A Surprise Birthday Trip to Iceland – Part 2!

Waking up to this view on your birthday is the best.

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View from our bedroom window at Alda Hotel

I was sad to be leaving Reykjavík behind and our stay at the Alda Hotel in the centre of the city had been great. The rooms were minimalist but full of home comforts, the staff were super friendly and helpful and they had a gorgeous bar area where you could snuggle up by the open fire at the end of the day. The location was also perfect as it was walk able to all the main bars, shops, restaurants, waterfront and bus stop. Everything you could need for your adventure in Iceland.

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After a morning of opening cards, drinking prosecco and enjoying a leisurely breakfast, we decided to take one last walk along the waterfront to take in the views, before getting the bus to the Blue Lagoon.

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Birthday Bubbles!

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Getting the bus is super easy and cheap in Iceland and they all leave from the main bus depot so you don’t have to worry about finding a bus stop.

I was so excited to go to the Blue Lagoon on my birthday, and not only were we going for the afternoon we were also staying the night in their on site hotel. I’m very lucky that Matt actually enjoys visiting spas! I couldn’t wait to get there and see it all in person. Their website looked so sleek and exclusive, I envisioned it being very luxurious and beautiful, especially as it’s one of the 25 wonders of the World.

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The bus dropped us off at the main entrance for the Blue Lagoon, it was busy, very busy! We shouldn’t have been surprised though, as this is probably the most popular tourist spot in Iceland. We thought by arriving at lunchtime things would have calmed down a bit, but that wasn’t the case as it seems people continue to arrive all day.

We made our way to the entrance/ticket area and explained that we were staying at the hotel and asked how we could get there. We were told it was a bit of a walk and so they would get a worker to drop us off in a buggy, great or so we thought. We were made to wait in the tiny entrance area which had a couple of plastic tables and chairs with leaflets about the Blue Lagoon, nothing special or fancy like they had shown on the website, but I still had my high hopes as we hadn’t seen the real thing yet! But we ended up waiting for ages and every time we asked what was happening they would just tell us that someone was coming for us. Wasn’t the best customer service and we were made to feel like it was our fault for not being dropped off at the hotel. Not a great start as we just wanted to be in the Lagoon!

Finally someone collected us in a buggy and took us over to the hotel. Without suitcases we definitely could have walked it but the ground was so uneven (it’s icy lava fields) it would have been a nightmare to drag those along. Feeling a bit happier and that bit closer to the lagoon we made our way to reception for check in. We were greeted with the frostiest receptionist, she didn’t even smile or say anything when I excitedly said we were there for my birthday, it was like she couldn’t care less. It was all very bare and cold and almost felt like a hospital, not a luxurious spa hotel. We saw no other guests and made our way to our room on the ground floor. Again this was very minimalist but we were here for the lagoon and not the room, it’s just a bit odd though when you are used to the homely comforts of spa hotels in the UK, this felt clinical! One positive though was the beautiful views of the surrounding lava fields from our windows and it really did feel like we were the only ones there which I guess is a bonus.

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The lava fields 

I was about to get changed into my swimming costume and robe when I realised that we would have to make our way back over to the Lagoon again! What a palaver. That’s one thing when visiting a spa, I like everything to be under one roof, I hate the one’s where you have to walk outside to get to the spa area or back to your hotel room. It just makes me feel cold and what if it was raining? So we decided to pack our swimming stuff and wear all our layers as remember Iceland is freezing, to walk back over to the main Lagoon, as we didn’t want to risk waiting for a buggy again now we knew where we were going and we had already wasted time.

By staying at the hotel our entry to the Blue Lagoon was already included and we had been given our wristbands for entry. These also acted as a key for our electronic lockers in the changing rooms and you could also use them to buy food and drinks on site. When you leave they scan your wristband and it shows what you owe and you pay for everything then. Pretty clever I thought!

After the adventurous walk, going through the ticket entry system, finding a locker and getting changed, we were finally ready to enter the Blue Lagoon. A geothermal seawater lagoon, featuring three active ingredients, Silica, Algae & Minerals, praised for its numerous benefits and naturally heated to 37-40°C (98-104°F). Bliss!

And bliss it was, all the issues of the day soon melted away and we had a fun, relaxing afternoon. Floating around the huge lagoon, taking in the sights, using the natural blue mud as a face mask and just chilling in this natural wonder. A great place to spend any day but especially a birthday. They even have a bar you can float to!

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We popped back inside the main building to the cafe for a quick bite to eat and afterwards we got to enjoy the lagoon by night, which I think is truly special and something you should definitely do if you are visiting. Most of the day tourists leave by this time, so you get more space to explore. There are coves to find, the waterfall, sauna and steam rooms and even a relaxation area. Matt then told me he had booked us in for an evening water massage, so we had to make our way over to a reserved area, still inside the lagoon.

I had no idea what to expect from an in water massage, having never experienced one before but I was very excited to find out. You lay/float on what looks like a thin yoga mat but you can still feel the warmth of the water beneath you, so you don’t get cold. Occasionally my masseuse would dunk my body (not head) under the water to ensure I was kept warm. Then you are massaged using the Blue Lagoon mineral massage oil for a whole hour. I was laying on my back and that way I got to look up and see all the tiny stars in the clear, black sky above. It was very magical and something I will never forget. The actual massage was great too, just an all round amazing experience.

