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

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Tips For The Best Vegas Trip

April 2015 Matt, I & another couple headed to Las Vegas for a week! 1 week in Vegas!

We LOVED every second of it, from the shopping, the food, the nights out, the attractions it was just fantastic. It is somewhere that we feel that we would love to return to one day as there is still so much we didn’t do that we would have loved to have done! Plus its constantly changing, there are new shows all the time and new exhibitions and hotels are changing so why not go back!

BUT this isn’t about my time there (although you will some of my snaps)! Its 10 things that not just myself, but friends and family would recommend for a trip to Vegas!

  • See A Show! We saw a Cirque Du Soleil show when we were out there and we both really enjoyed it. I also saw Britney Spears and I know a few people who have seen Rod Stewart as well as countless other shows and loved all of them. Quite often fantastic artists have residencies in Las Vegas hotels, so if you want the last chance to see your favourite artist Vegas is the place to go! 
  • Go To The Grand Canyon! Every single person I have spoken to about Las Vegas has said you cannot go and not go to the grand canyon. We went on a sunset helicopter tour which included a champagne picnic in the canyon, but there are so many different options and there is a suspended walk too that you can do which looks awesome!
  • See The Bellagio Fountains! Fantastic fountains that perform to music and they are spectacular, nothing can really prepare you for them at all! We saw them several times over the week were there but my favourite place to watch them was on the High Roller at The Linq. If you time it right, you can be at the top of the High Roller at the right time to see them in all their glory and it truly is a great sight!
  • Eat At A Buffet! Even if you do it just once, go crazy! We went for a breakfast buffet and had about 10 platefuls of breakfast each! You can could get everything from contiential cheese and hams to breakfast burritos! It was crazy but a good way to fill up until a late night dinner!
  • Downtown Vegas! For me it was probably the tackiest part of Vegas BUT you can’t got to Vegas and not experience it. Its the birth place and where it all began, go and eat at Heart Attack Grill OR Zip Wire through Freemont Street, place a bet in one of the oldest hotels. Honestly, its an experience you wont forget!
  • The Stratosphere! As a base its quite far out from the main strip for my liking, but as an oppertunity to get a 360 view of everything (a side from the high roller), it is the best place to go! Until I went up there I don’t think I truly understood just how much we were in the desert! Now, if you are a bit of a thrill seeker then there are rides you can go on at the top of the tower providing the wind isn’t too bad. It’s not my idea of fun, but it was a giggle to watch some of the rides.

 

  • The Hotels! It goes without saying that the hotels are truly amazing in Vegas, but the fact that your senses are catapulted into a completely different world in every hotel is just beyond belief. I loved the feel of the Bellagio but I also really liked The Venetian AND of course our hotel The Mirage. The fact that at every entrance there was a coconut smell, just tropical really set the scene for me! You could spend days just exploring what every hotel has to offer without doing anything else.
  • Have A Bet! Even if its just one, have a bet! I didn’t win anything, but Matt did a few times and we found a $100 dollar chip. You can do so much in Vegas and not place 1 bet, but I personally dont think you have had a true Vegas experience if you haven’t placed a bet! After all, its what Vegas is known for!
  • The Restaurants! Ok, I have already spoken about buffet’s but the amount of restaurants you can pick from is incredible! I reckon there must be well over 1,000 restaurants in Vegas to choose from so NOBODY and I mean NOBODY can say they didn’t find at least 1 place they liked! Here is just a selection of what we ate during our week there!
  • SHOP! If you are anything like me you love any opportunity you have to do a spot of shopping. If your man is busy in the casino’s and you have a girlfriend with you go and hit the shops, on the strip alone there are 3 malls I can think of straight away for you to spend hours in. But a short taxi ride away you have the choice of 2 outlet malls to explore and spend your money (or his winnings) in!

Well, there you have it, my personal 10 things to make your Vegas trip great! As with every holiday its your personal choice and some of these wont suit everyone, but isn’t that the beauty of getting recommendations? You can pick and choose what is right for you, or maybe even try something different and you might be surprised!

Love

Emma x

Women Against Women

Today, I had my 3rd Liberty shoot with Dimples & Daisies, I feel so liberated during and after these shoots AND my confidence is always elevated as well.

However, after my shoot and on the drive home, I started to think about how the day went and what I enjoyed most about today and for me, it was easy!

I am and have been for a long time someone who sits and takes in her surroundings and listens to figure out her place and then figure out where I fit in. Today, I did a lot of listening and do you know I what I heard? Women building each up, encouraging each other and just being kind and supportive. Do you know what that got me thinking?

Why Is This Not Normal?

We are all, as women, so insecure about everything, from the way we look right through to our careers, to how we raise our children and how we love our partners. Do you know why, its not because of our arch enemy The Man its because we are tearing each other down.

Why Are We Doing This?

Why as women has it become acceptable to question each other and judge each other? Why on earth cannot we not encourage and support each other? I have seen far too many women/girls/teens etc. judging others for the way they look, sound, dress etc. why does it matter?

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We need to learn to raise each other up and encourage each other and just be kind to one another. After all, dont we have enough to deal with in life, without knowing that our fellow women are ready to tear us down the minute they have the chance?

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Just Shop……

When you read this, I will be out for the day with Matt, our 2 nieces and our nephew to treat them all for our nephew’s 2nd birthday – you can’t just take 1! haha!

However, this post isn’t about that, this is about my urge to shop…..I love a good shop, going out with some money you have saved up getting bits you need, bits you dont need and maybe a luxury item or 2 if your really lucky. BUT its been an AGE since I was able to do that & no its not because I brought a house, I just haven’t had time to plan it in. Last time I did a full day shop like leave the house at 7am and get back at 7pm was for my birthday last year! OVER 1 year!

Don’t get me wrong, I have been shopping over the past year, but just not shopped – do you know what I mean?! I am calling my girls – I NEED some shopping tiiiiimmmmmeeeeee!!!

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Now, I know a lot of people shop online and that’s great, for them……but what happened to spending an hour in the changing room with about 10 different outfits? Coming home with about 10 different shopping bags, one of them was bound to have broke on the way round so you have to cram it all in other bags. I can recall Steph and I actually sitting down in Primark one year with our baskets to determine what we actually needed vs what we wanted so we didn’t spend all our money in 1 shop!

Even Matt is a good shopper with me but only in America! What is that?! In this country he just gets under my feet and doesn’t buy anything for himself – in the states, he turns into me! In San Francisco we were in Armarni Exchange for at least 1 hour whilst he tried on god knows how many different items on clothes and he brought 1 style t-shirt in 3 different colours! AND to make it even better – he encourages me to spend money!

That’s it, either we need to go to America just to shop OR I need a shopping day with my girls here…..somebody please step forward!

Well your probably wondering what would I buy……

What would I buy?! Honestly no blooooody clue – but when did that ever stop anyone?!

Just Take Me Shopping!!!!

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

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