Sunday, 8 October 2017

The #TravelLinkUp - Travel Companions

This months Travel Link Up is 'Travel Companions' - Who or what is your travel companion? If you haven't heard of it before the Travel Link Up is hosted by: Angie, SilverSpoon LondonFollow Your SunshineAdventures of a London Kiwi or on the blog of our lovely guest host Leona at Wandermust Family from the 1st.

I have to say - maybe it’s a little bit cheesy, but my husband has to be my number one travel companion. We started our travel journey together on a holiday to Turkey in 2008.. We've travelled a lot since then, as of course he wasn't my husband then - it was just our first trip of many. 

The next adventure was New Zealand - and this one really was an adventure. We ended up getting stuck there for 10 days due to the Icelandic Volcano disruptions is April 2010. Not only that but it was definitely the most adventurous holiday we’d been on - we rented a camper van and explored the North Island for 8 days, before heading back to Aukland to return.. or so we thought. We definitely both agree that we need to return to New Zealand and see the South Island. We tend to persuade each other to visit places that perhaps the other person isn't quite so interested in. For example - The Boy was a little reluctant when I first mentioned Thailand, and more recently Sri Lanka but once there we both absolutely loved both places. I'm also pretty sure he'll persuade me to visit Dubai a few more times in our lifetime..! 

We travel well together, the boy and I. I tend to do the planning and itineraries - but he’s really good and finding the hotels, plus I enjoy booking the flights - usually intent on finding a good bargain along the way. We love exploring the culture of new countries and we're always planning our next trip.

I also have another travel companion - a number two Travel Buddy, one of my closest friends. We also travel very well together. We’ve been on 4 holidays together now, and some how we get the perfect balance. I know it doesn't always work this way, but I never get fed up of her, we’re very much on the same page. Generally we both want to read our books for the afternoon whilst on a sunny holiday and explore constantly during a city break - sometimes even covering over 15km a day like we did Stockholm! We do all sorts of crazy things like going to photo booths every night of our 6 day stay in Florence.. 

My third travel companion is a good book - I always read more on holiday than any other time of the year, so I always make sure that I take a book with me. The only trouble is if you're on a packed city break - theres not much time to read, and even on the plane there's sometimes too much gossiping to be done when travelling with your girlfriends...

Who or what are your travel companions? 

Until next time,

Sarah x


Saturday, 23 September 2017

September Goals

September Goals - I'd started writing this post at the beginning of September - when I'd read a few similar sort of posts. There's something about September being the start of something - of course it's the start of the academic year - however I feel even if you're not a teacher or still at school it is a good time (as any) to have a few goals.

As usual the past few weeks have flown by and so I'm only just getting around to publishing this post but the goals are still relevant and I'm still working on them. However doesn't this just show me that I should be a little more organised with my blog and plan!

Without further a do lets look at my September goals:

Keep The Boys’ 30th Birthday trip a surprise. So the Husband turns 30 on Monday.  To celebrate I've booked us a 3 night break somewhere in Europe. It’s a complete surprise to him currently, well at least I think it is..I can’t wait. I’ve wrapped a little guide book (yes i’m a tourist)! and will give it to him on the morning of his birthday, which is 4 days before we travel.

More steps. I've been tracking my steps a little more, just by using the health app on my iPhone. I'm really trying to exceed the suggested 10,000 steps that we should take. I've walked some of the way to work, I've walked to meet friends, I've walked rather than taking the bus 5 stops. And also I've been listening to music whilst I was. It's been making me feel super happy too.

And More miles. 
As part of upping my steps I'm trying to up my number of runs. Running has taken a back step over the Summer, mainly due to not being 'in training' for something. So I suppose I better book myself a race or two. I've still been doing plenty of running and HIIT at bootcamp, so I'm not feeling too guilty. But I want to get back into running.

Book some travel 
I'd like to book a trip or two, as we've got nothing planned after the Surprise trip for the Boys 30th. I have to say I booked that just after we got back from Sri Lanka. (Does anyone else start looking at flights almost as soon as they've landed)?! This week I found out I've got a few days off in October, so we are considering a trip to Norway, as it's up there on my list. I love planning trips - reading blog posts and making itineraries for our trips.

Become an interior designer.. or not.