After feeling thoroughly relaxed we decided to leave the Lagoon and head back to our hotel room, as we had dinner plans that night.

Ladies and gents for that matter, make sure you cover your hair in conditioner before you enter the lagoon otherwise your hair will dry out and be a mess of knots! Especially if you dye/bleach it!

After attempting to sort my hair out. We then got a buggy to Lava Restaurant, which is located back over in the main Blue Lagoon building.

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How cool is this place? It’s built into a lava cliff, with views over the lagoon. As you can see we were pretty much the only people there! Not that we were complaining but it seems that Icelanders don’t eat dinner very late. We found this at every restaurant we visited during our trip, when booking a table for say 8pm they found this very odd and most places actually close quite early, so make sure you check timings when booking or visiting restaurants!

The food here was delicious, beautifully presented and the waiters made a big fuss about it being my birthday. I couldn’t decide between two desserts, so they got the chef to plate both of them on one plate for me, without even asking for it, amazing!

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After an amazing dinner and being the only ones left in the place we decided it was time to head back to our room. But then it hit us, it was pitch black and no buggy available to take us over to the hotel, we would have to walk back by ourselves! We had torches on our phones and there were tiny lights to guide our path, but it took us quite a while to walk the 10 minute usual walk, especially as I was wearing heels! But we finally made it back without any injuries.

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This was our view/path. Very icy!

The next morning we went for breakfast which was inside the hotel, but it was terrible, they say they only serve healthy breakfasts but there were barely any options and in the end we both just had some fruit and left pretty quickly.

Determined to make the most of our last morning in Iceland. We decided to take a dip in the small lagoon pool which was for hotel guests only. This was basically exactly the same as the main Blue Lagoon, just on a much smaller scale and part of the hotel so no walking. It was lovely and very relaxing just floating around all morning. Until sadly we had to quickly change and catch the bus to the airport to fly home.

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I would definitely recommend visiting the Blue Lagoon and Lava Restaurant, but I would only do it as a day trip and continue to stay in Reykjavík. Obviously I am happy we experienced it like we did and we still had a great time, but it was just a shame the hotel was pretty terrible and I felt that the walk between the hotel and Blue Lagoon was pretty unsafe especially at night. I have seen that they are building a new hotel though opening in 2017, so who knows, maybe they will make some good changes?

I absolutely loved my time in Iceland and cannot thank Matt enough for surprising me with the trip.

One day I would love to go back, although Finland might be next on the list for a cold location. I would love to stay in the Ice Hotel and you can try and spot the Northern Lights there too, as that is one thing we didn’t manage to spot in Iceland!

Love, Chloe xx

 

Shoes, Champagne & Cheese

Last September – I cannot believe it was a whole year ago!! Megs and I visited the Victoria & Albert Museum to view their, Shoes:Pleasure and Pain exhibition.

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Unfortunately you weren’t allowed to take photos inside the exhibition and even though lots of people were, we respected their wishes. So the photos you’ll see of shoes are all taken from Google!

The exhibition was great but pretty busy. Even though tickets were booked in advance and we had an allocated time slot, the first area with the glass displays of shoes were pretty crowded.

The displays were visually enticing but also informative and as a massive shoe lover I found it all very interesting and wanted to take a lot of the shoes home with me!

The shoes displayed ranged from the first pair of Greek Sandals, to 16th Century Venice, to 1940’s London Ladies shoes, to 1960’s Mary Quant boots all the way through to modern day Jimmy Choo’s.

They also had a display dedicated to famous shoes in history, such as David Beckham’s football boots, the infamous white Salvatore Ferragamo pumps, well worn by Marilyn Monroe and even Cinderella’s glass slipper, which I really wanted to sneak home, but don’t think it would have fitted some how and obviously Cinderella still has the other one!

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Now you’ve seen all the shoes, which for me are a pleasure. I guess you’re wondering where the pain was? Well along with the Chinese bound slippers which looked like absolute torture! There was a whole area dedicated to Christian Louboutin and his Fetish shoes. I guess you could say this was a pleasure/pain area. I love the look of these shoes though and would love to try a pair.

The ballerina/pointe shoes are designed to be worn while crawling to your partner, so no fears of falling over in them!

 

After looking around all the shoe displays we watched a video of iconic shoe moments in film, advert and TV history, including Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City’s Blue Manolo Blahnik’s, John Travolta’s walk in Saturday Night Fever, Marilyn Monroe’s strut and Michael J Fox’s white Nikes in Back to the Future 2. We then made our way upstairs to a much airier, brighter and more modern environment to watch videos and displays on how shoes are intricately made.

It was a really fun morning and even though this exhibition has now finished, I would definitely recommend visiting the V&A for their exhibitions as well as their usual collections. Below are their current offerings:

  • Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear – On until 12th March 2017
  • Engineering the World – Ove Arup and the Philosophy of Total Design – On until 6th November 2016
  • You Say You Want a Revolution? Record and Rebels 1966-1970 – On until 26th February 2017

From the V&A we made our way over to Covent Garden for a spot of lunch at Champagne and Fromage.

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Champagne and Fromage is a tiny shop and bistro selling an array of champagnes, French cheeses and charcuterie – all the best C’s!

Megs and I found our spot and settled in for the afternoon, sharing a bottle of deliciously cold champagne along with a selection of foods including baked Camembert with nuts, dried apricots and figs along with a selection of breads and salads.

