Brunel’s SS Great Britain…The Ship That Changed The World @ssGreatBritain @VisitBristol

 

image

Before the Titanic there was the SS Great Britain. SS Great Britain is a former passenger steamship turned award winning visitor attraction located in Bristol’s beautiful harbour.

Over years she was carefully designed specifically for the Great Western Steamship Company’s service from Bristol to New York. Upon launching in 1843, the SS Great Britian was the largest vessel afloat. Adding to her accomplishments she became the first steamer to cross the Atlantic in 1845, a 14 day journey.

During her time in service she was employed to undertake an Australian route which was responsible for carrying hundreds of emigrants from Australia to England.  She suffered many mishaps but during her final run as a coal transporter an onboard fire damaged her beyond repair.

Beautifully restored and boasting over 150,000 visitors per year, the SS Great Britian is a Bristol must see.

image

image

 

 

Address: Great Western Dockyard,  Gas Ferry Rd, Bristol BS1 6TY

Weekend in Beautiful Bristol: Family Friendly Travel @mshedbristol @BristolAquarium @BristolZooGdns @AtBristol

image

Being a young(ish) family, we like to get out and explore, see new things and have a little fun all with our 19 month old busy body. To save on costs and travel time we often opt for day trips, weekend getaways or staycations exploring different parts of London. Thankfully there are some really fantastic places that we can travel to that are within a two to four hour radius of London. This particular weekend we decided to head to Bristol.

Nestled in South West England, Bristol is a city that is built around a historic and beautiful harbour. It’s bustling, it’s culture rich and ultra trendy with the perfect balance of history. It is indeeed a happy marriage of traditional and modern architecture that is apparent upon first entry into the city.

Weeks before our trip I literally immersed myself in the visitBristol website which gives all of the information needed for a trip to the city. It’s tourist friendly AND what makes it really nice is that you can plan your itinerary online so that you can have a clearly laid out trip. We didn’t do that. It is a little difficult to stick with a schedule in between naps, tantrums and feeding times….and that’s just “P” and I, NuNu has her own agenda that she keeps to!

On the two hour drive from London several thoughts came to mind. How will we get on in a trendy city with a baby? No doubt the hubs and I could hit all of the hot spots if we had a babysitter but will Bristol be enjoyable for a toddler? Thanks to the nice peeople at visitBristol for facilitating portions of our trip we had more than my half prepared list of “must visit” places to guide us through the city.

Novotel City Centre Bristol

novotel-hotel-bristol~2

First stop, hotel check in. We opted for Novotel Bristol Centre which was one of the family friendly accommodations listed on the visitBristol website. The location was prime, the hotel has available parking and is within walking distance of all of the sites.

We found our Superior Room with queen bed and convertible sofa to be more than enough room for the three of us. Even with a spacious work area, mini bar and tea and coffee console, the room still had space for our little NuNu to comfortably and safely run about. Extra plus was the small refrigerator that we used to store milk and juices. In addition to the perks of the room, in the lobby area there is an Xbox with games for older kids (or adults) to play. It was certainly a hit because it was in constant use with kids watching on as they wait their turn.

Novotel Bristol Centre was not a let down for us parents either. It is equipped with a full fitness suite with a lovely sauna and steam room. We included breakfast with our booking which I will say was top notch. It included all of the staples of hot and cold breakfast items served buffet style. I was even able to special order vegetarian sausages.  The staff were extremely friendly and knowledgeable about the surrounding area.  We would without a doubt recommend Novotel Bristol Centre.

Address : Victoria St, Bristol BS1 6HY www.novotel.com

Bristol Aquarium

image

On our first day we decided to head out to Bristol Aquarium.  The aquarium boasts over 4,000 aquatic creatures and various forms of plant life. Visiting the aquarium makes for a great outing for the entire family. It’s like a maze of one exciting exhibit after another with sharks, octopus, and seahorses to name a few. You can tell when you are getting close to the clownfish display by the tiny voices echoing through the corridor yelling “Nemo!” 

image

Address: Anchor Rd, Bristol BS1 5TT www.bristolaquarium.co.uk

At-Bristol

image

You don’t have to be a science buff to thoroughly enjoy this state of the art interactive science centre. With over 300 hands on science exhibits the centre lives up to its motto of making science accessible to everyone. In addition to the many exhibits, there are live science shows as well as a planetarium. Though most of the exhibits were well over NuNu’s level of comprehension, many of the exhibits provided a high level of sensory stimulation. If visiting with kids I suggest dedicating an entire afternoon to partake in all that the centre has to offer.

