Monday, 17 July 2017

30th Cake Smash

With this year marking a milestone birthday, I knew that I wanted to celebrate it in style.  Initially I set out to throw a party.  I booked the venue, the DJ, bought my outfit and started buying decorations and props.  It was only when I started to think about all the expense and the fact that in reality it was all for other people, I decided to do something selfish and instead change my plans to arrange something for me.

I started doing a bit of research, and this is where Pinterest becomes your best friend, you can literally find anything on there.  I came across a few different adult cake smashes and it was then that I knew what I wanted to do instead of throwing a party.  Who said that the kids should have all the fun with the new craze of birthday cake smashes?  Exactly, no one.  

I contacted Maryann of The Menagerie Lifestyle Photography and told her what I was thinking about, and thankfully she was straight on board with the idea.  

It was so much fun, although I have to admit it did feel rather strange just demolishing a cake, especially when I had put so much effort into making it look so pretty.  But for the photos at the end of it, it was totally worth it.

I'm so glad for the sudden change of plan, it will definitely be something I will remember that's for sure.  And who knows, maybe it could become a new birthday tradition.  Perhaps I should start researching for next year.

Big thanks to Maryann for the photos and for taking me serious and understanding exactly where I was coming from with this idea.
~ Gem x

All images were taken by The Menagerie Lifestyle Photography

Friday, 14 July 2017

The Epping and Ongar Railway

Over the past ten years I have been to a fair few steam railways but I have never visited the one closest to me nor have I ever dined on one before.  It has been something I have always wanted to do, it sounds so posh don't you think!

Last weekend the Epping and Ongar Railway were running their Poppadum Prairie, an evening on the railway with a curry served to your seats.  Being my birthday weekend it seemed the perfect night out.

We arrived early so that we could explore the platform and take a few photos (I know that sounds nothing like me, definitely not the early part anyway)

I loved the platform, all the little details and old fashioned pieces dotted about the place.

Once we boarded the train, I was a little disappointed, it wasn't as nice as any of the other trains I'd been on before which was a real shame, however the food was pretty good so I couldn't grumble too much.

The line is only very short, the journey to Ongar didn't take very long, I'd say probably around twenty minutes, so we did the journey there and back twice which wasn't ideal as there wasn't really anything to look at aside from the fields we passed but it was still a fairly pleasurable journey.

The stations were by far the best part for me though, with plenty to be looking at.

And of course as dusk fell upon us, the sunset kept me happy.

The Orient Express it was not, but it is something crossed off the bucket list.  I'd definitely be keen to try other railways though to see how they compare.

~ Gem x

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Thirty Before Thirty Review

It feels like a lifetime ago that I initially wrote my list.  So much has happened in the past year, more than I could ever have imagined and for that I have been really thankfully for having this list to focus on, something to take my mind off of an otherwise awful time in my life.  It has meant that my last year in my twenties has been filled with lots of happy memories, ones I will remember for a lifetime.

1. Climb the roof of the O2.
How I never achieved this one I'm not entirely sure, especially seeing as it isn't that far from home.  I'm definitely going to try and do it over the summer.

2. Cross something off my bucket list.
Dinner on a steam train.  Not quite the Orient Express, granted, but a nice evening never the less.  A blog post for this will be coming up in the next week.

4. Visit a lavender farm.
Such a relaxing and beautiful day, and that smell.

5. Go for a walk or a run in the rain.
I opted for the less strenuous of the two and went for a walk in the rain.  It was unbelievably peaceful, I loved every second even though I was absolutely soaked.

6. Ride in a hot air balloon.
I have booked this up so many times this past year and every time it has been cancelled due to the weather, so I will keep trying and just hope that I can do it soon.

7. Travel somewhere new.
A week in Tenerife, although I've visited other canary islands, this one was new to me.

8. Watch a film in an outdoor space.
No idea how I've missed this in previous years but I think it is safe to say the 3 visits this past year will certainly not be my last.

9. Improve my cooking skills.
I have  along way to go with this but little steps and there are definite improvements.

10. Start some form of exercise.
I started boot-camp for a couple of months at my workplace.  Hard work but surprisingly good fun too.

11. Get some henna.
Struggling to find somewhere to get it done I decided to try doing it myself.  not the best attempt in the world but an attempt all the same.

