12 things I have learnt about British summers

It’s true what they say, us Brits are OBSESSED with the weather. So while I’ve been enjoying a slice of British summertime I got to thinking of all the things I have learnt about British summers.

1. Make the most of every sunny day
…because you never know how long it’s going to last!

2. Spontaneous barbecues are a thing
Planned barbecues will inevitably summon the grey clouds, so spontaneity is the key here. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve hot-footed it to my local Morrisons for burgers and corn on the cob as soon as the sun gets his hat on.

Camping in England

3. Spontaneous anything, really
Beach, park, camping – go, go, GO! Of course, the rest of the country will most likely be there with you crowding up the place, but that’s a small price to pay for some vitamin D.

4. Make full use of all barbecue opportunities
Yes dessert could be toasted marshmallows but how about alcoholic bananas? Seriously, slice the banana in half down the middle, soak it in vodka or rum, sprinkle with brown sugar, wrap it in foil, bung it on the barbie! That’s my dad’s recipe. Get creative, doesn’t all have to be burgers and sausages.

Toasting marshmallows over a barbecue
Toasting marshmallows 🙂

5. Summer clothes are cute
Pretty dresses, cute skirts – makes a pleasant change from living in jeans and jumpers! Plus I always get told I look nice when I’m wearing my summer wardrobe. A girl loves a compliment, amiright?!

6. Pimm’s and pub lunches are necessary
Ooh I love a Pimm’s with bits of citrus fruit, mint, cucumber and strawberries floating in it, it’s the ultimate summer drink. Team it with a ploughman’s lunch while sitting in a pub garden and you’re onto a winner!

Anyone for Pimm's?
Anyone for Pimm’s?

7. Hay fever is why we can’t have nice things 
We can’t enjoy anything can we? When the winter cold season is over, the sneezing isn’t and it brings along its irritating cousins – itchy nose, throat and eyes.

8. Approximately 76% of all picnics will be spoiled by wasps or unexpected rain
Ok I made that stat up but it’s probably true.

Hot and bothered cat tries to chill in some shade
Hot and bothered!

9. Sleeping is difficult when it’s hot
Alright so it only happens about one night a year, probably mid-July, but that one night (ok maybe two nights) when it’s too hot with the bedroom windows closed but too noisy/bug infested to leave them open is tough!

10. Air conditioning is a blessing and a curse
So our houses here in Blighty don’t come equipped with air con as we rarely have the need for it. However, most workplaces these days have it, which is great when it’s a glorious 25 degrees outside and you’ve just arrived feeling a bit hot and bothered. Not so great an hour in and you’re sat there dressed for the outside when it’s about -5 in the office and your goosebumps have goosebumps!

Hands forming a heart shape at sunset

11. Nothing beats a cold shandy on a warm day
I don’t even really like beer/lager/whatever – it all tastes the same to me! But top it up with some lemonade and you have the second best summer refreshment right there (after Pimm’s of course).

12. We Brits will always moan about the weather
Everyone: “It’s too cold/rainy/grey, typical crappy British weather!”
cue day 1 of hot weather and sunshine
Everyone: “Yay! Summer’s finally here!”
cue day 4 of hot weather and sunshine
Everyone: “It’s too hot”

View from the London Eye on a dreary day in June
View from the London Eye on a dreary day in June

So come on tell me, what have you learnt about British summers? Or summers abroad? Leave me a comment below!

A beginners guide to Geocaching

Now we’re finally seeing the signs of summer here in England, it’s great to get out and about in the sunshine. So put down the Pokemon Go and listen up, kids – I’ve got a real treasure hunt for you… Geocaching!

A beginners guide to geocaching

What is Geocaching?

Geocaching is a “real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS enabled devices”.

What you need

  • A mobile phone with Geocaching app. There is a free version which is quite limited and a paid for subscription which, although pricey is alot more accurate and shows alot more caches available.
  • A pen for writing in log books
  • Trinkets and toys for swapping (optional)
  • Gloves – i.e. garden gloves for if you need to put your hand into a bush or something (optional)
  • A good pair of eyes!

a beginners guide to geocaching

How to play

  1. Download the app and register as a player. The username you assign yourself will be what you sign in the log books that you find.
  2. Switch on your GPS and use the app to discover just how many geocaches are near you.
  3. Once you’ve chosen a cache to find, follow the compass on the app to head to the location. Read the clues as to what you are looking for and get searching!
  4. Once you locate the cache, sign your username and the date in the log book. If you take any of the “treasure” inside the cache, be sure to replace it with something of equal or greater value.
  5. Put the cache back where you found it and don’t forget to mark on your app that you found it. Also leave a little comment for the person who created the cache, as well as future geocachers, to let them know what you thought of it.

