Monday, 29 July 2013

Hen Do Help!

On the 11th August it is my older sister's hen do (or bachelorette party to my US buddies!). I have only ever helped organise one hen do and the bride was quite limited on things she could do because she was 8 months pregnant. Still fun though!

This time the bride to be is not pregnant (I hope!) but very picky! Her best friend Carly is the main organiser and she has done a wonderful job so far. Nicola has always been a fan of the races! We have an annual big race day down in the south called Ascot and trust me before Nicola became a Mum she was down at Ascot on ladies day all dulled up!

So this year we are going to the races where we are having a picnic, putting on a few bets and getting all dressed up. The only thing Carly is having trouble with is entertainment for the day like games etc. It is quite a challenge because we will be in a field in the middle of a race track. One of my ideas was to ask Robbie (her fiancé) some questions on a video and Nicola has to guess the answers. We are still thinking of doing that but without the video input as we will have no electricity and I am not taking a laptop with me where there'll be 2000 other people!

Carly and Nicola - Best friends.

So does anyone have any ideas of games/entertainment we could have on the day? Baring in mind our location. For any of my married/engaged friends what did you have at your hen do?

It would be most appreciated.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

A Royal Hodgepodge.

Trying to get back into the swing of things by linking up to hodgepodge this week. If you want to take part then you should, by answering the questions linked on Joyce's blog.

1) July 24th is Amelia Earhart day. Earhart was the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic ocean. What's something you've recently accomplished solo?

Is it sad that I was finally able to get my mum to clean her wardrobe out? It has been a MESS for months and months to the point you had to climb over her clothes and shoes. I woke up yesterday morning determined to get it sorted. I started it and she finished it! Mission accomplished!

2) What's one product you use that never ever fails?

Tresemme frizz ease serum is a must have for my hair. It really takes the frizziness out of my hair and stops it looking like a bomb has hit it after blow drying it!

3) Have you found your place in the world? Where is it?

I don't have a place where I want to retreat to when I need to think or have time out. I wish I did. When my Granddad's ashes were buried (we have since scattered them in various places) I used to visit his plaque quite a lot. I remember when Simon and I visited the Lake District last year and there was one lake called Crammond Water - it was just beautiful and I remember thinking if this place was nearer I'd stay here all the time!

4) Worst movie you ever saw?

I don't know if this is the worst but when I think of my least favourite movies, this one always pops up. The Terminal - with Tom Hanks. It is the only movie I have seen in the cinema that I left before it ended. I don't even care how it ended because it was that pants! It's a shame because Tom Hanks is the lead in one of my all time favourite films - Forrest Gump.

5) What's the last fun thing you did?

I would have to say going to Thorpe Park with the work girls at the beginning of this month. That was a great day out!

6) The month of July is named for Roman Emperor Julius Caesar...ever been to Rome? What's your favourite Italian dish?

I went to Rome in September 2011 and loved it! It is a city full of so much culture and you honestly feel like you're walking around in an oil painting as you discover new places. I would love to go back and I would definitely say to anyone who is visiting Europe - definitely go to Italy! My favourite Italian dish is spaghetti!
Eating my favourite dish outside the Colosseum in Rome.

7) What is one piece of advice you'd offer new mum Kate Middleton?

I am not a Mum so I have no mummy advice to offer but from what I have heard my older sister Nicola say about mummy-hood I would say this. Savour the little moments. Nicola says she used to remember being so desperate to get Cohen off to sleep or get him to finish his bottle to put him down so she could stay in tune with his routine. Now he is walking everywhere, doesn't want to hold your hand and a lot more independent. She always wishes she never rushed everything when he was little and appreciated the extra snuggly moments.

Cohen, my nephew at two weeks old. He's now 16 months.

8) Insert your own random thought here.

I am pleased the new Prince of Cambridge is here, healthy and came safely. I won't lie I really wanted it to be a girl! I'm mean aren't I? It's only because after Queen Elizabeth it is a succession of men to the throne. It would have been nice to have broken it up a little bit - especially now first born females can now ascend the throne! However, I think William and Kate will make wonderful parents.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Do you judge a person by their name?

This interview took England by storm a few weeks ago and I would like you to have a watch. It's only 5 minutes, but if like me, it may leave your blood boiling...

