West Midlands Safari Park Review

Lions, Tigers and Bears, Oh My! | West Midlands Safari Park

Just over a year ago, I moved back towards home (but not too close) and now I live in a town in Worcestershire called Kidderminster. Kidderminster is famed for few things, Carpets being the main one, however there is a jewel in it’s crown. Just on the border of Kidderminster and Bewdley is the West Midlands Safari Park, a popular family day out for those near and far. When I got offered the chance to review West Midlands Safari Park, it is safe to say that I jumped at the chance.

West Midlands Safari Park Review

Giraffe!

West Midlands Safari Park Review

Meerkat!

As a child I remember visiting on a fair few occasions however I have not been in many a year. We were given the chance to go around the Safari Park in their own Safari Tour bus. I’ve recently had a new car and I was having kittens at the thought of any damage so this was a perfect answer. They run three of these a day and to say it was worth it would be an understatement, it completely made our day.

West Midlands Safari Park Review

Safari Tour Bus

Our driver, Kim, was hilarious, providing lots of extra information without lecturing and regaling many an anecdote. His enthusiasm for his job shone through and you couldn’t help but be bitten by the Safari bug. The Safari bus provided many advantages, without having to focus on the driving, I was free to take photos and relax without panicking or trying to multitask but also Kim took us off road in many of the enclosures, pulling right up next to the animals and then turning the bus round so that both sides of the 10-14 seater minibus could take their turn in viewing, photographing and enjoying each and every animal.

West Midlands Safari Park Review

Beauties

West Midlands Safari Park Review

Sleepy Lion

West Midlands Safari Park Review

Even though we were on a bus, Andy still managed to feed every animal he could with his little box of animal food and he thoroughly enjoyed this experience. The weather was slightly overcast but warm and not rainy, which I see as a win and it meant all animals were out and about.

West Midlands Safari Park Review

Feeding the animals.

West Midlands Safari Park Review

Baby Sutton and his Mama Five

West Midlands Safari Park Review

Once you have finished the Safari there is still so much to do with a Penguin enclosure, Bat and Reptile area, Meerkat, Lemur and Goat enclosure, the amazing Sealion show and also a viewing platform where we were lucky enough to see Hippo’s being fed. Truly massive creatures! On top of this, WMSP has been finished to such a high standard, with eating areas and a new animatronic Dinosaur exhibition, there really is so much to see and do, definitely something for everyone!

West Midlands Safari Park Review

Reptile Walk Through

West Midlands Safari Park Review

Hippo coming up for food

West Midlands Safari Park Review

Sea Lion show – this is Callum

There is also a small theme park section, this is perfect for smaller children however the rides intended for teens and adults are perhaps now a bit dated. They have not changed or been updated since I was a child, however we still had a lot of fun! Overall I would definitely recommend visiting West Midlands Safari Park. There is so much to see and do that it will keep you busy all day. With every entrance ticket you also get a return ticket for free, giving you the opportunity to do it all over again!

West Midlands Safari Park Review

One of my favourite sections

West Midlands Safari Park Review

My favourite photo of the day

Have you been to West Midlands Safari Park? Would you like to?

Charlie x

* We were lucky enough to be invited to review the park for free. All views and opinions are 100% my own.

Advertisements
Zip World Bethesda

Zip a dee doo dah | Zip World @ Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda

Zip a dee doo dah, zip a dee ay, my oh my what a wonderful day… Sorry, I got a bit carried away there! Thats going to be in my head all day now, fantastic.

Zip World Bethesda

The end of the Little Zipper

So the reason I am serenading you with Zip a dee do dah from Songs of the South is because last weekend I went Zip lining. Not just any Zip Wire either, the longest one in Europe and the fastest one in the WORLD! I like a thrill, I am up for anything new or exciting and when members of my family announced that they were going to journey 3 hours down to the Snowdonia National Park region in Wales and take part in this experience at Zip World, I couldn’t really have said no, could I?! Yeah, I wasn’t quite so happy about it when my alarm dared to ring at 3.45am! THREE, the time began with a THREE and finished with an AM! I was very much under the impression that there was only one 3 o’clock in the day.

Moaning over, we began the beautiful, scenic journey through Wales towards our destination, arriving with plenty of extra time before our 8.40am start time. Once the time came, we signed our lives away on insurance documents (we probably signed to protect ourselves but things like that always feel like you are signing away your life and possessions, ‘If anything bad happens, you may take my laptop, car and my two pet fish, Leonard and Sheldon’) and then it was off to get kitted up! By this time our valuables were with our family members who were not taking part so unfortunately I have no photos of me all trussed up in the finest red boiler suit and harness you are provided with. It’s a real shame you aren’t able to see it, it really is. Not.

