A Surprise Birthday Trip to Iceland – Part 2!

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

1798541_10154831158755092_3843748503559111444_n

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.

dscn0159-300x225europemediterraneanicelandicelanddes_000621reykjavikaldahotelacc_057400alda-hotel

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.

10675552_10154831157120092_8984538262533079842_n

Birthday Bubbles!

10704087_10154831158375092_5155420152748300094_n10801605_10154831158105092_6373234512054467936_n

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.

blue-lagoon-iceland

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.

images-1images

10702193_10154831161415092_6960939152753393213_n

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!

10734005_10154831158960092_1394336233550008410_n559595_10154831159500092_4455384902604760397_n10600642_10154831159195092_4741975026736660389_n10387320_10154831159630092_4691599285081173131_n1546310_10154831159965092_1984240311156680133_n1981916_10154831160035092_7161720935902264935_n

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.

10311761_10154831160290092_53348346033275494_n10408863_10154831160235092_3832728098639564992_n10734265_10154831160380092_2187707997981157657_n10520679_10154831160580092_3277781976554862128_n10364197_10154831160425092_4485537677827175150_n

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!

1551767_10154831160505092_2345740495166971996_n1896844_10154831160655092_4200878676109982576_n1517514_10154831160705092_8691368909015634027_n10676185_10154831160785092_1764051969889636824_n10374078_10154831161305092_8413431741858598009_n10698631_10154831161165092_6212609281003483829_n

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.

10690224_10154831161505092_2945072594887708994_n

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.

1466048_10154831161660092_7874755431291212168_n1505537_10154831161590092_6442330959106007089_n

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

 

A Surprise Birthday Trip to Iceland – Part 1!

It’s my birthday this week, and as I have been thinking about previous celebrations, I thought I would share with you one of the best, if not THE BEST birthday’s I’ve had.. so far 😉

I had wanted to visit Iceland for as long as I can remember. Not my normal choice of holiday as I’m usually all about the sun, sea, sand, cocktails, you get the picture. But Iceland just looked so beautiful and interesting. I’m also obsessed with spa’s so was dying to float around in the Blue Lagoon and imagined being pulled along by huskies while searching for a hint of the Northern Lights. It all just seemed so magical.

I must of made a million hints to Matt and would always say Iceland as the next place I wanted to visit whenever holidays were discussed with friends. Everyone probably got fed up of me talking about it!

But 2 years ago Matt surprised me and I mean really surprised me. It was a few days before my birthday and we were sat eating dinner like any normal night, when he gave me a postcard where he had written, pack your bags we are off to Iceland in the morning! Excited was an understatement and less than 24 hours later we had landed.

The airport was eerily quiet, the runway had been cleared of snow and when we finally ventured outside we were hit with the ice cold air. On our drive to Reykjavík I thought we had landed on another planet! We were the only car on the roads for miles and the landscape was cratered looking with areas of ice and black volcanic soil dotted around with the view of glaciers or volcanoes in the distance. It really felt like we had landed on Mars or the Moon, but it was stunning and unlike anything I had seen before.

10687022_10154831152230092_8687911914663182806_n

We were told that 99% of the population live in Urban areas of which 60% live in the capital of Reykjavík which is why so much of Iceland is left in it’s natural beauty.

But this was a birthday trip not a Geography trip so onto the fun stuff!

We checked into Hotel Alda late afternoon, and decided to explore the main streets of Reykjavík, especially as we needed to buy a few more layers or even snow suits as it really was freezing cold!! We walked a long the waterfront and found a lovely and cosy, traditional Icelandic restaurant for dinner.

10689442_10154831148340092_775539740469962576_n

You can’t take me anywhere! A slide inside a shop!

 

We had to get up super early the next morning, as we had a full day of exploring to do. Check out the size of the car!

10151206_10154831149300092_3583326478532501105_n10353628_10154831149365092_5456624160429526000_n

10407609_10154831149580092_5921632376755179207_n

Check out that view!

