Stick out your personality {and win some Mikado!}

I have a bit of an all or nothing personality.  With food in particular, I can either eat no crisps, or the entire tube of Pringles.  No Dairy Milk or the entire 1kg slab.  No pizza, or an entire 12" Meat Feast.  I just can't help myself, I have no willpower - I think the bit that sends a message from my brain to say I'm full or I don't need any more is defective.  That or I'm just a total greedy-guts.  One of my most frequent phrases to Tom is "take these away from me" - he frequently has to hide tubs of Celebrations, jars of Lotus spread or bags of sweets around the house so I can't find them.  I am a fiend! My consumption of Mikado sticks naturally also suffers the same outcome. It's all very well them advertising that they're only 11 calories a stick, but I can honestly say I've never eaten less than a whole box. My favourite are the Mikado Daim - they always seem to hop into my basket when I'm at the supermarket...

Mikado's current campaign is called 'Stick out your personality' and it aims to discover all the weird and wonderful ways that people eat their Mikado sticks.  Personally I've seen a fair few people do the walrus (don't even try and tell me you haven't pretended to be a walrus with two Mikado sticks, I simply won't believe you), people who use them as edible chopsticks, people who spear fruit or marshmallows onto them... Of course there's lots of other ways your personality can affect the way you eat your Mikado - you might throw them in your gym bag for a post exercise treat, you might keep a stash in your desk at work for the 3pm slump, or you might keep them in your glove box for long car journeys.  They're basically the perfect 'on the go' treat, right?


ANYWAY - enough gushing about those exciting chocolate-y sticks of goodness, what you really want to know is how you can win some Mikado goodies, right? You can win a Mikado selfie stick and some boxes of Mikado just by uploading a selfie of yourself eating Mikado and 'sticking out your personality'.  Just upload your own selfie on Twitter and/or Instagram using the @Mikado_UK handle and #MikadoBy hashtag – and don’t forget to tag me @rosieoutlook so I can see your pictures! The competition closes at midnight on 4 September and Mikado will send you your prizes direct.

Mikado Mikado

Of course I couldn't ask you all to send in your Mikado selfies without doing one of my own.  Here's my 'Stick out your personality' selfie - this pretty much sums up my approach to snacking.  What, they're all gone??

So what are you waiting for - send me a snap of you munching your Mikado, but get your skates on as I have to choose a winner on the 5th - so you only have a week to do it!  Maybe some Mikado could hop into your basket the next time you're at the supermarket - it really does have a habit of doing that, right?

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Mikado.

Liz Earle Ladies Day at Cowes Week with Sunsail

Many of you will know by now that the sea, and nautical things generally, are quite close to my heart.  My Dad was in the Royal Navy when I was a child, and I used to love imagining him in the far-flung areas of the world he would be sent to (mostly the Falklands), sailing around the high seas.  When I was growing up, we never lived more than a ten minute walk from the sea, and most of my youth was spent messing about on the seafront, riding my bike along the promenade to see friends, or getting the ferry across from Gosport to Portsmouth to go clubbing when I was a bit older.  I’ve always had a bit of a thing about traditional sailor tattoos, and some of you might know that I have four different swallow tattoos, as well as ropes, a lighthouse, an anchor and an old ship.  We now live a little further along the coast than what I did as a teenager, but so many of our weekends involve walking or running with Bodhi along Southbourne beach (and you probably might know that even more of Tom’s time is spent surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, or doing anything that involves a board and the sea!)


One thing you might not know is that Tom and I actually met whilst on a Sunsail sailing training week with the organisation we both work for.  We’d never met before (and worked about two hours’ apart from each other at different sites), but Tom was the First Mate on the yacht I was assigned to for the training.  Funnily enough, I signed up with a friend who was always intended to be the First Mate on the yacht, but she had to drop out at the last minute and Tom stepped in to help.  Not sure if fate was doing a bit of subtle nudging on that day! I decided that Tom was the one for me when he spent about an hour trying to teach me how to tie a bowline knot.  Anyone that has the patience to coach a very stubborn me through tying and then re-tying the same knot over and over again has got to be a keeper! Tom now has the coordinates of Port Solent, where we sailed from that day, tattooed on his arm.

Sunsail 001

Despite that amazing sailing experience, and Tom’s parents and one of his best friends owning a boat, I’ve only been sailing a handful of times since that week in 2010.  So when Sunsail got in contact a few weeks ago and asked if I wanted to spend the day going racing on one of their yachts on Cowes Week Ladies Day, and then attending a Liz Earle Reception in the evening, I jumped at the chance at a little nostalgia and the call of the ocean!

