THE WINNER'S CURSE      - Published July 2014 by Marie Rutkoski Rating: **** *May contain some spoilers!* Back in 2014 I rea...

the winners curse, books, book review, marie rutkoski,

THE WINNER'S CURSE
     - Published July 2014

by Marie Rutkoski

Rating: ****

*May contain some spoilers!*

Back in 2014 I read The Winner's Curse, not long after it had officially been released. I remember loving it and feeling absolutely gutted when it finished and there wasn't another. Then the second book was released and excitedly I read it straight away, loving it yet again. Then the third book was released and I ordered it straight away but life got in the way, I barely read anything for a long time (unless it was university related) and never got round to it. I vowed that this summer I would finish any series' that I had started previously and reading The Winner's Kiss was to be one of the first on my list. That was until I realised I couldn't remember what happened towards the end of the first book and throughout the second book. I definitely read them as I gave each five stars on Goodreads! It's summer so instead of hoping for the best, that my memory would come back to me, I just decided to reread the first two to continue onto the third and finally finish the series! I was definitely excited to start again and enjoy the books that I had previously loved!

Story:

Kestrel, a Valorian and the general's daughter, was always seen to be odd with her love for music, lack of military ability and generosity to the Herrani slaves at her home. As a child her birthday wish was to set her nurse free as it was a great honour for a slave to be freed. She grew up persistently playing the piano, a past time of the Herrani before the war and now something only a slave should do in order to entertain the noble Valorians.

On a walk through town, Kestrel and her closest friend, Jess, stumble upon the slave markets and unable to escape the crowds they are forced to watch as a young man is advertised as a blacksmith and singing, someone perfect for the general's house. In a whim, he is sold to Kestrel and put to work making horseshoes and armoury. That is until they build a closer relationship through playing games of Bite and Sting, the stakes being questions. Who knew questions were so valuable?

After all the sun we’ve had recently, and even yesterday, it has been chucking it down all day today! Since I couldn’t take any photos outside I decided to try out something new! I’ve been thinking about changing my theme for a while so here it is! • I have now redesigned my blog and made it a travel and book blog! Got so excited about it that I wrote my first proper review straight away! It is a review of Cinda Williams China’s Seven Realms series! Please go have a read if you’re interested! (Link in bio) I also posted today about the start of my trip to Tanzania! I even went to the gym this morning, sorted my housing contract out for September and sorted my tax returns! Been a productive two days! πŸ’ͺ🏻 • Currently reading: The Winners Curse by Marie Rutkoski (reread) I love this series but I can’t remember the ending of the second one for me to continue onto the third. So I decided to just reread the lot! 😁 QOTD: Do you ever forget what happened in a book but just know you loved it? πŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“š
A post shared by Kira C (@kcbookshelf) on

Unknowingly to Kestrel, the Herrani had been plotting a siege. Everything they needed to take back the town was ready so thye just had to wait until the perfect time. Soon enough, the general and his guard are out of town and there is a huge party the majority of the Valorians would be at on the same night. The the date it put in places and their plans go ahead. When Kestrel gets in the middle of it all, Arin does what he can to save her and keep her away from harm. Will that be enough?

Cheat, the new leader of the Herrani, is an incredibly arrogant man, and will do what he wants to get what he wants, even if that is Kestrel in a less than romantic way. She is the one thing that Arin has that he does so he plots to take her away from him. His plotting leads to his death and constant nightmares for Kestrel. Free from the rulings of Cheat, she is allowed to wander the house as though a free woman, gradually increasing her relationship with Arin until it gets too much. In an attempt to escape, Arin lets her go knowing she would bring war upon the land. In an effort to save all who she could, Kestrel cuts a deal with the emperor. The deal will save the lives of the people she cares about but will send her life in a direction that may be disliked by Arin.

Thoughts:

The first time I read this book I think I read it in two days because I was loving every minute of it. This time has been different. I think life has got in the way a little but I haven't found myself itching to pick it up and finish it. Fair enough, I have been slightly obsessed with my bookstagram account lately (I've been trying out a new theme so I keep checking to see how the photos are doing whilst also taking more)! All in all, I've just not read it quite so fast. That doesn't mean I haven't enjoyed it. I love the characters and how Kestrel and Arin's relationship almost blossoms throughout. The fact that she owns both Valorian and Herrani traits without caring what everyone else in society thinks - I wish we all had values like that. Reading the description of her want and need to play the piano, and then how she plays it, reminds me when I was like that. I used to take lessons then after beginning learning my grade 5 songs, I moved to college where I could no longer get to my lessons on time, that and they were expensive. I now want to get back into it so trying to organise my time enough so I can try out Yousician (I used it for learning guitar until university studying got too much). It's amazing how a book can inspire you. I know that last time I read it, this book inspired me to start writing a book myself. I never did but I had a really good idea for a story and wrote that down, so maybe one day.