So do you judge a person and what they have become on their name?

I actually cannot understand the nerve of this woman to say that a persons name affects or reflects their behaviours, their class and their personality. I just think it is a horrible thing to do. It's very stereotypical and boxing someone in because of that can be hurtful.

I think the naming of someone is a personal thing. For example, when Kim Kardashian called her daughter North West. Do I like the name? No because to me it sounds silly but if Kim and Kanye like it then it's their personal choosing. But I don't think of the name North, Grace, Charmaine, Tyler etc as being a certain class. I most certainly don't think if I hear those names in conversation or outside that that person is unkind or naughty! And i would never stop my child from befriending another child simply because I don't like their name.

We all have opinions on names because as humans we cannot like everything. I will admit the only thing I judge about names if I hear them in public is whether I think they are common. At the moment i hear the name Grace a lot. It's a beautiful name!!! But I do think 'that's a very common name at the moment' but it never goes beyond any other critical judgement.

What kind of message are we sending out to people and especially our kids if we think like that? 

So I'm curious - what do you think? Is Katie Hopkins being snotty? Or do you think a person's name is a reflection of their upbringing and social status?

Monday, 15 July 2013

The End?

This is a blog post that I do not want to write but feel it is necessary in order to help me heal. Simon and I have decided to break up. There are many reasons of which I will never bring to the surface of social media, but for now it's what's best for us.

So I want to apologise for my, now, lack of interest in blogger and twitter. I need to take some time out to evaluate some things in my life. Simon and I may have only been together for 18 months which to some people is not a long time. But we made many future plans and memories together which will be very hard to move on from. He will always be someone I cherish, love and adore!!! But at the moment we are taking a few weeks break from each other and see what happens.

What will be, will be.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Florida Keys

The Florida Keys was our own little paradise. We stayed in Key Largo and our hotel was right on the beach. It was the hotel's own beach and it was so good to walk out of our room and within 2 minutes be in the water. Below is the video from our time there. We miss it so much!

The Florida Keys was our chance to just relax. We had spent the previous two weeks queuing in lines, being caught in rain storms, driving many miles and trying to get to certain places at set times. In the Keys we had none of that to worry about. The weather was great! We had shops and restaurants just up the road. It was just ideal.

My most favourite thing we did was go to the Dolphin Research Centre (DRS). There are many Dolphin sanctuaries in the Keys but we chose DRS in Marathon because it is non-profit. So every money spent there goes straight back to the Dolphins. This place just stole my heart and it was also the place where 'Flipper' was filmed. They did little shows for you and also did educational talks as well. You could pay extra to touch/train/have a dip with a Dolphin but no swimming with them, which I really liked. The reason why we did not do Seaworld in Orlando is because I don't agree that animals should be 'put on show' - to me it is cruel that their sole purpose is to entertain visitors.

The DRS put on shows with the Dolphins but only once a day with different Dolphins each day, and if the Dolphin doesn't want to do it then the show does not go ahead. The workers said this can happen frequently but it does not bother them. The space was a lot more freeing too. The gulf of Mexico sea is the backdrop and if the Dolphins want to leave then they can. They are not confined to just the DRS. I really hope that one day we can go back. Also, if you do ever go just FYI it is only open for about 5 hours a day which isn't very long. This is because the people who work there are researchers and need time in the day to monitor the Dolphins to carry out the school work. It was just a very well run place and you could tell they adored the Dolphins!

It was sad to leave but it was 4 days well spent of not doing very much other than soaking up the sunshine, reading and drinking strawberry daiquiris!

I can see why you're called the sunshine state Florida. We basked in all your delights! Thank you for having us. Until we come again.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

We're going to Miami!

Before we left for Miami, after seeing the Kennedy Space Centre, we took a little detour to Cocoa Beach. I work with Dan who is from Michigan and he said it's his favourite beach in the world. So I just knew we had to make a stop off here. It was a beautiful beach and so vast! It seemed to go on forever. We only spent about half an hour here having a paddle in the water and writing in the sand. Then our 3 hour drive to Miami began...

