Alphabet Dating S is for Stranger Things

Alphabet Dating – S is for Stranger Things

How to host your own Stranger Things themed party

I’m a bit late writing about this now the hype around season 2 has kind of ended, but in a similar vein to the Elf night we hosted the other Christmas, we thought we’d invite people over and host a Stranger Things themed party.

So, if you fancy doing it yourself or perhaps want a head start before season 3, here’s how to host your own Stranger Things themed party…

Step 1: Channel Joyce channeling Will
Take a queue from Joyce Byers and string up a whole bunch of fairy lights. You don’t have to go as crazy as she did but at least get some nice coloured ones on your wall. We also hung some from the ceiling in our hallway too which culminated into a ball of light, you know, incase Will got in touch.

As for painting the alphabet on the wall like Joyce did, we just cut out some big black paper letters and taped them to the wire on the fairy lights so as not to damage the paint work. If you don’t want to draw your own letters, you can buy printable replicas of the tv alphabet here.

Host your own Stranger Things night

Step 2: Add some decorative touches
We printed out a couple of posters to stick up, one of which was Will’s missing poster, the other an E.T. inspired Stranger Things poster designed by my very talented husband. We also gave everyone temporary tattoos of the number 11, just like Eleven had.

Another idea would be to create a Stranger Things playlist (such as the theme tune and ‘Should I stay or should I go’ by The Clash) to play while you’re greeting your guests and eating dinner, kind of as a prelude before watching the show.

Turn your home into 80s Hawkins, Indiana with these Stranger Things inspired posters

Step 3: Create a menu
You can go even more extra than sticking ’11’ tattoos on your guests, by printing your own Benny’s Burgers stickers and then sticking them onto a retro style ketchup bottle and burger bar style food baskets. Not only did we do this, but my husband also designed a menu which consisted of Stranger Things themed food: Benny’s Build a Burger (burgers and fries served in baskets, add your own toppings such as onion rings, gherkins etc), Elle’s Eggo Delight (waffles, obviously, except we don’t have Eggos in England) and then to wash it down “Hawkin’s Lab Cola” aka cans of coca cola.

His creativity puts me to shame.

Be sure to create a Stranger Things inspired menu for your theme night

Step 4: Sit back and enjoy the show
In all the excitement of making everything themed around Stranger Things, don’t forget to actually sit down and watch the show!

"Will? Are you there?"

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How to host your own Stranger Things themed party

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Quirky restaurants in Costa Rica

Looking for a slightly unusual dining experience in Costa Rica? Well I’ll tell you about two quirky restaurants I visited.

Tree House Restaurant – Santa Elena, Monteverde

quirky restaurants in Costa Rica
Quirky restaurant in Monteverde Costa Rica

We spotted this place on our way to our hotel in Monteverde, hard to miss really given that it has a blooming great big tree sticking out of the middle of it!

We were told a few days before by a taxi driver that Costa Ricans don’t like to chop trees down so instead build around them – roads, restaurants, whatever. The Tree House Restaurant was built in 2004 and in the middle sits a huge ficus tree!

Tree House Restaurant - a quirky dining experience in Santa Elena

We stopped at the Tree House for lunch after a morning at Selvatura Park. There’s plenty of choice on the menu. While my husband went for fajitas, I opted for a more traditional Costa Rican dish – Casado. Casado means “married” in Spanish and the dish can be best described as a marriage of food on a plate. Mine was a vegetarian version which consisted of rice, beans, tortilla, salad, veg, cheese, avocado and plantain. I quite enjoy meals where I can try lots of different things, variety is the spice of life after all!

Casado - a typical Costa Rican dish

Dining in a tree house

I don’t know how the casado fared against other restaurants, but I enjoyed it! And if I ever went back to Santa Elena I’d be sure to stop by the Tree House again.

El Avion – Manuel Antonio

El Avion - quirky restaurants in Costa Rica

I thought I’d seen it all when I visited a McDonalds in an aeroplane in New Zealand but no, Costa Rica has a restaurant with a plane too. At El Avion, the plane is the bar area and the restaurant is just behind it.

