lifestyle
*Our tickets to Go Ape Coventry were complimentary in exchange for an honest review.

Coventry, it's probably not the first place you would think to go for an action-packed day out. But nestled away in the beautiful grounds of the Coombe Country Park you will find Go Ape Coventry, an adventure centre filled with fun activities for all ages. From obstacle courses high in the treetops, to zip wires longer than I'd ever experienced before, and even Axe Throwing - this place has it all!

Grace standing on one of the many wooden crossings

I popped down to Go Ape Coventry to try out their Treetop Challenge and Axe Throwing...


At Go Ape Coventry you can choose between 3 Treetop activities; Treetop Adventure, Treetop Adventure+, and the Treetop Challenge which is the longest of the courses and the one we decided to go for on our visit. The Treetop Challenge consists of 4 different courses (which were numbered 5 - 8) and can take between 2 - 3 hours to fully complete. I'd guess that we took the full 3 hours to finish all 4 courses, though this did include a snack break or two!

On the Treetop Challenge, you'll find a fair bit of climbing, plenty of tricky crossing's, and my favourite - zip wires. While I've taken on similar challenges before, none of them had quite as many zip wires as the Coventry Treetop Challenge, and definitely none were as long or high as the final zip wire on course 7. 

Grace and her sister posing for a photograph up in the trees. Her dad can be seen in the background hanging on to one of the crossings.


The course has an easy-moderate difficulty level, and while this is true for the most part, I would say that you'd need to have some level of fitness to complete all sections of the course. Also if heights aren't your thing, I doubt this course would be for you as some areas are pretty far off the ground!
That being said the course isn't scary and although there were times I had to push myself to jump over the edge, I felt completely safe the whole time I was there. 

The Treetop Challenge costs £33 for visitors over 16, and £28 for anyone 15 and under.

Two pairs of hands wearing the fingerless Go Ape gloves

Tips for completing the Treetop Challenge at Go Ape Coventry


  • Grab a pair of gloves like the ones pictured above. We did the first two courses without gloves, and whilst this is perfectly doable, we completed the last two courses wearing gloves and it was much more comfortable.
  • Course 5 is likely the longest course out of the 4 so I would recommend doing this first.
  • Course 7 is all about the zip wires and in my opinion, is the most fun and exhilarating course, so I would recommend doing this one last as it really does leave you on a high!
  • Wear appropriate clothes, and try to avoid wearing anything too bulky as you will want to be comfortable in the harness you are required to wear.

Several people working their way through the treetop obstacle course


Once we had completed the Treetop Challenge at Go Ape Coventry, we moved on to another fun activity - Axe Throwing. The Axe Throwing costs £14 per person for 1 hour and guests wishing to take part need to be aged 16 or above for obvious reasons. There are 4 lanes at the axe throwing site which was perfect for us as it meant everyone in our group had a lane each.

For the first part of the Axe Throwing, you are shown how to safely throw the axe, you are then allowed to chuck it about to your heart's content. After practising for a while the instructor will set up a few games for your party, before moving on to the main tournament. I obviously came last in the final game, even though I was the only one who had been Axe Throwing before, but I'm not bitter about it...

Two men throwing axes towards a wooden target board while another man standing to the side is keeping score

Safety measures put in place due to Covid-19


As we are still in a pandemic, it's only right that Go Ape Coventry has taken extra precautions on their site to help stop the spread of coronavirus. As well as limiting the number of guests on site I noticed the following safety measures:

  • Hand sanitizer and hand wash stations available around the site.
  • Staff wearing visors if they needed to be within 2 metres of guests.
  • Staff explaining that social distancing rules need to be adhered to at all times.
  • Cones laid out to prevent guests front mingling in queues.


For the most part, I thought the extra precautions were spot on and I felt that the staff on site were taking the situation very seriously which was great. The only issue I had on the day was that the initial entrances to 3 of the courses are through vertical shafts which guests are required to climb. The shafts are next to each other and if two guests from different households are climbing the shafts next to each other, social distancing is impossible. This is something we came across on our visit but hopefully staff have since gotten better at staggering the number of people allowed to enter the courses at the same time.

a GIF image showing Grace's sister going down a zipwire


All in all, we had a fantastic day out at Go Ape Coventry, and we felt it was a safe way to enjoy a few hours without having to worry too much about the ongoing pandemic. The grounds surrounding the Go Ape site are also lovely to wander around - if you have any energy left after your activity that is!