We had booked onto a day tour and after a 45 min drive, our first stop was the Þingvellir or Thingvellir National Park. It lies in a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the boundary between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, you can see lots of the large cracks that have been caused by Earthquakes! To its south lies the largest natural lake in Iceland. It was a beautiful, but yet again frosty, way to start the morning and watch the sunrise.

1395895_10154831149545092_3879430469331875960_n10375052_10154831150335092_6420739520117684987_n10388178_10154831149830092_5301346034399215385_n10409593_10154831150215092_7966926823253391554_n10423823_10154831149725092_3694296928236687752_n10425046_10154831150030092_5196010928959099589_n

From here we jumped back into the car to warm up and made our way down the deserted roads to Gullfoss.

Gullfoss which means Golden Falls is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland and we could see why, it is absolutely stunning!

10730978_10154831150675092_8600718610750324959_n

10731032_10154831151270092_7986171307756300460_n10407884_10154831151565092_401118363028039197_n10733978_10154831151865092_4012100108688567006_n

We would have loved to have watched the waterfall for longer but the spray was like ice and along with the bitterly cold winds we couldn’t stay outside for any longer. So as we had some free time in Gullfoss we decided to check out the large shop/cafe/restaurant/visitor centre. It was actually really interesting and nice to grab a bowl of soup and cup of tea to warm up!

I’m sorry to keep going on about the cold weather but seriously if you are planning on visiting Iceland take plenty of layers, sensible shoes (lots of snow, ice, uneven surfaces), hats, gloves, scarfs and if you have them ski jackets or the biggest coats you own. You will need them!

Now as mentioned above one of the things I really wanted to do in Iceland was go dog/husky sledding, but unfortunately we were a little too early in the season and there wasn’t enough snow on the lower ground to do this. However we weren’t sad for long as we were told we could go snowmobiling in the higher glaciers instead.

Feeling both nervous and excited we started the 2 hour drive to Langjökull, Iceland’s second largest glacier. The drive was an experience in itself as we started the journey in our tour jeep which slowly made it’s way up the mountains, the roads getting icier, the drops getting higher until we weren’t allowed to drive any more and so we all had to get into a new vehicle. Imagine a cross between a snowplough and a hummer. It was huge and could basically drive through any amount of snow or ice, the journey was a super bumpy one and we had some dicey moments but we finally made it to the glacier and witnessed some incredible views.

10523986_10154831152060092_7749827998175254699_n

We were given snowsuits and helmets to wear and then we were off on our one hour snowmobile adventure over the glaciers.

10417790_10154831152400092_797538104082324797_n

10410339_10154831152515092_2108430001678556438_n

544948_10154831152990092_5538163361146342701_n

The snow was pretty deep and I may of fallen flat on my face in front of the whole group, oops!

1546286_10154831153130092_9082675193872589137_n

10806409_10154831153610092_222455985280370796_n

10433831_10154831153730092_5320439420023134526_n

Beautiful sunset in the snow

The hour flew by but it was so much fun and as the sun was starting to set we got back into our jeep ready for the final stop of the tour, the geothermal area in Haukadalur, which contains the geysers Geysir and Strokkur. Geysir has been mostly inactive for many years, Strokkur however continues to erupt every 5–10 minutes. It was fun to watch and wait, trying to guess when it would erupt and then making me jump every time it did!

10177219_10154831153930092_5425311518914476503_n10411058_10154831154580092_7135768900433211742_n

10801737_10154831154215092_2348643549179900087_n

Rudolph noses! 

10421600_10154831154960092_7254311995063170666_n10733974_10154831154250092_9210430587558058017_n

10734279_10154831154975092_4823699466690981299_n

Matt getting up close 

I couldn’t get over how beautiful the sky was! Just stunning.

10801913_10154831156190092_5821913337461623125_n1907875_10154831154780092_8118715608600790047_n10421458_10154831155710092_6343011027013149907_n

After a nice hot shower back at the hotel to warm up, we had another evening in Reykjavík and found a more modern restaurant for dinner, which did the best cocktails!

10384622_10154831156325092_4426142192253906687_n10443358_10154831156785092_5666279338336742544_n10632876_10154831156615092_2418992536087699800_n

10696359_10154831156455092_8350102291711737271_n

Finishing the night with a walk to Hallgrímskirkja (church of Hallgrímur). It is the largest church in Iceland and among the tallest structures in Iceland and is beautifully Gothic looking.

