Day 1 – Dubrovnik exceeded my expectations!

I’m currently sat on an EasyJet flight from Dubrovnik airport en-route to London Stansted! I live in the midlands so I really have no clue why I chose Stansted, but hey ho!

The flight is under 3 hours. Not too bad.

We arrived 5 days ago. Our flight was 6 am so we arrived with almost the whole first day ahead of us!

We arrived at our apartment before it was ready! Apartment Lukre is a 2 bedroom apartment, 5 minutes walk from the main entrance to the old town. Off a small kitchen area is a beautiful balcony with fabulous views of the old Town. Perfect for having dinner on or as I did, sit and enjoy a lovely cup of tea. If I was lucky the church bells would be ringing out. I never tired of it!

The owner of the apartment was lovely. So friendly. They can collect you from the airport if you wish and arrange trips for you.

They also have a double room next door to our apartment which our friends had. At 115 euro for ours and 55 Euro for the room, it is definitely value for money and a great find.

Even though our apartment wasn’t ready, the owner let us leave our bags so we could get out and about.

The 5 of us in our group headed off to the old town.

If you are a fan of Game if Thrones, you will fully understand why it was used for filming the movie!

As you walk through 2 sets of gates you come upon the Main Street! It’s beauty takes your breath away.

There is a water fountain like no other to your right. The water is cold and refreshing, so don’t forget to fill your water bottles up there.

One word of warning! There are a lot of steps in the old town! The pavements can become very slippy when it rains. It is definitely a place where you leave your heals at home! Comfortable shoes will ensure you enjoy the best of this beautiful old town!

The town is full of small streets and alleys packed with churches, beautiful buildings, shops and restaurants. It might feel daunting but you don’t need to worry, you can’t really get lost.

A must do is to walk around the city walls. It costs 300 kuna (£25) each, so not cheap but worth it! It certainly is a good workout, but the views make it something not to be missed.

Food and drink inside the old town is more expensive than outside, but you can still get some reasonably priced restaurants and cafes.

We had been warned to book our restaurants before coming, as they can get busy, especially on peak times, so we had prebook all nights.

Our first night was at a lovely restaurant in the old town – Konoba Jezuite. The menu was quite varied with mains ranging from £15-£20. Beer is £6 a pint and a bottle of house white around £23.

After placing our order they brought out baskets of bread with a pate dish. All complementary. I opted for the Tuna salad which was gorgeous as my main.

As we paid the bill they brought out cherry liquor! Gorgeous.

We took a slow walk back to the apartment via a local supermarket where we picked up some local wine and beers. It is so much cheaper. About £1.20 a can of larger and £3 a bottle of white wine.

We chilled out in our apartment excited at the day just gone and the days ahead!

I’m really loving Dubrovnik!

Tomorrow is our GOT walking tour.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel to see the old town in my video.

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The humble bee!

It’s amazing how you learn something new every day. Take Countryfile! I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but hubby and I both love it! It’s also one of Lola’s favourite programmes too!

We have a few to catch up on, however the episode last night featured a section on the bee!

We have all heard about the decline of the bee, but do we really appreciate the importance of them?

For some, they are a nuisance. The fear of getting stung out ways anything else! But to be honest, unlike the really annoying wasp, which I really can’t be doing with, the bee is only interested in your pollen! They will only attack you if they feel attacked themselves!

So, what did I learn last night? Well, did you know there is over 270 species of bee? I didn’t! There is the honey bee, who is all fluffy and cute! They live together with their queen and other bees! The women do all the work! I had to laugh last night! When asked on the programme last night what the male does, the answer came back – they have sex and get drunk ! Sounds about right ! 😂

The other bees live in solitude. Maybe in the same area as other bees but not in groups like the honey bee!

I also learnt that some bees build their nests underground. Not what I would have said! They are also related to the ant!!

The numbers of bees are in massive decline. We have already lost around 19 species ! That is so sad!

Bees are really important. Yes they make honey? But they do a whole lot more!

Their pollination means we get the fruit and vegetables we eat every day. Without this we wouldn’t have the food on our plate!

So why are they declining? There are many reasons including loss of meadows, pesticides etc.

There is a lot we could be doing to help them though! Planting flowers and herbs that are bee friendly will really help.

Lavender is a great one! If you are not sure what to go for, most garden centres now have signs that highlight if they are bee friendly.

You don’t need to have a big garden! A few pots on your patio would be a great help.

