Saturday, 13 August 2016

Travelling San Francisco

Hello from the USA again! so if you've been reading my recent blog posts you may know i'm currently working on an American summer camp and travelling in my spare time. A couple of weeks ago I visited San Francisco and I was not disappointed. The travel experiences I'm having are with my Camp, as we take all of our campers travelling around the USA (how lucky am I). However travelling with over two hundred teenagers is harder than you think, but its also a lot of fun and we call it 'work'! We traveled to various places within San Fran and I just wanted to share with you my favorite parts of the amazing trip we had. Travelling as part of my Camp America experience is very rare and not something that usually happens at camp. It just so happens that I was recruited to work on a camp for teenagers, you can read more about this in my last post here. We visited San Fran for five nights, which was just the right amount of time. So now i'll show you the best bits we got up to.

The first really enjoyable thing was the flight, with free food, drink and wifi, and the ability to watch Kardashian's live from the screen in the seat in-front, it was right then that I decided I would always love domestic flights with Delta. The way everyone should travel.

We visited Alcatraz and did the audio tour. Ok so this sounds boring if you're not into the whole history thing. But i'm not much of a historian myself and I absolutely loved it. The audio tour really makes you feel like you're experiencing Alcatraz as it once was. I'm hoping to take my parents here to do the tour it was that good. The audio tour even tells you how many steps to take and what direction to look in. Its hard to describe but Alcatraz really moved me emotionally, and I barely knew anything about it. 

Whilst at Alcatraz we got to see the most amazing views of San Francisco skyline. Breathtaking. 

I even met the dog of my dreams in a park in San Fran whilst doing some community service with my campers. HOW CUTE. I need him now.

The good times just keep on coming as we visit the Painted Ladies, house goals or what.

Another day we ventured a little further a field and went to Santa Cruz beach and boardwalk for the day, love this pic of the trees.

Spent the entire day chilling and spending time with our campers.
Oh and meet my co-counselor Ashley, my kiwi babe!!!

Queue the GoPro posing...

Just when we thought we'd seen it all, we go on a DJ Dinner Cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge!

The next day we went to the beach that is underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, and I was a little excited, hence the stance..

Then this is when we landed back in Newark international airport and I bought my first ever iced coffee from dunkin donuts! God they're addictive.

Overall I had such a lovely time in San Francisco with camp. Getting to travel with your campers is so rewarding and they really do make the experience life changing as you get to bond with them on a whole different level to daily camp life. The days were long and the get ups were early. But it was so worth it. I cannot wait to finish camp and continue my travelling but this time over the east coast! 


USA & Canada Travelling Vid

Here's my little video of different parts of my traveling so far. This includes shots from Pennsylvania, San Francisco and Montreal. This is just one half of my travelling and I have a lot more to show you guys but I didn't want to give it all away at once. Hope you like it, please subscribe and give it a thumbs up!


Thursday, 11 August 2016

Gin Fest Review

In May I was invited to attend Gin Fest in Hull, and GOD did I have a great night. So I feel its only right to give a front and center review of my experience. Having been in the USA for so long this review has taken far too long to be written, apologies. Luckily you still have opportunities to catch Gin Fest in your city such as Portsmouth (my uncles going to this one), London (Molly this one), Birmingham (Rachel this one), Sheffield, Burnley, Guildford, Edinburgh, Rochdale, Cardiff, Brighton (Liss this one) and Leicester (Oli this one)!! Click here for the link to the list of the locations of the next events. As you can see, i've recommended the event to a lot of my family and friends already. First here's some pics of the event I attended...

This is the little gin book guide you receive when you enter the event. 
FYI if you can still read this at the end of the Fest, you didn't drink enough!!
Oh and that first picture of the glass, yes we got to keep those!

Did I mention there were over 100 different Gins to try? (make mine a double plz)
Oh and a photobooth style thing that give free Polaroids, such a nice idea. 

I was welcomed to the event with PRESS PASSES (screams). 
We had complimentary Gins and then bought some more because they were simply that nice. 
Roughly twenty pounds bought us 4 large gins and mixers, and you could select the gins. 
My favorite flavors were the strawberry and the mango!
I took my boyfriend and four of our friends to this event and we literally had the best time. I may or may not have been rather tipsy. (please drink responsibly) 

So much so my parents are just deciding which event to attend, and I will also be attending again next year (please come to Hull).

Gin Festival should be available more often, the three days in Hull were sold out.
I was lucky enough to be invited otherwise I wouldn't have had tickets.

So a big thank you to Gin Festival, your concept is really special. 
Read more here.
Wishing you every success, i'll see you next year!


