Sunday, 23 August 2015

The Three Bear Caves: Robots of Sherwood and Sherlock's Hounds of Baskerville

Following on from our date night in the restaurant from the Doctor Who episode 'Listen', we got up early and headed off to our first stop of the day - Castell Coch in Tongwynlais. We've been here before as it was the location used for Hedgewick's World in Series 7 Nightmare in Silveryou can find the link here; its one of my favourite locations to visit. However, this time we weren't here to see the Medieval castle in all its glory, oh no, we were instead heading north to follow the Forest Fawr country park trail.

A few wrong turns and a couple of disagreements later about Luke not being able to follow a simple map, I was eventually proved wrong when we spotted the carved statue of a bear and its cub guarding the entrance to one of my most-wanted-to-visit Doctor Who locations ever: The Three Bear Caves.

I would love to tell you how I got there, but seeing as we seemed to be walking for over an hour to find it, the Doctor Who Locations website has better instructions than I would be able to draw up. I am continually amazed how the locations experts scout these little nuggets out for film.

The caves have featured in numerous television productions, most notably to me is the Doctor Who series 8 episode Robots of Sherwood, BBC Sherlock series 2 episode The Hounds of Baskerville and SkyOne's Stella. I love spotting these familiar locations throughout all my favourite TV shows!

I decided against heading down towards the caves as the ground was very unsteady and damp; After all, I didn't want a bear to come out and grab me if I was to trip and fall. Instead, I took some pretty cool pictures from above, and sent Luke down for a closer look. I do wonder how all of the actors and film crew manage to clamber all of their equipment down to areas like this, when I can't even manage it in my sturdy military boots!

 Doctor Who: Robots of Sherwood (SERIES 9)

Sherlock: The Hounds of Baskerville (Series 2) 

Luke peered in the caves but it was too dark to see anything, unfortunately I didn't send him in against his will, so he just took some close-up photos for me. The flat area leading to the caves was much smaller than it appeared on camera, to my surprise, I wonder how they managed to get all the Doctor Who actors in shot successfully, along with all the props!

You can view more of the caves in this short video I produced from my weekend:

All in all, it was an excellent location to visit, and I would recommend anyone to go and explore. It is quite simply a hidden gem of Wales, and I feel so lucky that this hobby allows me to find all these weird and wonderful places. It's a free day out, dogs are allowed in the forest but remember to wear suitable shoes. I am sure this location will be used again in the future as it is so secluded and mystical. Look out for the Doctor Who crew there in the future! Plus, you could always explore Castell Coch at an extra small cost whilst you are on your travels. Let me know if you head there!

Oooh, we also visited the Doctor Who Experience shop where I treated myself to a new mug and t-shirt (see below). We also spotted a new edition to the props: Santa's Sleigh from the 2014 Christmas special Last Christmas.

Next, we took a bit of a detour on the way home, as we re-visited an old favourite Doctor Who location of mine, Skenfrith Castle. Read more about it soon.

Blog to you soon

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

A Date in the Restaurant from 'Listen'

It was back in February when I last did some Doctor Who location hunting during Valentine's weekend. This is part one of what's going to be a three-parter blog post.

Luke took me out to a restaurant of my choice down in Cardiff Bay. I wanted to do something different than our normal Zizzi's meal so we decided on Mimosa, which happens to be a key Doctor Who location from Series 8.

Mimosa was the location of Clara Oswald and Danny Pink's dinner date in the hauntingly popular and personal favourite episode from Series 8: 'Listen'. After requesting ahead of time the same table sat on by the two characters, we soon realised when we arrived that the restaurant is laid out slightly differently when not being filmed, so we were shown to a table elsewhere. However, I did my best to capture some of the interior to give you a good feel of the location itself. See if you can recognise some of my amateur (badly taken) shots from the episode...

Notice the blinds behind Clara in the second image, our table was located just behind Danny Pink

The key part of the shot to look out for is the white railing. It looks as if the furniture was changed for the actors, but we can still work out the position of the table in regards to the bar behind located in the back of the shot.

