23/06/2016

My teenage love & reaching a milestone || 25 years of marriage


Yesterday (22 June, 2016) my husband and I celebrated our silver wedding anniversary. 25 years of being married. I shouted about it all over social media and thought I'd shout about it here too for the benefit of those that missed it! Because I am bursting with pride that I reached this milestone with the love of my life. He is my absolute soulmate, my best friend and my support system all rolled into one. He picks me up when I'm down and supports and encourages me in everything, and I mean everything I do. 

We met at 15

Got engaged at 17 (nearly 18)

Bought our first house at 20

Got married at 22




Had our son at 24

Had our daughter at 27

Lived happily ever after. 


Yes we've had our ups and downs, sadness and tears who hasn't, life throws shit at you sometimes but through it all we have been there for each other. We've watched our children grow into young adults that we are so very proud of, and can only hope that they both find someone who they connect with on a deep level and have that special connection. That is my biggest wish for them both. Having someone to love, care and protect you, and being able to offer the same in return, unconditionally,  there is nothing more. 

Reaching this milestone with this man has made me an emotional wreck, I shed so many tears of happiness yesterday I can't tell you! But, my goodness it's gone so quick, it's insane. We had so many beautiful messages from so many people, some even strangers, congratulating us and wishing us well for the next 25 years! We were really touched to receive each and every one of those. 


To help celebrate the day and to make more memories Mr C booked us into The Ritz for afternoon tea as a surprise. So off we went to London. It was such a special day, just the two of us. Photos will follow. 


Life on this earth is fleeting, so we have to enjoy every moment that we can. Mr C and I really try to. We always do stuff 'together', most of our time is spent together, and that's how we like it. Don't get me wrong we both have different interests, but we love each others company, we like the same things.  We love to have fun, on our own, with family, with friends and with them all thrown together sometimes. We love to have a party. We love to dance. We love to be wild sometimes. I don't think we'll ever stop. We have a zest for life and life is about having fun and having so much crammed in the memory bank to look back on with a smile on your face. 


When I tell you this man, my sweetheart, is truly the love of my life, I mean that with every fibre of my being and I will love him till the end of time. I have such a powerful love for him, I cannot even put it into words, sometimes I feel my heart will burst. I am truly blessed to be able to call this man my husband (of 25 years WOW!). 

Some people will question whether you should put your personal details like this, all mushy and soppy on the internet but why wouldn't you want to shout about it to the world? After all this is our history, and our love story for our future generations to see. 


Lots of Love 

Steph and Nick 
x


20/06/2016

Jo Malone cologne || Nashi blossom & Blackberry & Bay


Jo Malone cologne review Nashi blossom blackberry & Bay perfume review

I am a blogger and I am now the proud owner of not one, but two Jo Malone fragrances. Every blogger and their dog seemed to have a bottle in the background of a photo or two, just there, jumping out at me every time I read a post. There's no mistaking those bottles is there?

I've wanted a bottle for sooo long, but let's face it, they're expensive aren't they? I've never just had spare cash to treat myself to be honest but promised myself one day. I'd been into the store many times for a sniff and always lingered, drawing in those heady notes and drooling over the homeware bits, Mr C would always end up dragging me away!

During my sniffing sessions I decided the the Lime Basil & Mandarin was THE ONE for me. I tried lots, hands holding numerous testing strips, wafting them under my nose time and time again until my senses were totally confused. NO, Lime Basil & Mandarin for me and I told Mr C if he should ever find himself wandering into a store with forty-odd quid doing nothing in his back pocket, that was what he was to get. I'm always drawn to a citrus or fruity fragrance, something light and uplifting. I don't like a heavy fragrance, they give me a headache!

Jo Malone cologne review Nashi blossom blackberry & Bay perfume review

We were in Gibraltar a few weeks ago, mooching in and out of the shops, hadn't bought anything and decided to head off for a drink somewhere. We passed the last shop on the main shopping street, a cosmetics and fragrance store, when I noticed they sold Jo Malone AND they had a 20% discount on offer. I was in. I then heard Mr C utter the words "Get one, my treat". I didn't need telling twice. 

Did I go straight for THE ONE? No, as you can see here, I didn't. Blackberry & Bay was always my second favourite after Lime Basil, and after sniffing both again, for some reason I opted for my second choice. 

