Goodbye to our Experience Days Interns: Willow & Gemma

Goodbye to our Experience Days Interns: Willow & Gemma

  • JULY 9, 2019
  • Category : Intern Blog
  • WRITTEN BY: Willow Drewett & Gemma Bates

Table of Contents [ hide Show ]

Introduction

A Year of Experiences

Conclusion

Introduction

Since beginning our placement with Experience Days in June, we have visited a record number of suppliers: 56 to be exact! Having become really good friends, we didn’t mind the long road trips if that meant we were able to help suppliers with their marketing to encourage sales. Another perk of our job is being able to take part in the experiences ourselves in order to get video footage and photos for the website. From stand up paddleboarding in Brighton, to sheepdog training in Leicestershire, to tubing down the River Tummel in Scotland,  our year has been action-packed with so many amazing memories. Read on to find out what we got up to.

A Year of Experiences

June

21.06.2018
Quad Biking, Off-Road Buggies, Shooting & Assault Course - Amazon Events

Our first Experience Days visit was to Amazon Events in Hailsham. Blossom and Bex, the previous interns, had organised this before our arrival so they could show us how to use the camera equipment. The fact that Amazon Events offer a selection of activities on our website meant that we were fortunate enough to have a mini taster session of each. The staff were excellent, and made the day light-hearted and fun. Willow had a natural talent for archery, and I had a winning podium moment as I had the fastest lap time in an off-road buggy. Spraying Buck’s Fizz everywhere was a brilliant end to the day! 

Staff Review
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July

11.07.2018
Stand-Up Paddleboarding - Lagoon Watersports 

SUP-ing, more commonly known as Stand-Up Paddleboarding, was the first experience where we took the reins and had a go at visiting a supplier by ourselves (with help from Hannah, who was on work experience, of course!) Lagoon Watersports have two venues along Brighton seafront, and SUPing is located at Hove Lagoon. This 2-hour introductory lesson was brilliant fun, and taught us all the basics of this new water craze. Once we had gained confidence, we were both (literally) like ducks to water, paddling about the lagoon. This was an experience we both thoroughly enjoyed, and have since tried outside of work! 

Staff Review
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12.07.2018
Jet Skiing - Lagoon Watersports 

I will always remember Jet Skiing at Brighton Marina as it was one of those surreal moments when we were speeding over the waves, screaming, and having the best time ever on a Thursday morning! Our professional instructor Joe accompanied us on his speedboat. He was great at encouraging us to go as fast as possible, and to try some cool tricks for the cameras! Our powerful jet skis, cleverly named Tom and Jerry, reached an impressive 37mph as we soared across the Brighton and Hove coastline. An adrenaline filled experience right on our doorstep. 

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19.07.2018
Power Kiting & Landboarding - The KiteSurf Centre

We were blown away by this one! Located along the beautiful Camber Sands beaches, it made a fabulous filming background. The Kitesurf Centre offers experiences in kite buggying, power kiting and landboarding. Our session was focused on landboarding. We firstly took on the challenge of how to fly a power kite, and once we got the gist of that, it was on to the boards! After struggling to even stand on the board, it wasn't too long until the wind took control and we were drifting, as gracefully as possible, down the beach. Flying kites has never been so fun!

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August

02.08.2018
Paintballing - Delta Force  

With this paintballing experience taking place in August, it was a rather hot day – and the knowledge that we’d be heading into the sun to run around in overalls was a little unsettling. BUT it turned out to be an incredibly fun and amusing day all round! Of course, we were put on the kids’ team, and ended up hiding behind them for the majority of the game. However, once our confidence had grown we were off. Gemma's competitive side emerged as she was running round the battlefield and my eagle eyes spotted protective shelter. An extremely funny day, great for groups of friends to enjoy!

Staff Review
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15.08.2018
Windsor Sightseeing Bus Tour - Original Sightseeing Tours 

Unsurprisingly, this was one of our favourite experiences. The great weather, beautiful views and iconic sights made it an all-round winner! The voucher entitles you to 24 hours of sightseeing, so you can jump on and off the tour bus at your own leisure. Buses run every 30 minutes, so there's always one just behind you! Being Royal enthusiasts ourselves, we loved being able to stop off at Eton College, pop into Windsor farm shop (where the Queen apparently buys her eggs), and stroll down The (very) Long Walk. Free earplugs are given out on board, so you can listen to the commentary as you pass each sight. This was great as we learnt so much we never knew about the Royals. A lovely day out to enjoy as both a local or tourist!

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23.08.2018
Luxury Chocolate Making - My Chocolate

Chocolate ganache, chocolate fudge, chocolate truffles… If you love chocolate as much as we do, then look no further. My Chocolate, who run classes in Brighton, London and Manchester, invited us to take part in their Chocolate Making Workshop. Chefs Oden and Georgia were very welcoming, and we were very impressed at the organisation that had gone into the itinerary, making the 2-hour experience run smoothly. We learned a lot about the history of chocolate, and once the class had ended we had a decorated box with lots of handmade truffles and a giant chocolate button inside. Most of these may have miraculously disappeared on the train journey home... A great experience enjoyed by all, but for those of you who would love to pair chocolate with champagne we also sell a Luxury Chocolate Making Workshop in London. YUM!

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27.08.2018
Helicopter Tour - Elite Helicopters

Who wouldn’t want to go in a helicopter?! One of the most impressive and memorable experiences of the year has to be the Helicopter Tour of Sussex, our home patch! When the opportunity arose to visit Elite Helicopters, we were so excited - and admittedly a little bit nervous. We took off from Goodwood, but not before a professional photographer captured the surreal moment of us getting into the helicopter. We enjoyed a 30-minute tour, covering 40 miles of beautiful English countryside. Commentary from the pilot meant that we didn’t miss any of the sights, including Hayling Island and Spinnaker Tower. We even flew over the sandbanks in search of its inhabitants: seals! After landing in Goodwood Racetrack, we couldn’t believe what we had just experienced. The views were breath-taking and the team at Elite Helicopters could not have been friendlier. A tick on our bucket lists!

