Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The Wedding Planning Series #13 Honeymoon

Good morning lovely friends! I've got some exciting news from a few weeks back, we've booked our 'mini-moon'! A couple of days after we get married we'll be jetting off to the beautiful Barcelona! I couldn't be more excited for some sunshine, tapas and drool-worthy art and architecture. Every time we book a city break, I treat myself to a mini Lonely Planets guide. They're so worth the money and great to take along; including a little pull-out map, top places to eat and interesting facts and history behind the places it helps you find. I'd always recommend them. Now of course I'd love to hear all about any 'must see' places etc if you've got any in mind but it's not Barcelona that has brought me to seek your advice today. 

I'm really struggling with where we should go for our proper honeymoon? We've narrowed it down to three places and I'm hoping that one of you out there will be able to give me some advice as to where's best? 

Time Of Year: Late October- Early November
Destination: Long Haul- Caribbean, West Indies, South America
Budget: This is pretty flexible but approx. £3000 for us both
Length: 7-10 days
Wants: This is where is gets hard: Relaxation, Exploring, Adventure, Luxury.

1) St Lucia.

Beautiful beaches, total paradise, relaxation at the forefront; St Lucia has been somewhere we've considered since we first started thinking about where to go. Such a small place, we're quite conscious that we probably wouldn't get up to that much whilst there. Which in some ways is a blessing, but for such a long trip to make, we'd like to venture, learn and explore a little bit whilst away.

2) Cuba.

Cuba is probably the total opposite in what we're thinking of doing. There's so much history, culture and sight-seeing to do that I almost worry we won't stop and relax really much at all? I'm also not too sure that how long we're looking to go for would really be enough to feel like we'd really had the true experience? 

3) Costa Rica.

I'd loved the idea of going to Costa Rica when we first started thinking of where to go, but quickly ruled it out when it came to actually looking to book somewhere; it seemed pretty hard to find all inclusive packages that suited us. I feel that Costa Rica could be the perfect destination for us, beautiful scenery and nature adventures that offer that real once in a lifetime trip feeling. I still seem to be struggling to actually put it together though?

Have any of you been to any of these places? Maybe you have somewhere else to recommend? What booking sites do you use for the longer haul? If you have any and all recommendations I'd love to hear all the opinions!

*Catch up on the other plans for our wedding*

#1 Venue
#2 Bridesmaids
#3 Food
#4 The Groom
#5 Venue Visiting (Not the one we chose in the end but beautiful!)
#6 Wedding Fayres
#7 Invitations
#8 Honeymoon Choosing
#9 The Last Of The Wedding Fayres
#10 Miss/Mrs Ms 
#11 Marquees
#12 Minimoon: An Excuse to Holiday Twice
20 Things I've Realised Planning Our Wedding

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Sunday, 3 April 2016

Location Location Location: The Lost Gardens of Heligan.

I used to visit The Lost Gardens of Heligan every time I came to Cornwall on holiday. Now, at only £13 for an adult ticket (and a new option for a locals pass!) it's a perfect place to take a springtime walk without breaking the bank *cough Eden Project cough*.  A genuine lost garden, these beautifully wild grounds were owned by the Tremayne family; during WW1 ivy, overgrowth and brambles took over this estate as the family and workforce joined the war. Unlike many estates, it was never sold or developed in that time; proceeding a further 'sleeping beauty' timewarp to the grounds.  Eventually, in the 1970's the house itself was sold, split into apartments and yet, the grounds were left undiscovered...

It wasn't until the 1990's that Tim Smit (Eden Project creator) and John Willis (Tremayne descent) discovered a tiny doorway, covered in hedgerow and brambles, and began the clearance and restoration of the classical gardens and enchanting landscape. 

You really can get lost for hours in the different areas of the grounds. Acres to walk, Stacie and I headed first for the jungle (like any adventurer would!) This landscape could be anywhere, in reality, it's 20 minutes or so from my house. Do I mention enough how brilliant Cornwall is?

Taking the rope bridge is a novelty experience and guaranteed to have you declaring yourself as the next Indiana Jones. Stacie and I queued for about 10 minutes and as we got closer, shouted at the children ahead of us, rocking and jumping on the rope bridge "You'll weaken it before we get there and we'll die!" We're slightly dramatic adventurers...