Again, notice the position of the white railing as Clara steps up to meet her date. Orson Pink emerges from the back of the shot in the first image
 Told you they were badly taken! However, you get the feel for the restaurant I hope, and I am glad I went so I could see what the place was really like. Mimosa is a lot smaller than it looks on screen. In fact at first, I thought we may have arrived at the wrong restaurant. It is also very busy on a Friday night as we found out, and popular with students and couples. Not our usual romantic valentines day meal, but me and Luke aren't really into the lovey-dovey stuff anyway.

Here's the trailer from the episode 'Listen' as a reminder...

In reality, the only downside of our evening was the pouring rain outside which can't be helped - typical UK!! But also the wait for our first drink - it took 20 minutes to come to the table, and we were so thirsty after running through the stormy weather!

We finally ate and to be honest the food was delicious, paid, and headed on to Eddie's Diner for a cocktail. After all, I can't have a trip to Cardiff without stopping off here.

If you haven't already, check out my latest YouTube video which incorporates everything I did this weekend for a sneak-peak of whats to come in part 2+3....

I hope you are all having a relaxing summer. I have just got back from an amazing two week holiday in Cyprus, but its back to reality now, and back to being super busy at work. In other news, I have just booked a weekend away in August. I will be heading down to the glorious Valleys in South Wales yet again on the hunt for more Doctor Who locations. If you have any ideas or requests please send me a comment below, tweet or ping me across an email.

Who's heading to the Doctor Who Festival in November?? I managed to get myself a ticket and also a photo opportunity with Peter Capaldi, I can't wait to meet the man himself. Are you going? What are you most looking forward to? Are you team Dalek or team Cyberman?

I look forward to writing parts two and three for you shortly - hopefully before series 9 starts! In the meantime, tweet/facebook/email me, I'm always plugged into my phone even if I am super busy!

Blog to you soon...

"What’s that in the mirror, or the corner of your eye? What’s that footstep following, but never passing by? Perhaps they're all just waiting, perhaps when we're all dead... out they'll come a-slithering, from underneath the bed."

Sunday, 31 May 2015

The Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular

Like many Whovians, I was lucky enough to get hold of two tickets to the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham on Tuesday 27th May. Following my previous attendance at the outstanding Doctor Who 50th BBC Proms (Read the review here), I couldn't miss the chance to watch the music being played out live once again, this time on the road. 

The tickets originally went on sale in August 2014 for £20 per person, so it was one of them events that seemed like it was ages away, but it soon sneaked up on us.

Armed with my new Doctor Who t-shirt, sonic earrings and bracelets, we managed to catch the train straight from work and took our seats at the newly refurbished Arena for the 7:30pm start. I had been listening to the soundtrack all day at work and on the train to get me in the mood for the spectacular night ahead. As it was half term, the tour had also been treating fans to matinee performances at 3pm everyday and I've got to admit, I was slightly worried the orchestra wouldn't have enough UMPH in them to put on another 2 hour show. I was very wrong.

The show started smack bang up to date with a brilliant montage and accompanying music to Peter Capaldi's new 'who' era. We were then greeted on stage by the Fifth Doctor himself; Peter Davison, who welcomed the audience, cracked a few jokes, told a few stories and generally steered the evening along, full steam ahead. The incredible music was accompanied by the voice of the extremely talented Elin Manahan Thomas, who brought a a shed load of tears to my eyes during the night. The BBC Orchestra of Wales conducted by Ben Foster were absolutely fantastic, and are the same awesome bunch who record the actual soundtrack for the show. 

I think its fair to say the music created by Murray Gold is just out of this world.

We were greeted by lots of the infamous Doctor Who monsters of past and present who entertained the audience including the Daleks, Cybermen, Whispermen, Silurian's, The Silence... you name them, they were probably there! The night was mainly focused on the latest series of Doctor Who, including the most recent emotionally-packed Christmas special. However, there were plenty of nods to past Doctors with my favourite being the large segment dedicated the Matt Smith's series 5 finale The Pandorica suite. Apparently, Doctor Who composer Murray Gold used likes on YouTube to determine what songs to play during the concert, so the setlist really is for true Whovians.

