USA Road Trip – Day 7 – Tigers, Tides & Taco’s!

Bright eyed and bushy tailed, San Diego had us ready to go for another day of adventures. So after breakfast we packed up the car and headed straight to San Diego Zoo.

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This was definitely the hottest day of our entire trip, as you can see there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and we were sweating by 10am! Not that we were complaining as it was lovely to feel hot weather at the beginning of March, a bit different to England!

The zoo was already very busy when we arrived and it is also very big.

We started off in Center Street and made our way up the path, seeing all the different bears along the way. I love bears and would love to visit Canada to see them in the wild.

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From the bears we walked up to Park Way, which takes you to Panda Canyon and the Panda Trek. Pandas are adorable and it was amazing to see so many of these beautiful animals, however just walking up a hill for almost an hour, caused us to melt, so we decided to get ice creams and jumped on the guided bus tour.

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This is a 35 minute tour of the zoo where you get to see the majority of the animals. This worked better for us as we didn’t want to spend all day at the zoo, plus we managed to get seats on the open top deck, so got to enjoy the sunshine, with a cool breeze and see all the animals in action.

After the bus tour we decided there were a couple of areas we wanted to visit up close, first up the giraffes which are Meg’s favourite animals and then to the monkeys and gorillas.

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We then joined the queue for the Skyfari which is a cable car which goes over the complete zoo, it’s a novel experience but you don’t really get to see many of the animals from up there!

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A quick look around the gift shop and we decided it was time to head to the beach to cool off as it was just too hot to continue walking around the zoo all day and we had seen everything we had wanted to.

On our drive to the beach, we stopped off in Coronado town and grabbed some sandwiches from a local shop and popped into a mini supermarket for some drinks and snacks. When we arrived at the beach, we set up just like we did the day before, ate our snacks and then spent the rest of the afternoon sunbathing, playing games and attempting a dip in the sea but the water was cold!

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Just before sunset we decided to head back to the bar area at Hotel del Coronado, ordered some drinks and got ready to watch the sunset one last time. I honestly could never get tired of these views and the sunset.

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We decided that as it was our last night in San Diego we had to go to a Mexican restaurant for dinner, as we had heard that the local Mexican food was amazing. We looked up a few options but as I had had a few wines by this point I didn’t note the name of the place we ended up at (apologies!) however I can tell you that it was a very popular spot back in the city and you couldn’t book a table so we did find ourselves in a small queue, but it was worth the wait as the food was delicious, as were the cocktails!

We were sad that it was our last night in San Diego as we had really enjoyed the relaxed beach vibe and beautiful weather but we were very excited for our next adventure to begin in the morning…

Love Chloe xx

USA Road Trip – Day 6 – A Top Gun Kind of Day…

We awoke to beautiful sunshine and headed down for breakfast inside the hotel. The food was average but we couldn’t complain as it was free! Plus the portions were huge! I had pancakes with berries and the others had the full American.

Over breakfast we discussed what we wanted to do with the day. We had researched a few things we wanted to do in San Diego, however we had no set plan on what days we should do what and after quite a full on time in Vegas, we were hoping to fit in some relaxation at the beaches at some point too.

If you read my Vegas posts you will know our plan regarding 4 places, 4 names picked out of a hat, surprise the group with something. Well I had chosen San Diego. So I decided to put my plans into action. After breakfast we jumped into the wagon and drove down to the Harbour, as our first stop of the day was the USS Midway Museum.

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Now you may think that what I chose as the surprise sounds a bit boring, but actually the main reason I had chosen it was due to it being linked to Top Gun and who doesn’t love Top Gun? It’s one of Matt and I’s favourites!

Whilst researching San Diego back at home I quickly found out that 90% of Top Gun was filmed in the area so I thought it would be fun to visit some of the locations (if we could find them!) I’m still shocked that they don’t do a Top Gun mini bus tour or something to take fans around to all the locations, seriously why hasn’t anyone thought of this?! But I digress back to the ship…

”USS Midway was an aircraft carrier of the United States Navy, the lead ship of her class. She was the largest ship in the world until 1955. She operated for 47 years, during which time she saw action in the Vietnam War and served as the Persian Gulf flagship in 1991’s Operation Desert Storm. Decommissioned in 1992, she is now a museum ship at the USS Midway Museum, in San Diego.”

