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Category Archives: birthday

2016 – The Year of Travel

Rather than write a month-by-month account of this year like I did in 2015 and 2014, I decided to focus on one aspect of this year I have loved…travelling.

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Ian and I have been lucky enough to have several exciting holidays this year and all of them hold really special memories from dancing in a Russian nightclub at 1am to drinking mojitos on the streets of Havana to zip-lining through the Jamaican rainforest to sailing around Boston Harbour in the sunshine!

UK

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Not all of our trips have been abroad this year – I love exploring the UK just as much. We had several fun trips to London in 2016 (my favourite being for New Year’s Eve when we went to watch ‘Wicked’), took a mini-break in Wells, went camping in Tewkesbury and celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary on the beach in Devon

Cuba

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Probably my favourite destination of the year, the days we spent in Havana were amazing. I have wanted to visit Cuba ever since I studied Caribbean Literature at university and it was such a fascinating trip. We wandered the streets drinking mojitos and daiquiris and admired the beautiful classic cars cruising along. I am desperate to return.

Jamaica

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We spent a day here and it was as cool and as chilled-out as I was hoping. We went through the rainforest on zip-wires before enjoying jerk chicken and Red Stripe beers on the beach.

Grand Cayman

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An interesting place to visit and a beautiful destination for a beach holiday. I didn’t see much more than the beaches but we certainly had a lovely, relaxing day here dipping our feet in the Caribbean Sea.

Mexico

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We had a great tour of the island of Cozumel where we squeezed in a chocolate factory, the beach, tequila tasting, an artisan market and fish tacos and margaritas! It has pushed mainland Mexico to the top of my to-visit list.

France

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I spent a long weekend in a beautiful house for my best friend Cat’s hen weekend earlier this year. Maybe not the best-planned trip, but we enjoyed an awful lot of cheese, champagne, macarons and a day in Aix-en-Provence.

Berlin

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Ian and I had a mini-break here and experienced our first (and disastrous!) AirBNB. Despite a rocky start with our accommodation, we had a fab time exploring the city, stopping off at several beer gardens.

Sweden

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A couple of days in Stockholm have started off an obsession with the Scandi countries, somewhere I hadn’t really visited before. We didn’t have long here but did get to visit the Vasa Museum, eat cinnamon buns, wander through the Old Town and see a beautiful sunset.

Estonia

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I finally made it to Tallinn and it was as beautiful as I had hoped. Quaint, cobbled side streets, castles and lovely, old buildings, I really liked it here.

Russia

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I never thought I would be visiting Russia but we spent a day exploring St. Petersburg and I was really taken with it. It is a spectacular city, with vast, iconic buildings steeped in Russian history. We managed to see most of it plus a good amount of people watching on the main street through the city, the highlight being the stunning Saviour of the Spilled Blood Cathedral.

Finland

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I absolutely loved Helsinki. We stumbled upon several small markets and wandered along the port. I fell in love with the interior shops and am determined to return and savour some of the local restaurants.

Boston

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Our final trip was a week in Boston. We love visiting the States and both really enjoyed Boston. It was a cool time of year to visit to experience Halloween and the run-up to the presidential elections and we managed to watch an ice-hockey and a baseball game as well as sampling a lot of lobster and local craft beers.

That was actually a really fun post to write as I love looking back through old photos and remembering when and where they were taken. I really do believe that travel broadens the mind and money spent on adventures and experiences is never wasted. Here’s hoping for many more escapades in 2017! xxx

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Sunday Summary #39 and #40

Life

A two-week catch-up today as, quite frankly, I was exhausted last weekend! I completed the 5km Pretty Muddy at Bath Racecourse and was so filthy afterwards, I had a hot shower and a nap in the afternoon. Despite it being a nightmare to get out of the car park (over an hour and a half!), I really enjoyed it. I ran with my colleagues and it was a real laugh getting covered in mud and water.

I’ve been trying to get the work/ life balance right since term started and it’s such a balancing act! I feel as though I am on top of things at work but failing slightly at home as I haven’t been to the gym all week and have been relying on quick meals for dinner (pizza and pasta have been a lifesaver!)

In the evenings, we have been enjoying some great dramas, especially after reading that boxsets are good for relationships! We watched the whole series of Stranger Things which I surprised myself by really loving. I’m not usually a fan of anything involving aliens but I just loved the kids in this and the 80s setting was just so cool. We also watched One of Us, a British drama which was OK and the film, The Big Short, which is fascinating.

In slightly less exciting news, I’ve been on a Speed Awareness Course after getting snapped on the motorway. Annoyingly, I was rushing to get home for a takeaway curry so that will teach me to be so greedy!

I finished reading The Sister which I thought was pretty awful – I don’t usually dislike a book as I’m fairly good at picking ones I know I’ll like but this just wasn’t for me. I’m not sure what to read next – my Dad has leant me an Ernest Hemmingway which I may try.

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Finally, Ian and I spent a good chunk of this weekend planning our trip to Boston in a bit more detail. I have a rough plan (it’s the teacher in me!) of places we’d like to visit and I just can’t wait!

Food

It was Ian’s birthday this month and despite claiming he didn’t want a cake, we definitely enjoyed this chocolate delight.

