THE END IS NEAR!
Okay… I may be an occasional drama queen, but the time has come for Gemma and I to complete our internship here at Experience Days, and our sad departure is upon us.
Having had an incredible year of adventures, I can, at the very least, say a huge thank you to Robb and the team for being the best office family. Thank you for helping me build all the knowledge and confidence I need for the big, scary world of work.
The laughs and thrills have been non-stop, from Garry discovering ‘Ogre Willow’, to Gemma’s inner Elton John, to a ‘SEE YA’ here and there, to Robb catching me singing to a KitKat…don’t ask. Needless to say, it’s all been a right bundle of hilarity - and hard work of course!
Below is a collection of photos and short stories, looking back at my time here at Experience Days. Seeing as Gemma and I ended up visiting a humongous 56 suppliers, we better get started!
Let’s begin with a few favourites. These are experiences I loved and would definitely re-visit, and recommend to friends and family!
Jet Skiing! Being one of our first experiences, Gemma and I were still a little nervous to jump into the filming game. However, in no time we were like ducks to water - zooming off, jumping the waves, having the times of our lives! Just watch the video, my face says it all…
Next would have to be the Windsor Bus Tour and Hampton Court Bike Tour. Now if you know me well, you’ll know that I lack a fair amount of common sense. However, I am a lover of learning new things! Whether that’s discovering new facts as a tourist or local, or sightseeing historical places, then I’m all in. For both experiences, it was all about nosing around the Royals, which turned out to be a common interest between Gemma and I!
Meerkat madness! Whilst on our first trip away to Oxfordshire, a very exciting meerkat experience awaited us. Both of us being animal lovers, we couldn’t wait to enter the enclosure. I was overly excited, letting them jump up on my lap and shoulders as they squeaked for snacks. Gemma was the perfect camerawoman, grabbing all those angles while the meerkats and I posed to perfection.
However, once we had returned from our visit, Garry was quick to spot a new member of our supplier visit squad: OGRE WILLOW. Now, she’s a little shy so I’ll save her the embarrassment, but I can tell you now, she ventures into a number of the videos.
Indoor Skydiving was an experience like no other. You just have to try it to really know what the sensation feels like! We captured some brilliant photos, but were in hysterics when we both came out covered in dribble… fortunately for us this can’t be seen in the footage!
A final category favourite has to be FOOD. Yes, Gemma and I had eyes as big as our stomachs whilst taking part in these experiences: 3 cooking classes, 6 delicious dinners, and 7 afternoon teas later (excluding all those intern interview teas) and we were truly well-educated in all culinary areas!
If I had to choose just a few favourites, they would have to be: Enrica Rocca, for its unique market shopping experience and incredible Venetian flavours. My Chocolate, because it’s chocolate…but also for showing us the ways of delicious truffle creation! Champneys, for their mouth-watering lunches and dinners, and last but certainly not least, afternoon tea at The Ivy (now we don’t sell this one but just wow!)
We always knew there would have to be some funny moments during our visits, so it would be unfair to leave them out!
Sheepdog Training! If there was a folder for uniquely random experiences which we both absolutely loved, then this would be in there! Nij and his gorgeous herd of sheepdogs were a delight to visit whilst in Leicestershire. Not only were we in pieces laughing at each other run around after sheep, we couldn’t contain ourselves whilst commanding lovely old Mac. Due to his lack of hearing, Gemma struggled to grab his attention… but she’d love to tell you all about my deep voice, which he immediately responded to! Now if this wasn’t all, we then ended up rescuing a sheep. Yes, Fred had escaped into the neighbouring field and needed to be reunited with Wilma… the rescue party was unreal!
Who else catches the giggles in places they really shouldn’t? On this particular occasion, it was during an aerial yoga class. The harmonious music and unusual stances were enough to set me off, but what really did it was Gemma’s serious facial expressions. Now I’d set Gemma off - the giggles were infectious! Luckily our class were light-hearted and understood our beginners’ nerves! From then on, we entered the zone of relaxation and thoroughly enjoyed it. A brilliant class which I’d love to do again.
One visit I couldn’t possibly leave out is Horse Riding, our final experience as a duo. After a hilarious attempt at mechanical horse riding or in my case ‘bouncing’, Gemma and I were set to meet and greet our real horses! On route, we stopped by the riding hat cupboard to choose our helmets. Knowing I have a head the size of a pea, I was conveniently given a child’s hat. Then in came Gemma, who also had a ‘small’ head… one by one, from small to medium, the hats just wouldn’t fit her. To my delight, Gemma received a large soldier-like helmet and was re-named ‘Lieutenant Bates’. Brilliant!
And last but certainly not least…my experience highlights! This was a crazy hard decision, hence the waffling above. HOWEVER, there are a few adventures that really stand out, making my placement year one to remember.
For example, who can truly say their placement year contained a helicopter tour, a motor glider lesson, a visit to ALL 5 Champneys spas, and a weekend trip to Edinburgh?
A helicopter tour is one of those experiences you’d arrange to celebrate a milestone, not complete as part of your day job. Therefore, when the opportunity arose, we were both over the moon with excitement. From take-off to landing, the full experience was incredible. I love being up in the air, and seeing the ground from such a height was something magical!
If this wasn’t enough, a second flying experience had been arranged for the following month! Not only was it our first trip away, but we had been invited up to Oxfordshire Sport Flying to take part in a motor glider experience. Not knowing what this entailed, we both arrived a little nervous. However, the team were super lovely and put our nerves at ease. The experience itself was astonishing, being up front overlooking the beautiful countryside was truly a photo granted moment. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, John asked if I wanted to take the controls and steer the glider – a trial lesson had begun! Such an amazing experience! We have since kept in contact, and will definitely re-visit when next in Oxfordshire.
All I have to say is the word ‘Champneys’ and we all think luxury, indulgence, and exceptional pampering! Well, Gemma and I were incredibly spoilt and had the chance to visit all 5 of the Champneys Spa Escapes! Yes, this included Tring, Henlow, Forest Mere, Springs and Eastwell Manor. All were breath-takingly beautiful and held a unique edge to one another. Personally, I would forever recommend Forest Mere to anyone wanting an unforgettable getaway. Every aspect of our visit was fantastic, from the service to the facilities, it was pure bliss! The only downside is now I know what luxury feels like, it’ll be super difficult to beat it!
Lastly, a true headliner for our year of adventures would have to be our trip to Edinburgh. One thing I have loved from working here at Experience Days is the huge amount of opportunity and freedom we have within our role. Once we proposed the idea to Robb he was all up for it - so we planned EVERYTHING (minus the automatic car we received up there!). From tubing down the River Tummel in Perth, to cocktail making in Glasgow, to visiting Edinburgh Castle and sailing past the iconic Forth Bridges, it’s fair to say we had a very successful trip! Each visit went exactly to plan, and came out on camera and video exactly how we imagined. Overall, a wonderful city I would love to explore again one day!
It was never going to be a short summary when I started this blog, however here we are! I can’t believe how fast the year has gone, and am so sad to leave (although I’m sure Robb will be happy to no longer see my messy desk!)
Of course, I’m coming away with not only a collection of unbelievable memories, but with open arms to a wonderful team at Experience Days, and of course a bestie in Gemma (Bournemouth Uni better be ready for us!). Phew, now the soppy part is over, it’s time to pass the fun onto our new recruits Charlotte and Rina. Welcome girls, you’ll both have an amazing year!
Also if you have a moment spare, make sure to read our joint Goodbye Blog featuring all experiences we took part in over the year!
Signing off with a SEE YA,