I love the whole idea of the two different languages in this book. It's always lovely to get a glimpse of what certain words mean, even if they are made up. It really resonates with the idea of races in real life society and possibly with the history of our own links to slavery. It's all fictional but if you think of it in that way, it's very much like real life and how our pasts might have played out. A lovely outlook on some forms of politics, within a fantasy world.

It felt as though the story dropped off half way through, which is roughly when I started getting a little bored and wanted the story to progress, or for Arin and Kestrel to just get together already. Then all of a sudden the pace picked up and I was engrossed once again. I noticed particularly how fast the pace seemed to go. Once something happens, or is mentioned that it's going to happen, then seconds later it has happened. It jumps forward quickly. An example being Kestrel and Arin talking about an antidote for Jess, and then in the next minute Arin is up in the mountains searching for the plant. It's a smaller book than I've been used to lately so perhaps that is a big reason for me thinking it moved quickly but when it mattered, the descriptions were exactly what I felt I needed. The description of a kiss, or Cheat's death, brought out all sorts of feels. I half wished for this kind of description in other parts of the book but the other half of me knew that that would have dragged the story out even more when that probably wasn't needed.



It is refreshing for a story to have characters that are more willing to look at politics strategically rather than facing it head on ready to simply fight without thought. Neither Arin or Kestrel were entirely willing to literally fight for their sides, both took time to work out what might be the best option for both sides. It's difficult to choose a side also as both could be considered as bad as each other, though things are more entwined than that. The two sides cross making it too difficult to make that decision.

I really need to pick up The Winner's Crime now. The cliffhanger at the end was one hell of a twist compared to the way you expect the story to play out. I have read it before I don't remember enough at all to remember how things turn out in the end, or even in the middle.

If you haven't read this series of books then I definitely recommend them! I've heard only great things from other reviews and I really enjoyed them myself. Hence why I wasn't too bothered about rereading them, in fact I was pretty excited!

Onto the next book...

- KC xx

Buy The Winner's Curse online:

Jambo! After nine months of fundraising, then 2 months of fretting that I have the correct equipment and enough layers to keep me warm,...

Jambo!

After nine months of fundraising, then 2 months of fretting that I have the correct equipment and enough layers to keep me warm, August 19th finally came around.

Kilimanjaro, tanzania, trek, backpacking, uhuru peak, freedom, east africa, moshi, turkish airlines, childreach international

There was no point in going to sleep as I set off around 3am and still had last minute backpack checks to make. It was a hassle to get down to Heathrow and there was no way I was catching up on any sleep in the car. I didn't care as long as I made it and was able to get on the flight. It was my first time travelling from Heathrow and I wasn't entirely impressed. Manchester Airport is much smoother and easier to make your way round. We still managed it though and as a group of 22 we did well in staying together and getting on the plane at the same time. We were fortunate to all be sat near each other too.

turkish airlines, flight, travel, istanbul, kilimanjaro, turkey, heathrow

turkish airlines, aeroplane, holiday, travel, istanbul, london, heathrow, airport, airplane, kilimanjaro, moshi


turkish airlines, airport, turkey, istanbul, kilimanjaro, heathrow, london, travel, flight, tanzania

Flying with Turkish Airlines was a dream. I usually fly on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner with Tui to Mexico or Dom Rep so I wasn't expecting much more, especially since the flight was much shorter. However, food and drink was complimentary, there was tonnes of movies to choose from, a very good collection of albums (including X Ambassador, one of my all time favourite bands) and the multiplayer games actually worked and connected with other seats. Being with a group of 22 definitely got competitive when playing good ol' billiards. We stopped off in Istanbul for some lunch and hopped onto another plane heading to Kilimanjaro airport, arriving there around half 2 in the morning. I don't think I slept in well over 24 hours. After our briefing, transfer, and check in, we finally got to sleep around 6am.




hotel, keys lodge, moshi, kilimanjaro, tanzania, holiday, climbing, hiking, hostel