We thought we were too full for dessert until we saw what was on offer! Macarons, Champagne or Mojito sorbets, Apple tart with champagne cream or how does a champagne and raspberry tiramisu sound? Delicious!

C&F is great for a cosy afternoon full of treats and indulgence and I would definitely recommend booking a table, especially if you fancy visiting at peak times.

On our stroll back to the station we noticed that Be At One had a 2 for 1 offer on cocktails so we popped in for 1 which turned into 2, which turned into… you get the picture!

A very indulgent and fun girls day out 🙂

Love, Chloe xxx

 

 

 

Kaiser Chiefs@ Sandown Park Racecourse

As it’s that time of year again for Sandown’s Live Music Nights. I thought I would reminisce  on last years trip to see the Kaiser Chiefs…

I raced home after work one Thursday night in August, quickly changed and jumped on a train to meet Matt at Sandown Park Racecourse in Esher, for a night of horse racing and live music.

We’ve visited Sandown quite a few times now, for both race days and live music nights. It’s a great venue and a fun, local day out for us and our friends.

I found Matt and we made our way across the field, into the venue, in the search of food..and drinks! 😉

Sandown have quite a few food stalls dotted around, as well as a brasserie, or if you like something a little more fancy, they do have Equus, a fine dining restaurant.

As it was still warm, we thought we would make the most of the summer night and decided to have a bit of a picnic on the grass outside. We went for burgers and chips from the food van along with a couple of glasses of fizz from the Prosecco stall. (Prosecco on tap..if only I could have this in our kitchen!)

After our food and lazing in the sunshine, we met up with our friends Spenno and Charlotte and checked out the horses before the first race.

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Spenno, Charlotte, Me and Matt

Spenno plays rugby with Matt and Charlotte, Spenno’s girlfriend is the rugby team’s physiotherapist. They are great friends and we always have such a laugh with the two of them 🙂

We placed bets on every race, but unfortunately no big wins, still a lot of fun though!

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It was then time to make it over to the main stage, ready for Kaiser Chiefs to start.

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As you can see, we were stood somewhere in the middle of the crowd. I was a bit shocked by the vast age range of people who had come out to see them, there were young children all the way through to people in their sixties, maybe even older. I love that though. I started seeing concerts at a young age and I absolutely love music, live music especially.

The last time I saw Kaiser Chiefs was at the Isle of Wight Festival in 2011. The crowd was obviously much bigger, lots of ‘pogoing’ (jumping up and down on the spot) was going on and there were even a few mosh pits. This was also a time before Ricky ‘got hot’ and became a household name from being a coach on the Voice. Their slot was crazy, full of all the songs people could sing/shout along to, the atmosphere was electric and the band were full of so much energy, I was hoping Sandown would be the same, if not very similar.

But they started off a bit mellow, I don’t know if it was the band or the crowd, but there wasn’t the same atmosphere as I had experienced before. Also I hate to say it but Ricky seemed just a little bit full of himself, he wasn’t the same person who I had seen only 4 years previous, at one point he had a bit of a moan that we (the crowd) weren’t getting into it enough, however I don’t know if that was a sarcastic comment or if he really meant it. But once the sun went down, people had had a few drinks and they started playing their hits which everyone was jumping around and singing along to, things got a lot better.

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Us 4 were loving it though and we continued to bounce around and belt out the choruses to ‘I Predict a Riot’, ‘Ruby’ and ‘Everyday I Love You Less and Less’ as if our lives depended on it. Nothing to do with the Prosecco I’m sure ;-p

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All good things must come to an end though and before we knew it they were playing their last song, streamers were going off and I had to enjoy my last pogo jumps of the night. ha.

I would definitely recommend a race night with live music, it’s a bit different to a full race day but still such a fun night out with friends and we are already looking into this years options! I think it’s Jess Glynne, Busted and Bryan Adams. So we/you better get your tickets quick before they sell out!

Love, Chloe x

 

 

 

Pennyhill Park Hotel – Spa Day

Pennyhill Park is my favourite spa hotel. OK so I haven’t been to every spa hotel in the World, but I have been to quite a few and this one, in my opinion, is the best.

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Matt and I have been lucky enough to visit Pennyhill a few times now. It’s usually as a Birthday or Valentine’s treat though, as the prices are pretty high. But this time we decided to have a bit of a spur of the moment trip as we had a random Monday off work and decided to book in a spa day.

This was the first time we had visited for an actual ‘spa day’. Our previous visits had been for over night stays, where you get use of the spa/pool area and then we would go back to our room to get ready for dinner and stay the night. So this time would be a bit different when staying just for the day.

We had booked the Couple’s Spa Day and so arrived at 11am to be greeted with welcome smoothies, which are delicious. Fresh fruits and natural yoghurt blended together, in your choice of flavour, we went for the berry boost. We sat in the lounge area and enjoyed these while filling out the obligatory paperwork.

From there we were escorted to the changing rooms. We hadn’t actually used these before as we would usually get changed in our hotel room and head to the spa in our robes. But the changing rooms are very luxurious, filled with lovely products, the fluffiest towels and the biggest rain showers.

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The ladies changing room

Matt and I had our massages scheduled for 11.30am, so dressed in our white fluffy robes and flip flops, we headed straight to the treatment rooms area.