So, the Tuesday before last I found myself heading over to Cowes with two other bloggers, three other sailing journalists (all female of course – it was Ladies Day!), and Lucy and Chloe, the lovely PR people from Sunsail, for a day of frolicking and fun on the high seas.  Cowes Week is one of the longest running regular sailing regattas in the world and has 40 races a day, up to 1,000 boats and up to 8,000 competitors – so it really is a huge event for anyone interested in sailing or living on or around the Isle of Wight.  Despite this, I’d never been before, so I was so excited to go along and get a taste of the action!


Immediately after arriving at Cowes we were introduced to the rest of our crew (Nick and Pippa, the two other Sunsail people who would be skippering our yacht) and given our lifejackets and wet weather gear.  Unfortunately my visions of lazing on the foredeck in a bikini were hampered by the good old British summer, and instead of blazing sunshine we had clouds and drizzle.  Another cruel trick that the weather played on us was the absence of wind.  It doesn’t take a genius to work out that going racing in a sailing yacht when there’s not even a single knot of wind is somewhat problematic.  The intention was to race the other Sunsail yachts in the fleet for the chance to win prizes at a later prize-giving ceremony, but the flat calm seas and lack of a breeze rather dashed these plans.


>> photo credit - Karen from Mini Travellers
>> from l - r, Camilla from the Cruising Association, Monika from Mum on the Brink, Karen from Mini Travellers, Emma from Sailing Today.

Instead, we had a brunch of pastries and fruit and were given a tour of the yacht before setting out into the Solent for a very civilised pootle around.  We spied some rather expensive yachts and trimarans and had a good little nose at these, waving at all of the people on various luxury vessels (and trying to convince them to send us over some champagne).  We had cups of tea and tried to avoid the incessant mizzly rain, constantly keeping our fingers crossed for a bit of wind and a break in the clouds.

sunsail 002 sunsail 003

After lunch, and a lot of pootling, we headed back into Cowes for a look at the Cowes Parade Village – a series of stands, exhibitions, bars and food stalls all put on during Cowes Week .  Liz Earle was one of the official sponsors of the event – as well as of Ladies Day - (it has its Head Office on the island) and there was a fab stall offering arm and hand massages, skincare consultations, and a little shop where you could buy their various products.  Cowes itself was also a real hubbub of activity, with lots of popup shops and food places serving the hundreds of people who had descended for Cowes Week. 


 After looking along the Parade we went to the Sunsail Balcony for a light dinner (cold meats, garlic bread, olives and cheese – my favourite type of dinner), a glass of wine and an alternative race with which to inform the prize giving ceremony.  Instead of racing Sunsail yachts, we would be ‘gutter racing’ with the other Sunsail crews – racing little plastic boats down a gutter full of water, with the wind provided by our puffing capability! Unfortunately, it seemed our puff was a little sub-par, as we came second to last, and did not manage to secure a trophy, or a coveted bottle of Chilgrove Gin for our efforts.

gutter race

After the puffing and prize giving was over we changed into our evening attire and took a car to Northwood House for the evening reception.  The Ladies Day reception included the giving of the prestigious Ladies Day trophy, championing women in sailing and recognising the contribution of a woman who has played an integral part in sailing over the previous year.  This year the trophy was given to Libby Greenhalgh, Chief Navigator for Team SCA in the recent Volvo Round the World Ocean Race.

Liz Earle Ladies Day Reception at Northwood House liz earle reception

We were lucky enough to be given lots of lovely glasses of champagne and canap├ęs whilst we chatted to others at the Reception and helped celebrate the prize giving.  We were also given some extremely generous goodie bags packed full of Liz Earle products.

Liz Earle goodies from Ladies Day

After the reception was over we hopped back on the Redjet ferry for our journey back to Southampton.  I was personally pretty exhausted - it turns out that motoring around the Solent, eating lots of yummy food and then drinking lots of champagne is tiring work indeed! It was a totally amazing day and I was thrilled to be invited - I owe a huge thank you to Sunsail for inviting me.  I've now been checking out their yachting holidays as, whilst I think it was pretty awesome sailing around the Solent, I think it would be even more awesome to sail around the Caribbean....

Are you a seasoned sailor? Have you ever been to Cowes Week?


