Favourite Sights in San Francisco

San Francisco 2

I recently got back from a weeklong trip to San Francisco with my Mom. To be truthful San Francisco has never really crossed my mind when considering places to visit but my Mom had been talking about it for a while and was really keen to go. She mentioned it to my step-dad who didn’t want to so I offered to go with her. Booking the trip was a nightmare because my Mom’s so fussy but in the end we chose a week, Mom found some flights she was actually happy with and before we knew it we were jetting off!

There was a lot about San Francisco to love so I thought I’d write a quick blog post about some of my favourite sights!

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Probably the most obvious and iconic landmark in San Francisco. Most people hire bikes and cycle there from the city centre and then cycle across the bridge, either by themselves or in a group tour. This is sensible as although the bridge looks relatively close it is quite far. Nevertheless me and my Mom decided to walk towards it from Fisherman’s Wharf  – we did mention the bikes but I’m not sure I’d remember how to ride one. I know they reckon you never forget but I have serious doubts about that.

The walk wasn’t horrendous compared to central San Francisco as after the first hill it was pretty much all flat until you’re almost right at the bridge and then there is a bit of an uphill climb. It’s just quite long and on the day we walked although the sun was shining the wind was horrendous.

Golden Gate Bridge 2

By the time we reached the bridge we were quite tired so we only walked halfway across it. I think we’d have only done that anyway as the bridge was so windy that my Mom was holding onto the poles as she was worried about ‘getting blown off the bridge’.

I’m normally the type of person to be like “it’s just a bridge, big deal” but there was something about it that just made it seem special and I’m glad we decided to walk there.

Alcatraz

Alcatraz

Another obvious ‘must see’ whilst in San Francisco. My Mom was stressing me out by telling me how quickly they sell out and that we needed to book it in advance but she didn’t seem to do anything about it until luckily one day she forwarded me a confirmation email to say she’d booked it. Make sure you buy from the official website though, there are a lot of rip-offs and we even heard one Australian family on the boat coming back talking about how they’d been scammed on one of these sites.

There are a few buildings on the island but the most interesting one is obviously the Cell House. Upon arriving you’re given an audio tour guide which I normally avoid like the plague as they just irritate me but I was keen to learn more about the prison so I accepted it and I’m glad I did. It was really interesting and kept you moving from one place to the next. At first it was a bit annoying as everyone was clumped around the one section of where the tour was meant to be but it thinned out as the tour went on making it less frustrating.

What I liked was that it wasn’t just ‘the building was built in this year, it served this purpose’ – there were stories about the prisoners and life there. My favourites were about the attempted escapes. There was one where supposedly in the canteen the prisoners began to riot because they were served spaghetti again or something? Either way, the audio tour was really interesting.

Alcatraz 2

Also I never knew that the prison officers lived on the island too with their families. They’d bring their wife and kids with them and they’d just live on the island – they never had any contact with the prisoners but it’s bizarre! The kids would catch a boat to the mainland when they went to school and I believe there were a few boats a day so families could go over to San Francisco, do what they fancied and then return back home at the end of the day.

Anyway, Alcatraz is a must see when in San Francisco but make sure you book it in advance. There were still some available tours when we went but my manager at work told me she’d visited and unfortunately it had been sold out when she was there. Don’t risk it as Alcatraz is not somewhere you’d wanna miss visiting!

San Francisco Play House

San Francisco Playhouse

My Mom knows I’m a massive theatre fan so before we left she researched some theatres in San Francisco and some shows that were on. One of the shows she suggested was one called ‘Significant Other’ – we weren’t sure but decided we’d make our minds up when we arrived.

In a weird coincidence it turned out that the show was actually playing inside our hotel! On the second floor of our hotel was the ‘San Francisco Play House’ and any hotel guests got a discount on their tickets. On our second night we decided to get tickets as we couldn’t miss out on seeing a play right inside our hotel.

More people turned up than I’d been expecting and it was an interesting show. I wouldn’t say it was ‘ground-breaking’ or anything but I’m glad we saw it. The basic plot is about a gay guy who watches his three best friends get engaged, married and essentially move on with their lives whilst he worries he’s getting left behind. It was quite a simple show but I was impressed at how they all remembered their lines – I know that’s their job but there was one scene with just two actors where they both had long lines of speech at a time and it was just pretty impressive.

My favourite part was probably that once the play was over instead of having a long walk back to our hotel we literally just jumped in the lift and we were back in our room within minutes. How convenient!

Pier 39

Pier 39

I think this place was somewhere I would’ve spent more time with my friends. It’s full of gift shops, arcades and places to get food. Me and Mum did spend some time here more than once and it was strange because it didn’t feel like America, I could’ve just as easily been at Blackpool. It was a lot of fun though.

There was a carousel at the end of the pier and I’m normally a sucker for carousels but to ride this one cost like five dollars so me and Mum gave it a miss. Behind the carousel was a stage – I’m not sure if they have different shows every so often but while we were there it was one guy called Bob who put on a show. I’m pretty sure he had different ones but the one we saw he rode a unicycle and stood on some cylinders – it’s difficult to explain but it was pretty impressive.

Pier 39 2

My favourite shop on Pier 39 had to be the Christmas shop. Whenever I go away my Mom always asks me to bring back a Christmas decoration themed like the country I’ve been to which is usually the most difficult thing ever to find so to find a whole Christmas themed shop in San Francisco was awesome. There was literally a decoration for almost everything in there. We’d actually already bought a Cable Car themed decoration from one of the gift shops in China Town but the shop was still amazing, a must see for any Christmas fan.

Beach Blanket Babylon

Beach Blanket Babylon

I didn’t really know much about this show but Mum was adamant it was ‘the’ thing to see whilst in San Francisco. Apparently the show began in 1974 and is the world’s longest-running musical revue. Mum was even keener to see it when we found out the show was actually ending later this year – it would be our only chance to see it.

Unfortunately we waited until the night we wanted to see it to go to the box office to enquire about tickets (fun fact, the Americans kept calling it ‘wilcol’). We were told tickets were sold out until the following Wednesday (when we’d be back in England) but if we wanted we could wait outside the theatre as sometimes people came along to sell their tickets. The show didn’t start until 8 and it was 6:30 by this point so I wasn’t keen as I highly doubted we’d get two tickets but Mum was determined, especially after one woman told her she had just one ticket. We only needed to find one more and then we could both go.

It got very complicated, the woman with the original ticket went outside and then we found another woman selling one ticket but we weren’t sure they were in the same part of the club (I said it wouldn’t matter but Mum wasn’t sure) so she went in then very kindly came out to tell us she had been seated in the part the woman with the original ticket had also been seated. It was getting close to show time so I paid the money for this woman’s ticket, my Mum went in with that ticket, bought the ticket off the other lady we’d originally seen, came back out to get me and soon we were both inside. I was originally seated away from Mum anyway but it turned out the seat next to her was free so I moved. I had a worse view next to her but it didn’t matter.

The show was bizarre to say the least. It was basically a musical following Snow White was looking for love and all the characters wore bizarre costumes with oversized hats or wigs. There were a lot of pop culture references and I was surprised at the scene where they took the piss out of Donald Trump and his family as all the Americans thought that was hilarious – which to be fair, it was. I’m so glad I got to see it and it was definitely worth the wait outside the theatre.

Sea Lions at Pier 39

Pier 39 Sea Lions

Probably my favourite part of Pier 39 was that off to the left of the pier there was a large gathering of Sea Lions. They’re below the pier and unless you jumped into the water or had a boat you can’t get near enough to teach or harass them so they’re pretty much left alone. There are a few signs up asking people not to feed or bother them and people stuck to that rule. There’s usually a crowd of people on the pier watching and taking photos of them but the sea lions are still pretty much left alone.