We've got a little project on the go at the moment, which I'm throughly enjoying. We've gutted a property and are now in the process of decorating it and making it pretty - the fun part. I've been trawling the internet, primarily Pinterest for design ideas. Some of our art work came from Desenio which is a site I would recommend.You can get lots of different prints and images from Desenio, but the Scandinavian theme shines through, a look that we're going for. They sell the frames as well, which is perfect. I've also got a little thing for succulents at the moment. I keep buying them!

Embracing Autumn - or at least trying to. 🍂

A few weeks ago I was struggling with the slightly darker evenings - it was getting dark during my bootcamp sessions, which I find is just a sign Winter is coming. However I'm now trying to happily embrace Autumn and actually... if October could be like this though - I'll be super happy. Come & follow me on Instagram.

Getting Hygee 

You must have come across Hygee, and now I see there's books on Lykke and Lagom - other Danish Concepts. It seems we've got rather a lot to learn from the Danish... 
With Autumn/Winter on the way I need to embrace the art of Hygee which I think will warm me from inside. I love nothing better than cosying up on the sofa under a blanket with a cup of tea, candles lit. Maybe I am looking forward to Autumn after all. 

Reading Challenge 

I'm still doing my reading challenge via Goodreads, I'm hoping to read 10 books within 2017 - I know that's nothing in comparison to some people, but I'm not great at reading. Unfortunately I get distracted by other things.. 

I'm currently reading The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids - which is great. Can you see a theme going on here? Perhaps I was Danish in a previous life!! 

One thing I need to do is head to a coffee shop with only a book. Leaving my phone at home!! This will allow me to just read and forget other distractions. I'm terrible for picking up my phone if it's there, perhaps when I'm reading at home I should leave my phone in another room. 

Happy September Guys!

Sarah x 


Friday, 11 August 2017

Coffee | The Eclectic Collection, Earlsfield

I’ve been meaning to write a post about the Eclectic Collection basically since it opened back in May. 
You’ll find The Eclectic Collection at 575 Garratt Lane, next door to what was Mel’s (now Hallowed Belly). Stepping inside you’ll find a beautiful coffee and tea establishment also serving food such a lovely brunches. They class themselves as an Exquisite Coffee and Rare Tea Company - and that they've certainly achieved.

The Eclectic Collection has nearly been open for about 3 months now and it’s certainly made it’s place in Earlsfield. You may not think there was an opening for another coffee shop on Garratt Lane but in fact this place is different - yes it serves coffee and brunch like many of the other establishments but it’s got a different vibe. 

The EC itself.

The Eclectic Collection is just that - there’s a really intriguing collection of objects inside from royal looking artefacts, to beautiful succulents. There’s a real modern twist going on with lots of beautiful furniture. Spread over 3 rooms and the garden you're bound to find your favourite room. 

I can’t quite believe how quickly this place has become our favourite coffee shop. We now frequent it often, and to be honest I’ll let the photos do the talking.

The Coffee 

The coffee machine is out of this word, Victoria Arduino Black Eagle 3 Group, I’ve heard there are very few machines like this in the UK and boy does it create a wonderful flat white. The coffee is from The Barn and Square Mile - both London Roasters. A flat white comes in at £2.70.

The Tea 

There is a great selection of teas. In fact I counted around 40 different varieties. Whether you like a single estate Earl Grey, herbal tea, fruit tea or white tea. Theres something for everyone. 

The Food

The food menu is lovely, as we visit The EC often we've tried most of their dishes... and I chose the Poached eggs with avocado - who can say no to avocado as an additional extra. The presentation of food is great - there’s those fancy smears on the plate, and everything is placed in a particular way. you just know a great deal of care and attention has gone into creating each dish. There is practically always a special on the menu, which is always very tempting. The prices are also very reasonable.

I’d really recommend the Banana Bread & Earl Grey Butter. It just melts in the mouth. Oh and the pancakes. And any of the specials..

Ramtin and his team have nailed it with this place. It’s a quirky, lovely place to relax over brunch and/or coffee. The service is great - attentive and professional. They also serve cocktails in the evening, oh and they serve Pinkster Gin, which is lovely. The Eclectic Collection also serve 5 course tasting meals on selected Friday & Saturday evenings.

Find the Eclectic Collection's website here. And be sure to follow them on Instagram. I've heard the daily brunch menu is being extended, if not doubled.
And as I've got the day off.. guess where we're heading..? 