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Look at this view from the top of the ship – beautiful!

We spent a couple of hours on the ship, exploring every room and taking in all the stories. Matt and Megs even rode in a fighter jet flight simulator but mine and Fraser’s stomach’s never would have handled it!

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Not wanting to miss anymore of the sunshine, we decided to take a stroll along the harbour, which was so beautiful and picturesque taking a look at the Unconditional Surrender statue along the way.
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We popped into The Fish Market Restaurant for a drink and a cool down. It was such a lovely place and the food, especially the freshly caught seafood looked amazing however I had other ideas for our lunch spot…

Kansas City BBQ A Top Gun location with the added bonus of delicious BBQ food and sunshine.

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A couple of the iconic scenes from the film were shot here, including the Great Balls of Fire Piano and the Jukebox.

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The place was filled with memorabilia however it still had a locals vibe. After looking around inside we decided to eat outside as we wanted to enjoy the incredible weather whilst eating our delicious food.

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There were a few other locations from the film I would have liked to have found however they were quite a way from where we were, so we asked our waitress where the best beach was and she told us Coronado, so off we drove (thank goodness for sat nav!) over the bridge to Coronado Beach.

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Oh Em Gee just look at this place!

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It looked like something out of a movie scene. Picture perfect white sand, barely any other visitors, pure bliss.

We found a spot to settle in for the rest of the afternoon and chilled/napped in the sunshine.

Keen to explore a bit more of the surroundings, we walked along the waves towards the Hotel del Coronado, which was stunning.

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We found a table at the outdoor bar area on the balcony, overlooking the beach, ordered a few drinks and just breathed it all in. Oh how we wished we were staying at this hotel and waking up to this view everyday! We’ve already said numerous times that we want to go back and stay there.

The hotel has also been featured in numerous films dating back to the early 1900’s! But the most iconic is Some Like it Hot with Marilyn Monroe.

We played cards and Megs and I drank local wine before making a leisurely stroll back to the parked car, passing all the amazing houses along the way.

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Don’t you think this looks like Gru’s house from Despicable Me?

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After chilling and changing back at the hotel we decided to get a cab into the city for dinner at a little Italian restaurant. We seemed to be the only ones about, not that we were complaining as the food and service were amazing, but it just seemed a bit odd not seeing anyone else around, however what a great first day in San Diego!

Love, Chloe xx

Honeymoon Day 10 – Unusual Utah & Viva Las Vegas!

A 3am wake up call is never fun but we were both excited for the next adventure and exploring somewhere new.

It was dark driving to the airport, but we managed to drop the hire car off with no issues and made it through security in good time – considering how busy the airport already was, with everyone trying to escape the hurricane. We bought a couple of hot drinks and boarded the plane to Utah, ready for our 6am departure.

It was roughly a 4.5 hour flight to Salt Lake City, Utah, but as we were both pretty tired we decided to try and sleep the best we could and actually the time flew by.

Utah are 2 hours behind Orlando so when we landed we had a couple of hours free before our connection flight to Las Vegas. We found a nice restaurant for breakfast and then had a look in a few of the gift shops.

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The airport was really busy. Clearly a popular connection stop and we were shocked to learn that the temperature was only 3 degrees outside. Crazy when Orlando had been so hot and then Las Vegas would be hot too. By 11am it was time to board our final flight of the day.

The last time Matt and I visited Vegas was in 2012, over Thanksgiving weekend. We met up with a few of Matt’s friends and partied every night, which was a lot of fun but quite crazy. So during our flight Matt asked me how we wanted to do Vegas this time around. Should we relax, go to the spa and try to bring The Bahamas to Vegas? Or should we just embrace Vegas, go with the flow and find some fun things to do to make it memorable?

