What's on Your Bucket List? Rally Driving Experience Review | Virgin Experience Days

In 2012 I jumped on a plane with one plan, to backpack my way through South America passing Guyana to visit the birthplace of my Grandma in George Town. It was without a care, no plan, no agenda, just me, a few tour guide books and a desire to do something different, to do something for me. It was an absolutely incredible trip, one that gave me an insight into the small Caribbean capital that my Nan called home for 17 years before leaving to the UK with two of her siblings for a ‘better’ life. It was during this trip that I decided to create a bucket list, places to visit, adventures to go on, books to read, knowledge to gain the list was seemingly endless. Without boring you with the entire list; one of the experiences was to learn how to drive a rally car.

5 years on and I finally got to fulfill that dream and yet another item ticked off the bucket list. So firstly I would like to thank Virgin Experience Days for the experience as I joined a fellow car enthusiast Emma Walsh on a day’s Rally Driving training. The location was at the Bill Gwynne Rally School at the Turweston Aerodrome in Brackley about an hour and a half from London.

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The day started off with a short introduction, you know the kind of safety video that you have to have before any driving experience. Then it was into the real training, firstly forget what you have learnt from years of driving on tarmac on your daily commute or on the go-kart track as those skills are not going to help you with rally car driving. To drive a rally car you need to be smooth and progressive when building up your speed and confidence. It’s more about turning in to corners much earlier than feels natural whilst controlling your lines through the accelerator pedal and steering. But that’s all you are getting in terms of tips, you’ll have to book it, feel it and fully immerse yourselves in it to know more.

2018 has just started and it was a small win to tick off one of my goals so early, it’s now given me a determination to do more. So why not join me and make this year one to remember, one to focus on to do something different, try new skills and seize the moment with both hands.

If you’re interested in trialing a but of rally driving, here are a couple of the Virgin Experience Day packages:

https://www.virginexperiencedays.co.uk/rally-thrill

 https://www.virginexperiencedays.co.uk/extended-rally-driving

 

This post was created in collaboration with Virgin Experience Days

Criminali-Tea with Bottomless Teapot Cocktails for Two at Barts, London

There are just some words that sound better together. London and Speakeasy, for example. Afternoon and Tea - idly saddle next to each other don't they. Whilst Bottomless and Cocktails are the kind of words you'd pay good money to see skittle around inside a Hadron Collider. Now imagine getting to experience all of those wonderful conjugations under one roof, in one afternoon. 

Recently, thanks to Virgin Experience Days, I had the good fortune to visit Uncle Barts’ 1920s Speakeasy just along Sloane Avenue where my date and I were transported back to a decadent era where men were men and dames were dames. On the door we slipped Big Frank a password that was initially refused (all part of the fun and games) before being whisked inside to experience what’s being hailed as 'truly London’s worst kept secret'.

If you're a fan of books like F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, which was published during the midst of the tumultuous 20s, or maybe you've seen Baz Luhrmann’s rendition of the novel, then this place will offer you that same portal of nostalgic escapism. Personally I'm more of a The Untouchables guy. Morricone's scintillating and heartbreaking score. Costner and Garcia at their nuanced best, De Niro at his most destructive and of course Connery, in his post-Bond pomp!

"You wanna know how to get Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. THAT'S the Sccchhicago way! And that's how you get Capone". 

I digress. When I heard about Uncle Barts being the Doyen of bootleg cocktails, that was the clincher. (I recommend The Alchemist from the menu). Throughout the afternoon we were suitably captivated by the gangster's moll from The Hotsie Totsies, as she tantalised us with an array of modern jazz inspired renditions. This was an exquisite way to pass a couple of hours on a chilly Saturday afternoon. A great unexpected treat for the other half as an early Christmas present. As well as the bottomless cocktails you’ll also be served up a selection of sandwiches and cakes. 

Burton Menswear x Virgin Experience Days | The Shard

It has been a while since I've last treated myself to something other than a Deliveroo on a Sunday night. So I think it was overdue and about time that I took a break from work and got to experience one of London's top tourist attractions. 

London has such amazing history, arts, architecture and events and being a Londoner I have this all on my doorstep. Despite this, as with many other Londoners, it is easy to overlook what our great city has to offer. So with the help of Burton Menswear and Virgin Experience Days, I was able to head up to The View of The Shard, drink champagne and enjoy to view until sunset.

A special occasion warrants a new outfit so when choosing what to wear from Burtons Menswear, I wanted something smart yet summer inspired. When wearing a blazer in summer you should choose lighter colours, finer weaves and light-weight fabrics such as linen or a fine cotton. This light pastel blue single-breasted blazer was perfect for the occasion. I've teamed this blazer with a pair of stone grey chino trousers, although I was toying with the idea of wearing mid-wash jeans...both would work extremely well.

The light blue blazer is currently on sale down from £70 to £40, so I would hurry up because this is a serious bargain and will not be around for long. What I love most is the small fashionable touches that come included with the blazer such as the lapel pin and pocket square.

I wouldn't normally wear a short sleeved shirt underneath a blazer, however on hot days where you are wearing the same outfit day-to-night, sartorial rules some times have to be broken in favour of comfort! The white shirt with micro-print details works well in smart attire as above but I'm also going to wear this shirt every week throughout the next few months - simply with jeans, or un-tucked worn with shorts. 

Ears popping as we headed up to what I think was the 72nd floor of The Shard, greeted by some seriously friendly staff - we grabbed some champagne and walked around the 360 degrees viewing area pointing out some of London's most well known landmarks. 

As a bit of a date-a-holic this Virgin Experience is certainly one for the romantics out there, I would recommended getting there early evening whilst its still light outside to enjoy the sprawling metropolis then have a few drinks. Then stay until after sunset to get some (unless its raining!) epic sunset views and night-time lit up views of our city.

 

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Photography by Rebecca Spencer