A good water supply is essential, so a pond or water feature would be great, but if you don’t have that, how about just a bucket or bowl ?

Why not put up bee hotels in your garden for the solitude bees?

Every little helps!

So next time you are in your garden have a look around! Is there anything you could do to help keep the food we eat on our plates ?

Anton is so smooth!

So, after getting over the joy of meeting Ruth and Eamonn, including Eamonn having his hand on my knee, we continued to wander around the this morning LIVE stands.

It was lunch time so headed to the food area. Burgers, hotdogs, pulled pork were in abundance. Being on Slimming World, I wanted something healthy! After checking all the food stands we found one that did a duck salad! Woo hoo!

We paid and started to look for somewhere to sit!

To the right of me I could hear a commotion! Being nosey I decided to investigate! Salad in hand!

OMG, it was only Anton Du Beke! I know, how amazing right! He was on the WH Smith stand signing books! I one handed tried to take a picture. As we still had our salads in our hands we headed back to the food area where we found somewhere to sit and eat!

The whole time my eyes were drawn to where Anton was! Oh I so love him! Not in that way, but in the way that you have a celeb crush!

Many years ago I met him at a dinner dance at Wroxall Abbey! We got chatting and he invited me to dance lessons the next day, which I obviously took up!

He is such a gent! Cheeky, funny and so charming! You can’t help but love him!

He and Erin even gave me their autograph which was hung proudly in the hall in my old house until I moved.

So I’m sat there eating my lunch. I so want to meet him again ! I’ve finished my lunch but Charlie hasn’t! What to do? How long would he stay there for? It’s no good, I have to politely excuse myself and head back to the stand!

I quickly bought his new novel! Yes he is a man of many talents! I join the queue and wait my turn!

I am so excited. As I approached him, he was so warm and called me by my first name! We chat away and I mention the last time I met him. I’m so star struck I cant remember the name of the hotel! It’s ok though Anton does!

I get my signed book back, a hug and a kiss in the cheek! Oh that has really made my day!

Check it out here on my video of the day!

He really should be the next judge on strictly!

He has a baking programme out now. I’m definitely going to be series linking that!

He is everything and more of what you see on TV! @antondubeke @thismorning

Eamonn Holmes touched my leg!

Oh yes! I have photographic evidence to prove it!

I think before the papers pick up my headline, I should explain how it happened.

On Saturday my friend Charlie and I had Gold tickets to ‘this morning LIVE’ at the NEC in Birmingham. The Gold ticket gave us some extra perks including priority entry, VIP lounge, a beauty treatment, a goody bag, glass of bubbly, priority seat to stage show and last but certainly not least, a meet and greet with Eamonn and Ruth!

Charlie and I were so excited as we queued for our turn.

As we approached them, Eamonn asked if we were sisters, which made me giggle.

I met them first. They were both so so nice. Very chatty and made you feel like you were meeting an old friend!

Staff from the show snapped away for me, so I had a memory of the time I met my gym buddies! Ok they don’t actually come to the gym with me, but I do try and time my gym sessions to watch them or Phil and Holly on This Morning!

Next Charlie went up! Eamonn commented that he liked her riding outfit! He really is a funny man!

As we left the meet and greet session Charlie and I couldn’t wait to see the photos. As we scrolled through them, there it was! Eamonn has his hand on my knee! I hadn’t even noticed but then again, it was such a chilled out relaxing meeting why would I!

It totally made my day!

Check out the photo and more of what we did on my video here!

When you see people on TV, you do wonder if they are truly like that in real life! I have to say, I think they are nicer in real life! Definitely something I will remember forever.

After I got over that, I got to see another on my celebrity favourites, but you will have to either watch my video or wait for my next blog to find out about that!!

Have a great day.

The madness that is Ryanair! You

Ok. Before I start, I know Ryanair are a budget airline! I get it! You get what you pay for! But come on guys, there are some things that they do that make absolutely no sense. Even to say, bonkers! Or is it their last ditch attempt to bleed money from their passengers?

Are you sitting comfortably? Let me explain!

So my hubby and I booked a return flight to Dublin from Birmingham airport! 1 booking for both of us!

First add on – the price they advertise is effectively for you to sit on the plane. Ok if it’s a day trip, but how often does that happen?

So as we are staying over we need a small bag! That will cost you extra! We only need 1 bag but as both of us are on the same booking we have to pay for 2!

Well at least they acknowledge we are both on the same booking!

So we now want to check in! You can only do this online unless you want to pay an extra £55!! No thank you!

