Monday, 24 December 2012


I haven't lost the ability to spell, don't panic.  I'm talking about our ice skating adventure last weekend by the London Eye at their annual Eyeskate rink.

The evening had been arranged as a surprise for James and his niece.  I had booked it up with his brother, and we were loving the fact of knowing where we were going while they were being kept in suspense.

Of course we had booked it up for an evening session.  Everything around Christmas time looks better in the dark, all lit up.

We couldn't have picked a better time to go as the Southbank Christmas Market was on.  It was just perfect and so Christmassy.  We had a wander round the market and no visit to a Christmas market with a carousel would be complete without a ride, even if it was just us girlie's :).

There was even a fabric covered tree.  It was massive.

Excuse the blurry picture, it's not easy as it looks to take pictures yourself.  Love this little one though, she's not so little anymore though.

They both loved their surprise and we all had a great evening.  Almost injury free ;p nothing too serious though.

~ Gem x x x x

P.S It's here at last so for now all there is to say is Merry Christmas, have a fab one.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Valence House & Eastbury Manor House

A couple of weekends ago me and James decided to make a trip to a museum local to his house.  Valence House showcases the history of Barking & Dagenham, and is the last standing manor house in Dagenham. 

The house was decked out for Christmas, it looked lovely.

I also loved being able to step back in time to see how houses in the Becontree estate looked inside. 

Bearing in mind this place is free entry, it is only about a ten minute drive away from his house, and we have been together almost six and a half years, we had never been before.  I'm glad that has now changed.  It's a great use of the space and a lovely way of finding out more on the history of the area.

While we were onto it we decided to pay a visit to Eastbury Manor House in Barking and make use of our National Trust Membership.

It is a gorgeous house but if I'm honest a little disappointing after our visit to Valence House.

I was pleased to see more Christmas decorations.  A lovely wreath hanging on the front door.

A beautiful tree stood in one of the many rooms.  In fact there was more than one tree but this one was my favourite.

And there was even a stocking hung.  

I'm glad we visited around Christmas time because if it hadn't of been for the decorations then there wouldn't of been much else there apart from a big empty house.

It just seemed such a shame.  The place could have looked so different if it had of been furnished, and could have given a much better impression on how the house used to be.   I'm just glad we didn't have to pay to get in and were able to use our membership.

Love Gem x x x x

Wednesday, 19 December 2012


Seriously where is this month going?  It is flying by.  The 1st of December only feels like yesterday, maybe that has something to do with the why I've not blogged about what happened on the 1st.  Well the title of the post kind of gives it away, and I'm not referring to the vegetable kind here, I'm on about the Brussels in Belgium.

I had a weekend booked up with my Mum and my Nan, a girly festive break to get us into the spirit of things.  We travelled up by Eurostar, which none of us have ever used before.  I'd definitely use it again, it is so quick and easy, much easier than flying, however I was a little disappointed.  I was expecting something a bit classier (not in a snobby way).  The train always looks so nice and quite posh in all the adverts I have seen but this was pretty basic in comparison but then again I suppose they are not new anymore.

Brussels itself, well, it's beautiful. 

The architecture was amazing.  Shame the same couldn't be said about the Christmas tree but that is just a minor thing in the grand scheme of things.

The buildings just had so much detail to them, they really were gorgeous.

The markets were OK, nothing I hadn't seen before and I'm not so sure I'd be in a rush to go to another Christmas market, purely for the fact that every one I have been too has been exactly the same as the last, if you get what I'm saying, although the atmosphere was very festive.

It's well worth a visit and with it being Christmas time there was plenty to see and do aside from looking at the buildings.

Of course I had to have a go on the big wheel.

The view from the top was amazing.  And this is just one of the many markets that were dotted around the city.

I also loved how they had lit up many of the big buildings.  I'm a sucker for lights, especially coloured ones.

I'm pretty sure they are only lit up around this time of year, but correct me if I'm wrong.  Either way it really added to the ambiance of the place.

I was reminded of London and New York so many times as we wandered the streets, both  cities that I love.

We stayed for 2 nights and pretty much had 3 full days there which was plenty to get done all that we had intended to do, if anything it may well have been too long, but at least it meant we weren't having to rush around and were able to do everything at a leisurely pace.

It is somewhere I would go back to, but I wouldn't go again round Christmas time, I've done it all so feel I'd benefit more going back at another time of year.  I'd love to take James, he would be in his element with all the different beers.  He is a brewer so you could imagine it can't you.

All in all a great weekend and an even greater start to the festive month.  Only 5 days left till the big day now though, like I said at the start, where is this month going?

~ Gem x

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Flower Arranging Week 10

Last week was my last flower arranging class until after Christmas.  It's going to feel weird having my Thursday nights free again, although it is late night shopping on Thursdays so I'm sure I won't struggle too much to fill them.

It was a floral arrangement in a basket.

With a Christmas theme of course.

I added my homemade woollen baubles.

And a sprinkling of glitter to the main flowers.

My favourite arrangement so far.

Love Gem x x x x

Monday, 3 December 2012

Holidays Are Coming

You see I'm gone for ages and then you just can't get rid of me :)  Boy I have missed this place though, I really shouldn't have left it so long to come back.

Last weekend was when I realised that Holiday's really are coming.  You know that time of year when you see the Coca Cola advert for the first time, you get that little tingle in your tummy and that squeal of excitement escapes your mouth, well this time I actually saw the lorry itself, like literally right in front of my very own eyes.  Yes my friends I saw the Coca Cola Lorry up close and personal.

OK so it wasn't THE lorry from the adverts but still, this is as good as it gets, and I wasn't missing it for anything, especially not as it was visiting my home town.

I actually went back at 3 different times of the day so that I could get photos of it in different lights, sad right? I know!

I kind of feel like this post needs to have music playing behind it, or at least some bells ringing ha ha.  I told you I love Christmas.

Love Gem x x x x

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Center Parcs

I mentioned yesterday about a week away.  I spent the week in Longleat at Center Parcs with James and a group of friends.  We had a great week although the weather could have been a lot better and would have meant we could have had a few walks though the forest and really made the most of being in the beautiful surroundings, instead a week spent inside out of the wind and rain was what we had.

It didn't put too much of a dampener on the week though.  Anyone who has been reading my blog for some time will know how much I love Christmas and Center Parcs did not disappoint.  There were lights & decorations everywhere :)

I just loved the whole feel of the place and am pretty sure I will be going back again some time.

I'm not a sporty person so I didn't get involved in any of the sports activities but one thing I did get involved with was the swimming, I loved it and could have spent many more hours in the pool than what we did.  They didn't even spare the decorations for the pool.

I'd definitely go back around this time of year too, just for the decorations and festive feel of it all.  At times it reminded me of Florida, I love that place too so perhaps that's why I enjoyed it so much.

~ Gem x