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September

07.09.2018Oxfordshire Trip
Golf Lesson - Golf Communications

Oxfordshire was our first experience trip away from home! We were incredibly excited to get started, especially as first on our list was a professional golf lesson. Neither of us had ever participated in golf before, but were up for learning the basics and seeing how we got on. Marc was our professional tutor for the day. He was very friendly, and assisted us with all aspects of the game to help us be the best golfers we could be! On the course, we were led through how to perform the correct swing, long shots and putting. Obviously my ball got stuck in a sandbank, but with some reassurance and guidance, it was soon flying towards the finishing hole. Gemma loved the lesson and proved to have huge potential. We both had a great lesson, and would definitely try golf out again. This experience has a range of locations and times, so make sure to check out all the options on our website.

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07.09.2018Oxfordshire Trip
Vineyard Tour & Wine Tasting - Chiltern Valley Vineyard Winery and Brewery

A truly British day out in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside! Being complete novices to ale and wine production, we were excited to learn about the brewery process. Our experience consisted of a 45-minute tour of the vineyard, brewery and winery, which was passionately explained by our tour guide Steve. This was followed by 45 minutes of tastings. With a score sheet in hand, we thoroughly enjoyed tasting the wines, but not so much the ales (it’s just not our go-to drink!) The experience ended with a visit to their onsite shop, where I purchased their dry white wine. 

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08.09.2018Oxfordshire Trip
Meerkat Experience - Millets Falconry Experience

Being HUGE animal-lovers, we were extremely excited to meet the meerkat family at Millets Falconry. I (Willow) was in awe when I met the little meerkats, and instantly confirmed this was going to be an Experience Days highlight. They were certainly not scared of humans and jumped straight up on our laps, before climbing along our shoulders for their lunchtime snack. Our meerkat expert Alex was full of facts, and handed us all long tweezers so we could feed our hungry friends. The very photogenic meerkat family made great camera footage and proved our final day in Oxfordshire a memorable one! This 30-minute experience is the perfect gift to get up close and personal with these magnificent desert animals! 

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08.09.2018Oxfordshire Trip
Motor Trial Flight - Oxfordshire Sport Flying

What an experience. After enjoying a lovely few days in Oxfordshire, it would be wrong if the final experience wasn’t something spectacular, and this one definitely didn't disappoint! Oxfordshire Sport Flying soon became one of our favourite suppliers. They were all so welcoming and their friendliness most certainly put our nerves at ease. Motor Gliders are 2-seaters, so we went up one at a time. The sensation of take-off is so exciting and unique… ginormous butterflies is just one way to explain it! We darted in and out of the clouds just above Blenheim Palace which made for a great photo opportunity. The dual-control glider meant we could also have a go ourselves, so of course we both said YES! This was an aerial adventure we will never forget. A great gift for all thrill-seekers out there wanting to try something new.

Staff Review

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19.09.2018
Afternoon Tea - Stanmer House

Afternoon tea is an incredibly popular experience gift, great for a range of ages and personalities, brilliantly social and includes food - bonus! For Gemma and I, this would be the first of many. You’ll see just how many we encountered as you read on. Luckily, we are both huge tea and cake fans, so this experience was made for us. Stanmer House, just outside of Brighton, is a beautiful venue situated in the centre of Stanmer Park. Sitting inside, we were able to gaze out at the picturesque landscape as we waited for our tea to arrive. The three tier stand was full of goodies, from finger sandwiches, to warm scones and delicious sweet treats. Fun fact we learnt from the day: I spread cream first and jam second, the Devonian way, and Gemma spreads Jam first then a dollop of cream to finish, the Cornish method! Although there was debate about who did it the right way, it was delicious.

Staff Review
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20.09.2018
Brewery Tour with Tastings - Old Dairy Brewery

This experience is perfect for all the beer enthusiasts out there, or simply friends wanting a freshly brewed drink or two! Though Gemma and I aren’t knowledgeable about beers in the slightest, we were excited to learn more and try some new flavours. Located down in Tenterden, Kent, the Old Dairy Brewery is situated in two huge Nissen Buildings. As we walked in we saw the huge range of bottles, all colour-coded to match a specific ale or flavour. Ginny, the host, gave us a short introduction on the brewery and poured each of us a beer to take on the tour with us. We learnt huge amounts of information about the fermenters, hops and all other aspects of the brewing process. Once back at the taps, we all tasted a few different flavours and had the chance to purchase whilst there. We both thoroughly enjoyed the tour, and of course had to grab a few bottles to take home for our dads!

Staff Review
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23.09.2018
Fairy Makeover - Petite Fairytale Boutique

 A magical day! I (Gemma) was fortunate enough to be able to bring my little cousin Carla and her best friend Honey to the Petite Fairytale Boutique for a 1-hour fairy makeover experience! They were treated like queens, getting their hair curled before their chosen crown was placed on their heads. Their nails and faces were decorated with glitter, and they even wore gorgeous fairy dresses. It was smiles all round as the kids had the most memorable day, and their mums took pictures that I'm sure they showed the other mums in the playground. The perfect experience to spoil your little girl and turn her into the princess she is!

