May Day British Beach trip avec pooch!

french bulldog, Personal Experience, Travel

So Easter, then Mayday equals a lot of extra days off. This May Day bank holiday I had my mum visit me from France! Yay.

Thought I might share a nice day at the British seaside with the pooch! He hates being left at home and we love taking him with us. I think it’s great that you can take a dog with you. London is pretty good for dog friendly places but where we are going is super dog friendly!

We decided to treat her to a day trip to Leigh-on-Sea a place that if I won the lottery I would move to in a heart beat. If you have never been to Leigh it’s so lovely. A traditional British fishing town where dogs are welcome in so many places!

We got the train up and arrived at Leigh-on-Sea just before 12pm. It was busy considering that the weather was grim. Dogs were everywhere. We walked passed the cockle sheds passing lots of walkers a few tourists and a lot of locals!

All the puppies

It isn’t a long journey but obviously a pint was in order! Also more frenchies and the most gorgeous British bulldog Hugo!

He was super friendly. He jumped straight up on the table and Frank, not to be out done, jumped up to!

Then we wandered up along the front and hadn’t walked more than 10 paces before we came across Sara’s Tea garden which is an amazing dog friendly cafe. Frank had his own menu and came away with his own homemade snacks! Pretty much every table had a dog underneath it.

Oh yes the human menu was pretty great too.

The great scone debate

We all had the scones and the Essex Tiptree jam. Jam first then clotted cream!

I really don’t understand how people put jam over cream it’s practically impossible!Tea was good. As a Brit we judge tea places quite harshly. If I say it’s a good cuppa it’s a good cuppa!

Then we had to walk off our scones! So we walked all the way up to Chalkwell. The houses along the sea front are the stuff of (lottery) dreams said the weather wasnt perfect but it was great for walking. Frank tried to give me a heart attack by almost jumping in the sea!

On-Sea Estuary

Technically it’s the estuary not the sea, but do I love it! Leigh-on-Sea has won awards for its beaches even though its not big. Dogs aren’t allowed on the beach which is a shame because Frank loves sand.

Just before the main beach there is a little bank between the buildings so we let Frank play with that stretch of sand whilst we waited!

Of course we walked all the way there and walk all the way back! It was a lovely walk and by the time we got back we were ready for a nice local pint at Ye Old Smack.

Plus I had some time for some planning! Lots of birthdays and appointments this month!

waiting for the train

We were happy. Eaten yummy scones, gorgeous ales, 15000 steps befriending lots of puppies.

We checked the train times. Still had time to snark in another drink!

This time something warm. Then home.

How was your bank holiday?

If you can make me laugh, I am yours

Advice, Personal Experience

Day 24, what attracts you in love, 30 day blog challenge.

Laughter is the way to my soul

It this supposed to be about love but actually it is about all the relationships I have had.

All my friends make me laugh, they all have funny stories to tell and we love seeing each other! There is often a bottle of wine and a catchup involved.

Humour makes the world go round

I grew up in a house full of laughter and joy! So when looking for a partner I wanted the same.

Gav makes me laugh like no one else. Belly laughs, teasing. Chuckling, snickering even Nelson Munst Ha Ha.

If a day goes buy without a snicker then that is a really odd day.

He is very funny, often crass, sometimes offensive which I don’t find so funny. If something silly happens we can often just look at each other and know what the joke is and why we find it funny.

Gav took this photo, it was a lovely cold sunny day and the coldest gust of wind blew

Things in common

I don’t think you need to have everything in common but a level playing field is always important. Gavin is a geek, he loves games: computer, board games, role play. He tries to include me but it’s not my cup of tea.

We do however love comic book shows, movies and Sci-Fi. So we look forward to going to the pictures ( cinema) ets and watching Netflix series!

We love food! We like eating out and cooking, take always. You name it we like to eat it! I link my favourite foods here.

