Monkey Forest, Clue HQ + The Cheltenham Festival!

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Hey guys!

If you follow my social media, you would have seen over the past few weeks I have been experiencing a lot of new things so today I am going to talk about the main three.

Firstly Trentham Monkey Forest. I was privileged to be given complimentary tickets for my boyfriend and I to experience the monkey forest and let me tell you, it was unreal! It is nothing like a safari park where the animals are caged, instead the animals are free to roam thousands of metres of land and enjoy the freedom of their natural habitat amongst the forest. Being able to see them walk around you, right next to you even, was incredible. We both thoroughly enjoyed every second of it and I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves animals and nature.

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The second place is Clue HQ Birmingham. Again, I was lucky enough to receive complimentary tickets for my boyfriend and I’s date night and let me tell you, it was the best date night I could have asked for. It was challenging, mentally and physically, it was entertaining and honestly I loved every single second I was in there. As discussed with the team I am unable to go into great detail regarding the whole game we played, however I can say we played their game called Hellevator and it was very hard but ridiculously fun. We didn’t manage to escape, but we are definitely going to visit again to try again to make our way out. There are different games with different difficulty levels throughout so everybody can take part from beginners to pros, it’s enjoyable for everyone. If you’re looking for something fun to do, for groups, couples, work groups or families it is definitely something I would highly recommend and to top it off, everybody involved gets a free HD photo taken at the end to remember the experience by and to me that is so so important to make memories and have the photo to remember it.

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The third and final experience was the Cheltenham Festival. If you read my previous post you’ll have seen how much I thoroughly love horse racing and I was lucky enough this year to experience the festival twice, the first day and the last day. Both days were absolutely incredible and I loved every second. A sell out crowd of 70,000 people and I can’t even describe how unreal the atmosphere was. I was lucky enough to walk away winning money instead of losing. Including Native River winning the Gold Cup, as tipped by jockey Richard Johnson exclusively on my website back in October. I was so proud of Native River and Richard, both of whom I have supported for a very very long time and I am so happy for the whole team. Overall I had an amazing experience and if you like horse racing I would say it is definitely something you need to experience, even if you don’t like horse racing I think you should still experience it all. So many people say horse racing is cruel but when you experience the Cheltenham Festival where millions of pounds worth of horses, training and work goes into, you would see just how well looked after the horses are and how well they are treated and you’d see that there is no animal cruelty in horse racing whatsoever. I was so happy experiencing the festival and I cannot wait until next years!

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Overall I’ve been having an incredible few weeks and I have so much more planned which I am super excited for. Today I finished work for 11 days and now I have nearly 2 weeks full of plans including a musical, Sam Smith in concert, Alton Towers, Safari Park and a trip to visit the Shakespeare houses, all of which I’m super excited for! I have some pretty exciting collaborations coming up also so I cannot wait for those.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and I’ll see you all in my next one!

 

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Worcester Races + EXCLUSIVE Interview with Richard Johnson

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Hey guys!

So this is probably my most anticipated post EVER. So many people who knew about my interview with Richard Johnson have been super excited to be able to read it, especially a very very EXCLUSIVE never before discussed Cheltenham Festival tip, which will be hidden somewhere in this post so make sure you read all the way through! 

So onto the post… I was lucky enough to be invited by the lovely people at Worcester Racecourse to a day of racing to experience their track and to interview a jockey or trainer of my choice. I chose one of the most successful jockeys of our time and the current Champion Jockey Richard Johnson, so that interview will be all included in this post. The aim of this collaboration is to show people, especially younger people that horse racing is not animal cruelty like most people think, in fact, these horses are some of the best treated animals I have ever seen. The people who care for them have true love and adoration for their animal and they treat them like royalty. 

Firstly I would like to thank Worcester especially Katherine who arranged for this to happen, I am super grateful for the opportunity to work with them as a company. The racecourse in itself is probably one of my favourite courses that I have been to. It is quite an open course so from the stands you can see 99% of the course, some courses I have been to the most part is behind trees etc and you don’t see much apart from the home straight, so I loved the fact it was so open and you could see the majority of the course. I attended Worcester twice within a few days, once invited and then I decided to go again on my own accord and I love it as a course overall. 

For me, I have always loved horse racing, it is something my parents, especially my dad, watched a lot whilst I was growing up and I took a real interest in it at around 16/17 years old, at 18 I began working for a bookmakers, which made me even more interested in horse racing as I was around it all day, every day and since then I have fallen in love with attending different courses, seeing different horses, meeting different jockeys and trainers and it really is something I enjoy doing.

Over the two days I was lucky enough to meet a few different people, including Jonjo O’Neil and Nicky Henderson, two world class trainers as well as Chris Hughes from Love Island who was part of the Jonjo O’Neil team and someone I never imagined I would meet as he very very rarely rides outside or Ireland, Barry Geraghty which was truly an honour as a massive horse racing fan.

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And of course I met the incredible Richard Johnson who I had the privilege of interviewing. So here is the part you have all been waiting for. I sound recorded the interview, so here it is written word for word how it went down. Including the very exclusive Cheltenham tip so do not miss that part!

Me: What would you say to anyone who says jumps racing is animal cruelty?

