Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Visiting David Austin Rose Garden

When it comes to roses, David Austin are up there at the top.  I'm always amazed by their huge variety of roses, the colours, the scents, all so beautiful.  It's almost impossible to pick a favourite.  Last month I made the drive up to Worcestershire to explore their gardens and I was blown away.

At times it was difficult to know where to look.  There was so much beauty around every corner and the smell from the moment I stepped ono the footpath leading into the  gift shop can honestly not be described.  It was incredible.

I took so many photos.  Who knew you could take so many photos of rose bushes.

While there I was able to enjoy one of their delicious afternoon tea's on the cutest dinner sets.  The restaurant was gorgeous, I loved the d├ęcor and all the exposed beams.  The staff were really lovely and friendly too, it was just a shame that the service was ridiculously slow.

After lunch there wasn't all that long left to explore as they were soon to be closing, which was a real shame as I could have wandered round for a lot longer.  There was time for a few last photos before the long drive back home to Essex.

In hindsight I should have booked a hotel and stayed up there for the night, however I just look at this as an excuse to return someday, especially as the garden entrance is free.

~ Gem x

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

My 40 Before 40 Update - Year 1

How is it even possible that I am updating this one year on already.  Today I turn 31.  This actually frightens me more than turning 30 as I am now officially in my 30's.

I've had a pretty successful year working my way through my 40 before 40 list.  Here is what I have crossed off so far.

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

I finally got to fly in a hot air balloon.  I cannot tell you how many times I have had this booked for it to be cancelled due to the weather.   It was well worth the three year wait though.

The last thing from my 30 before 30 list was to climb the roof of the O2 which I managed to complete this weekend.  Why it took me so long to do I really couldn't tell you, but I'm glad I've done it now.

3. Ride in a helicopter.

I was lucky enough to go one above this and actually got the opportunity to fly a helicopter during a flying lesson.  Such an incredible experience.

8. Attend a life drawing class.

I've now been to two of these classes.  My drawing skills still need a lot of improvements but it's been good fun.

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

After seeing Swan Lake last year The Nutcracker seemed to be the best ballet performance to follow and it did not disappoint.  Truly magical.

20. Have a go at clay pigeon shooting.

I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would.  It also hurt my shoulder a lot more than I thought it would.  It was still a great experience though and definitely something I would try again.  Plus it felt great being out in the countryside.

27. Go on a girls holiday.

I've been on a couple of girls holidays now and have another planned for September.  I'd like to think that there will be plenty more in the years to come.  The first was to Chicago with Brook (best trip EVER!) and the second a girls weekend to Center Parcs Elvedon Forest to celebrate my sister in law to be's hen weekend.

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

I attended a 10 week photography course last year which I loved.  It definitely got me thinking more about how to take photos and I also learnt how to use a camera on manual, I never thought I'd achieve that one.

So all in all it's been a pretty good year.  I've been making good head way in starting off some of the other things on my list and am confident that next year will be another successful update.

~ Gem x 

Thursday, 5 July 2018

A Stronger Me

Two years ago today, my life changed forever.  My world fell apart and there was nothing I could do about it.  Still to this day I cannot express to you how it truly made me feel, but I do know that it broke me and I felt as though I had lost everything.  The person who I loved with everything I had and trusted with my life had betrayed me in a way I didn't even think was possible and the feeling of hurt and betrayal will never leave me.  Even two years on I still cry about it from time to time and I often wonder what my life would be like if things were different.  But the truth is, I will never know.  

In the past two years I have learnt more about myself than I ever thought I would.  I've become a stronger, more independent and adventurous version of myself.  I have grown to love and value myself more than I ever have done before.  I have pushed myself to do more, to say yes to opportunities and to try new things.  I have found myself, and I've no doubt I still have more about myself to discover.

It has been a challenging couple of years that hasn't been without it's hitches, but I have battled them head on as best as I can.  I miss my old life and wish that I had never had to experience the pain and upheaval I've had to go through, but it is what it is and in all honesty I wouldn't have done half of the things I have if things had of stayed the same.

I have amazed myself of my strength and determination to get through it all and I feel so proud of myself for how far I have come.  My story isn't over yet.  I may not know exactly what direction I am headed just yet but I will find my way.

Everything happens for a reason, you may not know what the reason is but embrace it anyway.  I am living proof that you can and will get through it, you just have to have the belief in yourself that things will improve in time and that here is a life out there that is worth living.

~ Gem x