Throwback Thursday

Well, Well, Well, its been a while since I have done one of these, so a mini collection of some of my favourite photo’s!

 

November 2016, Dublin With Mrs Stevens To Be!

July 2015, Dad & I At My Cousin’s Wedding

December 2014, Almost All Of My Cousins At A Family Christmas Party

September 2015, Glasgow Open Top Bus Ride In The Rain With My Favourite Liverpudlian And Her Little Treasure!

 

Only a few, but a few that caught my eye when I was trawling through my photo albums earlier this week!

What is your favourite throwback picture?

Love Emma xxx

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1 Week In Mexico

 

I LOVE sharing our travel adventures with you all and I know I have shared my experience with you of Mexico after our holiday 18 months ago, however Mexico is a really popular destination and although it was never on my wish list I LOVED our time there in 2016.

Whilst sat here feeling rubbish with my first autumnal cold, watching crappy movies on TV (Matt is snoozing – waiting to be called out for work) I thought I would put together a bit of an itinerary for those of you thinking of heading to Mexico for some winter sun this year or early next!

Day 1

After a day full of travelling yesterday (the flight is around 10 hours), you are probably feeling a bit of jet lag and just want to take it easy, DONT! If you are one of crazy people that go long haul for just 7 days you need to make the most of it whilst you can. Get some breakfast and if your rep meeting is today GO TO IT, if you haven’t pre-booked any trips now is the time to do! What are my recommendations? If your staying in the Cancun area, I would suggest these trips & I explain why a bit further down:

  • Xcaret
  • X-Plor
  • Coco Bongo
  • Chichen Itza
  • Captain Hook Pirate Ship (if there is a group of you or little kids with you!)

Once you have your trips booked, make sure you have your camera and some money on you – small bills if possible, because your going to head just outside of your hotel and grab a “bus” to Playa Del Carmen for some authentic mexican food and a spot of shopping (get it done and out the way on your first day). The “bus” is a mini van, its cheap but you need pay in small bills and tell the driver where you want to go, don’t be precious about sitting next to your partner, just find a seat and stay put! Once your in Playa Del Carmen head for 5th Avenue for all the shops, they range from Zara, Victoria’s Secret and Pandora to all the souvenirs you could ask for!

Despite being all inclusive, we did have some food whilst in Playa Del Carmen and DIDN’T regret it! We ate at Yo Amo Tacos on 5th Avenue, it was our first real taste of Mexican food and it was fantastic! I can’t recall the specific items we had, but I am hoping these photo’s do it justice!

Once you have explored, shopped and eaten its time to head back to your hotel to have some dinner, cocktails enjoy the evening entertainment and mingle with fellow holiday makers. Don’t make it a late one though – your up early for a day at Chichen Itza!

Day 2

An early start for a full day coach trip, from our hotel it was around a 3 hour coach trip to Chichen Itza, so make sure you have some snacks and bottled water with you. On our day trip, when we arrived we spent some time in a small shop whilst our guide got all of our passes etc. if you dont have one with you that day, pick up a hat you WILL need it. Its hot and there is limited, if any at all shade & use this time to go to the bathroom – I promise you that the toilets on the site are not great!

Enjoy the scenery and the information the guide tells you, I wont lie to you but the day we went I had a raging water infection so I really didn’t care to be there BUT Matt really enjoyed it and we got some good photos and saw some lizards too!

On our trip we headed to a local restaurant where they served authentic food, I am gutted we didnt get any pictures but I do love those types of stops on trips abroad. They rely soo heavily on tourism and although the food might not be quite what you expect just enjoy the experience! On our way back we stopped at a cenote – there was the chance to go in and experience the water, but we decided just to people watch and take in the scenery!

Heading back to your hotel, you will be tired and worn out BUT that’s ok as you have another chilled evening at the hotel mingling with your holiday friends drinking cocktails and enjoying the evening entertainment!