As there were so many of them I wondered if they were there of their own freewill and it turns out that yes, they are. There was a sign up nearby that said the sea lions had shown up a few years ago to the annoyance of people who had boat slots in that particular area. There was a debate apparently but it was decided the sea lions could stay and a lot of boats had their slots moved to a different part of the pier.

The area didn’t smell brilliant and the sea lions made a lot of noise but it was interesting and nice to be able to see the sea lions without feeling guilty the way you do when you visit a zoo or aquarium. I’d definitely recommend giving them a visit when in San Francisco.

Cable Cars

Cable Car

Everyone at work kept telling me I’d need to ride the cable car and I assumed they meant the ones you get that take you over the city, you know the ones I meant? It turned out they were cute old fashioned trams and there was a stop at the end of the road where our hotel was. On our first day we walked pretty much everywhere and I had not realised when people said San Francisco was full of hills they MEANT it. So when we next needed to get to Fisherman’s Wharf from Union Square we paid the seven dollars each to catch the cable car.

We rode it twice and both times managed to get the best seats – there are two compartments to the cable car, one indoors section and an outdoor one where you can either sit or stand and hold onto the pole. It did look cool to stand and hold on but my legs were already aching and we had two seats in the front of the outdoor section so they were good seats!

The ride on the cable car was amazing and a bit scary at times – whenever it went downhill I’d be struck with the worry that the cable car would just start rolling down at full speed but of course it didn’t, they were driven very well. It was an absolute must in San Francisco and I’m glad we got to ride it twice.

So there we have it, those are my favourite sights from San Francisco! If you’ve visited feel free to leave me your favourites or let me know which ones you’d love to see one day.

Advertisements

Travel Fails: Romania Edition

Romania 1.jpg

My first trip of 2019 was to Bucharest, a trip that I booked shortly after returning from Asia and Paris last October. That was my last trip of 2018, I was sad it was all over and I wanted something to look forward to. I’d hated January in 2018 so I decided that to brighten up the month a bit I’d book a trip away. I’d been on about Romania for a while so without overthinking it I booked the flights and hotel, and soon I was off!

I was quite proud of myself on that first day. The bit that stresses me out the most about solo travel is getting from the airport to my hotel – I get into such a panic like what if I can’t find it and I just have to walk the streets for three days? That’s never happened of course but that is the most stressful part for me. I could’ve booked a shuttle from the hotel to the airport but since I have car anxiety I wasn’t going to risk the person picking me up driving like a maniac. So I decided to catch the bus.

After a moment of stressing I found the bus station and asked the driver if he was going to my stop to which he just looked confused and shook his head. I started to get worried but bought my bus ticket and sat down anyway as Google Maps had advised me this was the correct bus. Luckily there was a list of stops on the wall outside the bus so I checked those against the ones on Google Maps – although my stop wasn’t listed outside the stop before mine was listed. Crisis averted, I’d just get off there instead and walk a bit further. I was proud of myself for figuring that out.

Romania 2.jpg

As it was quite late I didn’t do much on my first evening, I checked into my hotel, had a general nose around the area and got some dinner before heading back for an early night. It was the next morning when crisis struck.

The morning didn’t start out great when I woke up and realised my phone hadn’t charged overnight. The plug converter had popped out of the socket at some point and my phone was now sitting on 30%. I plugged it in while I went down for breakfast but forgot I was in a room where the electricity didn’t work unless the card was in the slot. Luckily my new phone charges quite quickly and doesn’t drain fast so when it got to 70% I decided to risk it. I hadn’t brought my power bank with me ‘cos my phone had lasted every day in Japan and I was certain it would in Romania. I’m such an idiot.

I set off for my first destination which was something I’d seen online. It was an umbrella alley – I’d seen one similar in Lithuania with my friends and was keen to see another one because I think they look so pretty. Google Maps advised it was a 30 minute walk away so I set off. I wasn’t keen on attempting public transport because I didn’t know how to get another bus ticket etc. so I set off on foot.

When I eventually made it to the destination I looked around but couldn’t see how an umbrella alley could be in this area. After some frantic googling I realised I’d misspelt a word and was now in the wrong place. It would take me another 30 minutes to get to the actual location. Annoying but whatever, I’ll just walk to the other place.

30 minutes later I’m in the general area so I have a look round for this Umbrella Alley. Can’t find it anywhere so I decide maybe it’s seasonal or it was only there briefly and now it’s gone. I’ve wasted over an hour trying to find something that probably isn’t here. Again, not great, but whatever. I’ll just do the next thing on my list. Visit the Old Town.

Luckily this isn’t as far, it’s maybe a 10 minute walk away so I set off. I was doing a good job at following Google Maps and I was so glad I’d got a new phone, my one in Poland had been relatively useless so I was still feeling pretty good. Until Google Maps advised I only had to turn one more corner and I would be in the Old Town. Unfortunately I couldn’t walk down there ‘cos there were three men and a van blocking the corner but even if they hadn’t been it wouldn’t have led anywhere. I walked up and down, absolutely confused, until throwing in the towel. Great, I’d spent the whole morning looking for things that I couldn’t find.

Okay the Umbrella Alley I can accept but it surely shouldn’t have been so difficult to find the Old Town? I have no idea what happened there and I don’t want to know.

The next item on my list was the Romanian Kitsch Museum and as that was an actual building and not just a vague area I figured I’d be more successful and luckily I was. The museum was in a nice area and I was feeling hungry so I sat down to get some food.

One of the things I’d noticed in Poland was that I was mostly too afraid to order food so for those few days I mostly ate chocolate peanuts I’d brought from the UK and ordered food if I was absolutely desperate. I think I had McDonalds three times because everywhere else made me too nervous. So in Romania I was determined to try harder with food. The woman who took me to my table spoke English so I was put more at ease.

I ordered some crepes with Nutella and vanilla ice-cream and upon reflection I wish I’d just ordered normal food, they had like ribs and stuff on the menu that I regret not going for. They brought the crepe over and I’m not sure why but I suddenly didn’t trust it. On the menu there’d been sweet crepes with cheese in and when I cut into my crepe all the vanilla ice-cream poured out. I knew it was vanilla ice-cream but part of me didn’t trust that there wasn’t cheese snuck in. I don’t know, okay? It was a weird experience.

When I was finished I thought they’d bring the bill over but they did not. I sat there for maybe half-an-hour trying to work up the courage to ask for the bill. Luckily in the end I pushed my cup towards the edge of the table and when a guy came to collect it I was like “THANKSCANIHAVETHEBILLPLEASE”. Even then it took another ten minutes for it be brought over but out of British awkwardness I didn’t pull a face.

Luckily the rest of the day went smoothly, I saw the rest of the stuff on my list and had Taco Bell for dinner (which I’ve only had twice but actually love, why don’t we have Taco Bell in the UK?). I went back to my hotel for an early night because I had a day trip the next day to Dracula’s castle and other places which I wanted some energy for.

Romania 3.jpg

I barely slept all night. I was so worried about sleeping through my alarm or not being able to find the meet-up place for the tour that I kept having stress dreams and waking up. I even got out of bed at 4AM to check my phone and make sure I hadn’t overslept. I was relieved when my alarm eventually went off so I could just get on with things.

When we’d been on a day tour in Tokyo the meet-up point was in a hotel which had been really convenient as you could go inside and there were plenty of people around to point you in the right direction so there was less stress. As this tour was smaller the pick-up was in a car park and I’d arrived at about 7:35AM for an 8AM pick-up because I was so worried about being late. I stood around panicking that I was in the wrong place for 15 minutes because I couldn’t see any sign that a tour was going to leave from here until eventually a minibus pulled up with the name of the company on the side. I went over and luckily the guide was like “Hi, you must be Hollie” so disaster was averted. You have no idea how relieved I was.

The day tour was amazing, I may write a longer post about it at some point, but it was awesome. The tour guide was really sassy and the other people on the trip were nice. There were two boys from Canada, two girls from Cyprus and then a boy and a girl from Italy. It’s just as well they were all nice because one of the stops on our tour was a fort – it hadn’t been on the itinerary when I booked but hey it was an added perk so why not?

