A Long Overdue Family Get Together

My amazing family

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again…weekends are best spent with family and friends. I’m blessed to have an amazing family who I also consider as friends. So after spending Thursday and Friday celebrating Amy’s graduation we headed down to my Aunty and Uncle’s house for a long overdue family reunion. Our family is fairly big and we’re certainly spread out all over the place so reunions where most people are able to attend are few and far between.

The weather was glorious which meant that we could make the most of the beautiful garden. My aunty had laid out a lovely summer lunch of salads, quiches, potato and rice salads, cold meats, pork pies……basically the best classic picnic food anyone could ask for! And it was all delicious (Sean was very happy that there was enough food for him to have thirds and fourths).

Wonderful family feast

It was a lovely day of catching up with family who we haven’t seen for ages and drinking in the sunshine. There were games in the garden for all ages, from my cousin’s (adorable) toddler to my great aunt who is 92! Everyone had a wonderful time and, if they didn’t, they definitely hid it well.

Great Aunt Denise winning

We all had lots to catch up on – there had been two weddings, a graduation and lots of university/travel/job changes since our last reunion. Unfortunately there were a few people who couldn’t make it (like my cousins who rather inconveniently live in Australia) but that just meant that we could talk about them more freely! Joking aside, we missed those who weren’t there but they were in our hearts and minds.

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My favourite part of the day was the evening when we lit the fire and snuggled up in blankets under the cool summer skies and toasted marshmallows. My second favourite part of the day was the opportunity I had to take so many lovely pictures of my family (especially the group shot at the top of the post which was done on timer and I must admit, I am very proud of!)

A lot of people stayed over night – some brave people even camped in the garden! This didn’t go so well for my little sister and her boyfriend who came running inside at about 6 am soaking wet! The others, who had a much more substantial tent and less bunting however, seemed to cope fine with the rain that arrived in the early hours of the morning. Uncle David did a sterling job of making BBQ bacon which, combined with Uncle Nick’s superb coffee making skills, made for one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in a long time.

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One thing that always amazes me about spending time with family is that no matter how long you’ve been apart, it never feels like you have and time passes so quickly – we definitely need to make sure that it’s not so long again before the next get together. A lot of my family are travelling out to Australia in November for my cousin’s wedding so I’m very much hoping for many more days and evenings like this.

I’d like to say a massive thank you to my aunty and uncle for hosting such a lovely day!

I’ll leave you with a couple more pictures of our gorgeous family.

Cousins

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Sublime Sunday Part Three – One Photo per Day Challenge

This Sunday mainly consisted of me spending time with my husband after being away for a week without him so this post is much shorter than my previous Sublime Sunday posts.

We decided that we would make a start on our Wedding Invites but it took us almost all day to do four! Clearly I’ve been quite ambitious with the design given that every single element of each invite is handmade, cut and stuck together. I’ll post some pictures etc. in a couple of weeks once the invites have been sent out – I don’t want to ruin any surprises for our guests who read the blog too!

In my post My 2015 Bucket List I said that I would be writing down one thing that made me smile each day and taking a photo of something interesting or something that I liked each day. As I’m not ready to share the wedding invites on here yet I’ve decided that I’ll share my one photo each day pictures that I’ve collected so far. I’ve decided to put them up on my Instagram account today and will be adding to them each day from now on (you can follow me here). I’ve picked a few of my favourites and posted them below to give you an idea of what’s on my Instagram account, hope you enjoy.

As for the rest of my Sublime Sunday, my plan is to cook dinner, watch a film in bed and try not to think about how much I’m dreading going back to work tomorrow!

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Zermatt – Snow, Beer and a Wedding: Part Two

The morning after the wedding consisted mainly of sleeping and snuggling in bed with Summer. Just after lunchtime, I was sat on the balcony in the glorious sunshine and realised I needed to do something whilst I was in this amazing place. Whilst I wasn’t ready to hit the slopes, I decided to go to the Museum and learn a bit more about Zermatt. It was actually really interesting (I’m not usually one for museums) and I’d definitely recommend visiting if you’re in Zermatt (it’s free if you have a Swiss Pass).

Me and Sums in the snow

The evening events were already planned out by the Bride and Groom and around 7.30pm we headed out of Zermatt on the cable cars for Furi with sledges in tow. After getting lost for a few minutes, we soon found our restaurant and I had my first experience of cheese fondue which was delicious and just what I needed. Following dinner we tobogganed back down to the resort in the pitch black! I tried to video as much as possible on my GoPro but the lack of light made it quite difficult. Despite some of the toboggan run being pretty much up hill, it was really good fun.

The next day (Wednesday) was my first attempt at skiing which was so monumental that it might have it’s own post! The afternoon was dedicated to a family trip up to the Glacier and Ice Palace. The views were breathtaking from the top and the Ice Palace was pretty cool too!