Situated in the touristy town of Manuel Antonio, the plane is kind of what initially draws the tourists attention but on further inspection its actually the beautiful sunset views you get from the restaurant that makes people want to dine here. If you’re planning on watching the sun set here then get here early as everybody else has the same idea!

El Avion - a place to watch the sun set

Sunset is a popular time to visit El Avion restaurant in Manuel Antonio

We both opted for fajitas which were nice but something didn’t quite agree with me and spoilt the evening. I don’t blame the restaurant though as hubby had the same and he was fine. Having said that though, I think if I ever come back to El Avion it would be for the cocktails!

Bit of a tourist trap but I can’t deny the sunsets were beautiful and it was lovely to spot a toucan in the distance.

Sunset view from El Avion in Manuel Antonio

Toucan in the distance


If quirky restaurants are your cup of tea then you might enjoy reading about the Alice in Wonderland Restaurant Tokyo or some of my other foodie adventures.

Quirky restaurants in Costa Rica

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2017 Resolutions… How did I do?

Hiya!

I’ve been rubbish at blogging again haven’t I? Oh well, maybe I’ll try better next year?! LOL.

I thought it would be interesting to revisit my 2017 New Years Resolutions and see how I fared. And you know what, I did much better than I would have thought!

So, what were they?

1. Follow a passion and learn something new – I mentioned that I was doing a distance learning course. Well I am still doing the course. It’s taking ages but I’m almost there and not to blow my own trumpet but I’ve done really well at it! It’s for a diploma in zoo animal care, behaviour and welfare – something totally different to my day job but I’ve always had an interest in the animal kingdom so perhaps a future career change?! Who knows! It might not amount to anything but at least I’ve given it a go.

2. Reignite my creative spark – This was semi successful. Me and my husband enrolled in a local art class that lasted from February until July. It was great to get out of the house for a couple of hours on a Monday evening and experiment with paint and pencils etc. However the subject matter (imaginary spheres?!?) got quite tedious. I did come away with quite a nice drawing of a giraffe so I guess that’s something right?

3. Look after my mental well-being – Hmm. Not sure what to say about this one. I guess anxiety is one of those things that’s with me for life, it’s just down to whether I control it or it controls me. More on this shortly.

4. Be more conscientious – The big focus here was cruelty-free cosmetics and toiletries which I’ve stuck to. With all this recent news of plastics choking our oceans, my next focus will be to try and cut down my use of plastics – starting by using the rather pretty Chilly’s water bottle my hubby bought me instead of using plastic water bottles.

5. Do more volunteer work – The best thing I did in 2017 was volunteer at a wildlife rescue centre in Costa Rica. If you want to read about it then check out my post A girl’s guide to volunteering in Costa Rica. Coinciding with my interests in all things zoological, I ended up volunteering at two other places in the UK, unfortunately though on top of my day job and life in general it all got a bit too much and I burnt out, so at present I am not doing any volunteer work but I’m sure I will again when the time is right.

Volunteering in Costa Rica - caring for howler monkeys among other animals.
Chew with your mouth closed! – Me in with the Howler Monkeys

So what about 2018?

I am making one resolution for 2018 – to try and be more positive.

I’ve been in quite a negative place this past year and I wasn’t alone. Unfortunately negativity breeds negativity so I need to try and distance myself from bad vibes and attempt to keep my head above water. This all goes back to my mental well-being point above. I have a few ideas so watch this space and wish me luck!


How did you do with your 2017 resolutions? And are you making any for 2018? Leave me a comment below x

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Reasons to travel (rather than sitting at home!)

People travel for many reasons, each with their own little motivation. Be it the need for relaxation, discovering different cultures to see friends, chances are everyone has something. The list goes on and on, and generally, not many people need much convincing to go travelling. However, there are times when one would rather just sit down and do nothing at home, lazing about the whole day without doing anything productive. As dismal as it may sound, it’s a safe bet to say that the large majority of people have been in that situation before. Work and the responsibilities of everyday life get to you, and all that’s on your mind is shutting down for a while. Nothing to be ashamed of, but is it the best thing to do? You could sit and do nothing at home, or travel somewhere else and then do nothing. An enticing proposition, is it not? Without further ado, let’s look at some reasons to travel around rather than sit at home and stare at the TV.

image via pexels

Wanderlust

The world spans far and wide, but life is short. Many people have that insatiable sense of wanderlust which just cannot be quenched by sitting around at home or checking out holiday destinations online. They need the real thing, the feeling of being in a new place with new people, new weather, new shops and suspicious looking foods with ingredients in languages other than their own. The call of the unknown, slowly exploring every nook and cranny of an otherwise alien to you location. It’s something that cannot be explained in words, only experienced.