Keys lodge, hotel, hostel, travel, holiday, climbing, hiking, kilimanjaro, tanzania, moshi

The first two nights of our trip we stayed at Keys Lodge Hotel which is about an hour away from Machame Gate. Since we were a big group, our rooms were in threes but luckily there wasn't enough to fill each one so I ended up in a three bed, en suite with only two of us in there. Plenty of space for the huge mess I made trying to reorganise my bags for the next day. I don't remember there being a lock on the balcony door which was slightly worrying but the hotel was safe enough to not be too worried. The bathroom was quite big with a basic walk-in shower. The curtains didn't quite cover all the windows but it wasn't such a bother. We weren't their for luxury. That said. I had a very good nights sleep.

moshi, tanzania, school, childreach international, poverty, africa, kilimanjaro

moshi, school, tanzania, kilimanjaro, childreach international, poverty

The first day, after a lovely little buffet breakfast, we were back on a rickety cramped coach to take us to a school who were having improvements paid for by Childreach International. What an incredible afternoon. Despite being a Sunday, a large bunch of pupils from the school had come to greet us and after a quick tour round to see the facilities and learn a bit about what they learn, we played football, singing and dancing games, and learnt a little handshake thing they do with their feet. It was so lovely. You could clearly see the poverty they live in but somehow the smiles on their faces remained throughout the day. The toilets were a hole in the ground, as it seemed was common for the area, and the teaching spaces were made up of two small classrooms. They had recently built a new cooking area for children to be able to have meals during the day compared to the small fire pit that it use to be. There was another classroom being built at the time too. The grounds were covering in dry dust and sand which covered my trainers like you wouldn't imagine. They were no longer light grey! I wouldn't be too surprised if the shower didn't clog up later from the amount that ended up on my legs! Safe to say, I didn't get sun burnt because I was covered in the dust instead. Who knew dust was good sun protection?

moshi, school, tanzania, kilimanjaro, childreach international, poverty

moshi, school, tanzania, kilimanjaro, childreach international, poverty

Back at the hotel, it was dinner, safety briefing, and bed. We were going to need as much sleep as possible before the big day. The big day that was the start of our climb up the tallest mountain in Africa.

The safety briefing went through a lot of stuff that felt like common sense to me, but it has to be done. In short, drink about 3L of water a day, eat as much food as you possibly can, and if you start feeling ill you MUST tell your guide immediately! If it's small headaches you're getting or a small stomach ache, it will usually be the altitude and a mixture of new foreign food which can normally be dealt with paracetamol and plenty more water. They explained the route and how we'd eat, drink and sleep. When we got to our lunch points of the day we'd find a tent set up for us to eat inside and the same at night and at breakfast time. We were given a list of what to include in our day pack and main bag with the information about how to leave behind anything else not needed back at the hotel for the duration of the trip. Finally, safety briefing finished and we put in our requests for anything we wanted hiring. That was quite a lot for me. I wasn't willing to fork out for a 4 season sleeping bag that I'd end up having to carry around for the trip after the climb. It worked out cheaper to hire a lot of the stuff, especially when I was never going to use it again.

The morning after was an early rise with a quick pack of bags and handing in the items to leave behind. All of our hired gear was handed out and we were ready to set of to the base of Mount Kilimanjaro, Machame Gate.

machame gate, bus, tanzania, kilimanjaro, machame route, moshi, hiking, charity, fundraising, travel
This is the bus we travelled in to get to the gate. Other buses/coaches mentioned were very similar to this size. It was always a bit of a squash!
************
I've really taken my time to get round to actually writing and posting about my trip to Tanzania and climbing Kilimanjaro. I got so busy with university throughout my entire second year so I'm glad I've now got some time to sit and look back through all my photos and start writing about the whole experience. It was the most amazing experience I've ever had and I'm sure that the won't be many moments in the rest of my life that can compare to it. Even so, I can still try and keep on making and enjoying even more incredible moments!

I shall be posting about the actual climb, day by day, very soon so keep an eye out on my social media for when that goes live!