EarlyBird TasteBox Subscription Review (a snack box, with tea!)

Working in an office, you learn that it’s the small things that can improve an otherwise dull day. Some days, just finding out I have a parking space at work, having an interesting meeting or phonecall to look forward to, or buying myself a nice new pen to use, can get me through the day.  So having a delivery of yummy snacks (and tea) arriving in the post tray at work every week has definitely brightened up my Tuesdays no end.

earlybird tastebox review

'What box of magic is this?' I hear you ask - well, the Earlybird Taste Box is a new kid on the ‘subscription snack box’ block – but different enough to pique my attention.  Along with including five delicious bags of treats (mostly healthy, though some less so), there are also two teas to try, and a cool illustration on the inside lid of the box.  As someone who frequently forgets to pack a lunch and finds myself ravenous around 10am, having a stash of snacks on hand is a definite winner (although, they give you five snacks with the idea that you eat one a day through the working week, whereas I usually eat three or four on the day they arrive and only have one left on the Wednesday!)

The snacks you receive are often nut and seed based, with some feeling really healthy and saintly (sunflower seeds, peanuts,  dried berries, cherries, sultanas, almonds, etc) and some feeling a bit more indulgent (salted caramel popcorn, brownie crumble, blondie biscuits, and some of the mixes like ‘Jaffa’ – dark chocolate, orange chocolate, almonds and sultanas).  I would say however, that even the snacks I’d describe as not quite as healthy, are usually pretty low in calories (I was surprised to see that the Blondie Biscuits, all vanilla-y and yummy-y, were only 87 calories).  All of the nutritional info comes in a handy little booklet, and is also available online on their website.  I've been using MyFitnessPal again to log my food and they're really great for a mid-afternoon snack without compromising on your calories.

earlybird tastebox review
Taste Box Review

I’ve never received a snack I didn’t like (which, as a self-confessed fusspot, I’m quite surprised about) and some of their snacks were really different and fun.  I liked the way they made a healthy snack out of a ‘dessert’, like Black Forest Gateau (cherries, dark chocolate and pistachios) or Pecan Pie (pecans, caramel fudge and sultanas).

Pecan Pie Early Bird

At £4.50 per box, I think the TasteBox represents really good value, and I think the variety and range of snacks is better than I experienced as a Graze subscriber (check out their full list of snacks - there's likely some that will whet your appetite!).  I will definitely subscribe to this myself as it really brightened up my Tuesday mornings (I think the intention is for them to start coming on Mondays instead, but mine always arrived on Tuesdays).  If I can develop enough willpower to have one a day through the week then it really will be the gift that keeps on giving; but until then I’ll enjoy my Tuesday gorges!

Taste Box Review
Do you subscribe to any snack boxes or subscription boxes?

You can get a free TasteBox to try by using the code 'bebop-5012' when you sign up here!


Another dear diary

I feel like I probably shouldn't write any more blog posts about being lost and confused, for fear of a) sounding like a broken record, and b) getting any more concerned pats on the shoulder from people who know me in real life and read my blog.  I do really appreciate the concern and the support (some people have been so kind), it's just that in some areas people have made assumptions about how I am, and tried to diagnose me with various things, and honestly... I really am okay.  It's just kind of a weird time - a time of growth, and reflection, and decision-making, and sometimes it's felt a little wearing, and tiring.  But the only way out is through, right?

I am trying really hard to bring my blogging back to the realm of catchup posts, reviews, photos of days out, but the truth is, I'm just so exhausted at the moment that I feel like I've been doing little else than commuting to and from work, cooking dinner and then collapsing into bed.  My commute is one of the things I feel like I really have to change in order to improve my overall wellbeing and happiness.  I'm actually boring myself how much I whinge about it now! If I had no commute I'd have an average of an extra three hours to myself a day.  Can you imagine that? Three hours! I've been working on the workbook section of The Desire Map and I've just completed a section on 'things that aren't working', and it's surprising how much 'time' comes up (or perhaps it's not).  I've noted that I don't have enough time for hobbies, for creativity, for running, for yoga - all that good stuff that makes me feel content, and relaxed, and fulfilled, and happy.  So just from a practical perspective, not losing so much time per day to sitting in my car would be a win.  (Of course I also need to prioritise making time for things that make me feel good).
img credit: iconosquare.com