So we check in online! You can only check in 48 hours before! So if you are away for more than a day you need to make sure you have access to WiFi or a printer, as you will need to arrange your check in for your return while you are away. Or pay £55 extra ! Your choice !!

So you check in online ! It’s 1 booking don’t forget! You can’t add just 1 bag as it’s a joint booking ! Yep, now, this is where they choose to treat each passenger as an individual.

When you check in, their lovely computer picks your seat at random. Well unless you want to pay up to £14 a seat each to sit together !

So, if you don’t want to pay extra the computer picks seats on different sides of the plane! Of course it does!

Now the sceptic would say ‘surely not if you had a child’. Oh you may wonder! My hubby was asked when seated if he minded moving to allow a father and child to sit together. He obviously said he would be happy to! Why could he do this? Well, the seat next to him was empty!

As it happens he didn’t end up moving but I did! Next to him!

Seriously, I am at a complete loss to the madness that is Ryanair! It’s not rocket science. They may use a computer to allocate seats, but how hard is it for them to programme it to seat passengers on same booking together. I get as plane fills up it gets harder? But if you can pay to sit together at this time? The computer can sit you together!

There is one obvious answer! They want to make more money!

Imagine if their original plan to charge for the toilet took off! Women would be buying those gadgets that allow them to pee into a bottle so they don’t have to leave their seats !

I’d love Ryanair to give me a full explanation as to their true rationale. I doubt they will!

Air regulators really need to deal with these pricing ripoffs before they get out of hand!

So now I’m on the plane the next rant!!

The flight is said to be 1 hour 10 mins! It never is!! We have left almost 30 mins late! If we arrive within the 1 hour 10 mins, they will reward themselves with a fanfare!

I can’t wait to see if they do on this trip, but when we have already built in a great contingency, it’s going to happen more often than not’. Is that false SLA’s?

Rant now over until next time! I don’t mind getting what I pay for, but it still has to be logical and fair!!

6 mins to expected arrival and captain has already said ‘prepare to land’. It does make me laugh!

I wish my SLA’s at work could be that flexible!

On this occasion touchdown was 6 minutes late but not bad for a 40 minute late take off !!

It would be great to know your experience or views !

Here is a link to my vlog of the trip including our amazing hotel !

GOT is almost over!

So last night we sat down to watch the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones! To say I was disappointed would be an understatement!

When GOT, as everyone calls it first came out, we weren’t really interested. Everyone was raving about how fantastic it was, but hubby and I weren’t even curious, so it passed us by!

Then last year, with news of a final series we got curious. We decided that perhaps we should see what all the fuss was about.

We borrowed the box set from a colleague at work and set aside some time.

The first series was difficult. Not in the usual sense, but in an interesting sense! There was so many things going on, different lands, characters etc that it wasn’t easy viewing. This said, we were still hooked.

As we got to learn who was who, who was linked to who etc, we were hooked.

We don’t have much free time as you know in the evenings, so told ourselves we would only watch 1 episode a night during the week! Yer right!

We would have great intentions, then as that episode finished there was no way we could go to bed without knowing what happened next!

We were totally hooked! GOT had taken over our lives. Sleep no longer mattered! I think in a few weeks we blitzed 7 Series! OMG! It was amazing. We couldn’t wait for the final series to start!

As the time drew closer, we decided to revisit series 7 again just to remind us of everything that had happened before!

Series 8 started and we were so excited. It was due to be shown at 2am in the morning so we had to record it, but Monday night was now our GOT night.

If you haven’t watched it, don’t worry I won’t do any spoilers!

The final series is made up of 6 episodes. I have to say, this series isn’t a patch on the first 7. Don’t get me wrong, there are still some twists and turns that you don’t expect.

Last night though, while there were plenty of them, it didn’t feel right! Things happened that shouldn’t! It certainly wasn’t what I expected! I finished watching feeling disappointed and cheated!

Next week is the final episode. I have no clue what will happen. That is probably a good sign as the script writers have really kept the plot creative. My only hope is that they don’t rush the ending.

Based on the series so far, I can see this will be the last one, so I hope I don’t end on disappointment. Only a week to find out!

If you haven’t seen GOT yet, definitely watch it, but from the very beginning!

If you have seen it, I’d love to know your thoughts too.

When life tests you!

Wow what a week this has been.  The last 7 days have certainly been eventful!