The one hour Swedish massage was pure bliss, the masseuse worked away all my shoulder and neck tension and the oils she used smelt amazing. You can actually buy these afterwards should you wish. The time went far too quickly for my liking, I could have stayed for at least another 3 hours but unfortunately massage time was over and it was time to meet up with Matt and explore some of the other facilities the spa had to offer.

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One of the treatment rooms

We headed straight to the Hydrotherapy pool which is my favourite place to be, you access the pool from the inside but you can swim through to the outside. Its like a large warm bubble bath with experiences, which can be activated by placing your hand over the circular sensors around the edges of the pool. These include jacuzzi jets and showers. It’s so relaxing and after the dreamlike massage I had just received, I felt like I was floating on cloud nine.

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The Hydrotherapy pool

There are waiters and waitresses outside which will happily take your drinks orders and you can sip your drinks while staying in the pool.

If you fancy staying outside there are other areas you can explore including the Open Air Pool (Please note this is only open during the summer months, I don’t think it’s heated but I could be wrong!)

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The Open Air Pool

You can also chill on the sun loungers and sofa’s which are dotted around the outside pool areas. It’s like being on holiday, you feel a million miles away from the real World.

If you want something a little warmer they have recently added three outdoor Canadian Hot Tubs, but unfortunately these are new so we are yet to try them out.

After using the hydrotherapy pool we headed back inside to try out some of the other facilities on offer.

First up the Ice Cave, you’re meant to use this after being in the sauna or steam room to cool your body down (they do have information boards at each facility so you know how or when’s best to use them) The Ice Cave has 2 walls of ice and the ceiling has twinkly lights, like the nights sky. If you are feeling really brave, they have crushed ice to rub over your body. I wasn’t that brave! Being so cold we then hopped into the Sauna. Afterwards Matt dipped his foot into the plunge pool but decided it was far too cold, so we had some water (they have fountains all around the spa areas) before making our way back upstairs for lunch.

Included in our spa day package was a 2 course lunch and glass of bubbles each, at The Themis Restaurant, which is located in the reception/lounge area of the spa.

We stayed in our fluffy robes and flip flops and perused the menu. There are lots of choices and you can be as healthy or as indulgent as you wish. Matt went for the Sirloin steak and I chose the Sea Bass. The food is delicious and really filling, but we did manage to fit in passion fruit cheesecake for dessert! 😉

We felt pretty stuffed and sleepy from lunch and our super relaxed morning, so we decided to chill for a bit in the Tepidarium. After all you should wait at least 30 minutes after food before going swimming. ha. The Tepidarium is a warm room designed for you to relax in, you lay on gently heated ceramic beds, which are shaped to the contours of the body. They have magazines to read or you could take your own book along. It might not look like it but it’s comfortable and very cosy!

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Matt started to get a little bored just lazing around so we decided to take a dip in the inside pool,  known as the Ballroom Pool. It’s heated and even has underwater music, which is pretty cool. Again, they have loungers around the edge for those not wanting to get in.

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They have a hot tub next to the pool, so we used that occasionally too, alternating between the super hot bubbles and relaxing swim in the warm pool.

As ever time flies when you’re having fun so we decided to spend the last part of our day back outside in the Hydrotherapy pool, like I said it’s my favourite spot 🙂

The spa has so many other facilities which we didn’t even use, including, The Experience Showers, Laconiums (a heated room a bit like a sauna I think), steam rooms, massage chairs and Thermal Heaven – eleven rooms of differing temperatures, humidity and aromas.

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I used the huge rain showers in the changing rooms and they are like mini spa’s themselves! The towels are just as fluffy as the robes and they have lots of lovely moisturisers and products you are welcome to use. They even have hair straighteners as well as dryers if you really want to get glammed up before leaving. Not like myself who just left with wet hair!

We left just before 4pm so we could miss the traffic, but I did stop and buy a couple of products from Elemental Herbology in the reception area before leaving. Their Detox Bath Oil is my favourite bath product!!

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Until next time Pennyhill 🙂 x

 

 

 

 

 

 

A sunny Sunday by the sea

The morning after Sophie’s wedding the sun was shining just as bright as it was the day before, so Matt and I decided that we would make the most of it and spend the day by the sea.

We were just outside Christchurch, Dorset, so we decided to head there and spend the day at our own leisure and meet up with some friends later on for lunch.

We had a walk along the high street first, checking out the local artists and nautical themed knick-knacks the shops had to offer.

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As much as I love being in the Surrey Countryside I do sometimes miss the beach and being near the sea, especially when it’s sunny.

From there we took a stroll through the Priory. (A fact for you, it is the longest parish church in the country and is larger than 21 English Anglican Cathedrals.) It is a very beautiful and serene place to visit.

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Then finally, we ended up at Christchurch Harbour.

We found an empty bench and sat for a while just breathing in the sea air, soaking up the sunshine and watching all the people out on their boats.

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Matt and I – Excuse the hair I had left it from the day before, oops!

We slowly got up from our comfy spot in the sunshine and headed to The Boathouse for a late lunch with friends.

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We had reserved a table inside and it was nice to have a bit of a break from the sunshine, I can’t believe I just said that!

Even though they specialise in seafood, they have a range of other options including pizzas, burgers and vegetarian dishes, so the menu pretty much caters for everyone. They even have a separate gluten free menu.

