Adventure

Last weekend I spend some wonderful time with one of my closest friends and her little boy, just before Christmas they moved to the outskirts of London from Liverpool (and Scotland before that) and I was overjoyed that they are that little bit closer and we can spend more time together.

However, when we were planning my little overnight trip up there Vicky let me know that they were now a Vegan household (with the exception of Ernie on occasions), so it would be a meat free weekend! I wasn’t overly fussed and she was kind enough to buy a pint of normal milk so I didn’t have to drink other alternatives if I didn’t want to. When she first told me I thought ‘oooo that’s weird’, but after learning more about it and her reasons behind it and how much more healthier she feels since doing it, I can understand why people follow that way of eating.

However – is if for me? I am not sure, I know a dairy free diet for PCOS suffers is ideal so perhaps that element I could take up, but not eating meat – I just don’t know that I could make that commitment. We always have meat with every dinner and I am not sure how I could cope with making 2 meals every night as there is no way Matt could give up meat.

We went on an adventure on Saturday to Windsor and spent time exploring the Castle with Ernie which was fabulous! We even got to see where Prince Harry & Meghan are getting married and hosting their reception, which was pretty cool. The castle itself is stunning and Ernie was happy to tell both Vicky and I off for taking photographs when it’s very clear that no photography is allowed.

When we stopped for a bit to eat and a coffee, I was surprised at just how easy it is for Vicky to choose something vegan friendly. We took a little break in EAT and with fruit, nuts and crisps on offer Vicky was able to pick from an abundance of things to chose from including a Soya Latte. However, with me on slimming world it was more difficult my only options was a fruit pot and herbal tea if I wanted to keep my choices free of syns (I didn’t – I went for a Chai Latte & Granola Bar!), so I found myself more restricted than she was.

After a look round the shops we headed home via Tesco to pick up some snacks for when Ernie went to bed. Vicky let me know that we had Pizza for tea with picky bits and chips which I was overjoyed at – but none of it was syn free – however all of it is suitable for Vegans. Now, don’t get me wrong I am not saying everyone should follow the Slimming World plan, however it has made me see that it is really restrictive in certain situations and questioning is it the right thing for me? Don’t get me wrong I don’t want to eat Pizza and Chips every night (ok, I am lying I do), but perhaps I need to look at what I am choosing on Slimming World and reinvent the wheel a little bit.

My focus has been on syns and not on how much free food I can have, which we all know the more we focus on free food then less we need the syns. So although the Vegan diet isn’t necessarily one for me, it has led me to consider my own choices and look at what I am fuelling my body with.

Mine and Vicky’s days of booze and a cheeseboard when Ernie has gone to bed may be reduced now, but we can still spend hours chatting over bubbles and enjoy each other’s company. I am really looking forward to spending more time with her now she is down south for a while until her next adventure takes her away again!

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Brunch Club

Hayley, Carla & I had our first brunch club of the year last weekend and it was great to catch up, I shared my plans for my 30th Birthday celebrations, Carla gave us some updates on her new job and wedding plans & Hayley (our budding photographer), shared updates on her recent bookings and her plans for my 30th Birthday gift! It was great to have some girly time and some good food!

Our venue of choice this month was Salt Cafe in Portchester Marina, a lovely little cafe on the waterfront – I had heard about it through friends on dog walks and I can imagine its a beautiful place to stop in the summer and watch the boats go by.

We got there just after 9am, so brunch was more breakfast this time, as Carla had work in the afternoon. We sat down and checked out the menu, I was still struggling a bit with a hangover and needed a cold drink so I chose Orange Juice, as did Carla – Hayley treated herself with an Elderflower Presse and a Latte!

Our minds then turned to food, I chose Welsh Rarebit with a fried egg and vine tomatoes, Hayley picked the overnight oats with peanut butter and maple syrup, whilst Carla had what looked like the best Egg, Sausage & Bacon sandwich I have ever seen. I came away stuffed and the walk back to Carla’s was quite nice after a filling breakfast.

We were there for about 2 hours and there was a constant stream of people in and out, a very bustling little cafe. There was even people sat outside with hot drinks, blankets and their pooches! I didnt get a snap, but just as you walked in the door they had ready filled hot water bottles for you to take outside on colder days – how lovely is that!

So, if your in the Portsmouth area and fancy a little treat in a place where you can sit and watch the world go by, head to the Salt Cafe – you wont go wrong!

Love

Emma x

Budapest 2018

We recently spent a lovely 4 days in Budapest, it was a trip to celebrate Matt’s birthday earlier in the month and it was nice to have a few days away together and explore a new city.