Until then,
- KC xx

THE DEMON KING      - #1 Published 6th October 2009 THE EXILED QUEEN      - #2 Published 24th September 2010 THE GRAY WOLF THRONE...


seven realms, fantasy, fiction, ya, young adult, conemporary, royal, king, queen,

THE DEMON KING
     - #1 Published 6th October 2009

THE EXILED QUEEN
     - #2 Published 24th September 2010

THE GRAY WOLF THRONE
     - #3 Published 30th August 2011

THE CRIMSON CROWN
     - #4 Published 23rd October 2012

by Cinda Williams Chima

Rating: *****

*May contain small spoilers!*

demon king, fantasy, magic, king, queen, royal, ya, books, bookish, book blogger, young adult, fiction

It's becoming a thing now that when I go abroad I usually have to pack less so carrying around four or five books like I used to can no longer be done. I've always loved reading and I suppose I can read quite fast but there have been many times in the past where I've not even been able to complete one book because of how busy I've been on holiday. I've now taken an oath with myself that if I do take any books, I only take one paperback and maybe a few on my phone/iPad Kindle app. If I get through that then it's highly likely the hotels or hostels where I am staying will have a small selection of books left by past travellers. I decided it was time to trust that what they are reading is also something I might like and so last year, whilst in Dominican Republic I picked up The Demon King having no clue as to what it was. Three days later I was finished, longing for the second book (The Exiled Queen) which I had to wait for. As soon I was home, I ordered it online.

Story:

The plot follows Han, head of a street gang and infamous heartthrob. Running a gang isn't quite as easy as some people think as he deals with a lot of harassment from the queen's guard. After fostering with the clans, Han (also known as Hunts Alone) deals with his friendship with best friends Dancer and Digging Bird. A big secret brews between Han and Dancer whilst a new relationship seems to blossom between Han and Bird. When that secret is revealed, it insights a huge test between Han and Bird since any love between them should now be forbidden. 

On the other side of the social spectrum, Raisa, the princess heir, deals with constant parties and balls. Wearing a new dress everyday, and accepting hundreds of gifts from her admirers and possible marriage candidates, she chooses to do good and offer up funding for those less fortunate at the local school. Meanwhile, one of the gifts is a little too charming. A gift from the High Wizard's son, Micah. Wizards are forbidden to marry into the Gray Wolf line after the war but her mother and the High Wizard think this could be a new opportunity. Micah is only too happy to oblige. Raisa, however, refuses to upset the rest of the Queendom. Her only option is to escape.

book, fantasy, fiction, ya, young adult, contemporary, cinda williams chima

The following books continue the story with more forbidden loves as Raisa and the head of her own guard, Amon, begin a fling. But an old bond between them physically forces anything further to continue. Having run off to study at Oden's Ford, unknowingly Han bumps into Raisa, under the name of Rebecca Morley. Whilst they study and strengthen all that they can, tensions are rising in joining lands and an inevitable war is about to break out. If Raisa doesn't return to her mother and marry for politics soon then her own land could be the battleground, but if she marries Micah a war will break out among their allies. It would also give the Bayar's the power they do not deserve. Han makes a mysterious friend who is adamant on destroying the Bayar's so perhaps they two of them could work together somehow.

cinda williams chima, fantasy, book, book blogger, bookstagram, ya, young adult, contemporary,

Things don't go to plan when someone is sent to kill Raisa and Micah believes the only way to stop her from being killed is to kidnap her and attempt to navigate through the already fighting brothers of Arden. Han and Amon both ride to find Raisa. Amon finds himself stuck in the fragile land of Tamron, mid seige whilst his father, the captain of the guard, tracks down Raisa and helps her get home safely. The ride back to the Fells is not so safe at all and instead ends up being the death of all the guard with the captain on the Princess Heir's return trip. Raisa herself is poisoned but Han is able to be the saviour no one believes he could be.

cinda williams chima, fantasy, fells, ya, young adult, fiction, books, bookish, book blogger, bookstagram

Upon her return, Raisa is faced with mourning her mothers death and new position as queen. A political marriage still has to be on the cards or else all of the people of the Fells will be going to war at a complete disadvantage. With Han and Amon at her side, Raisa is able to be the queen her mother was too weak to be, nonetheless a refusal of a marriage results in her home being put up siege. With no help from the wizards and the Demonai unable to cope with the flatland soldiers, there appears to be no help. The worst comes at the news of Han's death during his search for the Wizard King's Armoury. All is not as it seems as truths come out that question all beliefs and the people of the Fells are forced to put aside their differences and old laws. 