10424350_10154831157080092_541193997836021960_n

A beautiful end to our time in Reykjavík.

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.

2015hp8427

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!

c9d5b71ef8d61b3cd17db3523cb915cdbe7a61ab

shoes-pleasure-and-pain-exhibition-at-va

spp_selection_of_influential_shoes_on_display

shoes

Jpeg

2015hp8379

dscn4984

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.

champagne-et-fromage-exterior-with-tables3

champagne-and-fromage-by-fr-1-45948

champagne-6

3792566_orig

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

 

 

 

The Life of a Rugby Wife/Girlfriend

Being a rugby Wife, Girlfriend or even Sister brings with it lots of positives and negatives.

Let’s start with the negatives;

You lose said Husband, Boyfriend, Brother for 10 months of the year, yes really 10 whole months! They start pre season training in July and the last game is usually towards the end of April.

They eat, sleep and breathe rugby, if they aren’t playing it, they are watching it.

You have to deal with the high highs and the low lows. If they win a game, they are on cloud nine and you probably won’t see them until lunchtime Sunday. However if they lose a game you might want to stay away, they get annoyed with each other, will mope around the house and you won’t get much conversation out of them for a while!

Lastly the dreaded injuries. This game is brutal and you never want to see a loved one hurt. But if they do unfortunately sustain an injury, whether it’s something small that they are only out for a week with or something huge where they are out for the whole season. Be prepared, this is the end of the World and you will have to nurse them better.

20151127_183203

Matt’s injury at the end of last year!

That all said, there are plenty of positives too…

You get 2 nights a week when they are at training all to yourself. For me that means catching up on trashy TV, like TOWIE and The Kardashians (which Matt would never watch), or having the girls over for dinner or going out for dinner, catching up with friends and family over Skype or just having a bit of ‘me’ time – bubble bath, face pack and an early night with a book – bliss!

Home Games mean catching up with the girls, all day drinking, if the weather is good – sunbathing and watching hot men run around in short shorts 😉

Away Games mean catching up with the girls, all day drinking, if the weather is good – sunbathing and watching hot men run around in short shorts but with the added bonus of a road trip!

The Socials – We need to talk about the socials. The Christmas Party is the best one of the year and what everyone eagerly awaits, the food is delicious, the speeches are funny and then we dance the night away to the amazing live band and have just the 1 or 10 drinks to toast the year ahead 😉 There are also plenty of other socials and fundraisers during the year too; Themed nights, Fancy dress parties, Birthday parties and live music just to name a few.

But lastly and most importantly are the friends you make along the way, the ones who are on this rugby journey with you. Soppy but so true.

When I first moved up here from Bournemouth I knew no one, especially at the rugby club. I felt like I was totally out of place and thought everyone had known each other for years. But that really wasn’t the case and the more I went to watch games, the more I got chatting and the more friendly faces I got to know. Before I knew it, I had a really great group of girl (and guy) friends who I started to see more and more regularly, not just at the rugby club. And now 2.5 years later (even though it feels way longer) I don’t know what I would do without this crazy bunch of people and they have become some of my closest, most treasured friends. Thanks guys and here’s to the next 60 plus years! 🙂 ❤

So yes, you may have days where you hate being the wife, girlfriend or sister of a rugby player (muddy/rainy days, injury days, defeats) but the positives greatly outweigh the negatives and as long as you have other wives, girlfriends and sisters around you, rugby days will actually turn out to be some of your best days!

Love, Chloe xxx

20151219_183403

20151219_183251

10624600_10152774566233707_4555859371816408088_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

11923299_10155976693590092_7011643238971988597_o

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!

10354754_10155976695015092_3651943577759278989_n

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

11953527_10155976694395092_553471075894563470_o

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.

11906817_10155976692935092_2696109613126925367_o

11952923_10155976694175092_3260701401676550554_o

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

11952880_10155976693955092_5957687546015354518_o

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

 

 

 

Kathryn and Anthony’s Wedding!