Let’s start with the ‘devil scanner’.  If you have seen my video from last weekend, you will know that this machine was certainly testing my patience!   What should have been a quick and easy solution to a problem, turned into a challenge of who was going to give up first – me or the scanner!

https://youtu.be/eMtWuMOL3Lk

My hubby has hundreds of old slides which used to belong to his father.  He decided to preserve them by scanning them onto his computer.  A really good idea, I know!  After a bit of research he had found a company that rents scanners by the week.  The scanner should take 50 slides at a time and scan them direct onto the computer!  Sounds amazing!

We planned for the scanner to come on Friday 3 May so that he would have the whole bank holiday weekend to use it!

On 24 April, I am notified that the scanner has had a failed delivery!  It was arriving a week early!  Even though the lady who looks after my dog was at my home, the delivery man hadn’t made her aware he was there, so it was sent back to the depot.

After 4 phone calls we had arranged a delivery for the following Wednesday 1 May, so we happily went about our business that weekend.  We then realised that on Saturday 25ththe scanner was delivered to a neighbour because we were out!  Eek.

I contacted the company to ask when the rental was due to start and was shocked to know they had started our clock running on 24th!  We had already missed a couple of days of the rental, plus we were at work during the day.  How were we going to deal with all those slides in that time.

The company were great and agreed an extension until Monday 6 May.   We would load it before work, straight after we got home and before going to bed.  That still also gave us the bank holiday weekend.  Well, until hubby realised he was in London for 2 of the days, so it was left to me to make sure the slides were running for as much as possible.

Now in theory that wasn’t going to be a problem as you just load it, set it up and leave it to run for a few hours!  Or so I thought!  Oh no, the ‘devil scanner’ as I have now named it had decided to jam at every opportunity.  To make it worse, hubby’s car had broken down in London and I was on standby to have to go down and collect him.  That would have wiped out my Sunday of scanning!

With the clock ticking away, and still 100’s of slides to get through there was only one thing for it, to work through the night on the Saturday!  

With no sleep, by Sunday morning I was exhausted, but the pile had come down!

Thankfully, the garage got hubby’s car sorted enough for him to get home.  The car is now sat on the drive until we get it fixed.  We are now down to just my car.  You don’t realise how much you rely on 2 cars until you don’t have them both!

We finally finished the slides and got the ‘devil scanner’ back in the post.  I think we were both glad to see it go!  It had certainly taken over our lives during the time we had it!

We decide to have a relaxing bank holiday Monday before the return to work on Tuesday.

Tuesday comes and we arrive at our train station to no trains!  Some bright sparks had decided to try and steal cables to the signals which meant they couldn’t run the trains on our line.  After a bit of research we drove to a different station to get one of many delayed or packed trains.  Oh and for the pleasure also had to pay £12 a day parking!

The one benefit of this new station was that there were more options to get a train back!  Well in theory!  Not today.  Oh no!  A train has broken down on the line preventing trains passing, so the trains were all cancelled or very delayed.

We do eventually get a train home, but later than normal.  We are in the car and looking forward to getting home.  The next joy was to find the road we would take home was now closed for 10 weeks!  Seriously could this day go any more wrong!

After turning around we head down the motorway!  Motorways in rush hour are certainly not fun and very slow!

Finally we arrive home, late but we are home!

I decide to put some washing on!   What else do you do after a day like that!

I hear the machine beep to tell me it is finished.  As I pull the washing out the top clothes are dry, the bottom ones soaking!  The machine drum has not been turning!  Aaaah!  We now have no washing machine, I car and a disaster of a trip home!

I try to get an engineer out to fix the machine but it won’t be until Monday next week!  Thank you to my amazing mum who is going to let me use her machine in the meantime.

We have a reminder in our calendar that we have to do our visa applications for China so hubby and I sit down together to go through them. Him on his computer, me on my laptop!  The plan was to get them done, then go and watch Countryfile in bed at 8.30 pm.

2.5 hours later we still have not completed the form!  If you have ever had to do a visa for China you will know our pain!  You have to put so much information in from your parents, jobs, what your managers duties are, where you have been in the last 5 years, schooling etc etc.  By 10.00 am we decide we have to go to bed.

We finally finished and submitted the form last night.  

Today is Friday and I am now so looking forward to the weekend.  I am praying that the next few days will be far less stressful.  

Tonight, the weekend will start with drinks at my local pub with hubby and friends.  It’s Prosecco night, so that isn’t a bad start to the weekend is it!

Have a great weekend!