12. Try my hand at vlogging.
It's hard to capture this one in an image.  I have been playing around with Instagram stories and getting used to talking to a camera a bit more so I'm happy to have covered this one even if it's only slight.

13. Spend more time on myself.
I've definitely been doing more of this lately, and I have to say it feels so good.  It's something I want to try and keep up too, fingers crossed.

14. Dine at The Rooftop Bar in London.

Wow, how had I never visited this place before?  I'll never know.

Trying out a new tea room, not just new to me but actually a brand new business too.

17. Experience Christmas at Kew Gardens.
I was invited along to Kew for their press viewing of the show last year and I was blown away by the beauty of all the lights, it was lovely.

18. Spend at least one day by the coast.
A couple of days were spent by the coast this year, but the highlight oddly enough was close to home in Southend, with a breezy walk along the pier.

19. Pay a visit to London's Sky Garden.
I was quite disappointed with the Sky Garden's, it has really been hyped up and I struggled to work out what all the fuss was about, not sure whether I was missing something here?

20. Do something spontaneous.
I did a few spontaneous things this last year.  2 tattoos, one new piercing and a last minute visit to V festival.  It pays to be spontaneous, that I have learnt this year.

21. Grow something beautiful.
I've been growing sweet peas recently although they are still to flower.  But springtime saw a pretty hyacinth grown from a bulb adorning the windowsill which smelt just as gorgeous as it looked once it was in full flower.

22. Make something to keep me warm through my 30's.
Knitting a hot water bottle cover seemed to be the perfect thing to keep me warm, plus it was really simple to make too.  

23. Try a food I've never tried before.
I've been very open to trying new foods this past year, some I have hated but others I have been surprised about and have actually really liked.  I mean Blueberries, why did I think I would hate them?

24. Go and see a ballet performance.
I think the fact that I have added to go and see The Nutcracker to my 40 before 40 list shows that I enjoyed this one.  A live performance of Swan Lake had me absolutely mesmerised.

25. Travel away for a break somewhere alone.
Incorporated wit my Emma Bridgewater visit, this is something I would definitely like to do more often.

26. Find a new challenge.
Taking part in The Wildlife Trust's 30 days wild was a new challenge to get stuck into, but also starting my new job, that has been a whole different kind of challenge, but a good one all the same.

27.  Acquire a taste for coffee.
A massive tick to this one.  Especially Starbucks flavoured coffees.  Soon enough it will be Pumpkin Spiced Lattes time again, quite possibly my new favourite time of the year.  Not to mention the red cups, who need an excuse for coffee really but lets face it, when they come In pretty cups they are even more tempting.

28. Watch the Harry Potter films.
As if this time last year I had never seen any of the Harry Potter films, where had I been?!  You can all now rest assured that I have seen them and yes I loved them.  

29. Visit the Harry Potter studios.
There will be a blog post about this coming up very soon.  I absolutely loved the studios and can't wait to watch all the films again, this time in a completely different light.  It was incredible.

30. Make a list of 40 things to do before I reach 40.
I'm pleased to say that I have already started making plans with this list, and am excited to get started on crossing things off.

That's it, I've done it (almost).  Not a bad year at all, one that has been filled with so many memories that's for sure.

~ Gem x

Monday, 10 July 2017

It's My Birthday ~ Life In My Twenties

So here I am, ready to start a whole new decade of my life.  Today I turn 30.  There has been a whole heap of celebrations going on that I will be sharing with you soon. 

My Twenties were somewhat eventful. 

Six jobs.

Starting this blog right here.

Saying goodbye to both of my Grandad's

Moving out of my parents home and into my very first home of my own in the country, a dream come true.

Getting married, without doubt the best day of my life.

And divorced.  That came as a huge shock I can tell you.  I wasn't at all prepared for the whirlwind of emotions that brought on.

Leaving my idyllic lifestyle in the country and moving to the city.

Getting to grips with dating all over again and meeting someone new.

It hasn't all been easy and at times has pushed me right to my edge, but I've survived it all and am so much stronger than I was ten years ago.

I guess now it is time to discover what my thirties has in store.  I'm ready.