As I was heading to the till I spotted the limited edition, Nashi Blossom and it became a toss up between the two. Mr C treated me to both. I know, I'm such a lucky sausage! :) 

Jo Malone cologne review Nashi blossom blackberry & Bay perfume review

Nashi blossom has base notes of white musk, heart notes are the Nashi pear blossom and top notes of lemon. So with this one I have my fruity, light floral and citrus all rolled into one. It's a real 'juicy' fragrance yet grown up and a little sophisticated too. I love the bottle, it's modern and not like the usual signature style plain bottles, the polka dots depict the white blossom and the black stamens, and it certainly grabs your attention. A scent perfect for summer. When it gets here.

Jo Malone cologne review Nashi blossom blackberry & Bay perfume review

Blackberry & Bay falls under the fruity category. With deep notes of cedar wood, notes of bay leaves at the heart and top notes of blackberry adding that fruity accent. It's quite sweet when you first apply but then settles into a deep rich scent.

Both of these fragrances totally lift my spirits the minute I spritz and I love them. I don't know which one I love more, I think the slightly stronger Nashi Blossom is ahead. It just makes me very sad that it's a limited edition (and for your info currently out of stock online), you could perhaps get it in store. Lime Basil & Mandarin I think will always be right up there though, and in some ways I do regret not buying in Gibraltar, because they were a few pounds cheaper than the UK and then 20% off. Ah well,  I'll have to get that next time. And there will be a next time.

I also love the fact that you can combine the Jo Malone scents, adding another dimension to the ones you already have. It's funny when I first got them I didn't want to start using them because, well, that would mean they'd be used up too quickly. At the minute I think the Blackberry & Bay is going down quicker because I keep that one in my work bag and although the scents linger on the skin for such a long time I can't help spraying it several times as it makes me happy!


Do you have a Jo Malone cologne? Which one is your favourite? 






16/06/2016

Gibraltar || mini travel series part 1

Gibraltar travel series holiday Spain

I thought I'd kick off this mini travel series with a post about Gibraltar. This mini series will be based around the Costa Del Sol area of Spain. By 'mini' series I don't mean this post is short, because it's not, it's another photo heavy one but hopefully informative too. Nick and I have visited many times and love it here. We flew into Gibraltar for our last holiday to Spain you can read that post here. It was our first time flying into Gib. We've always gone in from Spain, over the border that way, we were praying it would be a clear day so we could see the rock as we flew in. Luck was on our side, not only was it clear, the sun shone for our arrival.

The flight 

Now, landing at Gibraltar airport is consistently listed as one of the scariest, especially in Winter due to cross winds around the rock and across the Bay of Algeciras but also because you fly in quite low over the sea, and the runway is in such close proximity to the city centre. The main road goes across the runway and they close it off to cars and pedestrians when a plane arrives or departs. It's a weird feeling walking over a runway, you keep looking around expecting a plane to hurtle over your head any moment!! They have a lovely (newish) terminal building and I believe they have plans to open a tunnel of some sorts under the runway in the future so that will end the need to stop traffic every five minutes.

The flight is just under 3 hours from Birmingham and our landing was in no way bumpy or uncomfortable, the approach and landing were exciting, and I'll say it again, I swear if I could have opened those plane windows I would have been able to touch the ocean!!

If you read the previous post you'll know we headed straight for the border, picked up our hire car in La Linea and then headed further down the coast to our destination. These pics were all taken on our last day when we spent the day in Gib before catching our flight back home. However, if you're staying in Gibraltar then getting into the city is easy. You can catch a bus which you'll find just as you come out of the airport or you can walk which will take you around ten minutes or so.

Gibraltar 

Gibraltar is a British Territory located in the Southern end of the Iberian peninsula with its main attraction being the 426 metre high rock made of Jurassic limestone. Shopping also draws in millions of visitors each year because it is a VAT free jurisdiction so offers great value, the currency is the Gibraltar pound, equivalent to Sterling so there's also the bonus of no costly currency conversions for visitors form the UK! I got my first Jo Malone fragrance here and it was quite a bit cheaper. 

Gibraltar travel series holiday Spain

Gibraltar travel series holiday Spain

It really is like being in the UK, with all the usual red phone boxes, British police and the usual pubs and shops that we all know. The official language is English but most locals are bilingual.

Gibraltar travel series holiday Spain

Entering through the city gates you'll find yourself in Casemates Square full of cafes and restaurants and the main shopping street stretches out ahead of that.