Address : Anchor Rd, Harbourside, Bristol BS1 5DB www.at-bristol.org.uk

M Shed

image

City museums are typically small and rarely showcase the history of the people up to present day but this free museum does so in a very notable manner. From the first step into the museum visitors experience the struggles, trials and triumphs of Bristol’s past and present. I originally approached the M Shed with one mission and that was to caste my eyes on artwork by Bristol’s own, the infamous Banksy. That I did. It was a rather small piece but I also discovered that Bristol has a rich history in the labor movement, women’s rights, trade industry as well as the arts. Atop the M Shed is one of the most amazing views of the Harbour via its fully accessible roof top terrace.

image

Address : Prince’s Wharf, Wapping Rd, Bristol BS1 4RN www.mshed.org

Clifton Suspension Bridge

WP_20140817_01520140817123859-1

If you are looking for the most stunning views in the city, Clifton Suspension Bridge is the place. Soon to celebrate 150 years, the bridge is long standing, spanning Avon Gorge and the River Avon. I will admit that out of my fear of bridges I didn’t dare to take any of these photos. I did however enjoy the views from the lookout point which in itself was breathtaking enough. This spectacle takes sightseeing to extremely new heights.

image

image

 www.cliftonbridge.org.uk

Bristol Zoo Gardens

image

Since I was a kid I loved a day out at the zoo so I had to take this opportunity to give NuNu her first experience. She absolutely loves animals and having been on several safari excursions in Zimbabwe the child now thinks that a lion is as cuddly as a kitten! The Bristol Zoo is a fantastic 12 acres housing over 400 species. There are also cafes and exhibits which ensures that there isn’t a shortage of animals to see and things to do. Allow yourself 2-3 hours to take it all in especially if you are interested in the many attractions such as ZooRopia (high ropes obstacle course) or Zooniversal Studios (an intractive acting experience).

Address : Clifton, Bristol BS8 3HA www.bristolzoo.org.uk

The Verdict

Bristol is a city with everything for everyone and scores high marks for being very family friendly. It is a place that can be enjoyed by those with an affinity for the arts, music, nature, architecture or those that can appreciate a beautiful, rather chilled out scene. Bristol is a place that we will be returning to as well as recommending!

Eat Fresh, Eat Poco…Bristol @TomsFeast

WP_20140816_003

There isn’t anything that I enjoy more than a good meal aside from a good meal in an atmosphere that leaves you to believe that everyone that you are around appreciates the same thing. Poco in Bristol has that. Situated on Jamaica Street, this hidden oasis of seasonal goodness is nestled on a corner plot of a graffiti lined street. Some may call it small or cramped but I call it cozy and intimate.

Everything has the taste of garden to kitchen, fresh and refreshing. The founders of Poco doesn’t just talk the talk of the environmentally conscious, eco-friendly types. The menu reflects its purpose. 90 percent of the ingredients used are sourced in the UK using local suppliers. The fish that is served is sustainably acquired. The menu changes monthly to mirror what is available seasonally which gives diners something new to look forward to. Dinner is made up of a tasty tapas selection serving up small delicious plates. I typically wouldn’t go for tapas because the American in me loves to see lots of food on my plate but the portions were more than enough. “P” and I ordered several dishes and left completely satisfied.

Caerphilly, spinach and nettle tart

Caerphilly, spinach and nettle tart

Rosemary Chips

Rosemary Chips

Lamb, watercress with har

Lamb, watercress with harissa

Moroccan spiced lentil so

Moroccan spiced lentil soup

Poco's own Elderflower Cordial

Poco’s Very Own Elderflower Cordial

**For those parents that are visiting with baby in tow I do recommend leaving behind the pram if possible as space is limited. High chairs are available for the little ones.

