1/10/15 – Last day on Gran Canarian soil

We got up, got semi dressed and went down to breakfast first, this time. Why have we not been doing this the whole holiday? Had my usual sausage, bacon, chips and cheese and ham toasted thing. It was the last one and I actually ran for it, so I felt I deserved it. Cath caught us at breakfast and told me off for not wearing something pineapple-y. Apparently I’ve gotta that reputation as the pineapple girl that I was kind of expecting. Guess that’s better than my reputation as the drink that I got on our trek in America. Though that one became apparent this time too, as Cath was surprised at how much I’d been drinking in the day, every day. Eh, I’m on holiday. We wanted to leave some time to do some more packing after breakfast before we went down to the pool. Kel had already spoken to the guy on reception to see if we could keep our room on for a few more hours, which was fine. We primarily did it just to keep the all inclusive going, as we figured they’d cut our wristbands off as soon as we checked out.

Once we only had a few necessities for the day left out, we suncreamed up and headed down to the pool. We were given more word searches to do. This one was much easier than the last. I did that and then another short story. Patrik tried to convince me to join the aqua gym by sitting on the end of my sunbed, facing me, and doing his stretches. I must have an iron will if I can resist that. I really didn’t want to get wet though, as I won’t be able to shower or do anything with my hair later on, once we lose access to our room.

Instead, we got roped into the paper plane game. Surprisingly, this was the one activity that got most people to join in – over forty of us altogether! All to play with paper planes. We were each given a sheet of paper and told to make a plane with it. That was a challenge in itself as I’ve never even made one before. I’ve always gotten other people to make them and then give them to me to play with. I tried my best to make mine aerodynamic, but when it came to us all lining up and taking turns to throw them, mine just insisted on going nowhere but down. At least mine was more awesomely decorated than anyone else’s – I’d written Thunderbird 3 on the back of the wing. The Barry/Murr guy almost landed his in the outdoor shower, which was funny as you had to stand where your plane landed, so he was practically standing in the shower. One guy even had to stand in the pool when his went really off course. Gutted.

We then went for our last inclusive meal of the trip. So sad. I bid goodbye to the rice, pizza, chips, beef with champagne sauce, lasagne-less pasta and some new garlic potato cubes that I really hadn’t gotten the time to know. I did my last bid to get drinks in before we checked out, so I ran down to the pool bar to grab another sangria and cocktail and left them on the table by our sunbeds. We then brought the cases down, put them in a storage room for safe keeping as we don’t get picked up till later and checked out. Apparently my drinks preparations had been futile – they didn’t take off our wristbands or say anything about the all inclusive ending. Happy days!

I went back to my shade after that. I didn’t want to risk the sun and getting sweaty because of the whole no shower thing. I don’t wanna be that icky person. Joel caught us and got us to go join Patrik for the new rifle shooting activity. Now this is an activity I can get behind! I did feel a bit stupid holding a giant rifle in my bikini and big sunglasses though – the kind of look you’d expect to be all sexy badass, but this was me, so it wasn’t. But it turned out I was pretty good at the shooting part. Even Patrik was like, “Who are you?” My first shot went wild before I got the hang of it, but I quickly got the highest score and also the first bulls-eye. Boo-yah! Nerf guns, eat your heart out!

Did more reading and chilling in the shade afterwards. Also watched some bits of Arrow on my iPod. Ah Brandon Routh, you are a pretty, pretty man. Eventually, I conceded that it was probably time to sort out my appearance at least a little before eating. Had to pop in and out of the room where the luggage was being held (more so than I should have needed to, because I was stupid and kept forgetting things) and got changed and did a bit of makeup in the toilets downstairs. It was actually just a horrible ordeal, as it was really hot in there, so I tried to be quick about it.

We then went for food around six, pleased that we got an extra meal more than we’d been expecting. Bonus meal! The evening menu has a split earlier on and they seem to serve different foods for each half. We’d obviously never been down to eat this early, so it was all new to us. Was initially horrified to see that they had a yellow rice rather the usual amazing rice, but then it turned out it just tasted exactly the same anyway. You deceived me, rice; well played. Also had some salted potatoes with the Gran Canaria sauce, some pork and crackling (wow), chips, a chicken drumstick and some chicken and chickpea stew, which was super yummy.