Richard: Definitely not. To be honest anyone that thinks that they should always come and actually see what the horses do on a daily basis. They are literally cared for 24 hours a day, you know in great accommodation, their stables are fantastic, they literally have first class treatment you know, they get fed 3 or 4 times a day and they are cared for and the girls and lads that look after the horses, they’re like their pets basically. They don’t own them obviously, but they look after them as if they’re their own. And they have a fantastic life and they enjoy racing, no way in the world me as a jockey could make one of these horse jump one of these fences today you, know. I can physically make them go over, you know they have to enjoy it. Yes, unfortunately there are injuries along the way and that’s sad for everybody, but erm you know. The horses do enjoy it and I rode ponies when I was young because I enjoyed it and we all get enjoyment out of it and hopefully the public that come racing regularly, that’s what they see and enjoy.

Me: What is your favourite day in the racing calendar?

Richard: Oh god, it’s hard. I’m very spoilt because obviously I get to ride lots of nice horses as well. But I think the Cheltenham Festival is four days rather than one day but the Cheltenham Festival it’s a big build up throughout the whole season. That’s like our Olympics or World Championship I suppose, each year. The Irish come over in their droves to come to the races and the horses, it’s a massive outing, the Irish horses come over to run and yeah the four days at Cheltenham, obviously I’m from Hereford, not far from Cheltenham and I’ve lived around there for a long time so the atmosphere there is fantastic and anyone that, Worcester is obviously a great track for the Summer, but Cheltenham, if you want to go and get the atmosphere of a big race day there’s no better place.

Me: Do you miss AP (McCoy)? And if you, what’s the biggest thing that you miss about him?

Richard: I miss him. I miss him in the weighing room because he was a great friend obviously and I rode with him for over twenty years, so erm yeah we were great friends and I miss him as a great friend in the weighing room. I don’t miss him on the race course, in the fact he used to beat me regularly. But again, he was great to ride with because he was a great jockey and you know, it helped me try to chase him and made me more hungry and hungry to try and ride more winners and try to beat him and you know we had a great sort of competitiveness between us and erm again, we were also great friends and we had ups and downs and you know we both had good and bad days so you know it was always nice to have a friend in the weighing room to talk to as well.

Me: Looking ahead to the new National Hunt Season horses, what do you think will be your best ride at Cheltenham?

Richard: Oh gosh, again, very hard, like we just said Cheltenham is a long long way away but even now people are still talking about it. Erm, I would love to think Native River could come back in the Gold Cup and go two spots better than he did last year. He was 3rd in the race last year and ran really really well. Erm you know, this season we will be geared for him to be running in the Gold Cup again so I suppose he’s my big hope. I think for me, the Cheltenham Gold Cup is, I’ve been very lucky to win it once before a long time ago in 2000 but if I could win in any race that would be the one I would like to win.

Me: Do you every get nervous before or during a race?

Richard: Erm, I think I always get a little bit nervous before a race, I think you, you want the horse to perform to it’s best level it can, erm you’re always thinking about the race and trying to work out what you want to do and you’ve always got a plan, plans don’t always go exactly how you want, but again that’s sort of you know, you’re always, you just want things to go right and as soon as you jump off in the race, your focus is on what’s going on and I think a little bit of nerves is probably a good thing. If you’re not nervous at all then you’re a bit over confident and sometimes, yeah it’s never good to be over confident.

Me: During your time as a jockey, what has changed in regards to social media being introduced and younger fans?

Richard: Erm, massively. You know obviously even you know, with two racing channels now on TV and social media whether it’s Twitter or Facebook or all the other things, you’re sort of out in public light I suppose and you know you’ll have good days where obviously you’ll get lots of lovely messages and good praise and then obviously you have bad days where things don’t go right and you know you get the other side of it. And it is sad, you’ll read things about yourself and think everybody out there is doing their best and you know, mistakes can happen and do happen and that’s a part of life really. Sometimes stuff that is put on some of the social media isn’t very pleasant and it would be lovely to think there is a way of stopping it but that’s life and I think we’ve all seen good and bad social media but on the whole social media is brilliant, it gives everyone a chance to have an opinion and hopefully everyone’s got the common sense behind what they say as well.

Me: What’s your most memorable race, win or lose?

Richard: Erm, again, erm, I suppose, erm.. two really. Rooster Booster winning the Champion Hurdle, again, a few years ago now erm, he literally, I was a passenger. I went around on his back and he travelled really well, he jumped fantastic and he flew up the hill at Cheltenham. And honestly, I can’t believe, even to this day, how easily he won. Erm, it was just, yeah, a dream ride for me and I suppose finishing second in the Grand National on Balthazar King, he was just an amazing horse for use for a long time and I must admit going to the last, I thought I was going to win and from the last to the winning post we just couldn’t get past the one in front and he gave two hundred percent and you know there was no disappointment, it was just you know sad for him not to win, but again I had an amazing ride on him and I suppose, yeah, that’s the one, I finished second but it was still an amazing ride.

Me: Does it still play on your mind that you haven’t won the (Grand) National yet?

Richard: Erm, it’s obviously a race I would like to win. Erm, I mean again, I’ve been second in it twice and sometimes when you finish second it’s almost worse than finishing third because you think well if this and if that and erm, the Grand National is one of those races I think you’ve got to take what you’re given really because you never really know what’s out there with forty horses running in the race. Erm, I’ve had lots of good rides in it and again we’ve gone close twice and it’s a race I would like to win before we finish.

Me: We go to the Gold Cup and Grand National next year for the first time so no pressure.

Richard: If I win both the Gold Cup and Grand National next year, if that’s the case you’ll have to come to every Gold Cup and Grand National after that.

I just want to take a moment to thank Richard for being one of the loveliest people, this was my first time interviewing someone so I am so grateful he was so lovely, patient and kind when with us. He was also super honest and so easy to get a long with whilst asking him questions and having a chat.