Views from the glacier, Zermatt

Views from the glacier, Zermatt

Inside the glacier

Nick and Sums inside the glacier

Inside the glacier

Ice Sculptures inside the glacier

It was after skiing that reality hit that it was almost time to go home again. The cousins set off for a day of skiing in Italy on Thursday and after a couple of episodes of Peppa Pig (another first for me on this trip), I decided to go off exploring on my own. I set off with my hiking boots and camera for a few hours of walking in the snow. The weather was amazing again so I made the most of it and stopped off along the way for a beer or two on some deck chairs as I watched the skiers whizzing past jealously.

The Matterhorn, Zermatt

Hiking through the woods in Zermatt

Hiking in Zermatt

When I reached Furi I stopped for a Gluwein and decided that it was time to go back down again. Coming back down was much easier and I was soon back at the chalet watching more Peppa Pig.

Some Japanese food and warm Sake with the family marked the last night of the holiday (it was also a welcome break from all the cheese, meat and bread I’d eaten over the past few days). We managed to squeeze in a quick hot chocolate before jumping on the train on Friday morning and we said our goodbyes.

The holiday was amazing and I would definitely recommend Zermatt as a destination, whether you’re travelling alone or as part of a group.

Fabulous February

Woohoo! January is finally over! OK, January wasn’t actually too bad but the 1st February always feels full of hope. It brings a sense of relief that January is over and you made it through. There’s also that sense of achievement that you’ve kept your New Years Resolutions for a whole month and, if you managed that, there’s no stopping you now. Although February is much colder than January, February feels so much closer to spring which is SO exciting! I absolutely love spring.

February itself promises to be a good month. For a start there’s Valentines Day (yuk!) and then there’s the miserable cold, wet weather. Joking aside, my February looks like it’s going to be fabulous. I’ve made a good start on my Bucket List and, I have to say, writing down one thing that makes me smile and taking one photo every day is really making me appreciate the small things that happen – that lovely warm latte on a cold morning, a WhatsApp message from a friend you haven’t seen for a while, a roast dinner with your little sister. I’m really looking forward to what February will bring me to smile about.

For the time being, I’ve just been writing the things that make me smile down in my blogging notebook that I take everywhere with me but I was in Paperchase last week (yep, that’s another trip to my favourite shop!), I found these gorgeous sticky notes in the Valentines Day section of the shop.

Paperchase's finest

I bought them not knowing what I’d do with them but I’ve a brilliant idea that, at the end of this year, I’m going to write the things that have made me happy each day on them and put them all into a huge picture frame in a collage with some of the photos I’m taking each day. I think it will be a wonderful way to remind me of the small things that make me happy and to remind me that, even when I’m not writing the things that make me smile down, there will always be at least one thing each day that is worthy of a smile.

Totally in love with these sticky notes

In only 3 days I will be heading off on my first ski trip (which will be one thing I can tick off from my Bucket List). I’m going away without my husband for a whole week of snow, mountains, fresh air, coffee, hot chocolate, beer and some me time. That, and my cousin’s wedding! For the first time in years I’ve bought actual books made from actual paper (as opposed to e-books). I know I’m a massive geek, but I’m really looking forward to having some time to read whilst I’m away. I’m going to take my notebook and hopefully do a bit of writing too. I’m excited about all of the photo opportunities that I’ll have so I’m going to take my good camera as well as my GoPro for some action shots. To top it all off, I’m going to get some quality time with members of my family who I don’t see as much as I’d like to.

February's reading list

I’m also hoping that February will be a good month for the job hunt *fingers crossed* and also for the charities that I’m working with at the moment. The Raising Hope Foundation are finalising the dates for this year’s summer school and I’m hoping to start some fundraising elements of the Charity Apprentice with KOP.

Having written this post, I’ve noticed that I’m going to have lots of exciting blogs to post this month too which is nice as yesterday I was lacking motivation and inspiration so didn’t blog at all (forced blog posts are the worst!)

What are you looking forward to in February? Do you have a trip or holiday coming up? Maybe you’re about to start reading a new book too?

I’ll be sure to blog about my holiday in Switzerland once I’m home (although I’m hoping to do a couple of posts whilst I’m there too).

The Final Few Days in Zanzibar

Zanzibar is officially my favourite place in the whole world!

We spent the first few days in the north of the island lounging around by the sea, paddle boarding, walking and reading. We were fortunate enough to meet a fantastic South African couple who took us on an amazing sunset snorkelling trip. We visited the turtle rescue sanctuaries and ate and drank a lot. We stayed in Langi Langi Beach which was a lovely hotel and the owner was so friendly and helpful!

Then we headed down to Stone Town and decided on our first day there that Stone Town is where we want to live. We spent our days wandering through the streets and exploring as much as we could. When we thought we had seen everything, we hired a guide to show us the rest!

I think the magic of Zanzibar is best shown through pictures so rather than bore you with a minute by minute account of what we did, I’ll leave you with some of my favourite photos from the trip.