For an updated menu visit www.eatpoco.com

Poco

45 Jamaica Street

Bristol

BS2 8JP

 

Elephant’s Walk Shopping and Artist Village, Victoria Falls Zimbabwe

20140218_084721

Visiting Victoria Falls is an experience and stumbling across the nearby Elephant’s Walk Shopping and Artist Village was an extra added treat. It’s a central place where you can buy the most stunning art directly from the artists. This family run operation is also home to The Ruoko Project, a community based initiative spearheaded by management and the Ndau Collection. The Ruoko Project identifies local talent, giving them space to work, create and bring forth their masterpieces to the marketplace. There are plenty of shops selling everything from one of a kind paintings to larger than life sculptures.

20140218_084735

20140218_084426~2

image

Collage 2014-08-14 19_08_45~2

image

image

20140218_085910~2

You will also find the most charming cafe with extra comfy, colourful seating within the plaza, a great place to relax in between shopping!

For more information on Elephants Walk Shopping and Artist Village click here.

 

Jolly Roger Inn & Pier, Topsail Beach USA

20140512_145645~2

Though I spent most of my adult life moving around I always find my way back home and when I do, a fishing trip is always in order. Maybe it’s because deep down I’m a daddy’s girl but I somehow, always manage to talk my dad into taking me on a trip to the beach to do a little salt water fishing. My home town has loads of freshwater fishing holes but walking in the sand, smelling the salt from the Atlantic Ocean and hanging out on Jolly Roger’s Pier holds a bit of nostalgia for those daddy/daughter trips.

IMG_20140513_152908

20140512_125245~2

There are loads of piers in the area but there is something about the atmosphere at Jolly Roger. On the pier you will find the friendliest fellow fishermen and women doing the usual teasing and laughing. It’s a real family environment. The Inn is perfect for the fish all night, lounge all day (or vice versa) types. We typically fish at night because my dad isn’t into extended sun exposure so while he is chilling out during the day we take to the beach. The rooms are super clean and the suites are equipped with all the amenities (refrigerator, stove, oven, microwave  and a flat tv that we never turn on).

Collage 2014-07-07 01_14_50

When it comes to Ocean Front, Jolly Roger Inn and Pier fits my style. No fuss, clean, simple and within walking distance of local restaurants and plenty of activities.

Will I go back? Yes, every time I visit North Carolina!

For Reservations & Information:

Jolly Roger Inn & Pier

Local: 910-328-4616

Toll-free: 800-633-3196

803 Ocean Blvd. PO Box 3008

Topsail Beach, NC 28445

www.thejollyroger.com

Cruising the Zambezi: Pamusha Safari’s Sunset River Cruise

20140217_155735~2

If you take a trip to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe cruising down the Zambezi is a must. It’s not only relaxing but it is an enjoyable, fun experience as well. Pamusha Safari’s operates several river cruises that offer the most stunning views.

image

You can opt for a breakfast or dinner cruise or if you want to witness the beautiful sunset over the Zambezi, then the Sunset Cruise is for you. Complimentary drinks and refreshments are offered during the Sunset Cruise which is an added bonus.

image

You can see a wide range of wildlife in their natural habitats to include crocodiles, hippos, water lizards and if you are lucky enough, even elephant and buffalo may be wading around. The operating staff where well knowledgeable of the many species of animal/birds that are indigenous to the area so you are sure to not miss out on the sites.

For more information on Pamusha Lodge and Tours click here.

 

Pamusha Lodge, Victoria Falls

583 Manyika Road, Victoria Falls

  • Tel: +263-41 828
  • Cell: +263 779 369 160
  •           +263 800 588
  • Email: reservations@pamusha.com
  •             : pamushal@mweb.co.zw

 

 

 

Got To Be NC! A Festival Celebrating Everything North Carolina, USA

20140517_094030~2

I’m a down home country girl at heart and all it takes to make me happy is sunshine, good food, good company and if you add in “country folk” stuff like some livestock, horseback riding or fishing I’m darn near doing cartwheels and back-flips. I was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. I lived there for half of my life but I am ashamed to say that I hadn’t really experienced it as an adult. During this visit back home to Raleigh I decided to EXPERIENCE my hometown and I am so pleased!