Day 3

Ok, you deserve a day off today! Chill by the pool or on the beach enjoy the fact that you can start drinking cocktails from 10am and snack throughout the day and get your head in that book you picked up in duty free.

We were really lucky with the hotel we stayed at, it was on Akumal beach which is FULL and I mean FULL of sea turtles, a lovely couple we met and often hung out with on the beach let us use their snorkel gear as they weren’t keen snorkelers and we had great fun snorkeling and just swimming alongside the turtles. It was so peaceful. We were in Mexico for 2 weeks, so whilst I laid by the beach getting the best tan I have ever had Matt went fishing for a couple of days and we would often walk into the little town and also went to near by Tulum – there is so much to do if you want to do it!

If you are like us and enjoy a good night out and don’t fancy a night at your hotel every night then break it up and book nights out to Coco Bongo or Captain Hooks Pirate Ship. I personally (from what I can remember) enjoyed Coco Bongo a lot more than the Pirate Ship BUT I can see why people, especially those in groups or with families would enjoy the Pirate Ship party.

Day 4

Well……Day 4, if anything like me after Coco Bongo you will spend most of your morning like this…..

Honestly It Was A Rough Morning 

So what would I suggest you do on day 4? Well considering you will be travelling home on Day 7, you only really have 2 more days after this to get things done & you want at least 1 more day by the pool, beach or maybe some spa treatments at the hotel of course! Well, day 4 could be that day for you OR you could spend the day and evening at Xcaret!

Xcaret, my favourite place in Mexico! You can do anything, from swim the lazy river, see the animals, snorkel, swim with dolphins, swim with sting rays (we did this its AMAZING!) or just chill by the beach. There is so much to do here you definately need a full day. We did the lazy river, swam with sting rays AND the adrenaline boat (and didn’t stay for the evening) – there is a lot of things I regret that we didn’t do, so check out some pics and below I will give you the low down on things to do!

Ok, my top tips for Xcaret:

  1. Bring a waterproof camera OR pay the extra to have photo’s taken on your way round (we did this with x-plor). Almost all of the day is based around water, so if like us you don’t have a waterproof camera you wont get many snaps!
  2. Plan your day, dont just jump into the first thing – figure out what you want to do and what you need to be wearing for that activity (pretty much swimwear the whole day)
  3. Take extra cash with you for extra fun activities, not everything is included in the price
  4. Drink plenty and make sure you eat

So we didn’t stay for the evening entertainment, but I have heard it is really good and that we really missed out – but we had such a great day we just wanted to get back to the hotel and have a relaxed evening at the hotel bar and eat some yummy food in the a la carte restaurants on site.

Day 5

Another busy fun day, but today is X-Plor, Xcaret’s zip liner cousin! This was Matt’s request and I was apprehensive as I am not keen on zip lines BUT we had a great day AND paid the extra for a camera pass all the way round. The only thing we didn’t do was be prepared with clothing – basically you will get wet, but I wouldn’t say swim wear all the time – but the choice is yours – just know that when your queuing be happy that you will get wet in what you are wearing…..

A great day out and you really get to see some amazing sites on those zip lines!

Day 6 

A perfect day to top up that fantastic tan you will have got and just relax, maybe head back into Playa Del Carmen to get some more souvenirs. I cant remember our last day before we checked out and headed home, but I can remember our last meal and it was gorgeous! We were so spoilt at Akumal Bay Hotel, but it was a beautiful holiday and I would recommend that hotel to anyone!

Make Day 6 a day to remember, because tomorrow you will be travelling home!

There is so much to do in Mexico and the trip opportunities are endless, but this is just based on what we got up to. We were there for 2 weeks, so were lucky to spend our time on the beach as well as keeping busy, at the end of the day a holiday is yours to do what you will with, but 1 thing I would suggest is do what you can while you are there. There is never a guarantee you will return, so dont leave wishing you had done something!

