A decade of destinations!

Now that 2020 is well underway, I have wanted to write a blog on a decade of destinations that we have been lucky enough to visit over the past ten years or so.  We have celebrated our 15th and 20th wedding anniversaries in that time and had a special 21st last year.

That 21st was spent in the destination we visited on many occasions during the decade, which was Dubai. We first visited here in around 2003 and our daughter has loved it ever since. So she definitely had to be there for her 21st! Then seeing as my parents lived out there for a couple of years, was another reason why it became the most visited destination for us in the years since 2010.

E197404A-3BD3-441E-B11B-1DF4E410A9EFI won’t do too much on Dubai in this post as I’ve also done a post with a bit on it here My top 3 travel destinations for New Year’s Eve

In the summer of 2011 we visited Playa del Carmen in Mexico.  I have to say it definitely has the best looking beaches in the world.  Just stunning white sands with beautiful palm trees  🌴. I just love palm trees, for me it’s a sign of being abroad and somewhere warm!!
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Just looking at this picture, you can see what I mean and just look at the colour of the crystal clear aqua sea! No filters here at all!

Now, on my bucket list is to see the seven wonders of the world. These seem to change a lot but at the time and still on the list is Chichen Itza, an ancient Mayan site. So glad we went. Was not too far from Playa del Carmen at all and we were able to do the trip in a morning, back to our hotel by the afternoon.

In between there have been some weekend trips to places in the UK as well and in the rest of Europe. One of my favourite places in the UK, would be Carbis Bay in St Ives, Cornwall. Even though we visited in February, we were lucky with the weather and the sun was shining and was not cold at all. The sound of the waves is another of my favourite things and had this been in summer, you would have felt you were abroad. The sea is crystal clear and you may even be lucky enough to spot the odd dolphin from where we stayed at Carbis Bay Hotel .
My favourite weekend break in Europe would be a toss up between the Amalfi Coast and the French Riviera. I never would have thought I would like it as much as I did but loved Nice.  We stayed in an apartment in the old town which was just oozing with character. High ceilings, the classic shutters on windows and the main door which must have been at least 400 years old.

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I loved the hustle and bustle of the whole place and it had a ‘feel’ to it which I cannot describe. Perfect weather, food, drink and ‘buzz’ about the place. Of course a visit to Monte Carlo, Monaco is a must just for people and car watching if nothing else!
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The Amalfi coastline is just stunning. However, be warned, taxis are very hard to find and once you do, cost a FORTUNE! This was the only downside to the whole weekend. we visited in October and the weather was just perfect. Not too hot yet still sunny and warm. We took a trip to Capri from Positano. Definitely recommend doing this should you go to that area.
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2 trips to the USA in this decade. One to LA and Las Vegas and one to Florida to include Orlando, Miami and the Keys (just missed Hurricane Irma by hours..!) These were for our 15th and 20th wedding anniversaries respectively.
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Also have been lucky enough to visit in the decade ; Crete, Abu Dhabi, Morocco, Tenerife, Paris, Rome and Scotland to name a few and we finished it all off with a big trip to India at the end of 2019 and into the new decade of the 20s! (Will do a separate Blog post on this).
Looking forward to what this decade holds for us.

Living with fear – Part 2

So I have not written for a while now and after my last post, I had my operation to remove a tumour from my breast.

I found a lump in my right breast in January last year and was on a bit of a roller coaster ride until around the end of April when finally had it removed. Luckily it was not cancerous but they thought would be best to remove it.

I had numerous biopsies first however and the excruciating waiting time in between those biopsies.  The not knowing one way or another for weeks on end was incredibly frightening not just for  me but also for my family.  The sleepless nights, the thinking about your family all the time and trying not to think the worst but cannot help it.  Anything and EVERYTHING makes you emotional.  Good days and very bad days… the days where you just burst out crying for no reason.

This ‘in limbo’ stage is quite hard to deal with and there seems to be that not a lot of people really talk about this stage and also having still had a lumpectomy although was benign, could not see much on it.

However, all that is behind us now.  Another fear though that will stay with me although I don’t want to think about it.  I am a bit paranoid about every little thing you feel around the breasts.  Onset of menopause isn’t helping…now that’s another story!!!  HAHA.  It just makes you appreciate every single day even more though and all you have and all that is around you.

That was all to add to part 2 as I know it could have been worse and others do have it worse.  Everything life has to throw at us makes us stronger. Just was a quick one as I had not written a Part 2 for so long…

 

 

Living with fear in your mind. Part 1

I have not written a blog post for a while and over the next few blog posts you will realise why and I will take you on my journey over the past few months as well as a few years back to give you the bigger picture.

So firstly, let’s throwback to 20 years ago. It’s 1999 and I have a daughter of six months old. We are living in a 2 bedroom maisonette, our first home together, that we bought when I was pregnant and moved into in May 1998. Our daughter was born in September. One Saturday, I had a really bad headache, a headache like I’ve never had in my life. I thought if I go to bed early, when I wake up, it will be gone. I woke up on Sunday morning and it had. Great. Thought nothing more of it. Monday afternoon and we are about to take my car to my uncle’s garage to get something on it fixed. I tell my husband, I am just going to have a quick bath before we go.