After my run, my Dad asked me what I fancied and a big bowl of his BBQ ribs hit the spot!

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We went out to Wagamamas this Friday to celebrate my brother getting a promotion at work. I ordered my favourite of Yaki Soba and it was perfect. I also really like ordering a fresh juice there.

Today, we both fancied a roast dinner but didn’t want to cook so we went to The Crown pub nearby where they do an amazing Sunday roast with red cabbage and huge Yorkshire puddings.

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I have made an apple crumble tonight with some apples from my friend’s garden which I am looking forward to in a bit.

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Beauty

I went for a facial yesterday and my skin feels so good today. It was meant to include some micro-dermabrasion but my skin wasn’t quite right for it which I suppose is a bit of a compliment.

My friend Lucie very kindly bought me a tube of NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in the shade Stockholm (and actually gave it to me when we were on the plane just about to land there!). It is the perfect nude for me and I love the smell of this formula too.

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Lastly, I have been really enjoying this facial spritz by This Works. It is really gentle and refreshing on the skin and smells very clean and fresh.

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Fashion

I made an ASOS order for Ian’s birthday so ended up adding a few pieces into the basket for myself too! I bought some dresses but I’m also having a real moment with hats. I know summer is over but these two straw hats caught my eye. Both the trilby and fedora have coloured stripes around the brim to add a bit of interest and will be perfect in the sun.

Today I wore my pale brown felt fedora and actually had someone tell me how much they liked it when I was shopping!

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Finally, a present from my Mum who knows how much I like copper/ rose gold. These hangers from Primark are lovely and I am always running out.

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Sunday/ Monday Summary #32

Life

Hello! I’m a day late with this week’s round up but I had such a lovely birthday weekend that I simply couldn’t find the time to blog. I’m home now though after a few days by the seaside celebrating my 31st birthday and our 3rd wedding anniversary with family.

My week started by saying goodbye to one set of friends on Sunday morning then getting things ready for another pair who came to stay with me at the start of the week. It was lovely to see my uni friends again. We went for a wander around Bradford on Avon, ordered a huge Indian takeaway for dinner then had brunch at Bill’s the next day followed by a mooch around Bath, all fuelled by lots of tea and chocolate! It’s funny how you take somewhere for granted and I think it’s only when I see this area through the eyes of visitors that I remind myself how lucky we are to live where we do.

I also went for a midweek Italian meal with my friends from work before we all head off on our summer breaks. I had a lovely seafood risotto which I know I can emulate at home.

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This weekend was really great. My cousin was having a ‘Welcome to the World’ party for her two boys and organised the most wonderful mini-festival at my Uncle and Aunty’s house. We sat in the sun all day drinking Pimms, enjoyed a hog roast, watched the sun set then nibbled on cheese and danced the night away. It was ace although I definitely hit the free bar a little too hard and ended up being sick when we got home…older but not wiser!

Sunday was our three year wedding anniversary and despite feeling ridiculously hungover, we packed up the car and headed to the beach. We spent the day at Croyde and it turned out to be a beautiful day. My parents packed a delicious picnic and after a doze, I was feeling a bit more like myself. We even managed a paddle in the sea before stopping off for fish and chips on the way home.

I have started rewatching Sex and the City this week and have almost finished series one. I used to be obsessed with this show and I was interested to see whether or not it would have stood the test of time. So far, I’m finding this series a little dated if I’m honest: everyone smokes; they keep referring to Mr Big as ‘the next Donald Trump’; the girls all wear glittery eyeshadow and things like tongue rings and gay marriage are seen as quite controversial. I know it reflects the time it was made in but I’m hoping I get a little bit more into again as I start series 2.

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In slightly less exciting news, I have spent this week cleaning out and reorganising my kitchen cupboards. Yes, not the most exciting task but I’m finding it a good excuse for a clear out and I have Sex and the City playing to keep me going!

Food

I had a bit of play around with recipes this week and made a bacon and avocado risotto. I often make an avocado pasta dish and it lent itself well to a creamy risotto too…I will post the recipe later this week.

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One of my highlights of the week was this feast my Dad prepared for us. He made lots of my favourite tapas dishes including patatas bravas, gambas al ajillo and these little smoked salmon and caviar bites…the perks of having a chef for a Dad!

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My birthday breakfast of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs – my favourite!

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Beauty

I rediscovered a purple lip when I went out for dinner this week. I’m wearing a Laqa & Co lip pencil in the shade Menatour and it is one of my favourites for a night out.

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I have also been loving the eyebrow pencil I got in July’s Birchbox. I know I said it looked too dark for me but it’s actually a nice match and applies like a dream.

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Fashion

I bought this loose top from Matalan recently and wore it on my birthday. I love the dangly tassels hanging down from it and it keeps you cool yet covered up in the sun.

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A sneak peek of some of my birthday presents now but I love them so much I started wearing them right away! Ian got me this set of tiny mixed gold studs from Accessorize. I saw them on Hannah Gale’s blog and decided they were exactly what I was looking for.

My Mum also got me this gorgeous pair of marble-print leggings which I had been eyeing up for a while. I have them on as I type and they are really comfortable.

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