Having recently celebrated our first wedding anniversary I have been thinking about posting a ‘love’ themed post for a while. But love is something which is extremely personal and difficult to put into words, so until now I couldn’t put my finger on what I wanted to write about. A few weeks ago we had a magical and romantic ‘couple shoot’ in Hyde Park, shot by the amazingly talented Rebecca Carpenter, and the stunning photography that came out of it inspired me to create this post. The images she captured seem to encapsulate how happy we are and how, a year on, we are feeling stronger and more in love than ever. Being in love is the most wonderful thing, here is some of my best advice for maintaining a strong and healthy relationship.

Say I love you everyday. I know it sounds cliché, but even after four years we still make sure we say those three little words every single day. It becomes habit after a while, but a little text after you’ve left in the morning just to tell your partner how much you love them will really make them smile. Of course, it’s easy to say ‘I love you’. But the fact that you make a point of saying it every day means that you really feel it too, and they’ll know that.

Decide that you don’t argue, and then don’t. Let’s face it, most of us hate arguments right?! Especially with the one we love the most. It’s so upsetting and hurtful things can be said that are not easily forgotten. Paul and I don’t argue, and some of our friends can’t fathom this. When they ask me, ‘How can you possibly live together, be married and not have fights?’ I always answer the same. Because we have made a commitment not to. The very action of declaring that we don’t argue prevents us from doing so. Sure, there are occasions when we could easily have a flaming row; one of us is snappy or tired, disagreements over chores, all the usual, but whenever we find ourselves on the brink of an argument one of us says, ‘Hang on a minute, we don’t argue – let’s sort this out.’ The situation is diffused and the prospect of argument has disappeared. If you agree to commit to a no argument policy then you will sort issues quickly and have much more time in each others company for happiness and laughter!

Make real time for each other. Sometimes, with our busy lives and trying to squeeze social lives around work I think we can forget to pencil some time into the diary for our other halves. Occasionally I feel like I haven’t seen Paul for ages, sure – I see him every day, but I don’t really feel like a work night evening spent in front on Eastenders is really quality time together. By making sure we make time for proper date nights and time for each other in our weekends/days off we can keep our relationships strong and happy.

Be grateful. We can all get on each others nerves sometimes but, at the end of the day, if you’re lucky enough to have found your soulmate then you should be super grateful for every moment! It’s the little things that matter, and I cherish every day. Life always gets in the way sometimes, but just taking a step back and thinking ‘wow, I am so GRATEFUL to have this special person in my life’ can really help put things into perspective, and ultimately will increase happiness levels and sense of contentment.

 

Compromise. I know, this one is so annoying because sometimes we just don’t wanna compromise godammit! We want our own way! But learning to compromise is so key to a happy relationship. It’s easier to do when you imagine that your compromise is genuinely going to make the love in your life happy. If ordering a Chinese instead of the curry you want is going to fill them with joy then it’s worth it – right?!!

So there you go. I’m not by any means saying that my marriage is perfect, but it’s perfect for me.

Wishing you love and happiness in your current and future relationships.

 

It was a good few months ago now that we went on our sneaky Easter minibreak escape to Montenegro and I’m ashamed that I haven’t had a chance to publish a travel post about it yet! So, before we go on our summer holiday (2 weeks and counting!) I thought it only fair to give our trip a little write up and share our photographs seeing as it was so stunning.

The first question most people asked us when we mentioned where we were going was.. well.. why Montenegro? It’s a fair question. Up to this point we are the only people we know out of all of our friends and extended family that have ever been! Scores of people seem to flood to Croatia these days, so I find the lack of the same enthusiasm for it’s neighbour odd, as Montenegro shares a similar vibe, climate and even looks similar! Plus, it’s still a pretty undiscovered gem, so perfect for a quiet, secret escape!

Our holiday

As it was a quick ‘let’s get out of here’ last minute holiday affair, we decided to go inexpensive and simple. Out of season (early April) the climate in Montenegro looked good and we found a great value all inclusive deal at a five star hotel in the holiday beach resort of Budva. All inclusive is not usually something we would go for our main holiday because we like to cook for ourselves and eat out in different places, but for the type of super relaxing short break we wanted we decided to go for it.

