Sunday, 31 May 2015

Cancer Research UK's Pretty Muddy

I've never been much of an energetic girl.  Certainly not one for exercise that's for sure.  Give me a cup of tea and a slice of cake any day.  However Wednesday evening I somehow found myself signing up for Cancer Research UK's 5k Pretty Muddy event taking place NEXT MONTH!!!!!!!.  I'd looked at it before but had decided against it as it looked as though it would be too much of a challenge for little ole me.  But catching up with my sister in law and her talking about wanting to do it but not having anyone to do it with her, I stupidly volunteered.

image from Cancer Research UK's website

I'm certain we will have a really good laugh doing it, you only live once after all and if anything this kind of event, well the reason for the event is the biggest reminder of this we will ever need.  You literally never know what is around the corner.

image from Cancer Research UK's website

So many of us have been touched by cancer.  For those of you who have read my blog for many years, will know that I lost my Grandad to cancer.  I still think about him and miss him every day.  We talk about him all the time, what I would give to still have him with us today.  Five years have passed now.  People say it gets easier, I don't think it does, I just think we learn to cope with it better.  I was lucky to have known him, I know many people never get to meet their grandparents.  As he always used to say, he lived a good life, but that doesn't make it any easier, it is still hard to come to terms with.

image from Cancer Research UK's website

The work Cancer Research do is absolutely incredible, but I know you don't need me to tell you that.  By donating money and/or completing sponsored events like this we are all doing our bit to help people live longer and standing up to beating cancer.  So please, please, please sponsor me for this challenge, even if only £1 it all adds up and it will keep me going throughout this mammoth challenge in just 27 days time eeeekkkkkkk.  You can sponsor me here on my Just Giving page or you can text XOJR94 and the amount to 70070.

I really appreciate all your support.

Love Gem x x x

Friday, 22 May 2015

Afternoon Tea at Orsett Hall

I did tell you that I had still been indulging in tea and cake and I wasn't lying.  A third afternoon tea has been devoured recently, this one was a couple of weeks ago.  An excuse to catch up with a good friend of mine.  This time we headed for Orsett Hall, again somewhere I'd not visited but had driven past many times before.

Heading down the driveway you felt as though you were miles away from where you actually were.  The grounds were beautiful, I would love to explore them properly sometime.  There were a couple of functions taking place so I didn't want to impose on anyone's celebration so instead headed to the garden room for our afternoon tea.

I fell in love with the wallpaper, it was gorgeous.  Very in your face, but somehow in this room, it worked.  We visited on a Sunday and although there was a couple of baby showers taking place it didn't seem overly noisy and we had a great time chatting and catching up stuffing our faces with cake,

I'm not sure if you will be able to make them out but we were served up mini pasties (the are on top of the sandwiches on the bottom tier) I've never had pasties with afternoon tea before, but my god did they taste good (you can probably see them better in the picture below).  The cake was better though but then I would say that haha.

So that is three afternoon teas in three months, not bad if I do say so myself.  Anyone have any suggestions of where I could try in June?

Love Gem x

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Afternoon Tea at Greenwoods

I've not done an afternoon tea post for some time, this doesn't mean that I haven't been indulging though, oh no.  There has still been plenty of tea and cake around these parts.

Greenwoods Hotel and Spa is about fifteen, twenty minutes away from where I live but before March I had never once visited, yet I had driven past it hundreds of times.  We booked up to go for my mum's birthday at the end of the March.

Why we had never been before, I'm not quite sure.  We enjoyed it that much though we booked up to go again in April for my nan's birthday.

We noticed a real difference between the 2 visits.  The first was midweek and it was so lovely and peaceful.  The portions were big and it was overall a really lovely afternoon.  The second visit was on a Saturday.  it was so much busier, the noise levels were increased massively and it was really noisy, we could barely hear each other talk.  the portions were smaller and the service wasn't as good which was a real shame.

I would visit again, although I would make sure it were mid-week.  Regardless though of the noise levels and the size of the scones, it did taste pretty good, there are certainly no complaints there.

The spa made for a relaxing evening too, worth a visit if you have a few hours to spare.