Gibraltar travel series holiday Spain

The only thing I don't like about Gibraltar is the dodgy weather, sorry but it is, as its so changeable. So many times we've been and it's just like the weather in the UK, I can count on one hand the amount of times it was sunny. There's often this type of eery mist that hangs over the rock and that's exactly what happened on the day we went. 

The Rock

In the photo below you can't even see the rock and it was that bad they closed the cable cars. I was totally gutted as it's the first time visiting with my new camera and I was excited to get some great photos of the apes and the magnificent views. Not to be. You could get up by car but we didn't really have the time for that and besides you wouldn't be able to see anything through that mist :( 

Gibraltar travel series holiday Spain

Gibraltar travel series holiday Spain

So to compensate I thought I'd pop in a few photos from a previous trip up the rock. And it was on a rare sunny day, yay!

Gibraltar travel series holiday Spain

If you don't like heights there's no way you'll take the cable car up, it's very high, but you don't have to miss out, as I said there are plenty of car tours to take you up the rock giving you all the history on the way.

The views when you get there are truly spectacular, and on a good day you can see Morocco. The barbary macaques are another draw. They're everywhere. They'll be there to greet you as soon as you step off the cable car but don't be alarmed by them.

Gibraltar travel series holiday Spain apes

Gibraltar travel series holiday Spain apes

Gibraltar travel series holiday Spain apes

They're semi wild but they are very brave and some naughty ones have been known to steal handbags and will attempt to take any food you have if you get too close. Take note of my Walkers crips photo below!!!! They say (whoever they are) that for as long as the apes are on the rock Gibraltar will remain under British rule. Some cheeky ones even venture off the rock and into the town. Keep your eye out.

Gibraltar travel series holiday Spain

Gibraltar travel series holiday Spain apes

Mr C and I still have so much of the rock to explore, we've only done the top, yet there are so many roads and tunnels, so much rich history. I think some of the tunnels are still in use now by the military but closed to the public.

Gibraltar travel series holiday Spain

Another area we visited for the first time was Ocean Village. An area full of upper class accommodation set around the marina with an abundance of restaurants and shops too. It's a lovely area and as we got there the sun came out.

Gibraltar travel series holiday Spain Ocean Village

The Sunborn, an ex cruise liner is moored here permanently and is now a 5 star hotel and casino. Gibraltar plays host to numerous cruise ships coming in and out with The Straits being one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

Gibraltar travel series holiday Spain

Ocean Village

Gibraltar travel series holiday Spain

Gibraltar travel series holiday Spain

Ocean Village is really lovely but sadly we didn't have much of our day left to spend here so I need to come back to carry on where we left off.

Gibraltar travel series holiday Spain

Managed to squeeze in an ice cream though.

Gibraltar travel series holiday Spain

Gibraltar travel series holiday Spain

Hotels 

There are two main hotels that I know of, The Rock Hotel and The Caleta Hotel. If you want style (and the expense) there's the Sunborn liner. There are other hotels and you can find more info on the Visit Gibraltar website.

A little extra info

If you're staying on the Costa Del Sol I would highly recommend a visit to Gibraltar. You can book a coach trip or if you have you own car you can drive there, it's take about 45 minutes from Calahonda (not far from Marbella) on the toll roads. If taking your car you have two options, either park outside in La Linea OR drive in.  A word of warning though if you decide to drive in there could be a very, very long line of traffic going in and it's slow moving as most are workers and everyone needs to clear customs. We prefer to park outside and walk in. Most times we've been lucky enough to find metered on street parking but if not there are a few car parks you can use.

If your'e staying in Gibraltar and fancy visiting Spain, it's easy. You'll go through customs and find yourself in La Linea which has bars and restaurants literally over the road but its not the prettiest of places, a little rough around the edges if you will. I'd suggest hiring a car, if only for the day and drive down the coast to Estepona or Marbella.

If going into Gibraltar or going into Spain for the day DO NOT forget your passport- you'll be going nowhere without it!!! 

Gibraltar travel series holiday Spain

I hope this post has shown you just why Gibraltar is great for a short break away. You get off the plane and you're more or less there, the centre is ten minutes away, it's British (no need to change currency) they have fabulous shopping and there's lots of exploring to do, oh and you can hop over to Spain if the fancy takes you. 

If you want more on the history, what more there is do and hotel info you'll find all you need to know here


Did you like this post? I'd love to know what you think before I start prepping the next one in the series.