I do believe the second half of the show following the interval was definitely a lot stronger, featuring more monsters, more interaction and the most-loved songs. 

On a bit of a downside, we were unimpressed with the seating arrangements at the Barclaycard arena. The show was by no means a sell out, as we could tell by the texts we were bombarded with in the days running up to the event from EE, treating us to half price tickets(!!!!!) and the whole of the lower tier below us was completely empty. We don't know how the organisers could really justify pushing all the ticket holders to the upper tiers, away from all the action, pretty much stuck up in the rafters. Like many of the audience, we decided during the interval to make  our way down to a more suitable set of seats in the lower tier area.

Sadly, we missed the last 25 minutes of the show as we had to catch the train home, so if anyone has any snippets they would like to share of anything I missed, please leave a comment below or contact me on Twitter to fill me in - I'd love to see what I missed.

I was hoping to buy a programme during my visit, but in my opinion, they were were a bit too pricey at a whopping £15! Looking back at the Doctor Who Proms back in 2013, I paid a cool £4.00 for a very similar souvenir book, so needless to say I left the Symphonic Spectacular disappointed and empty handed.

It was a shame these couple of bad points by the organisers over-shadowed the whole experience, to what was all in all a good night. 

The best thing about the show as it brings fans of all ages together who wouldn't necessarily listen to classical music going to an event like this and in some cases, introducing and educating them in the genre of music. 

Although the UK Tour has now finished, keep your eye on the website for the latest news and updates.

I will be uploading a video from the proms shortly, so keep your eyes peeled on my brand new Youtube Channel over the next couple of days. 

Blog to you soon!

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Hotels in Cardiff: A Doctor Who Fan's Guide

Looking for the perfect place to stay in Cardiff Bay...? You've come to the right place!

It will come as no big surprise that Doctor Who fans are travelling from far and wide, all over the world to visit its current home sweet home in Cardiff, Wales. Whether it is to set foot on much loved filming locations, visit the Doctor Who Experience or take a trip on the tour, the BBC’s decision to film the series around South Wales has been credited with breathing new life into the region.

I live two and a half hour drive away from the Welsh capital, and my first ever visit was during my 21st Birthday when Luke treated me to a trip on the Doctor Who Tour. Like many others, I spent the days leading up to my short break scouring the internet looking for the best hotel, at the best price and in the best location, but with no prior knowledge of the city I struggled to find one to suit all of our needs.

This led me on to put together a brief post about the hotels I have stayed in during my many visits Cardiff, allowing you to decide which would work best for you. I have only ever stayed in the Cardiff Bay area (So I'm a teeny tiny bit biased...). This is where you can find the majority of Doctor Who locations, it is where the Experience is based, and the BBC Studios are located only a short walk away. Plus, it is bursting with the best restaurants, cafes, bars, local supermarkets and lots of touristy attractions such as the Millennium Centre, the Marina and the Norwegian Church. Why would you want to stay anywhere else...?


Cardiff Bay Atlantic Wharf

Hemingway Road, Cardiff, CF10 4JY
0871 9846424

This hotel is located closest to the Bay, and is where myself and Luke have spent the majority of our stays. It is affordable - we have paid anything between £12-£79 for a room (the earlier you book, the better!) It has excellent views of either the city skyline or the bay, includes free parking (just make sure you get your parking ticket validated before leaving on reception), accessible and is next to all the local amenities.

The hotel is located directly next to the Red Dragon Centre, which boasts oriental restaurants, a local pub, a casino and a bowling alley. It is also a 5 minute walk from Cardiff Bay train station; where you can get a cheap train direct to the city centre, a 5 minute walk from the Millennium Centre, and a 10-15 minute walk from the Doctor Who Experience. You can find out more information along with the tariff for this hotel here.