If there is one thing to describe Miami is this - you get exactly what it is says on the tin. It is full of fast/expensive cars, posh places to eat out, people walking around looking like a million dollars and the sun shines most of the time. It only rained once during our 3 day stay. I can totally see why Miami isn't to everyones taste. It is mellow during the day and comes alive at night. It's quite a nocturnal city!

We wanted Miami to be semi relaxing but also a place to go see/do things. We usually went to South beach for the morning/early afternoon and then did something in the afternoon/evening around Miami town. People normally go to Miami for the beaches (and there beautiful beaches) but it also has other attractions too. Below is a list of what we did.

South beach - it has yellow sand and clear water so what more could you ask for? We were so lucky that our hotel was a 2 minute walk from here.

Gator Park/Everglades - A couple of months before we flew out I looked after a patient from Florida. He said I'd be stupid not to see some of the Everglades National Park. Simon and I looked up places we could go that were not far from Miami but still see the Everglades. We settled on visiting Gator park which is an air boat tour in the Everglades and also see some Alligators. We really enjoyed this! Neither of us had been on an airboat before which was fun (although very loud, wear ear plugs!) and we saw a few Alligators in the water. As for the Everglades itself, it was so lush and really picturesque. It was also really cool too, it was a very hot day so it was nice to feel some breeze! After the boat tour we saw an animal show which was good.

Miami Marlins Ballpark - We spent an evening watching the Miami Marlins vs St. Louis Cardinals. I had never been to a baseball game before so it was another of firsts for me. I really loved how relaxed the atmosphere was! Fans just came and went as they pleased and it was good to try and understand the game too. To me it is just like English rounders with maybe a few extra rules. It is a LONG game though - we left towards the end as it was getting late. But we found out Miami beat St. Louis the following day. Go Marlins!

Also while we were out there, there was Miami Heat fever! I believe they were in the MBA finals and on the nights they won their games against the San Antonio Spurs the city was really buzzing!

I really liked Miami! It isn't a city I would rush back to but it was fun to experience. It is a varied place to just relax or go away for a weekend away to visit.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Kennedy Space Centre

After our week in Disneyworld we then took an hour drive east to Cape Kennedy where the Kennedy Space Centre (KSC) is located. This is something Simon really wanted to see and do. He really likes anything to do with space and planets. Below is a video from our day visit here.

I had read some reviews on KSC and some of them were quite negative saying it was boring, not worth the money and not a lot to do. Seriously how wrong could they be? I agree the ticket entry price is a little expensive but we got a summer deal they had going by getting the tickets before we flew out.

There is so much to do there that we did not have time to do it all. The things you must do is a tour of the shuttle site, go to the iMAX, the astronaut memorial area and mooch around the rockets. The rockets just looked like big toys to me and they weren't replicas. These rockets had really been in space. We also took a video tour of the Moon landings which I found absolutely amazing! I just developed this real appreciation for the Space programme and just how dangerous it is to go up into space. Afterwards we went into their iMAX theatre and watched a documentary on Hubble - again this was really good and it was in 3D. During this time we missed the meet and greet with a real astronaut which would have been cool to do. Our last stop was the memorial area which I thought was really touching! To think that these people felt that 'the conquest of space was worth the risk of life' is very moving.

I am so glad we went here. To have been touring a place where rockets leave this Earth to see what is happening beyond our planet just astonished me. Thank you for a great day out KSC!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Disneyworld - Part 2

Our Disney adventures continue today with the second half of our trip to Disneyworld. The sun continued to be on our side for the rest of our time there. It tended to rain late afternoon which was fine because it was a short burst and then soon dried up! There was one day during our time in Magic Kingdom where we were warned by Disney staff that a thunderstorm was looming. Simon and I weren't expecting what we thought. We have never seen rain like it!!! We were soaked in seconds and had to take shelter with other people in the Runaway train. In saying that it was the most spectacular thunderstorm and lightening I have ever witnessed!

Here's our memories from Disney.

Epcot - We only spent the late afternoon and evening in Epcot. We went on one ride called Test Track where you design your own computerised car and the test it on a track. It was really good! The one thing I loved about Epcot was the world showcase. You get to walk around a huge circle where different countries showcase their food, entertainment and shopping. I thought it was wonderful. They had Asia, Morocco, France and of course the UK. It was neat to walk around. We then watched the 'Illuminations' firework display which was really good. It has a circle of life theme to it and it was set on the water too. Very cleverly done!