Romania 4

The entire thing was made up of hills and of course it was January in Romania, it had been snowing. The snow had now turned to ice. I did most of it okay until finally we got to one steep point where I ended up with my hands on the ground and one leg out as if I were posing. I was completely stuck and the Italian guy came back down like “Hey, do you need help?” I’m so awkward that normally I’d be like ‘no, no, I’m fine’ but it was so bad that I had to admit I needed help. He helped me get out of the bit where I was stuck and I tried to carry on like normal.

When it was time to leave we headed down a steep hill and again I couldn’t figure out how to get down and got bloody stuck yet again while half the group trotted off. This time his girlfriend was like “Do you need help?” so I was like “Um maybe” because I didn’t want to bother them but God knows I did need help. She sent her boyfriend back up and I had to hold his arm the entire way down the hill. I tried to make light of the situation by saying “We don’t get much snow in England” to which he responded “We don’t get any at all in the south of Italy.” … Oh.

Romania 5.jpg

After that the trip went quite smoothly, although other places we went had snow and ice it wasn’t as bad as the fort as there weren’t any steep hills. I was a bit embarrassed walking up to Dracula’s castle as it was up a hill (luckily all the snow had been cleared away), the rest of the group briskly walked up and when I got to the top we had to climb some steps into the castle and the tour guide was like “… Do you need a minute?” so I shook my head and powered through. I’d been worried there would be tons more stairs inside but luckily there wasn’t.

Romania 6.jpg

The only other unlucky thing that happened was with the flights on the way back. The plane was slightly delayed and we were all stood in the gate with no information. I have no issue with delays and wouldn’t dream of getting mad at the staff, these things happen, but I get really annoyed when we’re just left waiting with no information. There was an announcement telling us all to ‘go to gate’ but nothing was actually happening at the gate, I was just stood in a big crowd of people as my bag threatened to break my back.

I got a bit worried when my friend messaged me to ask if my flight was going to be cancelled due to the snow but luckily we were soon on the plane and it took off. The flight mostly went well until we were back in England when the air hostess announced we had to circle the airport for 30 minutes. Although I’m a lot better than I used to be I am a nervous flyer so my mind instantly went “oh my god, we’re gonna run out of fuel and crash land.”

We didn’t crash land obviously but as the plane went down the air hostesses turned off the lights as they usually do and after a while they then switched on the light to illuminate the emergency exit sign. It was probably just something they’d forgotten to do and realised they probably should just in case but my mind was like “… Did they switch that on because we’ll need it?” So I was paranoid enough when I heard a soft but fast beeping noise and I was proper on edge then but we landed safely at Birmingham Airport.

Due to the delays I’d missed the 9:50PM train and had to wait for the 11PM train which didn’t bring me back to Telford until 12:30AM. Luckily I don’t live too far from the train station so managed to collapse into bed at 1AM – I was exhausted at work the next day, I need to learn to either come in late or take the day off after a trip.

To be fair if those were the most disastrous things to happen on the trip then it was a relatively successful one. I’ll probably be writing a couple more posts about Romania and how much I loved it over the next couple of weeks. If you’ve been then feel free to let me know some fails you had whilst you were there!

My New Year’s Resolutions

New Years Resolutions.jpg

I’m not normally a big fan of making New Year’s Resolutions because mine are normally quite clichéd. Lose weight, be a tidier/more organised person, stuff like that. But for the last few years I’ve managed to achieve some New Year’s Resolutions by making them a bit simpler. The first one was when I vowed to meet a celebrity – and later that same month managed to meet the band We Are the in Crowd. Then last year I started a new one where I vow to ‘do something fun every month’ and I’ve since stuck to that. Doing something fun for me usually means going on a trip, going to watch a show, going to a concert, but can be pretty much anything as long as I’m looking forward to it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about next year’s resolutions and I think I’ve thought of some that I may manage to achieve that will either make me a bit happier, healthier or just generally make a life a bit easier. So here we go, here’s what I hope to achieve in 2019.

Do Something Fun Every Month

Me + Becca 4

As I make this vow at the start of every year I will definitely be making it again in 2019. So far I have Romania in January, Cursed Child and a potential trip to Belgium in March, and mine and my Mom’s trip to San Francisco in May. I’ll quickly slot something in for February and April and the first five months will be taken care of. I don’t doubt the other months will soon fill up with fun things as well.

When I first made this resolution I was worried it would cost a lot but it doesn’t. The occasional trip abroad or to London can be a bit expensive but if I have say one theatre trip in April then that’s cost me about £40 at the most and that’ll be my fun thing ticked off for the month in a single evening. I usually end up doing something fun every month by accident anyway, I don’t necessarily pre-plan ‘oh I need to fill in this month otherwise I won’t have done anything’. I nearly always have something to look forward to and I will continue with that in 2019!

Make More of an Effort to Eat Homemade

My friends make fun of me for being a bad cook but when I put my mind to it I’m not actually as bad as they think. Honestly my current issue is that I don’t like standing by the oven to cook my food because I hate being around my step-dad and his snide comments. So at least if I shove something in the oven I can run upstairs and avoid him until my food is cooked.

But I don’t want to keep living like this. Homemade food is usually a lot better for you and way tastier, and I usually find I enjoy cooking when I actually put the effort in. I make more of an effort when my parents go away on holiday – I used to love ordering a takeout while they were away whereas now I look forward to making myself some stir fry!

In the New Year I’m going to make more of an effort to push my step-dad’s comments aside for the sake of eating better. I had made a vow in 2018 to try meat free Mondays because I’m way too fussy to ever become a full on vegetarian but that fell away quite quickly. I might try again in 2019 and see what happens. But regardless, I want to make more homemade meals!

Spend Less Time on my Laptop

Mt Fuji 3

I tell myself quite often that I need to spend less time on my laptop but quickly slip back into spending nearly all of my time on it. To be fair, I’m okay on the week day evenings because I’m normally quite busy but then the weekend comes around and I don’t have any plans so the laptop is on all day.

Next year I’m going to try and tick off ‘read two new books every month for a year’ off my bucket list so that should take up quite a bit of my time. I also really need to start practicing the piano – I have lessons once a week and the week goes by so quickly that by the time my next lesson comes along I realise I haven’t done any practicing at all so I really need to start. Alongside my piano lessons I was considering taking up something else, like a language or something but I’m not 100% decided yet.

Either way, I’m going to make an effort to reduce my screen time and do something more worthwhile than scrolling mindlessly through Social Media for hours on end. Obviously I’ll have evenings or times where I do just want to chill out on my laptop and I won’t feel guilty for that but it definitely needs to be cut down from what it is now.

Get Back into Writing

I know I mentioned taking some time away from my laptop but I may have to use it for this one… Ever since I was a child if you asked me what my dream job was I always said ‘writer’ without hesitation. Even now, I love my job but I want more than anything to publish a book. It doesn’t even have to be a best seller, even if only one person reads it – I just want a published book.

Unfortunately by the end of the day I just don’t have the motivation to write. Well, I do write but smaller, easier things. Like my blog posts or the short stories I write for my friends at Birthdays/Christmas or to cheer them up. But I haven’t worked on ‘The Novel’ for ages. I need to get back into it and I’m going to make it my New Year’s Resolution.

I feel like my issue is that I feel like I need to FOCUS on the novel so I write all evening every night for like a week, burn myself out and don’t return to it. If I wrote say… 1000 words a day? Hell, even 1000 words a week, at least I’d be WRITING. I need to set a new target and stick with that. Even if it turns out to be a complete disaster, at least I’ll know I’ve tried.