Have you tried out any of the Go Ape courses before?

Thanks for reading!


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Coventry, UK

MONKEYING AROUND AT GO APE COVENTRY*

This month I have decided to choose a local charity and one that's pretty close to my heart. As a history lover, I have spent many hours exploring the venues looked after by this charity and so when I heard it was in danger due to the coronavirus crisis I knew I wanted to support it in any way I could.


So without any more small talk, I'd like to introduce this month's chosen charity...


The entrance to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery


This month's chosen charity: Birmingham Museums Trust


Birmingham Museums Trust is a charity which looks after 9 venues across the city, ensures the collections within each property is well cared for, and hosts events and exhibitions for the public. The properties cared for by the Birmingham Museums Trust include, but are not limited to, local treasures such as; Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Aston Hall, and Sarehole Mill.


Why is this fund so important?


60% of the trust's income comes from selling exhibition tickets, and sales inside their cafes and shops, meaning that due to the pandemic the majority of their revenue has been wiped out. Even though most of the properties have been closed since March, the costs of keeping these beautiful buildings remain and so they desperately need to replace their lost funding. Without funding, we risk losing some of Birmingham's most important historic buildings and the collections within them. 


What can I do to help?


There are several ways you can help support the Birmingham Museums Trust:


Donate

The trust has set up a Just Giving page for anyone wishing to donate. As of August 2020, the Birmingham Museums Trust have managed to raise an amazing £34,000 to keep them going throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, but the fundraising doesn't have to stop there.

You can donate to the Birmingham Museums Trust Here.


Shop

The Birmingham Museum gift shop is continuing to run online with a whole bunch of Birmingham based merch on offer. The shop has also recently added hand sanitiser and facemasks to their stock list meaning you can stay safe and support the Museums Trust at the same time.

You can visit the Birmingham Museums Trust online gift shop here.


Visit & Eat

Whilst the majority of their venues will remain closed for now, Sareholl Mill is still offering their courtyard pizza which can be purchased and eaten on site. Two other properties, Blakesley Hall and Aston Hall are currently offering tours of the properties which will run at a specific time and require a pre-booked ticket. 


If you can afford to help the Birmingham Museums Trust in any way that would be fantastic, but I understand that money is tight for people at the moment so please consider sharing the fundraiser if you can't donate. You can also follow the Birmingham Museums Trust on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to keep up to date with their fundraising and eventual reopenings.


Just a quick announcement - This will be the last of these posts I write as they don't seem to get a huge amount of traffic and I figured I could probably do more to help by using Twitter and Instagram to promote important charities.


Thank you so much for taking the time to read about this month's chosen charity, and thank you again if you were able to make a donation. 


If you liked this post don't forget to click here to follow me on Bloglovin!




Other important funds you might want to donate to:



Birmingham, UK

BIRMINGHAM'S MUSEUMS NEED YOUR HELP

In the early hours of January 1st as I saw in the new year with my friends, I never would have predicted half of what was about to happen. My year was going to be filled with travel, a promotion at work, and generally I was planning on having a bloody good time. Fast forward 8 months and here I am, slap bang in the middle of a pandemic, recently redundant from the role I'd just been promoted to, and not having too much fun.


But while I cannot wait for this whole mess to be over, surprisingly there are certain aspect of lockdown life I'm actually happy to keep once the pandemic is long gone...


Grace is sat in a fold away camping chair in the garden. She is holden a cocktail glass in one hand. Beside her is a small greenhouse filled with seedlings

One of the biggest parts of lockdown for me was how much time I got to spend with my family. For the most part I didn't see anyone other than my parents, (who I live with) and yes it's probably true that we had more disagreements during this period, but I've never been so grateful to live with other people. This year I was considering moving out alone as it would be the first time in my life I would have the means to do so, but luckily I didn't make that jump.

Aside from spending every waking minute with my parents, I also got to go on some great day trips with them, and me and my dad even bonded over the course of a very stressful week decorating my room. As a modern feminist, my dads views and my own don't always align which can occasionally cause arguments, but I know in the future I will look back at that week, and even some of our better lockdown day's quite fondly. 

Being locked in the house also gave me the opportunity to explore new hobbies which I wouldn't have picked up if I was still working full time. Very early on in the lockdown I purchased a record player. I guessed if the pandemic was going to be keeping me at home, I might as well be treated to some great music! A lot of my time in isolation was spent trawling the internet for records and waiting for them to arrive in the post. It actually gave me something to look forward to every few days which helped my mental health more than I probably realised. Now that lockdown is basically over I'm really excited to start mooching through record and charity shops for some banging vinyls - any recommendations are welcome!