Future Inn
Future Inn Cardiff Hotel
Hemingway Road, Cardiff, CF10 4AU
+44 (0)29 2048 7111

We have stayed in this hotel twice before and I highly recommend the accommodation. Future Inns prides itself on rooms starting from £59 per night. Hot Tip: If you are thinking of booking this hotel, make sure you book 21 days in advance to take advantage of their 21 day advance rate, it works out a lot cheaper in the long run. 

Great Customer Service!
We booked our first stay at Future Inns for Valentines Day back in 2014, also known as "Flooded February". Unfortunately, due to the flooded roads and poor driving conditions we didn't make our trip down as we were forced to turnaround and head back home. I was devastated as it was 3pm and the contract stated that we needed to let the hotel know we were no longer staying before this time. However, the staff over the phone were very accommodating, they understood our frustration and helped us rearrange our night away to April - free of charge! We were very impressed, and when we did eventually come around to spending our stay here, the staff were lovely and welcoming - we felt like we were staying in a 5*. 

The hotel has free amble parking, is easy to find and is a 5 minute walk from the bay area. It also boasts a delicious bar/restaurant with a tasty English breakfast served every morning (trust me, I've tried it!). Find out more about what this hotel has to offer here.

Holiday Inn Express
Holiday Inn Express Cardiff Bay
Longueil Close, Cardiff CF10 4EE
029 2044 9000

My most recent trip to Cardiff saw us stay in the Holiday Inn Express during Valentines weekend. We paid £88 for bed and breakfast, which I thought was pretty decent considering it was peak season for couples. Please remember that this is the reservation price, which needs to be paid upon arrival to the hotel in order to secure your room. The hotel itself was very clean and modern, with amble space which altogether made for a nice and peaceful nights sleep. I would certainly recommend setting your alarm to get up in time for the full English breakfast with all the trimmings - a great way to start the day - (and I'm not even a morning-person!)

The Holiday Inn is located about a 15 minute walk from the Cardiff Bay amenities (Millennium Centre, Train Station, bars), a 5 minute walk from the County Hall, and a 15-20 minute walk from Cardiff City centre, which is suitable for guests willing to walk to their destination whether day or night. Many of the rooms look on to the picturesque docks behind the hotel or to the very residential area surrounding the site. It is located in a very quiet area, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of shops and bars - which some visitors may prefer - but is easily accessible from all the central link roads running around the capital. You can find out more about this hotel, including room tariff's, here.

St Davids Hotel & Spa
St Davids Hotel Cardiff
Havannah Street, Cardiff CF10 5SD
029 2045 4045

Now for the biggy. I have to be completely honest, this option is just thrown in as it is on my personal wishlist. Since I first visited Cardiff I have only dreamt of staying at St David's, but I still haven't had the chance to do so. Classy but modern, the room tariffs are pricey but just wait to you see the views. 

If you are staying in Cardiff for a particular reason, or just feel like splashing the cash, I would definitely say go ahead and book this hotel, as it is the most iconic, stand-out hotel there is in the city. Over-looking the bay it is in a centralised location with all the local amenities surrounding the hotel.

I can't speak as a visitor as I have not stayed here myself, so if any readers have stayed here, please make me even more jealous by lifting the lid on the hotel and I will be sure to update this post. You can view a more detailed description of the hotel, along with room tariffs, here.

So there you have it, my advice on the best hotels to stay at in and around Cardiff Bay. I hope this equips any first-time visitors out there with knowledge to help decide on the best option for you. If you would like to ask any further questions regarding any of my stays at either of these hotels, please do not hesitate to email me at .

In other news, I am running the Cardiff Bay 5 mile on Monday 4th May in aid of Prostate Cancer, if you happen to be in Cardiff around this time, come and show your support. More information on why I am running the 5 miles, here. 