Magic Kingdom - And it was just that! Magical. We had the castle, Disney princesses and other characters roaming around and some great rides/attractions. We really enjoyed Splash mountain, Space mountain and The Little Mermaid ride. Our least favourite was the Toy Story one - it was lame to me and you can tell by my face from the pictures I was bored haha! Also, it's a small world has the most irritating songs but it's one of those rides you have to go on. We had an awesome lunch in the Beauty and the Beast restaurant called 'Be our guest' - the whole set up was really good. Who gets to have lunch in a ballroom under chandeliers?! We returned a couple of nights later for the 'Wishes' castle fireworks display. It was out of this world and really caught the magic of Disney! The way the castle was lit up, the different characters they showed, they had quotes from Walt Disney himself. I just fell in love with Disney all over again that night!

Blizzard Beach - There are two main water parks at Disney and we could not choose between Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon. We chose Blizzard Beach because it had a more beachy atmosphere and it was the one we heard more about. We were going to do one in the morning and the other in the afternoon but it was too much effort for us! We went on a couple of the water rides and we really enjoyed the lazy river where you take a rubber ring and the water moves you slowly around. It was nice to have a little bit more of a chilled out day where we didn't have to queue for rides or work out what attraction we wanted to go on next.

Animal Kingdom - It's funny as Animal Kingdom was the park we were least fussed about and I have to say it was probably my favourite!!! I am so pleased we went! I just love how everything was green and lush. It almost felt like you were walking in a forest or jungle. There were animals dotted around and foliage in most places. Our favourite ride was Expedition Everest and we loved the Safari tour! We saw so many animals from Giraffes, Elephants, Hippos etc. We also absolutely loved the 'Celebration of the Lion King' show. It was so colourful, vibrant and put you in such a good mood!!! Plus it was fun to sing a long to all the songs.

Universal (Islands of Adventure) - This was our last day in Orlando and I think we chose the best park (in terms of the rides) until last. It had the best roller coasters - the hulk ride stands out to me. The best water rides - we got soaked on the Popeye rapids! Jurassic Park land was very well themed too. Our favourite part was Harry Potter land. I was completely blown away by how real it was! Hogwarts castle was awesome and the ride inside was by far one of the best! We really enjoyed the roller-coasters too. We had lunch in the three broomsticks and we bought sweets in Honeydukes. We also tried frozen butterbeer - eugh! It was so sickly and we didn't mange to finish it. But at least we can say we tried butterbeer. We just loved every minute of it there!

Also, I have to mention a huge thank you to some of Simon's friends. Simon studied in Atlanta, GA and became friendly with Kirk. They have stayed in touch ever since and Kirk and his girlfriend made the 7 hour journey to come see us. We had a really nice meal and it was so great to finally meet them both. 

We really appreciated your efforts Kirk and Lauren!

I can totally see why people fall in love with Disneyworld. It has never appealed as a holiday to me but now I completely understand why people repeatedly go back. It's packed full of fun, magic, adventure and you make so many memories! It doesn't matter if you're young or an adult - you will just have the most incredible time. If we go again next time it would probably be with kids and I would like to do Bush Gardens, Discovery Cove and Typhoon Lagoon. Just to think it was all started by a mouse?!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

It's summer time Hodgepodge.

Alas, it is that lovely time of the week again to join in on the Hodgepodge. If you have been thinking it would be fun to take part then what are you waiting for? Join in!

1) What's something someone might ask you for help with?

Where do I start? In my line of work I get asked for help everyday from going to the toilet, getting rid of pain, assisting to surgery, chaperoning consultants. On a personal basis a lot of my friends ask me on help with birthday/Christmas present ideas for their loved ones.

2) What's something you might ask someone else for help with?

I am not very good on the phone. I will always ask someone to help me answer calls or ask another person to call on behalf of me. I really have no idea why but I get my words jumbled up and I always always always forget to pass messages on if I take a phone call. I can make simple phone calls like making appointments but when it comes to sales calls or trying to cancel something (e.g. car insurance) then I am so bad and need help.

