Race for Life 2014 – What a Day!

Hi Everyone!

So today I wanted to share with you my experience of taking part in the 2014 Race for Life at Oxford University Parks on Sunday 13th July. I took part in the race with one of my best friends and the two of us wanted to jog/power walk the 5k rather than run it as we hadn’t trained much and it was a hot day so we didn’t want to overdo it!

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We arrived at the venue shortly before 9am with the race due to start at 10am so we had plenty of time to wander round the site and see what was going on. There were stalls by Pink Lady, & Heart FM and we were handed out free bottles of water, apples and brioche/croissants to keep our energy levels up!

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At 9.30 there was a welcome on stage by Matt & Michelle from Heart FMs breakfast show followed by a talk from a recent cancer survivor and an Oxford university science lecturer giving information on the research that looks in to cancer cures and explaining how vital it is that we continue to fundraise to try and beat it. After this we had a warm up from a couple of dance instructors which was fun and everyone joined in so there was a real sense of togetherness for all involved!

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We started the race dead on 10am and enjoyed a brisk jog up until the 1k point before we switched to a power walk between 2-4k and then ran the last kilometer to the finish line where we were met with cheers from the gathering crowds and a hi5 from Matt (Heart Breakfast) and were greeted with a volunteer handing out more free water bottles and, most importantly, our race for life medals!

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After watching hundreds of people flock towards the various food outlets for much needed hot dogs, burgers and chips we decided to take advantage of the free brioche buns that were handed out and gently strolled out of the park towards the exit where I was met and congratulated by my lovely parents who had offered to pick us up! Had we had a bit more time to spare we would have checked out the rest of the stalls at the venue and maybe spoke to a few more race finishers, but it was getting close to the midday sun, the heat was rising and we were feeling tired so headed home for a shower and a nice chilled day instead!

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Just so you know, we finished the race in 48 mins and were very proud of ourselves. Oh, and we also raised over £320 between us so would like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone that sponsored us!! If you would like to donate to either of our JustGiving pages it’s not too late as we will be sending the final totals over sometime in August.. click on our pages below to have a look!

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https://www.justgiving.com/jessicabuck/

https://www.justgiving.com/antoniaansell/

Thanks for reading everyone!

Love Jess x

Day out in Oxford!

So after the excitement of my London trip I thought I was going to be chilling out and relaxing on my final day off work, but my eagerness to get out in the beautiful sunshine took over me and I soon roped in one of my best friends to keep me company on a trip to Oxford, our wonderful home city! girls We spent the morning shopping in the Westgate centre (most of our time was spent in the massive Primark store which the centre boasts!) and then meandered our way up the historic high street in search of some bargains. After a brief stop at the well known Carfax Tower we decided to go for lunch as all the shopping was tiring us out! carfax We stopped at  Pizza Hut at the top of the high street and enjoyed a lunch time buffet each which was a brilliant deal at £6.99 per person for as much pizza, pasta & salad as you could manage! I would recommend getting there earlier rather than later so you don’t have the left overs from the pizza that no one wants! But overall we really enjoyed our meal and it wasn’t too busy which was a bonus. pizza After our lunch we headed off to do some more shopping and made a special visit to the brand new H & M located in the Clarendon centre. I’ve wanted a H & M to come to Oxford for ages so was very excited to see what it could offer me! Here’s a pic of us trying on identical dresses in the changing rooms… typical girly photograph!! dresses Once we were all shopped out we headed home where I had a nice chilled evening ahead of work the next day! I’d had a lovely few days off and was well and truly prepared for my race for life event which took place on Sunday 13th July.. Please check out my next blog post to see how I got on! Thanks for reading everyone 🙂 Jess x

My London Day Trip!

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Hi everyone, so I excitedly posted last week that I had an exciting few days planned which included a snazzy trip to London for the day with one of my best friends and so I thought I’d share it with you all as we had a truly amazing day out! As you may or may not know, we were due to go on a lunch river cruise across the Thames as I had been given this voucher as a Red Letter Days gift from a close friend. We arrived in London at around 11am after catching the Oxford Tube from Gloucester Green bus station in Oxford; the tube took us past various stops including Notting Hill & Shepherd’s Bush, but we departed at Marble Arch as we wanted to work our way around the city from there!