In all honesty I can’t remember what everyone had to eat as we were too busy catching up with each other, but it was really tasty! (I need to start remembering to take pictures of food instead of diving in straight away!)

After lunch we decided to head back outside and find a spot on the comfy sofas, order some more drinks and enjoy the weather. They also had live music outside which was great and made it feel like we were on holiday.

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Sam, Rich, Lauren and me

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Lauren, me, Fern, Jessica and Jody

We spent the remainder of the afternoon gossiping and drinking the tastiest cocktails until the sun went down. 🙂

A great way to end a great weekend by the sea.

 

Donkeys, Dresses, Dinner and Dancing!

OK, so I admit it..I have been a very bad friend to my old school friend, Lauren.

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^^ A photo of us at a party in 2006/2007. Well it is #TBT

She got engaged in December AND asked me to be her bridesmaid, something I was mega excited and happy about. I congratulated them straight away and I couldn’t have been happier for them.

BUT I hadn’t actually seen her since November! See what I mean about being a bad friend! Don’t worry I’m tutting at myself!

We both have lots of excuses as to why we haven’t seen each other in so long though. Lauren is a nurse so works all weird hours, we live a couple of hours apart, I had just moved house, Lauren was looking to move house, it was Christmas, we had holidays. You know what it’s like and the list goes on. However we always make time to message and check in on each other and she is definitely that friend that you can go months without seeing, yet when you meet up it’s like you saw each other yesterday. Those are the best kind of friends and I’m glad to say I have quite a few of those.

I must admit though we haven’t always been the best of friends. When we first met at 13 years old we HATED each other. I don’t even know why. But we were horrible to one another! I mean really horrible! But luckily by the time we got to 6th form (16/17 years old) and were in a few classes together, we seemed to get over our issues, and actually found out we were quite similar and had a lot in common. And the rest as they say is history. At least we have lots to look back on and laugh about now! 🙂

So when we realised it had been 6 months since we had met up and we STILL hadn’t celebrated her engagement properly, we finally got a date in the diary. And so last weekend, Matt and I drove to the New Forest, to visit Lauren and Rich’s new place and to finally share some bubbles!

The drive was long, much longer than it should have been. The satnav decided to take us on a bit of a detour in an attempt for us to miss the motorway traffic, but we always seemed to end up in more traffic. But with the sun shining brightly, music on and a packet of wispa bites to keep us entertained, things could have been worse 😉

We finally arrived at their new place 3 hours later! But I only managed a quick hug and hello to Rich before I was getting back in a car to head out bridesmaid dress shopping with Lauren and her other bridesmaid Lucie.

We left the boys behind, having only met once before..in a pub…about 2 years ago. They would be fine, right?

The car journey was a very picturesque one, making our way through the centre of the New Forest. But stupidly I didn’t take a camera and my phone had ran out of battery. So I can only describe it to you. Sunshine, fields and forests that go as far as the eye can see, flowers, cute tiny foals, donkeys, so many horses and lots of children, laughing and having fun. If you haven’t been to the New Forest, you really should. It’s beautiful!

We made it to the dress shop and were let loose 🙂 Lauren is a very chilled Bride to Be and basically let Lucie and I have free reign. We tried on soo many styles and colours. Some we liked, some not so much. But we finally came to a decision on one that we both loved. It fitted us both perfectly and was the colour Lauren had wanted all along. How did we know 😉 Unfortunately I can’t say any more. You will just have to wait until December for the wedding! But they are gorgeous.

After all that hard work (we actually managed to do it in about an hour which I think is a miracle!) and to thank Lauren for buying them for us. We thought it was time for some tea…and cake. We crossed the road and actually stumbled across a cafe called Chocol8. Just take a look at this place, how could you resist going in??

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It’s pink, girlie, glam and gorgeous. I was a bit in love. Plus they sold handmade chocolates, fudges and sweets. As well as serving afternoon tea, cakes, sandwiches and smoothies. Perfect.

We ended up staying, gossiping and eating for quite a while. The chairs were too comfy, the cake was too good and we just didn’t want to leave. But we had dinner plans and boys to get back to! So we made our way back through the forest again.

Lucie ended up dropping both Lauren and I off at a local pub, where Matt and Rich had spent most of the afternoon. See we had nothing to worry about. Wimbledon, rugby and beer, we knew they would get on! We chatted about each other’s afternoons and what we had been up to and then looked at the time! Oops.

We rushed back to theirs and then Lauren and I had approximately 10 minutes to get ready before a taxi arrived. I think I’m getting quite good at this rushed getting ready thing, who needs hours? ha 😉

Glammed up and ready to go, the 4 of us headed into Southampton for dinner at Grand Cafe.

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The venue, as the same suggests, was pretty grand and I fell in love with the décor, a bit like the cafe earlier. Just bigger and better! We were taken to our table by the window and ordered some drinks. Mojitos for Lauren and Matt. A bottle of wine for Rich and I. I guess opposites really do attract ha.

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We were talking so much, that I started to feel a bit sorry for our waiter, who had tried to take our food order about 3 times. But each time we would tell him we hadn’t looked or weren’t ready!

The menu had a good mixture of everything steaks, seafood, vegetarian options etc and we finally decided on 2 sharing boards to start.

