Birthday in Brighton

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Well, it’s finally happened – I turned 21. Not sure how, though, since I still feel 12. But you know, that’s how science and stuff works.

To celebrate the milestone birthday, I went to the sunny seaside town of Brighton with my mother and gran before meeting with some friends who lived close by. One in particular, Emi, is an internet friend of mine who originally lives in Arizona, United States. She’s currently in Brighton for a few months on an international study course. We have known each other for almost four years and when she told me she was going to be there studying for a few months and recommended I came to visit, it made perfect sense to take the celebrations of my birth to the ever popular tourist town. I also have a few friends in England who write for the same website as me, so to meet up with Lizzy, Hannah and Verity and invite them along to party with us was a wise idea.

After the hell of a journey from South Wales to Brighton and a deadly walk to our hotel (we underestimated the distance. A lot.) we arrived at the Holiday Inn, our home for the next 48 hours. Earlier in the week, we called to try and get a twin room rather than a double as my mother has recently had an injury which involves the use of crutches for a short period of time and needs the space. She mentioned it was my big birthday and the upgraded us complimentary to an executive room, which was a present in itself. It meant that I was blessed with a king sized bed for the weekend and my mother and gran had a fairly decent sized place to slumber themselves.

View from the balcony
View from the balcony

Shortly after check in and dumping our stuff, Emi arrived outside the hotel and I headed downstairs to meet her. We squealed like two little school girls and ran to embrace one another, with other guests laughing and smiling as it was clear we hadn’t seen each other for a while if not at all. To finally meet someone I grew up speaking to online was such a blessing and I can confirm she’s just as an amazing person in person as she is online. Sorry Nev, no Catfish to reel in here!

Moments after we met!
Moments after we met!

Following the meet with Emi, we all headed in a taxi to Churchill Square where we met Lizzy and Hannah before venturing around some shops. Churchill Square shopping center is much more lavish in comparison to St David’s in Cardiff, though for size it’s nowhere near as big. Still, I always enjoy exploring new places when it comes to retail therapy. Shopping done and we hopped into another taxi and finally made it to the place I had been anticipating for months – Brighton Pier.

British cuisine at its finest
British cuisine at its finest

The pier is honestly so pretty and full of the fun fair lifestyle you see in the movies; from different kiosks to attractions, shops and of course, the rides. We headed to Palmers Court for the classic British delicacy of fish and chips. Being from America and only arriving here two weeks ago, Emi had yet to try this well-known meal and so I had to film her reaction for both my vlog and a video to put on Facebook. Needless to say, she very much enjoyed it, even if the fish was too big to finish. I just stuck with a tray of chips, being vegetarian and totally oblivious to the fact that there were onion rings. Had I been aware, I definitely could have demolished some since the long journey had definitely got me feeling hungry.

Being on the pier at night was such a thrilling experience
Being on the pier at night was such a thrilling experience

The sky’s gradient became darker as Emi and I wandered the pier and watched all the rides, making notes of the ones we wanted to check out the next day. There were a variety to choose from – ones that spun you around and around, turned you upside down, threw you from side to side and even did a loop-de-loop; we were fascinated by them all and were eager to get a wristband for unlimited access to them all. Before we knew it, day one was done and we said our goodbyes but not before pre-arranging plans for the next day.

The following morning I was awoken from my slumber by my mother who greeted me with a ‘Happy Birthday’ in a sing-song voice, before piling up my cards and presents on the king sized bed I had slept in for the past eight hours, which by the way was such a good night’s sleep. I opened my presents and was thrilled with everything I had; from makeup to jewellery, books and even American chocolate – I was definitely thankful for everything. My gran then woke up and greeted me on my special day before I proceeded to open the presents she had bought me. We then headed downstairs for breakfast to gain fuel for our day ahead of us.

I wasn't very photogenic at that time of day...
I wasn’t very photogenic at that time of day…

Filled up on breakfast, we flagged down another taxi and headed back to Churchill Square where we met Emi and trekked to The Lanes, where we visited the ice cream parlour, Boho Gelatos – a place where British YouTube couple, Zoe Sugg and Alfie Deyes had recommended to their viewers – and tried some homemade ice cream. Honestly, it was the best ice cream I had ever tasted. The flavours were so pungent and didn’t taste artificial in the slightest. I highly recommend visiting there if you’re ever in Brighton.

