Little Bits

Just thought I would share some little things from our lives which I want to save.

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I went to meet the girls after work at Neverland. We accidentally coordinated our outfits, not the first time we’ve done it. See below for picture of us doing the same thing at Henley Regatta 2015. Anyway, we had beautiful sunshine all evening as we were in the midst of a heatwave. 30C all evening – unheard of in London!

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Tom has a new job! He has a tendency to not stick to a job for too long. He’s always looking for so thing to keep him stimulated that he can get his teeth into. He doesn’t like working somewhere where he doesn’t have much influence or ability to make his own decisions. But I’m really excited for him in this next job. He’s working for his best friend (one of his best men actually) who has set up his own business to help people taking there motorbike licence find a good deal. A comparison website sort of thing. Or that’s my understanding of it anyway. But I think this is the perfect thing for tom right now. He’s taking a pay cut but if you can’t take risks when your young with no children or people relying on you – when can you?!

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We went to see Bears Den at the Apollo. They’re pretty amazing, look them up. David bought us the tickets for Toms birthday. We took Phil as we had an extra ticket. Glad we got to spend a bit of time with him as he’s gone travelling now and we won’t see him until October.

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For Floras 24th birthday we went to a restaurant called Ember on Pudding Lane where the great fire of London started. It did lots of little Asian dishes. The food was amazing and the cocktails were too. Highly recommend.

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For Robbie’s birthday we went to Duck and Waffle in Soho. It all got a bit silly and ended in a flower fight and very blurry pictures… Sounds about right

Blog Confusions

I haven’t posted for a while. I was having a bit of a crisis about what I wanted from the blog and what sort of things I wanted to post. I was reading about blogs and all the advise was to find your niche and stick to it. I didn’t have a niche I just posted about our little lives and what I found interesting. I’ve only just started on my attempt to blog and already it was stressing me out! Then I realised I don’t need to. This is something I’m doing for me. So I can look back at my life and see what we’ve done together. All the good times we’ve had, all the places we’ve been and adventures we’ve been on. Should I go private? Maybe. Maybe I will at some stage but for now I think I’ll just carry on with what I’m doing. Also I’ve deleted every single picture from every post I’ve done so far. Going to take a while to fix that… Dont think computers are my strong point.

Marbella Hens

Tom proposed when we were on holiday. We had gone away with my family to Mallorca for a week and we’re going to fly on to Croatia to meet some friends afterwards. On the first night of the holiday he took me totally by surprise and popped the question just before we met everyone for dinner. Then all the celebrations kicked off. It was so lovely celebrating with all my immediate family and most of my close friends away from all social media and everyday life.

My Mum, sisters and I pretty much planned the hen party the next day whilst lounging round the pool still a bit giddy from the previous night. Being on holiday lying in the sun probably informed our decisions a little. A trip to Marbella seemed a fairly natural choice for me. I have some friends who live out there who were actually the friends who introduced me and Tom in the first place! Toms family also own a little flat out there so that made it easier for Toms sister and mum to come and join the fun. Plus if I kept it nice and close to the wedding day, and was careful not to burn, I would have a nice natural tan for the big day!

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We rented a villa through air B and B. It was lovely to have our own space and little pool to retreat to and recover from hangovers around. Having a villa cut costs as we stayed in a couple of nights to cook our own food and play some silly games. My bridesmaids organised the sweetest idea of a “wedding advent” for me. It was a little present everyday for the ten days leading up to the wedding. It was so thoughtful!

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They surprised me with my first wedding advent present on day 1 in Marbella – a lilo in the shape of a pineapple and a rubber ring in the shape of a flamingo whom we named Philomena.

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Some of the presents related to what we were doing that day and some were just lovely things to keep. On the day we had organised to go to the beach club, they gave me temporary tattoos saying “bride tribe” and “bride to be.” Basically, my beautiful bridesmaids, my mum and future mother in law completely spoiled me the whole trip and I count myself so lucky to be surrounded by totally wonderful women.

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A truly magical highlight of the trip was renting a boat for the day. It was super rough so although it included unlimited bubbles to drink we hardly drank any! Not through sea sickness, thank god, but we were too busy holding on for dear life, shrieking and laughing. Any drink was inevitably spilt all down yourself or all over the boat. Me present for the day was some body glitter so we decorated ourselves before we got there to make sure we looked like proper mermaids! We were told to look out for dolphins and I really was hoping to see some. But even the boat captain was surprised to see as many as we did! We were speeding along and a huge pod of dolphins were speeding right along with us. They were really playful, jumping out the water and swimming from one side of the boat right underneath and popping up on the other side. We were all just so amazed and so grateful that we had seen them.

