Sail Away, Sail Away, Sail Away….

For those of you who don’t know, this particular Little Lady is a London girl through and through. I was born and bred here, and despite occasional flirtations with other cities, I have always come back to The Big Smoke. I am obsessed with the chaos, the fact that there is always something new to do, always someone awake to come out and play, always somewhere new to discover.
There is one place, however, that I did cheat on London with a little.  I really didn’t mean to, but it just sort of happened.  A naughty town by the sea…Brighton! When I was 19, I dropped out of university, without telling my parents, and I ran away to the seaside to move in with my boyfriend at the time. Whoever said you can’t run away from your problems was wrong. I ran away from my life and it was some of the happiest months a have ever had. Partying every night, drinking gin and tonics on the beach in the sunshine in the days, strutting through the Lanes like I owned the place and being madly in love with a boy who was definitely bad for me (they are always the most fun…)! But all good things must come to an end, and the big city called to me once more. I am a restless creature by nature so it is the only place that will truly satisfy my cravings for the fast life, for the chaos.Having said that, Brighton has always held a special place in my heart that reminded me of good times. So when I heard about an opportunity to return for a new adventure courtesy of a clever little website, Living Social, I simply couldn’t resist. There are a few sites around these days that follow the Living Social format, buy an experience, tell your friends, you all get a discount, winning all round – but I have found that the vast majority of them seem to focus on things like fish pedicures (no thanks, fish are gross and slimy – I do not want them nibbling at my toes), laser hair loss treatment (so unnecessary, I am lucky enough to have been blessed with a mane of blonde tresses) and discount acrylic nails (no – just no!) so I was surprised to see an Adventures section on the site.

I have always liked to think I’m a little adventurous. My friends would definitely disagree. As I said before, I am a city dweller. I don’t own a pair of wellies, I don’t know how long it takes to get to Cornwall, and I failed my bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award – practically an impossible feat it is so easy to pass that I consider this an achievement in itself. But this aside, there on my screen, was a picture of a sailboat. “DONE!”, I thought (we had been playing a lot of Enya in the office that week…sail away, sail away and all that…). I collected the accessories needed for the trip: Raybans, and a good looking, outdoorsy boy, and we were off.We hopped on a coach in Covent Garden with the other people who had opted for this particular excursion, and were greeted by some cheerful and enthusiastic American girls who told us we were going to play pirates for the day. I love pirates, particularly of the Johnny Depp variety, so no complaints from me.  In no time at all, I could hear the familiar sound of the Brighton seagulls. I skipped down to the marina, where, on perfect still waters was our boat! Don’t ask me what kind of boat – it had sails, that’s all I know. We climbed aboard and took to the sea. The weather was perfect and the team leaders were great, allowing people to do as much or as little as they liked. The Boy got stuck in, tying sheets (that’s ropes for you non sailor folk) round winches and all sorts. I preferred to soak up the sun on deck and enjoy the breeze. Aaaaaah…peaceful bliss.But not for long!  Soon it was time for the teams to switch and we were led to an impressive looking rib (rigid inflatable boat – I learned that from Bear Grylls I’ll have you know) with a monster of an engine on the back, as well as some smaller, incredibly light and fast speedboats for the action filled part of the experience. After a quick safety lesson, we sped off before I had a chance to catch my breath. The drivers were fantastic, providing us with a truly exhilarating and thrilling ride, better than you’d find in most theme parks, getting the adrenaline rushing through your veins without ever making you feel unsafe. It was brilliant. The choppier waters towards the end of the day provided for our very own rollercoaster track. You couldn’t help but grin. “Permasmile” as The Boy put it. My face actually hurt from laughing so much by the time we were back on shore. But the day wasn’t quite over. After warming up, we headed over to the private members yacht club for a delicious barbeque and a well-deserved glass of wine while we watched the sun set into the sea.We crawled back onto our bus, exhausted, satisfied and made our way back to my favourite city. It was a truly brilliant day and one that proved that sometimes you should have adventures, do things you haven’t done before go and revisit places you loved, not just drink cocktails (as much as we LOVE cocktails obviously…).

Living Social is the perfect way to go about it; to have that adventure with all of your mates, or to meet new, likeminded people who are into the same stuff that you’re into. And for the next one..? My eye is on the stately home murder mystery party…. Although, maybe the cocktail making class… or the zipwires… or a zumba lesson… or falconry… or quad biking…or……..

by Helena Fleur

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