Start Exercising Again

At the start of this year I decided to try and get into better shape before my trip to Asia. I went running three nights a week but then somehow due to lack of motivation this just fell away. Now that I’m earning more money I am considering a gym membership because that might encourage me to go but I’m not sure. I’ve discovered that the one I want to go is also the one my Dad and brother attend, both of whom are very buff so that’s a little intimidating. But I feel everywhere else is super expensive.

Either way I know I should probably start exercising again because I do need to lose some weight. I don’t like setting myself weight targets because I’m just setting myself up for failure but it would be a good idea to at least try and get into better shape.

Book another Out-of-Continent Trip with my Friends

Japan Takeshita

This year I went with Jess and Becca to Asia and had the most amazing time ever. Now although I’m going with my Mom to America next year I also want to book a trip with my friends to a different continent. Our goal has been Australia 2020 so we’ll probably do what we did for Asia and sit down to book it a year in advance so we can slowly pay everything off and sort what we want to do.

Truthfully Australia’s never been top of my list but it has been on the top of Hirst’s for years and as she didn’t get to come to Asia with us we’re going to prioritise her number one travel destination. I have no doubts that it’ll be a ton of fun and I’ll love it when we get there so I am really looking forward to it. It’ll be our first long-haul flight as all four of us and I’m just really excited for it to be booked.

So there are my New Year’s Resolutions for 2019! Feel free to share yours and I hope you have a Happy New Year!

Travel Fails: Asia Edition

Japan Takeshita.jpg

At the start of the year I wrote a post about mine and my friends travel fails which you can read here. Recently we went on a trip to Asia where we travelled round three cities in Japan then visited Seoul in South Korea before heading home. Of course none of our trips are without fails so I decided to write a quick post of the things that went wrong in Asia!

Tokyo

Mt Fuji 3.jpg

The worst fail in Tokyo was probably Becca getting sick on my birthday. Anytime you go out for something to eat in Tokyo you’re given a glass of tap water. We’re usually quite sensible and avoid drinking tap water in foreign countries and stock up on plenty of bottled water but by the time we’d sat down to eat after long days of sight-seeing me and Becca were normally quite thirsty so we both drank the tap water. However, I go to the loo way more often and was flushing it out with plenty of bottled water. Becca also eats less than me so the tap water stayed in her system.

I was initially disappointed on my birthday because we’d been planning to visit Disneyland but the weather was rainy and there was a typhoon warning so we did the sensible thing and pushed it to a day where the weather would be better (which definitely was a good idea as the weather was lush when we went). It’s lucky we did as we headed out, got an amazing breakfast at a K-Pop themed café, looked around a district full of K-Pop merch and then headed to Takeshita Street to do some shopping when Becca realised she felt absolutely awful.

In the end she decided to go back to the hotel so we went with her to make sure she got back okay. We had a few minutes rest in the room and then headed back out leaving poor Becca behind. Me and Jess didn’t do tons ‘cos we felt bad but we did head to the Hedgehog café which was a lot of fun. Then as we headed to find somewhere for dinner I fell over in the middle of a busy street because the floor was slippery from the rain. So there’s another fail.

Luckily Becca felt well enough the next day to head back out and didn’t touch another drop of tap water for the rest of the trip but it still sucked that she couldn’t come to the hedgehog café as I know she’d been looking forward to it. Me and Jess brought her back a plushie hedgehog to try and cheer her up but it still wasn’t the same. We definitely need to go back to Tokyo one day.

Hedgehog Cafe

Another fail we had from the get go was assuming that Japan would be a similar temperature to the UK in October. It was boiling hot and apparently this is the norm, we told our Aokigahara Forest tour guide that it was cold in England in October and she seemed surprised. Always read up about the climate before you go I guess? Most of my outfits consist of warm knitted dresses so I had to suffer in them every day. I don’t think I had a single summer outfit with me and the struggle was real.

Disneyland Tokyo.jpg

Walking around Japan really wore us out so after our day trip to Mt Fuji and the Aokigahara Forest we were all looking forward to an early night and a nice, long, uninterrupted sleep. Japan clearly had other ideas because I was woken up at midnight by the sound of my phone going absolutely berserk, making noises I didn’t even know it could make. In my half-asleep daze I didn’t really think twice about it, I was just so desperate to switch the noise off but was fully awake when I saw a message from the government advising us to ‘Keep calm and seek shelter nearby’.

Other than that there was no context to the message so I woke the others up and told them what it said. Neither were sure and Becca got up to help me look it up. I managed to freak myself out by going on a website that advised me ‘it could be that North Korea have sent a missile J’ but luckily Becca went on Twitter and saw it was actually an earthquake alert.

The girls make fun of me now but we don’t get big earthquakes in the UK so I was worried about what it would be like and whether we needed to do anything so I kept asking them questions but the girls were tired so I shut up and tried to push it out of my mind. In the end Tokyo didn’t even feel the earthquake and the message was sent out by mistake – it was only about a four on the scale and apparently they only send out messages for the bad ones and it was an error. Irritating though that the message had broken our one good long night’s sleep.

Tokyo Emergency Alert.jpg

We didn’t do much on our last day in Tokyo, we just headed straight to the train station to travel to Kyoto. The train ticket cost about £90 each so if we missed our train we were a bit screwed. But we had just over an hour until we had to go so we went downstairs into their food court section to find something to eat. Me and Jess eventually came across a beef place so Becca sat outside whilst we ate.

The downstairs area was so big that when we came out we immediately got lost and couldn’t find our way back to the train station. We knew it was up but everywhere with stairs seemed to be leading outside and we had no idea where to go. In the end I plucked up the courage to ask some men the directions to the station and they did look at me like I was a bit of a moron but they pointed me in the vague direction. You have no idea how stressed I was, we really didn’t have the time to be lost and as the pessimist I am I was convinced we were going to miss our train.

Luckily we found our platform in the nick of time and our train was still there so we jumped on and went walking through the carriages to find some spare seats next to each other. We managed to find three one in front of the other, put our massive suitcases away and finally relaxed. We’d all been a bit stressed and cranky looking for the correct platform so I think missing the train may have genuinely been the start of a fallout but luckily that didn’t happen.

Kyoto

Tea Ceremony.jpg

We arrived in Kyoto at about 2PM and requested a 3PM pick-up from the train station – we were staying in an apartment where they didn’t give out the address and someone had to pick us up to take us there, give us the key etc. Someone already had the 3PM pick-up so we figured no big deal, we’ll just get the 4PM one.

We headed over the road with the idea of getting some food in the café. However, when he came over to take our order Jess said “Three hot chocolates please” and the guy assumed that was the end of our order and none of us felt confident enough to call him back either. We had our hot chocolates then headed back over to be at the station for 4PM.

4PM came and passed with no sign of our car. We were all still hungry and there was a McDonalds across the road but none of us wanted to take the risk because the driver could literally turn up at any minute. We waited until about 4:40 and I messaged the guy to ask if he was still coming and eventually got a reply to say it would now be a 5PM pick-up. We carried on waiting and it got to a point where we were checking every car registration and none of us actually expected him to come, we were really shocked when he eventually came. None of us complained because we’re not like that but we were all starving.

He drove us to the apartment and he really stressed me out because he answered his phone while driving – I don’t know Japan’s view on that but in the UK that’s a massive no, I yell at my Mom for even glancing at her phone. We went inside and it did look really nice and he began talking us through the features of the apartment which was all going fine… Until he showed us how the air conditioning worked.

He hit the on button and the flaps to the air con opened and out fell the biggest bug I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Me and Becca both looked at each other but neither the guy nor Jess had noticed this bug. He carried on talking us through everything else but I was now on edge looking for this bug. By the time he’d gone and we were able to mention it, the bug had gone missing.

Kyoto Hotel.jpg

We went out to Kyoto Tower and by the time we got back the bug was now back on the wall. This turned into a massive hoo-ha because we obviously couldn’t leave this massive bug just wondering around the apartment so Jess bravely got a glass and went to capture it. She got really mad at me and Becca ‘cos we were both a bit wimpy at this point but in my defence I did help. Luckily Jess caught the bug in a glass and we got rid of it outside – it tried to fly in her face but we ran back inside and locked it out.

