Glorious Goodwood

Does anyone else find buying gifts for men a royal pain the backside?! I am glad its not just me! However, I thought I had found the perfect Christmas gift for Matt last year, tickets for us, his brother & parter for a day out a Glorious Goodwood! A chance for the 4 of us to get dressed up, have a few drinks, a bet and a nice evening out at the end of it and the day did not disappoint! However, I was left a bit dumbfolded when on our way to the racecourse Matt tells me he has been to Goodwood before – I thought he hadn’t been and it would be a new experience we would be sharing together – how wrong was I haha!

Anyway! We all had a fantastic day out, I like all other events didn’t take many photos, luckily my lovely sister-in-law (not legally but it might as well be!) managed to get quite a few. So here you go, here is a selection of photos that I feel represents our day.

Mexico In England

Every year my parents hold a summer party and of course it has a theme and this year was a Mexican Fiesta! We had a fantastic evening with our family and close friends, although it wasn’t the warmest summer evening, it was dry and the garden was full of love and laughter!

Here are just some of the pictures I took……roll on next year!

Southsea Food Festival

Last year we made the trip to Southsea Food Festival and had a great time, it wasn’t too busy and there was lots of stalls to choose from. So when we saw it advertised again this year on Facebook Matt & I knew we were going to attend and made sure our friends Hayley & Lee were free to come along with us!

Here is our trip for you in some lovely photo’s!

Beautiful Weekend

How B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L has the weather been on the south coast for the past week? We have been truly blessed with gorgeous summer sun and I even have a little tan going on!

Earlier last week I had decided that Matt and I needed a little adventure, we have been spending a lot of time putting our stamp on the house that we have kinda gotten a little lost and forgotten what it was like just being us. One thing that people don’t tell you when you are preparing to move in is that all those little date evenings or random weekends in the forest or down the beach. So in a bid to spruce life up a bit, I told Matt to be ready to leave the house at 8.30am Saturday as I was taking us out for the day.

I had my sights set on Durdle Door – I have seen a lot of nice pictures and posts about it and my brother has been recently so I thought we could both do with some sea air and peaceful surroundings.

So I cooked up some bacon sarnies for the drive down and headed out on the road, we got stuck in a bit of traffic around the Bournemouth area which isn’t unusual when the weather is like this and made it to Durdle Door in around 2 hours. We parked up, paid for 2 hours parking and started to walk down, neither of us could understand why after so many visits to Weymouth we have never made it here before. The weather was beautiful, it was so so sunny and when you looked across the horizon it felt like you were abroad!


As we reached the bottom of the hill and caught glimpses of the sea and beach below us, neither of us could believe how crystal clear the water was and I instantly regretted not wearing my swim gear as I just wanted to jump right in. We headed down the steep stairs to the main beach looking on to the rock formation and sat on the stones, it was nice just be present for a while and soak in the surroundings and watch all the kayakers and families enjoying their Saturday. We headed back up and spent some time watching 2 dogs playing around in the cove before making our way back up the hill to the car. One thing no-one warned me was just how steep the hill was, of course you realise as you are going down, but nothing can prepare you for the steepness going back up!

We made the decision to head back home via the New Forest and stop off at Burley, we both really like the little village and have often treated ourselves to an ice cream or a cream tea on many of our visits. However, this time as I am on a bit of a health kick (more on that another time), we avoided the Ice Creams and Cream Tea’s and headed to the pub for a cold refreshing drink and some lunch. Weirdly we sat in “our seats” the same seats we sit in every time and they are always available – its weird – I had a really nice Chicken Cesar Salad and Matt had a Burger. The food was fantastic and made even better as we headed out a group of horses had decide to take over the road – perfect photo opportunity and typical of the New Forest!

As we have been to the New Forest many times I figured we wouldn’t need our sat nav to get home……I was wrong. We didn’t really know where we were going and the sign posts didn’t say anywhere we recognised, so Matt got out the sat nav and we started to head out on the right path home. As we were driving down one of the forest roads directly in my eye sight were Highland Cows! Immediately I pulled into the parking bays and got out to take photo’s. I LOVE Highland Cows, I just think they have so much personality and their faces are adorable! It was soo tempting to try and touch one, but the size of their horns I decided viewing from afar was best!