I think you can guess which option we chose seeing as we started drinking at 11am…

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A bit sleepy but a couple of vodka’s soon woke us up!

The views from the plane were stunning and I got a bit snap happy, especially when I spotted the Hoover Dam! But the flight was over so quickly as it was just less than an hour from Utah!

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Salt Lake City, Utah

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The Hoover Dam

It was so nice to be greeted with pure blue skies and sunshine and once off the plane we headed straight to The Encore Hotel which is where we would be staying for the next 5 nights.

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As usual, check in in Vegas is always super busy but we were just so happy we were there and couldn’t wait to see our room and go and explore.

The receptionist was very excited that we were on our honeymoon and actually bumped us up to a suite on the 63rd floor, which was just incredible. We had a full view of the strip from our floor to ceiling windows and we could open the curtains from a button by our beds, so we could enjoy that view each morning and night.

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The view of the Strip from our room 

We quickly freshened up and then headed down the strip to Planet Hollywood Hotel, as we remembered from last time that they had the miracle mile shops and a vast range of bars and restaurants to choose from.

I love the relaxed but party vibe of Vegas, it just makes me so happy. I always feel like you can do whatever you like and no one will mind. It’s most definitely my happy place (this was my 3rd visit and we actually went back again in March of this year as part of our US West Coast Road Trip!)

I always say to Matt if I had to live anywhere else in the World it would be Vegas, but I don’t think that will ever happen!

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So amazing all lit up at night!

After a little bit of gambling and window shopping, we ended up in one of my favourite places. Blondies. It’s basically just like Hooters but the girls wear cheer leading outfits and there are way more screens around the place showing all the sports imaginable.

We noticed that they had an all you can drink for $20 offer on and were shocked when the waitress said the drinks included spirits as well as beers. So as Matt wanted to watch the football (American) we decided to find a spot to settle into for the rest of the evening.

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We decided to share the Blondies Sampler which included all of our usual American favourites – chicken tenders, buffalo chicken wings, onion rings and jalapeno poppers with a large basket of curly fries on the side.

In the end a mixture of lack of sleep and booze hit me and I was sound asleep in our huge bed by 9pm!

Love, Chloe xx

Lauren’s Parisian Hen Weekend – Part 2

We began the day with a delicious breakfast at the hotel, where the croissants were fresh from the patisserie next door! Yum!

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Then made our way to the banks of the River Seine, as we had booked an hour-long sightseeing cruise. It may have been freezing, but we kept ourselves warm with hot drinks and it was a great way of seeing all the sights when short on time.

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After the tour we made our way to The Eiffel Tower ready for our trip to the top. We had pre-booked our tickets with an allocated time slot, which I would highly recommend doing, otherwise you are stuck waiting in a very long queue!

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We went up by lift but you can walk it if you are feeling fit and brave! As you can see it was a bit breezy, but such a good way of taking in the whole city and the views were amazing. At the top they also have a few souvenir shops and a macaron shop, my favourite!

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We grabbed a late snack/lunch on our walk back to the hotel. Where we then had some time to leisurely get ready for the evening.

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We started the night with drinks at the hotel and then jumped into taxis to Le Sanglier Bleu restaurant where we had dinner reservations.

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We gave Lauren some presents and a memory book with photos and notes from all the hen’s and played a few games whilst enjoying a delicious dinner of sea bass and traditional tart tatin and Crème brûlée’s. Yum!

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Finally finishing off with some traditional drinks!

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We then had a short walk to the infamous Moulin Rouge, where we had tickets for the evening show, which we were all so excited for. The queue to get in was a bit crazy even though we had tickets but once inside it was pretty iconic and magical.

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We had a private table and were given so many bottles of champagne. Apparently it came included with the tickets!

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The show was a mixture of burlesque, circus acts, singing and dancing. Some acts were really good but unfortunately some were quite dated and not as slick as we all imagined it would be. I’m glad I can say I visited though as it had been on the bucket list for a long time but I wouldn’t rush to go back. Fun night out with the girls though!