Thoughts:

WHERE HAS THIS SERIES BEEN?! WHY HAVEN'T I HEARD OF IT BEFORE?! I have been unable to put these books down. The second I start reading them I get hooked into the story line and next thing you know I've finished the whole series. The story perfectly blends from one books to the other, continuing right where you left off. The characters clearly have their own personalities throughout. I struggled to hate just one character throughout. There were times where I got annoyed with Raisa and thankfully the point of view flipped to Han giving me a well needed break at the right time and then just when you've had enough of Han, it flips back again. I love-hate both of those characters which is refreshing compared to other books I've read. I enjoy being able to be annoyed at the main protagonist but then seconds later love them again. There isn't anyone you could really hate either and even the villainous characters have lovable moments, maybe with the excetion of Gavan Bayar. I would be interested to read something about Gavan's childhood. You get a sneak peak when Willow explains about Dancer's father but not enough - I WANT MORE! I would probably say Amon is my favourite character though. Maybe I have a soft spot for strong men in leadership who are still the romantic type. It's heart breaking to learn that he can't be with his childhood sweetheart. That said, they are all about the typical age of "childhood sweetheart" so that's a confusing one. Still, I wished Amon got more than his betrothed. She sounds lovely, but still. Then ending was both sad and beautiful. Bird was set up to be a bigger character towards the end of The Demon King but remains an underlying character who appears to help the plot along subtly. It was quite beautiful for her to be the big final hero at the very end, especially when you just about think the story is coming to an end. Typical, there is always another twist or something you forgot was mentioned but plays a huge roll.


I would love to read more about the Seven Realms. Perhaps the stories from history or Willow's childhood until she meets Gavan. I'd love to know more about Earth magic in comparison to high magic. There is so much more that could be explored. It just proves how much I loved this series since I'm sat here right now typing what else I would like to read about. Though the world seems torn apart by war, it wouldn't stop me from wanting to jump right into the story and go for a wander around the Fells. Luckily, Cinda Williams Chima wrote another series called The Shattered Realms focusing on the next generation. I look forward to buying and reading those. The fourth in that series is due to be release in 2019 so maybe I can time it so I can read straight from one to another - I don't think I could bare a cliff hanger!

I definitely recommend reading this series if you haven't already!

- KC xx

Buy the books online:


Hello! Hope you've all been enjoying the hot sun and not getting too burnt. I'm very pale so I've been sat under the gazebo...

Hello!

Hope you've all been enjoying the hot sun and not getting too burnt. I'm very pale so I've been sat under the gazebo we've put up in my back garden quite a lot, keeping myself in the shade. It is officially summer for me now. I've moved out of my university house and now I'm chilling at home, avoiding getting a job. I've been saving up so that this summer I'd be able to actually relax for a change rather than panicking about earning money and then not having any time to do stuff. I have no travel plans but if I have enough by the end of summer I'm thinking of booking a short trip to Madrid - I'll keep you updated as to whether or not that happens. In the meantime, I have lots of blogging to do, I've started my TEFL qualification, and I'm properly knuckling down and learning as much Spanish as I can before I start my free elective back at uni in October. I am trying to make a conscious effort to get out of the house and see more of my local area, especially while the sun is out. There are an awful lot of events happening in my home town throughout summer and there are so many places around in Lancashire that are worth the visit so here's to a summer of local adventures!

First up, since I was born there, Blackpool. Though Blackpool can often get a bad rep, and I'm guilty of saying bad things myself, when the sun is out, Blackpool is such a wonderful, traditional place to visit. It's the place your grandparents may have taken your parents on holiday back in the day when a beach holiday meant getting on the tram or bus to the closest coast to you. People came from all over to enjoy the amusements on the pier, rides at the Pleasure Beach or simply paddling in the sea water eating ice creams and fish and chips! Even for me, it used to be a tradition that me and my friends would go to the Pleasure Beach every year with a wristband and enjoy every ride possible. Since I went to college that tradition faded away. It's time to bring back the days out to Blackpool and make the most out of our local seaside towns!

Things to do in Blackpool

Here are just a few of the things that you can do in Blackpool to make your staycation to the coast all that more worthwhile!