Our evenings had been planned out separately, Matt was having the boys over and I was meeting up with 2 old school friends for food and cocktails. Marci, Jemma and I haven’t all been together since we left school in 2004 – I had seen both of them separately so I knew we all still got on and would have a blast especially as The Slug & Lettuce serve 2-4-1 cocktails. It was lovely to see them both and to catch up after so long, it was just like no time had passed at all and I cant wait to have another girly evening with them both!

Well there you have it my weekend in a nutshell, unfortunately Sunday didn’t go as planned, but Hayley and I are sorting out another date for Brunch and don’t worry, I will take you with us!

Keep Smiling

Emma xxx

New York Adventures!

Following some kind words and likes on my facebook page, I have picked a few places that I loved visiting and thought I would share with you some suggested itinerary’s as well as any tips I have picked up on my travels. Don’t get me wrong I am not a seasoned traveller, I am by all means a novice, but I know what I know and any help when planning a holiday is always a bonus!
First on the list, the place I have been the most (4 times) New York City, as the saying goes it’s so good they named it twice. Perhaps you refer to it as the Big Apple, or the city that never sleeps? However you wish to fondly refer to the island of Manhattan, I will share with you a few tips and suggestions for itineraries for your future trip!
On the occasions I have been to New York, I have always favoured a morning flight out there so that I land between 12-2pm. It can take anywhere between 40 minutes to an hour to get from JFK into the city, so by the time you have landed and got into the city your hotel will be open for check in. That will then allow you to drop your bags, freshen up and make sure you have everything you need to explore and gauge your bearings on your first evening in the city. I have flown to New York most frequently with Virgin/Delta, they are currently offering a 10.10am flight from Heathrow landing at JFK at 1.32pm, if I was looking to go to NYC soon this would be the flight I would want to be on. Don’t get me wrong, I have used both Newark and La Guardia airports over the years and both airports are fine and have great transport links BUT for your first trip, you want to be flying in and out of JFK.
Where To Stay?
You may chuckle, but every time I have been to NY I have stayed somewhere different, not because I haven’t found a place I really liked but because there were good deals on for when I booked. However, I have found an area that I like to stay in, although as a “seasoned” traveler to NY I would probably switch things up a bit if Matt & I went again. So the area that I feel most comfortable staying in is around 7th Avenue and 57thStreet, it’s close to Times Square but not right on top and a short walk to Central Park and also not that far from The Rockefeller Centre too – if you are lucky you might even get a room looking out onto Central Park too!
So, where have I stayed? The Salisbury Hotel, it’s on 57thstreet opposite Carngie Hall and right by a subway stop if using this method of transport is your preferred choice when in Manhattan. I have also stayed at TheWellington Hotel, it’s on 7th Avenue between 56th and 55thStreet, in both hotels I stayed room only but there was plenty of choices for breakfast close by (and no I do not mean McDonald’s!). Matt & I were really lucky at the Wellington, we had a lovely sized room high up and had views over Central Park which was gorgeous when it snowed! For my 48hr trip to NY with my parents and brother, we all stayed in 1 double double room (a room with 2 double beds) at the Crowne Plaza on Broadway – the PERFECT location for first timers who want to be in the centre of the action, next door to Hershey’s, opposite M&M world and seconds from all the action in Times Square you can’t go wrong.
If I was to go back to NY I would have no issues in staying in any of these 3 hotels mainly because I know the area and I will literally just be using them as a base and somewhere to sleep, but I would probably start to look further afield and maybe stay in Lower Manhattan or Greenwich Village to get less of a Touristy feel.
What To Do?
Is that not the most open ended question ever? What isn’t there to do in NYC it pretty much caters for anything and everything! As I mentioned earlier I am a complete novice when it comes to travelling and I am sure there will be blog posts out there that are much better than this and host wonderful itinerarys for you to take snapshots from, but this itinerary is one I have put together following my personal trips to New York and I can hand on heart say that I have done all of the things in the interary I have shared with you below – none of it is made up of places I have dreamed of visiting on Pinterest, I have pictures of me at most, if not all, of the places mentioned below!
Arrival Day!