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For me, you’ve heard it from the current champion jockey just how in love and well looked after the horses are. He said that the horse is 5 times the size of a jockey so they wouldn’t be able to force it to do something it just didn’t want to do, so clearly the horses enjoy it or they wouldn’t be there doing it. Did you all pick up the cheeky Cheltenham tip too? Native River is currently being rode out and geared up for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and himself and the team think he has a better chance this year. So definitely a horse to keep your eye on as he is already in training for the big race!

I am so happy and grateful I had this opportunity and really can’t thank Worcester, Katherine and Richard enough for everything. Worcester have one last race day this year so check out their website here if you’d like to attend that, something I definitely recommend: http://www.worcester-racecourse.co.uk/

I personally love horse racing, the atmosphere is great and in person you really do see how well looked after the horses are and I would recommend it to anyone. If you’re a student, Katherine did inform me that they have started doing a student race day at Worcester, normally held in May, so definitely keep your eye out for that because it is such an interesting sport and a great day out for families, friends, couples, everybody can enjoy it.

I really hope the wait for this post was worth it, I hope you enjoy my very first ever interview and I hope you keep your eyes peeled for Richard Johnson’s tip. I will see you all in my next post!

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Hoodie Allen: The Hype Album First Impressions/FULL Review

My Weight Loss Story + Advice and Tips!

Hey guys!

So it’s been a little while since I last posted, mainly due to the fact I have been super busy organising my 21st birthday party which is only 4 weeks away (how scary?) and that has taken up a lot of my time. But as Hoodie Allen has dropped a new album I thought right now at 00:08am would be a perfect time to sit down and finally write up a new post. If you have been following me for a while you will know that I am a huge Hoodie Allen fan and I have been for a few years now. And on his last tour I was lucky enough to get a meet and greet and meet him, which was amazing, he genuinely is the loveliest human being I have ever met and he is so genuine and down to earth too, it’s like talking to a friend when you’re with him.

So without further-ado I’m going to get into a breakdown of each song from the album with a little bit of a review/opinion of it. I am doing an active post with no editing, so as I am listening to the album track by track I will be writing my opinion straight from the heart and I will be posting it as it is, so I apologise if there are any mistakes. I am yet to listen to the album because I knew from the moment Hoodie announced it that I wanted to do a first impressions sort of post, so this is me listening to the album for the first time ever and telling you all exactly what I am thinking as I listen! I hope you enjoy this different type of post because I am so bloody excited to be writing it. So here it goes! PS: Go grab yourself a cuppa because it’s gonna be a long post I think…

So first on the track list is Believe.

So it starts off with Hoodie singing a little verse, which I absolutely love. Hoodie’s singing voice is definitely a weakness of mine. Okay so my favourite line in the first verse has to be ‘people keep talking, we finally doing numbers’ referring back to his People Keep Talking album, which I absolutely love and Numbers is one of my favourite songs from that album so that line makes me so happy. Okay this song is such a nice song. ‘Dreaming of the day when I finally quit my day job’ I feel like this song is Hoodie really reminiscing about a time before he gained a fanbase and I may be really weird but I actually love it when an artist reflects on life before the ‘fame’. ‘Look how far we came dog, hard work finally paid off’ again I love the reflective side of this song. Hoodie worked his ass off to be where he is today and I think that line really shows that he’s grateful that the hard work was worth it in the end. Then it’s back to the chorus, again Hoodie’s singing voice is unreal.

Second verse. I like the line ‘I guess I gotta be dumb to look at my choices and try to act like I’m not privileged’ because it’s Hoodie noting that he knows he’s got a good life, but referring back to verse one, he worked his ass off so it is well deserved. I also like the little bit of arrogance with the line ’cause while most of my friends are tryna pay their student loans, I just write this rap and already paid for my future home’ I mean who doesn’t like a little bit of arrogance in a rap verse? I also personally like the line ‘I never beat around the bush’ because a lot of my friends and family always tell me that I never beat around the bush so I like that line. Then the song finishes back with the chorus. Overall I like the song and if this song is a reflection of what is to come on the rest of the album I can’t bloody wait!

Next is Know It All. Okay so I’ll admit, I have heard this because he released it a while back, so I will keep it short and sweet.

So the whole of the first verse is Hoodie singing, can this get any better? And then into the chorus and his voice is raspy and I may have fallen even more in love if that was even possible. Second verse is hoodie doing a rap/sing sort of vibe? Either way it sounds unreal and I am in love. Overall I think this is a killer song and I totally see why he dropped it as a single before the album.

Third is All for Me featuring Scott Hoying.

Okay so a bit of a sexier vibe going on here, I like it. Even though it is very sexual Hoodie still manages to slip a cute line in there doesn’t he? ‘We ain’t getting married but everything that I make we share’ this is the exact reason Hoodie is so well liked in my opinion, he can rap/sing just about anything but he always manages to include a nice/cute line in there somewhere. Onto the chorus. I personally have never heard of Scott Hoying but his voice sounds so gorgeous, wow. I also love how there’s an orchestra sort of vibe in the backing music, something different for a rap song. 

Verse two… again, very sexual, a little arrogant, but I like this side of Hoodie. But again, he manages to drop a cute line or two in there. ‘I stay awake, I never fall asleep ’cause I ain’t tryna share you with no one, it’s all for me’ how cute is he? I also like the cute little ‘bam’ noise he makes at the end of the verse. Again, onto the chorus to finish. Again another good song, can’t fault the album so far.

Next is Fakin featuring Wale.