I think I'm quite a selfish person sometimes - it's an accusation that's been levelled at me on many occasions. I'm quite strong-willed, impulsive and stubborn and I don't like anyone telling me I can't do things.  Of course, when you're married and settled in a particular location, you can't just uproot your life and move because you want to shorten your commute.  I feel wedded to my job because I love the organisation I work for (Tom and I both work for the same organisation), and the location I work in is where the majority of my friends live; but we live 26 miles away.  I feel lonely where we live - we don't have any friends within ten minutes of our house, and though we have a handful of friends a little further out, I long to have friends and family to close enough to pop round for a cup of tea and a natter with.  But where we live is perfect for Tom - he can surf, kitesurf, walk the dog (which he loves), he has friends here, and it's a good location for his work.  So it's a tricky situation for us as a couple as obviously we want to find a way to make decisions that make us both happy.

In many ways we are so lucky - if my desires were to live (almost) in the middle of nowhere, have a fluffy little dog, a garden, a nice house, and places close by for walking the dog and going for the odd pub lunch, I would have it nailed.  But as much as I like the quiet of living somewhere quite rural; seeing deer in the forest when I get the train home, being late for work because there's cows in the road (ha) ... I also long to be able to walk to restaurants in the evening, to go to the cinema without having a half-an-hour drive, to be able to easily go to shops or for a drink now and then.  I miss being able to walk to friends' houses, or being able to visit my parents without a two-hour round trip (much less than some people, I know) I've been thinking a lot about my personal values recently and I also discussed them with my life coach a couple of weeks ago. Some of the things that are important to me are connection, friendship, and creativity.  These things are really lacking from my life at the moment - so many of the people I feel closest to (Sarah and Katy for example) live several hours away, and even those friends who live 'in the area' who I love spending time with (like Emma, and Olivia) are still a minimum 25 minutes away.  I am envious of people who have a 'best friend' who knows everyone about them, who they speak to almost daily, and see regularly enough that you don't have to have a lengthy 'when did I last see you' catchup every time you see each other.  It would mean so much to have someone like that to talk to right now.

Creativity is another thing my life coach quickly identified as being important to me.  She thinks that creating things, and writing, is the antidote for my stress and feelings of unrest, and that I should pursue it wherever possible.  I've been trying to write more personal 'stream of consciousness' type blog posts on here lately (like this one!) and I've been writing more poetry, and it definitely makes me feel better.  (I hope they're not dull to read!)  I just can't help feeling like having more time to write (not least just not being tired all of the time) would just be amazing.  

There's a lot of decisions to be made at the moment - where we might live (which unfortunately means us both significantly compromising - which I'm learning is the foundation of a successful marriage!), whether I ought to change jobs and which hobbies and goals I should prioritise (I just don't have enough time unfortunately to blog, run, do yoga, take on a new qualification, read the books on my 'to-read' pile, watch all the box sets I want to watch, write poetry, put things in my project life scrapbook, read all of the various magazines I subscribe to, travel, go away for long weekends, see friends and family, go on photography trips, go to boxing class, and so on).  

It feels like a strange time.  Your early-30s really are when you make decisions that will affect the next 5 or 10 years of your life (or the whole rest of your life if you decide to have children - not something I want right now, or maybe at all).  What makes it tougher is, as I've explained in lots of other posts, I just don't have any of the answers at the moment.  Do I want to live 'the good life' - grow my own vegetables, bake at the weekends, live in Dorset, go on long walks with the dog, visit country houses at weekends... or do I want 'the city life' - drinks after work, shopping trips, cocktails with friends, weekends away in different European cities, a big, spacious flat (with a garden for Bodhi!).  A mix of both, I think - who says you have to be 'all one column' anyway?  But it's tricky to know sometimes what you do really like, and what you just 'think' you like, because social media, films, friends, etc, make you feel like you should.  (I both love and hate watching Made In Chelsea because I always end up feeling depressed that I'm not jetsetting around the world, going to pool parties and blowing money on designer clothes).

There's no resolution to this post, of course - just a lot of decisions that need to be made, a lot of ideas and thoughts, and a lot of confusion.  If only I had a time machine - I quite fancy being 17 again right now, being 31 is complicated.


Pets in windows

When I first heard about the 'pets in windows' campaign it put an instant smile on my face.  I love nothing more than walking around our neighbourhood and seeing an inquisitive pet looking back at me from the window of a house as I walk by.  Dogs barking (with wagging tails) as I wander by with Bodhi, or cats who aren't quite sure about the little pup strolling along in front of their kingdom. More often than not though, cats always look like they're just waiting for their owner to return.  It reminds me of this quote from Margaret Mead - "One of the oldest human needs is to have someone wonder where you are when you don't come home at night." 