Our bathroom door never had a lock on it since we moved in and never really felt the need for it. My hubby would often come in for a chat while I took a bath and vice versa. This particular day though, was not like any other. I started to have a seizure in the bath! If he had not been there, I would have drowned and that would have been the end of me…however he held me and let the water go down the plug hole.

I was taken to hospital as he’d called an ambulance. They did a few checks like ‘what day is it?’, ‘who’s the prime minister?’ That kind of thing and said ‘everyone has at least one seizure in their life’ and sent me home.

Sadly, not long after, I had another seizure and one in the actual reception of A&E. They kept me in…I was there having numerous scans and tests, including a lumber puncture. The seizures began to become more frequent. I was moved to the National hospital in London for more tests and more scans. Seizures became 2-3 minutes apart and they wanted to put me into a coma. My hubby said he would think about and discuss it with my mum etc. He didn’t want to let them do it.

That evening they tried a new drug on me, it’s called Phenobarbital and is apparently the cheapest drug available. It completely changed me and began controlling the seizures!! I had a blood clot on the brain which was causing the seizures. My hubby said when the nurse came back to work that morning she said she was scared to look round the corner to my bed as she didn’t think I’d make it through the night!!  My poor family are the ones who suffered the most as I was ‘out of it’ most of time!

I am on medication for life but have been seizure free for 9 years roughly.  Of course I live with it at the back of my mind as you never know when you could have one , but I try and live my life as normal and continue to always do so.  I do not let it rule my life.  I am grateful for each day.

I hope I have not bored you all too much and my next post will be fast forward 20 years to 2019 and what a year I’ve had so far.

My top 3 travel destinations for New Year’s Eve

Now, I consider myself to be quite well travelled and have been to quite a few places around the world.  Eaten at some spectacular and equally not to spectacular restaurants and seen some amazing sunsets and sunrises (the best ever sunrises over the Masai Mara in Kenya) and amazing sunsets we had from our villa in Crete just this summer.

I would like to share with you as we go into this Christmas season, 3 of my top destinations for New Year’s Eve (not in a particular order, just numbered 1-3).  After all the build up and excitement of the run up to Christmas, after we have opened all our presents and eaten our turkey dinner, all seems to bee a bit of anti climax after, but having booked  a holiday for New Year’s Eve alleviates that feeling as you still have something to look forward to!

  1. New York

I am going to go with New York to start off with as I would actually like to visit it myself in the summer as we went for New Year’s Eve one year.  When you come out of the subway and see Times Square for the first time, it really does take your breath away.  The year we went, the Pound was worth almost $2 so we were extremely lucky from the shopping point of view and especially when Footlocker had a deal on of buy a pair of Timberland’s and get another pair free!!!  Now I love to shop and this was just an amazing time to go shopping in New York.  The shops still had all the Christmas displays in the windows which alone were amazing to look at and watch.  It was quite cold but can say as we did a lot of walking, did not really feel it.  However the day we took the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, we picked the worst day as it was foggy!!  So I would love to go back to see New York a bit more comfortably and the Statue of Liberty a bit clearer!  Now for New Year’s Eve, we were in and around Times Square in the daytime and thy had begun to close off all the roads and was quite quiet – however we knew it would be packed later on!  We decided though not to head or Times Square to see the ball drop as Saddam Hussein had just been found and people were saying about security concerns so we avoided it and ended up in Central Park instead where we watched people getting ready for a marathon that was due to start at midnight, dressed in all kinds of fancy dress.  Then some fireworks went off as well, so we got a great New Year’s Eve in New York.  Would highly recommend it at that time of year as it truly is magical,  We went up the Rockefeller Centre  to the top and you can get to see the Empire State building from there so I feel better off going up there rather than the Empire State itself.  The largest Christmas tree and ice skating were obviously still there as well.  For great atmosphere, great breakfasts and more, I would also definitely recommend going to Ellen’s Stardust Diner

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2. Dubai

Now have been to Dubai many times and 3 times for New Year’s Eve now.  Last year we went down to Jumeirah Beach to watch the fireworks at midnight from there.  For starters, it is free to do so – Dubai Christmas and New Year’s Eve packages can be quite expensive, we did do Planet Hollywood one year and a hotel near Jumeirah for Christmas Day one year as well.  The atmosphere on the beach was amazing!! You had people from all over the world, just happy and dancing away and then waiting for the Countdown to midnight and then you can see the fireworks from the Burj Al Arab, the Atlantis and many more coming off the Palm!! The weather is just perfect. Still in the 20s in the evenings as well at that time of year.  Would warn you off going in the summer months though – it is EXTREMELY hot!!  Then you cannot even sit outside to eat even in the evenings.  Our favourite spot to sit outside in the evenings and enjoy the ambience and great food as well as FANTASTIC views over the Marina and more is Shades at The Address Hotel, Dubai Marina

3.  Disneyland Paris

I am quite a big Disney fan and just find the whole thing when you enter any of the parks just truly magical and think if you have children, there is no better way to celebrate
New Year’s Eve than watching the fireworks over Cinderella’s castle at midnight!  It gives you a warm and tingly feeling as you hug your family tightly and wish for all the best for the upcoming year.  Yes, it can be a long day, so would recommend not starting out too early that day or make sure your ticket allows for re entry to the park again should you decide to leave ad come back for the fireworks only.  At this time of year, it can also be quite cold in Paris so wrap up warm.  One of the years we went, it was very cold and when we entered the park one day, it started snowing but that just made it feel even more special and makes you really appreciate the Disney hot chocolate!!

