It was my sisters birthday and my family went out for dinner to celebrate. We went to a cool pub in Southampton called The Rockstone, they served huge burgers with a large variety of toppings. Between us we had a bbq burger with onion rings, chorizo burger, blue cheese burger and a chorizo and salsa burger with sweet potato fries. The burgers are homemade and served with fries and salad. The food tasted amazing, It was probably the best burger I’ve ever eaten.
Not only does this pub serve great food, they also have 75 different rums and many varieties of other spirits too. Ollie, my sisters boyfriend loves rum and tried quite a few of these. The best one I tried was a rum and raisin rum which was 80%, although it had a very high percentage of alcohol it tasted delicious with coke.
After wining and dining we went back to Ollie’s house to have cake, a Dr Who tardis cake! My sister loves Dr Who so she made this using lemon sponge, covered with marzipan and topped with blue icing.
I went to visit Alice in Bournemouth a couple of weekends ago. I arrived on Friday evening where we went out for dinner in Bellagio, an amazing family run Italian restaurant. The menu was very cheap (a 12” pizza was only £6) and consisting of traditional food including pasta, pizza, calzone and salads.
On saturday we went to Boscombe market then walked down to the beach and pier. The weather was dull and windy, which meant the waves were pretty good so there were lots of surfers. We watched an adorable dog running in and out of the waves. His name was Kaspur, the lady walking to dog spotted me taken photos of her dog so she came over to talk to us. She loved the photos I had taken and me to email them to her, which of course I did :)
We invited Alice’s friends from uni over for pre drinks then went out later to the bar on Bournemouth Pier called Aruba. Aruba was classy and for older people, this was great as we were trying to avoid the freshers. The night was full of good music and nice people.
Sunday we chilled out and watched an episode of Don’t Tell the Bride and Hotel of Mum and Dad. Afterwards we had soup for lunch then I took the train to Southampton where I was meeting my family for my sister’s birthday dinner.
On our last day in Kenya was had until 3pm to do whatever we wanted before we flew back home. We all wanted to go somewhere where we were guaranteed to see wildlife and after hearing of Haller Park we decided to go there.
We had a guide with us who toured us around the park. We saw snakes, lizards, crocodiles, hippos, zebras, tortoises, monkeys, deer, and my favorite, the giraffes and a really cute cat sleeping on a bench. Some animals were roaming freely, I was very surprised to see giant tortoises and we were allowed to stroke them.
I was very excited when I found out we could feed the giraffes! This was by far the best thing that happened that day. The giraffes were massive and quite scary with their huge blue tongues. We brought pellets to feed the giraffes, there was also loads of monkeys hanging around trying to snatch the food.
We visited a village bank today which was set up in 2005. The bank is still going strong and today the bank has given loads to more over 130 members. These loans are personal and business related, while we were here we spoke with two people who had taken out loans with the bank. One member took a loan out to support their child whilst they were at univeristy and the other took out a loan to by motorbikes so his business would grow as he could transport goods.
Outside the bank a little old lady was selling oranges, these were so fresh and delicious. Oranges are also green in Kenya.
Today we spend the afternoon at a sacred forest. There are a few rules before entering the forest, these are; you can only enter with a guide/elder, no littering, no screaming, shouting or making unnecessary noises, no photos are allowed to be taken at the grave yard, no hugging, kissing, caressing, etc, modest clothing must be worn that is respectful to the forest (these will protect you), and finally everyone who enters the forest must where a black cloth (traditionally called a Kaniki) around their waist.
In the sacred forest we saw many types of trees, including different species of palm trees. Half way through our tour we came across the sacred tree where we all had to hug the tree and make a wish in the hope that one day this may come true. We came across a group of baboons on our walk around the forest, while we were watching these quietly I noticed I was being eaten by mosquito, they were all over my ankles. Everyone else had the same problem so for the rest of the walk around the forest we were scratching our ankles in pain.
We spent the day at an Elephant Sanctuary where we learnt how to make elephant dung paper. The process is simple and a great way of recycling the elephant dung. I brought a couple of drawings of elephants on the paper, you can see this in the image above.
After interviewing a few members of the sanctuary we set off looking for the elephants. It had been raining all morning, apparently today would be a good time to find elephants as it was not as hot as normal. Unfortunately we did not see any elephants, but it was nice to drive around the park looking at the scenery.
Here are some dishes I had whilst in Kenya. We mainly cooked dinners in our cottage but we did occasionally eat out. All out homemade food was vegetarian and on a budget so included lots of beans, rice and pasta.
We visited more communities who are now digging moats around their land in order to keep wildlife out and their crops safe. Placing bee hives around the moat is also another popular technique as this also keeps away wildlife.
Walking through the community we came across a Bigen tree. A tree that produces red pellets that are used as a natural dye in cooking, textiles and in henna. We used the Bigen as lipstick and it stayed on all day, it was a lovely orange/red colour. I brought back a couple of henna dyes as they were so cheap in Kenya!
We spent the day with a community who showed us how they deal with wildlife destroying their crops and land. Many people kill the wildlife, elephants are one of these animals that destroy peoples way of living.
John, the man in the red stripey shirt was the leader of this community. He explained that elephants and other wildlife have the right to live and just because they can not speak does not take away this right.
The solutions to saving his land and crops are very simple. He burns elephant dung, tobacco and chillies (elephants hate chilli) in paint cans, they hang these around the outskirts of their land meaning elephants will avoid these paths and keep their crops safe. Another solution which is currently in the building process is digging a 6ft moat around the land and putting up an electric fence. This stops elephants from crossing and therefore saving the crops. These techniques work well and are not harmful to the wildlife. Other communities are now using these techniques.
We had a wonderful day visiting a local community project, Lima Self Help Group. They grow aloe plants, they use this to make natural beauty products including; shampoo, hair food, soap and face cream.
The children here were so cute! They loved having their photo taken as long we showed them the photos.The washing lines in Kenya were always fascinating, they were ever so colourful and had the most amazing patterns. This was one of my favorite projects we visited along with the Blind Tree Nurseries, a project for the blind.
The Blind Tree Nurseries is an amazing project set up for blind people. In Kenya blind people usually can not work. This project gives blind people a great chance to work and get off the streets.
The project was set up by a lovely lady and her blind husband, so far they around 20 members. There are people who who can see who have joined this project to help the blind carry out their job and daily tasks. The blind workers spend their day planting trees. It is great to see how a small project like this can give people their lives back and feel like they belong to a community.
We spent the day driving around Shimba Hills, a nature reserve approximately 33km south of Mombasa. We were on the look out for elephants and antelopes and eventually after a few hours of driving we found them. The elephants were quite far away, this was a shame as I could not get any photos. We saw other animals including; water buffalo, giraffes and the sable antelope.
During our time at Shimba Hills we walked 2km to a natural waterfall with an armed guard and two other groups. Seeing the waterfall was well worth the 4km walk there and back. We were hoping we could cool off in the waterfall but the water was not clean so we put our feet in instead.