You have just reached your hotel of choice, dumped your suitcase (because no-one unpacks!) and freshened up ready to explore! What’s first? It’s probably around 4pmish and you are starting to feel a bit peckish, head out to your local neighbourhood grill Applebee’s on 50th street between Broadway and 7th, fill up on something from the grill or the massive Nacho’s with your choice of drink be it a pepsi, milkshake or cocktail, Applebees has you covered! Once you have stuffed your faces full of yummy food it’s time to head out through Times Square to experience all the Empire StateBuilding has to see at night. It’s about a 20minute walk from Times Square to Empire State, longer if you are taking in all the sights – you can get the subway, but why go underground when there is so much to see above it! I would definitely recommend purchasing all your tickets before you go, so the money you take out there is purely fun money! Empire State is open 8am-2am, 365 days a year and costs $34 to visit the 86th floor, if you time it right and get there for sunset you will get amazing photos, however my favourite time to visit Empire State is in pitch black so you can see the lights of the city and my favourite building, The Chrysler Building, all alight.

1st Full Day

Definitely a day of choices! After getting up early, either having breakfast at your hotel or hitting one of the many cafes local to you, head to Times Square and hunt down a tour guide there are plenty on offer! So, for me a shopaholic if I had 3 nights in New York the first full day would be outlet shopping!!! Grab some bargains and shop until my feet hurt, I have been to Woodbury Common 3 times and each time I have come away with a lot of bags full of goodies, however I have also heard there is another outlet in New Jersey but I have not visited there myself. Anyway! I have done some research for you and with City Sightseeing  you can book a trip to Woodbury Common for $30 per adult, that is for a bus ride there and back and when I last visited there was multiple trips each day.

Now if shopping isn’t your thing and you want to cram in as much sightseeing as you possibly can hit up a tour guide and book yourself a 48hr hop on hop off bus tour. Its cheaper in the long run than using taxis and you get a tour guide on your journey to your destination! Based again on City Sightseeing you can buy a 48hr Bus Tour for $59 per adult, however I am sure they will probably do you cheaper rates in person. Once you have booked your tour you are going to jump on the bus and head downtown, having prebooked your ticket to Liberty Island. On the City Sightseeing downtown tour, you want to get off at stop 10 so (if you wish) you can stop by 9/11 and pay your respects to those who lost their lives, I am a firm believer that until you have been there you cannot grasp just how large the towers were and how much of an impact it had on that area. Once you have spent time there, your going to have to use your feet and start walking down Broadway and you come across the famous Charging Bull! Now once you get to Battery Park just head for the signs of Liberty Island, prices are currently $21.50 for adult access to the Crown which is what I would have love to have done if we had the opportunity when we went to Liberty Island. However, if you are on a strict budget or timeframe you can hop on the Staten Island Ferry and it goes straight past The Statue Of Liberty and its quite fun to race the ferry on the return journey – can you get off and back on before the door closes?!

Now, when Matt & I visited Liberty Island we then headed down to China Town and hung out there for a few hours, you can totally do that (your bust ticket will take you right there), or you could stop off at South Street Seaport – I have always wanted to go but never been – perhaps you can tell me all about it!
2nd Full Day

Another day full of choice as there are plenty of things to see and do in NYC and after a chat with my cousin the other day, I have realised I have only just touched the tip of the iceberg with the things I have done! So, what would I do on day 2? It’s another full day, so I would get up at the crack of dawn, have some breakfast and then head to Rockefeller centrewhilst its still early – perhaps watch Good Morning America being recorded before heading up to the Observation Tower for spectacular day time views across Manhattan. As you spot Central Park and just the grand scale of it decide how far you want to venture in as that’s your next stop! Head across to Central Park and take a nice long walk up to The Lake or further if you get the feel for it, or perhaps head back to Midtown via the Zoo but for me I would head to Serendipity 3 on East 60th for some midday desert or perhaps hit up Dylans Candy Bar which is just a couple of shops down.