Love

Emma xx

Things No-One Tells You…….

Matt & I brought our first house just over 9 months ago now and it has been a really interesting few months together getting into routines, learning more about each others habits (didn’t know that was possible after 8 years!) and doing so much washing I want to start a petition for paper clothes!

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But as much as I love my friends and family, there is stuff that people just dont tell you before you move out for the first time – or maybe they did and the innocence that you have when living at home you just ignore it or say that wont be me…….

  1. You WILL need a new boiler! Virtually everyone that I know who has brought their first home at some point in the first year has had to get a new boiler, maybe everyone I know didn’t ask the age of the boiler or if there was any problems, or if like us was just unlucky – but have some money put aside just in case!
  2. You always be doing washing! It might be washing up, washing clothes, steam mopping floors – there is ALWAYS and I mean always something that needs to be washed. I just don’t understand where all the stuff comes from, I swear we have little people that come out in the day when we are at work that create more washing for us to do.
  3. It will really irritate you when people don’t empty bins or put washing (including washing up) away. Like SO MUCH so that you will suddenly understand why your mum was always in a mood when you expected that to be her job for all those years!
  4. You will eat ALOT of takeaways! Because no matter how much you meal plan or your cupboards, fridge & freezer are full of food the want to cook every night will fade and you will end up getting take out…..
  5. Sort out your energy provider on day 1. The very first day you move in, dont turn any lights on or heating or gas until you have called your provider and switch if needed otherwise you will be put on an emergency tariff AND get stung hard on your first bill!
  6. You wont go on holiday. We used to holiday HARD there have been years where we have been on holiday twice in one year but since moving in we just haven’t. Don’t get me wrong we have thought about it but when you look at how much it costs vs the work you want to do in your home. This one people warned us that we wouldn’t be able to holiday as much and the truth is we could IF we wanted to, but truth is, we would rather work on the house.
  7. You will annoy each other. For every couple that says the first time they live together its smooth sailing is lying. You will annoy each other – there will be things you find out your significant other does that you had no clue about. BUT with all the annoyance and the rows about paint and wallpaper you will get through it and be a better couple for it.
  8. Don’t buy glasses. Seriously – DON’T, people want to buy you moving in gifts and help you on your way in your new home which is so lovely and something you need to appreciate and be grateful for. However for some reason people always assume you need glasses…..glasses for squash, glasses for wine, pint glasses and any other type of glass you can think of. I kid you not I think we have around 50 wine glasses……I am the only one that drinks wine in this house hahaha! At least we have plenty for parties!
  9. Buy light bulbs and batteries! We were really lucky but I have heard horror stories of people that have moved in and the previous owners took all the light bulbs and switches! How mental! Although, you will have no idea how much you will need batteries for the most random of things that you really dont expect – that along with medication, cellotape, string etc. its all stuff your mum and dad had to hand all the time and you just took for granted!
  10.  Dining room tables……anything like us you will deliberate over a table for ages and then buy one, then use it a handful of times as after 6 months the preference to eat in the front room in front of the telly is just so much more appealing!

Well, these are just the things that I think you need to know about – I am sure there are hundreds more sensible and funnier things BUT these are the things that I wish people had forewarned me about!

Overall our first 9 months have been great, yes there have been tough moments but to counteract them we have had some really wonderful times in our first home and I can’t believe on 9th December we will be celebrating 1 year in our own home!

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What do you wish people told you about when you moved out for the first time? I bet you all have some funny stories!

Love

Emma xx

Just STOP

Dear Emma,

You my dear are a planner & an organiser you have over the past 10 years decided you need to have some form of control over everything and have all things planned down to the last minute. The fact that Matt changing his mind at the last minute drives you insane proves this – to be honest how you cope with that I have no idea haha!

But you need to STOP.

All the best things that have happened to you have been unplanned and just happened. Shall we take a look at a few of these?