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25.09.2018
Fishing Experience - Learn to Fish 

Whenever someone asks me what has been my favourite experience, fishing is always one of the first I say. It wasn’t adrenaline-filled, but it was incredibly funny. On a lovely sunny day in Essex, we met Steve, the founder of Learn to Fish, for a fishing taster! The experience took place at Tyler’s Common Fishery, which has 4 lakes filled with carp. The location was beautiful, and immediately I could see how fishermen could spend hours sitting on the bank, being at one with nature! Steve was the kindest and friendliest person, as well as a professional angler - so we would be learning from the best! Before participants arrive, Steve sets up your fishing spot. This consists of comfy chairs, bottled water, a towel, and of course all the fishing equipment. We even had a rod pod with a bite detector, which meant we could relax in the sun until we heard it beep! We were able to assist Steve as much as we wanted with the bait, unhooking of the fish and releasing back into the water - but we didn’t mind watching these parts! One of the funniest moments throughout our year at Experience Days has to be us attempting to hold a fish and pose for a photo. You can see in the pictures just what a great time we had! A brilliant day out.  

Staff Review
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28.09.2019
Brighton SEO - Conference 

Whilst on our placement year, we have been lucky enough to involve ourselves in business conferences where we can build on our knowledge ready for the outside world. Brighton SEO grows larger and more popular every year, therefore it was great to meet and hear numerous professionals and entrepreneurs who have made it in the business world. Who knows, maybe Gemma or I will be standing up there one day!

28.09.2019
Cabaret Performance,  3-Course Meal & Cocktails - Proud City

That Friday feeling! Work in the office may have been over, but we were en route to London for a night of cabaret and cocktails! The glowing lights around the entrance made the venue easy to spot, and whilst enjoying our complimentary cocktails we ordered our mains. Living up to our nickname ‘twins’, we both ordered the steak with veg and creamy mash. This was as delicious as it sounds! The evening was filled with incredible acts, including a fire eater and the hostess herself, whose confidence and quick wit had us in stitches. The experience went beyond our expectations, with humour complementing the seductive acts. Perfect for a girls’ night out.

Staff Review

October

09.10.2018
British Airways i360 - British Airways 

On what we thought was going to be a normal day at the office, Experience Days co-founder Michelle surprised us with tickets to the i360! We couldn’t wait to see the views of Brighton. We walked to the i360 from the office, and after some funny snaps in front of a green screen, we entered the glass pod to the sound of opera. An onboard bar offered champagne, making the ride even more luxurious. The British Airways i360 reaches 460ft, and its round shape meant we had a 360° view of Brighton, Hove and even the South Downs. When the 25-minute ride was over, we walked out into a delightful gift shop and a room dedicated to explaining how the impressive piece of architecture was built. A thoughtful gift pack was available to buy with our photos from earlier. As if this experience isn’t enough on its own, our gift voucher entitles you to a 3-course dinner for 2 at Cafe Rouge.  A unique experience for any occasion!

Staff Review
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10.10.2018
Rage Buggies - Forster Driving School 

It’s no secret in our office that I may be a bit competitive! So when the opportunity came to visit Forster Driving School and drive their rage buggies, I could not wait! The buggies reach 60mph in 4 seconds, so I was looking forward to zooming around the track. After a pleasant drive to Chichester, we met Leo who is a former Rally Cross Champion and the owner of Forster Driving School. He went through the day’s itinerary and safety regulations before we got behind the wheel and sped round the track. To finish the day we took part in a timed lap, which resulted in the winner being awarded a trophy and a small bottle of bubbly - a lovely touch. This was a thrilling day out that would be great for groups.



18.10.2018- London Trip 
Tiles & T-Shirt Making - M.Y.O Creative

Whilst on our short trip to London, we made sure to stop by M.Y.O, one of our former suppliers of arts and crafts experiences. Sam and Diana, founders of M.Y.O, were incredibly welcoming and showed us around their creative studio. The first thing to catch our eyes was the magnificent amount of colour in the room. The rainbow feel was so positive and really got our arty ideas flowing! Being marketing students, we were ready for some creative brainstorming and to get our ideas down on paper. We popped on our aprons and began with tile and plate painting. Whilst our designs dried, it was onto the T-shirt and tote bags! I (Willow) decided on a flamingo printed t-shirt (which I still wear today!) as well as a little pineapple for the tote bag, whereas Gemma chose an elephant for her tote bag and a ‘Gem’ for her t-shirt! A brilliant day, ending with a fabulous new wardrobe!  

Staff Review

19.10.2018- London Trip 
Hampton Court Bike Tour - Coddiwomple Tours 

The Hampton Court Bike Tour was one of those surreal moments where we realised that this was actually our job, and that we were the luckiest interns going! Once we had arrived, Tricia set us up with bikes and led us into the picturesque surroundings of Hampton Court and Bushy Park. It was breathtakingly beautiful and photos really don’t do it justice! Our 3-hour guided tour with Coddiwomple Tours led us through the parks, past the Diana Fountain and towards the Gold Gates of Hampton Court Palace. Tricia was very knowledgeable and told us all about the Palace as we stopped off via The White Hart Hotel for a quick water break. Whilst cycling through the park, we spotted the local deer, an incredible sight for being close to London! We couldn't help but stop for some photo opportunities. A truly wonderful experience, which both we both thoroughly enjoyed and would love to re-visit!

Staff Review
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25.10.2018
London Bridge Experience - The London Bridge Experience

Even though you could not pay me to watch a horror film, I love to challenge my nerves in everyday life with theme parks and scare mazes! When Willow and I were invited to London to take part in the London Bridge Experience, we couldn’t wait to be terrified. The experience began with actors telling us spooky stories about London Bridge, including Jack the Ripper and the Great Fire of London. At this point, we were feeling very brave as this wasn’t as scary as expected. Little did we know we hadn’t entered the tombs yet... Everyone was given the opportunity not to enter, making us even more nervous for what lay ahead. From zombies and clowns, to a spinning room that made you question which way was up, we were overjoyed to exit into Creams for some well-deserved sugary treats! Terrifyingly brilliant!