If you follow me over on Instagram, you'll also know I've become a plant mom and a pretty decent gardener too. A few weeks into the pandemic I planted some cucumber seeds and nurtured the little seedlings until the fruit began to appear. I recently harvested my first cucumber, and while it was different to a shop bought product, it was pretty damn good. I've since grown multiple other cucumber plants and tomatoes plants, most of which have already found their way to new homes. I've also been hoarding house plants like an absolute maniac and as of mid August I have 24 plants living in my little jungle bedroom.

Keeping plants and watching them grow has been another thing which I believe has really saved my mental health throughout all of this, which actually brings me to my next point. Being locked in my home, and fearing the death of my parents every day gave me a better understanding of just how fragile my mental health can be. You might have read about my struggles with anxiety over the last few years, which I did manage to get under control for the most part until recently, but the Coronavirus pandemic saw my anxiety flare up to levels I'd never seen before. While this isn't a good thing at all, it was a bit of a wake up call and I now know I need to look after my mental health just as much as I would any other aspect of my heath.

Speaking of staying fit and healthy - let's talk facemasks. Never in all my life did I think facemasks would be so controversial, but here we are. Personally I am more than happy to wear a face covering of some sort. I am healthy, and physically able to wear one so I see no issues with keeping one in my bag and popping it on when needed. Wearing a facemask when sick is something I'd actually be very keen to keep even after the pandemic dies out. In some countries it's normal to wear a facemask if you're ill to prevent others from catching it, and in my opinion that seems like the right thing to do, afterall why would you want expose others to your germs if you can easily prevent it? 

I do think that one of the most important things I've gained from living through a pandemic and lockdown, is how I view my life and the world around me. I've always wanted a lot out of life, I want to explore the globe, and experience everything on offer, but now I also appreciate the little things more. I genuinely enjoy spending time outdoors, I'm grateful every day for my friends and family, I appreciate having a healthy able body, and I've just generally fallen in love with the world again. Living through this time, which don't get me wrong has been mostly awful, has given me almost a new lease of life and a passion to live every day the way I want to. I really hope I keep hold of this new found appreciation for everything, because I truly believe it's the key to a happy life.

So while living in a lockdown and through a pandemic - which is not over yet - has been terrible in so many ways, there are aspects of lockdown life that I will keep, long after this is all a distant memory. 


If there anything you've learned in lockdown, or any part of it you'd be happy to keep when this is all over?

Thanks for reading!


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Birmingham, UK

WHY I'M HAPPY TO KEEP SOME ASPECTS OF LOCKDOWN LIFE AFTER THE PANDEMIC

The Lake District was once described as "the loveliest spot that man has ever known" and after spending some time there myself I can wholeheartedly agree with that statement. The Lake District, which can be found in the county of Cumbria, is host to 16 stunning lakes and miles of breathtaking scenery. While I don't think there are any ugly spots in the area, I do think there are some locations within the Lake District that you just cannot miss.

Looking down across a wide lake surrounded by hills

So here are the most beautiful locations in the Lake District...


Aira Force


The Aira Force waterfall is just one of many waterfalls you can find dotted around the Lake District, though I would argue this is one of the more impressive. The 21.3 metre tall waterfall can be viewed from several viewpoints however I would recommend viewing from the below as this is where you will find the most dramatic view (and be coated in a subtle spray from the falls). Aira Force can be easily accessed from the National Trust Car Park which is also only a short distance from the shores of Ullswater lake.

two images. the first is of a tall waterfall. the second is of a wide bubbling stream

Ullswater


Of the lakes I visited Ullswater was the most beautiful in my opinion, though it was stiff competition and to date, I have not yet visited all of the Lakes in the area so my opinion may well change in the future. Ullswater is the second largest body of water in the Lake District National Park and can be accessed from several car parks in the area. Surrounded by remarkable scenery, Ullswater offers both space to relax on the shore or the option to take to the water in a historical steamer if you wish. On my visit, I also found the water calm enough to explore in our kayak so that is also an option if you have your own equipment. 

two images. the first image is a view of Ullswater lake from the shore. The second image is of Grace and her father in a blow up kayak