I look forward to writing my post about my recent trip to Cardiff in the next couple of weeks. It's been a busy month or so, and I just haven't had chance to get back to blogging. To make up for it, I will leave you with a teaser of my next post, cue video:

Blog to you soon

Sunday, 22 March 2015

For Sale: Clara Oswald Rings of Akhaten Cosplay Dress

You wanna see 'Something Awesome...?'

Hi Everyone,

I've decided to bite the bullet and sell one of my favourite Clara Oswald Cosplay Dresses. I have only worn this dress once, during a special occasion, but it felt too long for me and didn't suit my overall shape. It's taken a long time to finally brave it and put it up on eBay, but after a sort-through over my overly-crowded wardrobe, the deed is done.

This gorgeous dress is the Urban Outfitters Silence & Noise Fishtail shirt dress from the Series 7 Doctor Who Episode "Rings of Akhaten".

As you can see from the photos, it is in fabulous condition, comes from a non-smoking home and would suit anyone sized 10-12 (UK). I have started the bid at quite a high price because I am reluctant to sell it, but I have seen this very dress sell for way over £150 in the past!

For all the details you need on this item including a detailed description, sizing and pricing, please Click Here

Keep your eye on sites such as the Fashion of Doctor Who to finish off your cosplay outfit and try it out at your next event!

Here's the trailer from the episode to see the dress in all-oswald glory

Happy Bidding :-)

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Clara Oswald: Get The 'Hide' Look

You are the only mystery worth solving...

Forget the 'London Look', I wanted to share with you guys my not-so-great attempt at a Doctor Who cosplay I put together when I visited Wales Comic Con at the end of last year. During Jenna Colemans first series on Doctor Who, I managed to gather quite a lot of dresses from her Clara Oswald wardrobe, for the simple reason that they were gorgeous outfits and suited by taste in fashion.

My favourite dress is from Series 7 episode “Hide”. This is the Pins And Needles vintage style ditsy tea dress from Urban Outfitters back in 2012, I just had to get it after seeing Jenna in costume filming the new series. Unfortunately this dress is no longer available in stores, but I have seen it on eBay numerous times from different sellers, so keep your eye out on there. 

My blazer was from, but these days you can find something very similar from your local Primark. Clara’s original blazer was from Urban Outfitters, and so was her red bag. Unfortunately, the red bag was all I was missing… and crucial to the whole ‘look’ if I do say so myself! My earrings are the BBC sonic screwdriver earrings, priced at £17.99. 

For the shoes, I purchased a cheap pair of black wedges from New Look which had the same ‘look’ about them. I have just spotted this pair on the site now which are very similar and are available in sizes 4-8...

This outfit can be worn almost anywhere. So far I've worn it on holiday, shopping, at a christening and on a night out. Its simple, dressy, classy and smart... all in one! You can dress it up with heels or dress it down with a pair of converse, its completely up to you!

Keep your eye on some of the best sites for Clara Oswald Cosplay such as Doctor Who Cosplay Finder and The Fashion of Doctor Who , which feature outfits from the actors on and off screen. If you know of any other good sites, please let me know!

All the outfit deets you need below... and remember to send me any of your 'Hide' cosplays, I'd love to see them!

To you, I'm a ghost, we're all ghosts to you...

I really loved this series 7 episode, although it did scare me quite a bit! Even more so as it was the episode that was put on during my visit on the official TARDIS TOUR back in 2013. Here's a reminder of what happened during the episode...

I did visit the mansion which doubles as Caliburn House in Hide last October, complete with Clara dress... have a browse at some of the photos below, or click here to view my full blogpost from the location.

See my Clara Oswald: Get the look for another look into my collection of Clara dresses - I have so many - but not enough chances to wear them! 

I hope all my lovely readers are all o-k... more posts to come soon! 

