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!

 

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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

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

Brunch Club!

It was a beautiful sunny sunday morning….my alarm went off before 8 am…..‘why?!’ I asked myself ‘why is my alarm going off’. Then I remembered. 

The night before I thought I would go to the gym first thing. It didnt happen

The reason going to the gym was such a good plan, is because its brunch day! That normally means yummy coffee and something naughty! Hayley and I have been doing brunch on and off since the start of the year and today we invited our friend Carla to join our club! 

Todays venue was T & Thistle in Southsea, about a 20min journey from my home, so not too far! After a strange tour by my satnav (I am not great driving in Portsmouth!) I arrived and the girls were already inside. It was so quiet, I got myself a latte and we started a 3hr chatathon!

The coffee was amazing – I couldn’t help myself and got a mocha when we ordered our food! I went for Eggs Florentine and they were gorgeous. I love eggs and I so wish I could poach eggs, so they are always a real treat. Although I was really torn between that and a bagel, so maybe that will have to be saved for next time! Hayley also had eggs and Carla went for crumpets. 

It was really nice to spend sunday morning with the girls and finding out about each others plans and just generally chatting and taking it easy! It wasn’t massively expensive either, I spent around £12 for 2 coffees and food which is perfect for when your on a tight budget. 

As we were starting to get ready to head out our thoughts turned to our next date! We have planned it for September and our venue choice is Longbarn. So a bit of a drive but hopefully completely worth it! 

Are you based in Hampshire and have a recommendation for brunch? Please let me know!

Emma xxx

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.

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