Staff Review
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31.10.2018
Champneys Forest Mere

We have been incredibly fortunate during our placement year to have been invited to all five luxurious Champneys spas around the UK. The first one on our list - and our absolute favourite - was Forest Mere, situated in Liphook, Hampshire. Our evening spa gift voucher entitled us to full use of the facilities, and an exquisite three-course dinner. We were like children on Christmas morning when we saw the swimming pool, steamy outdoor hot tub, and the tropical storm showers, which glowed different colours according to your chosen shower setting! We were in heaven. We were provided with a private dining area and our eyes widened at the menus delicacies. We both decided on the duck curry, which was melt-in-the-mouth delicious. I would go back to Forest Mere just to dine. For dessert, I went for the chocolate melt and Willow had a salted caramel blondie - both fabulous! As if the experience couldn’t get any better, the manager then gifted us both with a Clarins gift bag from their beauty counters. Spoilt rotten I know… We will definitely be returning soon!

Staff Review
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November

02.11.2018
Cabaret Performance & Cocktails - Proud Embankment

Evenings out don’t get much better than this - cocktails, glamour and great company! Our previous visit to Proud City was incredibly successful, so we couldn't wait to enjoy a second evening of it. Once we arrived at Proud Embankment, we were taken to our privileged seats overlooking the stage on the first floor. After choosing our cocktails, the cabaret show began. Seductive routines were performed by the burlesque dancers, and the aerial routine created a huge buzz amongst the audience. Our dinner then arrived, a delicious chicken massaman curry with jasmine rice. Yum! What a glamorous evening and a great night on the town! 

Staff Review

07.11.2019
WTM - World Travel Market networking event 

Before travelling up to Leicestershire, we swung by London's World Travel Market convention, also known as WTM. The leading event enables businesses from all over the world to come together with other businesses, share knowledge and develop their own exhibits. Gemma and I were extremely excited to network with current and potential suppliers, and even met a few in the South Africa exhibit! This was a great experience, and gave both of us an insight into the world travel market and how global trade is constantly growing and developing! 

08.11.2018- Leicestershire Trip
Sheepdog Training - Nij Vyas Sheepdog Training 

Our placement with Experience Days has given us the opportunity to do some random experiences, and you can’t get more random than a sheepdog training experience in Leicestershire. We met Nij at Launde Abbey and he introduced us to his dogs. They were a little family and so excited to meet new people. Willow and I took a shine to little Lara who was only 4 months old at the time, and full of energy! Nij trains her for a couple of minutes a day and gave us a demonstration of her ability at such a young age. She had a natural instinct to herd the sheep and catch those that escaped from the group, although she did get over excited at times and ignore Nij! But she was only a pup. Throughout the experience I had to find my authoritative voice so the dogs respected me and listened to my commands. This came naturally to Willow! We loved the spontaneity of the experience, for example on our visit a couple of sheep had escaped so we went to round them! A funny part of the day was when Nij, knowing I was on edge around sheep, had them chase me by commanding Mist to chase them! They were in fact the friendliest sheep, see if you can spot this on the product video. 

Staff Review
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08.11.2018- Leicestershire Trip
Champneys Springs

Whilst we were in Leicestershire, we were fortunate enough to visit our second Champneys Spa, Springs (lucky I know!) After our fabulous experience last time, we couldn't wait to get wrapped in warm dressing gowns and relax in their lounging areas. The oriental-inspired doorway was as beautiful as it sounds, with a small bridge leading you into the spa. As we handed over our names to reception, we were welcomed by the manager and given a Champneys tote bag with a robe and complimentary flip flops. We were just in time for lunch, which was great for our hungry stomachs. The large choice of hot and cold food was wonderful to see. Our experience included full access to the leisure facilities and a booked thalassotherapy session. Having heard of all the benefits of thalassotherapy including muscle relaxation, skin benefits (from the salt water) and improved circulation, we couldn't wait to jump in! Once we emerged from the pool, our bodies felt amazingly revitalised. Again, we had an incredibly luxurious experience and left feeling like queens - top marks!

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13.11.2018
Spa Day with Afternoon Tea - Brooklands Hotel and Spa

Imagine relaxing in an outdoor hot tub overlooking a famous racetrack. This is available at Brooklands Hotel and Spa, and Willow were lucky enough to have been invited to indulge in their Afternoon Tea and Spa Treatment, available on our website for an amazing £80. For my 25-minute treatment I decided on the Divine Back Massage and Willow enjoyed an Express Facial. The outdoor hot tub was more amazing than the pictures portrayed, and the fresh air combined with the hot jets meant we stayed out on the balcony for ages. This was before we started feeling peckish, and made our way inside for our afternoon tea. Our table was reserved with our names written in glitter, which was a lovely personal touch! The perfect spa location if you would like to send your husband to Mercedes World opposite whilst you enjoy a luxury spa day.

Staff Review
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27.11.2018
Champneys Henlow

As the Christmas season drew near, Champneys Henlow was the perfect venue to get us in the spirit! The Georgian manor house set in 150 acres of land was beautifully decorated and gave me inspiration for my own decorations at home. On arrival, we were offered an unexpected welcome breakfast which was sublime. Salmon on rye bread and peach yogurts were just a few of the treats available. We then made our way downstairs to the spa, where we were supplied with robes and flip flops. We definitely looked the part! Our gift voucher included one treatment each, so Willow enjoyed a Head in the Clouds massage and I felt rejuvenated after my Pick Me Up Facial. The newly refurbished swimming area consisted of day beds positioned next to the long windows, a very popular relaxation spot amongst guests. The gorgeous country-escape style makes Henlow one of my favourite Champney locations. The lunch buffet was fit for a king! Sushi, pasta, seabass… there was a massive variety of hot and cold foods, and we went up more times than I want to admit! The whole day was amazing and one I would love to repeat in the near future.   