Since we'd practically mastered the jungle (Tarzan eat your heart out) we ventured over to the farm area. Squealing at the piglets and having a stare-off with an emu, we rolled around in the sunshine, feeding sheep and lambs, declaring ourself as the first ever 'Farm Jungle Experts'. Every little moment just screamed "SPRING HAPPINESS" in your face. I can sense you feel it right now. 

Farming aced (it really was quite the mastering day) we needed to slow down a little and headed for the Italian gardens and melon yard for a hunt of inspiration and peacefulness. One of the many joys of Heligan is just how relaxed the different spaces are. It's venturing into someone's beautiful home without being pretentious or invasive. It took us a little while to spot the pineapples growing (that's right we grow pineapples in Cornwall) and we were a little early in the season for the veg garden to be fully appreciated but despite being a bank holiday weekend with a queue of genuinely almost 200 people when we arrived, there were plenty of spaces that were empty and serene. 

The scent of The Citrus House was invigorating and fresh, placing my little mind somewhere much more exotic than a corner of the UK. Legs a little tired, hearts filled with sunshine, we headed over to the farm shop for a bit of local produce (honey purchasing- duh) and headed home. 

Thinking of a trip to Cornwall? You may want to have a browse of some other locations that are tip-top! 

Over & Out 

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Train Wanker #3 Are You My Daddy?

This wild tale I'm about to share with you actually happened at the beginning of January, but it's important to document the crazy stories of my train journeys so that future generations can learn from them, you can all be aware on public transport and sympathise with me, because I actually attract strange situations. Is it my face? Here we go...

Once upon a time, I boarded the train to Plymouth to visit my girl Leona, treating myself to a Saturday morning hot chocolate, I'd forgotten my book and was occupying myself with various WhatsApp chats, planning my move to Australia with Sunae probably. Minding my own business as always, I wasn't prepared for the small child that appeared next to me...

Child: (I wasn't sure if the miniature person was a girl or boy at first...) Hello, are you my daddy?
Me: Sorry? (Mildly offended and confused at this stage.)
Child: *Takes cue to sit down and proceed to fumble with my bag*
Me: *Is this a modern day Oliver Twist? Am I about to be robbed by a small child?* Err, I'm sure your daddy is somewhere on the train, why don't you go back to him, I'm sure he'll be worried?
Child: I don't know where he is...*proceeds to take my bag and stand up* (Can you wrestle your belongings from children?) You'll have to help me...

*We wander down the first carriage, I'm looking helplessly to other passengers, praying that someone will claim this child...*

Me: He's definitely on the train yes?
Child: I'm not sure...
Me: *Oh god, what do I do with a lost child on a train? How do you leave your child behind on a train? It's been about 10 minutes now? Where is the owner of this small being?!*

*We wander down the second carriage...and the third...*

Child: Here he is!
Me: *Oh great, she got me confused with a 15 stone bald man...I need to work on my image..* Oh great, excuse me, your child found me and said she was lost...
The Actual Daddy: Oh, she told me she was going to the toilet...Have you been?
Child: No...This lady will take me *points at me!*
Me: Oh, well, ummm, you could take her?
The Actual Daddy: No it's fine, it's on your way back...

*I proceeded to walk away whilst she was looking the other way...She chased me down the carriage*

Child: Here's the toilet, can you open the door?
Me: Oh ok...
Child: *Stands in toilet and pulls bottoms down* You have to come in with me!!
Me: That's ok, I'm just going to close the door now and leave you to it *closes door before this can go any further.* I'll stand guard.

*A few minutes pass*

Child: I'm done, you can open the door now.
Me: You know, you should probably pull your trousers up before you come out again?....Ok great job, nice to meet you, I'm off now. 

*Runs as far down the train as I can get.*

I took the sneaky photo above of The Actual Daddy when we got off the train at Plymouth. The resemblance is uncanny...

Over & Out

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Hiatus. A Catch Up In Photos.

nounplural hiatuses, hiatus.

a break or interruption in the continuity of a work, series, action, etc.

Good morning friends! Happy Mother's Day to all of you that have produced little (or big ones!) If you're not following me on Instagram (SOPHIELOUISEANNE) then you may not have seen much of me recently. Still too afraid to use Twitter, seriously someone help me, I thought it'd be nice to have a little catch up in Instagram-land. 

Walks in the woods have featured almost once week.