Matt and I woke up early, so we had enough time to get ready, before beginning our drive to Froyle Park in Hampshire for Kat and Ant’s wedding day!

It was another bright day, filled with sunshine, the perfect day for a wedding.

We stopped at a pub along the way, to meet up with some of the other guests for a drink and a bite to eat, before carrying on our journey to the venue.

Driving along the long, gravel path, we saw Froyle Park for the first time and it looked beautiful.

FroylePark_Outside-906x500

We gathered in the front room, which was light and airy with huge windows, overlooking the grounds and chatted with other friends and guests, before making our way into the ceremony room.

The ceremony room was at the back of the house and had been decorated with white roses and candles, it was very romantic. We watched an excited/nervous/emotional/happy Anthony, wait for his bride to walk down the stairs and down the aisle to meet him.

Kat looked stunning in her dress.

While waiting for the ceremony to begin, us girls had tried to guess what type of dress she would be wearing, as she had kept it a secret, and this was more beautiful then any of us could ever have imagined. (Please tell me we are not the only ones who try to guess the dress?!)

Both of them were filled with love and happy tears as they exchanged vows.

11800304_10153127597362499_362986950995761045_n

11831782_10154118927118135_7608776637090804771_n

Just look at that dress!!

After the ceremony we made our way outside into the lush gardens, for drinks and canapés, while the new Mr & Mrs had their photos taken.

11846607_10156146102760179_8867474077503906547_n

The stunning bride, Kat

 

11059355_10155864281305147_6930141917972896658_o

The Wedding Party

Our glasses were constantly being topped up with champagne and the canapés were delicious. Some people decided to join in with the lawn games, while others chatted in the sunshine.

We were then informed that a cocktail bar had been opened. Free flowing Mojito’s and Porn Star Martini’s on a sunny day…amazing!

11800508_10154118927913135_7238825961276649115_n

Annie, Me, Gemma and Emma enjoying a few of the cocktails!

11013535_10153501577456407_1661169387235415752_n

One of my favourite photos – Emma, Annie, Gemma, Jess and Me

11056585_10154118927338135_4602011219977089097_n

Matt, Conor and Rich

11831804_10153501641931407_7130587133592911538_n

Group Shot! Gemma, Conor, Emma, Will, Me, Matt, Annie, Rich, Jess & James

After quite a few cocktails, fun on the swings and posing for photos, we were called in for dinner.

A delicious 3 course meal, with even more alcohol, this time white wine. Finished with the speeches and a champagne toast, I must admit I was feeling a little bit tipsy by this point!

A quick turn around of the room, meant the evening celebrations were about to begin.

First up cutting of the cake…

11053303_10153127597242499_7047948149014038934_n

Taking the floor for their first dance as Husband and Wife…

11252172_10100420703436488_9072631055859301640_n

And then we were let loose! With a free bar, a dress up box, glow sticks and a live band. We danced, sang and toasted the night away.

11846693_10153501577386407_4768621863754951212_n

Jess, Kat and Gemma

11834684_10153520240164104_4158328728763850498_o

Me & Matt ❤ (I have no idea what’s going on in the background? haha)

10672326_10154118932938135_2346738740895648573_n

Gem and Matt

11214254_10153520240234104_2384009004275453923_n

Annie and I

11249157_10153520239789104_6580231213321682961_n

Emma, Annie, Conor and Me

11828688_10154118931678135_6307838010742570667_n

Me & Gem

11846538_10154118931943135_4320886113315282944_n

Me, Matt and Jess

11825095_10154118931188135_3292153199196726183_n

Will, Matt, Annie and Emma

11822801_10154118931438135_3169543644173585058_n

Jess and I

11831812_10153520240084104_3528598403111488504_n

Me & matt

An amazing day, spent with wonderful friends, filled with love, laughter and smiles  ❤

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.

pennyhill-park-hotel

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.

Ladies-changing-room-at-The-Spa-Pennhill-Park

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.

F-Spabreak30Venue13

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.

pic_1

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!)

image-5

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!

