Friday, 18 August 2017

London Adventure!

Last week was kind of crazy busy and this week has been completely devoted to sharing it! I thought I would quickly make a summary post with all the links to the blog posts and vlog links!

Day 1: The Sky Gardens at Night! Blog post and vlog.

Day 2: IAAF World Athletic Championships 2017! Blog post and vlog.

Day 3: Exploring Kew Gardens! Blog post and vlog.

Day 4: Visiting the Newborns at London Zoo! Blog post and vlog.

Such a fun and busy weekend! Let me know which day you liked the most!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Visiting the Newborns at London Zoo!

Our final day in London was spent at the London Zoo. Day 4 of 4 of our London adventure!

Click here to watch the vlog or see below.

Another early morning, thanks to the builders, meant we were woken early. We had a quick trip to the shops on the way back yesterday so we had some cereal and milk in to have for breakfast. After eating that in my bedroom, we set off on a brisk but pleasant walk from my flat to ZSL London Zoo.

I haven't been since the very first Spectrum trip back in 2014 so it's been almost 3 years which is kind of crazy. But I also haven't been properly because I was obviously volunteering at the time and focusing on my child. Not only that but we also only had a total of 2 hours there, one of which was spent eating and playing with the rest of the group, so not really looking at the animals.

This time was all about the animals! Walking in just after opening time meant we could go to the talks which I personally love. We raced to the first one, then to the penguin one and then to the animal display presentation. By that point dad was over the presentations. He thought they weren't all that great and we weren't actually enjoying the animals themselves. I realised it was kind of true.

I really enjoyed the animal presentations though. The zoo keepers were very informative and the animals were really intriguing. The way they did it was very unique as well because they had a voice over and a map as though we were travelling country to country.

After that, we did each animal, following the map. We headed over to the other side, underneath the tunnel and explored Africa and the nocturnal animals, leading on to the reindeers.

 Disappointingly, some of the animals were really hard to see. The okapi's are kept in a really dark room and while they did go out right at the end, the long grass made it difficult to see. The zebras were impossible. The whole of the viewing area has been left to overgrow which means you can't see them inside or outside at all. The hunting dogs were lost for ages because they have such a large enclosure but we did eventually find them. It was so sweet how they all huddled together in their den formation.

It took a little longer than expected so by the time we got back over, we HAD to have lunch. Dad was famished and admittedly, I was getting a bit peckish too. I'd offered to make a packed lunch but dad decided against that idea and to eat that on the train back instead, but I'm pretty sure he regretted that decision. It was so incredibly expensive in there! We both really fancied the fish and chips but when we saw the price decided against it. It was £11 just for the fish plus £3 for the chips!!! I ended up having a pizze (cheapest thing) and dad grabbed a sandwich. We each got a piece of cake and a can of fizzy drink to complete our meal.

Before long, we went back out and enjoyed all the wonderful animals.

I think my favourite was defintely the lemurs! We seriously went at such a perfect time because they had just had their food put out. They were on top of the entrance way sunbathing in the heat but after a few minutes, they slowly began making their way down towards the fruits and vegetables on offer around the enclosure. It's defintely an experience to be right next to them!

The lion enclosure is completely new since I last came and it's very impressive. It's huge and it has three routes just to get around! They've tried really hard to make it an experience for both the lions and the visitors alike, with lots of intricate details and different aspects.

Likewise, since the popular Jurassic Park franchise has been given a rebirth, they've created a dinosaur exhibit. It sounds stupid and it is a little gimmicky but it's very creative. The dinosaurs all move and talk but the best thing is the passport that you can fill in with little details found throughout the area. It even sprays you with water!

However, the best part was seeing all the newborns! I don't think I've ever seen so many in such a short period of time. There were quite a few that weren't easy to see but the gorillas had a toddler with them and there were 2 other babies in the monkey family. Unfortunately, since the gorillas were getting distressed by the public, they've painted on the glass making their enclosure very difficult to see.

In the walk through enclosure of the monkeys, there was a sleeping sloth in the doorway which was fun to see and dad ended up having a very detailed conversation with one of the staff on hand about his trip to Costa Rica. The mustache monkeys were very curious about one of the new monkey breeds being introduced in. They were separated while they got acquainted.

Anyway, I diverge, in that area, there are some enclosures as well and one of them had the absolute cutest little baby monkey. She ended up breastfeeding it and his little head was just the sweetest. Seriously!
Just before we left, we also met another two little guys. One of them was a little older but still small and the teeny one was trying so hard to play along and join in. Unfortunately, that meant he kept falling off the ropes but nevertheless, it was very cute to watch. My heart...

When we checked the time, we realised we better start heading back because it was already 5pm and I still needed to pack, make the packed lunch and then walk down to the station ready for the train journey back. It didn't seem too late as we set off but as we arrived back, it was pitch black and I was exhausted.