Although I booked the trip, I didn’t really set us with an itinerary and we just went with the flow, as soon as we arrived and checked into our hotel we started to explore straight away. Not wasting a minute of our time there we did most of our exploring on foot, that way you get to see so much more and often things you wouldn’t expect. I wont lie, the weather was bitterly cold, but dry at least apart from our last day where we were lucky to experience the wonderful European city in the snow!

I love sharing our little trips with you all, especially our photo’s however, first up is some little things that we did in Budapest that we wanted to share with you all!

  • Don’t take the Budacastle tour by the Buda Hill Funiclar, on our first day we were spoken to by a lovely tour guide that for just an extra 1,000 ft you can get a tour up that will take you all round and you can get on an off wherever you want. However, we soon realised that actually everything at the top (this doesnt include the Citadella), is within walking distance, so if you dont mind a walk and exploring on your own the just get a return trip on the Funiclar and enjoy the walk!
  • When you go to the Central Market Hall, go upstairs first hunt for some souvenirs to take home and have some real Hungarian street food. We did downstairs first, which was great we had some pastries and Duck scratchings (not pork!) before heading upstairs and deeply regretted it. We wished we had gone up there and stuffed our faces before going down to see all the meat, fruit, pastry and cheese stalls!
  • Buy yourself a hop on, hop off ticket for a bus tour – more so in the winter. Its a great way to get around town and with city sightseeing we got a 48hr ticket, including boat tours cheaper than the budacard! We just wanted it for a trip to the Citadella and up to Heroes Square and Szechenyi Bath rather than rely on taxis and walking in the cold weather.
  • Don’t forget your towel & flip flops when visiting a thermal bath! We ended up buying flip flops, which ate into our spending money, but it was so worth it! We paid for a 1 person with a locker and 1 person with a cabin, the cabins are pretty small but we took turns to get changed and it did us fine. We were really lucky, there was no cue and the baths weren’t busy at all, we visited on Saturday morning around 10 am so we were really surprised that it wasn’t full and busy!
  • Head to Szimpla Kert for drinks late afternoon, the best ruin bar in all of Budapest just enjoy the atmosphere and once your done, just walk around the Jewish Quarter there are plenty of places to eat and drink that you cant go wrong – there is something for everyone!
  • Drinks – if your drinking beer and are happy to drink the local stuff (we drank Dreher) then your fine, its around £2 a pint, less if its happy hour. However if your drinking long drinks (vodka/rum), or wine its a bit more expensive. I dont usually drink beer, but in a bid to keep our costs low I decided to give it a go and actually it wasn’t too bad!
  • Food – now, I am not sure if we have expensive taste and we like to eat in nicer places, but we didn’t find food to be much cheaper than we would pay at home which was surprising as everyone said it was really cheap. It didn’t bother us too much, we tried Goulash which we both wanted to do, ate at Beef Heaven which Matt wanted to try and had Breakfast at Circusz which was my choice!

We had a really nice time in Budapest, the history and architecture is amazing, food and drinks were good too! Would we return to Budapest? Possibly not, but that’s purely because we felt we did everything we wanted to do, however I hear the Christmas markets there are amazing so perhaps a return visit just for that?

Love

Emma

Where We Stayed: K+K Hotel Opera – great location!

Where We Drank: Szimpla Kert, Ellato Kert, For Sale Pub, The Pointer Pub

Where We Ate: Beef Heaven by Tuning, Circusz, Spinoza, For Sale Pub, Bazilika Cafe & Restaurant, Hard Rock Cafe (we always eat at one its tradition!), Pizza Me

Cuba

It was a normal Tuesday morning, I checked my “memories” on Facebook and noticed back in 2012 I had uploaded our photos from our trip to Cuba. Looking back at them made me sad, we loved Cuba. It was our first visit to the caribbean, my first long haul all inclusive holiday, our 3rd holiday together. We ate great food, drunk great booze, snorkeled, swam with dolphins and learnt about the beautiful country and met just a handful of amazing people.

We came home promising to return one day, fast forwarding to 2017 and we still haven’t gone back.

Whilst we dabble in holidays and often will look at the deals, recently Cuba has been coming up cheap but we just overlooked it, trying to find cheap deals to Vancouver or Vietnam. Before residing ourselves (hence my comments in a previous post), that due to stuff needing to be done with the house we just wouldn’t be holidaying in 2018.

Then, that Tuesday morning I was talking about above, I get into work getting stuck in to getting stuff done before going on Annual Leave & I get a call. Its Matt. I panic, whats happened, is he ok? He tells me to check my emails……

The content just says whoops and there is an attachment, its confirming a booking…..to Cuba in 168 days.

