Friday, 5 May 2017

A Piece of Cake

Last week we celebrated my Nan's 80th birthday.  Now this isn't usually the type of thing I would share on my blog, however the cake that I ordered to help us celebrate was far too good not to be talked about.

I mean come on, look at it.  I had to try one of the pebbles pretty much straight away because I couldn't get over the fact that they were edible, it looked so life like.  I can assure you everything you see was edible, (minus the wire holding up the flowers).

(Excuse the raindrops, we got caught in a downpour on the way into the house)

If you are local to Essex I cannot recommend Steve's Sweet Catering enough.  Amazing service, and exactly what I was after, in fact better than I could have imagined.  

And my Nan, well she loved it.

~ Gem x

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

If You Go Down To The Woods Today...

If you go down to the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise.  At least I hope you will be, with the thousands upon thousands of bluebells that are springing up all over the country at the moment.  

I can't get enough of them.  They are absolutely beautiful and they smell amazing too.  Seeing a blanket of purple across the floor beneath the trees, listening to the birds singing their song, at that moment in time I feel weightless.  It's my happy place for sure.  

I've been making the most of seeing them in one of the local woods near me with a few visits over the past couple of weeks and I'll be sad to see them disappear for another year.  I wonder whether I'll be able to squeeze in many more visits, who knows, but I know I shall try.

~ Gem x

Monday, 1 May 2017

May 2017 Bucket List

Today marks the first of a new month and even better it's a bank holiday here in the UK.  I intend to make the most of the extra day off work with copious cups of tea and some down time with my book plus anything else that I can manage to squeeze into my day.  As for the rest of the month I'd like to:

* Get up to date with blogging ~
I have quite a few posts sitting in my drafts at the moment, I'm hoping to change that in the coming weeks

* Focus on my 30 before 30 list ~
I'm very conscious that time is slipping away from me and before I know it July will be here so I'd really like to try and get some more things from the list crossed off this month.

* Get creative ~
I can't remember the last thing that I made.  I have seriously lost my creative mojo so I intend on working to get this back this month.  I have a couple of projects in mind.

Not too much to focus on this month, but there's enough to keep me busy.

~ Gem x

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

A Week in Tenerife

I've not long returned from a week spent in Tenerife.  Having never visited the island before it gave me the opportunity to cross off #7 from my list of thirty before thirty (travel somewhere new).  It felt so good to be exploring somewhere I'd not been before, especially when the weather was so amazing, we had glorious warm sunshine every day.

We had booked into the Muthu Grand Golf Plaza hotel in San Miguel de Abona.  If asked whether I would stay there again, I'd have to be honest and say no.   Although the hotel was lovely, I failed and hadn't done enough research prior to the trip, it wasn't really near anything.  Personally when on holiday I like to venture out and try out different restaurants, the hotel wasn't in walking distance to very many of them and those that were close by weren't the kind of places I fancied trying, which meant our options were limited.  The food at the hotel was ok, your typical buffet style food really but with a different theme each night it did add variety and mix it up a bit.

A couple of days were spent catching the rays by the pool at the hotel, but for me a holiday is all about exploring what the country has to offer.  I don't really feel as thought you can say you have been somewhere unless you have actually seen it, and so for us we spent a lot of time on the road driving around the island to see what else was on offer.

Being a volcanic island the landscape is rather dull, however every once in a while it surprised us with a breath-taking view.   During a drive through the mountains to visit Garachico we were at one point above the clouds, quite possibly one of the most surrealist moments I have ever experienced.  We twisted and turned our way around the roads, through pine forests and past sheer drops into the ocean.  It was breath-taking in more than one respect at points but well worth it for the sights that were seen. 

Aside from the beautiful views that we enjoyed during our drives out around the island, the biggest highlight of the week for me had to be the water park, Siam Park.  I bloody loved it, so much so we visited a second time to spend another day here.  It reminded me in many ways of Orlando, somewhere I've not been too for a long time but really want to visit again.  The layout was really good and the rides were all fantastic.  I hardly managed to take any photos while I was here as I was far too busy enjoying myself so you will just have to trust me on this one.  If ever you visit Tenerife, this place has to be on your list of places to check out.   

Another thing you must do is order yourself a Barraquito, a traditional Tenerife drink made with condensed milk, coffee and liquor, my god it is to die for.  These things are absolutely delicious.  I ha enough of them to know.