Okay, first chorus I absolutely LOVE. ‘Why you always fakin’ on the net though? Why you always flexing for the timeline?’ I would definitely say Hoodie has hit a taboo subject right on the head here. I know so many people who fake it for social media. Spending their whole months wage on a bag or a watch just so they can flaunt it online, it’s ridiculous and Hoodie has gone straight in from the get go with this song and I love it.

First verse again, I love it. A couple arrogant lines once again, but who doesn’t love it? So many girls call me daddy, I should fight for custody’ and ‘all my haters love me, that’s why they never bug me, your girl is probably going home with me ’cause you ugly’ are the two standout lines for me in that verse. Onto the chorus again.

Again, I’ve never heard of Wale before but I love his verse. Very open and upfront, what did I really expect after Hoodie’s verse and chorus though? I like the play on words with the line ‘my hoodie on, I call Hoodie up and book every white girl in the hood today’.

Verse number three and back to Hoodie. Hoodie rapping quickly and arrogantly and just wow. Again a little reference to the unreal album People Keep Talking, love it. YES HOODIE. I love the savageness of this line ’cause my biggest fan is also your mother, I swear they be playing this every summer, so’ love it!

Next up is Play the Field.

So the intro and the bridge are good, Hoodie’s singing voice once again making an appearance. I like the sound effects around ‘the play the field’ hook.

Verse one, I really like the lines ‘I don’t care what your friends think, ’cause if treating you good isn’t good enough, you gon’ have to find somebody else that does’ I don’t know why, just hit a chord in me, I like them. Then onto the chorus part.

Verse two, Hoodie rapping quickly once again makes me so happy. I think deep down Hoodie has a right soft side, for example, a rap about playing the field but as mentioned before he still manages to drop a cute line in there… ‘You can be my side kick, shorty riding shot gun’.

Next up is Sushi.

YES! Now this song is what I have been waiting for. A Hoodie Allen classic upbeat song. Okay, I love every line of the pre-chorus. Calling out users and haters, what more could you want from an opening couple lines of a song? I love a risky line, so of course I love ‘homie, I’m a threat do I look like ISIS? Nah, I don’t need to resort to violence’. Love love love.

I love the chorus, a classic Hoodie Allen up beat song. Is it even a Hoodie Allen album without at least one song like this? I love the arrogant line once again, how can you not? ‘Everybody know me, why the hell you introduce me?’ I mean… True.

Next up is Ain’t Ready.

Okay, just from the sound of the guitar and the first two lines I feel this may be my favourite song from the album. I love a good acoustic song from Hoodie. (PS download Americoustic if you haven’t already because Hoodie doing acoustic is something everybody should hear).

The first verse, pre-chorus and chorus are unreal, all Hoodie singing acoustically and I am genuinely in love. Onto verse two and rapping Hoodie is back. Another reference to another amazing album All American, again you’re missing out if you haven’t listened to Hoodie’s music before. And again the chorus, which I am in love with. Onto the bridge, again I love it. Hoodie’s raspy singing life is honestly ridiculous. So talented in every sense of the word. I can definitely say so far that this is my favourite song from the album. Don’t be fooled by the shorter review, I was too busy listening and admiring the lyrics to focus on writing oopsy!

Next up is All My Friends featuring State Champs.

Again I have never heard of State Champs, but opening up the song and sounding amazing. I feel like I’m going to like this song purely based on Hoodie’s first few lines including ‘yeah, and this one’s for the people who were with me before I had a dollar in my bank account’ and ‘it’s real love, real friends, yeah I never separate it homie’ because Hoodie is now known pretty much everywhere around the world but it’s nice to see he hasn’t forgot his roots and those who were around way before the fame and the fortune, I really like that. The whole song is full of good lyrics and heartfelt lyrics too. And I really really like State Champs. It’s a different type of song to what I think we’re used to from Hoodie but I really like it.

Next up is Mad.

First thoughts are before Hoodie even sings/raps anything, it sounds like an old school classic, a bit of a sexual 80’s vibe to it. I like the chorus, again sounds very old school. Verse one is back to Hoodie rapping. It’s quite cute, about being a ‘goddess’ and then he ends the verse with ‘I ain’t like them other dudes, are you stupid?’ should expect the unexpected with Hoodie shouldn’t we really aha.

Oh wow, once again Hoodie being a little naughty with his lyrics, should I really be surprised? ‘Okay you got me, got me, I’m just so glad you want me. But other times I feel unqualified, you Donald Trump me’ god I love you Hoodie Allen and your slightly naughty but hilariously true lyrics.

Okay the bridge. Hoodie’s high note whilst singing ‘but now, I give up everything I had, had, had’ wow, just wow. The bridge is actually so cute, Hoodie showing his soft side again.

Next up is Something Dangerous.

As everyone knows by now I love Hoodie’s singing voice, but wow, just wow the chorus, his voice sounds unreal, genuinely just wow. Onto verse one, I love the line ‘you know I gotta go on tour sometimes, but like Shaq with the free throws, you know I’m always missing ya’ a little naughty with the lyrics again, but a cute meaning behind them, I like it. 

Okay, so verse two starts up and it hits me a little harder than expected. Definitely relatable on so many levels. ‘Nowadays I’m feeling like we’re strangers. Took a little break, we ain’t really been the same since’. Ending it being a little arrogant again, ‘I know a lot of dudes tryna chase you, but I’m the only one who ever made sense, Hoodie, babe’ is it bad I like it when his arrogant side comes out? Ha. Listening to the bridge and final chorus makes me think he’s definitely going to sing it on tour because I can picture the crowd joining in and clapping along to the backing track, yes.