F-Spabreak30Venue10

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.

pic-penny-1-a

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.

9_Pennyhill_Park_Steam_Room

E-Pennyhill-spa

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!!

detox_botantical_bath_infusion_1

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.

14347333367_785b7377f2_b

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.

1e95e38e9e5608ae87c39e4e136ad8d6ac360962

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.

20150322_145505 (2)

20150322_145239 (2)

IMG-20150720-WA0284

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.

boathouse-restaurant

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.

11745636_10153778873806840_3593943039997450092_n

Sam, Rich, Lauren and me

10646946_10153778873711840_2294778606505037056_n

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.

 

Sophie and John’s Wedding!

The excitement started on Friday night. I finally arrived at Sophie’s around 8pm, having spent the day at Heidi’s Graduation. Sophie and her other bridesmaid and soon to be Sister in Law, Sarah, had spent the day running around, preparing last minute bits for the big day and then finally enjoying a couple hours of pampering.

1395899_10155800724550641_4913060476799670116_n

Sarah and Sophie getting pampered

After helping with some last minute bits we finally crashed out, full of excitement for the day ahead!

Saturday started at a super early time of 5.45am!! I really don’t do mornings so this was torture for me, however once I saw how excited and full of beans Sophie was I quickly jumped out of bed to join in the festivities.

11781846_10155822025410092_2464307649988454063_n

11705213_10155807717175641_3393731747827706315_n

Sophie and I in our personalised dressing gowns

Tea, toast, showers and a couple glasses of champagne later and we were all sharing in the excitement of the Wedding Day.

20150718_082033

Sophie’s Mum Thelma, looking glam and ready for her Daughter’s Big Day!

The glam squad of hairdresser and make up artist had arrived, along with the photographer and videographer, capturing every part of the special day.

20150718_082028

Hairdresser Jeni with Bride Sophie

20150718_082036

Make Up Artist Tash with Bridesmaid Sarah

11755297_10155807702890641_5344412804577375684_n

Myself and Sarah

11951380_10155979924535641_7837184222264437114_n

Thelma, Sophie, Myself and Sarah

The morning seemed to fly by and before we knew it, Sarah and I were helping each other get into our dresses and adding the finishing touches of jewellery and lip gloss.

11935009_10155979924465641_8342204364245652915_n

11137164_10155979924385641_5463858126726451828_n

Sophie was getting ready with her mum, in another room. We hadn’t seen her wedding dress as she had wanted it to be a surprise. So Sarah and I were anxiously waiting in our room, dying to see the dress! We also didn’t know what our transport was going to be, another surprise from Sophie.

Finally the moment came and we got to see Sophie in her dress for the first time…

20150718_111954

Sophie looking stunning in her beautiful detailed, fish tail dress

We admired Sophie for quite a while, commenting on how gorgeous the dress was and watching Thelma well up, full of love and emotion, until we were told the transport had arrived and we needed to make our way to the venue.

11752541_10155807694275641_9021237916468241066_n

Sarah, Thelma and I

11705184_10155822028735092_5642311530125945166_n

Our transport, straight out of a Fairytale

Myself, Sophie, Thelma and Sarah, very gracefully climbed into the carriage ready for our leisurely ride to the venue about 20 minutes away.

11960036_10155979920320641_110630154982465961_n

The sun was shining, people were waving at us and it felt like we were royalty.

11214290_10155807665420641_1757398113946376339_n

The Beautiful Bride

11709534_10155807670825641_5918149534141933637_n

Myself and Sarah

IMG-20150720-WA0278

Bride, Sophie

IMG-20150720-WA0320

Mother of the Bride, Thelma

IMG-20150720-WA0276

Me

11951760_10155995417230641_7893146769448418981_n

Sarah and her Son, Bobby who was a Page Boy for the Day

The time had finally arrived for Sophie and John to get married!

Sarah and Bobby walked down the aisle first, followed by myself and finally Sophie.

11947519_10155979919815641_723491640193628583_n

12400882_10156372569240641_2597346213947118572_n

How Cute!

