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Go Ape!

For my birthday this year I decided to do something a little different and picked Go Ape to celebrate my twenty-something birthday. Luckily, one has just opened at Trent Park, which is about a 10 minute walk from Cockfosters so it was easy enough for us to get to. (They do have them all over the country though.)

Go Ape is basically a forest adventure where you swing in tress, go over bridges and zoom down zip wires. We were booked in for the very early 9am slot but, as it takes 2-3 hours to complete, it's actually a good time to go as that way you don't get stuck behind other users.

They say that it's a lot more fun when it's wet and muddy - I can't really comment on that having never done it in the sun - but this April's hideous weather meant we certainly got wet and muddy! At the start of the course it was fine but by the time we got to the last section you tended to notice the conditions more, possibly because you're higher up and starting to feel tired from all the monkeying (sorry) around. 

I have to confess, even though I'm not scared of heights, I was a little apprehensive at first. I had, I suspect, the usual panic of: Will this harness actually support me and stop me from crashing down to my death? You do get trained on the ground though and do a mini course which is no higher than 1.5m. Let's face it, if you fell off at this point you won't do much damage to yourself. It's a great way though to see that if you step off the platform that you will not fall to the ground because your harness does work!

When climbing up the rope ladders at the start you are attached three times and when on the bridges and zip wires you are are always attached twice, as long as you have followed their safety system. All the way round you're never unattached, so you're not going to plummet to the ground. At the start we were all quite slow at attaching our cables but by the end of the five sections we were dab hands at it.

The worst bit for me was climbing the cargo nets - the one on its own and when you do the gorilla rope jump into the cargo net and then have to climb up a cargo net to get to the platform. I know they let ten year old children do this but I seriously struggled to climb up and across the cargo net with my shocking lack of strength!

There was also a really horrible twisty bridge towards the end and a tunnel you had to crawl through which killed all our knees (and had bird poo in it - I don't know, the great outdoors huh! ;p) but, all-in-all, it was great fun overcoming the obstacles and zooming down the zip wires, including a very awesome Marty McFly style skateboard zip wire.

Go Ape is a challenge but at the same time it's good fun and you push yourself being with your "tribe", even when it's raining and muddy. One thing I would recommend, especially if the weather is less than fab, is to take gloves as you use your hands a lot and they will start to hurt! 

At a cost of £30 for adults, which gets you 2-3 hours of fun, it's definitely worth doing and I had an enjoyable, yet different, birthday celebration there. I am aching a bit today though - maybe getting you to stretch out as part of your safety training could be an idea? Despite the aches though, I'd definitely go again if someone invited me. {^_^}

Has anyone been to Go Ape? If you haven't, would you? x

Care.

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."

~ Leo Buscaglia

Future cinema: Bugsy Malone

I have to confess, I auditioned for the school production of Bugsy Malone without ever seeing the film. My knowledge of it comes from my audition - I've never forgotten the words to Fat Sam's Grand Slam since - my family calling me Tallulah which means I somehow know the words to My Name is Tallulah, and catching bits of the film when it has been on the TV.

So, when I was invited to Future Cinema's Bugsy Malone last week, I thought it was about time I saw the film all the way through... oh, and to buy a new outfit as the invitation said the dress code was "Late twenties. Ritzy and real swanky." and I'm certain I had nothing fitting of that description in my wardrobe already. ;)

Instructed to show up at Troxy, near Limehouse, act like nothing had happened and look for Joey the violinist, we did, feeling better once we arrived at Limehouse and saw others in their swanky twenties wear, books and flowers at the ready. (Honestly, I've been on the tube dressed as Harley Quinn before with Olly as the Joker so know what *should* get you stared at, but apparently a mere feather also lands you attention on the tube!) I have to confess though, we went a little British reserved as we were led around the back:

Reporter: "Did you hear about the splurge attack that happened just there? What's your opinion?"
Me: "Umm, dreadful."
Reporter: "What's your name?"
*tumbleweed pause*
Me, uncertainly: "Shirley?"

The boys didn't fare much better with their responses, though we quickly got better and into the swing of things as we made it inside with a cast vying for our attentions along the way.
Future Cinema, you see, is an interactive cinematic experience where the film is brought to life but whilst you might experience an initial awkwardness - don't worry, the cast are so superb that you will quickly fall into character yourself. It helps that all of us there that evening appeared to be dressed in the correct attire - I only spotted a few people in modern attire. In fact, with how some people got into the spirit of things I would have certain audience members were part of the cast with their reactions to what was happening. 

I won't spoil it, but we had an enjoyable few hours, although sometimes there was too much to soak in for it to be *fully* enjoyable. Our eyes were everywhere so it's likely we missed out on things and you can't really expect to see everything, but I can say what we did experience was excellent. The only bad thing I will say about it is that you're all provided with a poncho for a certain scene and we had one missing under the table... if you know the film, you might be able to guess why a poncho was needed and unfortunately Olly was the one who didn't grab one in time. But, a slight operational hiccup is by the by considering how much fun and enjoyable the rest of the experience was. 

Future Cinema's Bugsy Malone is only on until April 29th, so if you're a fan of the film - seriously, there were some hardcore Bugsy fans in attendance! - or a fan of musicals or quirky experiences, make sure you visit Fat Sam's speakeasy. Ticket details here. x

Recommended reads

I've read some really amazing books over the past few weeks, so if you're after something to read I can recommend the following:

* Mortal Chaos - Matt Dickinson
* The Declaration - Gemma Malley
* Shantaram - Gregory David Roberts
* Into the Darkest Corner - Elizabeth Haynes
* The Descendants - Kaui Hart Hemmings

What amazing books have you read recently? I'm always after recommendations and, remember, you can always see what I'm reading on Goodreads. {^_^} x

British summer

With going to India in February, this means I'm going to be having a British summer and will be playing tourist at home.

First on the list is the Tate Britain, which I've always neglected by going to the Tate Modern instead, but there's a Picasso exhibition on so it's about time I checked this one off my list! The exhibition is on until July and explores Picasso's legacy and influence on British art.

We'll hopefully be heading to Bath in June to go and the sights, as well as have some treatments at the Thermae Bath Spa. I've never been to Bath, but I hope to make a return to Brighton (right) where I have only been once before - I really do need to see more of the seaside town.

Another place I've been to many a time before - in fact, I lived there for four years - is St Andrews. I haven't been to Scotland since I graduated so that's five years without a visit and it's about time I made one! I won't be there for my Alumni Reunion Weekend unfortunately due to a diary clash but it'll still be lovely to see The Bubble and pay a trip to Edinburgh too when I head North to Scotland this summer.

It's The Queen's Diamond Jubilee this year, which makes it a perfectly apt year to visit the historic Royal Palaces. We went to Windsor Castle (pictured left) last year and will be returning to make the most of the fact that when you buy a ticket it's valid for a year, but I also want to visit Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace and The State Rooms at Buckingham Palace where they have a special Diamonds exhibition on this year. Last year I did get to go to Clarence House and Lancaster House for afternoon champagne, so maybe that should become my royal tradition when visiting royal households! {^_^}

Also on the cards for my British summer is The Roald Dahl Museum to sample some Bogtrotter cake, a trip to Greenwich - it's actually a World Heritage Site, who knew? - and of course a trip to London Zoo to see my giraffe Ellish. Olly adopted her for me for my Christmas present and we've not been to say hello yet so a visit is on the cards this summer. We actually went to the Zoo (and then to Paramount for dinner and a spectacular view of London) on our first date, so it's a place I LOVE. 

Do you have any suggestions on where else I should go this British summer? Do let me know! x

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