No entertainment room tonight. We hung out in the lobby instead, so we could see what was going on and if our coach turned up. We had our free cocktail to share that we’d won from the movie quiz. It was called a San Francisco (woo!) No idea what was in it, but it was nice and sweet. I made the most of my last sangria before switching to pop. I really don’t wanna be drunk on the plane or, worse, risking a migraine from lack of hydration. Sadly, we didn’t get to see Joel, Patrik or Marek before leaving. It was an awkward time in between when they’re clearly usually getting ready before the entertainment slots have to start. Sad times. But at least we have their Facebook details. The practicality of the modern age.

The transfer was a bit horrific. It had been alright up until the last pick-up, then about fifteen people got on and every one of them had a child with them, all of which were screaming and crying and shouting. It was like hell got on the coach. I was surprised I wasn’t screaming and crying and shouting too. To make things worse, the girl sat behind me could not stop complaining. Everyone who knows me knows that I actually really, really hate kids, but no way do I ever go on that much about it. Sh was actually causing more of a fuss than the kids and the kids really were making a fuss. Her and her mom were clearly not the kind of people you want around though anyway. Soon found out that they robbed a mirror from a club and were trying to get it through security. I secretly hoped that they weren’t allowed.

Checking in was a real ball-ache, as there were loads of us and then hardly any people behind the desks. The plus side was that we were told our flight was gonna be half an hour early. Getting through security was brief, though I did get swabbed for explosives again! Why me, guys? Do I look that dodgy? Once we were through, we grabbed some drinks for on the plane and I bought a big bottle of citrus Grey Goose from duty free. I’m calling in my early birthday present to myself. Since I asked people for vodka anyway, that’s just like skipping a step. No seriously, I really did ask for vodka for my birthday. I’ll get more use out of that than a gift card for New Look.

We got on the plane and had a bit of a mix up with an older couple who had misread their tickets and were in our seats. They were completely fine about it and the man apologised, saying it was their fault, to which the woman corrected that it was just his fault. She gets how it works. I watched the Psych musical on my iPod to clear some time. It was funny because at one point, even though Kel obviously couldn’t hear it, she could see Shawn’s mouth moving and knew exactly that he was doing the ololololololol hoo-de-hoo hoo-de-hoo bit that she loves from Santa Barbara Skies. Well done, Kel.

After Psych, I watched several episodes of Impractical Jokers. Those guys never fail to make me laugh. I then listened to the Galavant soundtrack, did a little writing and a little reading, then thankfully, we were coming in to land. I’d been getting really tired, but I hate trying to sleep on the plane because it always makes me feel really bleugh and out of it. Which probably would have been made worse by the fact that I’d still pretty much been drinking all day. Getting through passport and baggage control on the other side was pretty quick, thank god. We grabbed a black cab from outside and found ourselves with a very chatty, travel-savvy driver. Awesome.

When we got home, I saw that Dad had put the hard top on my car for me. Aww. I guess we left the sun behind in Gran Canaria for the rest of the year. Would absolutely go back though and recommend our hotel to anyone. Great food, great drink, great place and great crowd. First shot at all inclusive was an absolute success too. For now though, I have to concede to grey old England. We got into the house and, of course, Izzy was very eager to get into my bedroom. She got onto my bed before I did and immediately took up all the room. Home, sweet, home, I guess.

One fancy cocktail to see us off!

One fancy cocktail to see us off!


11/5/15 – Let the shopping commence (oh god)

Made sure we were up in time for breakfast today. I had more toast, cold cuts and cheese, frankfurta and a new spicy sausage that they didn’t have the other day. Followed by more of the tinned strawberries of course. Very slowly got ready – watched an episode of Fullmetal and did a couple of pages of writing in between, since Kel had to shower. Emi messaged us saying to meet her and her mom in Billa, the supermarket over the road. It wasn’t raining, but it looked grey outside so we smartly decided to park our little brolleys in our bags.