Zip World

Safety First!

First up we were to try the Little Zipper, a smaller yet still pretty scary zip wire, this is done to introduce you to the experience, ensure you feel comfortable and confident, most importantly it makes you feel safer. You have to do a push up when you get connected so they can sort your harness out, this for me was the scariest bit as it is the first time you look out over the summit of your zip wire experience. Once done, you are lying in your harness and ready to go. After a quick countdown you are off, whizzing above trees and roads at speeds of up to 45mph, an incredibly exhilarating trip. You think it can’t get any more impressive, but the Velocity zip wire is still to come.

Once all of your group have their feet safely back on the ground, you board an open sided lorry for the ascent up to the top of the mountain, through what once was the largest quarry in the world. The ascent is so steep that at times you are travelling at speeds of only 2-3mph. A 25 minute journey through the quarry to the top of the mountain takes you above the clouds and mist until you are so high your ears pop!

It was then time for the main event, in pairs you wait patiently for your turn until you are called forward to do your lovely little push up and get secured into place. Again a countdown takes place before you are suddenly hurtling downwards, through the clouds at speeds of up to 119mph!! Breaking through the clouds you are met with the most stunning views of the quarry lake that has been slowly dyed a fluorescent turquoise thanks to the colbalt slate minerals.

Zip World

The natural Cobalt blue lake

The views at this point are absolutely breathtaking and the fear of the zip wire leaves you completely, allowing you to enjoy the ride. Before you know it though you are approaching the end of your experience, being helped down by the amazing trained staff and planting your feet firmly on solid ground.

Zip World

Look! Thats us once we came through the cloud!

Zip World Velocity is an incredible thrill and at approx £60 per person I would definitely urge everybody to have a go. Luckily my lovely Dad treated Andy and I to this day out, however it is definitely worth saving up for. It is real bucket list stuff!

I would love to try the other experiences they have there, the Titan experience is next on my list or maybe even zip lining through the caverns below!

Would you have a go at the Zip World experience?

Charlie x

Coconut Ice

I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts | Quick and easy Coconut Ice

Coconut Ice

Homemade Coconut Ice

Coconut Ice, it reminds me of seaside visits as a kid and old fashioned sweet shops that make me salivate even at the thought. It’s something I had completely forgotten about and hadn’t come across in a while until one weekend when we were down visiting the other half’s parents in Norfolk and I saw it, shimmering away in an adorable little bake shop in Norwich.

Most Coconut Ice that you can buy from general shops and supermarkets just isn’t quite the same, it doesn’t have the crumbly texture and the creamy taste, it is overly artificial and takes on a luminous pink colour. So, I decided to find the recipe and make my own. It was so easy!

Coconut Ice

Homemade Green Coconut Ice

Quick and Easy Coconut Ice

I work in cups, I am not American however I just find it easier, however if you google the measurements you will be able to find conversions easily enough.

  • 2 3/4 Cups – Unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1 3/4 Cups – Icing sugar
  • 3/4 Cups – Condensed milk
  • 1/4 tbsp – Vanilla extract
  • 2 drops of any food colouring you wish.

Mix together the condensed milk, icing sugar and vanilla until it is a beautiful thick and smooth paste (perhaps don’t ‘try’ a heaped spoon of this paste as it will make you feel extremely sick, unfortunately I speak from experience.) Then add the coconut and mix until completely covered, it’s probably easier to get stuck in and use your hands as it will mix together much better. You will then need to split the batch in half, putting one half in a separate bowl and leaving aside.

Coconut Ice is traditionally white and pink but I don’t feel that this has to be the rule. I like to mix it up, using different colours each time I make it. I definitely don’t make the colours fluorescent like the shop bought sweet, I like the homemade and more natural feel of pastel colours. Add in 2 drops of whatever food colouring takes your fancy to one batch of the mix, using your hands to blend it completely.

Once you are happy with your two sets of coconut ice mix, sprinkle icing sugar on a board or surface and press out both batches into a small rectangular shape before placing on top of each other. Carefully use a rolling pin to roll it out, probably to about 1″ thick, try your best to ensure it rolls evenly and stays in a rectangular shape. Too much icing sugar will make it sticky so use sparingly.

Leave to set for at least 3-4 hours although overnight is better, before cutting into cubes and serving.

There you have it, quick and easy Coconut Ice that is much scrummier than any you could buy in a supermarket!

Coconut Ice

Look at the crumbly texture!

Let me know what colours you would/have used! I am always looking for inspiration!

Charlie x

Finding Audrey

Review – Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella.

Finding Audrey

Finding Audrey

So something I have not really mentioned too much so far is my love of reading. I have mentioned in a previous post that I have always wanted to be a journalist and I have a deep affection for writing, however my love of written language stems from a huge passion for reading.