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The next morning we couldn’t believe how quickly the trip had flown by and that it was our last day in the beautiful city. So we had yet another leisurely breakfast at the hotel, had a little look around the local shops and eventually got the train back to the airport.

Such a lovely girls weekend away and hopefully a trip Lauren will never forget!

Love, Chloe xx

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.

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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

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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

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Hairdresser Jeni with Bride Sophie

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Make Up Artist Tash with Bridesmaid Sarah

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Myself and Sarah

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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.

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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…

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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.

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Sarah, Thelma and I

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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.

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

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The Beautiful Bride

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Myself and Sarah

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Bride, Sophie

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Mother of the Bride, Thelma

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Me

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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.

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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.

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Best Man, Harrison with Groom John

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Myself and Matt

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Sarah, Sophie and Me

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Sophie, John, Sarah and Bobby

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The Wedding Party

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Sophie and John

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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…

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Groom, John

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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.

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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.

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Sophie and John at the beach

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Matt and Me as drawn by the caricaturist

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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.

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

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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.

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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!

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The morning after the night before!

Ed Sheeran at Wembley!

A month ago now, eek, how has it been that long?! Matt and I made our way to Wembley to see the amazing performer that is Ed Sheeran.

Matt had given me the tickets as one of my Christmas presents and I had been waiting a long, nearly 7 months for this day to arrive.

I was so excited as I had never seen Ed perform live before and as we went on the Saturday we had the added bonus of seeing Example and Rudimental too.

Now we live in Surrey, travelling to Wembley in North London, is a bit of a mission. But luckily the weather was on our side, as were the trains and so our journey was actually a fairly quick and pleasant one.

Now I’m not one of these really eager fans who has to stand at the front of the stage and so queues from a ridiculous time in the morning. There is nothing wrong with these people at all and when I was younger I was always keen to get to the front. But nowadays I’m happy to take it at a more chilled pace and not be crushed by the over eager crowds. Oh no, it’s happened, I’m getting old and turning into my mum!

We arrived just before Example started his set. We grabbed a couple of drinks and made our way down onto the pitch standing area.

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I’d seen Example perform a few years back and he always knows how to get a crowd going, plus I always forget how many great songs he has. It was like being at a festival, good music, good weather, good company. Everyone was loving it.

After all that singing or shouting which ever way you want to look at it 😉 and jumping around like a crazy teenager. We had worked up an appetite and so we went on a search for food. There are always soo many options as these types of places and after the tough decision of pulled pork hot dog or pizza. I finally went for the greasier option of pizza and I am so glad I did. A large, cheesy, gooey slice of delicious pizza with the added surprise of a cheese filled crust. Yum!

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Pizza gone and a couple more drinks brought we went back to our spot ready for Rudimental. I was quite excited to see them live, they have such a great buzz around them, and everyone I know who has seen them has said they are amazing. A couple of my friends were going to see Ed on the Sunday and were gutted Rudimental weren’t support for them to. Of course we both know the songs they have released and been in the charts, but we’re not avid fans that we know all the album tracks too and I must admit after a few songs we both got a bit bored and felt like it was just the same song over and over ( see I told you we’re getting old!) All the people at the front were loving it though and I must admit the stadium had a real party atmosphere about it.

They played their final song and then you really felt the excitement build for Ed. The arena got busier, the fans got noisier and a Mexican Wave was constantly going around the higher seats. And then the countdown finally began, with numerous photos and videos of Ed being shown on the screens from baby to now, a bit like the ‘Photograph’ Video. You could barely hear anything from the amount of woops and screams.

And then he appeared, just one man and a guitar.

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I won’t bore you with every single detail and apologies for the poor quality photos, zoomed in on an I phone!

But Ed was absolutely incredible. He is super talented, performing only with his guitar and a machine which I think is called a looper (please correct me if I’m wrong) which basically meant he could produce all his own music & sing all his own songs, live, without the help of a backing track or band. He also constantly talked and interacted with the crowd too. Pretty impressive if you ask me.