We not so smartly forgot to bring Emi’s brolley with us. Kel remembered when we got down to the lobby, so we had to go back up in the lift again to fetch it. We got outside and made it about a third of the way down the road before deciding it was actually far too cold for shorts this time, so we quickly went back yet again to change. I stuck with the same shirt but swapped my little cardigan for a longer one and traded shorts for jeans. I’m glad I decided to pick a variety for this trip. It took three attempts, but we managed to get down to Billa and find our personal Bulgarian guides.

We got the subway into town where Emi had to run a quick errand, then whilst Tamara went off to shop w went to catch the tram into another part of the city centre. I still can’t get over how cheap public transport is here – an unlimited daysaver that includes the subway, buses and trams is only four lev! This place is crazy! I mean, it’s great for us to come over here when it’s so cheap in comparison, but it must have sucked for Emi to come from here to very expensive England for her studies and work. But then I suppose it’s also sad that we’re used to the more expensive place. I feel I’ve been very cheated in life.

We got to the mall that Emi had in mind and the first thing we did was hunt down the food court. We grabbed a Subway – chicken teriyaki with honey mustard and sweet onion sauce for me, yum – then hit the shops. Well, Kel and Emi shopped. I mostly wandered around with them and daydreamed, which is what I usually do when people are shopping. I’m generally not interested in shops unless they sell books or toys. We found the Bulgarian equivalent of Superdrug and the others got quite excited in there over all the makeup and nail varnishes. I joined in somewhat and got a couple of cheap silver eyeliner sticks, primarily for cosplay purposes, then a perfume I’d never heard of before called Eclat D’Arpege by Lanvin, which was really nice. I can never resist getting perfumes in places like this.

To make my shopping experience even better, the next two shops we hit were book shops. Somebody heard my prayers! I went a little crazy for the notebooks, which are one of my biggest weaknesses for impulse buys, and ended up buying seven. Oops! They were all just so awesome though! I found two different pineapple ones – which were obviously a given – one with a manga style Gothic girl’s face on the front, a pretty Japanese style one that actually looks very similar to the one I’m currently writing in, a steampunk looking adventure one, a nice green one with a fancy binder, and another steampunk-like Paris one that is actually laid out more like a day-to-day diary but eh, I can use the date space at the top for my word count instead. Or maybe find an excuse to write a diary perspective story.

I actually don't know how I stopped myself from buying this too. My collection of geeky/silly t-shirts has reached an alarming total

I actually don’t know how I stopped myself from buying this too. My collection of geeky/silly t-shirts has reached an alarming total.

We did a couple more nonsense shops after that (i.e. shoes and bags and things. I promise I am actually a girl) then we had a peek around a giant toy store, yay. I bought a little cow with tufty hair for my collection. He’s still yet to be named. By this point we were all officially shopped out, so we headed back to the tram, after quickly taking pictures of a shop we spied called Totally Erected Man. I’m not even kidding. We got the tram back into the part of town that we visited on Saturday and immediately went back to the ice cream shop, which I learnt was called Ice Cream Kingdom in English. I ordered the exact same thing and we sat down outside a mosque to eat. I watched the pretty fountain in front of us and Kel watched the pigeons. She’ll make a great old person.

We got the subway back and went our separate ways so that we could freshen up and get changed. I decided to shower whilst we were back, rather than having to do it much later on. Did some more writing whilst we were in the room and downed a big Red Bull, then got ready again to go back out and meet Emi for nine o’clock. She took us to a typical Bulgarian restaurant where we’d point to a picture that we liked the look of in the menu and she’d translate what it was. We would have been stuffed if we were doing this on our own. I got what was effectively some cheesy chips for the table to share, and a Bulgarian dish called sach, which is pork, onions, peppers and cheese all cooked on a big sizzling platter. It was huge! Not to mention the ratio of meat to everything else was totally wrong for someone who doesn’t like veg. I still ate quite a lot of the onions and peppers though, until I ran out of the meat to go with it. Hey, I’m a big girl now.

If only they did an option that was entirely meat and cheese... Hey, a girl can dream!

If only they did an option that was entirely meat and cheese… Hey, a girl can dream!