Shut The Front Door!

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I get off the phone and am dumbfounded. I am going on holiday, to Cuba. Where we stayed all those years ago. I literally cannot wait and am super excited.

Then a couple of hours later, I start to worry…..how am I gonna afford it……I will be officially skint until we return in May especially as I have Matt’s surprise birthday trip in January!

Anyway, to get you guys as excited as me, here are a few pics from last time!

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Cousin Time

Matt worked all weekend, so I was ready for a weekend alone and felt that I needed a bit of an adventure, a bit of spontenatity in my life. Unfortnately my budget couldn’t quite stretch to a last minute trip to Disney (oh that will come one day), so I put out a plea on Facebook earlier in the week to see if any of my friends or family wanted an adventure day! Of course my cousin Trina was first to respond asking for me to take her with her wherever I end up!

Initially we were going to go to Blenheim Palace……but on Sunday morning as I picked her up, we changed our mind and ended up heading to Marwell Zoo! We are really lucky, its only a 30 minute drive from us, but for everyone else, its just off the M3 headed towards Winchester. We arrived just before opening at 10am and scouted out the website first to check out the animals and if there were any events on. Entry fee’s weren’t too expensive either, I paid £19 for an adult but as a student Trina got in for £16.50, these were still summer prices but between November and April those prices reduce too, which is even better! Of course the tickets include a donation as Marwell is actually a conservation charity too, so we were able to gift aid our tickets too!

 

We got in and straight away there is a stand for the kids to be Explorers for the day, a suggested donation of £1 gets them a book where you need to collect 9 stamps from around the park and if you hand it in at the end you get the chance to win annual membership for 2 adults and 2 children. We couldn’t say no! It was an adventure day after all and it made sure we saw everything at the Zoo – so if your headed there with kids definitely pick one up for them!

Luckily for us the Zoo was quite quiet and meant that we could just wander round at our own pace and not feel rushed at any of the animals! First up we checked out the Penguins, Flamingos and Cheetahs before headed to the Giraffes!

 

 

I am pretty sure my mum has a picture of us both stood outside the Giraffe house like this when we were little! How great do we look haha!

 

We had a great time at the Giraffe’s, just watching them and enjoying being close to them, they are incredibly tall!

We then just wandered round the Zoo taking it all in, enjoying listening to the fun things kids say and just generally chatting and catching up!

 

We had so many giggles walking round and just generally having a random day out, drinking coffee (hot chocolate in Trina’s case) and eating ice cream!

It was really nice and just a great spontaneous day out. We I spend so much of time planning my life out and working out what I am going to do next, that its actually nice to just do something random and see where life takes me. I know we are quite a way off the New Year, but why do we need a new year to set resolutions! I want to say yes more, I want to be more spontaneous! Sod it! Lets go to Disney hahaha!

 

Lavender Brunch

It was Brunch Club today with Hayley and Carla! This time was Hayley’s choice of Long Barn just off the A31. Long Barn grows Lavender as well as selling a vast range of products as well, if you were to ask me to describe the venue its almost a garden centre, cross cafe, cross unique shop – it really is something I have never really experienced before.

 

As I pulled into the car park, straight away I was taken aback by how modern but yet, held a country shop vibe it just looked really welcoming! My tummy was rumbling, so I requested we eat first then explore the shop and grounds! We found a seat in the barn and it was just gorgeous, all the seats were like recycled, antique looking metal garden chairs with big chunky wood tables. There was a lot of greenery and just felt really natural and organic.

 

We took a look at the menu, but after walking past the abundance of cake (I didn’t get a snap of that!), I knew it was going to be a case of cake for brunch for me! Luckily I wasn’t on my own and both Hayley and Carla joined me! So what did we have?

Carla had a lovely hot chocolate with loads of mini marshmallows, accompanied by a bakewell slice. Hayley tucked into a coffee with a generous slice of passion fruit & banana gluten free cake. For me, it was a mocha with a chewy pecan slice HEAVEN! We all tucked in a enjoyed our cake breakfast, there was plenty more on offer – but can resist a cake?! We, as always talked for ages about everything from the list of brunch idea’s Hayley has, to Christmas gifts, to Carla’s wedding plans. Its always lovely to spend some time catching up with these ladies!

 

Once we have chewed each others ears off, we took off to explore and found some really cool things! Take a look at some of the snaps I took!

 

So! If your stuck for something to do of a weekend and want somewhere new to explore, head over to Long Barn. They are really welcoming the cake is INSANELY good and the grounds are lovely – I would love to see it when the Lavender is in full bloom!

 

Love

Emma xxx