An Eventful Week Up North

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Ahhh it feels good to be back. Although it's only been 4 days, I feel as though I've been gone for ages. If you don't follow my social medias you won't know that this week I visited family in Lancashire. Because they live away, we rarely see them so visiting them was something we'd been looking forward to for months. They're the most warm-hearted lovely people so whenever we spend time together we just have the best time. Although I was really excited, the prospect of leaving Lola for a week was horrible. I never knew how much you could become attached to a pet. Seeing family was so nice and we had a well needed catch-up but the trip didn't exactly go to plan. Well, not at all actually. It went a bit tits up. 

We'd planned to leave Monday morning then return Friday evening but we ended up coming back a day early instead. It all started with a rather painful 7 hour drive (was supposed to be 5 but we stopped a few times, there was traffic, and we kept getting lost) from Swansea to Preston. We'd planned to go to have dinner at our family's house in the evening and we left there house quite late so didn't get to the hotel until about half 10 at night. We didn't really know much about Preston other than our family living about 20 minutes away and that they had cool accents. We were in for a shock. Of course I'm not saying the whole of Preston is a complete dump but where we stayed was pretty awful. Our hotel was right in the city centre which we soon learnt was quite rough and a red light district (google if you're unsure). Yes, a red light district directly outside a family friendly hotel full of tourists. Just the perfect spot. 

Another thing that topped the disastrous first night off was scratching our hire car. The word scratched really doesn't do it justice though. It was in quite bad shape. We'd hired a car to travel in because ours is in the garage and if you've ever hired a car before you know there's a deposit to be paid. Ours was £250 which is quite a bit of money. Totally refundable unless you damage the car. Now I know you're probably thinking that it's the drivers fault but that seriously wasn't the case. The hotel car park was a bloody nightmare. You had to squeeze through a tiny entrance at the end of a steep ramp to get to the second floor carpark. We managed that part fine but went on to find out that 1) there were no available parking spaces (out of the grand total of 17 spaces in total, yes I counted to be dramatic) and 2) there was absolutely no place to turn or reverse and if you did, you were met with numerous massive yellow pillars. Pretty gutting to say the least.
The hotel rooms were terrible too. Have you ever seen four in a bed? You know when you see some episodes where people visit a B&B/hotel and it's so unbelievably bad you don't understand how it's open? That was this place. I won't name a shame but if you're from the area I'm fairly sure you'll know which place I'm talking about because everyone we spoke to seemed to know about how bad the place was. It was so unclean, smelt awful and the whole place just felt dodgy as hell. We decided to just change hotels because the whole area just had a really bad vibe and staying there didn't feel right. Talk about feeling at ease and relaxed on holiday eh? 5 hours in and it's all gone to pot. So then we then moved to the Premier Inn (lennie henry is right on those adverts, it's quite nice) which was so much better. We'd obviously just wasted quite a lot of money on a hotel we weren't staying in, paid for 2 nights at a new one, and potentially could lose the deposit on our hire car because of the car park suitable for elves. Brilliant start. My parents and brother are quite laid back people so we saw the comical side of it. Our first trip away and it's been a nightmare so far. "You've got to laugh" we kept saying. It was laugh or cry. Although a little deflated, we were optimistic about the 2 full days and wanted to make the most of the change of scenery. Like I said, we were meant to be leaving Friday but unfortunately the Premier Inn didn't have 3 nights available.

The next couple of days picked us back up though. We've always been a family who can have a laugh and make the best out of any situation but I felt more grateful than ever for them after the bad start. After practically no sleep, we woke early to check out. Because we couldn't check into the premier inn until 2pm we had to find something to do to pass the time. We were hoping to go to Blackpool to go to Madame Tussauds and Illuminasia but in true Slack family tradition, we were very last minute and extremely late. In the end we made plans to go for lunch with family. It was such a cute pub and the interior was right up my street. Each section of the place was themed differently. One area had a funky 70s theme going on while another had a pop of colour. After lunch we ordered the biggest ice cream sundae I've ever seen then slumped in our chairs with full stomachs until we decided where to visit next. We knew we still wanted to see Blackpool but everything would be closing soon. Nevertheless we drove there to have a look around. Canon camera around my neck at the ready, we walked for ages taking pictures like true tourists, walking on the pier and cobbled streets and looking around the different shops. I'd never really heard the best things about Blackpool and it's not had the best reputation portrayed on TV but it was still fun to explore what was going on. Typically, it started absolutely chucking it down with rain so we walked for 15 minutes in the downpour back to the car. At the end of the night we had tea and checked into our lovely new hotel.

The day I'd been most excited for was the day we visited the zoo. It was another drive up to Blackpool but thankfully the weather was beautiful. I took SO MANY photos of all the animals (these are only a select few) and they turned out really nice. The zoo was quite big so we were in there for about 3 hours taking everything in. I didn't know beforehand but they had an elephant there which I couldn't wait to see. It was a bitter sweet experience though. I've always been a bit torn about zoos. On the one hand I love going there and seeing all the animals but there's something quite sad about it too. After all, the elephants and gorillas and giraffes aren't meant to be isolated in small spaces. Although they have quite open spaces, they're confined compared to what they should have in the wild. I dunno, I'm undecided. Me and my Mum actually got teary eyed when we saw the gorillas. We're a pair of saps but they just looked so sad. It was pitiful to see and didn't seem right. Plus you've got a load of hyper kids banging on the glass because they've had one too many fruit shoots and are on a complete sugar rush.
The animals were amazing though. Giraffes are my absolute favourites, I think they're incredible animals. Plus they've got some pretty impressive natural winged eyeliner going on which I think is fab. AND LOOK AT THE MOTHER ANTEATER CARRYING THE BABY ANTEATER ON IT'S BACK!!! It was so flipping sweet. It kept pacing back and forth like it was taking the baby for a walk to get it to sleep. After leaving the zoo we went out for dinner all together as a family to the cute pub again and got back to the hotel for an early night because we wanted to leave early enough so we didn't get back home to Swansea too late. 

We had a quick stop to say goodbye to our family and set off on the road again. I managed to sleep in the car which isn't like me. Usually I'm the one on the AUX singing my heart out to ABBA. Although it was only a few days away, we were all absolutely knackered. We're not used to it. We've never been abroad as a family and have only travelled away to England for weddings. I've never even been on a plane. It was an experience though. I definitely learnt to check all reviews of the hotel you planning on staying at before you book it. I think we just wanted it sorted asap. We actually checked on Trip Adviser and saw that a lot of people had similar experiences to us regarding the car park and how the area was dodgy. It was also a big test for my anxiety too. I don't usually deal well with unfamiliar places and busy crowds so being able to visit a busy city, sit in a restaurant 3 times and stay in a hotel (which had a lift omg I was terrified) and not have one panic attack all week is quite an achievement for me. I don't say it often but I'm proud of myself. It's been a good way to ease myself into travelling because I'm so eager I want to do it in the future, and much further afield than Lancashire.

So that was my 4 days away. Have you had any disastrous holiday experiences? Have you ever been to Preston or Blackpool? 

Liv x 


  1. Oh wow these pictures are so pretty! This is so unbelievably cute!
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  2. Aww I'm so sorry you didn't have a good start to your week!! It's always such a shame when things go wrong, but you do just have to laugh it off and move forward. Well done on managing your anxiety. Mine can spark up when away from home as well, but you did so well. You should be so proud of yourself!!xx

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  3. Wow, love your blog layout!!xxx


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