Monday, June 13, 2011

Girls Just Want To Have Fun

What I can say about England is that they have no shortage of public holidays - or what they call 'Bank Holidays' which is lucky for me because I love days off work for no real reason. This time it was for the start of Summer - I think so me and m close girlfriends from my old work decided on a girls trip away for the weekend.

A few places were tossed up - mainly somewhere with a beach and that was relatively cheap as none of us had the cash to be jetting off to somewhere exotic and somewhere we could get to within a day as we didn't really have THAT much time. In the end we decided on Bournemouth which is a beach side city to the south west of London.

We decided we would hire a car and drive down to have a bit of a road trip so once we were there we could drive around to the surrounding area and explore a bit. We set off from just outside London on the Saturday morning in our cute little car and started the scenic drive down to the coast. We passed lots of little cute villages and big green paddocks and immediately it felt good just to get out of the city. Don't get me wrong - I am a city girl at heart but I do appreciate a bit of fresh air. A we kept passing pubs we realised we were all pretty peckish so we decided to stop at the next spot for lunch - and of course it ever came. We drove on for about another 45 minutes before we gave up and pulled off the motorway and into a little town.

As we checked out some options for lunch we stumbled across a pub that served fish and chips and local cider. Well you can't really argue with that. The food was really nice and fresh and definitely hit the spot (as did the Cider) and the action of eating and drinking set the precedent for the rest of the weekend - as that was pretty much all we did!

We finally got down to Bournemouth at around 2pm and checked into our hotel. We stayed at the Croham Hotel that we had got a deal of Late Rooms for and as there were five of us we split up into our two rooms. When Laura, Claire and I checked into our room we were pleased to find that the room looked pretty clean and fresh and had obviously been recently taken over. We wandered down to Caitriona's and Kate's room to see where they were and what theirs was like and nearly died of shock and then began to keel over laughing. Their room had obviously NOT been renovated and there was in fact gaps in their roof tiles, worn carpet and hideous furnishings. They even had to walk down a set of stairs from the hallway just to get into their room. I didn't actually check out the bathroom but the stories that were told led me to believe it wasn't exactly exquisite either. Oh well in the end it did the job - we got a roof over our heads and a place to relax!

After a quick freshen up we decided to wander through the town and check out 'down town' Bournemouth. Unfortunately for us the weather over the whole weekend was pretty horrible (I don't even think I saw the sun once) so our walk was a fairly overcast, windy and cold experience but we powered on and wandered down to the city centre, through their main park and then down along the beach where I still walked through the sand despite the frostbite I was feeling in my toes. A few windswept minutes later someone casually suggested going to a pub and we all agreeed hastily with that offer. We found a cute little bar tucked in a side street somewhere and had a few glasses of wine or Sangria while we continued with our girlie chats.

These drinks were the beginning of many as we picked up a couple of bottles of wine to have while we were getting ready for dinner and going out. We decided to splash out a little and have dinner at a nice restaurant set on top of a hill over looking the park. The food was delicious and of course there was lots more wine. After dinner we decided to try and check out the Bournemouth Nightclub Scene as we had seen lots of bucks and hens parties around and heard there were a few clubs around. We wandered around for a bit but couldn't really see much so decided to duck into a 'Slug and Lettuce' but got denied as we all didn't have ID. We ended up going around the corner to a pub at the bottom of the hotel and had a good yarn over even more drinks.

We figured that if we were just sitting around chilling out we should go back to our hotel and drink the drink we had there. We were joined by a few random hotel members who had been out for a buck night so we had a bit of a yarn and a few laughs with them before a knock on the door from the hotel staff asking that since it was 3am and we were making lots of noise would we mind going to bed. So after a few attempts to quieten down and a few more complaints we finally got into bed at around 4am.

The next morning Kate and Caitriona forced themselves to get out of bed and go down to the cooked breakfast where as Claire, Laura and I just slept most of our hangovers off. The rest of the morning was a bit of a struggle with the five of us feeling a bit worse for wear. We went down to a cafe down the road to fill up on caffeine and greasy food before attempting a walk along the beach again. Laura was feeling pretty ill so she decided to back up to the room and sleep it off. The rest of us went for a wander down to the water and decided to check out the pier.

The pier in Bournemouth is pretty different from the one over in Brighton as it is not nearly as big AND you have to pay to get onto it. 60 pence hardly breaks the bank though so we decided to pay up and check it out. It had some really awesome photos all along the pier of it 50 or 60 years ago and how it is now. At the end they have a restaurant and some carnival games. Kate decided to try her hand at winning Caitriona a toy so had a go at hooking some ducks. She won two prizes and picked a goat stuffed toy who then became our mascot - Frank.

After our short lived adventures on the pier we wandered up to the Marriot Hotel that was set up on the cliffs over looking the beach to have a tea. We ordered two cream teas and spent the afternoon shielded from the wind but looking out over the ocean and eating lots of yummy sweet things and talking about everything from our adventures the night before to our favourite novels.

By the time we had finished Laura was feeling a bit more perky so we met her in the city centre and went to a bar to meet a friend of mine James who was also down in Bournemouth for the weekend. We had a couple of drinks there with him before heading out to dinner at Mexican restaurant where we consumed some yummy food and some yummy margaritas (I told you all we did was eat and drink). As we hadn't had much success with our clubbing adventures the night before we asked the waitress who was a local where the best places were to go. She directed us to a place called 60 Million Postcards which was a place that had live music, grungy interior covered in posters, post cards and random crap and some very cute bartenders. We were pretty happy with the local and the bar but overall we were all just still tired and recovering from the night before so we didn't stay out too long.

The next day was the last day of our girls holidays and after getting up for breakfast and faffing around we didn't really have much time for anything else. We had planned to go visit Corfe Castle and actually see a bit of the surrounding area but the weather was just too miserable to be bothered hiking along the coast or driving through to get to a Castle. We decided we would drive home via the New Forest and stop in at Claire's house to see her parents before heading back into London.

All was going well with the plan until halfway home we were driving along and our tire burst causing us to have to pull over on the side of a highway with very little room to stop. Claire kept her calm through the whole thing and got us to the side of the road safely but it was still a bit of a shock to the system. We got out and called AA and had to wait about 40 minutes on the side of a highway before they came. We amused ourselves by making daisy chains and chatting away but it certainly put a dint in our day. The mechanic came and changed our tire (we would have attempted it other then the fact we were on a highway and didn't want to do battle with the rest of the cars) and we were soon on our way back to Claire's house.

When we got to Caz-a-lan we were treated to fresh tea and scones made by her mummy (oh I love going to family homes) which continued our tradition of eating and drinking right up until the weekend end. I love our little girls getaways and had such a great time checking out another part of the UK. It was such a shame the weather was so miserable as we may have been able to explore a bit further - although in saying that our hangovers prevented that as well. I am so lucky to have found such a good group of girlfriends and always have such a great time with them. The unlucky part about is that we are all so busy with work and travel and our other groups of friends that we very rarely get the chance to have a proper long catch up. We even tried to set a up google calendar to work out when our next free weekend was - it took us about 6 months to find one - the next one is in November! Hopefully we can schedule something in then!

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