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27.11.2018
Champneys Tring

During this day trip, Gemma and I were lucky enough to visit not one but TWO Champney Spas: Henlow in Bedfordshire, and Tring in Hertfordshire! After an amazing morning at Henlow, we drove down to Tring to finish off our day with an incredible Spa Heaven Cocoon Treatment. With Tring being the original Champneys Spa, we knew we were in for a treat as we approached the grand manor house. The beautifully displayed Christmas lights and decorations created a cosy atmosphere and made us both feel super festive! A friendly receptionist welcomed us with complimentary flip flops and gowns, then pointed us in the right direction towards the treatment waiting area. As the name correctly states, it was indeed pure heaven! The treatment began with a full body exfoliation using the (incredible smelling) Cloud Nine Body Scrub. After a quick wash, we enjoyed a moisturising massage and body foil wrap (this was so the products could fully soak into our pores). The session ended with a Head in the Clouds massage. I’ve truly never felt so relaxed and think I even drifted off at some point. I can’t recommend this Champneys treatment enough! After a dip in the pool and a trip to the relaxation rooms, we couldn't help but buy the body scrub from the shop on the way out. Champneys Spas are truly the elite of luxury spa escapes and I can’t wait till I can visit heaven again! 

Staff Review
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December

04.12.2018
Champneys Eastwell Manor 

For our final 2018 experience before a very busy Christmas period at Experience Days, we travelled to Kent for an extra special visit. Champneys were kind enough to invite us to Eastwell Manor, their latest luxurious country spa! The enormous rustic manor house is positioned right in the centre of the picturesque setting and offers numerous facilities to make your escape a memorable one! Once signed in, Gemma and I wandered down to a formal tea lounge ready for our festive afternoon tea. The beautifully decorated tea set accompanied the three-tier stand beautifully. On the lower tier stood various finger sandwiches, and the middle section was filled with warm scones, cream and strawberry jam. The top tier was a heaven for all those with a sweet tooth, and the festive trifle was incredible! A final treat before we had to head home was an opportunity to skate on the ice rink. Especially set up for Christmas, the ice rink sat just outside the manor house and even had a little restored van offering food and drink. Having never skated before, the penguin ‘ice skating helper’ became my new best friend. However, by the end we were holding hands, skating round to the music. This was a fantastic end to our Champneys visits and was definitely a memorable one I’ll keep recommending to friends and family! 

Staff Review
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February 

18.02.2019
Bird of Prey Experience - Willows Bird of Prey Centre

First off, great name! Having never participated in a Bird of Prey experience, we were excited to be invited down to Willows Bird of Prey Centre and see what it was all about. Located in Kent, the large complex has acres of nature trails and multiple animals, along with the birds to visit. With a cafe onsite, it makes the perfect day out for families. Karl was our bird guide for the day, and led us down for a flying demonstration to teach us all the fundamentals of the feathered creatures. It was now up to Gemma and I to fly the birds. Gemma had Rio, the Harris Hawk, who was an incredibly precise flyer, and I had Scrumpy, an adorable Barn Owl who loved snacks! Our new feathered friends were truly beautiful and we learnt so much more about them as a species.  

Staff Review
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22.02.2019
Cookery Class & Portobello Market Tour - Enrica Rocca

Italian is without doubt my favourite cuisine, so I was thrilled to be invited to Enrica Rocca’s Cookery Class and Portobello Market Tour. Charlotte and Claire who run Enrica Rocca’s UK school are from Venice, and have a clear passion for cooking. They guided our group to the best market stalls and independent shops to purchase ingredients, conferring with the group about what we would like to make. Back at the school, we cooked lots of delicious dishes including lamb fritters, squid, fresh pasta (made by us!) and tiramisu. Accompanied by Prosecco and wine, the food tasted amazing and the courses were nicely separated by cooking. We had a delightful time and walked away with some great Italian recipes. I have since made the lamb fritters at home and my family loved them!

Staff Review
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March

05.03.2019- New Intern Interviews  continued 
Afternoon Tea - The Harbour Hotel

Part of being an intern at Experience Days is interviewing and recruiting new interns for when our year has come to an end. Our interview process consists of taking the applicant to the Harbour Hotel for afternoon tea with Willow and I. The reason we do this is to see how they would be on a supplier visit, and we find their personalities come out more in a relaxed environment surrounded by cakes! With lots of interest in the position we went for afternoon tea 6 times… that’s a lot of scones. The seaside themed restaurant is situated on Brighton seafront, walking distance from our office - ideal! The Jetty Restaurant overlooks the sea and the staff are friendly, attentive and always on hand if you need your tea pot topped up. The tiered cake stand filled with finger sandwiches and cakes are simply delicious, meaning we didn’t mind going back again and again. During one of the interviews we even saw some celebrities, who were staying at the hotel, showing how well known the venue is.  

Staff Review
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06.03.2019
Indoor Skydiving - iFLY

When Robb told Gemma and I that he had booked Indoor Skydiving for us, we were like two excited puppies! Watching videos online, we eagerly awaited the day we travelled up to iFLY. The wind tunnel itself was an incredibly exciting yet scary sight; humans floating about just don’t look real! Once suited and booted, we were ready for the tunnel. Our instructor Liam explained four important hand gestures we could use whilst skydiving and gave us all goggles, helmets and ear plugs. Once inside the tunnel, I couldn't stop smiling! The sensation is an incredibly unique feeling, and makes you feel (literally) on top of the world. Liam then let us know we were going to experience a ‘High Fly’ where you spin right to the top of the tunnel then soar back down again! The photos we caught of each other are great to look back on, and our Level 1 Flyer certificates have taken full display on our desks at work. An overall brilliant experience!