The Spicy BBQ, which included ribs, chicken wings, garlic bread, corn on the cob and wedges. Plus the Italian Job, which included Italian meats, mozzarella, olives, plus plenty of breads and dips. There was a lot of food, but we had worked up an appetite and so it all disappeared pretty quickly!

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After the feast, we managed to contain ourselves when the mains arrived and so I managed to get a snap of these!

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^^ The Veggie Burger for Lauren. She’s not a veggie, but sometimes the veggie option is too good to resist!

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^^ A beefburger for Matt

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^^ Ribs for me, because I hadnt had enough with the starter! 😉

and finally….

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^^ Rich went caveman and got the ‘Meat on a Stone’ Basically cook your own steak.

The food was good and filling and for once, I couldn’t fit in dessert!! We stayed for a little while longer finishing our drinks and chatting. We had lots to catch up on and I needed to hear about all the wedding plans and of course hear the proposal story again 😉

We didn’t even realise the time, it was nearly midnight, so we decided to head to a bar for a couple more drinks. We found a small bar who would let us in, as weirdly most of the places refused us, due to them closing soon. We had no clue where we had ended up and looking around we seemed to be the youngest there! But the music was great, Spice Girls, Gina G, Wigfield! Haha all our old cheesy favourites so we were soon dancing the night away!

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A great day with great friends 🙂 and hopefully we won’t leave it so long next time!

Love, Chloe xxx

A Rainy Day at Twickenham!

Before I met Matt, I knew nothing about the World of Rugby.

My dad is a football Man, and living in a house full of women he barely got a chance to watch that!

I had never seen rugby on TV, let alone watched from the sidelines or visited the The Home of Rugby….Twickenham.

The first time I went to see Matt play, I wore heels, moaned that it was too cold and spent most of my time sat in the clubhouse with a cup of tea!

Fast forward nearly 5 years and OK..rugby wouldn’t be my Mastermind subject…but I’d like to think I know an awful lot more than I did back then! I’ve seen Matt change teams, be promoted twice, play for his County at Twickenham 3 years in a row and we even went to Australia to see the Lion’s Tour!

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Now if that doesn’t make me a good girlfriend, I don’t know what does 😉

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And so a couple of Sunday’s ago, I travelled to Twickenham at 8.30am! (I am NOT a morning person!) to see Surrey play in the Bill Beaumont Cup Final against Eastern Counties.

Myself, Hattie, Danielle and Emily – fellow rugby widows, arrived just in time to grab our tickets before the game began at 10am. We had great seats on the lower tier, looking at the centre of the pitch and settled in ready to watch the game.

REIS20150531A © Ian Stratton 07860 490841 Twickenham.
Surrey Rugby vs Eastern Counties, County Championship Division 2 Plate Final.
Surrey in Navy shirts with Maroon trim. Picture shows:
Action

Well if I’m honest, that lasted all of 10 minutes before we began chatting, showing each other cute pictures of puppies and walking off for tea trips as the weather was soo cold, windy and miserable. Well we are girls girls after all! You really thought we could be engrossed in a game for 80 whole minutes?! 😉

We did stop to be quiet while watching the conversions (see I do know something!) and we congratulated each other if one of our men scored a try or helped assist a try.

REIS20150531A © Ian Stratton 07860 490841 Twickenham.
Surrey Rugby vs Eastern Counties, County Championship Division 2 Plate Final.
Surrey in Navy shirts with Maroon trim. Picture shows:
Action

REIS20150531A © Ian Stratton 07860 490841 Twickenham.
Surrey Rugby vs Eastern Counties, County Championship Division 2 Plate Final.
Surrey in Navy shirts with Maroon trim. Picture shows:
Action

Before we knew it it was half time and we wandered off in search of food and more tea. By this point it was pretty cold and wet! We ended up with chocolate muffins which were looking very sorry for themselves surrounded by the big fast food stalls and ice cream vans.

Settling in for the second half, we tried to take more notice of the game, but instead got distracted about where we should go for lunch. We all decided that due to the weather, we had to find somewhere with a good roast dinner! This was easier said then done, we googled, we phoned and eventually found a place 25 minutes away willing to take us in.

Back to the game and Surrey had pretty much dominated the first half and with Eastern Counties not catching them up, Surrey eventually won, for the 4th year in a row, with a final score of 17-3. If you would like to read a more in-depth account of the game, please click on this link http://www.dorkingandleatherheadadvertiser.co.uk/Super-Surrey-Twickenham-home/story-26606198-detail/story.html

After the game had finished, the boys accepted their medals, posed for photo’s and then mingled with their friends and family who had come to watch before heading off for showers and food.

REIS20150531A © Ian Stratton 07860 490841 Twickenham.
Surrey Rugby vs Eastern Counties, County Championship Division 2 Plate Final.
Surrey in Navy shirts with Maroon trim. Picture shows:
Celebration

REIS20150531A © Ian Stratton 07860 490841 Twickenham.
Surrey Rugby vs Eastern Counties, County Championship Division 2 Plate Final.
Surrey in Navy shirts with Maroon trim. Picture shows:
Celebrations

Now it was officially lunch time. We met up with a few other girlfriends who had come along and some of the rugby team who weren’t playing and discussed our options. Some were heading back home, some wanted to stay and watch the next game, others already had plans for lunch and some just wanted to hang around a bit longer before joining us for lunch. So in the end Matt and I set off by ourselves in search of a pub that had been recommended and the others agreed to join us a bit later.