On the walk back we had a very lengthy conversation about great TV shows that got cancelled and how much the world would lose its shit if they ever made even one more episode of Firefly – like seriously, I would just explode – then we stumbled back onto one of those weird exercise gym/playground things that we’d noticed on the way there. Of course we had to have a go on them, despite being full of food. I should have claimed one of those ‘wait two hours after eating before you swim’ kinda rules. Tried the pull-up machine and blatantly didn’t even have a hope of doing one. All I could manage was to just hang there and lift my legs a bit. Now I just hate all the guys and gals who can do the salmon ladder in Arrow even more.

The geek discussion continued after we left Emi at her apartment block, as me and Kel talked about how we have the City of Heroes convention on Friday. This will very possibly be one of the best weeks of my life. Had another cherry Carling when we got back, watched more Fullmetal, then conceded to our usual midnight-ish bedtime.

I have absolutely nothing on the salmon ladder...

I have absolutely nothing on the salmon ladder…

6/3/15 – Lost specifically just inside the Welsh border

Our next little vacay is go! This time we had a much more relaxed preparing session before leaving. I still got up fairly early to go with Dad to take Izzy to the kennels. He made his standard joke of did I want to go to the playground on the way back (we’d always done that as kids when taking Star and Oscar to be kennelled). I said yes, but he didn’t actually take me. Rude. Me and Kel ran round doing the last alcohol runs, packing the final things, etc. I made sure we still made twenty minutes spare to watch the newest episode of Impractical Jokers before leaving (that punishment was brutal – poor Murr!)

We met up with the rest of our twelve-person crew at Becketts Farm for brunch. I’m not really fancy enough to make brunch a common thing, but it was an awkward point to eat that was in between mealtimes. Therefore it was brunch. Had a lovely brisket and caramelised onions ciabatta and some fancy onion rings. As we were all getting back into the cars Mom suggested we all follow each other and stop off somewhere in Ludlow first as we wouldn’t be allowed into our cabins until later. We agreed, but then the rest of them sodded off and left us whilst I was still having to faff with the immobiliser. Rude again. So me and Kel armed ourselves with Disney music and her Aussie satnav Bruce and just had to head straight to Knighton, since we had no idea where to find the others in Ludlow.

The drive was fairly similar to the one we follow when we go to Little Brampton. There was an amusing moment when we passed another MX-5 going in the opposite direction – we started waving at each other pretty much at the same time! I love how everyone seems to have the same mindset that they want to wave at other people who have the same car (or in Mom’s case if they just have yellow cars too). The postcode we’d put into the satnav didn’t even take us the whole way, but after a weird detour round some little backwards town with tiny roads and some directions via phone call from Mom we were able to find the right path again.

We’d been driving down this creepy-ass road with room for only one car at a time and overlooked by big spooky hedges when it suddenly opened up onto a massive space that looked out onto Blackhall Lodges in the middle of a valley, where we’re staying. It’s quite literally in the middle of nowhere. It has several cabins all grouped around in one little field (with a playground too, yey!) Can’t decide quite yet if it’s creepy or cute. We were given the keys to one of the cabins and got to have the first look around. Oh yeah. The cabin’s very nice! It’s all warm and cosy with high ceilings, a loft room and its own hot tub out on the patio that overlooks the surrounding hills. We sat down and chilled to some McFly over the fancy sound system whilst waiting for the others to turn up.

When they eventually arrived it turned out that we’d been given the keys to the wrong cabin, so we had to play swapsies. Luckily we hadn’t unpacked anything from the car yet. Uncle Dave was winding us up about having to move rooms, so I pointed out instead that I’d already used his toilet. Ha! We all unpacked and had a lounge around for an hour or so. Had a Kopparberg (let’s face it; it’s not a Tone holiday without some Kopparbergs) and chatted to Ben about games. Then we all convened again to get in the cars and head out in search of a pub.

Had another mad little detour around the crazy back streets but we soon found one. Was happy to see that they had Stowford Press on draft. Easily the best thing about Wales! The food took a pretty long time and we were all cursing, but it was worth it. I had chicken tikka masala with mixed rice, naan bread, poppadom and onion bhajis. When in doubt go for the meal that has the most extras! It was super dark by the time we got back. Kel had to use the light on her phone as a torch to get us from one cabin to the other. The idiot then freaked herself out by shining it on the anorexic bear statue outside our cabin.