Pleasure Beach

blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

It seems that when we think of Blackpool we either think of the Pleasure Beach or the tower (which I mention later) but still to this day they are two of the most popular attractions in the North West. Of course there is everything from the Big One to the older roller coasters like the Grand National. I've already said how often I used to go and every time, there would be something different or we'd have a completely different day out! Now there is a new ride called Icon which I'm yet to try, perhaps that's a plan for this summer! I have to admit, I am very much a thrill seeker and will go on all the rides no matter how high or fast they go, in fact, the faster the better! Still to this day I would say the Valhalla is my favourite. I never liked the dark but since I know exactly what's happening I got used to it and it just became an adventure. There's something about being around water which I always love too so being covered in it by the end of the ride is always a perk - although it's a nightmare if you decide to go on it first. Usually we wait until the very end of the day then queue up at least five times to make the most of it, getting as drenched as possible! Child or not, it's definitely worth it to visit Nickelodeon Land as there are some great rides to go on there. The Avatar Airbender is great fun, providing you're not terrified of falling out. I'm not going to deny that we used to repeatedly go on Dora's World Voyage when I was around 14 years old. It's just a nice relaxing ride OK.. Yes ok, I was an odd 14yr old.

Sandcastle


blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

In heat like this all I want to do is jump in the pool so spending a day in a water park sounds idyllic. I've not been in quite a few years but it was always a great day out even if most of it is spent floating around the rapids or bobbing in the wave pool! Top tip: do not, I repeat, DO NOT wear a bikini or tankini. Worst mistake I ever made. I went on the Masterblaster whilst wearing a tankini and as I got to the bottom and the inflatable stopped, my pants fell off. I pulled them up pretty quickly so I always hoped no one saw, likelihood is though that at least the life guard did. I will never know. How embarrassing!

Blackpool Tower


blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

I've already said how popular the tower is and I suppose it's obvious since it is basically a mini Eiffel Tower. Other than it's height and location, that is Paris, I honestly don't believe the Eiffel Tower has much more going for it (I haven't actually been so maybe one day I can be proven wrong). The Blackpool Tower however has an awful lot more to do than just the view at the top! If you're a fan of Strictly Come Dancing you'll know there is the traditional ballroom you can visit and do a little jive, or perhaps you're more of a waltz kind of person? There is Jungle Jims for the kids! Unfortunately if you're 4ft 9" or taller you can't go in, which to me is such a shame because I would absolutely love to go and explore the lost city! The circus has been open to the public since 1894 and you can see the longest running tribute show Legends now celebrating 20 years in Blackpool. There is Dino mini golf, and of course the Blackpool Tower Dungeons for all you thrill and horror seekers. Definitely a perfect day out for any weather!

blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

Sea Life Centre

blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

I know there are Sea Life Centres all over the country but this one has always been a huge part of Blackpool. I have many memories of going as a child; seeing the sharks swimming above my head! If you want to, you can swim with the sharks now! There are other experiences you can do whilst there if you fancy something a bit more than simply walking around looking at all the varying types of fish. The Behind the Scenes Tour allows you to visit the working areas to find out more about the sea life and their conservation efforts in Blackpool and across the country. Perfect for anyone who love marine biology!

Madame Tussauds


blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

Fancy meeting some of your favourite celebrities? At Madame Tussauds you can take photos with Olly Murs, Paddy McGuinness, Ed Sheeran, the Queen, and the leading man of Queen himself, Freddie Mercury (I couldn't believe that he was alive and has been living in Blackpool this whole time)! More excitingly, you can even meet your favourite Marvel superheroes. I'm first in line to meet Thor!

Amusements


blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

I guess going to the amusements speak for themselves. Endlessly trying and failing to leave with more money that you entered with or collecting as many tickets as possible. There are plenty of places to try turning your 10p into a pound in Blackpool. Coral Island, as seen in the photo above, is pirate themed and you can even go on a ride around the place on your own little flying ship! Many of the other amusements are along the prom and in the piers themselves. Skip the bar hop and head for the coin dozer hop and release your inner big kid self. Who can win the minion plush first? If you ever win a camera or some pound notes then let me know so I still have hope they actually work!

blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

Comedy Carpet

blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

Along the promenade and in front of the tower is the Comedy Carpet, something that has come about in more recent years. It is a celebration of more than 1000 comedians, many who performed in Blackpool in their early years. It is now an events space to put on performances, concerts, hold weddings, and be the starts and finishes to popular running races like the Race For Life. If you're looking for something a little different and free to do then taking a stroll along the front and having a giggle with views across the sea sounds so peaceful. Or look out for an event that is on!

blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

BEACH BEACH BEACH

blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

I don't think I need to include the beach as a thing to do. It's a beach. It is lovely and a lot more care has been given to it in recently years so when the sun is out and you want to imagine you're in the Mediterranean, go to the Mediterranean. If you want a close by traditional British seaside holiday, Blackpool is perfect. Get some fish and chips, then an ice cream and watch the world go by and seagulls flying around. Be careful they don't steal your food!