We battled the wind and rain – I was very glad I had gone for the sensible option of boots and a pac-a-mac! Until we found the pub, unfortunately it was pretty small, already full of people and due to the games at Twickenham they had stopped their usual pub menu and were only serving BBQ food…in the garden…in the rain.. Umm no thank you.

Matt mentioned a pub he knew in St Margarets called St Margarets Tavern, so he gave them a quick call and luckily they said they had room to squeeze us in. We walked back to Twickenham, picked up Emily and Hattie and started our walk to the pub. 15 Minutes he said…it’s not that far he said…It’s just the next town along he said. Ha. The Heaven’s opened, Emily was moaning and 5ft nothing ladies we’re struggling to keep up with Matt’s 6ft 6 strides. We tried to see the funny side of it knowing we would arrive looking like drowned rats and tried to skip/walk a little faster.

I must admit Matt knows a good pub and luckily the walk in the storm, was worth it!

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Finally in the warm and dry, we perused the menu and ordered some wine.

I already knew I wanted a roast and when we saw someone else’s arrive next to us, I knew I wanted it even more. It was huge! The Yorkshire pudding must have been as big as my head.

Emily and I went for the roasts, Hattie and Matt both went for the burger. It was all delicious!

While we were eating, we noticed the rain had stopped. Typical! Even so, we all insisted to Matt that we couldn’t walk back and so we ordered a cab to pick us all up ha. He probably thinks we are so lazy!

Toasty and full of yummy food, we headed back to Twickenham to meet up with everyone else to watch the England Game.

Once again the boys all sat together so they could talk and watch the game properly. Us girls sat the row behind them and got told off by them for talking about cats too much! Ha yes really.

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^^ Me and Hattie

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^^ Emily, Hattie and Myself

The England game was pretty boring, they were winning by miles and even the boys were getting fed up. It must have been slow! So we decided to leave the game early and head back home, before the crazy rush started.

It was a shame about the weather, as every other time I have visited it has been glorious sunshine and that makes the day so much more enjoyable. But if you haven’t had a day out at Twickenham I definitely recommend going. There’s seriously something for everyone and ladies if you’re being dragged along by your man, just remember you can drink wine and ogle hot hunky men in short shorts all day 😉

Love, Chloe xx

Stag Weekends Vs Hen Weekends!

Apologies if I write a lot about this subject, but Stag and Hen weekends seem to have taken over my life lately.

Matt and I have spent the last 3 weekends apart due to these occasions and as I write he is currently away in Greece on another stag weekend.

But I’m not sad, fed up or annoyed about the fact that we aren’t spending time together. After all, we both know each other’s plans for the year and knew that our Summer was packed with hens, stags, weddings, birthdays, BBQ’s..the list goes on. And it’s not like we need to be joined at the hip all the time 😉 it’s good and healthy to have lives outside each other.

No, what I’m sad, fed up and annoyed about, is the difference in weekend’s we seem to have and in all honesty I’m jealous!

As far as I’m aware Stag and Hen Night’s/Weekends have been around for generations. However what was once a simple night at the pub, with friends, the night before the wedding, now seems to be an elaborate weekend of travelling and entertainment, seeing who can have the best/most outrageous/most decadent weekend there is.

Oh no wait…that would be the men! Stag do’s seem to be getting bigger and bigger as we speak, whereas personally I feel like the hen weekend is getting smaller.

As I say this is just my personal opinion and you may totally disagree with me, but in my experience I am yet to go abroad or do anything elaborate for a hen party. Yet our men, happily spend a lot of money and leave us behind for a long weekend minimum, to go abroad, for their friends. After discussing this with different groups of girlfriends, all us ladies seem to feel the same way.

I have been with Matt nearly 5 years and in that time he has been on MANY Stag do’s. Weirdly, we actually met while he was on a stag weekend in Bournemouth! But that’s another story. And apart from that weekend in Bournemouth, I can’t remember the last time he stayed in the UK for a Stag. He has travelled to most European cities for them and this year he has already been to Iceland, Marbella (Spain) and is now currently in Greece.

He’s not the only one I have to base my (can I call it research) on 😉 I work with a group of guys (I’m the only girl) and again over the past couple of years all of them have been on stag do’s and all in Europe. Whenever I mention a hen do, as soon as I say it’s in the UK, they switch off, they think it’s boring.

While they have all been sunning it up in Marbs, clubbing in Ibiza, gambling in Vegas or drinking steins in Germany. I have been battling the British Elements, while doing Go Ape in Nottingham, gone on a ‘normal’ night out in Bournemouth (where I grew up) or sat and ate chips on Brighton Beach.

Don’t get me wrong I have enjoyed my weekends with my favourite ladies, I wouldn’t have gone on them otherwise. But I just don’t think they are on the same par as the boys weekends. Am I being too miserable about this or ungrateful? I appreciate I do a lot of fun things that other people will never get the chance to do. But, I guess we live in this society where we always want more or are always competing with the next person. And personally, I just want something that little bit better.