Politics

I don’t want to get in to politics too much here. I am well versed in my opinions. Gav is a bit more conservative and I am more liberal but actually with Britain in the mess it is now we are definitely on the same page. Brexit brought us closer together and we read a lot about it, watched debates and followed all the lies. We were really passionate about it and still are.

We are firm remainers. We believe that we should never have been put in this position in the first place. Cameron was lazy and thought it was a given, Boris lied through his teeth and quite frankly should have been sacked. He bafoonery and bravado don’t stop me from seeing the coiled snake beneath.

Wow that was a little deep for what do you find attractive in someone but it’s true. Having someone who has the same core values not necessarily the same political party is intrinsic to a good relationship.

Can you be tall please

I also like tall men. It’s nothing to do with being heightest but actually that I am almost 5″8 so I am pretty tall myself.

I will never be cute in height but Gavin is 6″4 and to me the perfect height.

We met online, after my last relationship to an Aussie I new I wanted a relationship with someone British. I didn’t want to have to move again. So I asked for a Brit, which probably sounded xenophobic but was just about me not wanting to move again!

I also asked… could you be tall please?

Romantic conclusion

Laughter is truly key

Core values are similar

We love food and travel

We like our own space

What attracts you in a partner!

Best trip of my life

Personal Experience, Travel

Day 10, Best trip of your life, 30 day blog challenge

I have so many amazing holidays most of them involve involve the Seychelles.

Saga Holiday

When I was 20 my dad mentioned that he was going home. So I asked if I could come along! It was brilliant, I hung out with all his 50year old friends and honestly I couldn’t keep up with the drinking!

From Jo bringing is home made apple schnapps, yummy, to Harry showing me his party trick which is balancing a champagne bottle in head.

My saga holiday was bloody awesome. They all looked after me and I had a great time.

Sister trip

A few years later my sister suggested that we go to Seychelles together….

We spent our days hopping on the Tata from beach to beach. Eating delicious pizza at the Pirates Arms ( that’s how long ago we went). My dad wasn’t there but we ended up watching Argentinian soap operas with my granny! We hopped on the tata to watch movies at the cinema.

When we went to Pralin our taxi driver dropped us off but refused to pick us up. So we had to walk half way around the island in the pitch black. The road was surrounded by jungle and felt like it took forever!

Romantic Trip

First time I took Gavin to Mahe. Oh it was so lovely, good meals, snorkelling for hour, great cocktails. Gavin loved it. Even when I I took him down the wrong path which meant walking 40minutes in the jungle ( we got lost) and then discover the correct path!

La Digue was beautiful and our cabin was romantic and gorgeous!

Friends

We had a group holiday to furs where? You got it. Sun fun and sand. Again we snorkels drank and swam. The best food, wonderful restaurant and a great location.

Our snorkelling boat got delayed and we ended up on a private boat all to ourselves. Littlest to little Island at high volume.

We are definitely going to do a group holiday home again.

Family trip

Last summer was my sisters 40th and due to my wedding she wasn’t coming to Britain even though she wanted to. So I flew out to spend ten glorious days with the kids, my dad and his friends.

It was so much fun! We got to explore Seychelles through their eyes! Dad rented the most amazing house a short walk from the beach and with its own little pool!

We drank gin and dad cooked most of the time and we had ice cream from an amazing shop in Victoria! Me and Vicky talked about everything under the sun, we tanned and had fresh avocados picked from the tree!

On the way back I got to spend a whole week with my mum in France. It really was a perfect trip and although I missed Gav like crazy, it was good for us.

The Seychelles

So I have been more times than I have mentioned. I like to go every two years and my dad visits me to.

You may think I am lucky, and I am. But I wish they were closer. I hate saying goodbye and I hate that with the exception of my brother and mum I have to check the time before I call them.

It may seem crazy going back to the same place again and again but I love it. I learn something new everytime.

This is my heritage.

This is my family

Is this my Island?

What are my 5 Goals…… making me plan and think!

Advice, Personal Experience, Planning, Travel, Wedding

Day7, 5 year goals, 30 day blog challenge.