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Christmas and weddings!

I have not written for quite a while and intend on making it a regular thing again…and am going to start with the obvious impending Christmas in a moment. However before I could even think about Christmas this year, have been planning my cousins wedding centrepieces for the tables and coming up with ideas. She had 2 functions to do them for, an Indian party and her formal wedding. The Indian wedding as was full of colour needed something that was simple yet effective. We looked and thought of many ideas and finally came up with bird cages with flowers in pink added along with gold butterflies to compliment my cousins outfit.

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Then this weekend just gone we had the formal wedding and as is getting Christmassy now, she wanted to incorporate that into the centrepieces for that.  We went for wreaths with a candle and hurricane in the middle with some fresh flowers added at the end.  I think these looked quite good and was quite happy with the outcome.  Added some pine cones and mini baubles and berries in silver and white for the Christmas effect.

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Now the wedding is over, on to my Christmas tree and decorating it! Got straight on to it the next day…I love my Christmas tree theme and feel in this world of grey that is everywhere, nice to have a bit of colour! I have some new additions this year to show the love of travel!! Found these in a local garden centre and good old Primark had the aeroplane and carry on luggage!!

 

Last week I also changed a garland that I was not happy with and changed it to how I thought it looked much nicer.  Hope you like it too!!

 

 

Is social media really social or just making social anxiety worse?

This is a question I have had in my mind for a while now.

As the mother of a teenage daughter suffering with social anxiety I have found myself hating social media and what it has become these days for young girls especially.

Yes, we all use ‘social media’ in some form or another and has become part of our lives whether we like it or not but does it have to be so cruel?!

First of all it began with Facebook where you became ‘friends’ with people you knew at least…now you can have anyone from anywhere in the world see your personal photos on Instagram and comment and like them as well…and on Twitter can give you’re opinion on just about anything you want to…sometimes those comments may be nice, but a lot of the time, putting these pictures and comments opens you up to getting abuse from total strangers (not that it’s ok from those who aren’t)…this is where the problem lies. Opinions are given on your looks, arguments and debates started regarding what you’ve said on Twitter etc etc … those that are famous get it more, everyone thinks because they are public figures, they have a right to pass judgement.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Now I see how it effects people myself when I hear my daughter speak. She is never happy with how she looks although she’s beautiful. They all try and aspire to look like these air brushed pictures they see everywhere. THEY ARE NOT REAL. That’s not how they look when they wake up in the morning!!

I think ‘social media’ is actually alienising people from each other as this is the only form of conversation people seem to know now. By likes and comments. No one wants to pick up the phone and chat to their friends or see their friends, so can we really call it SOCIAL media??

love yourself

S

x

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Photo by Swapnil Deshpandey on Pexels.com

The C word is over!! A bit of Paris beforehand though!

So all that waiting and anticipation we have for months and the dreaded ‘C’ word (Christmas!) is all over!!

All the tension before hand of getting the right present, making sure there is enough food for everyone (always end up having too much!) and then on the day the tension of making it all with not enough room in the oven for everything so timing is EVERYTHING!!

Well all done and dusted and time to relax! I do love this time of year though. It’s magical and this time last week I was in Paris and it was beautiful.
Did a lot of walking as you normally do on city breaks and took the big bus tour of the city. It was beautiful to see especially at night when all the Christmas lights were on.
The Christmas market down the Champs Élysées was wonderful to see. Everywhere so busy and the spirit of Christmas in all the shops.

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And of course, the shopping!

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Seven Years seizure free

Hi

I have not written a blog for a while but thought today was most necessary to write down how I am feeling and my thoughts for today.

It has been 7 years without me having a seizure today and it was whilst watching ‘Im a celebrity, get me out of here’, the night Cerys Matthews was evicted I think!!

I am not an epileptic – however, its a long story and to cut a long story short, I had a blood clot in the brain which led to lots of different things, mainly being seizures, some every 2-3 minutes at the time and I very nearly was put into an induced coma and nearly died.

So here as I write this today, I am humble in my thoughts and soooooooo grateful for everything around me, my wonderful family, a roof over my head and food on the table to enjoy while still being alive.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for EVERYTHING I have.

Gratitude and Positivity

Just a quick post for the day – a thought for the day really – be grateful for all the things you have in life rather than focus on what you do not have.
I am so lucky to have my family, a wonderful home and love in it. Lucky to be alive to feel this gratefulness and love.
Have a good day all and look at what you have around you that makes you feel good…