Ocean World | Dominican Republic

ocean world dominican locked in a bow blog

The last days of April brought absolutely insane hot days and tropical storms of an evening. We decided to take a day out from the picture perfect Dominican beaches and head over to Ocean World Adventure Park in Puerto Plata.

We booked a day trip via Thomas Cook, so all we had to do was get up early ready to be picked up for a day full of fun. Ocean World is set aside a beautiful marina and casino both of which you can visit during your day.

Always a little dubious of how the day might be in a place we’ve never visited before we set off, but were pleasantly surprised from the first moment. Like in most places now everyone has to go through security, a quick bag check, please note of you’re coming here with any food or water it will be held. However they were fairly friendly and we through to the ticket office in a couple of minutes. The first thing I noticed was the open space, apart from the shop everything was outdoors or under open air gazebo’s allowing you to enjoy the sun and not feel cooped in with hundreds of other visitors.

ocean world dominican republic lockedinabow blog

ocean world marina dominican republic lockedinabow blog

We had already decided what activities we were going to do in the park. Oh so brave Dave opted for the stingray and shark encounter and I went for what I thought would be far less scary the dolphin swim.

Swimming with dolphins has been on my bucket list since I was a little girl, I have fed, pet and had photos before with a dolphin on a trip we went to when staying in Barcelona. However swimming with them was a different thing. I’m a really confident in the water and was excited to go for a dip, but I did start to get nervous at the thought of anything happening during the experience.

Locked in a bow ocean world dominican republic

ocean world walking to the dolphin swim lockedinabow blog

ocean world dolphin swin experience locked in a bow blog

locked in a bow blog dolphin swim dominican republic

So it came to my turn in the afternoon, I had to walk the plank haha to the other side of the park and go to dolphin school just to make us wait even longer. We were taught a little bit about the animals, how to act and what would follow next. Our trainer was super friendly and made us all feel really comfortable. We all timidly got into the fresh water pool and lined up ready to meet are new friends. The dolphins were instructed by whistles and calls and didn’t come close without instruction so we felt safe the whole time.

We were first introduced with a swim by and a chance to stroke the two dolphins, it really is an amazing experience to be so close to such large creature. They did feel HUGE in real life!

ocean world dolphin swim locked in a bow blog

ocean world dominican republic dolphin swim lockedinabow blog

ocean world dominincan republic swimming with dolphins

ocean world domincan swimming with dolphins locked in a bow

ocean world swimming with dolphins dominican republic lockedinabow blog

We got the chance to dance, pet, feed, swim and play with the dolphins, each taking turns so the instructors were in full control. To be pushed along by the dolphins on the soles of my feet was once of the craziest things i’ve ever done. Building up such speed without putting in any effort apart from keeping your legs strong felt insane. I wasn’t quite sure if or when I would stop. With a finale dolphin jump above my head I really could tick off a long awaited experience in my head before swimming back to the jetty. I was of course miles behind the dolphins who were back within seconds. I went up first so it was great to catch my breathe and watch the others enjoy a similar ride.

dominican republic ocean world park and casino

ocean world dominican dolphin trainer locked in a bow blog

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Before I knew it, it was time to thank  our trainers, dry off and see my boy to relive the videos straight away. It was an incredible experience and I am glad I did it. However it will be once in a life time for me and something I probably wouldn’t choose to do again. Since coming back and reflecting on the trip, I was safe in the knowledge that all the animals and sealife were kept to the highest standards and had great relationships with the trainers; but in reality they are wild animals and I do have pangs of guilty realising they would be best suited in their natural habitats and not swimming with the likes of me everyday. They were stunning creatures and to be so up-close was unreal however I would love to experience them in the wild on future holidays.

ocean world dominican republic shark encounter

ocean world shark encounter lockedinabow

It was then this ones turn for an adventure with the sharks and stingrays. I don’t know who was more scared, me or my belly. I was so nervous just watching on; two creatures who could be lethal, you wouldn’t catch me jumping in this man-made bathtub, but Dave was raring to go.