First up, The Got To Be NC Festival held at the North Carolina Fair Grounds. This was the 6th Annual event showcasing North Carolina Agriculture, businesses and everything that we North Carolinians take pride in; family, good eatin’, fun and nothing other than TRACTORS! This was 3 days worth of excitement and pure entertainment with enough for EVERY family member to enjoy. Oh, and did I mention that it is FREE gate admission AND FREE parking?

Being at the Got To Be NC Festival is a HUGE reminder to “buy local”. Let me tell you, there is some good stuff that comes out of this state if I shall say so myself! As soon as I stepped out of my car I smelled the beautiful aroma of sweet cotton candy, giant turkey legs and fresh hay! Mmmm hmmm, Now bottle that up and sell it!

There were vendors galore displaying and selling their products that are made right in the Tarheel State. There was everything from handmade jewelry, candles, clothing and any and everything in between.

Collage 2014-06-13 20_40_27

The Food, Beer and Wine Expo held in the Exposition Building was absolutely  fantastic costing just $2 for all day admission). All of the booths had free samples of some classic Southern favorites such as  hot grits, fresh ice cream, nuts, pimento cheese, and a host of local wine and beer options. You could literally walk in with an empty stomach and dry mouth and walk out full as a tick and watered up.

Collage 2014-06-13 20_34_17

I’m not much of a wine or beer drinker but I found great delight in trying some of the other local products. Amongst my personal favourites were Cocolene natural products and Cloister Honey.

What do I love about Cocolene other than it being a hometown business? Well, I tried the Cocolene Body Balm and it was soothing and moisturised without leaving a sticky thick film on my skin. Absolutely perfect for those extra dry areas such as hands, feet, elbows AND it is NATURAL. I’m so happy that I didn’t leave without it! Highly Recommend! Click here to make your purchase!

Collage 2014-06-13 20_18_15

As for Cloister Honey, all I can say is OMG this stuff is AMAZING! I walked by the booth and I heard a voice asking if I would like to try some bourbon infused honey. Me, not being big on the taste of alcohol declined but before I knew it I had a sample in hand….I just couldn’t walk away. WOW, it was EVERYTHING! I HAD TO purchase the Cinnamon Whipped Honey and I have so far used it as a drizzle on top of my pancakes and I must say it made me forget about Maple Syrup! To see what other delicious honey delights they have to offer, click here.

Collage 2014-06-13 22_01_50

As a U.S. Air Force Veteran I would have to say that my favourite item on display was the Freedom Tractor. A beautiful piece of art dedicated to the lives of all the men and women from North Carolina that paid the ultimate sacrifice since WWII. An absolutely stunning tribute. Collage 2014-06-11 21_08_33 For the kiddos, there where more than enough carnival rides and model tractors for them to sit on and play “farmer”. There was face painting and pony rides, vendors selling candy apples, Sno Cones, and Cotton Candy. My little NuNu enjoyed people watching (she is nosy just like her mum) and eating all the food she could get her little hands on.

We had some great family fun at the Got To Be NC Festival and will be marking our calendars for the next one!

For more information on the Got To Be NC Festival click here

Moira Jane’s Blue Bird Cafe, Masvingo Zimbabwe

20140214_120551~2

Good food, a welcoming atmosphere AND a multiuse cafe that also houses a second hand shop will always get my vote.

Moira Jane’s Blue Bird Cafe is a fabulous spot right in the center of the town of Masvingo. Cafe owner, Moira is a fellow North American (via Canada), that has lived in the area for numerous years and has created this community staple. The food was yummy (hence no photos) and the hospitatlity was superb. The menu had plenty of delicious options and vegetarian dishes can be prepared. We placed our orders the day before we visited the cafe and when we arrived our food was hot and ready. The prices where great leaving you with enough cash to spend in the second hand shop. I highly recommend Moira Jane’s, the lotus in the lowveld.