The hotel was called the Iberostar Bellevue and it was absolutely stunning. I was blown away when we first got there. Mainly because I’ve never seen a beachfront hotel over looking the sea which is also surrounded by spectacular mountains on the other side! The landscape was just something that you would never see in your normal Spain/ Portugal holidays and I couldn’t get over it! I was super happy to take loads of gorgeous photos with the stunning backdrop. Our room was fine, perfectly comfortable and functional with a lovely big balcony and a sea view which we weren’t expecting and was a lovely surprise. We could actually hear the sound of the waves at night which was amazing.

The Iberostar Belleview hotel

The weather we had was mixed. A bit of rain on the first two days so we took the opportunity to explore the local historic town of Budva and the montain city of Kotor to get some culture and sightseeing in. Due to it being out of season, Budva was a bit dead with a lot of shops and restaurants closed, but Kotor was much more lively and seemed to have a lot of tourists visiting despite the weather. Budva would definitely be worth a day trip particularly the old town to see the historic architecture, and the harbour which had some pretty pricey looking sun seekers! There were also some nice craft shops and cute restaurants.

Budva harbour

Budva old town

The city of Kotor was about an hour bus ride away and it was a whole other level of beautiful! If I had visualised a perfect, quaint Eastern European town then this was it. You can climb up some mountains at the back towards a church and get a load of this crazy stunning view.

The holiday was perfect for what we wanted, a ‘do-nothing’, relaxing break with a bit of sunshine.

 

I would thoroughly recommend considering Montenegro for your next holiday. It’s got great summer weather, beautiful safe beaches and stunning landscapes. Kotor is a stunning historic city and well worth a visit, as it’s a pretty small country most of it is accessible with a short car or bus journey. Although it was a bit quiet when we were there, you could tell that they were gearing up for a busy summer season so there would be no shortage of things to do there.

Have you been to Montenegro? Would you consider it?

 

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I’m back!

I know I’ve been a bit absent lately; I’ve had A LOT of work stuff going on recently which is not something that I really talk about in my blog, which I think leads a lot of people to think this is my full time career! I wish it was, but sadly, I also have a full time job. One that has been extremely stressful lately and has taken over most aspects of my life! I’ve really missed blogging.

Anyway, I’m out of the woods and back on my A game! Luckily, I have lots of things to write about and fill you in on! Last weekend was mine and Paul’s first wedding anniversary weekend and we had the most INCREDIBLE time I’ve been so excited to share it! I can’t believe it’s been a year it’s gone so fast!

First up, year one is paper and Paul took it upon himself (cutie that he is) to organise a surprise weekend for me seeing as I was so bogged down with work. Paper being the theme – he prepared 5 paper envelopes for me to open at different times over the weekend, each containing a different surprise activity! Such a cute idea I loved it.

On Saturday (the day before our actual anniversary) when at 9am I was instructed to get up, dressed (smart/casual and comfy!) and pack an overnight bag! Eeeeeek! The first envelope contained lunch reservations at The Urban Meadow Café & Bar, Bayswater; a gorgeous West London restaurant overlooking Hyde Park. I was so impressed with the food there and we pigged out on a three course meal. The puddings in particular were spectacular – check out the fruit crumble I had!

The second envelope contained our booking at La Suite West Hyde Park, our hotel for the evening! It was at this point I realised we were staying in central London for the night so I was super excited trying to guess what we would be doing that evening! We went to check in to the boutique hotel which was absolutely beautiful, all marble bathroom, pure white sheets and a HUGE bed! What is it about nice hotels always having the comfiest beds in the world?! Seriously, it was like lying on a marshmallow.