On a side note... You may have seen on my Twitter account that I have had some very bad news recently. My dad has been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. In order to raise awareness, myself and Luke are going to be running the Cardiff Bay 5 mile run on the 4th May 2015. I am currently training for this event, as I have only ever ran 5km (3.1miles) before... and even that was a struggle!! However, we want to raise as much awareness for Prostate Cancer as we possibly can, and donate some money in the process. If you would like to support us, and/or find out more about my story, please head to my Just Giving Page - ... every little counts...we are hoping to raise £400 for this charity, which helps men of all ages fight this cancer. HUGE THANK YOU X

Blog to you soon 


Monday, 9 February 2015

Doctor Who Valentines Gifts

Whether you buy into the Valentines day hype or not, the 14th is just around the corner, so I thought I would suggest a couple of last-minute gifts for all of you Doctor Who fans and loved ones out there. They are only to be used as a guideline, picked and chosen by myself as some of my favourite affordable gifts online. So have a nose if you are struggling to decide on the perfect present.

These gorgeous earrings are from Forbidden Planet. Please check delivery dates before ordering in order for your gift to arrive in time for Valentines. Alternatively, check the website for your nearest store. These officially licensed earrings are absolutely stunning with their Sonic Screwdriver design. 

Luke bought me these last Valentines, they are gorgeous and reasonably priced. Perfect for your valentine.

  • This awesome t-shirt has been on my wishlist for years. It is from Forbidden Planet but is currently only a pre-order item, so if you want it before Valentines, you will have to look for an alternative online. I believe they are currently stocked on Amazon and Ebay.
It is a TARDIS blue skinny-fit t-shirt so please bear this in mind when ordering (not always bigger on the inside!!)

Mug: Modern Art Tardis - £6.99

Cheap treat: *secretly hoping I get a new mug for Valentines this year*. This very cool design is sweet but sophisticated, perfect for the early morning cuppa alongside breakfast in bed on Valentines morning.

Again, it is from Forbidden Planet and is currently in stock, so go buy it now before its too late.

TARDIS Slippers - £16.99

These brilliant ladies slippers are perfect to warm up your feet and keep cosy this winter. They are stocked in sizes 5-8 in the BBC Shop online. You can buy them now.

They are comfortable, reasonably priced with a brilliant TARDIS design for any mad Doctor Who fan.

BBC Fourth Doctor Scarf - £49.99

The ultimate gift for a Doctor Who fan this valentines has got to be this replica of Tom Bakers scarf. Although expensive, it is completely worth every penny as it stands at 13 feet long and 10 inches wide. Definitely a gift that will be remembered.

For more information or to buy your scarf, head to the BBC Shop website now.

Doctor Who Cyberman Logo Cufflinks - £16.99

An affordable, sophisticated present for the man or woman in your life. Priced at £16.99, this gift allows you to wear your heart(s) or cybermen on your sleeve whether at home, work or out on a job. 

The cufflinks are currently in stock and ready to be dispatched from the BBC Shop. Order yours now.

Doctor Who: Dreamer Ladies T-Shirt - £13.99

Every girl loves a Doctor Who quote, and this is mine. Spoken by the Eleventh Doctor, this T-Shirt is priced at a reasonable £13.99 from the BBC Shop and in sizes Small to X-Large. 

Its stunning design makes a great present for the lady in your life. I know I certainly want it! Buy yours now.

Doctor Who: The Complete Series 8 - £39.99

For a limited time only - pick up the complete Series 8 boxset for the reduced priced of £39.99 from the BBC Shop if you haven't already.

Introducing Peter Capaldi as the Twelth Doctor, This Limited Edition BBC Shop exclusive Blu- ray comes complete with a bright embossed TARDIS slipcase finished with silver foil and a ‘press here’ button, which when pressed plays the legendary TARDIS sound effect. Buy it now

So there you have it, I hope I have inspired some of you to buy the perfect Valentines gift for you loved one. (Or reminded you too if you had forgotten!) Me and Luke are just doing cards this year so we can save some money for our holiday. 

Speaking of cards, check out this cool video on how to make your own Doctor Who Valentines day cards if you are feeling in a DIY mood

So what are you up to this Valentines? Let me know what Doctor Who goodies you will be purchasing. Have a lovely weekend and I will blog to you soon :-)