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!

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!