The Pets in Windows campaign is being run by Everest Home Improvements - and as well as providing some unbelievably cute photos of pets, they're also giving money to the RSPCA for everyone who submits a photo.  But more on this later - for now I want to join in with the spirit of the campaign and share some of my friends' photos of their awesome animals.  I can't even remotely decide which one is the cutest though!  Unfortunately, Bodhi does not really spend his time looking out of windows - well, not up close anyway.  He sits on the stairs and barks at passers-by (and the postman!) but he doesn't have a good enough perch to peer directly out of the window.  So my post about the pets in windows campaign is being fronted up by some other pets I know - onto the snaps!

001. This is Winston - he's one very good looking cat isn't he? His favourite thing to do when he's not gazing out of windows is to push things off surfaces.  He belongs to my friend Charlotte - she's even renamed her instagram 'Winstagram' as he does rather dominate her feed (for good reason).

002. This is a slightly different angle for 'pets in windows' - this is my friend Lauren's parents' dog Kerry lovingly looking into the house.

003. And no blog post that features pets would be complete without the endlessly photogenic Dexter, owned by my awesome friend Ayden, of Little Blog of Horrors.

004. Talking of famous cats - here is Ralph and Runkle... You may know these cats from the beautiful Katy's blog, Little Winter.

005. This is Rosie's dog Piper - apparently she is a little menace now; this is from when she was 10 weeks old and wanted to play outside with the big dogs! There is more about Piper on Rosie's blog here.

006. And this is Charlie's cat Rooster (such a cool name!) when she saw snow for the first time...

007. This is my friend Becky's cats, Oscar and Theo - I love this photo of them! (They look very innocent in this photo, which I know to not be true - at least for one of them!)

008. One last kitty photo - this is my friend Laura's cats, they're called Daisy and Anya.

009. Okay so I might have saved the best until last... but I would say that, I'm a dog lover (though these cute kitty photos could almost tempt me over to the dark side!) This is Oskar and his best friend Olive, of Uberlin - kindly sent to me by my friend Hannah, and taken by Zoe Noble.

If you have a cool photo of your pet gazing out of the window, you should definitely enter the competition.  You could win a £50 John Lewis voucher - but my favourite part of the campaign is that Everest will give £5 to the RSPCA (registered charity number 219099) for everyone who enters, up to a maximum of £5,000. You can enter online here http://www.everest.co.uk/pets-in-windows/  or using the hashtag #PetsInWindows via Twitter.

Is your cat or dog fond of looking out of the window? Do you have a favourite out of this rather adorable lineup? (I know - it's impossible to choose!)

You can follow Everest Home Improvements on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date on their latest deals and offers, and should also check out their top quality double glazing.

This post is a PR collaboration - but I do really love this campaign! What's not to like?


Being a tourist in Bournemouth | Travelodge Tourist

Being a tourist in Bournemouth

Even though I've lived on the outskirts of Bournemouth for four years, I always feel stumped when people ask me for the best things to do in Bournemouth.  So when Travelodge asked me to be a tourist for the day and tick off a list of as many fun activities as possible, I jumped at the chance to see a side of Bournemouth that I haven't really seen yet.

So, armed with a list of ten things for tourists to do in Bournemouth, we headed out on Saturday ready to do some serious sightseeing.

We started out in Lower Gardens, which are the long gardens between the beach and the city centre. They are beautifully kept, with lovely flowers and plants - as well as housing the famous Bournemouth balloon.  On Wednesday evenings in August there are also candlelight nights where the gardens are filled with candles.

lower gardens bournemouth Bournemouth Balloon

Our next stop was the Bournemouth balloon.  Tom and I have both wanted to go up in the Bournemouth balloon since we moved here, but have never got around to it - so being a tourist for the day was the perfect excuse! The balloon is attached to the ground by a steel cable and goes up almost 500ft, for views across the New Forest and over Bournemouth of up to 20 miles away.  It was a slightly breezy day on Saturday so the balloon was moving around quite a lot and I was a little nervous! But it was a lot of fun, and the views were absolutely amazing, especially along the coastline and looking out over the forest.

view from bournemouth balloon view from bournemouth balloon 05 view from bournemouth balloon 03 view from bournemouth balloon 02 Bottom of bournemouth balloon