Signing the log book in a geocache

Terminology

Cache – A cache can be as big as a lunchbox or as small as a USB stick. A cache is the “treasure chest” so to speak.
Log Book – Usually a piece of paper rather than a book. Sign this when you locate a cache.
Muggle – Like the term from Harry Potter, muggle refers to non-geocachers. When geocaching, try not to reveal a cache to a muggle. Keep it secret – it’s more fun!
Swag – Trade items left in caches. Most are cheap plastic toys and tat but some might be trackables. Most caches are too small for swag anyway.
Trackables – Also known as Travel Bugs, these are specially purchased trackable tags which are tracked online at geocaching.com. If you find one, the idea is to move it on to another cache so it can travel around.
DNF – Did Not Find. If you see this a few times on the app for a particular cache, chances are the cache has been tampered with unbeknownst to the cache creator.
FTF – First To Find. Pretty obvious – written by the first person to find the cache.
TFTC – Thanks For The Cache.

Placing a trackable into a geocache

Me and my husband have taken up geocaching as a quirky summer hobby. We started last year as a fun way to explore the local area and have just started to do it again this year now the weather is warm again.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of trackable travel bugs when the Geocaching.com founder Jeremy Irish released 7 deadly ducks (based on the 7 deadly sins) into the wild. In honour of the 15th anniversary, the 7 deadly ducks have been reincarnated in a race lasting from 20 July to 20 August (International Geocaching Day) in a competition to see how far these trackable tags travel. So hubby bought the ‘greed’ duck and we have now released him out into the geocaching wilds. I will keep you posted on his progress – wish us luck!

Greed - 7 deadly ducks - geocaching race

Have you taken part in The World’s Largest Treasure Hunt? or are you a Geocaching Muggle? Drop me a line below…

Larking with the lemurs

Lemur Experience in Kent

Now you guys know I love spending time with my furry companions, so it was kind of apt that for my birthday I received a ‘Meet the lemurs’ experience.

Lemur experience in Kent

My experience was at Hemsley Conservation Centre in Kent which was opened by 23 year old Adam Hemsley last year. The centre is only tiny but it’s pretty impressive what has been achieved so far considering that when I was 23 I barely had my head screwed on, let alone the ability to manage a business!

When we arrived at the centre we were greeted by a young and friendly keeper called James. He showed me the food prep area, told me a little about the centre, and then he introduced me to the two lemurs they have on site – Isaac and Kevin.

Isaac and Kevin were the social outcasts of their lemur tribe, kind of the Romy and Michele of their high school reunion. And so long story short, they now live at HCC. Most of the animals at HCC have arrived from other zoos and conservation centres, although there was a skunk who was an overweight rescued pet. We didn’t get to see the skunk as he was sleeping but we did see rainbow lorikeets, porcupines, a slow loris, meerkats, a kinkajou plus a few other creatures such as turtles, lizards and some free roaming marmosets.

Lemur experience in Kent

James, Isaac, Kevin and I spent around half an hour in each other’s company, with James telling me lots of interesting and informative things about lemurs (did you know they have fangs?). And Kevin and Isaac mostly chomping on the sweet potato chunks I was feeding them (did you know lemurs LOVE sweet potato?). The lemurs climbed onto my lap and shoulder all the while I had food for them so it was really fun! I could tell that James was really passionate about his work as a mammal keeper and it was certainly infectious as it made me want to work with these amazing creatures too!

We weren’t at HCC for very long as like I said, it’s pretty tiny. But I really enjoyed my morning and would love to see Kevin and Isaac again some day.

Just hanging out with a lemur on my shoulder. No big deal.


If you like animal antics, then you might enjoy these posts about alpaca trekking or spending the night in a zoo.

Ripley’s Believe it or not London

Ripley's Believe it or not London
Vampire woman and Lizard man

If you’re in London and looking for something weird and wonderful to do then look no further than Ripley’s Believe it or not at Piccadilly Circus.

Ripley’s is home to over 700 artefacts, many of which were collected by Robert Ripley himself who was an explorer, collector, presenter and cartoonist! Ripley travelled to 201 countries collecting exotic treasures – everything from tribal masks to shrunken heads – all on display right here!

Portrait of Robert Ripley made from candy at Ripley's Believe it or not London
Portrait of Robert Ripley made from candy

There are also many modern exhibits such as a portrait of Kate Middleton created from lipstick kisses on canvas, Michelle Obama from bottlecaps and a portrait of Amy Winehouse produced from broken CDs which actually looks alot like my A level art project (just the concept, that is, Amy wasn’t famous back then).

Amy Winehouse - A Shattered Life by Victor Ramos. Portrait of Amy Winehouse created from CDs on display at Ripleys London.

You can also find a recreation of Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper painted onto a grain of rice, images created on burnt pieces of toast and there’s even a painting done by a horse – it doesn’t get much more random!

As well as quirky art, there are also animal oddities such as a two-headed calf. Plus there’s a chunk of the Berlin wall and the world’s oldest beer, brewed from 5000 year old hops found in an ancient Egyptian tomb!

The World's Oldest Beer - brewed from 5000 year old hops found in an Ancient Egyptian tomb!