So this has made me think, think about what I want for myself, my work and my relationship.

So in 5 years I want to achieve…

1 get married. I know you already know I am achieving this goal this year but it still a big one for me!

I love Gavin I want to be his wife. I can’t wait for our wedding day. Hopefully it doesn’t rain but if it does we will have to go out and buy wellies and umbrellas!

For my home

2, get a new kitchen. Can that be a goal, yes well we will have to save for it so it isn’t something we can just splurge on willy nilly. It will take time to plan and find the right bits.

Our kitchen is nice it’s just tired. The bottom of the cabinet have spit due to water issues and I really really want a dishwasher!

I also would like a cabinet next to the sink and maybe french doors that go out into the garden but we will see.

I would also love a little toilet and sink upstairs but Gavin is really against that for some unknown reason.

There a few bits around the house that are tired and need a bit of TLC and after the wedding is a good time to focus more.

3 my blog being successful

I am so greatful for every single follower it means the world to me that for some reason you would read my blog. Gav gets an update with each one I get, and I punch the sky, John Bender style.

I would love it to be even better where I can have a proper website not just a page. I would like it to reflect me a lot more. My friend is a super talented graphic designer and after all the wedding craziness is over I will be looking to her for advice.

If it was a success I could spend a lot more time on the photography. Carefully planning layouts rather than the snaps you get right now.

4 travel

Japan is on my bucket list along with Vietnam, Laos and Singapore. I would like to have visited all of these countries in the next few years. We are honeymooning in Japan and plan to stop of on the way at another destination. So that will be two ticked off my list.

I have a fair few countries in Europe I really want to go to. I have never been to Italy, there is so much I would love to explore there. I feel like Italy’s city’s deserve destinations of there very own! I have also never been to Ireland and need to visit as we have ancestors there.

Iceland, Norway and Sweden are places of such beauty that are not far away but expensive to visit so this will definitely be a highly planned exciting schedule.

So travel is a big one!

5 Working less and earning more

Is that possible? I meaning working 4 days a week instead of 6. Maybe doing my dream job/ jobs…..

I wouldn’t mind working from home once a week so I could look after my dog. Currently I work 5/6 days a week. But I set the Rita so at least I decide when I work even if it is 6 days straight. I don’t mind but it can be draining.

Perhaps in5 years I will achieve my dream job and be a blogger full time. Travelling the planet, renovating my perfect little house and writing full time.

Who knows?

I always struggle to think of answers to these questions but so far this challenge has been more about a challenge for me to understand what I want rather than a challenge of writing a blog everyday!

I am really enjoying this!

We need to talk about Mario!

Personal Experience, Travel

So I loved Bulgaria. It was a wonderful week of great weather, pristine slopes, mountain dogs and my instructor.

I am a nervous snowboarder. Anything can unnerve me. On our first day my friend Jamie’s hit an edge and dislocated his shoulder. Not much of a holiday for him. As this happened on the first day I decided enough was enough I needed a lesson. I need to rebuild my confidence and go back to basics.

Private Lessons

So the lessons were really reasonable and the quality of them was brilliant. I have never had a private lesson before. Even when I have had lesson with group of 3 I have always been the last down the mountain or struggling to catch up. In France if you get lost they just leave you to find your own way back.

I cant be hard on the french instructors as their job is to get the best out of you as fast as possible. But for me however this type of learning doesn’t work. I hate to be last and I just end up being frustrated.

So i asked at the Samokov hotel Ski school for a lesson. I was really lucky. I got Mario! He was so nice and kind and new exactly how to handle me.

The first thing he said was not to worry we can go at my own pace and take our time till my confidence builds up.

He guided me through every turn, every patch of ice, he even held held my hand when I turned toe side edge of a steep red. His control of the board was a thing of wonder.

Encouragement

I mentioned earlier that racing down the mountain and always trying to catch my breath wasn’t the best training for me. The problem with being slow and last is you never get time to rest. People are always waiting for you. So by the time you catch up it times to push on again.