Luckily Kyoto was relatively stress-free compared to the other places we visited, except for when we visit Kyoto Imperial Palace and it absolutely threw it down with rain and Jess said we should run to the next bit with shelter because the rain had ‘calmed down’ a bit. We looked like drowned rats by the time the rain let up.

Kyoto Imperial Palace.jpg

And finally, on Jess’ birthday we decided to visit the Bamboo Forest and Monkey Park both of which were fabulous but by the time we were done me and Jess were absolutely starving so we looked for somewhere to eat nearby. The only places near us in Kyoto were very traditional looking places but after scanning the menu of a noodle place we headed inside where we waited for a table to become available. When it eventually did I settled on some duck noodles as I like duck and I like noodles so I figured it couldn’t be too bad. Until it was brought over and I was like “Jess, why does it smell so strongly of fish?” and she replied “Oh… I think it’s been cooked in a fish broth.”

I tried to suck up the noodles as quickly as possible but all I could was fish as I did so and I’m really, really, not fond of fish. I left a good majority of it.

Osaka

Osaka.jpg

On our first night in Osaka we decided to visit an arcade that we’d read about online. At this point we didn’t have long left in Japan and we all had quite a bit of money… Which is probably why me and Jess went a bit mad.

I do love arcades but British ones are a bit depressing and feel like a waste of money because I can see I’m throwing away actual hard earned money. But I had tons of Japanese yen which didn’t feel real so I converted a lot of it coins and had a go on most of the machines. There was a Studio Ghibli one and I quite quickly won a little Totoro figure which I was over the moon about. There was a little Jiji figure (from Kiki’s Delivery Service) in the machine that Jess decided she wanted so we both spent tons of money trying to win it for her. In the meantime I won a ton of other Ghibli figures but eventually Jess got her Jiji figurine.

We went around going on different machines – we went up to the different floors but they were more competitive gambling and weren’t as fun as the bottom floor which was full of prize games like crane machines etc. I wasn’t taking it too seriously until Becca won a Winnie the Pooh bear out of a crane machine. It was quite big and none of us were sure how she was gonna bring it home.

Osaka 2.jpg

My competitive streak was on then and I went around the different crane machines until I eventually won a Boo plushie from Mario. That was also quite big and although my suitcase was massive it had been pretty much full to the brim before we’d left the UK so I wasn’t sure how to bring it home. Did that stop me? No.

There was a machine where you had to stop the spinner at the exact time and you’d win a big tube of pringles. We were all having a go on that and I made a joke about how as Becca’s a vegetarian she hadn’t been able to eat much in Japan so if I won the pringles for her it might be able to keep her going until we get home. Tons of money later, I finally managed to win the massive pringles tub.

I should’ve quit while I was ahead but no – Jess hadn’t won anything on a crane machine and felt a bit left out so she kept going. She nearly won a chipmunk but she ran out of coins and when she went to buy more a little girl had a go and won the chipmunk she’d spent so long lining up which she was annoyed about. I had a go on a unicorn machine and won a little unicorn plushie.

Osaka 3.jpg

We were eventually persuaded to leave the arcade but we soon found another, smaller one with more crane machines so Jess decided to try her luck again. She nearly won a big dog plushie but unfortunately it got stuck and she couldn’t get it. I can’t remember if she did win anything from a crane machine but at the end of the night I realised I’d probably spent about £60 in the arcades. Becca had spent significantly less and moaned that we should’ve spent it on something worthwhile but listen, me and Jess had a good time and I won a few things to show for it. I did manage to squash that Boo into my case, Becca had to carry the Winnie the Pooh plushie onto the plane which was a bit of a pain but at least she got it home.

Osaka was another relatively stress-free location but disaster did strike again at Nara Deer Park. Jess had heard of it and suggested we took a visit and we all agreed it would be fun. We could feed some polite bowing deer in a peaceful park, what’s not to love?

It didn’t take too long to get to Nara and the deer park is really easy to find. The deer looked really sweet so we all bought them some food. I noticed the food had drawn a couple of deer’s attention but didn’t think much of it and stepped into the park with the intention of politely feeding the deer. What a mistake. The moment I stepped inside I was swarmed by about ten deer and one of them bit me in the side immediately so I shrieked and felt really overwhelmed by the amount of pestering deer so I chucked the food on the floor and ran, much to Jess’ amusement.

Nara Deer Park.jpg

The other two managed to feed the deer their food but it had to be done quickly as the deer were not patient in the slightest. I left the park and it was then that I saw the sign advising to be careful as the deer could bite, butt and kick you. None of us got kicked luckily but the horned deer did some to have it in for Becca and kept butting her ass. One of them did try to go for her and she had to hold onto its horns to get it to stop.

Truthfully it was still a lot of fun and I would recommend that people visit, but it definitely wasn’t as peaceful as we’d all been imagining.

The only other fail was when we visited Universal Studios and as I was waiting for Becca and Jess to get off one of the rides I fell asleep. The trip was exhausting, can you blame me?

Seoul

Seoul 2.jpg

We got up super early to travel from Osaka to Seoul and originally we had planned to make the most of the day. But the trip had taken a toll on us so in the end after checking into the hotel, we walked to the local supermarket, stocked up on some food and just had a lazy day with an early night. We also made the most of the free laundry facilities and washed enough clothes to see us through until the end of the trip.

Unfortunately although there was a washing machine there wasn’t a dryer and we weren’t really sure what to do. We hung some clothes up in our room and then I mentioned the clothing rail I’d seen on the balcony and said we’d have to put the rest there.

Me and Jess headed out onto the balcony with the basket of wet washing when the light in the opposite building switched off. We both noticed and as a joke Jess said “Ooh the demons are coming to get us.” Which was funny, until we heard footsteps approaching from that building. All I said was “Actually, I’m a bit creeped out now” and suddenly the two of us were speeding back to our room – except, we were both so eager not to be at the back that we got stuck in the doorway. I fell onto my knees and Jess fell on top of me.

I was peeing myself with laughter, as was Jess, but both of us were still scared so we were trying to go forwards but with Jess still on top of me neither of us were going anywhere. We eventually got through and we raced down the corridor into our room, peeing with laughter while Becca asked what had happened. All I hope is that whoever was walking in the other building didn’t come onto the balcony and see me and Jess trapped in the doorway.

We found places for the rest of the clothes to dry in our room as we now didn’t trust the balcony and Jess said we needed to take the basket back downstairs but she wasn’t gonna go on her own. She opened the door and we heard footsteps again so I dived onto my bed only to discover it was just a tourist heading down the stairs. We’re such idiots.

Seoul.jpg

Seoul was difficult to navigate because firstly none of us had any data – Jess had paid for it in Japan but it was either more expensive or not available in South Korea so we had to rely on free Wi-Fi to get directions to places. The directions were difficult regardless because Google Maps doesn’t work in South Korea, instead of planning the route for you it just shows you the way in a straight line.

This was probably why we ended up on a bus we weren’t supposed to get on to get to the Museum of Illusions. We waited for our number bus and when it came on we all piled on – the driver asked Becca if she was going to the airport, Becca replied no and just went and sat down. So me and Jess tapped in and followed her.

The bus was a lot fancier than the other ones we’d been on and we quickly realised that although the bus was stopping to let people on, nobody was getting off. Everyone else had luggage and was clearly on their way to the airport so we got in a panic about whether we were supposed to be on the bus or whether we’d end up at the airport. We stayed on there for a while but our stop was approaching and we weren’t really sure what to do.

At this point the driver stopped the bus, physically came down to us and asked where we were going if it wasn’t the airport. Jess tried to communicate the name of the stop and kept telling him it was the next one coming up to which he eventually said “Fine, get off.”