Next up is Heartbreak featuring Goody Grace.

Listening to the first few lines and the backing track, sounds like an acoustic again, so I know I’ll like it. Again I have never heard of Goody Grace, but opening the song sounds absolutely unreal.

I always love Hoodie’s lyrics. In verse one I particularly like this section ‘looks fade eventually, will you still have sex with me? Like, even when we’re 70? Will you remember me when we’re losing our memory?’ I don’t have a reason but I genuinely just love that section of lyrics.

Verse two, starting up with ‘hey you know I’m searching for the type of love you see in the movies’ I think this strikes a chord with any girl because it is any girls dream and if you say it isn’t you’re probably lying oops. I think this is so relatable to all girls ‘like a roomie, she’s sleeping next to me, but not speaking to me’ because every girl has lay in bed with their partner and ignored them and put their back to them because they’re hurt or upset. The line ‘like if we fighting every day, is it worth it now?’ hit me hard, again, so relatable to anyone, men or women who’ve been in a heated relationship but isn’t ready to call it quits just yet. I think this one is probably one of my favourites from the album, it’s so relatable and I love the lyrics and Goody Grace’s voice too.

Next and last but not least is Runnin’ Circles.

Oooo I love this line ‘the mind of a perfectionist, but now a days I appreciate the blemishes’ I feel like this describes me perfectly. This song I think is going to hit people deeply. I love ‘I relish the opportunity to be a better man, be a better son, better brother, be a better fan’ such a genuine line.

Verse two, once again I love the lyrics, so heartfelt. ‘But if I follow what you follow, chances are I probably still working at the fucking mall. So don’t tell me to dream small’ this line makes me happy, it’s sort of a push for people to dream big or what’s the point? Okay this song is an unreal way to end the album. I absolutely love it. It’s deep, it’s to the point and there is a message behind it and I absolutely love that. 

‘There is a million ways to make it in this life, so let me hit you with a little piece of advice. If you ain’t doing something everyday that makes you feel alive, you should find a better way to spend all your frickin’ time’ Hoodie Allen, I love you.

Okay so that’s it. What an album it is! I have loved and supported Hoodie for as long as I can remember so I sort of knew I would love the album, but honestly to anyone who has either never heard of Hoodie or has never heard his music, please give him a chance and take a listen. Hoodie Allen is honestly one of the most underrated artists I have ever came across and I wish more people knew about him. He is so talented as a song writer, a performer, a singer and a rapper. If you follow my social media and have been for a while you will see I have met a lot of ‘famous people’ over the years, but hands down, I am not even just saying this Hoodie is the nicest, most genuine person I have ever met. He genuinely loves and appreciates anyone who listens to his music, goes to his shows and shows him support and to me that is so so important as an artist, you should never forget the people who have made you who you are by paying for your music, merch and shows and honestly I love seeing Hoodie interact with his fans because you can see the genuine love he has for each and every person.

I absolutely love the album and I think anyone who hasn’t already gave it a listen definitely should. I haven’t brought tickets to Hoodie’s tour as of yet because with my 21st birthday coming up I don’t know what surprises my parents have in store for me and as they know I love Hoodie I am praying it’s tickets and/or a meet and greet ha, but if not then of course I’ll be buying tickets to see him, so if you’re going to his show in Birmingham, UK then let me know, would be amazing to meet some fellow Hoodie fans that follow me. I really hope you’ve all enjoyed this different sort of post. It is currently 01:58am here in England, so it’s been a 2 hour writing session, but well worth it. 

Thank you for reading!

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Side note I have also got around to making an account on Only Fans so go check that out: https://onlyfans.com/zoelouisesmithx. Some exclusive unseen pictures and videos of what I get up to daily as well as my collaborations with Manchester United, Daytona and more!

EXCLUSIVE: Bespoke VIP Day with Manchester United

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Hey guys!

So as some of you may have seen on my social media, this week I got to experience something that was honestly the best day ever. Just over two months ago I received a lovely email, followed by a phone call from Jason, a member of the VIP team at Manchester United Football Club. He invited me, along with 3 guests to go to Old Trafford and enjoy a day with Jason himself, experiencing their VIP package, as massive Manchester United fans, of course I had to say yes. When Wednesday the 19th of July came around, it was finally time to travel up to Manchester and experience this once in a lifetime opportunity.

We arrived at the stadium just before 12pm, we were greeted by a member of the Museum’s VIP Team, Jason who was already in the museum and tour entrance waiting for our arrival. He greeted us and gave us our passes, then took us straight up to the Red Cafe, where we were given menu’s and could choose any food and drink that we would like. I would like to mention also, that every single member of staff we encountered was so lovely, from the car park attendants to the restaurant staff, to the museum staff, to the stewards and security and of course Jason, I couldn’t fault any of them, they all made us feel super welcome and relaxed whilst there.

In our group was my mom, my dad and myself, collectively we don’t eat a large lunch, it’s just not something we do, so we decided we would all have a dessert and a drink each. I had a salted caramel brownie with ice cream and my mom and dad had an ice cream sundae, both were presented lovely as well as tasting absolutely unreal! The Red Cafe update their menu every 12 months or so to make sure that they are only serving food and drinks that their fans would like. We didn’t personally have a meal, however there were many families, couples and individuals who did around us and I can say that the portions were enough to fill you up and I didn’t see anyone waste any of it, so it must have been lovely!