Love Gem x

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Audley End House & Gardens

On Easter Sunday (had I really been away from blogging for that long!?) myself and James decided to visit Audley End House and Gardens.  Neither of us had visited before, we'd spoken about it in the past but that was as far as we had got with it.  We ought to make more effort to visit more of our local attractions, there is so much to see and do locally yet we have barely visited any of them.

It was such a lovely drive there.  It took us around 40 minutes, and the journey took us through so many pretty, quaint villages.  There was always something to look at and it made such a difference being able to travel somewhere without having to venture onto a motorway or even a dual carriageway.

We parked up outside the entrance and walked in through the main gates as there was such a queue to get in, it seemed silly sitting there in the car and it was good being able to stretch our legs and being able to take in the house slowly as we approached on foot.  I was immediately taken with all the daffodils everywhere.  They are such a  happy flower and a promise of all that is to come of spring and summer each year.

The gardens and grounds were gorgeous, I can only imagine how beautiful they must look in the heat of summer.  Sadly there wasn't much in bloom but you got the idea of how it would all look.

We didn't spend all that much time in the house we were more interested in the garden and the servant quarters.  I'm pretty sure if I were alive in the days when the house was in operation that the gardens and servant quarters are where I would have been spending most of my time.  By choice it would either be the laundry or garden, any day, although I'm sure if that were the case I'd probably not see it the same way.

I fell a little bit in love with the laundry room.  All those pretty linen cloths, and the wooden drying racks, it's quite sad how much pleasure I got from seeing those haha.

I also fell in love with this beautiful black swan.  It was making the most lovely noise, and check out it's pretty frilly tail feathers, it truly was so beautiful.

The grounds were stunning.  The next time we go back will definitely be in summer, just so we can see it when it's at it's best.

I'd love to have a greenhouse like this one day.  It was gorgeous.

So it wasn't bad for a bank holiday weekend, and it's another place visited that we can cross off our list.  I'm not expecting any adventures this bank holiday weekend, but you never know what's in store.

Love Gem x x x

Wednesday, 13 May 2015


Sorry for the blogging break.  Sometimes in life there is something that needs to give, all to often it is this little space of mine right here.  I am going to try my hardest to visit more regularly though.  I have a few posts in the pipeline so watch this space.

James started a new job at the beginning of the year and as a result he works away from home quite a bit.  I've adapted pretty well although some days are much harder than others.  I've found the key is to keep myself busy.  I've talked about hosting my own craft evenings for so long now, this seems to be the perfect time to bite the bullet and do it.  I held my first one a few weeks ago.   It was lovely catching up with crafty friends and I'm already thinking about hosting my next one.

That same week I also joined the hundreds of volunteers for World Book Night.  I've wanted to do it for a fair few years now but always forget about it until it's too late to sign up, but this year I made sure I remembered.  I was giving out Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen, I loved the book, it was something quite different to what I usually read so it was a perfect choice for me to give out.  I gave some books out at work and the rest, along with some books of my own I delivered to CHESS a local homeless charity in Chelmsford.

On the subject of books, I've been trying to read a lot more recently.  Some days are better than others, more often than not I only manage to squeeze in about 20 minutes when I get into bed before my eyes become heavy and I can no longer take in the words on the page in front of me.  But I guess 20 minutes is better than nothing.  I'm currently reading Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson, I'm captivated by it already and I'm only about 30 pages or so in.  I'm also reading The Happiness project by Gretchen Rubin.  Each chapter is a focus on each month of the year so I am reading it month by month.  Another book I'm currently reading like this is The Birdwatchers Year by Richard Williamson, we get a lot of birds around our house so this is a nice one to read month to month.

I'm a bit slow off the mark here, but I've also decided to make use of the house to myself by watching the Twilight Saga after hearing so many good things about it.  The truth be known when they were first released I was never really interested, they didn't appeal to me, but now I've actually watched them, I feel as though I have missed out all this time.  Next up to watch are The Hunger Games, I've already seen the first one which I really enjoyed so now I've just got to catch up with the next two in time for the third one to be released later this year.

So this is just some of what has been going on in my world but do pop back as there is more to come this this gal right here, including a weekend spent in sunny Spain.

Love Gem x