With Mario it was different.

All his encourage made me want to try harder and face my fears. The reds in Bulgaria were gorgeous and wide. So even though it was steep with a few patches of ice, the slope was amazing.

I pushed my self everyday, with every lesson and really enjoyed myself. In the end I I chose to have 4 lessons. I looked forward to hitting the snow. And on day 3 the snow was pretty perfect. Fresh powder is a snowboarders best friend. Even I was hitting the fresh snow and attempting little jumps ( completely failed) and loving it.

Yes I fell over a few times but it didn’t put me off!

Doing it for me

I normally spend my time with Linda, she skis, I board, we encourage each other down harder slopes. We drink vin chaud to reward ourselves and always have a great time. This time with her husband injured she didn’t want to leave him. His accident unnerved her skiing!

Normally each holiday I have a few good days of boarding and a few shitty days of hating it. This time I enjoyed every single day. Considering I didn’t spend most of my days without the group I really enjoyed myself. I snowboarded for my self.

Mario was the reason for this

I needed his encouragement and advice. The main thing he taught me:

  • Relax
  • Don’t bend your knees too much ( thats the fear)
  • Don’t panic
  • Stop looking down
  • Look where you are going
  • Don’t panic

Don’t loose my bottle!

I just kept going.  I went from top to bottom turning the whole way. I freaked out at the narrow flats but Mario got me cruising along them. I still freaked out about them but he had me linking all my turns.

He told me I get stuck in my head when I should just relax. I can do it, I have a lot of control and I know what to do, I just don’t push myself.

He also said that being in a group can be hard. That when your the best you excel but when you aren’t the best, it can affect your confidence. That’s why me going with a smaller group is good. That’s why me, Linda and John make such a good team.

I do feel a wee bit bad because everything Mario told me  Gav has said a million times. The problem with boarding with your loved one is when they tell you what you are doing wrong you can tell them to eff off! He gets frustrated with me, i get frustrated with him. he will spend 8 hours boarding… me not so much.

I get annoyed at Gav too easily even though he wants the best for me. But he pushes me to the point were I don’t want to prove myself. I need Linda to ease myself down the mountain.

Lessons learnt

I need to snowboard for myself.

I need to do what I want when I want. If I want to take myself off the mountain. If I want to get up late spend a few glorious hours boarding followed by a leisurely lunch. If I want to have a few drinks and watch Linda put her mittens on the wrong hands, then laugh all the way down the mountain, then I am going to do it.

Doing it for me.

Its my holiday too and should enjoy myself.

A little thank you

To Gavin, for putting up with my snowboarding nerves for years. I think I have lost my tittle of worlds slowest snowboarder. ( Maybe I am the third slowest definitely need a medal!).

To Linda, for always being my drinking slope buddy. For encouraging me and supporting me then having another drink just for fun! and for putting your mitten on the wrong hand!

And to Mario, for being the best instructor a girl could wish for. If you are staying at the Samokov Hotel in Borovets then please ask for Mario. I can’t recommend him enough.

I hope I will always have a little Mario on my shoulder guiding me down the mountain. Encouraging me so that I constantly improve.

Because I want to!

Travel made easy, budget friendly Bulgaria

Advice, Personal Experience, Travel

Going to Bulgaria was already friendly on the wedding budget but we like to take a few mini bargain luxuries.

Transportation

We ordered the Gatwick flyer which is a airport taxi service that does all airports in London not just Gatwick. Picked us up from our door and dropped us off at stanstead airport! Not as expensive as a taxi and we were lucky enough to be the only ones on the journey.

Brilliant.

The driver helped with the suitcases. Was lovely and chatty and so was the driver the driver on the way back. They let you know what time to be picked up and they track your flights I they know when you get in!

Love them, rate them. Will use them again.

Ryan Air

Okay I whinged about Ryan Air and they were fine, we upgraded to priority so we could get another bag and have the bigger seat. So it was an added expense but it meant no fuss. No issue with our bags and space for our suitcase.