Our next stop was intended to be the 6d cinema, but we spotted a sign in the lobby that said that people with travel sickness shouldn't try it (it's a simulator with 'twists and turns'), and since I get ill sitting in the backwards seat on the train, I thought I'd better give it the swerve.  Instead we went a few steps up the road and stopped at Patisserie Valerie for tea and cake.  I had cheesecake and a pot of green tea, and Tom had a coffee and millefeuille.  Both were totally delicious and definitely set us up for some more exploring!

patisserie valerie bournemouth
patisserie valerie

On the way back through town we stopped at the Garden Bar - a little popup bar with beach huts, faux 'garden sheds' and all sorts of other fun places to sit and enjoy a drink.  There was also a guy playing acoustic guitar who was really good - you could sit in a deckchair and listen to him play (what a perfect way to while away a sunny afternoon).

garden bar bournemouth square

Our next stop was the Oceanarium, which is the Aquarium next to the Pier.  It's another thing we've been meaning to do since we moved here - particularly since the entrance fee is only £8.95 (if you book online), and they now have penguins, which I was particularly excited to see!

There was no queue when we got there, so we went straight in and managed to catch feeding time for the otters! Seeing them diving down in the water to get the food, and swimming around and playing was a lot of fun.  After the otters we saw all kinds of different fish (as you'd imagine), including black tip reef sharks, big eyed jacks, moray eels and stingrays.

Fish at the oceanarium Me at the Oceanarium

The penguins were a definite highlight for me.  When we first arrived one of the penguins was flapping his wings and opening and shutting his beak a lot - I thought he was doing a happy little dance but the aquarium guide told us that the penguins were actually moulting and it was quite a painful and uncomfortable period for them.  I felt really sorry for one in particular - he looked really miserable! It was still nice to see the penguins though, they have a lovely view over Bournemouth beach!

Penguins at the Oceanarium penguin at the oceanarium

My other favourite was the leatherback turtles.  They are such beautiful creatures and it's very calming to watch them swim around.  The crocodiles were not quite so calming to watch, they look like they'd chomp on you if you just looked at them funny!

crocodile at the oceanarium

After the Oceanarium we went for a little stroll along Bournemouth beach.  I must admit that it was a lot more crowded than I would have preferred - we usually go to Southbourne beach as it's a little quieter.

Bournemouth beach

After our stroll along the beach we had worked up enough of an appetite to go to Sixty Million Postcards for an early dinner.  We have been to Sixty Million Postcards a few times and it's always a good place to go for drinks or dinner - it's a definite must visit if you're going for food in Bournemouth.

sixty million postcards outside sixty million postcards

Sixty Million Postcards is a very quirky, fun bar, with postcards, maps and newspaper clippings stuck all over the walls.  The food menu is full of burgers, sharing platters, chicken wings, mac n cheese and hot dogs.  We had a cider and a beer and perused the menu - I opted for a burger with halloumi and coleslaw, and Tom went for a burger with peanut butter, emmental, smoked bacon and grilled pineapple (he went a bit crazy).  He also went for hot wings on the side...

sixty million postcards menu sixty million postcards burger sixty million postcards burger 02

We were running out of time on our day of being tourists, so our final stop was the Wight Bear Ale House - a micropub in Southbourne. The Ale House serve ales, cider, tea and coffee - and if you're hungry (which we definitely weren't after those burgers...) you can eat their homemade scotch eggs, pork pies and local cheeses.  They also have a rule - no ringtones and chatting on your phone! - and promote good old conversation (50p in the charity pot if your phone rings!)

wight bear ale house

They were really friendly and we'll definitely be going back when one of us isn't the designated driver (unlucky me!) After a leisurely drink we headed home, rather tired after our busy day of being tourists! Unfortunately we didn't fit in all of their recommendations - we didn't get a chance to see the Russell Coates Museum, play slots on the Pier or play mini golf - we'll have to save these for next time!

It was lots of fun doing all of the tourist-y things that you often don't do when you live in a town.  I'm so chuffed we got to visit the Oceanarium and go up in the balloon - both were great fun (and good value).  It's made me appreciate Bournemouth so much more, and I've now amassed a good list of recommendations for the next time someone asks me for suggestions for things to do!

This post was written in conjunction with Travelodge for their #travelodgetourist campaign.  If you're thinking of visiting Bournemouth, make sure you check out the Bournemouth Travelodge.