Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Fiona's Hen-Do

We are less than a week until my little sister gets married!! So, there will be a blog post in the near future on that week in Cyprus but for now, I'm recapping her hen-do!

Friday night, I joined the girls at London's Ice Bar for the hen-do props game (very many laughs) before we donned our gloves and capes and headed into the freezing bar with the delicious drinks.

Fiona's Hen Do Aug 2016
The bride-to-be on her throne!

Fiona's Hen Do Aug 2016
A tasty cocktail in an ice-cold glass!

Fiona's Hen Do Aug 2016

Fiona's Hen Do Aug 2016

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I think we stayed a solid thirty minutes before we decided our tootsies were about frozen and headed back into what felt like tropical heat in London by comparison! Tasty drinks though!

Starting to thaw, we headed for dinner at Inamo.

Fiona's Hen Do Aug 2016
Starter.

Fiona's Hen Do Aug 2016
And a few table top games after we ordered our food.

Fiona's Hen Do Aug 2016
Ahem. Dessert. And then we rounded off the evening with some civilised choir pratice.

Fiona's Hen Do Aug 2016

Fiona's Hen Do Aug 2016

Fiona's Hen Do Aug 2016
Marvelous.

The next morning, the rest of the party arrived for Saturday antics. Some of the Friday-nighters were spry enough in the morning to hit the spa for a revitalizing swim, others pulled themselves out of bed and had some aspirin-assistance in getting down to the bar, either way, everyone was up for the day's activities!

Fiona's Hen Do Aug 2016
After another game, Mr & Mrs, we headed out to a life drawing class...now, there are no pictures out of respect for our very graceful male model and absolutely insane art teacher...but, it was definitely an experience. Afterwards we headed to Core Bar for cocktail making where disgusting shot penalties made sure everyone brought their A-game to the competitive drink-mixing!

Fiona's Hen Do Aug 2016

Fiona's Hen Do Aug 2016

Fiona's Hen Do Aug 2016

Fiona's Hen Do Aug 2016

Fiona's Hen Do Aug 2016

Fiona's Hen Do Aug 2016

Fiona's Hen Do Aug 2016

Fiona's Hen Do Aug 2016
Back to the hotel to spruce up for the evening! Tapas, gifts and dancing! The countdown clock to the wedding is well and truly running down and if the hen-do is anything to judge by, it's going to be a hell of a party!

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Viva Las Vegas

I went to Vegas for 10 days. When I tell people this, I tend to get the same response;
"Ten days?! That's a long time for Vegas."
Now, each to their own, of course, Vegas is maybe not for everyone, but personally, I am big on Vegas, officially. And 10 days was not enough to do everything we wanted to do and I would go back in a heartbeat, and for another 10 (or 14) days.

Vegas has a lot to offer. You don't HAVE to gamble, (though it is fun to have a throw of the dice at a craps table) no, there are alternatives. You can have a day by the pool, you can see a show, you can go touring around the INSANE hotels, you can take in a show, you can ride the rides, you can shop, you can eat (ohmygosh the food), and, if you are so inclined, you can be cultural and head out to Zion National Park or see the Grand Canyon or Hoover Dam.

Vegas June 2016

We, however. did it the standard Vegas way. Which brings me to the reason for the Vegas trip! My dear old Dad has reached the milestone age of 60! And to celebrate, he dragged some of his nearest and dearest to the Strip for plenty of fun and good cheer. Let's start with his actual birthday day, schemed and planned and kept extremely secret by myself, Fiona and Liz.

We kicked off with a civilised breakfast. The sensible way to start the day.

Vegas July 2016

Or not.

Vegas July 2016

Vegas July 2016

Vegas July 2016

Bloody mary's, mimosas, pancakes, themed sunglasses, inflatables and cake were the order of the day. And before noon as well...it set the pace for what was an absolutely fantastic day.

Vegas July 2016

Is that party bus ours? You're damn right it is. Two hours of cruising down the strip and around the hotels while drinking and dancing to our own playlist? Amazing. I would fully recommend this bus-load of fun to anyone (link here).