Lounge

Gav get two lounge passes a year and we pay for the rest. The lounge is only good if you get a few hours. They are totally worth it. Unlimited food and drink just don’t get too drunk. You can pick up a bottle of water and snacks and charge you phone.

I loved it.

Last time I was at stanstead it was being redone. This time however it was completed. There was lots of choice of dining, shopping.

I bought a Chanel lipstick and balm, Gav bought an Aftershave and two bottles of gin. We tried the Sulent Pool

The flight

It’s roughly 3 hours to Sofia from Stanstead. The flight felt long but I had my books and Gav treated us to a cheeky gin and tonic!

So we had a lovely relaxing time.

When we got off the plane we only had to wait 5 minutes for our transport. Priority means your luggage gets a space as well which is great.

Sofia airport was clean and organised. We didn’t have to wait for long for our luggage and the oversized bagged was also quick!

We paid a little extra for room on our seats, we had to pay for extra for baggage. Bulgaria is so budget friendly that we could afford a few extras and they were great. We whizzed through the airport. If you a few hours to spare then a lounge may be £30 plus but for a few drinks and food you can totally make the money from it! Plus they supply water bottles for your flight.

Yes all these things were added extra but they were budget extras. These little luxuries made our journey so much easier.

So if we have the time we would do it all again!

Bulgaria travel: Snowboarding plans for next year

Planning, Travel, Wedding Budget

With all the wedding planning and budgeting, I didn’t think I could squeeze in a ski trip this year. It’s our 10 year anniversary so Gavin is treating me to a week snowboarding in Bulgaria.

I have never been to Bulgaria.

I can’t wait.

Planning the Snow Trip

When our snowboarding group started to talk about where we wanted to go I knew that the Alps were far out of my budget. I turned down the holiday and then they started looking further afield. I am not a great snowboarder but I have been doing it for long enough that I am confident on most slopes and situations. Unless we are talking about a sheet of ice I can pretty much tackle any slope. Just really really slowly.

pexels-photo-163912.jpeg

Photo by Borislav Krustev on Pexels.com

Bulgaria is cheap, super cheap. We are talking half the price of the French Alps in a hotel as well. We normally rough it in a french Hostel and so far I haven’t missed any luxuries. After 10 years of UCPA’s  its a hotel for us this time. The price tag is also great!

We are planning on renting a Chalet at some stage as most of us have our own equipment. We had a chalet in Samoens 4 years ago and it was so beautiful. I still have the same jacket I bought at the start of my Snowboarding life. I invested in a good coat and its only now that there is a bit of wear and tear in it. I also have amazing armour after I broke my wrist on the flattest slope on Samoens!

Borovets Ski Resort

The Apres ski is supposed to be amazing which I didn’t expect. The town has enough entertainment for us with restaurants and bars. The actual slopes are supposed to be great nothing too challenging so I will hopefully get a few more red slops under my belt. the only downside it the chairlifts as that is what they mostly are. My favourite thing to do each holiday is to board from the top of the mountain to the bottom. Then I reward myself with a nice vine chaud or Peche beer.

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I will pay for lessons for the first day to act as a warm-up plus it will just be me and my cousin in the glass. we will have some constructive tuition and then join the others on the rest of the holiday.

We are spending our evenings planning routes and looking on tripadvisor for restaurant recommendations. We like to slip out one night and just spend the evening alone. I really looking forward to not spending 40 euros on 4 bottles of beer! The pricing all over Borovets seems amazing value for money.

Living in London means I am used to spending £4-5 on a beer and £10 on a gin and tonic. With wedding planning and budgets I have been limiting my nights out but I still budget for a few.

Otherwise, what’s the point.

I am looking forward to dressing in cosy knits and sampling the sumptuous Bulgarian cuisine. I have already my guidebook as I like to be informed.

If you have been to Borovets Ski resort and have any advice let me know!