Boho Gellato - home to some of the best ice cream known to man (in my opinion)
Boho Gelato – home to some of the best ice cream known to man (in my opinion)

Ice cream devoured and we found ourselves at Choccywoccydoodah – the famous chocolate shop in Brighton who then ventured out to London. If you aren’t aware of this place, it’s so well known for its chocolate art that it has its own TV show. They cater for the stars, politicians – you name it, they’ve probably served them. It was here my mother had ordered my birthday cake as we are both fans of the show, so it was pretty exciting to be able to go there. Of course, we had to have a nosey around and though it’s an incredible place, it’s a very small store with many tourists waiting to visit, so it was a very tight squeeze. For someone who doesn’t like small places, it was slightly scary but the fantastic edible art distracted me from the small defined space.

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The highly popular chocolatiers
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One of the many amazing cakes
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Literal edible art

Souvenirs bought and cake picked up, it was time for yet another taxi journey, this time heading to Talk of Tea where we would be devouring sandwiches, drinking cups of tea and celebrating with cake. It was at this point that Hannah and Verity joined us for the afternoon tea and everyone became acquainted with one another, before the big (and embarrassing) moment where a candle was lit and ‘Happy Birthday’ was sung to me. It was an awkward 20 seconds for me before making a wish and blowing out the candle, but it was soon over.

This photo literally does not do the cake justice
This photo literally does not do the cake justice

After the tea, my friends and I decided to head back to the pier where we went on rides. I was intrigued to try the haunted house ride and though not great with jump scares, Emi was a trooper and accompanied on the ride. Our screams could be heard from inside of the ride – hers full of fear and mine full of amusement. It got to the point where I found it so funny that I was in silence laughing and almost incapable of breathing. The kind of laugh that makes your sides feel they’re about to split. We all decided to take a turn on the bumper cars and that’s where we found out why Emi has her license and I do not. I absolutely suck at driving dodgem cars, so I dread to think what I’d be like at the real thing!

 

 

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With Verity, Hannah and Emi

 

The scenery of Brighton was aesthetically pleasing
The scenery of Brighton was aesthetically pleasing

From time on the rides to time in the arcades, we did a bit of everything that tourists do before saying our goodbyes to Hannah and Verity who needed to get home. Emi and I walked back to the hotel to meet once again with my family before heading to the i360 – a brand new attraction known as a vertical cable car, taking you over 450 feet into the air and giving you an incredible 360 view of Brighton. After a short period of waiting, we headed into the viewing deck along with many other visitors and were hoisted up into the air and above all buildings. The views were magnificent and breathtakingly beautiful. There was a bar on board and Emi and I decided to treat ourselves to a (very expensive) glass of champagne, only to find out it was a taste to my disliking. Oh well, you’re only 21 once, right?

The i360 - it's taller than you'd think
The i360 – it’s taller than you’d think

 

Brighton from above
Brighton from above

 

Cheers!
Cheers!

Following our time on the i360, Emi and I quickly caught a bus back to her place for her to give me the present she had bought me (a fall scented candle from Bath and Body Works in America) which she had previously forgot to bring with her, then headed back to the hotel for a meal in the hotel’s restaurant – Stock Burger – which was delicious. By the time we had finished eating, the night was getting old and knowing we didn’t have much time left together, Emi and I headed back to my room where we sat out on the balcony and did what we do best – talked. Having known each other for four years, we’d definitely been through a lot together, even though our friendship being solely based on our online presence. We talked about the past, the present and things we plan to do in the future. It was so nice to be able to have some time with her and do what we normally do but face to face, rather than behind a keyboard and a million miles between us.

A heart to heart on the balcony
A heart to heart on the balcony

The day was done and we said our goodbyes, giving each other a big hug and promising to meet up again soon, with Emi agreeing to visit Wales before heading back to Arizona at the end of the year.

And just like that, my time in Brighton had come to an end. I tucked myself into the king sized bed and listened to music before falling asleep, trying my best to get as much shut-eye possible before the long and tiring journey that followed the next day.
This was without a doubt the best birthday ever and an amazing way to kick off my time as a 21-year-old. I’d like to thank everyone who spent the weekend with me and everyone who sent me well wishes – it was the best time and a weekend away I had needed for so long. Here’s to 21!

 

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Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

I spent a week with a mermaid!

Hello there!

So, as I excitedly explained on my social media sites a numerous amount of times, just over a week ago, my dear friend Courtney AKA A Mermaid’s Blog  (formerly known as Find The Lost Girl) travelled from Stevenage, Hertfordshire to visit me for about a week here in Wales. We have been online friends for almost three years now having digitally met via a Facebook fan page for our favourite singer, Olly Murs. After Skyping, Facetiming and just talking probably more than we talk to our friends who live near us, we eventually arranged to meet up. My parents were happy to let Courtney stay with us for a couple of days and after months of excitement, the day finally arrived.