Vegas June 2016

Vegas July 2016

After these shenanigans we were dropped off at the Stratosphere hotel where we shot up to their Sky Lounge for happy hour, so we could enjoy cocktails and discounted nibbles while enjoying being higher than the helicopters!

Vegas July 2016

By the time happy hour had come to an end and we'd made a few (or lost a few) bucks at the craps, roulette and blackjack tables, we stumbled over to Gilley's to play out the rest of our evening.

Vegas July 2016

I don't feel the need to share the rest of the pictures from this evening as...well, it's clear we started drinking at 11am. Oh ok, just one.

Vegas July 2016

You see my point.

Ok, I can't cover everything we did in Vegas as it would take far too long but here are some of the highlights.

Vegas July 2016

Vegas July 2016

Breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi in the Paris hotel. And have a bloody mary, this is where I realised I loved bloody marys. I ended up having breakfast here three times. It was phenomenal.


Vegas July 2016

Visit Old Vegas. Plenty of crazy people here but it's just so cool to see.

Vegas July 2016

Take in a show (or two or three). We saw Human Nature's "Jukebox" show. It was absolutely fantastic and I would fully recommend this to everyone.

Vegas July 2016

Have a flutter. Gambler or not, learning craps is worth doing, you don't have to bet big on the machines and it's good fun as a game!

Vegas July 2016

Duelling pianos in New York, New York - love this bar. The music is amazing and the atmosphere is great. Get there before 9/10 to avoid a cover charge!

Vegas July 2016

Did I say breakfast at the Paris? Seriously.

Vegas July 2016

Top Golf at the MGM may not be for everyone...it certainly wasn't for me! But the pool was worth the trip in itself.


Vegas July 2016


Vegas July 2016

Absinthe...a show that may be enjoyed by fans of the "Family Guy" show. The jokes are inappropriate and at times, outright weird. The show is great though. Well worth seeing. Don't sit near the front if you can't take a serious mocking.

Vegas July 2016

See the bellagio fountains, at night. There is music and it is spectacular.

Vegas July 2016

Play beer pong! Do as the Americans do! (This was Rock Bar).

Vegas July 2016
Finally, take your friends! Vegas is fun in a group, the bigger the better, and it's easy to keep in touch with everyone now that all the hotels have free wifi. Don't put too much pressure on trying to stick together, it's too much effort and it's meant to be a holiday, but it's fun to meet up often, even if it's just at a regular roulette wheel!

I know there's plenty I didn't cover here because there is plenty more I want to do in Vegas, and I crossed some Vegas activities off my list the last time I was out there. Make a list before you go so you know what you want to do but don't worry about it too much. So long as you have breakfast at the Paris you'll be OK. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

I got married

I have no idea how I just completely lost time to keep this damn blog up, but I did, I let it absolutely fall apart. Anyway - lets cover something big in an attempt to rekindle the neglected thing.
I got married.

Our Wedding May 2016


People tell you a lot about your wedding day before it happens. Some I found to be true, but not everything. For one thing, the day did not fly by. It plodded along quite nicely. It was most definitely the best day of my life, but it wasn't a 'perfect' day and there were little things that bugged me, I was not protected by some bride bubble, but I can assure you, I wouldn't change a thing. And, as the day fades further and further away, all I remember are the good moments. I remember the moments I felt my chest swell with pure happiness, the moments when I realised I'd married my best friend and that from that day forward, we were going to be a unit, a legally-sealed partnership, and we'd declared our lives weren't just our own anymore, they were shared with each other.

Ceremony-60


We were extremely lucky and after a week of 'iffy' weather, the day of our wedding (and the day before in fact) was absolutely gorgeous and we got the ceremony outside that we'd wanted from the moment we saw The Old Kent Barn. Even luckier was that it was pretty windy so we didn't have the canopies over the seats that I wasn't too keen on.

Our Wedding May 2016


The wind came with its own problems though, my veil blew into Ben's face quite a bit and our DVD has some noise in the microphones, but hey, you take the good with the bad.

Our Wedding May 2016


Some things I did find. The morning of the wedding was amazing. The getting ready part. I didn't expect that, I'm not really one for fussing with my hair and make-up on a general basis so a whole morning dedicated to getting ready (and we're talking 8am for a ceremony at 2pm) sounded tedious to me and I was worried I'd be waiting around in my dress for ages, bored with a full face of make-up on.