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The crowd was a vast mixture of people from young families, to older couples, to hen parties and everything in between. It seems that everyone loves Ed.

He performed all of his songs from old favourites such as ‘Lego House’ and ‘A-Team’ to new favourites such as ‘Photograph’ and the very romantic ‘Thinking Out Loud’, which of course everyone swayed to and got their phone lights out for, it did make a pretty amazing view and photo op!

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He finished with a huge finale of ‘Sing!’ which everyone went crazy for, including us 😉

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What an amazing evening with my favourite person! ❤ Thank you for the tickets!

I must admit I have been to a lot of concerts and I do think that we are getting far too used to seeing choreographed routines, flashy pyrotechnics, auto tune and miming that it was nice to actually see someone stripped back, who doesn’t need all that other stuff and to appreciate just how talented one person can be.

If you ever get the chance to go see Ed, take it! It will be one of the best concerts you ever go to, promise! 🙂

Love Chloe xx

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

Date Night at Chiltern Firehouse!

Matt and I don’t have date night’s very often. Don’t get me wrong we go out for dinner and drink’s..a lot! But it’s usually with different groups of friends or our families. Which of course is nice and good fun, but sometimes you just want it to be the two of you. Also since moving to Surrey, I’m more reluctant to travel into London. It just feels like such a mission compared to the journey we used to have ha. So more often than not when we do go out with people it will be the local pub, Pizza Express or Prezzo. Nothing wrong with these places at all but sometimes you just want to treat yourselves to something a bit more special.

Our thing as a couple is usually the cinema, we love watching the newest block buster and visit quite often. But of course in that environment you don’t really get a chance to talk, plus it’s usually on a midweek work night where we have rushed home, grabbed a bite to eat and gone straight out again. Fun? Yes. But romantic? Not really.

So when we do decide to go on an actual date night, we really go all out. Pre dinner drinks, a swanky restaurant and a chance for us to get glammed up!

I have a little list going of places I would like us to try out, most are pretty expensive (hence why we don’t do it very often!) But we are slowly making our way through them. And this time we were trying out Chiltern Firehouse.

If you live in the UK or are into your celeb gossip (like me!) then you will have most likely heard of Chiltern Firehouse. It opened in 2013 as a small hotel and restaurant and seems to have been a firm favourite with the celebs ever since. If you read the Daily Mail, then I guarantee you, every day they will have a story about yet another celebrity going for dinner there or falling out of the club! Today I noticed it’s Rita Ora (she seem’s to go there a lot!)

So yes I did want to visit for the food, but this time it was also a little bit more about the atmosphere and seeing if we could spot any celebs!

Matt made the reservation about 2 months ago! Yes you really do have to book that far in advance for this place and even then you will only get a restaurant booking for 10pm!! Unless you are part of the rich and famous, of course!

I was excited and finally 2 weeks ago, we got to find out what this place was all about..

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^^ At home selfie

As our reservation wasn’t until 10pm. We started the evening at the Lobby Bar of the London Edition Hotel.

It’s located in Fitzrovia, roughly 5 minutes walk from Soho and Tottenham Court Road.

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As you can see from the outside, the hotel looks grand and very traditional of British/London architecture. Inside I loved the mix of the traditional marble and ornate ceilings, mixed with the modern decorations and sofa’s.

It was busy as you would expect for a Friday evening in London. But we soon found a place to sit and Matt ordered us a couple of Mojito’s. We relaxed and chatted about our days and what we had coming up over the next couple of weeks. It’s nice just to take time out and reconnect as a couple.

The service here was great and a waitress soon popped over to see if we were OK. We ordered a couple more cocktails and she brought them over with a complementary bowl of nuts. Exactly what we needed after a couple of cocktails and not eating until late 😉

The time passed quickly and before we knew it we were jumping in a cab and heading off to Chiltern Firehouse.

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The entrance is tucked away behind a fairy light filled courtyard and large black gates, guarded by doormen in top hats! As well as greeter’s (I don’t know if that is a proper thing or if I’ve made that up, but hopefully you know what I mean!) We also noticed a huge crowd of paparazzi, waiting to see who would be next to jump out of their private car.