Camp America

Heyyyy everyone! So for the past 9 weeks, you may have noticed that I've been neglecting my blog (sorrrrrry). This is because i'm actually in the USA working and travelling, yaaaaaaay. I'm having the best time. Admittedly i've been letting the blog slip (ooooooh), because I've been so busy in the USA and i'm still here working. But i've finally got a moment to tell you abit about the first part of my summer. 

Working on a USA summer camp has been such an interesting experience. The main shock for me at camp has been the living conditions. I'm definitely a five star kinda girl and i've never been much of a camper, and living in a cabin on a bunk bed in the forest has been challenging to say the least. But i've learnt that I can survive with such a small amount of clothes and toiletries. My daily essentials soon became redundant and straightening my hair is definitely a luxury. And ive had the experience of living with a group of girls, something I missed out on as I never went away to uni! I share a bunk with sixteen campers and two other staff; my co-counselors. 

The most rewarding part of working at a USA summer camp is the bonds you form with your campers. In fact my campers even call me 'Mom' because I look after them, i'm their counselor and their friend. Oh and finding the balance between being a counselor and a friend is a really hard thing to do. You have to find the happy medium, because your campers need to still respect you and you job role at camp. But seriously they are adorable and they have really been the key element to my camp experience. Ive even been lucky enough to have two sets of campers. My first bunk was 33, and now my bunk is 36. Bunking living is a little better than camping, but its still nothing like what i'm used to. I've embraced it and i've learnt so much. 

On a personal note, Camp America has allowed me to develop my independence. This is the longest time i've been away from home and I feel i've gained a lot of life experience in such a short time. Ok i've missed various people from home, but its not that long until i'm reunited. 

Below is some more info about the specifics of my camp (yaaaay)

Which Camp did you go to?

NJY Camps, TAC, Milford, Pennsylvania
(New Jersey Youth Camps) Teenage Camp.
NJY Camps is a group of camps, mine was one of many located on one site in Milford. NJY is also the largest employer of staff from camp america.

What is Camp like?
Its a whole new experience. You're constantly with children, for me it was teenagers. Its stressful, and yet rewarding. Its exhausting but its a laugh. Camp is about having fun, with your friends, whilst doing a job and mainly ensuring every child has the best summer of their life. The main thing I struggled with at camp was not getting enough sleep. You learn to sleep anywhere which is hilarious. Any given opportunity I was asleep (shhhh)! Camp is demanding, but if you can keep the pace and really get your head into the way it works it is so much fun. 

Which agency did you use?
Camp America 
For me Camp America offered the most supportive way of working on an America Summer Camp which is something I needed. They guide you through the whole process and this was perfect for me. Camp America are not the cheapest agency to work with, however their flights are included and their airline is Virgin!! I would recommended applying through camp america if this is your first summer. 
I applied through Camp America in december 2015, I went to a recruitment fair in january 2016 and got hired on the spot.
I would recommend doing this as you get to meet staff from your camp. 

What type of camp did you go to?
A Jewish sleep-away camp for Teenagers. 
(no i'm not Jewish, and you don't have to be Jewish to go)
The Jewish culture has been such a lovely part of my summer experience, I have loved learning songs and Shabbat services.

Why did you want to work on an American Summer Camp?
I really love working with children and the added benefits of travelling the USA was just too tempting!
Also if you've ever watched parent trap, that's what I wanted to experience, haha!
Another reason I chose to do camp america is to gain international work experience, it looks great on your CV.
Being at camp offers a once in a lifetime experience for me, the opportunity to live life without makeup and just eu natural.
Camp allows you to disconnect from the outside world, with wifi being a luxury. I've enjoyed being in the middle of nowhere.

When did you go to Camp?
19th of June 2016 and I finish 18th of August, just a few days left!!

What are you plans for after Camp?
Travelling the east coast of the US! 18th of August - 12th September, wahooo! 
Miami, Key West, Naples, Orlando, New York.
I'll do various posts as I move around the USA.

What was the best part of Camp?

Because my camp was for teenagers, part of the program includes travelling. 
We took 200 campers to San Fransisco and Montreal in Canada, we must be brave!
It was the most amazing experience to travel with a group of girls and various other campers and to see some amazing places as a team. Plus my camp pays for all the travelling, flights, accommodation, food, all included. 
(please note this is not a normal thing to happen at a camp and with my camp I just got lucky).

There are a few posts going live in the next few days featuring my recent trips to San Francisco and Montreal in Canada. 

Follow me on instagram!! @annaluefook,

Any questions about Camp America, please tweet me @annaluefook or email me