He hadn’t seemed happy so we weren’t sure if he meant immediately or at our stop so we stood up and then the bus pulled off so at least he was taking us to our stop. We were worried that he’d looked annoyed so we walked down and stood by the doors, I’m not sure if that was allowed or not but we were keen to get off at this point. He eventually pulled up to our stop and we piled off as quickly as possible because he really hadn’t been a happy bunny. Listen, we’re idiot tourists, we didn’t know the bus was only for the airport! We were just following Google Maps!

Seoul 3

Speaking of public transport, we decided to pay a visit to Seoul Tower and caught a bus to take us there. Google Maps advised us of the stop to get off and when we got off we couldn’t see the tower anywhere so we headed in the vague direction of it.

It turns out Seoul Tower is at the top of the biggest hill I’ve ever seen in my entire life. We walked up some stairs and I kept thinking we must surely be near the top. The steps were never ending but when they did eventually end we were now on a hill and still had ages to go to reach Seoul Tower. It was the most painful climb of my entire life but we eventually made it, drenched in sweat.

I don’t know why Google Maps advised us to get off because there had been a bus stop at the top of the hill which we used to catch the bus back to the hotel. As we got closer to our hotel I noticed a sign… Advising us of the cable cars nearby… That would take us to Seoul Tower. We’d walked up that hill for absolutely nothing.

Seoul 4.jpg

So although there were a few fails it was still an amazing trip and I want to visit Japan again at some point because it was definitely my favourite place I’ve ever been.

Universal Studios Osaka

Universal

I can’t remember how we decided which parts of Japan we’d visit other than Tokyo but I think Osaka was always on the list because we wanted to visit Universal Studios. Becca was celebrating her birthday while we were in Osaka so we decided to go to Universal Studios for the day.

This was another one where we couldn’t buy the tickets in advance, it just wasn’t an option if you lived in the UK but luckily ticket sales were marked more clearly than they had been at Disneyland and queuing didn’t take too long. We each got a different movie on our ticket, Jess got Jurassic Park, I got Transformers and hilariously Becca got Minions. She tried to swap but nobody else wanted the Minions ticket.

Jess had read online that it’s best to head straight to Harry Potter world first to avoid crowds so we did that and this was another place I’d seen in vlogs but it didn’t prepare me for entering and hearing the Harry Potter music. The whole place looks absolutely magical as if you’re actually in Hogsmeade. We joined a queue for something heading towards the castle, I thought it was like a walk through thing but it turned out to be a ride so I decided not to go on. Becca and Jess did and they said it was amazing, it was like you were following Harry and Ron on broomsticks.

Universal 2.jpg

Once they were done on that they wanted to go on Flight of the Hippogriff which was just across from the Hogwarts castle so we queued for that and as per usual I chickened out when we got to the front. Becca and Jess said that was good too.

After that we did a bit of shopping, Becca bought a Slytherin t-shirt and we each bought a chocolate frog so that we could see who’s cards we got. I got Dumbledore, Becca got Godric Gryffindor and Jess got Bertie Bott. We bought one for Hirst to bring back to the UK and she got Rowena Ravenclaw which was lucky as that’s which house she’s in.

Universal 3.jpg

We decided to grab lunch at this point so we found a pizza place. I’m not a fan of pizza but Becca’s a vegetarian and hadn’t been able to eat much for the past couple of weeks but we wanted her to have a decent meal on her birthday so we went in and she got a vegetarian pizza. I think Jess had the same and there was some pork dish thing that I ordered which wasn’t fantastic but it was better than nothing.

Universal 4

We had a quick look at the map and then wandered around until we found the Spider-Man ride. Becca and Jess went on whilst I waited outside for them. I wish I wasn’t afraid of rides, it’s such a pain. They came out and said they’d really enjoyed it so must’ve been good. We decided to get ice-cream after that because it was so hot in Japan while we were there and everybody loves a good ice-cream.

After that I paid to have a go on a game where you throw balls at milk bottles to win prizes. I started off well ‘cos my first throw knocked them all over, it was only because one of the bottles stayed on the stand that I lost. I was like ‘okay I’ve got it down, just need to improve my technique a bit’. After that I got progressively worse somehow so I didn’t win anything but it had been fun.

We walked off again and found an Insidious ride but you had to collect tickets before you could go in so we got ours but they weren’t valid until 6:15PM so we had time to kill. We found a zombie thing and I joined the queue with my friends. I was debating whether to go for it and when the doors opened I nearly chickened out but followed my friends in. We were taken into a large room where we watched several videos and actors – the whole thing was in Japanese but we got the gist that there was a zombie apocalypse. A code came on one of the screens and we weren’t sure if we needed to remember it or not so Jess memorised it just in case.

We were taken outside and I was initially disappointed ‘cos I thought that was the whole thing but we joined another queue and went to an outdoor bit where we had to navigate a sort of maze and avoid the zombies. I was running around screaming my head off and when I made it to the next queue a zombie came down and rattled a box behind me so I shrieked again. We were taken around a corner and a large zombie was killed in some water or something because we got absolutely soaked.

We ran back into another building and my memories a bit fuzzy ‘cos I was panicking at the time (but also having fun!) – I remember a lady was yelling at us in Japanese but I didn’t know what she was saying so Jess dragged me and Becca into this little nook in the wall and we tried to cover ourselves with a curtain but it wouldn’t quite go round with all three of us there. We were told to come out and we were watching this woman when a massive zombie appeared behind her so we screamed and ran off.

We got to the end and we had to choose whether to go left or right and I hate making decisions but luckily Jess made it for us and we went left with two other girls. We had to input the code from earlier but the girls in front remembered it and we’d chosen the right path because we succeeded and the side next to us failed. We ran out and it was over! We all sat down to talk about it, agreed it had been hilarious and then I had to have several sips of water because all the screaming had killed my throat.

We carried on walking and Jess and Becca found The Flying Dinosaur ride so decided to queue for that. They asked if I wanted to queue with them but we’d been travelling together almost two weeks at this point so I decided to just sit by myself for a bit. I got a little bit too relaxed because after about half-an-hour I leaned against a pole, ‘rested my eyes’ and ended up falling asleep. Next thing I knew Becca was shaking me awake.

Universal 5

They told me about their experience on the ride and apparently it wasn’t a good one. They didn’t feel secure in the ride and it just wasn’t a fun experience, even Jess said she’d been terrified so I was glad I didn’t go on even though I’d have never had the nerve anyway.

We joined the queue for the Jurassic Park ride and Jess tried to convince me to go on “It’s just a relaxing boat ride looking at the dinosaurs.” She told me. Becca read out the description in our leaflet which said ‘a boat ride with dinosaurs with a thrilling drop at the end’. “The drop’s not that big” Jess reassured me.

I spent the whole queue debating but the safety video didn’t make the drop look too big and at the start of the ride there’s a little ramp that the boat goes up so I asked Jess if that was as big as the drop was and she assured me that yes it was. What a load of rubbish.

I sat in the ride and immediately said “I’m actually not sure anymore” but Becca and Jess were on one side of me and two strangers were on the other side so Becca told me “Well it’s too late now” and the ride got started. It wasn’t too bad to begin with although I was a bit fearful of the drop but seeing the dinosaurs was cool. Then suddenly our boat went vertical and we started climbing up quite high. I was proper getting into panic mode at this point but there was nothing to do, it wasn’t like I could get off the ride!

We got to the end with the massive T-Rex roaring at us but I barely looked at it because I was craning to see the drop which to most people probably wasn’t that big but to me, who was expecting a little baby drop, was MASSIVE. I screamed the entire way down while Becca and Jess wailed about ruining their hair and make-up. When we hit the bottom we got pretty wet because we’d been sat at the front of the bloody boat. I was relieved when we got to the bottom and was glad I’d been on it but NEVER AGAIN.