We had a couple of hours to ‘kill’ before the next envelope, but in that part of London it’s never really killing time as there is so much to do! We wandered around Hype Park for a bit, and despite the dismal forecast the rain held off for us and it was quite warm (more on that later!!). We walked up to Portobello Road market, one of my favourite parts of the city, and enjoyed listening to live music and people watching, perfectly poised in the window of the Electric Diner Notting Hill sipping delicious gin cocktails. We had so much fun and what with me being so busy and stressed out lately it was so so nice to spend some quality time together without distractions.

At 5pm it was back to the hotel and the third envelope contained dinner reservations at the hotel restaurant; a raw and vegan only restaurant! Paul had pre booked the set menu and it was really interesting to try some vegan food as it’s not something I’ve had much experience with in the past! I know he won’t mind me saying (as he agreed!!) that it wasn’t my favourite food in the world – I think it’s safe to say we are both hard-core carnivores! But it was great to do something different. Before I knew it we were in a taxi and it was time for the fourth envelope as we made our way across town.

I was so excited to find out that the evening surprise was tickets to On The Town at the Open Air Theatre in Regents Park! I had a sneaky suspicion it might be the theatre (Paul was adamant the taxi picked us up at 7pm on the dot!) but I never thought he would have remembered that I’d said ages ago that I’d like to see it! I love open air theatre, something about being outside makes it magical, plus the fact that On The Town stars Danny Mac; my Strictly Come Dancing fave!! The theatre itself was amazing, all done up with twinkly fairy lights and an outdoor bar. We made our way to our excellent seats with a bottle of red wine ready for the show to start, and promptly it began to pour with torrential rain! Luckily, Paul had been prepared and asked me to bring a raincoat, even more luckily the theatre were clearly used to this – they waited for the rain to pass and about 10 minutes later they towelled down the stage and the show began! We were lucky – if the rain had been persistent I expect it would have been cancelled as there is so much leaping about in the choreography I don’t think it would be safe! But after one short spell of downpour we were in for a warm and pleasant evening.

The production was fantastic! Dancing, singing and acting all brilliant, wonderful costumes, the play was funny and moving with enough of a nod to the traditional ‘cheesy’ aspect of it but also with new contemporary styling thrown in. And with the natural light going from light, to dusk, to dark and being surrounded by nature made it extra magical for me. I would thoroughly recommend it.

After we stayed the night in the stunning La Suite West Paul said we were going home in the morning (our actual anniversary) so we went home and chilled out for a bit before opening the final envelope which was the best of them all!! Tickets to see Little Mix at their Summer Shout Out tour that evening! I literally jumped around the room when he told me I was SO EXCITED! I’ve been wanting to see them for so long.

And they did not disappoint! WOW those girls have sass and such incredible bods! I could really use some of their confidence!  They really put on a show and sang and danced literally non stop every single hit they sang it – finishing with Shout Out To My Ex and everyone was jumping and singing along it was incred! The weather played nice as well we had beautiful late evening sunshine, I felt like I was loving life at a festival! Seriously girls, you killed it.

 

SO after an amazing and exhausting weekend I can’t believe how lucky I am to have such an amazing husband who knows me inside out. Not just with presents but with the everyday things that really matter, I can’t believe how lucky I am to be married to someone like Paul who makes my life complete. Love you x

 

 

We all love our holidays; hot or cold, far or near our holidays are our saviours in a world where we are always working. I love going abroad and exploring new places, however, in recent years with the rise of the ‘stay-cation’ it has come to my attention that there are plenty of beautiful and well worthy places to visit in the UK. I mean we are seriously blessed with stunning coastline, rolling green hills and absolutely picture perfect countryside. If not always the weather to go with it – but hey ho! So, my husband and I seem to have found ourselves partaking in the fast growing trend of ‘glamping’ for some of our holidays.

So what is glamping?

Well, essentially it’s glam camping. Hence the name. All the beauty and wildness of camping – but with a few luxuries thrown in. The luxury element can vary – sometimes you could stay in a fully heated yurt or bell tent with a full sized double bed, or it could mean a tree house in the forest with a compost loo. The facilities are not what makes it glamping – it’s the fact that it’s camping, with a difference. Something a bit special that sets the experience apart from the rest.