We selected one of the nights we were there as “the night” . This was our night to go all out in Marbella. My present for the day was a sash which just happened to match my gold sequin dress perfectly. We went to a lovely restaurant that night which culminated in me being bought a robot hen which sung a song whilst walking along, until she stops and clucks and lays an egg. So we ate good food and drank great wine with this hen clucking up and down the table. I laughed so much that night and will always treasure that memory. Mum and Jenny retreated at this point and left us to go and hit some bars and clubs a little too hard.

Coming home would have been difficult had it been any other holiday where we had had that much fun, but it was just the start and the wedding was fast approaching. The anticipation was definitely building now and I couldn’t wait to marry Tom! I couldn’t have asked for a better hen do and a better bunch of people to spend it with. Love you all, my beautiful, blonde hens!

 

Brunch(ish) at Bourne and Hollingsworth

We have a bit of a tradition in our little group of friends. Every time there is a birthday we all plan a meal or activity as a surprise for them. It’s so lovely as it makes sure everyone gets together regularly and it’s nice to share new experiences together. It feels really special when it’s your turn and you know some plotting is going on on your behalf. One of my bridesmaids, Emily, had her birthday recently so we planned a boozey brunch for her at Bourne and Hollingsworth. I should maybe have called this lunch as we ate at lunch time but it was breakfast food so that counts as brunch, right? It’s somewhere that has been popping up on my Instagram feed a lot and you can see why. The interiors are a photographers dream. I loved the botanical theme and that greenhouse room is quite dreamy!

The girls arrived a bit earlier than everyone else so we could give her her own presents and kick everything off with a Bloody Mary. We got her some really cool earrings, a palm print we knew she was lusting after and a couple of other little bits.

I ordered the huevos benedictos – chorizo, avocado, bearnaise sauce, poached eggs, pico de gallo all on a muffin. It was amazing. So, so good. Everyone was raving about the food they had ordered. The food definitely impressed us. To be honest, the service could have been better. They moved us shortly after seating us and it was very difficult to get anyone’s attention once they moved us to our private area. They closed the kitchen 5 minutes after we sat down (at 2:30) so we had to think ahead and order our desserts before we even started our mains. When we got chatting to them it turned out it the first day for a couple of them, so maybe it was just teething problems. It didn’t affect our enjoyment of the meal. We ordered the bottomless brunch so there was a steady stream of blinis keeping us merry and spirits were high.

After our meal, some of us headed off to watch the rest of the boat race in the sun. Sitting on the wall, bathed in sunshine, it felt like summer had finally arrived. Nannying is such a summer job. I love it when the suns out and I can take my little charge up to the common for the morning or the afternoon. Bring on the sun!

Cookie Dough Pots

Oh. My. God. These are so good! They’re super easy to make and such a crowd pleaser. I had some friends over in the week and wanted to make a nice dessert using Nigella’s cookbook “Simply Nigella”. I made the fish tacos from this book for the main course which were delicious, very fresh and not too heavy at all. Such an informal meal which encourages everyone to relax and get stuck in and build their own taco. So for pudding I wanted to carry on the relaxed atmosphere and make something not too fussy. So the whole point about these cookie dough pots are that it’s git a cookie shell on the outside, you break through that shell and you find soft, warm, chocolatey cookie dough.


To make 6 pots you need:

– 150g plain flour
– 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
– 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
– 110g soft unsalted butter
– 85g soft light brown sugar
– 1tsp vanilla extract or paste
– 1 large egg
– 170g dark chocolate chips

So the first thing you need to do is turn your oven on to 180C/ gas mark 4/ 350F. Then add your flour, salt and bicarb into a bowl and give it a quick little mix. I’m a separate bowl beat in the butter and the sugar. The mixture is meant to look light and creamy. Next add the egg and vanilla extract/paste and beat them together again.


My mixture looked a bit odd at this stage but I pressed on anyway and they still turned out great. Next fold in the flour mixture, followed by the chocolate chips.


Put your mixture into 6 ramekins and smooth them down. Put them in the oven for 13-15 mins. They should be golden brown and gooey in the middle. Leave the pots for 5-10 mins before serving, the longer you leave them, the more they will set. I served them with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Easy! And quite heavenly! Perfect for a girls night in or for curling up on the sofa for a movie night.

Top 5 Books I Read in 2016

Looking for your next book? Not sure what to read? Need a recommendation? Look no further! Underneath I’ve listed the 5 best books I read last year and they’re goodies. At the bottom I also listed what I’m planning to read next.

1. Atonement by Ian McEwan | I made the error of watching this film before I read the book, but the writing still drew me into the plot all over again. It is a book of 2 halves divided by an attack on a young girl. The first half in particular, leading up to the attack of a young girl, was the part I found the most engaging. However, the second half was intriguing as it deals with the consequences of the attack and young Briony’s false account of what she witnessed.