Universal 6.jpg

We decided to get dinner next since our Insidious time slot was coming up so we went into the Jaws themed restaurant which was like a fast food place. It was overlooking the Jaws ride which I’ve seen videos of on Facebook and it looks like fun but me and Becca are scared of sharks so we didn’t go on it. I know it’s not a real shark but even knowing these fake sharks are in the water would’ve put me on edge.

Once we were done with dinner we headed in the direction of the Insidious attraction and it was getting dark at this point and lots of announcements were being made. Because it was October there was a lot of Halloween themed entertainment going on with actors dressed up going round scaring people which was pretty funny – if one came near me or Becca we screamed and ran in the opposite direction.

We headed into the Insidious attraction and I knew I’d enjoy it if it was like the zombie one but queuing for it is always the worst bit because my imagination runs wild. When we got to the front we had to hold onto a piece of red cloth with four girls in front of us, then me, then Jess and then Becca at the back. She begged to swap and I felt bad because it was her birthday but I was too scared to swap!

We went in and I feel like I didn’t appreciate it enough ‘cos I was so scared but I feel terrible for these four girls in front because they barely flinched, they had me behind them screaming my head off at everything, Jess just behind laughing so hard that she couldn’t breath and then Becca at the back screaming and yelling “Don’t touch me!” every ten seconds. I definitely remember the last room which was full of people underneath cloths and we didn’t know which one was real and which were mannequins until one started jerking around and I screamed then apparently that or something followed us out of the room. I’m not gonna lie the stress was real and it was so well done. Definitely recommend.

Universal 7.jpg

We were going to squeeze in another ride when we came out but there was still some entertainment on so we ended up joining a zombie rave, which Becca absolutely loved. Once we’d watched all that we decided to go shopping a bit earlier in the hopes that it wouldn’t be too crowded and it was okay to be fair, we got a few souvenirs each.

There was a night parade on so our plan was to grab some snacks and find our spot but most of the snacks carts closed down for some reason so we just found a spot anyway. It was nice to sit down but unfortunately unlike at the Disney parades where everyone was just left to sit we were told that if you weren’t on the front row you had to stand up which was a PAIN in my anus but the parade was amazing. My favourites were the Harry Potter and Jurassic Park floats. It would have been better if it had been a bit longer but it was still amazing.

Overall I loved Universal Studios but I think I preferred Disneyland a little bit more. Jess preferred Universal and I think Becca did too, I can’t remember. I agree with what Jess said, that what’s interesting is that all sections of the park look completely different to each other whereas at Disney they can blend together a bit. I think Universal is better for people who like big, fast rides whereas Disney has more of a variety. Maybe I just wasn’t looking in the right places, I don’t know. Also the Disney parades were better but that’s kind of what Disney is known for. I would definitely go back if given the opportunity.

Universal 8

Tokyo Disneyland

20181002_092220.jpg

Recently me and my friends got back from an amazing trip in Asia where we visited Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka) and South Korea (just Seoul). One of the things I’d been looking forward to the most was spending my birthday at Tokyo Disneyland. Unfortunately a typhoon was set to hit on my birthday and the weather was meant to be dreary so we pushed it back by a couple of days. On the day we went the weather was perfect and it was probably less crowded than it would have been on a Sunday anyway.

My biggest stresses were getting to the park and purchasing tickets. I was worried it would be difficult to reach but it wasn’t, it was just a short train journey away and although the park was very busy it didn’t take as long as I’d dreaded to buy our park tickets. The queues went relatively quickly and soon we were inside the park.

I’ve only ever been to Disneyland Paris and it’s on my bucket list to visit all the Disneyland’s across the globe so I was excited to tick another one off the list. Entering the park was amazing because I’d been excitedly watching vlogs for the past few months so to walk through where I’d seen so many of these vloggers walking through was so fun.

Our first stop was ‘Sweethearts Café’ because for some reason in Tokyo we didn’t buy any breakfast foods, we normally just ate a bar of chocolate and then got on with our day so by the time we’d reached Disneyland we were starving. I like that you can just walk in and help yourself to what you want, it was good because it was mostly pastries so Becca (our vegetarian friend who STRUGGLED in Asia) could grab pretty much anything she wanted. I had a Mickey Mouse brownie, a meat pasty and an orange juice. There was a Mike Wazowski melon bread which looked really cute but I was worried I wouldn’t like it so I gave it a miss.

We decided that instead of doing what we did at Disneyland Paris which was wonder around the park and go on any ride we liked the look of we would look at the map and pick out rides instead. Our first stop was Space Mountain because Jess had wanted to ride this at the Paris park but unfortunately we ran out of time so we went there first to tick it off her list.

20181002_103030.jpg

When we got there the queue was quite long and we did consider fast passes but decided not to in the end and just joined the queue. We went up the stairs and then there was a section for those who didn’t want to ride to leave the queue so that’s where I left because unfortunately I’m a bit of a wimp and not a fan of big rides. I waited maybe half-an-hour for the two of them to come out and they told me it had been amazing.

I’d seen a ride in someone else’s vlog called Pooh’s Hunny Hunt and since then I’d been desperate to go on so I insisted we queue for it. It was a long wait and it wasn’t shaded like Space Mountain so I think we all got a little bit burnt since it was so hot that day. Some parts were shaded ‘cos it was meant to be the hundred acre wood but not all of it so yeah, definitely bring your hat and sun cream. We’d assumed it would be cold in Japan in October ‘cos it’s cold in England in October. Not the case.

20181002_115723.jpg

I’m really glad we went on it ‘cos it was tons of fun – it’s a trackless ride and you go around in a honey pot and it was just tons of fun, probably one of my favourite rides of the day.

We wanted some water but couldn’t really find anywhere and we stumbled across the ‘It’s a Small World’ ride so we decided to queue for that – the queue time was long and it was not shaded even a little bit but it went a lot quicker than expected. The ride was sweet and it was nice that they’ve added Disney characters into their world section, it was fun going through and pointing them all out. To be honest for a lot of the rides it was just nice to sit down and have a break ‘cos although we were only four days into the trip we were already aching.

20181002_124737.jpg

We decided to get lunch after this and had a look at the restaurants on offer on the map and settled on a curry place. Becca just had a coke and me and Jess got a curry each. I’m not normally the biggest curry fan so I didn’t finish it but it was nice and so was the rice. Again, it was just nice to sit down for a while.

Since me and Jess had both chosen our rides that we really wanted to go on we told Becca she had to pick ‘her’ ride and she settled on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. I debated whether or not to go on and Jess kept reassuring me with “It’ll be fine, it’s just a boat ride” and there were quite a few kids in the queue so I decided to give it a go. There was a drop halfway through, it wasn’t steep and I did scream my head off at it but it wasn’t too bad. Jess did warn me it was coming as well so at least it wasn’t too much of a shock. I’m glad I went on because the animatronic pirates looked amazing, I was half-convinced that they were real.

After the ride we decided to get photos with the castle and a cast member very kindly offered to take our picture and brought us round to a different spot where we got an even better photo. Then we went a bit closer and got individual photos because you have to at Disney, don’t you?

Disneyland.jpg

Then we decided to ride the carasoul ‘cos we’d ridden the one at Disneyland Paris and apparently it’s just a thing now that we always need to ride the carasoul if there’s one available. We didn’t all get to sit together so Becca and Jess sat on horses next to each other and I sat on the one behind them. I bloody love carasouls not gonna lie.

As the tea cups were right next to them we went there next and that was fun too although after a bad ride on the waltzers a few years ago I don’t enjoy them as much as I used to. I felt a bit bad because Jess and Becca wanted to reach the peak of spininess but I couldn’t handle it like a wuss.

Once we were done on the tea cups we went and claimed our spot for the Halloween parade. People had claimed their spots for the parade the moment the park had opened but we managed to find a good spot sat on a wall. They started teaching us a dance before the parade began and watching Becca do this was pretty funny.