I stood at Cardiff Central bus station with slight anxiety and adrenaline. As the London bus pulled in, I rapidly began texting “Is this your bus?” but no reply. As soon as it pulled in, I had a call.

“Where the hell are you?!”

“I’m literally right by the National Express office you can’t miss me.”

“I can’t- OH MY GOD I SEE YOU”

“Grea-”

Call Disconnected

I look up to see a very familiar face running across the crossing with a suitcase lugging behind her. My face lit up as I ran towards her and she mimicked my actions. We ran to each other, screamed and hugged before bursting out into tears. At last, we had finally met.

Courtney and Jazz first selfie
Our first selfie! Still red eyed from crying…

We only had 5 days together as CJ (her nickname, so you know) had to get back in time for a concert, but we made every moment memorable. From blogging to spending quality time watching films, from shopping to a make over. We did so much in such little time.

I’ll write an overview of each day as so much went on.

Day One:

Courtney and I met in Cardiff after she arrived from London which was a transfer from Stevenage. We got really emotional before catching a train back to my place. We had a night in to watch Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and just chatted the night away before watching one of our favourite films, Peter Pan in Return to Neverland.

Night in with the TV. Perfect way to bond!
Night in with the TV. Perfect way to bond!

 

Day Two: 

After a very lazy morning together, my mother, our friend Denise and I took Courtney up a local Welsh mountain to walk Louis and Pepsi and for CJ to see the breathtaking views of the Welsh Valleys. It was also my stepdad’s birthday but he had to work. I managed to give him his present, which was this video from a member of the cast from Game of Thrones wishing him a happy birthday. Needless to say, he was really happy! Courtney and I then spent the evening watching The Fault in Our Stars.

Day Three:

My stepdad’s birthday was on the Sunday but he was working, so today we had a tea party with my stepbrother, my gran and some family friends visiting alongside CJ and I there with my stepdad and my mother. Denise made an amazing cake for his birthday in shape of a Welsh rugby ball. We later went to my local carvery for dinner before watching Love Rosie on DVD.

Bob cake
Jazz and courtney 1

 

Day Four: 

We had an early rise before going to my favourite little cafe, The Potting Shed. It’s the cutest little place for breakfast and I think Courtney enjoyed it! We then went to the Welsh history museum, St Fagans, where we looked around the old buildings from the past as well as making friends with a sheep! We called her Dolly. We headed home before taking Louis and Pepsi to the beach for a walk and headed to a little ice cream kiosk which ran out of ice cream and made the world’s worst tea. Never again! I also introduced Courtney to the film Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging. I was rather shocked she had never seen it considering the moment it released, thousands of teens and tweens headed out to the cinema to watch it.

potting shed
So much cuteness from The Potting Shed!
Breakfast
Breakfast
Courtney xxxx
Courtney and Polly!
Jazz and Polly
Polly and I chilling

Day Five:

This was the day we had been planning for a long time. We both love shopping, especially for make-up and beauty products, so I took CJ to Cardiff to go shopping. We went to a number of shops but the best ones being Superdrug Beauty Studio (the only one in the UK), LUSH, Blue Banana (which Courtney fell in love with), The Disney Store and The Body Shop where we booked in for a free makeover. Sadly, when we got home, we forgot to take close ups of our make as we were so tired after a long day. I also took Courtney for her first Nandos. Thankfully, they have Vegetarian options!

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Nandos do pretty great vegetarian options!

 

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Chilling in Cardiff!

Day six:

The day of dread. The day Courtney heads back home. As she packed her bags, we headed to the train station with our heads hanging low with sorrow before boarding the train and headed back to Cardiff central. We spent two hours in a coffee shop for a final chat before the coach arrived. I was welling up. The past few days had been so much fun and now it was all coming to an end. It flew by so fast. As I hugged her before she boarded her coach, we said “see you soon” because we refuse to say goodbye. “Goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting” as Peter Pan once said. Cliche? Cheesy? Yes. But we’re fans, so we stuck by it.

My few days with Courtney was so much fun. We did so much and just had a great time in each other’s company. It wasn’t the last time I will see her, though. We’ve already started making plans for her return in the summer and our reunion in London some time this year for a party. So, it’s all good!

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Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.