3) Did your family take summer vacations when you were a child? If so, where did you go?

Yes I was very lucky as a child as we quite often took two family holidays a year. We normally went somewhere in the UK during summer half term and then in the summer holidays we went away. We usually went to Spain, the Spanish islands or Portugal.

4) Pool-Lake-Ocean...which is most appealing to you on a hot summer day?

I would have to say the pool. I have never swam in a lake and I am not a fan of the salty taste of the sea. So I would have to say pool - especially if it is really cool as then it's really refreshing!

5) Have you ever justified the saying 'got to be cruel to be kind?' Was it really necessary or were you just rationalising it?

I think the last time I really meant it was in my last relationship with my ex I was just not happy anymore and I had fallen out of love with him. I knew I had to be cruel by breaking up with him but in the long run I was being kinder because we both knew the relationship had ended.

6) The Journal of Psychology recently mentioned the results of a survey identifying the ten most hated foods as liver, lima beans, mayonnaise, mushrooms, eggs, okra, beets, brussel sprouts, tuna and gelatine. Of those foods how many do you actually hate? Anything you'd add to the list?

I only hate 3 things on that list and they are liver, lima beans and tuna. The rest I either like or will eat if theres not an abundance on my plate. I would add chick peas and sultanas to the list -eugh!

7) What's your favourite movie or book set in a beach or lake town?

I remember reading a Nicholas Sparks book a couple of years ago called The Notebook (it's a great film too!) It is set in Charleston, South Carolina - which I know is not a lake or beach town. But the lead male - Noah - builds a beautiful lake house and I so wish it really existed to go stay there!

8) Insert your own random thoughts.

This weekend just gone Simon and I went to Henley Regatta! It is an annual rowing gala where rowing teams from across the world come to compete. The weather was glorious and we hired a boat ourselves to go up and down the Thames. I wish we were still there!

Simon and his Dad this weekend towing the boat.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Florida week - Disneyworld.

Firstly I am sorry about the delay in Florida week. It was meant to start on Sunday but Si and I only started doing the videos Sunday. We are having a heatwave in the UK at the moment and I wanted to make the most of the sunshine on my days off.

So here we are FLORIDA WEEK!

We landed in Orlando during a tropical storm. Thank you Andrea! You sure knew how to welcome your visitors to the state. Luckily we landed towards the end and only had to go through one day full of rain. However, it was the warmest rain I have ever been in so even though we were wet, we weren't cold.

We decided that since it was raining we would spend our first day in the park with the most indoor rides/attractions. We were advised Universal was the best place so we spent the day in Universal Studios. Even though it rained we still had a lot of fun!

My favourite rides were The Simpsons and Despicable Me. They were both 3D motion attractions which I just thought were so fun, plus they were indoors!

The following day was our first day of SUNSHINE! I was in such a good mood. We went to Hollywood Studios where we went on most of the rides. Simon and I both agreed that the Rock n Roller coaster was the best ride there! I also loved seeing the shows - especially Beauty and the Beast. This was also the day I found the Waffle cone. They're huge and taste amazing - I can honestly say after this day I had a waffle cone everyday of the holiday. I also really liked the design of Hollywood studios - it didn't seem as packed and had more space to walk around compared to the other parks. On another note it was also really cool to see all the backstage stuff like the backlot tour, touching props used in films and learning quirky facts about film sets. It made you appreciate what goes on behind the camera!

Next up...part 2!

Monday, 8 July 2013

Simon and I - Week 10.

Two weeks from the end - boo! Today we are on week 10. I am taking part in Callie's 'Derek and me' series which you can check out here.

Week 10 - I am proud of you because...

You always live up to your promises. You never let our relationship down. You always put 100% of your effort into everything you do. You are always patient and kind.

I am proud of you because...

You try your hardest to make everyone around you happy and are always willing to help people out. You always looks forward and keep the past in the past. I'm proud of your honesty to tell people and yourself when you're in the wrong.

I am proud of you because...

You never change being just you. Being you is the best person you can be. I am proud of you everyday. But most of all, I'm proud to be your girlfriend and best friend.

I cannot communicate this to you enough.

 The sky is the limit. Photo taken September 2012.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Florida Week!

