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.

 

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

 

 

Who doesn’t love a groupon?! And with V-Day coming up they’ve got a ton of fantastic deals for couples and non-couples alike. So if you’re stuck for ideas for a Valentine’s Day date then here is my low down on the best deals on Groupon right now which are guaranteed to impress.

Six course tasting menu + prosecco at Nivana Kitchen, Marble Arch £49

I actually bought this deal when it was available last year so I’ve got first hand experience – and they be brought it back for Valentines Day. You can read my full review here, but essentially this is an absolutely winner for a classy atmosphere, impeccable service, 5* food and a decent price!

5* afternoon tea at the O2 £39

Impress your other half with an afternoon tea for a King/Queen at one of London’s best known landmarks! Cakes, scones & sandwiches – a classy date for a classy couple.

Couples massage in Bond Street £29

Having a couples massage is a super romantic treat and having one at a salon in Bond Street is even better!

Crazy Bear hotel break with dinner & champagne £229

Push the boat out and treat someone special with a quirky hotel break in one of the Crazy Bear hotels! The hotels are unique, decadently decorated and a real experience! With dinner and champagne included you can’t go wrong.

Two course meal with drinks at The Trafalgar, Greenwich £29

Maybe I’m biased because this is our local! Nevertheless, it’s a lovely traditional pub situated in picturesque Greenwich with an impressive view of the Thames. The food is good quality here and for a two course meal with drinks for two people this is a real steal.

Three course meal & sparkles for two, Hoxton £39

This deal caught my eye because the food looks super swanky! A fine dining experience for two in the trendy Hoxton district. Delicious!

I hope these ideas might have given some ideas to those who are perhaps lacking! It just goes to show that you can get amazing experiences in lovely places without taking out a mortgage to pay for them! Whether you love it, hate it or love to hate it I hope that you have a fantastic Valentine’s Day full of lots of love and laughter!

Mwah!

    

Happy 1st December!

Okay, I’ll admit, this post is as much for me as it is for everyone who reads it. I’ll be the first to admit that I can get a little down in winter time; I’m a summer girl through and through and the short days, dark mornings and cold weather really put me in a bad mood sometimes.

I truly believe that when life gets you down you can make such a difference to your mood by just acknowledging the amazing things in your life, the things to be grateful for, and appreciate just how bloody wonderful life can be. We all have up days and down days, but hopefully this list will remind you (and me) of the little things which can make us so, so happy.

💖 Loved ones. This may sound obvious but if you have people in your life who you love to bits and who love you back then we all need to be grateful for them everyday. But especially around Christmas which is a time for celebrating our family and friends. If I’m ever feeling miserable on a cold evening I cuddle my hubby, call my mum/nan or one of my close friends and I feel better straight away. Love makes the world go round – be grateful for it.

💖 A warm home. Not everyone has a lovely warm home to stay out of the cold winter air so it’s really something to be grateful for. I’m guilty of taking this for granted. I’m always complaining about our flat; how small it is, how it can get damp in the bathroom. But in reality we are super lucky to have a nice place to live and somewhere to be happy and relaxed.

💖Pretty Lights. Christmas lights are getting more and more beautiful every year and London especially is somewhere which really goes in for pretty lights. Everywhere you go the shops and restaurants are decked out in gorgeous classy displays and it just makes everything look lovely.

💖 Cosy nights in. At this time of year it’s easy to get a bit down in the dumps because we tend to go out less right? In the summer I’m always down the park, going for walks or (probably more often than not) in a pub garden! Being outside gives us endorphins and makes us feel happy and energised. But there is a real joy in coming in from work, kicking back with the TV on in your PJs and chilling out with the heating on full blast!

💖Good movies. Now, I’m not what you’d call a Christmassy person, but even I’ll admit that Christmas time is the best time for fantastic movies! It’s really the only time of the year when you can turn your TV on at any point and there is a wide choice of actually decent films on the normal terrestrial channels! I love it.

💖People are joyful. Now, this time of year may not fill me personally with buckets of joy (scrooge, I know!) but plenty of people absolutely cherish wintertime and find themselves overflowing with Christmas cheer. And generally, when people around me are happy – I’m happy.