Surprise View


The most uncreative name award goes to - Surprise View. The view, which may not actually come as much of a surprise to those who actively seek it out, is located atop a steep hill next to Derwentwater Lake. You may be able to walk to Surprise View from the bottom of the sloping road however, there is a conveniently placed car park opposite the location. This is probably the best option for anyone not wanting to hike. Whichever way you chose to transport yourself to the area, it is well worth the trip, even if you already know what you'll see on arrival. Whilst the name won't be winning any points for originally any time soon, the view you are treated to here more than makes up for it! 

two images. Both are of the wide Derwentwater lake which is surrounded by green hills

Ashness Bridge


Further down the road from Surprise View, you can find Ashness Bridge. The bridge is a traditional stone bridge which allows travellers to cross over the fast running beck below. While the bridge itself is the main draw here, the bubbling stream which runs underneath is just as beautiful to witness. You'll find the bridge replicated on hundreds of souvenirs in the area and it is said to be one of the most photographed locations in the Lake District. Ashness Bridge can be easily accessed from the National Trust car park less than a minute up the road.  

Castlerigg Stone Circle


A Stone Circle may not be at the top of your to-do list while visiting the Lake District but I'm here to try and change your mind. Very few stone circles can be found surrounded by such impressive scenery whilst also being free to visit and easily accessible. Although you won't be able to glimpse any bodies of water from Castlerigg Stone Circle, it's location atop high hill gives the opportunity to spy on the incredible mountainous landscape that encloses the site. 
Castlerigg Stone Circle can be found in the north of the Lake District and can be accessed by free roadside parking opposite the site.

two images. the first image is a shot of the whole stone circle. the second image is a close up shot of one of the stones which is covered in a thin layer of moss. sweeping hills can be seen in the background of both images.


So those are the most beautiful locations in the Lake District in my opinion. The Lake District is by far the most picturesque area of England I've been lucky enough to visit and I'm sure I will continue to add to this list whenever I return for another trip. 

What do you think should have made it onto the list?


Thanks for reading!


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another image of the large Ullswater lake. Text on top of the image reads "the most beautiful locations in the lake district"

Lake District National Park, United Kingdom

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL LOCATIONS IN THE LAKE DISTRICT

There was once a time when you weren't a proper blogger unless you were living in the capital. London was the place to be for budding social media stars, and you'd never make it unless you were dining at Peggy Porschen or Sketch 5 times a week. But Birmingham is my home town, I have no intentions of leaving it (just yet) and actually being a Birmingham blogger is pretty damn great.

I love being a Birmingham blogger, and here's why...


Grace inside a restaurant drinking a strawberry Daiquiri


I can nip to London for the big blog events if I like, but actually, there are a tonne of things happening right here in Birmingham too! While it's unlikely that huge blog events will be held in my fair city anytime soon, we have enough fun things happening here. From skincare launches to new restaurant openings and even comedy nights, Birmingham has events for every type of blogger!

The Birmingham Blogging community is pretty nice. There's minimal bitchiness in our community and most of the time we all support each other. I have a good selection of blogger friends who I look forward to seeing at events and even when I meet new bloggers for the first time we always get along. I've heard a lot of stories from London bloggers of how competitive the scene is over there and I'm so glad that's not the case here in Birmingham.

Independent bars, cafes, and restaurants are everywhere in Brum and there are so many Birmingham Bloggers promoting them too. If I'm ever on the hunt for a new haunt I can just ask some of the Brummie Blogger girls and I'll be given a thousand suggestions for places I've never even heard of. I actually think Birmingham is one of the best cities in the UK for independents of all kinds and that's something to be proud of.

The Birmingham Blogger community is mostly working class. Before anyone starts I have nothing against luxury lifestyle bloggers, I just prefer reading blogs written by people like me. The majority of Birmingham bloggers I know are common as muck and I absolutely love that for us! Besides blog events wouldn't be half as fun if we were all prim and proper and didn't drink our body weight in free booze right?

Ever since I can remember Birmingham has been branded a shithole (usually by snobs & people who have never even been here) and I genuinely feel that this label is unjust! Here in Brum, we have so many gorgeous places which means Birmingham Bloggers have tons of great locations to shoot. From the beautiful Botanical Gardens to the sophisticated Colmore Row, and our miles of canals - Birmingham can easily rival London for fab backgrounds!



And so those are just a few of the reasons why I love living and blogging in beautiful Brum!

Are you a fellow Brummie? Tell me your favourite things about the second city in the comments below!


Thanks for reading!


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Birmingham, UK

WHY I LOVE BEING A BIRMINGHAM BLOGGER

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