2. Howard’s End by E.M. Forster | This book had been sat on my bookshelf for a while and when I finally read it I was so glad I had. It feels so very English but I love the way it deals with the different classes, the relationship between the Schlegel sisters and the relationships between the Wilcox Family and the Schlegel family.
3. A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale | This is about an Englishman called Harry Cane who comes to Canada after his homosexual affair is discovered. He is given some land to build into a farm. The descriptions of the difficulties he faces are so engrossing you can’t put this book down. Just read it if you can, it’s brilliant.
4. Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier | This book is such a romantic adventure book full of pirates, secret bays and love affairs. The protagonist, Dona, faces the choice of a respectful yet boring life with her children or an exciting life on the run with the man she loves. Du Maurier is one of my favourite writers of all time.
5. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters | The family I used to work for before my current family introduced me to Sarah Waters, and I’m so glad they did. This book is a bit different to the other novels Waters has written. Normally her books feature a lesbian couple at the centre whilst this one is about a presence haunting Hundreds Hall and tormenting the Ayres family. Truly scary but totally gripping.

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Books on my to-read-list for next year

1. The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry | This was a Christmas present from Tom and I can’t wait to start it. The story sounds great and the cover is so pretty!
2. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihar | Dom reckons this is the best book he’s ever read. High praise indeed! I’m desperate to read this one.
3. The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson | I picked this book up recently. I’ve read We Have Always Lived in the Castle and I loved it. When I get round to it, I’ve got high hopes for this one. I always enjoy reading the Penguin “Modern Classics” series.
4. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel | I don’t know how I still haven’t read this book. It’s been so popular, I just hope it lives up to all the hype!
5. Middlemarch by George Eliot | This book was another present from the family I used to work for who I mentioned earlier. According to Dadboss this is one of the greatest books of all time!

26 Years Old!

Tom turned 26 years old today. So I wanted to write a little bit about him. We’ve been together for 7 and a half years now, married for 5 months. I know marrying him was the best decision of my life. I was 17 when we met and I just absolutely knew we would marry each other one day. It was just a certain fact that I knew. Look how young you looked that day on Cabopino beach!

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He keeps me young, which is a strange thing to say at 25 years old, but it’s very true. Left to my own devises, I’m a bit of a hermit who likes to stay home and read my books, but Tom likes to get out there and live life first hand, carpe diem and all that. He’s so outgoing and sociable. He brings me to life and life would be so boring without him. Never grow up Tom, although let’s face it there’s no chance of that happening.

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This is a picture of us at the pub in my second year of college. He lived in Henley and I lived in a small village in West Sussex. He would drive down and see me every weekend or even pick me up and take me with him to Henley. Every weekend. Without fail. I used to count down the days of the week til I could see him on that Friday night. In my dads speech at our wedding he summed up Tom’s love of life pretty well when he talked of his never failing optimism. It’s so contagious and he just spreads that optimism everywhere he goes. He don’t take anything in life too seriously and has fun every minute of every day.

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Tom has a total love for his family and it’s something that he never lets go of. His heart is just so fiercely loyal and true. I’m the luckiest girl in the world to be your wife Tom, and I’ll remind myself that every day.

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Your pretty handsome too…

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Beating Those January Blues

January can be a tough month. Christmas is over, as is New Year, and you spent all your money on presents and going out. The weather tends to be on the miserable side. I got so excited that it was supposed to snow, but it was somewhat of a let down. The one flurry we got was too slushy and short lived to settle. How to cheer ourselves up?

Our friends Dom and Hattie have an apartment in Lymington, a pretty little town on the border of the New Forest on the Hampshire coast and invited us down for a long weekend. It was perfect timing. We piled onto the train nice and early on Friday morning with slightly sore heads from celebrating our friends Fletch’s birthday the night before. But getting on the train early meant we had a whole extra day down there.

We dumped our bags at the apartment and went straight out to eat lunch and for a wonder around the town. For dinner we made a lovely lasagne, and then we sat by the fire playing monopoly and planning holidays for the upcoming year (watch this space). Very cosy and “hygge”. Unfortunately my broken phone decided to completely give up and refuse to work which means not many photos in this blog post, only the ones I managed to pilfer off Dom and Hattie. Tom’s not a big photographer, and truth be told, neither am I. New Years resolution number 1: Take more photos.
Saturday was a proper adventure. We planned a 2 and a half hour walk to a hotel nearby called The Pig. We packed an old school map and used our iPhones as compasses. Like proper Londoners we didn’t quite dress appropriately. It was a beautiful, crisp day. What we didn’t expect was the mud. We waded through the mud which came up to our ankles and turned up at our destination a little late looking like swamp monsters. It sounds miserable and it could have been if it wasn’t for the fact we couldn’t stop laughing at each other, slipping and sliding around.