As we stepped out of our taxi, a few flashes went off and we heard people shouting someone’s name. For a moment I thought I was famous 😉 haha. But when I quickly turned around to see what all the commotion was about and to see which big star had arrived, we saw it was Nancy Dell’Olio. I was so disappointed! To me she is not a celebrity, I didn’t even realise she was still popular. Harsh but true.

We walked to the gates, ignoring what was going on behind us and told the men that we had a restaurant reservation. One of the gentlemen escorted us inside, where we were then greeted by the cloakroom lady. She took our coats and escorted us to the reservation desk, where yet another lady took our name and then finally our waiter took us to our table. I guess you could say we were well looked after and everyone seemed genuinely happy to help and be there.

I must admit that the tables are pretty close together and we were seated along a long booth, so we had people either side of us. But it’s not like people we’re actually sat at your table, like Wagamama’s or Ping Pong. Plus I found it quite cute and cosy!

Our waiter was super friendly, helpful and always laughing and joking with us. I had heard great things about the crab doughnuts, so asked if we could have some to share with a glass of bubbles each, while we looked through the menu. Just a pre starter starter or light snack as Matt called it 😉

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^^ Checking out the menu

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^^ The crab doughnuts, which were super tasty, we could have easily eaten a few more of those! 😉

Matt had been given the wine list and was taking a long look at all the options, our favourite at the moment is Sancerre. We only first tried it back in April but it now seems to be our go to if out at a nice place. Usually though on a normal basis I stick to a Pinot or Sav Blanc 😉 The Sommelier then came over to see if we were OK and to take our order, Matt said about the Sancerre, but asked if he had any other recommendations. Which of course he did 😉 So we ended up going for a bottle of 2008 Blanc Fume De Pouilly instead. Neither of us had even heard of this wine before let alone tasted it, but he assured us it was just like Sancerre but a bit richer and would go with our food choices better. It was very tasty I must admit!

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Now back to the good stuff! The food!

To start I had the ‘Tender Leaves’ basically a salad with added beetroot, blood orange and candied pecans. I wanted something light to start, but you did actually get quite a large portion and I couldn’t finish it all. It was full of flavour though.

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Matt went for the Steak Tartare, one of his favourites! It was served with added pine nuts and chipotle & firehouse hot sauce. He said it was good but that the sauce wasn’t actually that hot.

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For our main courses, I was torn over a couple of dishes mostly a toss up between fish or pork. Fish won and I finally decided on the Wild Turbot, served with seaweed hollandaise and baby Jersey Royal potatoes. As you can see in the picture, a big plate of food! Which as ever I struggled to finish and had to leave some. The fish was cooked beautifully though.

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Matt had the Confit of Duck. He didn’t talk much while eating so it must have been good! 😉

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As you can see we also decided on a couple of sides to share including the green bean salad and maple-bourbon sweet potatoes. Usually at these types of places you need to order extra sides to complete your meal but here we could have easily coped without them. The sweet potato mash was different though and something you should try.

We had a small rest, but I was determined to fit in dessert somewhere! Especially as I had seen so many amazing dishes go by, I couldn’t miss out! and there were lots to chose from!

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I finally decided on the key lime pie which was really delicious, if a little sickly, but for once I did finish the whole thing 😉 and Matt went for the dark chocolate torte. You will probably start to notice a pattern of Matt going for chocolate desserts and myself, fruit. Hopefully you can spot both desserts in the picture below.

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We were totally full and I could barely move ha. But it had been such a lovely night filled with good food, drink and the best company ❤

It was now just gone midnight and people were heading to the nightclub, which we could have gone to. But due to our train times, we decided to head back. One negative of the evening. When you leave, you get escorted out the back door and end up in a back alley with the chefs who have just finished for the night. Bit odd I felt and it did feel like you were being thrown out of the building!

But oh well we still had a great experience, even with the lack of celebs! 😉 Now to start thinking about the next one!

Love, Chloe xx