I guess I only have myself or my friends haha to blame 😉 But personally I just feel that girls are more considerate about their friends/family and think about all possibilities to ensure that everyone can make their special weekend. I’m sure secretly behind closed doors they would have loved to have gone to a sunny beach in the med and been served cocktails by the pool. But instead, because so and so is pregnant or just had a baby or just brought a house and so is being careful with money. We will just stick to somewhere local instead. This happened to me with the Bournemouth hen do I went on recently. Originally the Bride to Be wanted it to be in Brighton, over the bank holiday weekend, for 3 nights. But once we started to get costs together, some of the ladies started to say it was too expensive for them and would drop out. Because of this the Bride to Be decided to keep it local and more low key so everyone could make it, it was also half the price of Brighton!

But I just don’t think boys work or think like this. As soon as they get engaged, all their friends want to know about is the stag do! Weird and wonderful countries get mentioned, fancy dress gets brought and before they know it they’ve spent £700 each before they’ve even gotten anywhere. You only need to watch Don’t Tell the Bride (One of my favourite programmes) to see what really goes on in their minds! Matt actually got invited on a stag do to Las Vegas later this year, but he has politely declined. Costs just seemed to spiral out of control quickly and the Stag was making crazy requests such as VIP tables at night, pool parties by day and even debating upgrading flights. Many of his friends have dropped out but he doesn’t seem to care as HE is still getting the stag do HE wants. I just don’t think a girl would do or act like this, well none that I know.

Having said all that, sometimes I wish us girls would be a little more like the boys!

I’m not even engaged, but I have already told all my girlfriends that, when the time comes, my hen do will be abroad. But they have already mentioned their concerns, ‘I’m saving for a house’, ‘what if I have a baby?’, ‘I doubt I can afford it’. I’M NOT EVEN ENGAGED. Boy’s would never think of these things, they would never even consider them.

Of course I’m not saying act like a diva, ditch all your friends and run off to Vegas to max out your credit cards, for your next hen do. Or am I 😉 No, all I’m saying is do what you want to do, if that is just a night in Brighton, then of course that’s fine. Do whatever makes you happy. But if it is secretly that weekend to Marbs or a fancy spa hotel in the countryside, then tell your friends, give them lots of time to plan and save and work out the logistics and then just go for it. After all you only live once! and hopefully will only get married once! So this is your time to have fun and let lose with your best girlfriends.

So here’s to the next Hen weekend, whatever it may be, I just hope it’s fun! 🙂

Love, Chloe xxx

P.s Matt just sent me this picture of his view in Greece

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and this is me on a hen do last weekend

20150613_133946(0)See what I’m talking about 😉

21st Birthday Celebrations!!

I remember my 21st like it was yesterday..I loved fancy dress so chose a cops and robbers theme, I gathered all my best friends together, made them dress up in ridiculous outfits and headed into town for a night of shots, dancing and random games of limbo.. But *cough* enough of my reminiscing, this weekend was all about Hattie’s 21st Birthday Shenanigans….

Hattie’s birthday was actually nearly 2 weeks ago now, but inconveniently our boyfriends were playing a very important, last game of the season, game of rugby that day! So she politely changed her birthday plans to last weekend. I think I would have made more of a fuss! 😉

We did go to said rugby game though and made sure that everyone knew it was Hattie’s birthday, after all you’re only 21 once!

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^^ This was us driving to the match. Hattie is of course wearing the biggest badge we could find her and the inflatable crown meant for a child we managed to clip to her head, after many trials of it falling off. Doesn’t she look great? The Birthday Princess ❤

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^^ Post match, unfortunately the sun had decided to hide by this point!

We did manage to give Hattie a fun day though, despite the full day of rugby! We started off with a very sophisticated brunch, where we decorated the table with balloons and handed out presents. We then travelled about an hour away to the game and sang along to the amazing mega mix that Em had put together (think Britney, Backstreet Boys, 5ive you get the picture) The match itself was pretty exciting and made all the better when a cocktail van pulled up!! Yes a cocktail van!! They did the best apple pie cocktail which tasted just like the real thing with the added punch of vodka, yummy! After the game (our boys won FYI ha) we travelled home, indulged in a very large Chinese take away, cracked open a bottle of prosseco and then were just about to put a film on and chill, when Matt kindly decided to bring the after party back to ours! Needless to say it was a late one 😉

Now some of you might think that that was enough for a birthday.. but it isn’t really… is it? Especially for a 21st! So last Saturday we did it all again, just with better outfits and more booze!

The afternoon consisted of a BBQ at Hattie’s house, complete with what seemed like an unlimited supply of prosseco, a big chocolate fountain with an array of things to dip plus the huge BBQ and fire pit- well this is the British summertime we need as much help with the weather as we can get! We drank, we ate, we laughed, we gossiped and we also had the unexpected surprise of a magician (who might I add was realllyyyy good!!) Time really does fly when your having fun and before we knew it, it was time to pop home and glam up for the night ahead.

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^^ Finally glam, dancing shoes on and we were ready to party the night away

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^^ Birthday Girl Hattie in her amazing red dress!

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^^ Em enjoying her Pornstar Martini (Which were delicious)

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^^ and then things start to get a little messy when the shots come out to play. Yes that is me, being a bad influence to my friend Kitty who REALLY didn’t want a shot. Oops 😉

I think we were all a little bit too tipsy to remember to take any more photos of the night, but from what I do remember it was A LOT of fun! and I hope Hattie had a 21st Birthday to remember or not remember 😉 as the case may have been the next morning!

So here’s to the next one.. well birthday that is, we’re all a little past 21 now aren’t we ladies! :-p

Love, Chloe xx