The Pig are actually a chain of hotels and I had eaten at the one near Bath, so my expectations were high. Luckily, this little piggy delivered. The food is excellent, it’s in a beautiful old manor house and the decor is amazing. In the restaurant the interior style is very trendy whilst the rest of the hotel remains traditional. The menu only uses ingredients sourced within a 25 mile radius. We couldn’t decide what to order, so ordered all of the starters and created our own sharing, taster menu. The only thing I didn’t like was the liver but liver just isn’t my thing. My favourite was the trout, it tasted divine.

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Hattie has earned herself the nickname Pig so felt right at home!

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Then with full belly’s we sat by yet another fire with yet another glass of wine and a whiskey for the boys. That just never gets boring.

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Tom couldn’t resist giving us a little ride round the grounds before we left. We’re just big children really.
Sunday was quite a miserable day weather wise. We walked down the road for a lovely full English. I’m not really a cooked breakfast sort of girl, but The Elderflower do the best breakfast I’ve ever tasted. If you ever get the chance to try it, definitely do it. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. Then we snuggled up at the flat and watched a film before catching a train home.
Overall a very indulgent weekend. LOTS of food, LOTS of wine and LOADS of laughter. Just what the doctor ordered! It was good for the soul.

http://elderflowerrestaurant.co.uk/
https://www.thepighotel.com/brockenhurst/

Goodbye 2016!

2016 has got a pretty bad reputation. Scroll through facebook and there is a lot of statuses reading “Good riddance 2016,”. It’s not hard to see why when you think of the tremulous, uncertain ride the world has been on politically. Or when you consider the general unsettled feeling we’ve been left with about what our future will look like. But for us, 2016 has been one of the most special of our lives

We’ve become home owners in February after a very long arduous process which was far more long winded than anticipated, resulting in us living with dear friends sleeping on a punctured air bed for weeks. We would go to sleep on a lovely plush bed and wake up in a doughnut shaped huddle aching all over. Living out of a suitcase soon lost its charm, but spending those weeks with a couple of our closest friends made me realise how lucky we are to have them in our lives. I won’t forget them rescuing us from homelessness in a hurry and ended up having so much fun it was hard to leave, even when our lovely new home beckoned.

Travelling to Morocco for the trip of a lifetime in April is another high point I won’t forget. A lovely week in Marrakesh in the gorgeous Four Seasons hotel living in luxury, followed by a few days in the slightly more rustic and authentic experience of a rhiad in the Atlas Mountains and getting paid to do it is pretty cushty! The older children both came down with some sort of illness resulting in them both being on antibiotics which is never fun, but they didn’t let it hold them back from all the amazing opportunities to explore colourful, wonderful Morocco. From investigating dizzying souks to riding on a camel all with 3 small children (5yo, 3yo and 15mo). What a magical experience.

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One highlight of the summer was certainly going to see Coldplay play at Wembley. Tom’s Dad had got us tickets to see them play and anticipation to see them play had certainly built since December. Getting caught in a thunderstorm so torrential I thought I would never dry out as I squelched my way to meet Tom couldnt put a dampener (pun intended!) on Coldplays performance. They exceeded my expectations completely. Having light up wristbands crazily flashing in time with the music created a spectacular visual show to accompany Chris Martin’s perfect singing performance – truly remarkable.

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Being a nanny means sometimes you have to say goodbye to children you honestly love like your own. Saying goodbye to 3 little monkeys I’ve spent almost 2 years with was fairly heartbreaking, but was made easier by being asked to look after them part time every other week. Still being able to see them as they grow up is a privilege I love and don’t take for granted. Starting a new job has brought a new little lady into my life who I have developed a strong bond with quicker than I thought possible. Her sunny and incredibly affectionate nature just makes it impossible not to enjoy working and reminds me daily how lucky I am to love my job.

Having written all this I realise how fortunate I am to have this life, I haven’t even started to write about the most momentous, joyful and impacting day of my life yet. The 26th of August 2016. My wedding day. The day I married Tom. I won’t gush about it or I won’t ever stop but I will say I have never been happier or been in a room so filled with love. It undoubtably changed by perspective. Being surrounded by everyone who means something to you wishing you well makes you realise life is all about the people you spend it with. Friends and family. I can’t wait to spend my life with tom, my husband, making memories and laughing our way through life.

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2016, you don’t deserve your reputation. You were the best year of my life. I’m saying goodbye with a tinge of sadness but if you’ve taught me anything it’s that I’m so blessed. I will strive to remember that every day in 2017. Even on the days I’ve missed the train, I’m sleep deprived and the little one doesn’t think she needs a nap today. 2017 – lets make you a good one too!