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

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

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.