I've taken out a small mortgage to fund my Lush obsession and been having all the baths that I've actually transformed into a raisin like creature.

Feeling moody and pouty. What Instagram's made for?

Read this little number by Matt Haig and though didn't find it particularly helpful for myself as I'd thought from the reviews, I do think it's a pretty great read for people that have someone in their lives suffering from depression and anxiety. 

More trips to National Trust lands have been encompassed by cake and chocolatey drinks. Also, this book is amazing. I'll be posting a little book review list later in the week but it's by far the best book I've read in a while.

Batman and I dressed ready to rob a bank, or be ninjas, or hide in the shadows....or be goths.

Cover me in lavender all day please.

I should read this every morning. I've recently shared my first ever quotes on Instagram...inspiring ya'll since 2016.

This wonderful woodcarving of Neptune is on my walk into Charlestown and I always pass by without much thought. It's incredibly intricate though isn't it?

Getting home to lighter evenings home fills my heart with joy!

Arty beach photos. Of course.

Making steps towards my new career as a bee keeper. 

Morning snuggles with this little guy, who's in his favourite spot at the end of the bed.

More books, more treats. Stoner is a great read and a vintage classic. 

Pretty floors in Truro library making me swoon.

Seeing all the fire skies which make early mornings and late evenings almost acceptable.

I genuinely used to think that oil slicks were called floor rainbows....They should be.

Covering up a RIP in an actual book that I own! My drink leaked in my bag and ruined a part of this lovely read. SAD TIMES PEOPLE.

So yeah, it's been mainly reading and wintery walks in my life over the last six weeks. Feeding the soul. How about you all? Let's catch up!

Over & Out

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Location Location Location// Eden Project

Have I already warned you that this is the most photo heavy post in town? Well consider that your warning. So sue me, Sunae convinced me to man-up and practice shooting in manual and I pretty much ran with it. My photography knowledge now stretches to 'moving the dial-ly thing' but hey, I'm getting there! If you haven't yet gagged over my 'ode to Sunae', take a little read here and come on back for some plant photos, a couple of funny looking birds and mostly a little tour around a must-see attraction in Cornwall (and one of the only ones still open in the winter months!)

I've been to the Eden Project a few times now; more-so for charity related goodness or a little browse before seeing a band or two, it's somewhere that I totally overlook and take for granted, living so near by. The great thing about going there though is that so much is indoors (a rarity for a Cornish attraction) and meant that it didn't really matter what the weather was like, Sunae and I could visit and warm the o'l cockles whilst taking our time snapping and nattering. Starting in the education centre, she educated me more on the microbiology more than the exhibition did- I'm sure we had a small group even listening in at one stage. The 'seed' pictured above is an incredible instillation with the most amusing acoustics (when you're stomping around pretending to be dinosaurs like we were, you need great acoustics!)

Beautiful tiles in the Mediterranean biome. I'm not actually a penguin by the way, my TOMS just make me look like one. Can you spot the bird?

David Attenborough eat your heart out. 

Cacti and succulents galore!

I'd just like to remind you (again) that I am using the manual mode on my camera finally and for first attempts I'm pretty proud as punch (even if Sunae and I probably took hours longer seeing everything!) After a spot of lunch (which was super tasty, if incredibly overpriced-it's a tourist attraction so you kind of expect it!) we headed over to the rainforest biome for what became a LOT of humidity that made us go a little crazy...

I spent a good while hunting for these little birds name plaque (like the ones you get with all the plants) only for Sunae to highlight to me that 'birds move around Sophie, there probably isn't one!' I think I dubbed thee, punk chickens.

A lot of craziness later, and deciding as evening descended so much so that it got rather dark, that we were in-fact in Jurassic World, we started hiding from dinosaurs. As you do.

Finally we made it to the end, after being a little convinced that it had actually closed and we were going to spend the entire night trapped in dino-land. *wipes brow*

To wrap up, Eden Project is a great day out for a visitor to Cornwall in winter because it's mainly inside. It isn't cheap but they do offer a locals' pass which is great value for money and gives you access during all the exciting times of year. It's been almost two months since my little dinosaur queen was here and I totally miss her every day. Sorting and commentating these photos has filled me with joy and reminiscence. I'm suddenly back to planning moving my life to Australia again.

Miss you Sunae.
Over & Out