For as long as I can remember I have been an avid reader. Sophie Kinsella (also writes under her real name of Madeline Wickham) has always been a favourite. My mom always used to read the latest offerings and then would always pass these on to me, in particular The Shopaholic Series. I am proud to say I have read every published book from Sophie, so when I was given the opportunity to read and review her first foray into Young Adult fiction it is safe to say I was extremely excited!

Finding Audrey* was everything I had hoped for and more. I am a fast reader and I have a tendency to get completely absorbed by a book, this one was no different and three hours on a Sunday afternoon (in bed with chocolate and coffee, obviously) took me from cover to cover. I couldn’t put it down!

The crucial part of any book in my opinion is ensuring that the protaganist is somebody you can relate to and root for, Audrey was exactly this. An anxiety disorder disrupts Audrey’s life and that of her nearest and dearest. The actual incident that sparked her anxiety isn’t elaborated upon in any major detail and at first this really annoyed me as I was desperate to know but the further into the story I got, the more I realised that this made the book all the more relatable. Readers are able to apply their own experience to the incident in a way that will speak to them.

Through visits to Dr. Sarah, interactions with her family and a friendship with a boy called Linus that deepens as the novel continues, you get to ride along with Audrey as her recovery gains momentum and you really feel for her during her lowest points. It highlights how everyday situations such as popping to Starbucks can be an extremely difficult activity for others and it affords you a level of understanding that you perhaps did not have before.

I don’t suffer with anxiety and I know very few people in real life that do, for this reason this book was an eye opener. Obviously I know this is fictional and anxiety attacks people in a range of different ways, everybody is different, however I feel that Sophie Kinsella has handled the subject sensitively and extremely positively.

For me this book has been a real winner and only strengthens my love for Sophie as an author! From top to bottom, the plot, characters, the dialogues, the sequence, the narrative, the pace, it just all works perfectly. If you can, read Finding Audrey, no matter your age, I’ve had to lend my copy to my mom!

Have you read Finding Audrey? Let me know your thoughts!

Charlie x

Get your copy of Finding Audrey – Click here

* I was supplied a copy of Finding Audrey for free, to review. All views and opinions are 100% my own.

Charlie Cake and Coffee

The Versatile Blogger Award.

I have been a bit off the radar recently, lots of things going on! I’ve made so many blog post notes and I am not getting round to writing any out properly! I’m sorry, normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

The Versatile Blogger Award

Whilst I have been away I have been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by BeautyBooksBubsandMe, a very lovely blog that you should definitely all check out!

The rules for this award are as follows:

1. Link and thank the blogger who nominated you

2. Give 7 facts about you

3. Nominate bloggers you love for this award

My 7 facts:

  • I have always dreamed of being a journalist. 

Since I was young I have always wanted to write for music and celebrity magazines, it was always the path I wanted to take. Then I fell head over heels for Business, Marketing, Advertising, PR. So my blog is the way I have chosen to continue writing!

  • I’m currently obsessed with Brooklyn Nine Nine.

I love to binge watch TV programmes. I had seen Brooklyn Nine Nine a few times but never concentrated on it and then one day it grabbed my attention and I am now nearly at the end of the second series/season, eagerly awaiting the third! Jake Peralta is the man!

  • I don’t like animals.

Okay, before you judge me, I am not heartless. I just don’t get the attraction or relationship with animals. Maybe it ‘s because I didn’t grow up with a pet but I just don’t understand! If an animal even brushes against my leg it puts me on edge!

  • I’m a fan girl.

There you go. I have admitted it. My name is Charlie and I am a fan girl. If I really like something I fall hard and fast for it. As a girl that has loved My Chemical Romance intensely since she was 13, falling hard for The Wanted wasn’t in my life plan, but it happened, they vaguely know who I am and I saw them live over 20 times in 2 years. Okay….so that is a thing people now know about me. Do you know what though, I’m not even sorry. I love those boys.

  • I don’t take my make up off before bed.

I got judged for this on twitter when I admitted it, I know it isn’t ideal and many of you beauty bloggers will be floored at this revelation but I just don’t. It isn’t like I don’t look after my skin, I get up in the morning, scrub, wash, cleanse, tone yadayadayada but I don’t do it before I sleep. My skin is pretty decent and I love my bed. Sorry.

  • I love to bake and I want to hone my decoration skills!

The couple of recipes I have posted so far on here have all been pretty straightforward but I really do want to spend some time working on cake decoration skills! Below is a picture of my first attempt for a friends birthday (I had some help from my other half, he is arty!) she loves Pugs. I am pretty proud of it as a first try!

Pug Cake

Pug Cake

  • I’m partial to a tiny little gamble.

