Saturday, 28 May 2016
Last Saturday I did something a bit scary. I met someone off the internet. Now, the last time I did that I ended up marrying the guy, and I think this time went just as well (no marrying though as bigamy is illegal).
Chloe blogs over at New Girl in Toon and I went on about how much I love her blog in my post a few weeks ago about blogs to follow so I'm not going to go on about it again. Just, go follow okay?! Chloe and I actually have friends in common, and could have met 2 years ago at the mutual friends wedding, but unfortunately it wasn't to be so we eventually met up for the first time on Saturday. I'd never been to Geordie-Land (what I call Newcastle, as Stoke has a Newcastle too) and had always wanted to visit ever since I watched Byker Grove as a kid, so Rich and I made the journey up the motorway and went for brunch at Longhorns BBQ Smokehouse.
Now I could pretend to know lots of things about the location of the place, but we drove to the car park Chloe directed us to, parked up and it was just around the corner. We said our hellos to Chloe and Simon and headed inside, where we were allowed to choose where to sit. Obviously we chose the table near the window (always thinking about that lighting!) and settled down, chatting away getting to know each other.
Rich always calls it cheating, but I had started looking at the menu the day before in order to try and narrow down what I wanted for breakfast, but there were too many good looking options, so I wasn't anywhere near deciding when we got there. Torn between many things, we all spent a bit of time trying to settle on options, and Chloe and I were both scoping out what the boys wanted to eat, so we could choose different things, so we could try more of the menu!
There was one thing I definitely knew I wanted though, a coffee. I'd been good and not had one all week, so I was excited to get a caffeine fix. The coffee was really smooth, and even though I'm no expert, I knew it was a good coffee. It did give me quite the buzz though, so sorry to Chloe and Simon for talking very quickly for the rest of the day!
Eventually a decision was made on what to order and the food arrived in good timing. I opted - after flipping between this and the pancakes with syrup for far too long- for the Eggs El Mexicana which is basically a Mexican Eggs Benedict. Poached eggs on a muffin with a chorizo salsa and hollandaise sauce. This was super tasty, it had the right amount of spice, and was unusual, yet yummy. The eggs were poached to perfection without any hint of vinegar and had a beautiful runny yolk.
Rich and Simon went for the same thing, the 2 meat breakfast, with Texas toast, sausage patty, bacon, poached eggs and syrup. I only managed to swipe a bit of the Texas toast and syrup, but it did make me a bit jealous. Wish I could have ordered both things for myself!
Chloe opted for the Pit Bean Benedict, and for the review of her brunch, you'll have to check out her blog post!
We had a lovely brunch together, and chatted for ages. The staff were great and didn't mind us staying well past our brunches were finished, and after a couple of hours when our bums began to go numb we headed out for a stroll along the quayside before heading to a bar to carry on chatting.
Rich and I had a brilliant day out, and will definitely be back to visit Newcastle again soon, and Chloe and Simon were excellent tour guides! If they'd have us we will definitely be meeting up again, which will more than likely involve food, again as we all chuffing love our grub!
Wednesday, 25 May 2016
So, in case you've been living under a rock - I got married in November and I've written all about it (click that link to catch up!). Rich and I went on a mini-moon straight after the wedding to our favourite Hot Tub Lodges in Yorkshire which I wrote about last time we went a couple of years ago. I didn't take any photos as the entire week was just spent recovering from all the stress and excitement of getting married.
I'm so pleased we didn't go on our big honeymoon straight away, for two reasons, one being that for at least the first 3 days of our mini-moon I really didn't want to do anything which wasn't stuffing my face or lounging in the hot tub, and the other is that I could not have coped with the stress of packing for a big holiday at the same time as the last minute wedding stuff. How do brides do it?!
When Rich and I started thinking about our honeymoon we were really at a loss of where to go. We wanted to go somewhere luxurious, but still with plenty to do. America was my number 1 most desired destination, but we couldn't decide on a location which would give us everything we wanted. Eventually we settled on a cruise. It meant we could have the luxury we were after, with lots of activities to do, and we could start and end in America, so I would get to visit at long long last!
I'll talk more about the cruise in my future honeymoon posts, but the one we chose used Miami as it's departure and arrival port, so we decided to extend the holiday by 3 days and stay in Miami first. We saved like crazy for our wedding and honeymoon - as well as very generously being gifted donations towards the cost, and it meant that we could afford to spend the bit extra and travel premium economy to Miami from Heathrow, which was a very exciting experience for me, especially as I'd never flown long-haul before.
We were welcomed onto the plane with mini glasses of champagne and shown to our very spacious seats, which had little welcome packs on them with a blanket, pillow and bottle of water (there might have been more, this was a few months ago now!). We settled in and were offered newspapers and the menu for the flight (!!) which of course I immediately began looking at, having only ever once eaten on a plane, which I can't remember at all, I was eager to see what it was like.
The air hostesses looked after us so well, once we had settled into our seats they brought around hot towels, which made me feel so fancy!