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Now onto the main event.. The museum and tour. As a VIP you get a guided tour around the museum instead of wondering around by yourself. When entering the museum the first thing you see is the English Football League Cup on a table with a backdrop, where you can have your photos taken with the cup and have them printed there and then for a souvenir to take home with you. Jason proceeded to tell us that Jose Mourinho had told the club he was taking the Europa League trophy on tour with the team to America an the Football Association had taken the Charity Shield back as the next game for it will be played soon, but normally any trophies the first team had won during that season would be there available to take photos with. 

After taking the photos we went into the first room which was absolutely full of trophies, what we didn’t know until Jason told us was that the whole room was full of trophies that the youth teams had won, none of the trophies were what the first team had won, which absolutely blew me away. The talent for the club is, of course, incredible, but that room really showed that the talent starts right at the beginning as children and they just grow to produce a strong first team, Marcus Rashford is a prime example of this within the club.

During the tour around the museum Jason told us all about different memorabilia and stories behind them. He also told us a few interesting facts, such as the museum was first opened in 1986, however Pele opened the current museum in 1998 and it is now one of the biggest football museums in the world with over 350,000 visitors each year! He also told us Sir Alex Ferguson was the manager of the club for 26 years and in that time he won 38 trophies, which is an absolute unbelievable achievement.

Being able to experience the museum alongside someone who knew background stories of certain things, knew the players included and knew more history than any of us was amazing. We not only got to see everything on show, we also got told stories about it and it was all that little bit more special. You can attend the museum as and when you please however you would be walking around by yourself, you can buy commentary which is available in numerous different languages however, for me, that personal touch of having a personal tour guide for just myself and my guests made it feel like an even more intimate and special occasion. 

After the full tour of the museum, which in itself was amazing, we were then onto part two of the day… The stadium tour! We were taken up into the stands first, where Jason proceeded to tell us that they were currently having work done to allow more access for wheelchair users, they have added 350 spaces which are being finished currently before the new season, however these seats will be multi-purpose, they can be used for either wheelchairs or as regular seats. If all 350 spaces are used for wheelchairs the stadium is only losing 1,000 seats, which in reality is amazing. I think for a club like Manchester United to take that step and  think about other fans and not the money of those extra 1,000 seats is something very admirable.IMG_8421

When we were in the stands, there were 3 grounds men working on the pitch to make sure it is in the best possible condition for the beginning of the season which is fast approaching! The grounds men told us there are 24 sprinklers across the pitch to keep it healthy, as well as underground heating and water recycling, all of these combined have meant that the club have won best ground, best staff, best pitch etc numerous times, looking at the pitch and the hard work done in the time we were there shows exactly why they have won so many awards.

We were then taken down to the changing rooms, where we were allowed in the home and away dressing rooms, on our own meaning we got perfect shots of the room and with any shirts we wanted photos with and overall it was something you wouldn’t ever imagine you could experience.

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Once we had taken all of our photos and just enjoyed the moment of being in the changing rooms amongst some incredible players playing shirts we were taken down the new tunnel and down onto pitch side.

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The view of Old Trafford as you come out of that tunnel is unreal, so I can’t imagine just how special it would be if that ground was full of fans chanting, singing and cheering for you.

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Next on the tour was the ‘dug outs’ that aren’t actually dug out, they’re actually raised! We were told these were raised due to Sir Alex Ferguson wanting them raised, which is another interesting fact we were given. We had the honour of being able to sit in the seats and enjoy the moment, again exclusively just our group and nobody else. 

After being shown around the whole of the ground, we were then taken onto the box corridor, we saw so many different boxes, all of which were gorgeous, full of food, drinks, TV’s and honestly just gorgeous with an unreal view of the pitch.

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Honestly this is the moment I was absolutely blown away, we got taken to the one and the only Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s box! It may not seem special, but to people who are massive Manchester United fans, this was a moment you could only dream of. Being taken into this box and being able to sit down and just enjoy the luxury of this area, something I could only dream of being able to do.

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Whilst in Inbrahimovic’s box, Jason brought out a massive box, we honestly had no idea that he was going to do this at all. In the box was absolutely loads of old playing shirts and playing football boots that had been worn and the players gave to the club for the fans to experience, which was a lovely gesture. The box included Rio Ferdinand’s boots, Nemanja Vidic’s boots, David De Gea’s gloves and the one and only David Beckham’s shirt as well as so so much more. 

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Not only were we able to look and take photos but Jason allowed us to try anything on that we wanted to. So I got to try on the shirt that David Beckham had previously worn when he was at the club and to me, that just blew my mind. Being a Manchester United fan and being able to wear the David Beckham’s worn shirt was just honestly unreal, I was completely speechless, I really was. That was something I could only dream of happening, so being surprised with that was the best feeling possible for all of us there.

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Overall, the whole day was something I could only of imagined being able to experience, whether you are a Manchester United fan or not, I know you would absolutely love seeing the behind the scenes of the club and the hidden stories you might not know of. As the biggest football club in the world, you can honestly see why once you get there. It’s a club that is all about their fans, their family, not the money. Yes, don’t get me wrong, it is a business and they do make a lot of money, but their staff are so welcoming, so lovely and make you feel so comfortable, all they care about it allowing those who visit to leave with a smile on their face, being able to make every individuals visit something special and a day they won’t every forget. I for one, had the best day ever and I will never ever forget being able to experience an exclusive tour like that. Honestly if you have the opportunity to go on a tour of Old Trafford, I would definitely recommend it, it is a special day and I know you wouldn’t be disappointed.