Piers

blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

So, we have North Pier, Central Pier and South Pier, each has it's own attributes. Central Pier is the one you will most often see in photographs as it's the one with the big wheel and if you can get that sunset shot, it is gorgeous! The South Pier is more commonly known for its rides, cafes and game kiosks while the North Pier is more relaxing with a smaller arcade and stroll down to the theatre where you'll often see comedy acts performing.

blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

Traditional Trams


blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

Though Blackpool has it's official tram system to travel along the front to other towns, there are also the more traditional trams you can go on to experience a part of history. In 1885, Blackpool had the first electric tramway in mainland Britain. The photo above is the Bolton 66 one of Blackpool Heritage's oldest working trams and the only one from another tram system. Originally made in Bolton in 1901, it was moved to Blackpool after restoration in 1963 as the tramway in Bolton closed down. There are many others including open top trams, or "boats" as they call them, and the Illuminated Feature Cars that come out during the Blackpool Illuminations seasons and are always a favourite.

Night Life
blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

I've often been asked what there is to do at night if you're not a fan of night clubs and you don't just want to go to bars, especially during the spring and summer months when the illuminations are not on. Well, my answer would always be there is plenty to do. There are two big theatres showing plays, musicals, concerts, etc. There are the ballrooms, and what's to stop you going on the beach (unless the tide is in - then please do not go near it at night). Blackpool is known for it's comedy nights and cabarets and I'm sure you could find one at almost every hotel along the promenade. However, if you fancy a proper night out with some singing and dancing then Viva Blackpool is the perfect place to go. Over summer they have comedy nights, variety shows, The Jersey Beats singing some of your classic Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons songs, Viva Voulez Vous! an Abba night out, and a whole lot more. I got a little sneak peak at their main room and it reminded me a lot of my holidays where the hotel would provide a show a night that is usually something like the entertainment staff lip syncing and dancing to the soundtracks of Grease or Mamma Mia! Though I caught the performers rehearsing and they were not lip syncing! And the seating area is much nicer. Just walking in there felt like I was about to have a great show. Even for locals, it's a perfect night out - you get to watch a performance whilst having a bar nearby and in a much comfier setting than being sat in rows like at a theatre. You can book a 'show and dine' experience and have a pre-show meal at the Vegas restaurant next door too! Sounds like birthday presents done for me, I could name quite a few people who would love a night out like this.

blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

Thank you to Lee and all the staff and performers for letting me have a little snoop around. Break a leg for future shows!

Nearby


blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer

There is plenty to do in Blackpool but if you're thinking of spending a week or so there you might want to get out and explore the local areas a bit more. I may have been born in Blackpool but I lived in Lytham most of my life (until I moved to Hull for university) so I'm definitely going to tell you to visit the local towns, I'm bias. Throughout summer the events calendar is booked up with Lytham Festival, 40s Weekend, comedy events, live music sessions, craft fairs, races, carnivals, outdoor markets, beach cinemas, and probably a lot more than I haven't mentioned! So be sure to check out the Lytham St Annes calendars before you come and see if there's anything that takes your fancy!

blackpool, seaside, lancashire, staycation, travel, travelling, holiday, summer
I just liked these photos of the seagulls so thought I'd add them at the end because why not...
That seems like a lot of things you can do but that isn't even the start of it. Maybe I'll have to do another post at a later date to include all the other things. For someone who lives so locally, I'm amazed at how much I haven't seen or done, or at least not done anytime in the past five years. I have a lot of childhood memories but not many from later so I think it's about time I see more of my local area and make the most of what I have before I'm back at university for another year. The best thing that I love about Blackpool is that you see people from all ages. It is a place for everyone to visit whether old, young, as a family, a couple, single or not. There is something for everyone to do! And luckily for me, it's right on my doorstep! Who needs to go to Spain when this is just around the corner?! Ok me, I need to go to Spain but that shouldn't stop me for having a little staycation too.

Until my next post,
See you later!
- KC xx



* This post was sponsored by Viva Blackpool but all photos, thoughts and opinions are my own!