Bridal Prep-22


It wasn't like that at all though. My hair and make-up people were absolutely lovely (Forever Hair and Make-up), and my Mum, Steph and Sarah, plodded about having tea and listening to music. It was incredibly relaxed. I actually made my Mum nervous with my lack of nerves (the butterflies arrived later). But the morning was wonderful. Now that I look back I do wonder how it never felt boring but it just didn't. We were just slowly getting ready and switching in and out for make-up and hair chatting about the day to come. It didn't fly by but I also didn't at any point think, what time is it?

Bridal Prep-29


Now, I personally made the choice to not drink on the morning of my wedding but the venue provided a bottle of champagne so I relented with a few celebratory sips before handing it over to my mum and the bridesmaids. We also in the morning had the photographer arrive (hence the wonderful pictures by White Stag Weddings) and a bit later our videographer (TDH media) who both filmed the day and our marryoke which I LOVE (link here, password: barn).

Ceremony-87


The ceremony was wonderful. It's the boring bit for everyone else but for the bride and groom, that's your moment. We walked down the aisle to Ellie Goulding: How Long Will I Love You - apparently not an original choice but I loved it when I heard it after googling 'songs to walk down the aisle to' and it's also featured in one of my favourite films "About Time" - aptly named, haha! I had always worried I would be really emotional coming down the aisle as I cry at everything (honestly. Once I cried at Deal of No Deal cos the poor guy lost), but I was fine, I smiled and was very happy that I just fully stayed in the moment as my Dad held my arm and walked me towards Ben.

Ceremony-52


Instead of a traditional reading, Ben's sister wrote a poem that was both original, funny and was the first thing to push me into actual tears. The ceremony was short and sweet and we walked back down the aisle through confetti to Beach Boys, 'Darlin'' - a much more original and timeless choice from Ben.

Our Wedding May 2016


After the ceremony comes the pictures. Now, these will all be to the couple's individual choice but personally, I didn't want to disappear from my whole wedding for loads of time and thankfully, my photographers were really, really good (honestly I cannot praise these guys enough) and didn't whisk us away for too long. We had a very small handful of 'posed' pictures taken with the bridal party and immediate family and then Ben and I had some pictures of just the two of us. Then we got to see everyone and have a drink!

Our Wedding May 2016


Oh, and we had the obligatory group shot - it's so nice to get one of everyone that made the effort to share your wedding with you so I definitely think everyone should have that! Blue suits seem to have been 'the thing' this summer.


Ceremony-131


We eschewed the traditional top table and had round tables for everyone. I don't think I'd like sitting on ceremony like Henry VIII watching everyone eat their food. We also were a little non-traditional and had the Maid of Honour do a speech as well as Father of the Bride, Best Man and Groom. So glad we did since Sarah's was straight out of a movie perfect. The food was really good, I absolutely loved it, though I'll fully admit that after the three courses the waist of my beautiful gown was causing me discomfort for the rest of the evening. The DJ played after we cut the cake and again, the night passed by without it feeling like it was getting away from me, but it also never felt like it was dragging. I made sure I saw people but I also made sure I got to have some fun on the dance floor.

Something I think most couples forget is that you plan this big day for yourself too and you need to make time to enjoy it!

Our Wedding May 2016

OK, so, I'll be audacious enough to give advice to future brides. The best thing I think I heard was said by my best friend Sarah. And she said something to me quite early on after the engagement that kept me grounded through the whole wedding process. She told me that, at the end of the day, all that matters is that I end the day married to Ben.

And Sarah's right. Your wedding day is the biggest day of your life, second to having children, I imagine. What matters at the end of the day is that you walk away with that person that you have chosen to spend the rest of your life. So long as that occurs, everything else is a bonus.

I didn't put pressure on my day to be perfect. However, I am lucky and grateful that everyone involved was wonderful. As a said before, I wouldn't change a thing. We've been married about 3 months now and life is exactly the same except we're a little lighter in the wallet and a little happier with our memories.