Bringing Chicago to Surrey!

I’ve been having Chicago blues, lately.

I miss my friend Christina and I also miss Buffalo sauce. Sad but true.

Unfortunately I can’t fly Christina over 😦 BUT I did find Frank’s Red Hot Wings Buffalo Sauce in the supermarket recently and that did manage to put a smile on my face.


It sat in our cupboard for a couple of days and then one night after dancing, Matt kindly made me dinner. But this was no ordinary dinner. He had recreated my favourite Chicago Bar Dish… A Crispy buffalo chicken burger with sweet potato chips. I wish I had taken a picture, but I was too excited and hungry and so it got gobbled up pretty quickly! It was delicious and gave me a buffalo fix that I had been craving for weeks!

A few days later we were looking online for house bits and pieces..7 months in and still haven’t changed a thing!

When Matt came across a proper beer pong table on Amazon. Now, not very practical you may think or not exactly what we were looking for. But hey, we both looked at each other with silly grins and knew we had to buy it! After all, we are known to love a drinking game..or 5 πŸ˜‰

It arrived at my work on a Friday afternoon.. I liked this tables thinking.

But then I had the fun task of actually getting it into our car, after a few attempts, I finally drove home like this..



As soon as Matt got home we excitedly opened it up and set it up in our lounge.


We sent the above picture to a few of our local friends and said we would have to arrange a beer pong tournament soon, and began to pack it away. But when we looked back at our phones a couple of friends had asked why we weren’t hosting that night.

Good question!

We looked at each other and said It’s Friday, we’ve got beer.. Let’s play beer pong! and believe me you don’t need to ask rugby boys twice!

We quickly replied to our friends to say it was on! Not that Matt and I are competitive in any way!


And before we knew it Megs, Fraser, Emily and Sam had come over to join us πŸ™‚



^^ These are the before pictures!

Now I must admit I hate beer, so what to do when you hate beer? Turn it into Prosecco pong! Because of this we decided to do teams of Boys Vs. Girls so the Boys could still have their beer and then it got serious, the game began…

The boys played fast and would bounce their balls (ha) quickly one after the other. Us girls tried to have a strategy and were a lot slower. But that tactic clearly paid off as the girls won the first game! πŸ™‚

We also found our Polaroid Camera so as you can imagine many snaps got taken throughout the night!


^^ Winners!

Randomly at this point I got a text from Christina, in Chicago, to say she was at a baseball match and to see what I was up to. I first played Beer Pong with her and I know she loves it so I quickly sent her a picture to show her what we were up to. Then Matt found the baseball match she was at on the TV so we tried to spot her in the crowd, no such luck though.


^^ In our Chicago Bulls tops with the baseball on

And then we got back to game Two..

The TV had been changed back to a music channel and us girls were too busy dancing and singing along to Spice Girls to notice that the boys had gotten a ball in with a bounce shot! Sneaky boys!


^^ Look how smug and happy they are

This meant they automatically won and we had to down all the drinks…all that prosecco..all the bubbles. Ouch.



Feeling slightly tipsy by this point the next two games flew by in a blur of bottles. But after four games we were Two All. So we had to play a fifth game as the decider.

It got serious and we were all trying so hard to concentrate. But it happened. The boys managed, yet again to bounce the ball into one of our cups, and so they won the game! and the decider! 😦

After all the excitement, we had a bit of a rest, us girls needed a breather from all the fizz! And decided what to play next. After all the night was still young.


And this is where things got a little messy. We then decided to play what I think is another American game..Flip or Flippy cup. Again in 2 teams either side of the table (this time long ways) You start with the first player of each team drinking their drink against each other. As soon as they finish they place their cup on the table the right side up and try to flip it to land upside down. As soon as your team member has done that the next person then drinks and flips and so on until you have a winning team. The losing team then has to do a dare, drink, shot whatever the other team decides.


^^ You can see where the night was going with the blurred pictures!

As us girls were feeling quite tipsy anyway the boys decided that only the last member of our team had to do a shot from our ‘spinner’ basically a 4 bottle optic. Ours contains a bottle each of Vodka, Whisky, Rum and Peach Schnapps. We spin and whatever one it lands on you must drink. It’s a favourite in our house!


To make it fair the last person of each team would then move up to become the first player for the next round of flip cup. After a few rounds of this we were all pretty tipsy and so decided to stop the drinking games and just chill, dance, sing and gossip instead.

Fraser and I even made a little routine to Sean Paul! If I could add the video I would but I don’t know how! If someone tells me I promise to add it. It makes me laugh.

The next morning there were a lot of sore heads and I’m not surprised given how much 6 of us went through.