If I were to ever return to the island, top on my list of places to visit would be Mount Teide and the National Park, I'm not quite sure why we never got here but the week practically flew by.  The rest of the duration would most likely be spent at Siam Park to be honest, I loved it that much.  The shopping centre next door is worth checking out too, it was a really good way to fill an evening and get rid of some of those euros you have taken out with you, with high street shops such as H&M and Mango plus lots of other really great fashion stores. 

Have you visited Tenerife before?  Would you say there is anything I have missed out, somewhere I should have visited during my stay?

~ Gem x

Friday, 7 April 2017

Paycocke's House & Garden

How I have never visited this place before I will never know.  Coggeshall is absolutely beautiful, I fell in love with it's charm for sure.

For a couple of years now I had come across Paycocke's House online when looking for new places to visit but had never followed through with it and I'll be honest I'm a bit annoyed with myself for not having gone.  It is gorgeous.

It amazed me how different the building was from the front compared to the back, it is literally like two completely different buildings. 

The thing I love most about a National Trust property though is usually the exterior and the garden, this place was no different.  I'm hoping to return later in the year to see the garden when it's displaying all it's pretty flowers.

The house wasn't huge, but there were still plenty of things that caught my eye inside.

And I finally got that cream tea I had been waiting for.

It feels so good to be getting out and seeing places, especially exploring more of what my own county has to offer but then I guess that is always the way, we often ignore what is right on our own doorsteps.

~ Gem x

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Dedham & Flatford

Having visited both of these lovely places before, I always get quite excited about the thought of re-visiting just because I know how beautiful they are.  I don't know what it is about these two little villages that draws me back but I'm always taken aback by how quaint and pretty they both are when I return.  It's almost as though I forget just how pretty.

Last Saturday was spent with my parents and boyfriend, celebrating my mum's birthday.  It was a gorgeous and sunny day, so we were not alone when visiting but it didn't spoil it.  Except for the fact that we forgot to book a table at The Rose and so were not able to get an afternoon tea as was originally planned.  Next time I will remember to book. 

We still managed to have a lovey da filled with laughs and quality time spent with one another, definitely something we need to make more time for.

It just goes to show that you don't need to go away to be able to visit beautiful places, they can be right on your doorstep if only you take the time to look.

~ Gem x

Monday, 3 April 2017

April 2017 Bucket List

This year seems to be flying by.  I'm so pleased that we are finally in Spring though and cannot wait for more warmer weather.  Lucky for me I'm off on holiday this month too so fingers crossed for heat and sunshine.

This month I'd like to:

* Sip cocktails by the beach.
Need I say more?

* Enjoy exploring someplace new.
That's one of the best bits about holidaying somewhere new, getting to discover and explore beautiful places.

* Decorate for Easter.
I've been struggling with inspiration lately but finally feel like it's coming back to me so this will be a good excuse to start getting creative again.

* Eat my body weight in chocolate Easter eggs.
I'm especially looking forward to this after not having eaten chocolate for the duration of March, raising money for the British Heart Foundation.  You can still donate to this great cause here.

* Check out the first bootsale of the year.
Hoping to sell some things of my own but also looking to pick up some new bargains too.

~ Gem x

Friday, 31 March 2017

30 Before 30 Third Quarter Update

As if I'm into my final quarter of my last year in my twenties, I literally haven't a clue where this year is disappearing to.  That said I've been trying my best to make it a good one. 

In my previous updates I had managed to cross off a few things from my list of 30 before 30.
#4. Visit a lavender farm.
#8. Watch a film in an outdoor space.
#10. Start some form of exercise.
#17. Experience Christmas at Kew.
#20. Do something spontaneous.  
#23. Try a food I've never tried before.
#27. Acquire a taste for coffee.

Since the last update I've been rather busy.  The latest things to be crossed off the list are:

#13. Spend more time on myself.
I've definitely been doing this by taking the time to do the things that I want, spending time reading, relaxing baths and generally just taking care of myself.

#18. Spend at least one day by the coast.

A couple of days have been spent by the coast, so far I've visited Southend and Saltburn.

#19. Pay a visit to London's Sky Garden.

#21. Grow something beautiful.

#24. Go and see a ballet performance.

I couldn't take any photos during the performance but back in February I went to see Swan Lake, and WOW, what a beautiful performance it was.  being able to see the orchestra play was pretty amazing too.  I'm definitely going to look out for ballet shows in the future, I'd really like to go and see The Nutcracker nearer to Christmas. 

#28. Watch the Harry Potter films.
Finally, I've done it, all except for Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them but I'm not counting that.

So, as I enter the final quarter I'm aware that I still have a huge chunk of my list yet to cross off and I'm intrigued as to what lays ahead but I am ready and waiting for it and determined to cross everything off.

~ Gem x