A few quick thank you’s just before I finish. Firstly thank you to Manchester United as a whole, being able to experience the behind the scenes of your club, the untold stories, the hard work done by the staff that nobody gets to see, I not only enjoyed the experience, but I also learnt a lot about how much it takes to create a football pitch up to Premier League standard and how much hard work goes into creating the best possible stadium ready for the fans. It was a real eye-opener into a massive establishment and for that I am grateful. Also a massive thank you to all of the staff,  I really can’t say it enough, every single person you spoke to was lovely and made the day special by welcoming you and making you feel comfortable in their company. And of course, the biggest thank you has to go to Jason. Jason was the loveliest person ever, from the very first email he sent me, to saying our goodbyes when we were leaving he was just amazing. He knew so much about the club, the history, the memorabilia, the players, the behind the scenes, honestly what he didn’t know, wasn’t worth knowing. Thank you for arranging the day for us and making it the most special, unforgettable day possible for all of us involved.

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Also, just a little side note: This was a taster of their VIP experience. If you were to purchase this experience you can have so many extras added. You will be there in the evening after everybody else has left, so we were in our separate tour however there were other public tours taking place at the same time, if you were on this experience you would be there completely on your own with the staff with a bottle of champagne and food also. You would also have the opportunity to meet a player, past or present as well as the additional option of a skills session on the astro-turf so each experience is personally catered to you and your group and whatever you would love and enjoy the most. For me, this taster was unreal and anyone who experiences the full day would have the best time, honestly an unforgettable experience that I think everyone needs to have the chance to do and see.

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Father’s Day 2017: Snapfish

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Hey Guys!

If you follow me on social media you will have seen my grandad was took into hospital earlier in the week meaning this post is going up 3 days late which I am so so sorry for, however it is here now as promised!

Father’s day is just around the corner and I always find it so hard to buy my dad a present, I don’t know what it is but I find it so hard to buy presents for the males in my life, is it just me or is it so much harder to find something they will like? So when I looked on Snapfish and I seen a personalised travel mug I honestly fell in love!

Personally, I have never seen a personalised travel mug anywhere before, this was a first. So of course I had to order it for my dad. My dad is a religious tea drinker, if you see him at any point during the day he will have a cup of tea with him, regardless of where he is or who he’s with or the time of day. So when I seen it I knew it would be the perfect gift for him.

When it arrived, I fell in love! I almost kept it for myself. It looked so much nicer in person than on the app. On the app it looked gorgeous but once it arrived, the photo really doesn’t do it justice. It is such good quality and for the price of just £15.99 I was shocked at just how good it really is. For some people £15.99 for a travel mug may sound expensive, but for me it is really cheap, especially as most places charge a lot more than that for any item that is being personalised, so for me this is a very good price for a very good, very high quality product and I highly recommend it.

For me, I love Snapfish, they have an app which is easy to use, they have incredible offers on weekly, they ship their products fast and their customer service team are all lovely. You also get 50 FREE prints per month, all you have to pay is delivery, which is incredible. 

If you’re still looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift, give their app a download and check them out because honestly I fell in love with all of their products and if I could I would’ve ordered one of everything! I hope this post have gave you some inspiration for a gift.

I will see you in my next post!

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Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post, Snapfish were kind enough to send me a voucher to purchase a gift, but all views are my own.

Review/First Impression: Village Hotel & Spa Dudley

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Hey guys!

So on Friday evening I had the opportunity to spend the night at Village Hotel and Spa Dudley, so today’s post is a first impressions/review kind of post all about my experience.

My boyfriend and I have never been to a spa so when we were given this opportunity of course we snapped it up! I finished work at 6:30pm and we headed straight over, arriving around 7:15. When we arrived, the car park was very full, however it was so big there was still plenty of space to park, which is always a positive when visiting a hotel. We went into the hotel, first impressions were very busy, very modern and very organised. After entering, almost immediately a member of staff came over, introduced herself and helped us to get checked in. Once checked in, she gave us our key card and explained to us where our room was and how to get there via a lift or stairs. She explained she would be around the reception area until 10pm so if we needed anything at all pop down and see her and she’ll help us, which I thought was lovely of her to say, very polite also. She also explained about an event taking place that evening, as well as if we were planning to eat the times that their pub and restaurant closed. Overall, she was very informative and helpful, but not too overwhelming, like you find in some hotels.

We made our way up to our room, 217 which was on the second floor. There were plenty of signs in the lift as well as around the hotel explaining how to get to each room, which is very helpful in a hotel of that size. When we entered our room, my first impression honestly was ‘wow’. It was gorgeous. It was modern, it was colourful, the bed was so comfortable, we had a huge flat screen TV with Sky and the bathroom was absolutely gorgeous. (I will insert pictures below). Overall I was super impressed. An added bonus for my boyfriend was the fact he could see his car from the window, so he loved that. The only slightly negative was the standing fan we had had wobbly legs, but other than that I honestly couldn’t fault a single thing.

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A nice added bonus, that was definitely not expected was this from Simon, the general manager:

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One thing I thought was honestly incredible about this hotel was the fact we didn’t arrive until 7:15 but the pool, sauna, steam room, spa, gym, everything was still open until 10pm, which for me, after a hard day at work was like heaven! Most hotels have set times, like 10-6 in the pool or whatever, but Village had their facilities open until 10pm so no matter what time you arrived you could go to relax. I would say by 7:30 we were down in the pool relaxing, honestly no better way to start a bank holiday weekend!After spending just over an hour in their pool, sauna and steam room, we made our way back to our rooms. Again, all of the staff downstairs were lovely, they showed us where everything was and were very helpful.