I’m happy we managed to bring a little bit of Chicago to Surrey, spontaneous nights are always the best!

Love, Chloe xx

Chicago Part 4 – Boats, Bubbles and Basketball!

We ended up having a bit of a lie in on Wednesday morning, I guess it was all that walking we had done the day before! However when I opened the curtains and saw that it was sunny, we quickly had some breakfast and got ready so we could head out and make the most of it!

It may have been sunny but it was not warm! We now understand why Chicago is called the Windy City. That wind is full on!! I actually thought one day I was going to fly away ha. But we were not complaining as the sunshine was well and truly out.

We decided that we would go on a boat trip and see the city from the lake, so we took a leisurely walk along the river down to where all the tours took place.

It was pretty busy and we hadn’t pre booked tickets so we brought the next available seats they had (which was roughly an hour’s wait so not bad at all) and then took a stroll along Michigan Avenue. We people watched and pretended we were millionaires, window shopping at all the designers stores…OK so maybe that was just me πŸ˜‰ It was so good to feel the sun on our skin though. We then stopped off at a corner bakery grabbed a cookie and smoothie each and had a little rest before heading back to the boat.


We booked with Wendella Boats and went for the 90 minutes Signature Lake and River Tour.

The tour started from Trump tower and we made our way along the river towards The Willis Tower.


We had a really friendly tour guide who knew so much about all the architecture and history of Chicago, it was so interesting to find out all the facts while sitting back, relaxing and taking in all the views. The boat even had a fully stocked bar downstairs should you require drinks or snacks.

We travelled all the way down to Willis Tower before turning around and making our way back along the river to get to Lake Michigan.



^^ It got a bit windy at one point, check out the make shift headscarf! πŸ˜‰


^^ The Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan

11377346_10155576954830092_3634763409750520240_nΒ The Views were pretty amazing, made even better by the weather!

The tour went really quickly and afterwards we decided to head back to the apartment for a quick lunch and a swim before getting ready for dinner at The Signature Room…


^^ Getting glammed up selfies πŸ˜‰ with a little burnt nose from the day on the boat!! oops.

We met Jason and Christina in the lounge area of the building for a glass of wine before heading to dinner. Christina had booked a table for us all at The Signature Room which is on the 95th Floor of the John Hancock Centre, a couple of weeks beforehand as she said it’s super popular so get’s booked up and I was very much looking forward to some good food!

We arrived a bit earlier than our reservation and also requested a window seat for dinner which meant waiting a little bit longer, but we were told it would be worth the wait! So we headed to the lounge bar and lucked out with a window seat overlooking Chicago.


^^ As you can see we opted for a bottle of bubbles and we watched as the city changed from day to night. Magical!


^^ check out that view!

We were told our table was ready, so we headed back down to the restaurant area and our table had an amazing view of the lit up city just like above. Now what to have for dinner…

The menu had a lot of choice, however I was instantly drawn to all the seafood they had to offer. To start we shared the Oysters. Then for mains Christina went for the Scallops, I had the halibut, Matt went for Surf & Turf (steak and lobster tail) and Jason went for the New York Strip steak. I’m really sorry I didn’t take any photos though!! I was too busy talking and taking in the view!

A couple of things I noticed though, the waiter wasn’t the friendliest and he looked like he didn’t really want to be there. This was a shock as the waitress we had in the lounge bar area was the total opposite. Also the food was quite over priced for what it was/what you got but I guess they have you because of the view.

Having said that the food was pretty delicious and presented beautifully. I do have one photo of the food…dessert!


^^ This was the raspberry sponge cake and it was yummy!


^^ Final photos of the night, feeling very full and slightly tipsy after bubbles AND wine, but such a lovely night!

Thursday was our last proper day in Chicago and we didn’t really know what to do for the day. We had tickets for the Bulls game that evening so we didn’t want to do anything too crazy and we had to pack at some point too. yawn!

So we finally decided to head to Navy Pier, for what we thought would be a fun morning of old school fair type games, fairground type rides, good outdoor food/drink areas and a busy/fun atmosphere. But in all honesty we couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. We did notice that building works were going on so maybe that is why it lacked any atmosphere and hopefully they are revamping the place! But it just felt dreary, run down and dead. Hardly anyone was there. Had we even come to the right place?


view from the Ferris Wheel – looks a bit unloved don’t you think?

We headed straight to the Ferris Wheel as we had been told this was the thing to do here. It was cheap, fun and you got a good view of the city and Lake, but I guess after seeing the view so many times this week, we had sort of done it. Sorry Chicago!