First up was a quick pet and fed of the stingrays, such graceful creature but ones to treat with great respect.

ocean world dominican republic stingray swim

Shark swim encounter lockedinabow blog

After a safety brief it was then time to get in and swim with the sharks. There was five or so swimming around freely in the pool along with a couple of trainers. They seemed fairly placid and happy in the pool swimming alongside everybody. Dave enjoyed being up close to the sharks and said the encounter was great, that’s all I can say about this part as I didn’t go in myself. It was great to watch, everyone having fun. Even the little girl who went went in with her dad, she was far braver than me, what a superstar!

swimming with sharks ocean world dominican republic

shark swim ocean world dominican republic

shark encounter locked in a bow dominican republic

It was then time for a photo and a cheeky fright from the trainers, I don’t think I have seen people jump out of a pool so fast before. It was quite funny to watch and something to giggle about everytime we look through our photos now.

shark encounter dominican republic locked in a bow blog

ocean world dominican shark encounter

ocean world dominican republic swimming locked in a bow blog

white bengal tiger ocean world dominican republic

As we finished are experiences it was drawing close to late afternoon, we decided to cool off with a drink and take a walk around the park. We came across across a gorgeous pool with White Bengal tigers to the side aswell as parrot show, seals and toucan cage. There were so many little coves to explore within the park, it’s definitely worth coming for the whole day.

parrot show ocean world dominican republic

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locked in a bow ocean world dominican republic

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ocean world trip thomas cook Dominican republic

With a little sit in the man made beach area to finish off the day, we took one last look across the park and headed back to catch our coach to head home for dinner. Ocean World is a great place to visit if you are in the Dominican Republic, it is spotlessly clean, the animals are cared for really well plus there is a whole host of things to do for all the  family.

Have you visit the Dominican before?

Hannah  

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Five | Ways to beat exam stress.

Five ways to beat exam stress locked in a bow blog

Exams and deadlines are tough and stressful for anyone no matter what age, from school, to uni or in the workplace. Added pressure can affect people in many ways. I have always been ok when I have stepped into the exam room but the weeks preparing beforehand were always a struggle. It is important to remember that this stress won’t last forever however hard it may seem right now. You will come out the other side and be proud of yourself for going in their and doing all you could.

It will be tough and it takes a lot of time to prepare for but here are some techniques, to help you stay calm on the lead up to your exams. If you are prepared there is no need to put added pressure on yourself or accept it from other people. Just do your best.

1. Make a plan – This can be daily, weekly, per subject whatever works for you. Forming a plan or ‘to do’ list allows you to virtually take all of the many things you need to do and compile a simple and easy to follow guide. You will know each day what you need to cover or complete.  A visual guide prevents panic and confusion, which avoids stress. It is also a good idea to set short time blocks for each area you want to cover, short precise study sessions for twenty minutes for example will keep the mind focused followed by a ten minute break before you move onto something else.

2. Talk – If you are worried or have anxiety about your upcoming exams or deadlines and can’t rein it in. Talk to someone, a tutor, a friend, family anyone you trust about how you are feeling. It’s ok and perfectly normal to find it hard to process stressful situations. Always remember this is a temporary feeling and you WILL get through it. Try and remember past situations you were in, you got through those and so will you this time. It is just about learning to control these negative feelings and focus more on that you can do it.

3. Sleep more, Drink more – probably the most important step of all. Sleep is the time all your hardwork is soaked in and retained by the brain. Not only will sleep help to store all your studies but it will refresh your body ready for the next day, it’s crucial. Always make time for sleep. Water is also key, you need to keep hydrated throughout the whole day, regular drinks; avoiding caffeine where you can will keep you focused and your head clear during this pressured time. Always take a drink of water into your exam if you are allowed to drink throughout too.

4.Put your pen, books or laptop down – take some time out to focus on something else. Go for a walk, call a friend, have a bath, play a sport for half an hour. Taking the time to grab some fresh air will refresh your mind and allow what you have been studying to be taken in. Creating a good balance of study and rest periods is so important, don’t feel guilty for some taking ‘you’ time.