As you are in the area, why not take a nice stroll down 5thAvenue hitting Bloomingdales, Tiffany’s as well as lots of other famous brands – be sure to admire St Patricks Cathedral too! Now after all this walking on your last night you want to be sure to end with a bang, so pre-book some theatre tickets or head to a restaurant in Times Square – hell you have to get drunk at least once in New York!
Final Day

For me the last day in NY is the chance to pick up souvenirs or any last minute shopping that you didn’t get before heading on your flight home to blighty!
WOW! This is a long ass post, but hopefully a helpful one to anyone who is heading out to New York anytime soon!
Stay tuned; Rome is next!

Emma xx

My Travel Journey!

My Heart Is Saying Travel, My Head Is Saying Decorate……

The joys of being a new home owner and coming to the realization you cannot have everything, well not straight away! It was almost 10 years ago I got the travel bug, my 3rd holiday abroad to Fueterventura with my best friend kick started my want to explore and see the world. I had been abroad twice before that once to New York with college in 2005 and once to Indianapolis with my parents and brother in 2007. However, there is nothing like venturing abroad with your best mate to a lovely hot country for a week to start a habit of a lifetime!

That year, 2008, we went to Fueteventura in the March and I got made redundant in the April. This is how eager my 20 year old self was to explore because we booked to go to Morocco in September of the same year! So despite not having a job and Steph being a full time Uni student, we somehow made it work and holiday’d twice in 1 year. Both just week breaks and both were all inclusive and we didn’t really do much apart from laze by the pool and the odd shopping trip, but it was nice to be away and just relax.

Little did I know that those 2 trips where going to start a life long adventure of seeing the world. I am not sure how long I was back from Morocco before I booked ANOTHER trip! This time, I wanted to travel (initially) on my own, I decided I was going to stay with my godparents for a couple of weeks in Indianapolis and just enjoy a bit of the country and all America has to offer, I ended up taking my godfathers mum along as a suprise and I had a GREAT time for those 2 weeks!

That was 2009, the year I met Matt & the year I turned 21. It was also the year I booked to go back to New York in 2010 with then a very good friend. A return to a city that first time round didn’t capture my heart. 2nd time round, I started to understand why everyone loved it so much and I really enjoyed myself despite not having the best company (that is a story for another day) and when I returned and really looked back over my trip I decided that one day I would go back and make my sour memories sweeter with someone else.

Mine and Matt’s relationship grew and after mini breaks in the UK we decided that 2011 would be the year of our first holiday abroad. After much debate, we decided on Rovinj, Croatia on the Istrian coast. We stayed in a hotel on its own island, only able to return to the mainland by boat surrounded by beautiful blue sea’s. It was a perfect first holiday for two young lovebirds with a day trip to Venice chucked in for good measure.

We holidayed in May and I think by the September we had already booked our next adventure, New York to celebrate Matt turning 21 in January 2012. A whole week in New York a chance to make new memories and see how the city was changing, being Matt’s first time to America we did lots of things to make it special and we both have fond memories of that trip. Looking at my timehop, we had only been back a matter of weeks before we started to look at our next holiday. How we managed it I am not sure, but we managed another trip that year, the latter part of year of course. Some Winter sun, Cuba in November a perfect sunny getaway – I had so many firsts on that trip; snorkelling, eating lobster, horse riding on a beach.

Then 2013 hit, Matt holiday’d to Austria skiing and ruptured his ACL and it put a halt on our plans for that year, the first year since 2008 that I hadn’t been abroad. It hurt and I struggled, but one thing that came out of it was I was put to work researching and booking our last holiday as a family, just myself, my parents and my brother. A quick stop in New York followed by 2 weeks with my godparents in Indianapolis in the middle Summer celebrating July 4th!