With a purpose

Some people travel to different countries to help others. People usually go to less well-off countries to support the locals there. Volunteers from all over the world travel to places like India and Africa to try and make a difference in whatever way they can. Be it by helping homeless children get off the street or helping the local wildlife thrive. It is something everyone should consider at least once and if you really do not want to or cannot then the next best option still stands. Donating to or participating in charity adventures such as No Birds Bash involves both helping others and travelling making it a perfect fit in this scenario.

image via pexels

For fun

If you are travelling somewhere in your spare time and you are not having fun while doing so, you should try to realise why that was. After all, travelling itself is not an unfun thing, other than the lack of legroom on the plane it’s usually a blast. Maybe it was a one-off trip which turned out to be bland and the location which you had your expectations set so high for turned out to be not much different than several other places you’ve seen. If that happens, do not get discouraged, the world holds more different types of settings and opportunities for adventure than there are ants in your backyard. Getting put off from travelling for a while by a single trip is one of the worst things you can do to yourself, and if you ever hit that moment then just remember, that you travel for fun first and foremost. Do not be afraid to go to more exotic locations, somewhere across the world completely different from your usual place of residence. This does not mean you have to go and live in the jungle for a month, but countries far from the west such as Japan, have such staggeringly different cultures that you can explore the world anew. Be it amidst a busy metropolis like Tokyo or in a tranquil countryside like Kyōgoku. There’s something for everyone.

Post written in collaboration with Jay Donnelly.

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Alphabet dating Q is for quad biking

Alphabet Dating – Q is for Quad Biking

Just what do you do for Alphabet Dating letter Q? Well here’s an idea… QUAD BIKING!

Both newbies to Quad Biking, hubby and I headed up to Tulley’s Farm in West Sussex, home to Southern Pursuits – the ultimate destination for adrenaline-fuelled activity days in the South East of England.

Before we got going on the Quad Bikes, we had a go at archery because neither of us had really tried that before either, plus Southern Pursuits have quite a few activities to choose from, be it archery, quad biking, clay pigeon shooting, air rifles or even axe throwing! (hey if you’re thinking about starting up Alphabet Dating then there’s plenty of ‘A’ date ideas right here!).

Archery at Southern Pursuits - just a short drive from Gatwick airport

Archery was fun but SO TIRING! Particularly for me as I have the upper body strength of a toddler! Hubby did quite well at it, however my archery skills won’t have Katniss Everdeen quaking in her boots anytime soon.

Next up for us was the main event – quad biking! We were quite fortunate that it was just the two of us, plus our patient and friendly instructor Tom. We were briefed on all the safety instructions, shown how to control the bikes and then we were on our way around the nursery track. The quad bikes were alot more powerful than I expected them to be so I felt a little nervous at the beginning. Southern Pursuits actually use powerful Yamaha 350cc quad bikes whereas most activity centres like this only use 125cc bikes.

Driving on the nursery track at Southern Pursuits quad biking day.

However, once we were off the nursery track and into the woods my nerves vanished and I was having a great time! We drove through the trees, along muddy paths, up hills, down hills and through big puddles. By some sort of miracle only my boots got dirty, not sure how I managed that but we had brought along some spare clothes and shoes for the journey home just incase.

Muddy quad biking at Southern Pursuits

Alphabet dating letter Q

The team at Southern Pursuits were all friendly, fun and professional and the place itself is a great day out for stags, hens, team building events or just those looking for alphabet dating letter Q ideas. It’s also just a short drive from Gatwick so great for tourists too.

Quad biking starts at £45pp + VAT and archery is from £17.50pp + VAT but there are package deals to be had too.

Quad biking fun at Southern Pursuits

Disclaimer: we were invited by Southern Pursuits to try out their activities, but all words and opinions are my own. Photography courtesy of Southern Pursuits.

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