After the ride we had a walk along the promenade but nothing seemed to be open, so we then walked through the gardens and into the indoor shopping area, where everyone seemed to be! The shops were mainly touristy and not what we were looking for though so we decided to head back into the city.

I feel bad writing this as we loved Chicago but we wouldn’t go back to Navy Pier. On a positive I guess it’s a good place if you have kids, as it has a huge build a bear workshop, a Children’s museum and IMAX Cinema so I guess they would be entertained for a good few hours. I just don’t think it was what we thought it was going to be.

We did some last minute shopping, brought a couple of basketball jerseys for the game that night and had a bite to eat at a local bar. Before heading back to the apartment, packing (my least favourite thing of all time) and then headed to The United Centre for the game


I’m not really into any sports, but I was so excited to be going to my first ever basketball game. There is something about American sports, yes they go on forever and you have time outs alll the time which is so annoying. BUT you put on the BEST entertainment, half time shows, cheerleaders..the list goes on and secretly that’s what I was looking forward to most! πŸ˜‰


We had pretty amazing seats, front row of the upper tier and I was so happy that they sold other alcoholic drinks rather than just beers, plus look at the cute cup my drink came in! (Vodka and lemonade, yummy) ^^


And then we settled in for the game, maybe eating a few cheeky buffalo wings and nachos through the night. Me..Buffalo wings? Never! πŸ˜‰ and these ones were gooodd but pretty hot!!

The entertainment was everything I had hoped for, cheerleaders, break dancers, the funny mascot plus Broadway stars performing at half time. I was never bored. Basketball is fast paced and exciting, I like that.

It was just a shame that The Bulls lost so meant they were out of the play-offs. Matt was pretty disappointed about this too. (He loves and follows all sports!)

But it was still an amazing way to enjoy our last night in Chicago!

Love, Chloe xx

Chicago Part 3! Waffles, Walking and Willis Tower!

Matt and I very rarely do set itineraries for our trips away. Sure we make a list of places we would like to visit or that people have recommended but we never make a set plan or day that we must do things. More often than not we will wake up, see what the weather is like and then wait and see where the day takes us and this is exactly what happened on Tuesday…

Having woken up relatively early for a change, we decided to have breakfast out and headed straight back to Wildberry, we had to see what all the fuss was about!

As you can see the weather was still a bit overcast but it had stopped raining yay!


I love the photo with the yellow taxi in. Matt took this on his I Phone as we were walking along and I just love how it captures everything American, the theatre, the big Chicago sign, the yellow taxi and of course the American Flags. I can still remember the smell of popcorn in the air when I look at this picture πŸ™‚ and that makes me happy!

We made it to Wildberry and there wasn’t a queue hooray!


Then came the hard decision..waffles or pancakes, waffles or pancakes.


Waffles won and look how delicious they were! Lots of fresh berries and drizzled with maple syrup, this is what dreams are made of. I love having dessert type food for breakfast, it’s my favourite! πŸ˜‰ Matt went for a Skillet as he wanted to try something different as we don’t really have these in the UK, but I don’t have a picture of this sorry! It was pretty big though and came with a choice of toast or pancakes. Oh and before I forget take a look at the way my English Breakfast tea arrived, I’m loving the hot water filled light bulb!


After breakfast we decided we would walk to The Arts Institute of Chicago, not realising that we would walk through Millennium Park to get there! It’s so pretty and relaxing and we loved all the sculptures and fountains, so much to take in! Below are some photos of just a few things we passed along the way:


It was nice just having a leisurely stroll after breakfast and then before we knew it we were at The Arts Institute. We used our City Passes again here, so we got to skip the queues and we got free headset guides included too. Matt and I both enjoy art but we are in no way art buffs so these guides were super helpful.

I really wanted to see American Gothic andΒ A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. So we headed to those first. I didn’t realise just how big A Sunday Afternoon is and it tookΒ George Seurat 3 years to complete! (Painting below)


We didn’t realise either how many famous artists were displayed at The Arts Institute. Below are just a few of our favourites:

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^^ Claude Monet


^^ American Gothic by Grant Wood

10383096_10155576961385092_7657807459786228528_n^^ The Red Armchair by Pablo Picasso


^^ Visions of Eternity by Salvador Dali


^^ Matt liked the black one and I liked the white one, don’t you find it strange that we like the opposite of each other? Unfortunately and very bad of me, I didn’t take down what these we’re called or who they were by, but we really liked them!

After exploring all the different areas of The Arts Institute and discussing which pieces were our favourites and what we would like in our house πŸ˜‰ we decided to head to The Willis Tower. Breakfast was definitely filling as we didn’t even stop for lunch and for once I wasn’t thinking about food!! ha.