💖Only six months to summer! And, if all else fails, we are over halfway to the best time of year again! Summer will be round in no time. Right?!

Wishing you a very Merry December full of joy and happiness.



London is a great place to date! Here are a few ideas for all budgets:

Thrifty Dates (students, it’s almost pay-dayers and frugal folk alike)

  1. Visit a park. Hyde, Green, Greenwich, Crystal Palace – the choice is endless.
  2. Visit a museum. Science, Natural History and Tate Modern are all free!
  3. Get breakfast and the Breakfast Club.
  4. Sample some street food at Camden or Borough Market.
  5. Grab some 2-4-1 happy hour cocktails at Be At One bars (most venues until 7pm).
  6. Get a gig for free at an open mic night – Camden Lock 17 on a Monday night is excellent.
  7. Laugh until you cry! Sunday nights at the Up the Creek comedy club, Greenwich are cheap tickets with newly discovered comedians.
  8. Go for a walk. The southbank makes a lovely stroll and theirs always something to see.
  9. Watch street artists in Covent Garden. You can get lucky and see some really good acrobats and magicians doing their thing in the square.
  10. Sit and watch the world go by. There are some lovely cafes tucked away in some busy parts of London where you can sit and people watch – it’s the best! My favourite places are London Bridge, Canary Wharf and Westminister.

Middle of the road dates (also known as pay check is in, want to impress, something a bit different dates)

11. Watch a movie in style. The Electric Cinemas charge £30 for a ‘double bed’ for two at the front of their vintage movie theatres. They show the latest films and also some more off beat ones so something for all tastes.

12. Lady and the Tramp style share a MASSIVE PIZZA between 2 in the Italian restaurant district near Notting Hill.

13.  Go boating on the Serpentine in Hyde Park. It will set you back 20 odd quid but it’s hella romantic.

14. Like cheese?? Who doesn’t. Gordon’s Wine Bar in Charing Cross like cheese and wine. You can’t book so get their early – it’s tiny.

15. Ronnie Scott’s jazz bar is pretty famous for its jazz music and buzzy vibe. Booking is essential but you can find other jazz clubs in the area for varying prices.

16. I maybe biased because I went here recently for my birthday treat but if you, like me, resent the fact that you can’t keep a cat of your own in a tiny flat, then visit Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, Shoreditch and borrow someone’s else’s cat for a bit! You can get a yummy afternoon tea for around £35 per head and it’s so worth it for the amazing cakes and cute kitties!

17. Visit the London Aquarium! I don’t usually go for the overly touristy things in London but I do love fishies. The London aquarium is great for big kids.

18. Go salsa dancing. Impress with your best moves at one of London’s many salsa clubs – I like Tito’s London Bridge.

19. Eat authentic Chinese food in Chinatown. You can’t beat it.

20. Eat, drink and play darts! The flight club Shoreditch allows you to have fun and concentrate on your date while the computers take care of the scoring! I would recommend this for a double date as it’s more fun with a group.

Push-the-boat-out Dates (date with Prince Harry/Taylor Swift?? Look no further)

21. See a west end show. There are SO MANY amazing shows in London if you’ve got a big budget. My favourites are Aladdin the Musical, Mamma Mia and Wicked.

22. Sample the best steak in London at Hawksmoor restaurant.

23. Get high at the View at the Shard. It will set you back 40 odd quid but the view is stunning.

24. Go to a concert at the biggest venue in London – the o2 arena hosts all the best tours and music stars.

25. This one is kind of seasonal but Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is a super cute date. It may be free to get in but TRUST ME you need disposable cash for the stalls, food and rides.

26. Drink champagne and try oysters at J Sheekey! Because your classy like that.

27. What could be more quintessentially British than afternoon tea at the Savoy?? £50 per person, but maybe worth it for he experience.

28. Book a treatment or spa day at the Champney’s city spa, Enfield. Mmmm.

29. Go to a ballet at the London Coliseum. We actually did this and it was brilliant! Even if you find it a bit boring you sound super cultured.

30. And finally – see the evening out in style on a dinner/ party Thames boat cruise. How fab is that??

What’s your favourite date night in London?

xox