The Ceremony itself was full of love, relatives read poems and Sophie and John had even written their own vows, which I think is a lovely touch. And then they were announced Husband and Wife, for the first time. They left the room through a blur of rose petal confetti and bubbles, blown by all the guests.

The drinks reception took place outside in the gardens and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, perfect weather for photos.

043(1)

11960224_10155979974660641_8877075855989936892_n

Best Man, Harrison with Groom John

IMG-20150720-WA0290

Myself and Matt

11755904_10155807724380641_9063357394609758927_n

Sarah, Sophie and Me

11738026_10155807528815641_7585755182761375059_n

Sophie, John, Sarah and Bobby

11745678_10155807543310641_4336912062250180276_n

The Wedding Party

11745598_948659275194747_6672291309261935546_n

Sophie and John

11954578_10155979919180641_5948660978054422413_n

All the Guests ❤

After a few drinks, lots of photos and soaking up the sun, it was time to come inside for dinner.

The room had been decorated with bunting and rose petals all in the pink and white colour scheme, it was so pretty and instead of numbers each table was named with a place the couple had visited on holiday, with the top table being named Sri Lanka & The Maldives, where they would be honeymooning!

The food was delicious. We had the choice of either a prawn cocktail or vegetable spring rolls to start, followed by either duck, chicken or vegetable strudel for our main course and finally for dessert we could either go for lemon or treacle tart, all washed down with cool white wine.

And then the speeches began…

11755853_10155807609620641_4428984261050546609_n

Groom, John

11738002_10155807604315641_7855323270639136890_n

Best Man, Harrison

Sophie’s Dad and myself both did speeches too, but I don’t seem to have any photos of those! We toasted to the new Mr and Mrs with shots of peach schnapps, which is one of Sophie’s favourite drinks, rather than the traditional champagne.

11036309_10155979907565641_656447820231362116_n

After the speeches the newly weds snuck off to the beach to have further photos taken, while the rest of us made the most of the late afternoon sunshine and the Caricaturist who had arrived, while we waited for the room to be ready for the evening celebrations.

11951144_10155979976010641_8853740840659427669_n

Sophie and John at the beach

20150721_080930

Matt and Me as drawn by the caricaturist

20150719_195213

Heidi (my sister) and me as drawn by the caricaturist

The happy couple arrived back, just in time to meet the evening guests who were arriving and then proceeded to cut their cake.

11951189_10155979976495641_2125150985172227522_n

11703210_10155822029220092_217097797677345386_n

Afterwards they made their way to the dance floor, ready for their first dance.

11217508_10155822028860092_3932869132538763577_n

11696401_10153451017580871_4002525920476810800_o

The dance floor was now officially open and the party could begin. We spent the rest of the evening dancing to club classics, taking silly photos in the photo booth set up in another room, eating lots of sweets from the pic ‘n’ mix bar and celebrating with the happy couple.

11896061_10155979906040641_6027315058209093367_n

11755894_10155807745100641_2440669792852896589_n

11755219_10155807600055641_9083744759740979724_n

11178188_10155979908465641_4652092506950570580_n

11745343_1617142238568530_841816503515171912_n

20160310_211958

Matt and I stayed the night at the venue along with the rest of the wedding party and the next morning we all met for breakfast, before saying our goodbyes and sending the happy couple off onto their amazing honeymoon!

11745899_10155807731210641_2988488052311243101_n

The morning after the night before!

Hello 2016!

I can’t believe how long I have been away from the blog for, I feel bad about it and I miss it and I don’t really have any excuse, apart from I was just too busy enjoying the World around me 🙂

The only positive of me being away for so long, is that I have loootttss to write about, the second half of 2015 was filled with House Renovations, Weddings, Hen Weekends, Birthdays, Trips Away, Parties and to top it all off, I got Engaged! Wahh, so lots of Wedding planning has been happening too. ❤

I am going to go back to 2015 and pick up where I left off so apologies for the time travel, but I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy writing it!

Oh one last thing, who is still sticking to their New Years Resolutions? For once, I am! My resolution was to read 1 book a month for the year, and so far so good, any recommendations on what I should read next, let me know.

Love, Chloe xx

slide_331219_3272321_free