This was one of the things I had added to the ‘list’. For some reason wherever we go in the World I have to visit Madame Tussauds (if there is one) lol lame for some people I know, and I also have to do a skydeck or viewing tower of some sort. I just like being high up and seeing the overall view of the place we are visiting.

So up we went 103 floors to check out the views:


I love how Chicago has the mixture of the calmness of the lake with the crazy built up city right next door.

But then I spotted it.. the queue for The Ledge, this is what I had really been wanting to do!

The Ledge is a fully enclosed large glass box that extends 4 feet out of the side of the Willis Tower, 103 floors up. You’re meant to see never before seen views of the city..look down if you dare!

Matt isn’t really a fan of heights and so didn’t want to do this, so he sat and waited for me, while I joined the queue. It took a while as so many groups of people wanted to do group photos, single photos, you get the idea. Personally I feel they could run this a bit better with proper roped off queues and maybe staff manning it but I guess it wasn’t too bad a wait.11152686_10155576949460092_4821356471886446434_n

Then it was my turn, the initial step out is weird you really do feel like your about to step off the side of the building, but once that first rush of adrenaline is over you quickly take it all in, it’s a really cool idea and I even managed to take a photo sat down.


Excitement over, we headed back down to the ground and slowly walked back to the apartment, stopping to pop in a few shops along the way and picking up some snacks and alcohol for the evening, as we had decided to stay in and watch the basketball.

We got back to the apartment and crashed on the sofa together, not realising just how much walking we had done or how long we had been out for! But it was such a good day sightseeing.

That evening we met up with Jason and Christina in the games room of the building. It was nice to just chill after a busy day and fill them in on our adventures. We played pool, we watched the basketball and we ordered in Ribs from Carson’s which were delicious. Why don’t people offer take away ribs here yet?


Just check out those bibs!

Love, Chloe xx

Chicago Part 1- It’s all about the Deep Dish!

After a pleasant and slightly boozy 9 hour flight (well we did have to make the most of the bar area! πŸ˜‰ ) we had finally arrived in Chicago! But wait what was that we could see?… clouds, wind, grey skies! We thought we were on holiday, where was the sunshine?

We hopped in a cab and travelled to our apartment, taking in all the sights along the way. The skies were eerily foggy and you could barely see the top of most buildings. But it made Chicago that bit more intriguing. (Sorry no photos were taken, we were still in a bit of a plane daze!)

We were staying in a new build apartment block, called One Eleven. See below – This picture was taken on a day when we had sunshine! The building was only completed in Summer 2014.


Most residents live here permanently but a few apartments are rented out to visitors like us and I would highly recommend staying here! The doormen are so friendly and soon remember your names so you instantly feel like you live there! It is right in the centre of Chicago, so within walking distance to the main tourist attractions and you also have full use of all the onsite amenities, such as swimming pool, gym, games room and numerous lounges with places to chill and take in the views, which include the river, Lake Michigan and Trump Tower. (See pics below)

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After a quick tour, we found our room on the 24th floor, unpacked, jumped in the shower, changed and then made our way up to see Jason and Christina and I was soo excited. After 9 months apart I could not wait for a big, long hug and then gossiping over a large glass of wine and that is exactly what happened! The boys were easily entertained with beers and sports on the TV.


^^ I had missed this one! ❀ (please excuse the pale face – a mixture of jet lag and wine was kicking in!)

After quite a few hours, chilling, drinking and catching up, we decided to pop out for an early dinner. Christina decided that we should experience a true Chicago Deep Dish and so we headed off to Gino’s East, to see what all the fuss… about this famous pizza… was about!

I’m not actually a fan of deep dish pizza’s (Sorry people of Chicago) but to me pizza’s should be thin and crispy, but hey while I’m here, I’m certainly going to give it a go! I also don’t drink beer. Much to the Whole of America’s disgust I’m sure, as you guy’s seem to love the stuff! So again I think the waiter thought I was a little odd when I asked for bubbles haha. Now back to that pizza…

The waiter said that 1 medium deep dish would be enough for the 4 of us. But Jason also insisted that we try the Buffalo wings to start and I also noticed pulled pork sliders on the menu too (anything pulled pork I must have! πŸ˜‰ ) so we had quite the feast to be getting on with.

The Buffalo wings arrived first, sticky and bright orange I had to dive in immediately, the sauce had a slight kick but not crazy hot and I fell in love with the flavour straight away. Needless to say that for the rest of the week if buffalo wings were on the menu, Matt knew I was going to have them! If anyone knows of a good place in London or Surrey that does Buffalo wings, please let me know as I’m suffering from withdrawal symptoms!