I’d like to share one of our favourite glamping experiences with you. We use the website ‘Canopy and Stars’ to choose our trips and they are fantastic. They can be expensive but they only advertise the best, most different, vintage, kitch and crazy glamping opportunities out there. Eco treehouses, camping pods, lodges and even a bedroom in a sphere suspended in the middle of a forest in Cornwall are all among their offerings. There are other sites but I have found them to be the best and their write ups of the sites are very detailed and accurate. You know what you’re getting into!

Ges the Horsebox – £135 per night

‘Ges’ (coincidently pronounced Jess) is a traditional horse box and pony trap situated in the Surrey countryside; a combination of staying in a retro, up cycled vehicle and camping in total isolation and peace. Ges is sitting in a field, in the middle of another field, which can only be reached by driving down a deserted country road in the most rural part of surrey. To my delight, apart from the staff in co op when buying out supplies for the weekend, we didn’t see another human for the entire weekend. Pure escapism. Seriously, the interior was gorgeous, and to say that the owners had thought of everything was an understatement.

The little pony trap was converted into a stunning modern bathroom with luxury toiletries. There was a picnic set, board games, colouring books, fairy lights, hot water bottle. The back porch was complete with bunting and a tambourine! I felt like I had wondered into a 1960’s hippy festival daydream.

I’m a huge advocate of the ‘digital detox’ – even as a blogger! I think it’s really important to step back from our devices and reconnect with nature once in a while, whether that be as a person, as a couple or as a family. It’s so nice to have no TV or distractions, just each other. Time to talk, laugh and truly enjoy each other’s company. We had no electricity, no signal, a gas stove to boil a traditional kettle or grill some toast and a BBQ which we used have burgers for dinner. Other than that we munched on the home made cake and bread which was provided in our gorgeous hamper when we arrived, along with milk, water and a few other essentials. It was blissful. I’d recommend this glamping trip without a doubt.

You can view Ges & other amazing glamping experiences on the canopy & stars website.

Have you ever been glamping??

Would you ever get matching identical tattoos with your significant other? Names are tempting fate we all know that, but how about finding something that you both like enough to get permanently inked on your skin to show your ultimate commitment to forever together?

Well, we did! And it was before we were married. The idea started out as a tipsy late night pub conversation (no we weren’t drunk when we got them!). We were on the way home and I was winding Paul up about us being together forever and did he mean it (I know how needy is that) and he joked what would it take to convince me?! Neither of us fancied a each other’s name so the idea of a matching tat was born.

I had wanted a small but detailed Asian style elephant tattoo for ages. I had been umming and ahhing, did I want it? Where should I get it? I love what the elephant represents; strength, peace, being wise and quiet and always calm. Plus it’s my favourite animal by a long way due to the time I spent with these amazing animals in Thailand. I was lucky because Paul’s already got quite a lot of tattoos he was not really that fussed about what it was as long as it was unisex (no butterflies or playboy logos were my instructions!!!) and so he was happy to get the elephant too.

We went to the tattoo shop together and came out with our little elephant.


As you can see, mine is on my lower back and his on his wrist. All of my tattoos are hidden and I like to keep it that way incase I need to cover them. We both loved the ink straight away and I still to this day love the sentiment of it. No matter how tacky you think it is there is no denying that having something permanently inked on your skin is the ultimate sign of forever. I feel that we always have a part of each other. I am proud of this tattoo and what it means to us both.

When you go about something like this you inevitably get a lot of, ‘but what if??’ reactions. Well, first of all, who wants to live life like that?? Live and LOVE for the moment. If you want to get a couples tattoo then GET IT. However, saying that is is understandable that people may think it’s a bit reckless and let’s face it we’ve all seen Tattoo Fixers and the sheepish people trying to cover their ex’s names! That’s why getting a symbol or something that represents your relationship is perhaps more safe and I think it means a lot more as well.

We love our tattoos and I feel like it was the first step we took towards making the ultimate commitment – we were married the following year! Our little elephant is very special to us both and will be forever.

What do you think?? I’d be interested to get people’s opinion on this!


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