5. Relax and have confidence – Remember how much you have already achieved, you can do it again this time too. Make sure you get a good sleep the night before and have breakfast on the day. Try to keep relaxed, no last minute cramming, it won’t help! Keep calm and breathe as you head in, be confident that you can do it. You have prepared hard and this will show in your results. Just do your best, you can do it!

~~ The more prepared I am, the less fear I have! ~~

Hannah  

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Almond Hand and Nail Range | The Body Shop

The Body Shop Almond hand and nail cream

the body almond hand and nail butter locked in a bow blog

Looking at this little duo from The Body Shop, you may be thinking Hannah they are basically the same. Yes your quite right, they definitely both have the same sweet almond fragrance but they have different uses. Firstly let’s stick with the scent, I don’t know about you but it’s the first thing I am drawn too if buying skincare in store. I suffer with bad migraines and scents can be one of the triggers so I’m now really careful to use the testers and walk round for a little to see if it suites me. Most stores are ok with this.

I was instantly drawn to the Almond out of the many scents available at TBS knowing it wouldn’t be overly floral or ‘heady’, a family term I can’t quite describe. I wasn’t disappointed, this is a lovely soft but sweet scent but it does linger on the skin which is something I love about The Body Shop products.

The Almond Hand and Nail cream in the squeezy tube is the first one I tried, I have used these before in different scents so was confident that this would be a good moisturiser for my hands. My skin on the whole, although I bruise really easily is generally ok I have no other issues apart from dry elbows in the cold English weather. However as I have been working with flowers more and more in my daily work, I have started to notice my hands are sometimes sore due to all the bleach and flower feeds we use and pin pricks from the wire work and pretty pins in bouquets. This cream has been great, it is light weight and soaks into the skin instantly, making it perfect to apply throughout the day to keep you hands happy and hydrated. With almond oil and Shea butter you are definitely applying the right recipe. I love this style of tube too, which also comes in a smaller size, so perfect for on the go.

The Almond Hand and Nail Butter is very similar  with the same sweet scent and ingredients, but I would describe it more as a treatment. If you have tried any of their body butters before you will know they are a lot thicker in consistency. Even though it soaks into the skin instantly and doesn’t leave the skin greasy it definitely feels heavier and more buttery on the skin. As with all my thicker body butters I like to use them in the evening before bed. Applying a thick layer on my hands, nails and sometimes my heels to soak in overnight. In the morning you can really feel the difference, my nail beds and hands always feel softer and more soothed each time. I use this two or three times a week to keep my hands hydrated as much as possible and top up with the hand cream in the day if I need too.

How do you like to keep your hands hydrated?

Hannah  

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Instagram log: April

Instagram log april lockedinabow blog

Cards for Friends | Sunny Sand Drawings | Beauty Box Goodies

My Little Box | Fresh Roses | Pantone Colour Swatches

April for me has been a total blur, a washout of month and one I don’t really want to repeat. Full of uni deadlines and ill health beyond my control. However not to be a negative nelly as we don’t like her. We are four weeks closer to summer with one deadline to go and fingers crossed I am over the worst illness for now. It’s crazy writing this the day after we had snow in England but the sunshine months are literally around the corner, I am that excited I could pop. Ha!

I started my Instagram logs last month and it seemed to go down well so I thought I would share all the best bits of this month too, I wouldn’t want you to miss out now. For such a weird month my feed turned out to be a pastel lovers dream. There is nothing I love more than giving gifts and when you find a cute card it makes the treat all the more special. The beginning of the month brought glorious sunshine and a rare free day which meant basking in the rays and drawing pictures in the sand.

With a quick switch in the weather, cosy indoor evenings meant I could catch up and delve into my subscription boxes and what a treat that was, little surprises can brighten up anybody’s day. Despite the crazy weather beautiful blooms of all kinds have been appearing, gorgeous scents and spring like colours, my fave! Talking of colours, I had a special delivery from Pantone, the masters of colours. Many of you may think I am crazy crushin’ on these, but what you don’t know is they mean the start of very big things in Summer so they were super exciting for me.

How did you April turn out?  Any good thoughts to share with us all?

Hannah  

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