My one regret from Disneyland Paris was that we hadn’t seen a parade so I’m glad we got to see a Halloween themed one at Disneyland Tokyo because we all love Halloween. The songs were amazing, the floats looked incredible and the choreography was on point. I took a lot of videos of it for my Instagram story because it was just fantastic.

Once the parade was over Jess wanted to go on Big Thunder Mountain so we joined the queue and that was probably the longest queue of the day. It was another one that I didn’t have the balls to go on but I couldn’t leave when we got to the front like I had on the other rides – I only got out because I was stuck with some other guy who begged to be let across to join his girlfriend so I followed him. Becca and Jess were already long off the ride at this point.

We decided to get dinner but in the end I was the only one that ate because we struggled to find anywhere with vegetarian options and Jess was feeling a bit sick at this point. I had a Mickey glove chicken burger which looked cute but wasn’t as tasty as I’d hoped. At least I had fries to go with it.

It was late at this point so we decided to grab our spot for the night time parade and again we managed to get a good spot, right by the castle this time. Becca and Jess also got themselves some popcorn to keep themselves going. The night time parade was even better than the Halloween one because it was electric themed and featured a lot more characters and was just generally amazing. My favourites included the Genie, Cheshire Cat and Peter Pan floats. Me and Becca got a wave off Peter Pan and then hi-fived each other because we were so happy about it.

Once the parade was over we had to stand up to watch the fireworks display by the castle which was also amazing but would’ve been better if it had been a little bit longer. Never mind, it was still amazing. Then once the fireworks were done we decided to buy souvenirs before we left but unfortunately the entire park had the same idea so it was difficult to browse. We bought our friend Hirst a present then I got some stuff but I think we were all ready to go once that was done.

Overall it was an amazing day and if I was in Tokyo I’d definitely go back to Disneyland. All the cast members were brilliant at their jobs, the parades looked fantastic and it was just such a good day. I wouldn’t have changed anything about it.

Favourite Childhood TV Shows

Cartoon Network.png

When I was a kid I watched an awful lot of TV – I personally blame TV for the fact that so many people think I’m American. As a kid most of the shows were American so I think I developed a slight accent from that. Either way, I watched a lot of shows as a kid and I still enjoy watching some of them now even if that is a bit lame. So I figured I’d write a list of shows that I loved as a kid in no particular order!

The main channels I watched as a kid were Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and CBBC because unfortunately we didn’t get Disney Channel in my house as a kid!

Teen Titans

Teen Titans.png

I don’t remember many episodes of this show but I do remember loving it as a kid. The only episode I can remember is when Starfire was put into an arranged marriage and although I watched tons more episodes, I just can’t remember them. My favourite character was definitely Starfire and probably still would be. I’m sad I didn’t go watch the Teen Titans Go movie because it looked really good but I just didn’t find the time unfortunately.

Xiaolin Showdown

Xiaolin Showdown.jpg

This is another one that I remember loving as a kid but I really couldn’t tell you much about it now. I played this with my cousin when we went on holiday to Wales and we both took two characters each – I always had to be Kimiko and Clay. Kimiko I didn’t mind because she was my favourite character and as the only girl I got her by default. I didn’t want to be Clay though, I didn’t like him. It was such a good show though and I’m actually tempted to rewatch it now even though I probably won’t enjoy it as much as I did as a kid.

Drake and Josh

Drake and Josh.jpg

Who didn’t love Drake and Josh, let’s be real? Ages ago the pair tweeted that they were making a reunion movie and me and my friends were ecstatic… But nothing was ever actually officially said so I have a feeling they were trolling us which just seems rude. I would’ve loved a reunion movie. I loved the movie they did have, the one where Megan ended up in LA. What a great film and what a great show. I wish they’d add it to Netflix because I’d love to rewatch the entire thing from start to finish.

Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi

Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi.jpg

I feel like I mention this show to people and no one’s heard of it but it was one of my absolute favourites as a kid. The show was sort of based on the real life band ‘Puffy’ from Japan made up of members ‘Ami’ and ‘Yumi’. My Mom always remembers this show because the theme tune was one of my favourites as a kid and I always got up to dance to it, and I always insisted that my brother had to get up and dance to it too. I recently started listening to ‘Puffy’ when I discovered they were a real band and I actually really like them – but the theme tune is still my favourite song by them, haha!

The Story of Tracy Beaker

The Story of Tracy Beaker.jpg

I was, and still am, a massive Jacqueline Wilson fan so it makes sense that I loved watching ‘The Story of Tracy Beaker’. Even now I’m still a fan of the spin-off show ‘The Dumping Ground’. I feel like every British kid watched and enjoyed at least one episode of ‘The Story of Tracy Beaker’ and like, how could you not? Dani Harmer as Tracy Beaker was fantastic and it was just such a good show. 10/10 would recommend.

Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends

Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends.jpg

This show made me so sad that Imaginary Friends didn’t pop out of our heads and into reality. To be fair though the amount of imaginary friends that would’ve just been running around in the world would be unbearable. This show was amazing though, if I could’ve picked one of the imaginary friends to adopt I probably would’ve picked Wilt – he was my favourite! It was an amazing show, I’m so sad they took it off Netflix.

The Sleepover Club

The Sleepover Club.jpg

There were two series of this and most people prefer the original with Frankie, Kenny etc. But I liked the other one too! The Sleepover Club was an amazing show and like who wouldn’t have wanted to be best friends with the lot of them? I’m not sure if I could stand a sleepover every single weekend because surely you’d run out of themes and things to do eventually but they always had tons of fun on the show and I wanted to be part of that! It was a great show.

The Best of Friends

Best of Friends.jpg

This show completely stabbed me in the back. I don’t think there was any child in Britain who didn’t wanna be on this show. I actually applied for me and my friends to go on and they responded with a letter that I was asked to give to my Head Teacher. So I did but nothing ever came of it. My friend Becca later told me that the kids on the show aren’t actually friends, the show come in and audition everyone in the school and pick their favourites. How rude. It was still a good show though to be fair!

iCarly

iCarly.jpg

I can’t remember when this show first started but I loved it from the first episode I watched. I’m pretty sure my first episode was the one where Neville was introduced. It’s a bit of an unrealistic show because if they genuinely made that show they would’ve been bullied so bad at school, they wouldn’t have been as popular as the show made them out to be. But then there wouldn’t have been a show so hey-ho! It was still good and it’s one that I wouldn’t mind rewatching.

Ed, Edd n Eddy

Ed Edd n Eddy.jpg

Apparently my older sister wasn’t allowed to watch this as a kid but I did and it was one of my favourites. I’m not really sure what the point of this show was or who thought of it because it was strange but I still really enjoyed it. I rewatched a ‘try not to laugh – Ed, Edd and Eddy version’ the other day and it’s just… So random?

Max and Ruby

Max and Ruby.jpg

This one is weird because I loved this show as a kid but I honestly can’t stand to watch it anymore. Ruby just does my head in like shut up and let Max get on with things, will you? Jesus wept. Also, where the hell were there parents? They had grandparents that they went to visit regularly yet they seemed to live on their own? The idea is sweet but I don’t like it anymore, Ruby’s too annoying.

Pokémon

Pokemon

This is one of those shows that I watched religiously as a really little kid but then suddenly stopped and now I really can’t remember much about it but I remember LOVING it as a kid. My Mom let my older brother buy the cards BUT WOULDN’T LET ME, WHAT THE HELL? I think eventually my cousin gave me his hand-me-downs so I made do with them and I LOVED them. I still remember the night my brother teased me by looking out the window and saying the characters from Pokémon were walking down the street but I wasn’t allowed to look and when I eventually got mad and looked outside he told me they’d gone because I looked. I was like sobbing because I loved Pokémon so much. It’s a shame that I don’t know as much about it anymore, I need to get back into it.

That was just a snippet of the shows I loved as a kid, I won’t carry on or I’ll be here forever. Feel free to leave me a comment with your favourite childhood TV shows!