Next up were the pulled pork sliders, one each and gone within 2 bites, but these were tasty and full of flavour, melt in your mouth pork and sticky, smoky BBQ sauce, always a winner.

I was already feeling full! But here comes the main event…The Deep Dish and WOW was it deep!!



I don’t know if these photos really do it justice or if you can tell just how big/thick it really is. But believe me it’s big! One slice each was more than enough for us 2 ladies and although Matt went in for a second slice he struggled to finish it! It was nothing like any pizza I had tasted before and it felt more like a pizza pie.

Rather than dough, I do believe the base is made of shortcrust pastry. The crusts were so thick you couldn’t cut them and Christina recommended breaking bits off and dipping it into the ample tomato sauce you get! Another difference you may notice is they put the cheese on the base before the tomato sauce and not the other way around. As you can see this gives the pizza a very gooey, stringy texture that can only be eaten by knife and fork.

If I’m going to be honest, I wouldn’t rush back for another one, personally for me it was a bit rich and big and I think I will stick to my thin crust in future. However having said that I’m glad I got to sample a Chicago tradition and these 3 certainly enjoyed it!!


We were all so stuffed that we couldn’t fit in desert but after a breather we decided to walk onto a bar for another round of drinks, but unfortunately jet lag had caught up with Matt and I and we were nearly falling asleep on our bar stools, so after a very quick last drink, we all decided to walk back to the apartments and Matt and I were sound asleep by 9pm!

What a great way to start our trip – Pals, Pizza and Pints! πŸ˜‰

Love, Chloe xx

Hooray for Holiday!

So it’s 10.48 on an overcast Friday morning and I can say that in 5 hours and 10 mins I will officially be on holiday! πŸ™‚

It’s been a while since I’ve been abroad and with all the stress of moving house (2 weeks before Xmas!) and how busy we have been since, this day has been a long time coming. Technically I have 1 more sleep ( we all still count in sleeps right? πŸ˜‰ ) until we are ACTUALLY on holiday but hey once I’ve put the out of office email on, I’m already there..well in my mind anyway.

I guess I should tell you where we’re going..well we’re off to the great U.S Of A and I am beyond excited. We have been to America a few times, New York, Vegas, LA & Florida. (Vegas being my ultimate favourite!) However this time we start our trip in Chicago, home of Barack Obama, The World’s FIRST Skyscraper and one of my best friend’s, Christina!! ❀

I have known Christina for 4.5 years but it feels like I’ve known her a lifetime. When I first moved to London she totally took me under her wing and we soon realised we had a lot of the same interests; Cheese, Wine, Jo Malone and Musicals being top of the list and I really don’t know what I would have done without her. She is actually married to one of Matt’s best friend’s, Jason, which is how we got introduced, but it also meant we got to see each other pretty much all the time πŸ™‚

Christina was born and bred in Chicago, however in her final year of uni she decided to study abroad and London was top of the list. She randomly met Jason in a queue for a nightclub almost 8 years ago and the rest as they say is history. They stayed in London until July 2014, when they decided to move back to Chicago for good. Cue lots of goodbyes and tears 😦 All I can say is, I’m very grateful for WhatsApp, Viber, Emails and Facebook, so we can still contact each other almost daily! BUT it’s not the same as seeing someone in person and so Saturday afternoon cannot come soon enough, food, bubbles and lots of hugs are already high on the list of our priorities. I’ve already pre warned Matt of the girlie squeals, hugs and non-stop talking that is bound to happen, I don’t think the same thing will happen between him and Jason.. but hey we will see! πŸ˜‰

We have 6 days to explore Chicago until we jet off to New York for a long weekend. Matt has been to New York quite a few times now, however I have only been once before. We are actually going to New York for another of Matt’s good friend’s, Bruce wedding. Well it’s actually a celebration, he and his wife Erin eloped to the Caribbean on Valentines Day (how romantic!! ❀ ) so this is more of the after party..and I’m excited! Because of this reason though I don’t think we will have much time for exploring or sight seeing. Matt has a few friends he wants to catch up with and I think dinners, lunches or even brunches have already been booked for us..not that I’m complaining! So I think most of our time will be spent having fun with friends πŸ™‚

Anywho I best be off, as 1. I’ve got work to do tut tut and 2. I have a list to write of the million things I need to remember and pack!! I’ve been a bit too relaxed about it for some reason!

I will take lots of snaps and share them with you when I’m back, promise!!

Love, Chloe xx