After probably the best nights sleep in a while, we made our way downstairs for breakfast. Breakfast is served between 7am and 10am, so whether you’re an early riser or a late starter you can go and have breakfast. When we got into the breakfast room, a member of staff, again, almost immediately came over to us. He asked us if we would like a window table or not, in which we accepted, again, so my boyfriend could see his car. We were lead over to our table and the member of staff asked us if we had been before, in which we responded with no, so he then explained where everything was for us, as well as asking if we would like tea or coffee. 

In all honesty, this was the best breakfast I have ever seen in a hotel. It was basically a help yourself buffet, all of your hot foods, such as bacon, sausage, variety of eggs, tomatoes, etc were lay out in a heated buffet thing (not sure of the name?) so you could help yourself. Then there was a table of bread, toast and pastries. Then another table of cereal and juices. Overall there was so much choice and variety. The only slight negative for me, was the toasting machine was quite slow and the bread needed to go through it a few times to be toasted, so it took a little while of standing there before it was done and you could go and eat. Other than that I couldn’t fault the breakfast. Members of staff were constantly around for you, making sure everything was okay and bringing you anything you needed.

Overall, I had the best time. It was the first time experiencing Village Hotels and it definitely didn’t disappoint. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had in a hotel, the staff were constantly there ready to help you and no matter how busy they were, there was always plenty of staff around to speak to if needed. I recommend Village Hotel and Spa Dudley to anyone, I really do. The whole experience was amazing.

Thank you for reading and once again, thank you Simon and the whole team for welcoming us and allowing us to experience your incredible hotel.

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Daytona Karting

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Hey guys!

If you have been following me for a while, you’ll know I love to go to new places and try new things. My boyfriend and pretty much all of our friends absolutely love go karting, however it is something I personally have never tried, if anything I’ve always been too scared to try it. However I decided after watching my boyfriend I would finally go for it and do it.

So today’s post is the much awaited Daytona Karting post! I know, I know, I’m sorry it’s being uploaded a little later than I would have liked, but I have been so busy with work this week, but I have finally had the time to get it up, so enjoy!

Jim over at Daytona Karting Tamworth was lovely enough to allow my friends and I to experience their full circuit exclusively for us, so I felt at ease knowing it would just be our friends and not total strangers on the track with us.

When the day arrived, the weather was horrible. Non-stop rain the whole journey there, so I was absolutely petrified, not only was it my first time karting but now I was going to have to do it in the rain and everybody was sure to tell me just how slippy the karts are in the rain, so that was nice of them! 

When we arrived it was all pretty straight forward, we went up to the front desk where the staff were ready straight away to book us in and get our suits ready. After ensuring the whole group had completed our waivers, they gave us our suits and gloves and showed us to the dressing room where we could access lockers and get ready. The suits were as comfortable as expected, they came in various sizes so they fitted everyone, the staff were lovely enough to check their back rooms to find wet suits that were better sized for us as most of the mediums and larges had been taken and used already.

Once we were all ready, we were taken upstairs to the safety briefing room. We watched the video, which wasn’t too long, like some I have been told about, it told us all we needed to know without being too long. When the video ended, a member of staff came back into the room and explained anything people did not understand as well as answering any questions. 

We were then taken downstairs and outside into the pits where our karts were already on and ready to go. We were given our kart numbers and settled in. The staff were very thorough in ensuring we were all comfortable and safe in our karts, which I thought was really good. I definitely felt safe from the get go. Once we were all set, it was time to go.

Once again, the nerves hit me, I was petrified! But once I pulled out onto the circuit and started driving I absolutely loved it! In our group of friends we have numerous, you could say, ‘professional’ go kart drivers, so I knew I wouldn’t win or anything like that but it was honestly so much fun. 

The first time out on the circuit it was a timed race I suppose, so it was to determined where on the grid we would all start during the proper race. It was around 10/15 minutes of driving as quickly as we could and setting ourselves times. It was slippy yes, but it was so much fun! I think we all crashed or spun out at some point but it was hilarious and so fun.

Once our first part was over we were directed onto the grid, it was race time! The race started and as expected the ‘professionals’ were miles ahead of everybody, but it didn’t stop any of us having fun. From first place, to last place we all had so much fun! Again, everybody was crashing and spinning out, but there were so many members of staff out spread across the circuit we were all incredibly safe. As soon as you crashed or spun out or anything at all, a member of staff was there to ensure you were okay and nobody hit you or hurt you or anything at all.

After the race had finished we were all taken inside where a member of staff greeted us with trophies. The top three, Haz, Dan and Mat were given trophies for placing in the top three, then a professional photo was taken.

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L-R (Instagram Names) : @dansmith_st, @ba55haz_zs, @mathewlee_rs

Then a group photo was taken for us to keep.

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L-R: @smithy_p15ths, @bethhodiernex, @r77sse, @zoelouisesmithx, @dansmith_st, @jack_wright_1995, @youmeatshan, @kirstttttttttt, @ba55haz_zs, @mathewlee_rs, @phil_st280

Overall, the staff were all lovely, helpful and made sure your safety was always first. The circuit itself was challenging but so much fun. This was my first experience of go karting but it definitely won’t be my last. I absolutely loved every second and I am so grateful to Daytona for their incredible hospitality. I had the best possible experience for my first time karting and I can’t wait to go again!

Again, thank you to Jim and the Daytona Tamworth team. If you love karting or fancy trying it out for the first time like I did, do check them out. I honestly could not recommend them enough.

See you in my next post!

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