Those 2 weeks were fantastic and I will share more about Indianapolis in a different post, but I cannot recall exactly, but perhaps a couple of weeks prior to going to to the states Matt & I booked to go to Rome over our 5th Anniversary. It was completely off the cuff and initially I wasn’t keen, I wasn’t overwhelmed by Venice so felt that, despite my heritage, that Italy just wasn’t for me. Oh, how wrong I was. Rome is one of the most amazing cities, even in the heat of August, it was so beautiful and I wouldn’t hesitate a return journey! So 2014 ended as another year with 2 holidays and it didn’t take long after our return that another holiday was already on the countdown having started being planned long before I jetted off to the states in July.

April 2015 Matt and I headed off to Las Vegas with my best mate and her then boyfriend for a week, I came away with lots of wonderful memories from that trip and even with all Vegas has to offer, I still feel we didn’t cover all of it and would gladly return! After a week as a foursome we split, they headed to LA and we headed up the Californian coast to San Francisco. Aaaaah San Fran, I definitely left a piece of my heart of there and it has honestly become one of my favourite places to be. We were there for around 3/4 nights and although I feel like we did everything, I would gladly go back again!

2015 also brought trips for me to Scotland and Dublin with my girlfriends, both were fantastic and I have lots of fond memories that I will always treasure! However, whilst I was holidaying with my friends Matt was busy planning our holiday for 2016, a surprise for my birthday and Christmas all rolled in to 1. I was constantly being told we were going to Tenerife, whilst disappointed initially I remember the fun I had in the Canaries 8 years earlier and knew the weather would be good and we would have a great time, so to have ended up in Mexico was just phenomenal!

Mexico was a dream and just such a perfect way to start what was unbeknownst to us at the time going to be one of the most craziest years so far. It was a perfect mix of sightseeing and relaxing with white sand and clear blue sea’s!

However, we ended 2016 with no future holidays booked as we brought our first house, our first sofa and started building our forever. Currently sat on our gorgeous leather sofa, as I write this my heart is saying ‘go on, check for cheap deals for the time you have booked off work’. I definitely have the urge to travel and see the world, but my head is thinking of what wallpaper should we pick for the front room and when I can start painting and wallpapering our bedroom also wishing for next weekend to come so we can rip out the hedge in the front room!

Looking back and reminiscing over my last almost 10 years worth of travel, I realise how lucky I have been and how, in a few years to come, I will be even luckier as I am sure we will travel more and further in the world with Canada, Vietnam and Dubai on our hit list I am sure we will make lots of more travel memories. However, at the moment, our priority is getting our home to how we want it to be. With a hedge to remove, decorating to be done, a shower unit to install and a driveway to build with a possible extension on the horizon we are going to be busy but to create a home that we both love so much will make it all worth while to come back to after being away for a while!

So, whilst my travel bug may just have to be kept deep inside for now, it doesn’t mean I cant share with you my hints, tips and wishes! So, consider this a start of travel posts to come!


Emma xxx

Cocktails In The Sky

I first read about the Sky Garden probably a year ago, for those of you that have read my last blog you will know that I visited the gorgeous garden in the sky with my lovely friends Hayley & Helen!

Us Gorgeous Ladies!

We headed to the Sky Garden after a gorgeous brunch at The Folly and breezed straight through, there was no queue and we went straight up, our tickets (which were FREE!) were booked for 1pm but we were able to get in a little earlier.

As we headed up in the lift, I was getting butterflies hoping that it was as amazing as I have heard about and that the girls would like it too. However as soon as we walked out the lift I was blown away with how open and light and green it was, we ventured straight out to the balcony to admire the views! I was overwhelmed with how lovely London looks from so high up and was reminded of how I felt the first time I went to Top Of The Roc in New York.

Whilst looking around it made us giggle to see that people looked like they were sat amongst the plants BUT we decided we wanted in and took a seat in one of the sections at the side.

Hayley & I headed down to the bar and got a round of drinks in, I wont lie the cocktails are upwards of £10 so a bit on the pricey side, but when you watch how much effort goes into them you can understand why! 

It was just perfect, so relaxed and such a wonderful atmosphere definitely somewhere that I could have just sat and read all day with a cocktail or 2 or 3 or 4! It was just soooo green and luscious, I definately felt like I was sat outside on a beautiful sunny day. It has definately made my decision to ensure when Matt & I purchase our house that we have some sort of garden and greenery as a place to relax.