~ Gem x

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

40 Before 40

As I was compiling my list of thirty things to do before I reach thirty I knew I wanted to do another one for when I'd completed it and so made a point of adding it to the bottom of the list.  And so as I shall be turning 30 in less than a week, it seemed an appropriate time to share with you what I have come up with for the next instalment.  So here it is my list of forty things I'd like to do before I reach the big 4 0.

1. Complete anything not achieved from my list of thirty before thirty by the time I reach 31.

2. Learn and develop a new skill.

3. Ride in a helicopter.

4. See the Northern Lights.

5. Do a bungee jump.

6. Try skiing.

7. Write and complete a London Bucket List.

8. Attend a life drawing class.

9. Go and see a live performance of The Nutcracker.

10. Walk on hot coals.

11. Do something big for charity.

12. Travel more.

13. Visit Stonehenge for either Summer or Winter Solstice.

14. Complete a run at one of the Disney Parks.

15. Visit Cheddar Gorge.

16. Go on a cruise, preferably a river cruise.

17. See a psychic.

18. Check out the Giants Causeway.

19. Go skinny dipping.

20. Have a go at clay pigeon shooting.

21. Explore more of the UK.

22. Go on a family holiday with my parents, my brother and his fiancé.

23. Get a pet rabbit (I've wanted one for as long as I can remember).

24. Go to see a pantomime. 

25. Discover more of my home county.

26. Attempt to break a world record.

27. Go on a girls holiday.

28. Fish for crabs.

29. Ring bells in a church.

30. Write a book / novel.

31. Improve my photography skills and complete some form of photography course.

32. See the seals and their pups at Blakeney.

33.  A glamping trip with the girls.

34. Go to an air-show.

35. Rent a beach hut for a day.

36. Bake and eat special brownies.

37. Do a skydive.  

38. Campaign for something I feel strongly about.

39. Attend a film premier / red carpet event. 

40. Renovate a property.

I'm hoping this will be achievable.  Let's face it, I've got ten years in which to do it all. 

~ Gem x

Monday, 3 July 2017

July 2017 Bucket List

We're over half way through 2017 now and I'm seriously beginning to wonder where the year is running away to.  So with that in mind it is time to step into gear and make the most of the months ahead. 

I have some really exciting things planned for this month, my birthday month and this year I intend on milking it as much as I can.  

This month I would like to:

* Complete the last few things remaining on my thirty before thirty list ~  
I do know that there is at least one thing that I won't be able to achieve but if I could attempt the rest that would be fab.  I will be blogging an update in the next few weeks.  

* Celebrate my 30th birthday with loved ones.  

* Print out some photos ~
I'd hoped to do this last month and failed so it's a priority for this month (this week in fact).

* Sell at a boot-fair ~
I have so much stuff that I have been saving up to do one of these, it's a bout time I get my butt into gear and actually do one, although this may well have to be towards the end of the month as the next few weeks are pretty busy.  

I'm not going to go overboard with too many things this month as I know it's going to be a busy one anyway, so this should do nicely.  What have you got on your July list?  Any exciting plans? 

~ Gem x

Friday, 30 June 2017

Maison Bleu Tea Room Review

Happy National Cream Tea Day.  Yep, if ever there is a day to celebrate, today would definitely be it.  Tea and cake, what is there not to be happy about.  That said, today also seemed to be the perfect opportunity to share with you a new tea room discovery.

Last Saturday I enjoyed the most incredible breakfast with the bestie in the cutest little tea room.  Visiting a tea room I often find it hard to order anything but a cream tea, I'm actually beginning to think that it is a staple in my diet.

This little gem is fairly tucked away in the middle of a residential estate so it could be easy to forget about (until you've paid it a visit that is).  From the moment we walked through the door we were made to feel so welcome and right at home.  Nothing was too much trouble and the husband and wife duo were just amazing hosts.  

The décor is really modern with something to look at in every direction and with a cute little courtyard garden that is a real sun trap, it is well worth a visit.

If that wasn't enough to tempt you, the milkshakes should be.  I went for the cappuccino milkshake and oh my did it taste incredible.

I will definitely be going back, that's for sure.  They run a monthly craft club on the second Tuesday of each month and a book club on the first Thursday of each month so I'd like to try and check those out when I can too.  Any excuse hehee.

~ Gem x