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Marble Arch/Hyde Park is a beautiful area and we started off our trip in typical London fashion by running like wild geese for the next tube at Marble Arch station so as to get to our boat trip on time! We knew the boat departed from The Embankment at 12.15pm so were limited on time but knew we could get there efficiently. After a few stops we arrived at the famous Embankment and eventually (after a few runs across the Hungerford bridge as we were on the wrong side and a stop at the ‘Jubiloo’ toilets – see my selfie below(!!) – we made it to the port of Bateaux London which is where our boat was to depart from.

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We were greeted on board The Symphony by a very handsome captain whom we chatted to afterwards as well (fit or what?!) and we were ushered to our seat by the lovely staff who I have to say were hugely welcoming and friendly thorughout the cruise.

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A three course lunch was included on the cruise (all drinks are separate) and the first course was either a choice of butternut squash with goats cheese or a salmon pate with pickled cucumber. I opted for the vegetarian option whilst my friend chose the salmon; mine was delicious and I was told that my friends was too, so that was a good start! Main was either chicken en-croute with celeriac mash and runner beans or a root vegetable pastry dish with pesto; we both chose the chicken which was lovely although I would’ve liked a bit more pastry and would have swapped the mash for roast potatoes, but you can’t have everything! Dessert was gorgeous and was a vanilla panna cotta with almond biscotti on the base and a raspberry coulis on top – heaven!

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Throughout the 1and a half hour cruise there was a guided audio commentary giving interesting facts about specific landmarks in London that you sailed past on the boat which really added to the atmosphere on board and we both found it fascinating! You could wander up and down the boat and take as many pictures as you liked but we didn’t need to leave our seats much considering the boat was all glass and you could see from virtually any angle which was brilliant. The only thing that would’ve made the viewing a little better was if the blinds on the ceiling were raised as we couldn’t see certain landmarks when we were passing under them; Tower Bridge, London Eye etc… but generally the boat was perfect for viewing all the major hotspots!

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Some of the landmarks that we passed were the famous Houses of Parliament, EDF Energy & the iconic Big Ben, the London Aquarium which houses the new London Dungeons, the historic St Paul’s Cathedral, the buzzing Canary Wharf Docklands business area, the brand new Shard building and of course the beautiful Tower Bridge & Tower of London which is a personal favourite of mine – I’ve loved it ever since I first set eyes on it on one of my first trips to London with my ex boyfriend, we had a magical time and I’ve adored it there ever since!

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After a really lovely cruise down the river we headed back to the Embankment where we departed and made our way to Oxford Street to do some serious shopping! We hurtled up to Temple tube station across to Oxford Circus and started at the flagship Topshop store before zig-zagging our way up the high street and frequenting the likes of Miss Selfridge, Zara, River Island and the ever desirable Primark! After a busy couple of hours our feet were beginning to hurt and our arms were starting to ache from carrying all the heavy bags so we made our way to Tottenham Court Road tube station and ended up where we started at Marble Arch ready to get the Oxford Tube back home.

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We finally arrived home at just after 9pm which, after leaving our doors at 8am, was definitely a very long day and it’s safe to say that we both slept like babies that night! We had a truly wonderful day out in the big city and I can’t wait to go back and do it all again soon! I would love to book an evening cruise with three course dinner to see the city lit up at night as I think that it’d be even more beautiful than it was during the day time! For more information on how to book a river cruise with Bateaux London please visit their website (http://www.bateauxlondon.com/) or check out which offers Red Letter Days (http://www.redletterdays.co.uk/Home) are currently promoting… enjoy!!

