While up North…

Had to see a bit of Blackpool in the day, the famous Pleasure Beach, which was closed, so no giant roller coaster for me.

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The North Pier.

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And the tower by day.

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Seeing as I’m up this far north I wanted to see the Angel of the North. Apparently I don’t pay too much attention to the sat nav while I’m driving and ended up on the border of Scotland, some lush views from up here though.

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Finally made it to Newcastle and the angel.

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Stopped off in a pub nearby for a break from all the driving and some food. The Stone Trough was the name of this pub and it claimed to have the best burgers in the North-East.

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Not bad, not bad at all.

Then just the boring drive home while planning my next trip, which will be London to get my visa for China. Eek!

http://www.stonetroughpub.co.uk/

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Bucket list Blackpool

In the mêlée of clearing out the flat, organising the million forms and photos for my visa, and actually packing for China, I still want to cram in as much of my British Bucket List as possible, and have ended up in Blackpool.

I have absolutely no idea why it’s on my bucket list but something tells me I need to experience it.

With it being a good few hours drive I planned a detour to Aberaeron for some honey ice cream. So worth it.

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Onwards to Blackpool, by the time I arrived it was getting dark so I was looking forward to seeing all the lights.
The Christmas lights were up, but not on. What’s up with that Blackpool?

Stayed in a plush little hotel called Number One South Beach, was upgraded to a double room with a jacuzzi bath and balcony, not too shabby at all.

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Ventured up towards the action Blackpool had to offer, seeing as it’s the end of November I wasn’t expecting too much, but I wasn’t disappointed.

A shop selling Blackpool rock caught my eye, it would have been wrong not to get some!
Turns out this little souvenir shop was also an Aladdin’s cave of old arcade games, geek memorabilia, and an old toy museum alongside the bucket & spades and fudge!

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Stopped for some food and drink in Coral Island which to me was like UK trying to be Vegas, lots of flashing lights and the sound of coins dropping, only difference was kids running around the place! You don’t get that in Vegas!

Started bar hopping and went from the amusement arcade to a bar on the pier where a cabaret singer was belting out some oldies, followed by a very classy bar on the sea front where I could admire the famous Blackpool Tower.

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A sobering walk back down the promenade in the cold over a huge area of ‘comedy carpet’.

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Eventually made it back to the hotel after reading all the jokes the north had to offer and passed out in the most comfortable bed I’ve slept it for a long time…

http://www.numberonesouthbeach.com/

Wheels in motion

What a week! Put my apartment on the market and it was rented out within 24 hours!

A big thank you to mypad lettings who guided me through the process.

I’ve been hard at work completing my TEFL course online, and have finished, so now just have to wait to see if I pass.

With those big things happening, I’ve also had to sift my way through admin stuff for my preparation for China, form filling for the visa to make sure I can actually go, practicing my mandarin, attempting to open a bank account I can actually use abroad, having a medical for China (they now know more about me than I ever did!) and all sorts of other bitty things to make sure my transition to the Orient goes smoothly.

After all the hard work this week, thankfully, I have another spa day booked in (work hard, play hard, right?) this time I am going with my family. My aunt carried out a whole load of admin work for my brother and I, which I would probably still be trying to understand had it been left to me, so as a thank you, a spa day in Cotswold Water Park Four Pillars Hotel has been booked.

We had chosen the Tempting Treat and Treatment day which included a 30 minute treatment and afternoon tea.

As it was a Saturday the spa area got very crowded very quickly, which isn’t the best atmosphere for relaxing in. The treatments were lovely and afternoon tea was generous.

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As a treat my friend who runs a super car rental business offered to drive me to the Cotswolds in an Audi R8. (Who’s going to say no to that?) And I also had a go driving it!

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Ended up heading to Liverpool for a friend of a friend’s sister’s son’s 1st birthday party.

I have never been to a children’s party quite like this! There was a marquee in the garden, with a dance floor and a DJ, Brazilian dancers, Michelin star chefs creating food masterpieces and a champagne bar.

We had been booked into the Titanic hotel which was incredible, the bathroom alone was big enough for a bed!

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So, an eventful weekend to say the least!

Back to visa applications and packing up my flat Monday!

http://www.mypad.wales/

https://www.spaseekers.com/cotswold-water-park-four-pillars-hotel-south-cerney/

Birthday Party!

Well this time last year I was in Vegas getting proposed to, this birthday I am in Swansea, and it’s not just my birthday.

So, after much deliberation, we are going trampolining in Limitless one evening, and playing Breakout Live another evening.