Okay, let me start this by saying this is not a gambling problem. I love scratchcards. I may pick up 2 or 3 a week and they are a little guilty pleasure for me. Not the £10 ones though, only £1 or £2 ones! Also, the sort of ‘in-laws’ live in Norfolk, fairly near to Great Yarmouth and I get ridiculously excited by 2p machines. I can easily spend a good few hours putting in 2ps and winning some back. I am a child.

Thank you for reading! I will let those I have nominated know! The bloggers I have nominated that I am loving at the moment are:

BroganJay

LittleBudget

Kirstinthatsbeauty

HotChocolateandCream

Qthee

TheCreativeFitnessChannel

TheHungryPair

I hope you found my facts slightly interesting and good luck to all of the above in completing their 7 interesting facts!

Charlie x

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter and Choc Chip Cookies!

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies

So this one will be quick but I just had to write down this recipe for Peanut Butter and Choc Chip Cookies, three of my favourite things all rolled into one. I am partly writing it down for you all to enjoy but also because if I don’t write it down I will forget it. I have a tendancy for making really good food, not writing down the recipe or what I used and then never being able to recreate it!

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Straight out the oven.

They aren’t too sweet like some cookies can be, they let the peanut butter and the chocolate do the talking. I also think the peanut cookie recipe is great and you could change the chocolate part to whatever you fancied, Smarties, Raisins or even Reese’s Pieces for an extra peanut edge would all be scrummy!

Peanut Butter and Choc Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 60g peanut butter
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 100g plain flour
  • 10g baking powder
  • 50g salted butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 75g chocolate chips (milk, white or dark, whatever you fancy!)

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

These are so simple. Just mix together the peanut butter, sugar and butter until it is pretty smooth. Oh you can also use crunchy or smooth peanut butter, it is up to you! Once this has been done add the egg, flour, baking powder and also your chocolate of choice. Mix it all up, roll into balls and spread out on a non stick baking tray.

You may want to flatten them down slightly. I used the bottom of a glass to do so, just for ease.

Pop in the oven for 20 minutes or until they start to turn golden brown.

Eat warm or wait until cooled.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Enjoy!

Charlie x

Foodies Festival Cannon Hill Park

Foodies Festival – Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham

Foodies Festival Cannon Hill Park

Champagne arrival

Being invited to review a food festival might possibly be the greatest thing that has happened to me. I love food, it is no secret (which is why I seem to spend most of the time dieting!) and I especially love ‘street food’.

Foodies Festival* is a huge operation that travels round the country, playing host to live music, cocktails, food and masterclasses. The whole kit and caboodle really, what more could you want? For the first time, the festival descended on Birmingham and in my opinion it was a great success! Unfortunately due to timing I was unable to attend any of the talks or masterclasses and the celebrity chef that I had been most interested in, Glynn Purnell of Purnell’s Bistro in Birmingham, had attended and done his talk the day before!

My personal highlights of the day are hard to choose but some of the things I ate include; A salted caramel and pecan twist from Hindley’s Bakery in Lichfield, Utterly Nutterly Fuffle (a combination of fudge and truffle!!!!!!!!) from Fudge Heaven in Bromsgrove, Pulled pork smothered fries from Piggie Smalls (I really wanted a hotdog but I was stuffed!) and ALL of the chicken from Flamin’ Rooster, FYI some of the best chicken I have ever eaten!

So without rabbiting on any longer, below are many photos of the day and if you didn’t go this year and live anywhere remotely close, if this festival returns next year I would definitely advocate going!

Foodies Festival Cannon Hill Park

A very british bar.

Foodies Festival Cannon Hill Park

Another very british bar!

Foodies Festival Cannon Hill Park

Salted caramel and pecan twist.

Foodies Festival Cannon Hill Park

Piggie Smalls Hotdogs

Foodies Festival Cannon Hill Park

Menu writing genius

Foodies Festival Cannon Hill Park

Gin and Prosecco Jazz Lounge

Foodies Festival Cannon Hill Park

Chicken and Chorizo Paella

Foodies Festival Cannon Hill Park

Ale Tasting

Foodies Festival Cannon Hill Park

Epic chicken.

Foodies Festival Cannon Hill Park

ALL of the chicken.

Foodies Festival Cannon Hill Park

Overcast yet busy.

Foodies Festival Cannon Hill Park

Freebies

Foodies Festival Cannon Hill Park

Coconut & Lime and Chocolate & Caramel

Foodies Festival Cannon Hill Park

A Truffle and Fudge hybrid. SO good.

I hope this post hasn’t made you too hungry, a lovely day was had and I wish I could go again!

Charlie x

* We were lucky enough to be invited to review the festival for free. All views and opinions are 100% my own.