Staff Review
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08.03.2019-  Afternoon Tea Guide (update for 2019)
Afternoon Tea - The Ivy In The Lanes

Experience Days are very dedicated to keeping website content fresh and up-to-date for our visitors. Afternoon teas are particularly popular to give as a gift, but choosing the right venue can be difficult. Our team decided it would be unfair not to try them out and review them! This resulted in our Brighton Afternoon Tea Guide being born, and it was time for a 2019 update... This meant Gemma and I were to be sent round Brighton and try out a few new afternoon teas, whether or not they were a supplier. First up was The Ivy in the Lanes. Both of us had heard how magnificent the restaurant was, and we were certainly not disappointed. The 60’s themed interior was eye-dazzling and the afternoon tea was exceptional. The dainty chicken brioche rolls were given 5 stars, and as for the scones and sweet desserts, we were blown away by the attention to detail. All round the entire experience of this afternoon tea was divine, and is one we have both individually been back for to celebrate our mum’s birthdays!

Read our Afternoon Tea Guide

12.03.2019
Cake Baking Lesson - Cookery School

This experience truly had our stomachs rumbling! The 3-hour baking course teaches you all the fundamentals of baking, and the skills to create the perfect sponge. The school is located in the centre of London, and we were able to get the train in so we could enjoy a complimentary glass of wine. Jane was our professional baker for the evening, and showed us all the correct techniques with informative tutorials. We then got to go ahead and try it our ourselves before they were popped into the ovens. Everyone is given numerous recipes to try out, and plenty of delicious cakes to take home to devour! This definitely opened our baking eyes and got us into baking our own sweet treats at home.

Staff Review
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16.03.2019
Clay Pigeon Shooting Lesson - Kent and Sussex Shooting School

PULL! Having never been shooting before, Willow and I were incredibly excited for our clay pigeon shooting lesson at Kent and Sussex Shooting School. It is situated in Royal Tunbridge Wells, only 40 minutes from home, so the drive was pleasant and easy. The grey sky followed us but Lee had already advised us to wear wellies so no trainers would be ruined! We were welcomed by the highly qualified BASC and APSI shotgun coaches who would be teaching us, and after we were given goggles, a 20-gauge shotgun and, in my case, an eye-patch (read full staff review to find out why) the lesson began! We were super impressed by their use of biodegradable clays and the fact they own 900 acres of land, enabling the activities to move location and avoiding damage to the land. We had a great time shooting clays, and loved the adrenaline rush of seeing them disperse into lots of pieces. Lee has very kindly invited us back when the weather is nicer! 

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20.03.2019- Bedfordshire Trip 
Bird of Prey Experience - English School of Falconry

As you can probably tell from reading the blog so far, Willow and I love to go on work trips and visiting areas of the UK that we haven’t been to before. When The English School of Falconry invited us up Bedford to take part in a Birds of Prey Experience, we were straight onto our website to see what other suppliers we have in Bedford who could benefit from more marketing. Having stayed nearby overnight to avoid traffic, we drove to the centre and arrived with plenty of time to spare. When we arrived, we were shown to Maggie's Tea Room where we could have a hot or cold beverage, included in the price of the voucher. As we were enjoying our brew, our instructor Ria arrived with the group for the 2-hour morning session. Ria was extremely passionate about birds of prey, and introduced us to lots of beautiful creatures. Our favourite was little Simba the tawny owl. After we had all held the birds and learnt some interesting facts, it was time to fly some of their friends! This was incredible, and we gathered some great footage which you can see on the product page. A fantastic day out!

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20.03.2019- Bedfordshire Trip 
Clay Pigeon Shooting - Sporting Targets

Whilst in Bedfordshire, we were invited to Sporting Targets to try Clay Pigeon Shooting. Having first tried out the sport last week down in Sussex, we were ready to perfect our basic knowledge and come out feeling like pros! Having arrived a little early, Gemma and I decided to head down to the cafe (shock) for a delicious lunch. A short while later, our instructor John greeted us and gave us a tour of the complex - it was huge, and included a quad bike trail, 4x4 driving, archery and air-rifle shooting arenas. Perfect for a day out, that’s for sure! Once we were geared up with goggles, ear defenders, and correctly sized shotguns, we made our way down to the clays. PULL... we both shot multiple clays and loved every moment of it! I was super surprised at how much satisfaction you feel after each successful shot. John was even ready to advance us to the next field (one with more difficult targets, once you gain confidence). This was a brilliant experience, perfect for beginners or more advanced shooters wanting to enjoy the day with friends. 

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22.03.2019- Afternoon Tea Guide (update for 2019)
Afternoon Tea Bus Tour - Brighton Regency Routemaster Tours

We absolutely loved this experience! A full sightseeing bus tour of our hometown Brighton, whilst enjoying cocktails and a scrumptious afternoon tea. Being the lucky interns we are, we wandered down to the pier where the red double-decker bus awaited us. The vintage upper décor fitted perfectly to the restored theme, and had a fantastic 60’s vibe. We loved listening to Colin on the commentary as we passed each iconic sight, explaining little facts that to this day I would never have known! The afternoon tea was delicious, plenty of flavours and colours which we couldn't help but photograph. The sweet treats on top were divine. A personal favourite would have to be the lemon-filled pastries. This experience is perfect for both tourists and locals, and makes a fantastic treat to spoil a loved one with.