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 Love Jess x

Family Sunday at Stow on the Wold

After a quiet Saturday night in snuggled up on the sofa watching a movie I was more that ready to get out and about yesterday to make the most of the sun! We couldn’t decide what to do with our day; we were going to head out to the local zoo but it can be quite expensive so we gave it a miss and headed to the lovely market town of Stow on the Wold instead.

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Stow is a picturesque town not far from Burford and the nearby Moreton in the Marsh & Chipping Norton, which is home to our PM David Cameron. Stow boasts numerous cafés, pubs & shops as well as a beautiful church.

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We decided to wander round the shops and soak up the sun by parking ourselves on a little wooden bench in the middle of the town whilst my dad sank a few pints in the nearby Queens Head pub, which also served mouthwatering Sunday lunches by the way! We opted for an ice cream instead as we didn’t want to spoil the dinner that would be waiting for us back at home!

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We popped inside the pretty church to have a little look inside and  it was eerily quiet for a Sunday afternoon! Very peaceful though all the same.

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That pretty much sums up my day out, it was very quiet but again it was nice to recharge my batteries for abit and just enjoy some quality family time! Stow is also featuring on one of my future posts (Top Ten things to See & Do in The Cotswolds) so be sure to look out for it there!

My next trip is imminent and a bit more exciting so keep your eyes peeled – Im very excited and I’ll be posting info shortly!

Love Jess 🙂 x

 

Cardiff continued..

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Cardiff continued.. and I’m going to now share my experience of the nightlife and shopping in the city centre both of which we found to be brilliant and really made the weekend special! Please read below to find out more..

The daytime:

Cardiff is home to some of the best shops In the country and the two huge shopping malls that are located in the heart of the city certainly offer something for everyone! Capitol and Saint David’s are the names of the two shopping centres and they are host to a range of big name shops from high street favourites to designer havens you can’t go wrong by stopping here!

We spent most of the day shopping and then headed to The Glassworks pub for a lovely lunchtime stop! I would describe this pub as a posh wetherspoons which offered an excellent choice of food at great value for money in a lovely location just round the corner from Saint David’s. I opted for a large chicken and bbq pulled pork double  burger with skinny fries and a salad.. I know, my mouth is watering too just thinking about it!!

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The nighttime:

After we were worn out by all our shopping we headed back to the hotel to start getting ready ahead of our big night out! The three of us were dressing up Disney style for my friends 21st so we spent hours on our hair, make up and outfits and the results are below.. see if you can guess which characters we are meant to be! (I’ll challenge you to guess them all ;))

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After a few cheeky pre drinks in our hotel room we headed to our first stop which was,  yep you guessed it, good old wetherspoons!! The drinks were cheap, the atmosphere was good and it was the perfect place to get the party started!

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Cardiff has such a varied nightlife with loads of fantastic bars, clubs and pubs and we tried out 5 of the venues but wish we had one extra night to visit a few more of them!  We headed to Soda Bar after wetherspoons which was a small club playing the latest chart music and it was only £3 entry but the drinks were quite pricey. From here we wen on to Las Iguanas for a lovely cocktail, again lovely little place but £6.50 per cocktail so try and go when they are offering deals otherwise it can get quite expensive! Our next stop was Retro (my favourite!!) which was a 90s club playing cheesy pop hits all night long-I was in dance floor heaven! Cheap drinks, two floors and tunes you can sing your heart out to.. What more could three girls dressed up as disney characters want from a night out?!

Our final stop, after a couple of bags of chips on the way back (!!), was the well known Walkabout bar which was bigger than we expected and offered a brilliant dance area as well as a more chilled bar area. We didn’t stop for a drink as only stayed for a couple of songs before we headed back to the hotel, but we would definitely have stayed for longer if our feet weren’t so tired!

Overall we had a brilliant night out in cardiff and will definitely be returning ! Here’s a final snapshot of us looking a little worse for wear in the hotel lift on the way up to the room… I think it’s fair to say we needed our beauty sleep after that !

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On that note I shall also bid you goodnight as I’m getting tired re-living my super busy weekend, so goodnight everyone I’ll be back soon with some more posts about my latest adventures!

Love Jess x