I have had quite a few people asking about my travels to Florida. I can't believe that it was a month ago we left! It feels like a distant memory now. So next week I am designating my blog as Florida Week! There are over a 1000 photos from our travels so we are condensing them down and making them into short videos. This way it's easier for you to see what we were up to and a good way to savour our memories.

I hope you can join me. Below are more snapshots from our time in the sunshine state.

'Wishes' firework display at Magic Kingdom. Just amazing!

Outside Cinderella's castle.

Trying Butterbeer for the first time in Harry Potter land. Do you think I liked it?

Trying to pretend we're astronauts at Kennedy Space Centre!

Hope to see you next week guys!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Back on the bandwagon hodgepodge!

It's good to be back after 4 weeks of being missing in action. This poor blog has been neglected a lot over the last month or so. It's good to return. As usual you answer Joyce's questions, post every Wednesday and link up by clicking on the badge below.

1) What's one simple small pleasure on your summer 'to-do- list?

Instantly what comes to my mind is spending an evening in the garden on a sunny and warm evening. Whilst drinking a sangria or wine. That would be lovely!

2) Do you have strong feelings or opinions regarding the immigration debate in your country?

Yes I think we have an immigration crisis because they're simply too many! However, if immigrants come over to the UK to live and choose to go by our regulations (i.e pay their taxes, get a job to help the economy) then I have absolutely no problem with that. It's just that is very rarely the case! Immigrants come here wanting refuge (which I can understand as many countries are violent and hard to live in), but then reap off the tax payer, expect free housing, free medical care etc and it annoys me a lot.

3) What's something in your home or wardrobe that could be described at 'star spangled'?

Does this mean something sparkly or something that has the American colours/patterns to it? If so nothing.

4) Is your house set up for a party?

At this present time, no way!

5) What one never-before-visited city in America would you like to see?

oOo this is a good one. It's a toss up between Washington DC as I would love to see all the history that is based there. On the more exotic side it would be Honolulu in Hawaii - because it's Hawaii!!!

6) Your favourite red food? white food? blue food?

Red raspberries, white fish, blue smarties.

7) What freedom do you value the most and why?

The freedom of speech. As long as it is done without violence then I have the utmost respect for people who vote, protest fairly and voice their fears. I value that I can have a say in how my work place is ran, who sits in my country's parliament (even if I don't agree on a lot they do) and who runs for my local council. I love that I can at least try to have my voice heard which I know in so many countries, that freedom is denied.

8) Insert your own random thought here.

Now Florida feels like a distant memory I am now gearing up for the next thing to look forward to. My sister's hen do! I ordered my dress this week - it's a mint green so will share with you another week when it arrives. Otherwise, on this cloudy day I long to be in the picture below...

Key Largo, Florida.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Simon and I - Week 9

Week 9 has arrived and this week we're focusing on personality. I am taking part in Callie's 'Derek and me' series which you can check out here.

Week 9 - What is your favourite personality trait about them.

There are many parts of Simon's personality that I absolutely adore and love him for. If I really had to choose one it would be his positivity. Simon always tries to find the 'nice guy' in a person, he looks for the good over evil and he genuinely wakes up each morning with the feeling that it can be a 'good day'. He is hardly ever, and I mean ever in a bad mood! He wakes up happy and goes to bed as content as he possibly can. I cannot tell you how refreshing it is. I know some people can find 'happy people' a little annoying but I really don't. I work in a profession that can be emotionally draining. I don't know who I am caring for and what patients I deal with until I go on shift. I have to expect the unexpected continually and this for me causes good days and bad days. It's such a good feeling to leave work knowing I am going home to a positive person that makes me see the light in everything I do. It makes me feel very lucky to have him!

Also, I can't not mention this as it is a close second but I love how forgiving Simon is. This is where we are polar opposites. I hold grudges and if someone betrays me I will not forgive them. Last year Simon's Dad left the family and even through the emotional turmoil of losing his Dad. Simon still hoped their relationship would be rekindled, despite everything he still remained positive even in the darkest of times. When things did get better and his Dad returned home, Simon forgave him. As much as I could not at the time I found it very admirable of him. He has a very forgiving nature that I hope no-one takes advantage of!

Night away in the country. July 2012.
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