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26.03.2019-  Afternoon Tea Guide (update for 2019)
Afternoon Tea - Cafe Rouge 

The next stop on our afternoon tea guide tour was Cafe Rouge in the Lanes. I was intrigued to see how the restaurant puts a French twist on a traditional British occasion. The building was quirky, and all the staff were dressed to impress. Once seated we were given the option of their famous Croque Monsieur or a vegetarian option. We of course went for the Croque Monsieur, which was gammon and melted cheese in tiger bread. This was amazing and is what stands out in my memory when I think back to this afternoon tea. This is also due to the fact the majority of afternoon teas are cold food, whereas this was warm and delicious. The cheese and gammon was the French twist I was looking out for. Accompanied by cakes and warm scones, this was a lovely afternoon treat, and one I would have again to break up a Brighton shopping trip!

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April

05.04.2019
Sailing Experience - Sailing Spook 

Having never been on a boat, let alone a yacht, we were thrilled to be given the opportunity to go sailing for the day. Sailing Spook, situated in the beautiful seaside village of Lymington, run full day trips across the Haven for the public to enjoy. We felt so glamorous sailing across the sea on a luxury 53ft yacht (yes, we couldn't believe it either!) Russ and Andy took us past some beautiful sights, such as the magnificent Hurst Castle and even Brian May’s mansion! Gemma and I were then offered the chance to take the helm and steer us through the waves, so we both eagerly agreed, and captured some great photos posing like professional sailors! After a few hours relaxing on board, it was time to head back to shore for a delicious lunch at Lymington Yacht Haven. The crew were extremely welcoming and made our first sailing trip one to remember.

Staff Review
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09.04.2019
Aerial Yoga Class - Very Yoga Reigate

Anyone who knows Gemma and I knows that we love to chill out and relax - so we were surprised that we had never participated in a yoga class together. When the opportunity arose to visit Very Yoga and take part in an Aerial Yoga Class, we were all for it! This 1 hour class teaches you a variety of positions and poses while you are suspended in hammocks, so you can feel all the benefits from the class. This included deeper stretches, improved mobility, and overall body conditioning. A favourite pose from the session, which gave us both the giggles, would have to be a headstand (easier than first thought but a little ungraceful from us beginners!). We both left feeling de-stressed and incredibly rejuvenated. This would be a great experience gift for all interested in health and well-being, as well as someone in your life needing a relaxation treat!

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24.04.2019
Seal Watching - Seal Watching Harwich 

Seal Watching Harwich is a reasonably new company who have grown quickly! Beginning with one 10-seater boat understandably named ‘Seal Spotter’, they have since invested in ‘Gloria’ who holds up to 41 people! We walked down to the docks where we met our skipper Chris, who owns the company. He was very chatty and assured us that despite the rain, we were going to see lots of seals! After 40 minutes of speeding across the sea, we arrived at Oakley Creek, home to Harbour and Grey seals. We slowly moved around the nature reserve, using our binoculars to spot the mischievous seals swim towards our boat, and adorable seal pups sliding across the sandy banks. Everyone was in such high spirits and the sun even came out from behind the clouds. I can see why this is so popular for children during the school holidays as you truly feel like you aren’t in England but on a safari! With child tickets priced at only £15, I would recommend this day out to those parents trying to entertain their kids on the weekends without technology!

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May

 09.05.2019- Edinburgh Trip
White Water Tubing - Nae Limits

After months of planning, our Edinburgh trip was upon us. At the beginning of our placement, we never thought we would be flying off to Scotland to take part in some breath-taking experiences! After working out how to drive an automatic (don't ask!) we drove to Perthshire, where we were greeted by Dale, our lovely instructor. After being wet-suited and booted, we jumped into Dale’s van and headed to the mountains where the rapids awaited us. The hour long experience was filled with scenic, calm routes as well as adrenaline-fuelled waterfall drops, and who could forget the heart-racing canyon jump?! Our inflatable tubes were brilliantly stable and bounced off the rocks, making our rapid journey safe yet thrilling. Whilst floating (and laughing) our way down the River Tummel, we both agreed this would be an experience we will never forget.

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10.05.2019- Edinburgh Trip
Edinburgh Castle - Edinburgh Castle 

Tourists for the day! After a delicious Premier Inn breakfast, Willow and I hopped on the bus and headed for the city centre! It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed walking through Princes Street Gardens, admiring the war memorials and magnificent views of the castle. We arrived at the castle just in time for the 1 o’clock gun fire - which still managed to make us jump even though we were waiting for it! I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Scottish crown jewels and St Margaret’s Chapel. Onsite cafes mean you can explore the castle for hours and even join a tour with a professional guide explaining the landmark’s history. Make sure you bring your selfie stick as the views are exquisite! 

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10.05.2019- Edinburgh Trip
Cocktail Masterclass - Tennent's Training Academy

Willow and I love fruity cocktails, and were super excited to take part in a Tennent’s Cocktail Masterclass in Glasgow. We were astonished at how big the Tennent’s infrastructure was, and once we found the entrance we enjoyed watching videos of how the company has grown to what it is today. Our 2-hour class began with welcome drinks; gorgeous raspberry and passionfruit caipirinhas made by our lovely instructor Becky! There was also a selection of snacks I couldn’t wait to indulge in: parma ham, olives, ciabatta bread and even maltesers! What more could a girl want? Becky demonstrated how to make the perfect strawberry and watermelon margarita before we all had a go! The last task was for our pairs to create our own cocktail, following the guideline Sweet, Sour, Strong and Weak. This resulted in the ‘WillGem’, our own adaptation of the pornstar martini. This may sound biased, but everyone agreed this was tastier than the real thing, so keep your eyes peeled for the WillGem making its way into bars near you! A fabulous evening I would do again and again.

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11.05.2019- Edinburgh Trip
Supplier meeting - Edinburgh School of Food and Wine 

Whilst in Edinburgh, we arranged to visit Edinburgh School of Food and Wine. Our meeting allowed us to discuss current experiences, as well as potential new products to list on our website. It’s always great to meet suppliers face to face, as firstly, it allows us build a supplier relationship, and secondly it’s brilliant to see the passion and hard work that goes into running the experiences. Luckily for you, we have since added a variety of new experiences which all look incredible. Check them out below!