  • Meeting Matt…..we shall just leave it at that
  • The House…..planning to move out in 2017……2016 bit your ass with that one!
  • Your Job…..only stay there a year? Nearly 10 years later and several promotions your now a manager?
  • Your Holidays…..yes they have been planned to some extent, but there is always an element of spontaneity!
  • Your Friends……funny how those that you thought would be there till the end aren’t around any more.

I know its become normal for you to plan out every last bit of your life down to a tee AND you will waste hours planning trips that you then get really upset when plans change. Just Stop It.

Image result for stop planning

Start living in the moment, start enjoying day to day more – stop missing things BE PRESENT. Just let life take you on a journey and enjoy the ride. You are missing out on having fun because your constantly worrying about whats happening in the future.

I know its not going to be easy and its a big pattern to change, but you need to do it for your health. Your brain cant keep dealing with all the criticism that you put on yourself. And its CONSTANT. You do not need to compare your body, your beauty, your life, your relationship, your financial situation, your career to anyone else in the world. WHY? Because you are perfect the way you are and you need to accept your flaw, embrace them and just be true to yourself – sod what anyone else is doing that’s their life.

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Learn to be GRATEFUL and APPRECIATE everything you have and what you have achieved. Stop wanting more or wanting what others have, the grass is NOT always greener and remember that you only see what people want you to see. Do you post on social media when you have had a crap day or if you cant afford to go on that holiday that you have been hoping for? No, of course you dont, because you only want to share the good stuff with people EVERYONE ELSE IS THE SAME. 

So, stop worrying about your holiday next year, what colour your going to pain the hall, when your going to lower the garden, how you want your kitchen to look, what your going to do for your 30th birthday. You have just over 100 days left of 2017, why not just enjoy them?

Spend time with your friends, go on adventures with Matt, cook more, read more, smile more, laugh a lot.

Enjoy the last year of your 20’s. 

Image result for stop planning life

Just be kind to yourself!

Love

Emma xx

Birthday Treat!

Matt spoilt me on my birthday with a surprise trip to Newcastle! It was lovely to get away for a few days and just eat good food, drink good cocktails and chill. We haven’t been away this year as we have been focusing on the house and putting our stamp on it, so thinking of holidaying abroad just hasn’t happened. Don’t get me wrong, we have started to look for next year with a few choices up our sleeves, but this year we knew it just wasn’t going to happen.

We headed off at 6am in the morning – yes 6am – and headed off…..Matt was driving and we had been on the motorway for about 10 mins when he said we were headed to the west country, I was quite excited and started faffing on my phone doing something when the next time I looked up we were on the M3?! Totally not the way to the west country, after quizzing him constantly for about 30 minutes, he told me we were headed north but that was all I could get out of him.

With so much excitement about going back up north after a few years with Matt, I shared a little Facebook post on my page (why not follow me there?). We stopped in a service station for McDonalds breakfast and a large Costa Coffee for me and headed back on our way, after a little while I looked on the map to see where we could be ended up and Matt eventually told me it was Newcastle!

I was really excited as we have talked about Newcastle for a while, so I was pleased we were finally going to make it there!

We had a brilliant few days up north and enjoyed exploring the city, although not much to do everyone made us feel so welcome and the shopping is INSANE!!! Here are a few snaps from our days away for you to enjoy

Where We Stayed: The Cairn Hotel, in trendy Jesmond

What We Saw: Whitley Bay, Angel Of The North, Metro Centre, Eldon Square, Black Gate, Castle Keep

Where We Ate: The Herb Garden, The Botanist, Chaophora, Blackfriars, Olive & Bean

Everyone Eat Cake

It’s my birthday today so I officially allow everyone to ditch their healthy eating and EAT SOME CAKE!!!

I hope the sun is shining for you and you have a wonderful day! I don’t where I will be when you read this, Matt is taking me away for a break over my birthday and I cant wait!

Will fill you in when I get back!

Emma xx