It was a fun, action packed trip and well worth it!

To see the full album of pictures click here

Have you read the other 3 days? Click here for yesterday's post. 

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Exploring Kew Gardens!

After a lot of walking yesterday, on Sunday, we headed to Kew Gardens and explored there! Day 3 of 4.

Click here to watch the vlog or see below.
After a successful but tiring day at the World Athletic Chmpionships, we had a slightly later start to the day than expected. In other words, I totally slept through my alarm and dad didn't want to wake me. I had a quick - cold! - shower and then got ready. Dad had eaten breakfast so I just took a toasted teacake with me for the train journey.

Arriving at Kew was a simple journey and we ended up arriving at this quaint little village like location. It was sweet and as we crossed under the tunnel, we saw that there was a small farmer's market going on. We'd forgotten it was a Sunday so considering the size of the place, it was quite crowded. We walked through fairly quickly, barely stopping to have a look at the sausage dog pillows, and made our way over to Kew Gardens.
Dad had been before with my older sister, Catherine, back when she herselfe lived in London but I had never been. In all honesty, it wasn't really my thing but it was defintely right up dad's alley so I was prepared for a day to make him happy. After 2 days of queuing and crowds, I figured he deserved to do something he enjoyed instead.

Having said that, as though an evil joke, we arrived to a long queue. Luckily, it did go fairly quickly and we were in it for under an hour which he seemed to think was tolerable. I never snapped a picture but there was a woman dressed as a tree! It was super creepy but eerily reminded me of a giant version of Baby Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy 2.

When we got in, it was just before 12pm so we decided to head over to the Pavilion for an early lunch of sandwiches and cakes. A perfect afternoon tea style meal under a beautiful green ivy tunnel. I'm glad we made the most of the respite because from then on we didn't really pause for a break.

We walked through trees after trees and down little paths, eventually emerging in front of a stunning Japanese style garden with neat rocks and intricately designed lanscapes. At the top of the hill was a stunning archway. I forget the proper name but I did capture it in the vlog! It was beautifully carved and apparently it was recently restored using traditional techniques from an original one.

As we left, there were people feeding peacocks. Out of their hands! I was shocked at how tame they were but admittedly, disappointed that people were pulling out their feathers. I felt horrible watching so didn't stay for two long before continuring to the Japanese path and sculpture.

Then came the long corridor marked by trees and bushes. I loved how the flowers were ombre effect, slowly increasing in pigment. But I was most impressed at seeing the pinecones being formed. I swear, I've never seen them - although I've also never looked - before the brown, solid, prickly self. Seeing the soft, fury, green balls was absolutely mind blowing to me. LOL!

After meandering down to the science fair, we managed to sneak in an icecream or two - dad I'm looking at you! - before slowly making our way over to the lake/pond to see the ducks and fountains. We quickly nipped inside the tropical house to see the plants but it was almost unbearingly hot. Given the fact that we were sweating outside, we were melting in there!

As we left the opposite side, we walked out into the rose garden. Dad's happy place. He loved taking pictures and exploring the designed gardens but after returning to the flat, my heart broke for him. It turned out he'd knocked a setting on his camera and ended up taking 4 - 8 copies of the same photo. Not only that but if he held it down for too long, the picture combined and created a very blurry image of a rose. Oops!

Working our way around the map we came to The Hive which is a metal structure in a field of wildflowers. Personally, I think it looks devastatingly ugly and does not promote the preservation of bees at all, but supposedly that's the purpose. It is cleverly made but it's a waste of a lot of time, money and metal.

I was moreover impressed by the size of the bonsai tree growing in front of it! It's huge. It's so big that they had to help it buy building a brick wall at the side of the trunk to prevent it from toppling over and fracturing. It's almost like a massive crutch!

The final thing on the agenda was the Treetop Walkway. Dad was very eager to go to Kew Gardens mainly because of this new feature. I have a slight fear of heights so looking up the staircase was a little nervewracking but given the sheer scale of the structure and how many people were coming down safely, I figured I would risk it. Honestly, it wasn't that bad until the second half when the whole structure suddenly became very wobbly. I dread to think what it's like when it's windy.

I quickly caught up with dad and bypassed him, telling him I'd meet him at the bottom. After making it down the stairs, I looked up to see dad taking a photo of me so I took one back. It turned into quite the shot! Can you see me and my dad?

Although it felt like a long day it had only just passed 6pm when we left so we headed to Leicester Square on the way back to call in at TGI Fridays. I had the last part of my voucher to spend so it worked out well. Then we made out way back to the flat and got ready for bed, this time with no showers.

To see the full album of pictures click here. Stay tuned for Day 4 tomorrow!