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11.05.2019- Edinburgh Trip
Sailing Trip - Edinburgh Boat Charters 

This was our last experience in Edinburgh, and the sun was shining for the occasion! It was our lucky day as our sail was scheduled on the same day as the annual food market on Port Edgar. Food always being on our minds, we made sure we arrived extra early so we could enjoy the market. Feeling full, we walked down to the port to meet Ellie and Colin. They were very laid back and friendly, letting us know we could wander around the boat whenever we please, or assist with sailing. Willow and I laid on the netting at the front of the boat and admired the magnificent Victorian Forth Rail Bridge, the Forth Road Bridge and the new Queensferry Crossing. We didn’t expect to be enjoying the sunshine in Scotland, but it made the day fantastic! The weather was so abnormal, there wasn’t any wind and we had to use the engine for the majority of the trip! After some seal spotting, professional photos taken by Colin and lots of rounds of coffee and biscuits, the experience came to an end. Is there a better way to see the Scottish sights than relaxing on a luxurious sailing boat? I think not. 

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17.05.2019
Horse Riding - Quob Stables Equestrian Centre

Our last experience as a pair! After an action packed year spent travelling around the UK, there was time for one last experience before the new interns began. We drove up to Hampshire to take part in a Beginner’s Horse Riding Lesson at Quob Stables. Having not ridden since I was 14, I had a mixture of nerves and excitement. Included in this gift voucher is a hot or cold lunch, so Willow went for a beef burger (without the bun) and I enjoyed a chicken burger (with the bun). Both came with generous portions of fries, salads and coleslaw, and we had a great view of the horse arena while we ate. Half the lesson was spent on the mechanical horse, learning how to walk, trot and canter with our supervisor’s guidance. One of the funniest moments of the year was seeing Willow try to stand up on the speedy horse, and I couldn’t tell whether she wanted to laugh or cry! Next, we progressed onto real horses, which was great fun. Experience Days also offer an advanced lesson for the same price. With a minimum age of 5, the lessons are great for those wanting to try horse riding or for if you’re in need of a lighthearted, entertaining day out! 

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11.06.2019
Brighton Open Top Bus Tour

New interns Charlotte and Rina have finally arrived! We decided to surprise them on their first day with an Open Top Bus Tour of Brighton. Although we don’t sell this exact experience, we had to give them the full Brighton tour - showing them exactly where they'd be working for the next 12 months! The first stop is located up by the pier. The large red double decker buses aren’t hard to miss, so we knew exactly where we would need to jump on. The friendly staff took our tickets and handed us complimentary ear plugs so we could listen to the on-board commentary. Once comfortably seated on the top deck, us girls were able to sit back and enjoy the factual information transmitted to us as we passed the iconic sights. A great experience for both locals wanting to learn more about our beloved city, and tourists visiting for the day. 

Staff Review

14.06.2019
Escape Room - Escape The Vault

Having never attempted an escape room before, I was interested to see if I had the creative mindset required to solve puzzles and riddles. The experience takes place at Presuming Ed's Coffee House, which you can’t miss as it’s super colourful. Owners Will and Dan welcomed us with an alcoholic beverage, which we took into the escape room. Our mission began with watching a video before we strategically tried to solve the riddles in order to rob the bank. A big 40 minute countdown clock added to the pressure, as we knew the boys in blue would be arriving when it reached 0! Sadly we didn’t rob the bank, even with the help of Terrence who was available for hints. This only means we need to return and try again, and next time we will be successful. An entertaining afternoon, right on our doorstep. 

Staff Review
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21.06.2019
Powerboat Rides - Saber Powersports Ltd

What a thrill! This experience was extreme and had us all screaming with laughter and excitement. 

Saber Powersports is located down in the Solent, so us four interns drove down to take part in both teir Honda powerboat experience and the Jet Viper thrill ride! Individually, they give you a completely different experience. The Honda powerboat is a 5-seater with dual control so we all got to have a go at driving, while the Jet Viper was purely a super fun wet and wild ride for up to 12 passengers to enjoy. We had an incredible time and came away soaking, which can only mean we met the expectations of the water experience! Saber Powersports is the only UK speedboat company offering you the chance to drive...so why not take the wheel and have a go yourself?

Staff Review
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26.06.2019
Segway experience - Southern Segway 

The time had come... We were going to take part in our LAST experience of our placement year. As sad as this was, at least it was an awesome one! With Charlotte and Rina with us, we drove up to Kent to take part in a segway tour of Leeds Castle! With the majority of the girls not having been on a segway before, there was a mixture of excitement and nerves amongst us! Sarah and Tony were our guides and were both very charismatic, friendly and reassuring. They had a brilliant way of making everyone feel at ease throughout training. Tony saw that Charlotte was the most nervous, and took her under his wing, making sure she was having fun - even if that meant him dragging her segway up a hill so she wasn’t left behind! We zoomed across lots of different terrain, all at different gradients, really putting our segways to the test! There was plenty of opportunities for those speed demons to go as fast as they could, alternatively those going at a slower pace had plenty of beautiful views of the castle and grounds. With lots of interesting facts and photo opportunities, this experience went above and beyond! For such a great price, I would recommend this experience to all ages and abilities.


Conclusion

What an incredible journey we have had! 56 visits later, and we have truly mastered the experience game! We’ve loved every moment of our placement year here at Experience Days and are super sad to be leaving the team. A huge thank you to our wonderful office family for helping us along our way and making our year an incredibly special one. I’m sure you’ll see us again but for now SEE YA!


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