I was a bit nervous about the trampolining, it’s been a while since I bounced around like a fool, turns out, it comes quite naturally! And the bonus was, I didn’t injure myself!

It’s not just trampolines, there’s beams and rings over foam pits to cross over, and even a beam where you can knock an opponent into the foam with a giant foam bar!
There’s basketball hoops over trampolines to dunk into, dodgeball and some other games, plus we went on a Friday night where they turn the lights down, get some disco lights on and have a live DJ!

So our group of mainly thirty-somethings had a blast acting like kids in a playground for an hour!

The next event was my choice, Breakout Live Swansea, where we get locked in a room and have to find clues to solve puzzles to get back out again. In an hour.

I can’t give too much away cuz it would spoil it for everyone else, but it’s well worth a visit!

We escaped with 10 minutes left on the clock, which was good going!

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All this thinking works up an appetite and we concluded our birthday celebrations with a Vietnamese meal.

Home

http://www.breakoutswansea.com/

Free spa day!

Yup, having an American Express card paid off!

I spent so much on it I accumulated enough points for my friend and I to come to the Vale Resort for a ‘Chill and Chocolate’ spa day.

So my fellow spa attendee on this occasion is Viktorija!

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Vik has never been to a spa before so this is a completely new experience for her, so hopefully she’ll enjoy!

The ‘spa day’ starts at 1230 with a healthy lunch (it may have been healthy but it was a buffet so you can fill up!)

Once we were in our fluffy dressing gowns and slippers we were ready to be shown around.

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This place is huge. It’s definitely the biggest spa I’ve ever been to. It has a cwtch, a relaxation area, a chill out area, a floatation area and a slumber area, then all the usual facilities: sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, and swimming pool.

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We had our afternoon tea and chocolate in the cwtch. A bowl of chocolate truffles with our choice of hot drink.

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Then it was time for our treatment, I had a full body massage and Vik had a facial.

We then passed out on the heated water beds to the sound of a water fountain.

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I have to say, this is definitely one of the best value spa days I’ve experienced.
The treatment alone is £58, and for £59 you get lunch, chocolates, full use of the spa and the treatment. (Obviously I didn’t pay that as I had my Amex points, but if I had paid, its an incredible deal!)
The location isn’t bad either, with the windows looking over the golf course.

We are well rested and would both recommend the Vale for a pampering!

http://www.vale-hotel.com/Spa-Day/Chill-Chocolate-Spa-Treat

Slow boat to…

So continuing on from my last post, I succeeded in passing the initial interview for a job in China teaching English.

Chuffed!

So, lots to do to prepare for this, pretty much all the stuff from before (renting flat, selling my belongings etc) with the added bonus of completing the TEFL course online, learning Mandarin and wanting to learn as much Kung fu as my brain and body can take before I get out there!

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I also had to pass two more interviews, Chinese time, which was interesting. (I learnt waking up at 2am to be interviewed at 9am China time wasn’t the best idea).
After the first interview with HR in China I was pretty shaken up as I didn’t feel I interviewed as well as I could have.
I attempted to get back to sleep, this was the first time that the thought that I might not actually get the job even popped into my head. (I’m not really arrogant, I just thought the initial interview was so successful I would breeze the others too!).
I eventually managed to calm myself down with the reassuring thought that regardless of the outcome of this interview I would still pack up and head to China anyway.

The second interview was with the head of the school, it wasn’t an interview at all, it was a chat at 2am!
I had prepared for this one after my shocking performance previously!

I must have done ok, because they have offered me the job!

It’s coming together…slowly!

Everybody is Kung fu fighting…

Well, not fighting, but training in Kung fu. (I know this is a bit off topic for a travel/saving for travel blog but it’s leading somewhere I promise!)

One of my close friends has been going to Kung fu for a few years and has, on more than one occasion, recommended I try it.

I finally took his advice and joined him for a class one morning.

I loved it!

So, looks like I found my exercise that’s not the gym to help me maintain my fitness and lose a bit more weight.

Obviously this doesn’t help towards saving for anything, but I wanna look good while I’m away, and now have the added bonus of being able to kick ass.

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So, leading back to the travel theme, a while back, in my frustration of feeling trapped here I sent out CVs to pretty much everywhere.
With everything that was going on, I forgot all about it.

Then a month or so later I get an email from a company called China Plus asking if I was interested in teaching English abroad.

Getting paid to be in another country? I think I can do that!

To be continued…

Shifu Waters & Wú Yǐng Quán