There are wax figures of astonishing people like Johnny Eck – a talented man whose torso ended just below the waist, Earl Hughes – the heaviest recorded man in history and Robert Wadlow – the tallest human being ever.

Figure of Ribert Wadlow - tallest man ever. Ripley's Believe it or not London.

You can also find a container filled with ice cold water which you can dip your hand into to experience the temperature of the water when the Titanic sank, which I mentioned in my Wonderworks Orlando post. Another thing similar to Wonderworks is The Black Hole, which is basically a tunnel you walk through but while the bridge is still, the surroundings spin making you feel all kinds of dizzy and sick.

Ripley's Believe it or not London

There’s something for everyone at Ripley’s, one of the coolest things in the culture collection is the Eagle Coffin. In Ghana, funerals are colourful celebrations of the deceased person’s life and coffins are custom designed to represent a person’s hobbies, job or even status. Eagle coffins are reserved for the most honoured chiefs.

Eagle coffin from Ghana - on display at Ripley's in London.

There are many many other weird and wonderful things to see here which I haven’t mentioned but I will say, make sure you visit the Mirror Maze and the Impossible LaseRace at the end!

Mirror Maze at Ripley's London
Mirror Maze selfie!

Also, before you go, check out some different ticket websites online as there are discounts to be had!

If you liked this post then I guarantee you will want to know about Wonderworks Orlando and Puzzling World Wanaka.

Inamo London – the future of restaurants

Inamo is an Asian fusion restaurant situated in Soho, London. We went there for my birthday because –

a) I love Japanese food

and

b) They have an interactive ordering system – this is the future, people!

It might not be a new thing, but I certainly haven’t seen it anywhere before. There are no printed menus at Inamo, instead it is all projected onto your table and you can place your order digitally. You can also keep tabs of exactly how much you have spent, which is particularly handy if you are dining in a large group, rather than dealing with the whole messy splitting the bill situation. The only annoying thing about the interactive function was that I kept accidentally adding things to my order that I didn’t want, but it was easy enough to remove them again before ‘sending’ our order.

Cocktail and beer on the interactive tables at Japanese/Korean restaurant, Inamo in Soho, London

The other awesome thing about the interactive tables is that you can change the tablecloth, so to speak, by choosing different funky patterned backgrounds AND you can play games on your table – hubby and I had a couple of games of Battleships and Ping. Good fun while you wait for your food!

Funky patterns as digital tablecloths - the future of restaurants at Inamo Soho
Funky digital tablecloths

To begin, my husband ordered a Japanese beer while I decided to try one of the cocktails. I ordered the Ringoberi Mojito – rum and apple juice muddled with mint, sugar and blackberries. Yum!

The food at Inamo is kind of like Asian tapas, in that they bring it to you when it is ready, rather than the whole starters followed by mains deal. We decided to order the weekday set lunch menu of 2 courses for £10 and then share them so we get to try different things, as well as some tempura prawns from the normal menu because I discovered in Japan that I only really like prawns when they’re in a Japanese tempura!

We went for the rainbow maki (beetroot, pepper and cucumber sushi), which was alot smaller than sushi I’ve had elsewhere, but oh so beautifully presented!

Rainbow maki and a game of Battleships. Interactive dining at Inamo in London
Rainbow maki over a game of Battleships

We also ordered the Korean chicken wings which had a bit of a kick to them and were quite messy. If you’re going to Inamo on a first date or for a business meeting, do NOT order the chicken wings, there is no way to eat them in an attractive or professional manner.

The chicken wings were brought out alongside the tempura prawns, kind of as a second course after the maki. The tempura prawns were delicious and presented in a little wooden box with a side of Thai mango relish.

Tempura prawns and Korean chicken wings - Inamo Soho, London - an Asian fusion restaurant with a twist!

For our ‘mains’ (for lack of a better word), we both chose the teriyaki salmon which came with rice. The salmon was nice but I didn’t think it was that special, I think I was expecting more flavour. The funny thing was, when the waiter brought over our dishes he handed us one salmon and one curry, apologising that the kitchen had made an error, the curry was on the house and our other salmon was on its way. I think I actually enjoyed the curry more than the salmon! I don’t know what was in the curry as we couldn’t find it on the menu but we got lucky there!

Teriyaki salmon at Inamo in London
Teriyaki salmon
Curry from Inamo in London - Asian fusion restaurant
Our free curry!

Even though the dishes appeared to be small, we were absolutely stuffed afterwards so didn’t get to sample any of the restaurant’s dessert menu which sounded quite interesting – Baked Alasparkla in particular – baked alaska with a sparkle, hello!

Inamo Soho, also has a sister restaurant in Covent Garden, but both restaurants can get quite busy so it’s best to book in advance. However, we didn’t find it too busy visiting on a Friday lunchtime.

Inamo London - Asian fusion restaurant in Soho

Good food, good service but the winner was the futuristic and funky tables which I reckon will be everywhere before you know it!

If you liked this post you might enjoy my others about food, London or Japan.