After takeoff the drinks trolley came round for the first time of many and we were offered a drink and some mini pretzels. All of the things they came around with were included in the ticket price, and you could have had any alcohol you liked, which is why we opted for Virgin over British Airways, as BA only offer you one alcoholic drink per flight. Even though Rich and I aren't big drinkers, as the prices and everything else was identical, we thought why not as it was our honeymoon.
I got very stuck into the entertainment system on the plane, loving the movies, TV shows and games - especially as they had Tetris!
The main meal arrived and it was surprisingly tasty. I love the mini propeller salt and pepper shakers, and that they gave us a mini cheese and crackers. I ate better on the plane than I do at home! After the wine I was beginning to get a little tipsy, so watched a movie and stopped being quite so hyper and excited for a while.
Then they only went and brought us a mini FAB lolly each! This made me so excited again, it really is the little things.
I loved tracking where we were on the map thing on the entertainment system, and seeing how fast and high we were. I did take a lot of things on the plane with me to do, as on the budget Europe planes I've been on before there is no entertainment at all. I didn't end up reading my magazine or using the iPad at all as there was so much to do, which was great as it meant I had those for later on in the holiday.
Nearing the end of the flight they brought around afternoon tea, which consisted of a sandwich, crisps and a mini chocolate bar. It was a little stingy in my opinion, but that's probably cos I'm a bottomless stomach - especially when I'm on holiday.
When the flight landed we were one of the first off the plane, and our luggage was the second group on the luggage carousel, something tiny, but very much appreciated as I hate having to wait ages for your luggage, especially as it's usually so crowded and I end up needing a wee.
The whole flight experience was brilliant, we really felt well looked after, and if we can ever afford it again I would definitely repeat the experience! I'm not sure how I'd like not having as much leg room on such a long flight, or as much room to spread out. I think I spoiled myself for life now.
Next Wednesday I'm going to be talking about our time in Miami, which was an amazing three days.
Saturday, 21 May 2016
A couple of weekends ago was a bank holiday weekend in the UK, and Rich's Mum and Step-Dad came up to visit. As the south coast is so flipping far from us now in North Yorkshire, it doesn't happen very often, and we hadn't actually seen them since we got married in November, so about 6 months!
I'd heard great things about Thorp Perrow from other people who live locally, and some friends, so I decided that come rain or shine on Sunday we were going to go visit.
Of course, it rained. So there isn't actually that many photos of the lovely gardens which we walked through as I didn't want to get my camera wet, but it did dry up enough in the afternoon for me to get a shot of these lovely late daffodils and the bluebells above. The gardens were really pretty and well kept, and I know that Rich and I will be buying season tickets to make the most of them in the summer.
Thorp Perrow isn't just about the gorgeous gardens though, they also have an animal section, which has a good variety of animals to look at. The goats were very inquisitive, but unfortunately I didn't get to hear them scream (which is my lifelong wish, ever since seeing this YouTube video: goats screaming).
They didn't just have goats though, they had other animals too, such as these cute meerkats which were very sweet, and when a chicken hopped into their pen, they all gathered around their youngest, which was adorable to watch.
The wallaby enclosure was fantastic, because you could go in and interact with them to your hearts content, they were free to wander right up to you and you could stroke and pet them. Visiting in spring was a good choice, as seeing the young in their mothers pouches, but hanging their heads out to eat like in the picture above, made for very sweet viewing.
They have a huge area dedicated to birds of prey and owls at Thorp Perrow, and this was my favourite section, as I love owls. I heard a kookaburra's call for the first ever time, and saw many many cute owls. There are free talks and bird displays on twice a day, and we got front row seats for the first one of the day.
The first birds we met were George and Mildred the Crested Caracaras. These were very quick birds who preferred running around on the ground to flying, and would do anything for food, so we were warned to have all food and drink safely put away, or else it would have gone missing. It was interesting learning more about these birds, and their funny story at Thorp Perrow. Crested Caracaras mate for life, so when they got this pair, they were "at it" quite a bit, but they never produced any eggs. Worried, the staff took them for lots of tests, and eventually found that instead of being George and Mildred, they should be called George and George. Luckily for them they decided to train them for displays, and let them live out their days happy together.
This stunning fellow was a European Eagle Owl, and he had a great time swooping all over the place getting food. He was so affectionate as well, earlier in the day we'd seen someone handling him and he was giving and receiving so many cuddles and snuggles. I've always wanted an owl for a pet anyway, but I want one even more after seeing him. Utterly gorgeous!
The last bird of the show was this falcon, and this is the only non-blurred photo of him that I managed to get, he was so fast my poor camera couldn't keep up with him. The handler swung food around for him on a piece of string, a bit like how you'd swing a poi-poi, and the falcon would swoop down to try and get the food. It was amazing to watch, and really gives you an idea of how powerful the birds are in the wild.
All in all it was a brilliant day out, and Rich and I are definitely buying season tickets so we can go back as often as we can as long as we're living up here.
Have you ever been to a place like this? Do let me know!
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