was panicking big time about this. As soon as we got on board I made a beeline for the stairs to get myself outside in preparation for the onslaught of vomit I was bound to be producing.  I spent so long worrying about this expected course of events but in reality I was absolutely fine.  I don't know whether it was the fear of it happening that stopped it or whether it was just genuinely an OK journey, needless to say I managed to snap some great photos of the New York skyline as we sailed away.

The fear I'd been feeling for the journey was all worth it.  During my last visit to New York I hadn't done this, it was nice to see the city from a different perspective but also being able to get up close to the Statue of Liberty and wander around Liberty Island.

Back from the island we walked to the ground zero memorial.  It actually felt quite chilling walking towards the site where the twin towers once stood.  Walking those same streets that all those years ago I had witnessed people running from, covered in the dust and debris of the huge buildings that were burning and crashing to the floor on my TV screen.  The fear, panic and pain etched on their faces.  I visited this site when I last visited in 2006, but back then it was still a building site.  It is lovely to see what they have done in honour of all those who sadly lost their lives on that day, a really beautiful memorial.

Dinner that night was in Times Square.  Possibly one of my favourite spots in New York.  I'm a sucker for lights and every time I see Times Square it always makes me think of the Usher music video for My Boo with Alicia Keys (I love that song).

Second morning and it was another day of new experiences in New York as we took an extremely cold (so cold even the water fountains had frozen over) walk to the NBC Studios for a tour.  Definitely one of he advantages of going on an educational visit, I ended up doing things I would never have done on a trip by myself and I enjoyed all of it.  The tour was fantastic and so interesting.  There is no way I would have done this on my own accord.  The highlight was being able to go back to see the monologue rehearsal for the Seth Myers Late Nigh Show which was really funny.


Waking up for the third and final day I honestly felt sad.  Even with 34 students I didn't want to come home.  I had laughed so much during the trip, it was just what I needed.  A small group of us decided to head to Central Park to spend a couple of hours exploring.  I mean the place is huge, you could spend a couple of days alone to see it all, so a couple of hours was really only just a whistle stop tour, but we spotted some great things during that time and worked off a fair few doughnuts and other naughty treats we had devoured during the trip.

It was then one final walk back to the hotel via Times Square before our transfer picked us up to drive us back to the airport for our flight home and the end to an unforgettable trip.

For the second time New York was incredible.  I will definitely be returning one day for sure.  There still a ot ore to be seen and a lot more to do so I know I will be heading back.  And if you got this far, well done, this was a long one.

~ Gem x