Once we got inside I immediately got changed into my bikini, grabbed another Kopparberg and hit the hot tub with Kel, Mark and Ben. It was absolutely lush – even better than the one at Little Brampton. We had a goss about Arrow and Gotham and had another round of drinks. Getting out was brutal though. I hopped around with my towel outside for all of ten seconds before we all crammed in to huddle together on the mat whilst we were still wet. When I was drying off afterwards I found out that my old bikini had melted all over me in the hot tub. Yay. Safe to say that got thrown straight in the bin and best cousin Sar helped me to get the marks off my back.

We all chilled in the living room for the rest of the night. Broke out the cookies and watched the rest of Bridget Jones 2 that was on telly, followed by some lame horror called See No Evil. You gotta love Zone Horror. The whole time the wind was proper raging outside. Never heard it quite like that before! There’s something about sitting somewhere cosy inside and listening to the wind though. Of course it wasn’t quite so comforting after when I was in bed. Not only could I not get to sleep; there was an even weirder noise outside that sounded like somebody was getting abducted. Cue nightmare time. Let’s hope tomorrow night’s weather is a little less British.

Welcome to The Village. We hope you enjoy your stay!

Welcome to The Village. We hope you enjoy your stay!

28/6/14 – What are these clouds?

Woke up from a sexy Slade Wilson dream, oh yeah. Watched more Darker Than Black, then we all got ready in turn to go hunting for food. It turned out that Panorama had a little snack bar on the beach so we went there. It was really odd – we had to go down some steps and then through what seemed to be somebody’s vegetable patch. I had a jacket potato with cheese and beans and because we were there I just had to have the halloumi cheese again. Sooo good. We went into the bakery a few doors down after for pudding. I had strawberry ice cream and cherries and cream frozen yoghurt. Nothing on Entices, but still yummy.

We spent a few hours on the beach. I did more writing and had my usual Kopparberg. We were horrified though when it actually started to get cloudy! What are these clouds! So we buggered off to do a bit of shopping instead. Mel needed leggings for her horse riding tomorrow, as well as a new suitcase because hers literally exploded on the flight over. We all needed shaving cream too. We ended up getting men’s cream because it was a lot cheaper. I’m assuming it’ll work the same.

Had Red Bull and sangria in the apartment amongst reading, watching Psych and Darker Than Black and getting ready. Had a Hawaii Five-O at the bar and Skyped the oldies for a bit, whilst Mel watched the Brazil game. We watched the penalties with her before going to Mythos for food. Typical that we were going to the restaurant furthest away when we then all needed the loo. I had a Rainbow cocktail and saganaki to start. Now this was proper saganaki! I had my second shot at chicken curry and struck lucky with that too. It was gorgeous – definitely how I remember! We then got free Sex on the Beach shooters with the bill.

There was a boardwalk across the beach right by our table, so we headed down to the sea front after we paid to watch the waves for a bit. They were pretty crazy and made even spookier in the dark. We came back up onto the strip and into one of the tourist shops. Me and Mel went crazy as soon as we got inside and started playing with all the toys and instruments. I then got super carried away with buying stuff. I bought a few things for Flick, a fairy sat on top of a harlequin mask for Kay and a green wooden cow (I do love cows), a snake ring and a Green Day guitar ornament for myself. These shops are clearly aimed at people like me.

We then went for a drink in Edam. I had a lovely sangria that came with lots of fruit (my five a day again!) We watched a good chunk of the Colombia v. Uruguay game and rooted for Colombia since they’re Kel’s team in the sweepstakes. They won too! Their double scorer James Rodriguez did great (and I immediately took a shine to him because of his name), but their goalie was an absolute star player. It was a genuinely great game, even though one of Uruguay’s players carried out a really dirty tackle (if you could even call it a tackle when the ball was nowhere near – it was more a kick and a knee in the back just to be a dick) and only got yellow carded for it. Luis Suarez leads a team of hooligans, clearly.

Back to the apartment afterwards. We’ve hit the point where we’ve been trying to figure out what restaurants we want to go back to and how many we can fit in. Always a sad point of holiday when you have to start any kind of budgeting with food.

Couldn't get up onto the high stools because of my leg. Like there wasn't already an obvious height difference.

Couldn’t get up onto the high stools because of my leg. Like there wasn’t already an obvious height difference.