Until next time. SARAH X 

Sunday, 30 July 2017

What I've been... Reading Recently.

Last year I set myself a challenge via Goodreads to read 10 books in the year. It doesn't seem like many but I don't read all that often - much to my regret. I probably read 5 of those 10 on holiday. Because that's what I do on holiday!

This year that challenge seemed to go by the wayside a little, although I have read a few books, I haven't recorded them on Goodreads. Until today that is.. Now it's August and seemingly I'm only 20% through the challenge. I'd best get reading.. or at least writing the titles down somewhere. 

Anyway, here's what I've been reading lately. Let's start with 'Big Little Lies' by Liane Moriarty, which will prepare me to watch the TV series with Nicole Kidman and Reeve Witherspoon. A friend then lent me 'The One Plus One' by Jojo Moyes which I enjoyed; however I didn't think I could really compare it to 'Me Before You' which I will always remember had me sobbing on the bus, it remains to be one of  my favourite ever books. 

Whilst I'm talking about Books and their film adaptations I have to say I throughly enjoyed the film version of 'Me Before You'. I thought it did the book justice. On the contrary I found 'The Girl on The Train' different from the book and as I'd definitely built up a picture of that train track in my mind, I found it very difficult with it being set in America. 

Last night The Boy and I watched, 'The 100 year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared', which was just brilliantly entertaining. I read the book a few years ago, and despite getting a little lost at times I'm glad I finished it. The film was a great adaptation and not at all confusing! 
What are your views on Film adaptations? 

With a few mini breaks coming up over the next few weeks I needed some recommendations for books to read. And so I took to Twitter. I had some fabulous recommendations from.. Ngaire, Manasi and Seetal. Some recommendations which I'd never heard of.. which is great as I needed some new books on my radar. 

Recommended to me were: 
  • The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows, 
  • Elephant Dawn by Sharon Pincott
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Caravalby Stephanie Garber
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
  • Post Birthday World also by Lionel Shriver
So there you go if you came looking for some book recommendations here they are. 

I have just ordered 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' so I will read that one next as well as 'And the Mountains that Echoed' and 'Cartes Postales from Greece' which have both been sitting on my bookshelf for a while now. I'll also be reading my trusty Travel magazine which arrived this week - just to try and satisfy that sense of Wanderlust.

I've also just preordered 'The Best of Adam Sharp' by Graeme Simsion because I loved 'The Rosie Project'. It's only available in hardback at the moment so just have to wait until September 21st. 

What have you been reading? What recommendations do you have for me? 


Saturday, 15 July 2017

Feeling | Grateful

I was a little late in realising that yesterday (Friday) was The Happiest Day of the Year. According to scientific studies, more here. July 14th this year was the happiest day for a few reasons - the start of the summer holidays, it's peak summer.. (although looking out of the window currently I wouldn't necessarily agree with that), and of course Summer brings more opportunities to be outside with family and friends - perhaps sharing picnics or BBQ's.

I would say I'm rather a positive person, but I know we all have our struggles and it's not always easy to be happy all the time.

Today I thought I'd write about 5 things that have recently made me grateful recently:

Trip to Devon
Last weekend I went to Devon with one of my closest friends and The Boy, now I should probably start calling him (The) Husband but that sounds a little too formal in a blogpost, so I think he'll remain The Boy. Anyway I digress - we had a lovely weekend relaxing in North Devon. We enjoyed pub lunches, a BBQ and my very first Surf Lesson! I'm not sure I'll ever become a pro surfer but it was great fun to try and stand up on the board - although very difficult. I think this is the closest I'll ever get to surfing!! I have to say it was quite an adrenaline rush and I did enjoy being carried along by the waves - despite finding it all rather exhausting.

Swishing around in my wedding dress
On our way back from Devon we picked up my Wedding Dress which I still need to take to be dry cleaning, nearly 3 months later! Eeeek. I could not resit the temptation to put it back on and swish around the house in it one more time.

Random boxes of Chocolates 
When you're presented with a box of delcious chocolates for helping somebody out for an hour. Isn't it lovely to be so appreciated? If you haven't tried these Lindt Creation Desserts chocolates.. oh my goodness, you're missing out.

Quiet Saturday Mornings with The Boy

I love nothing more than a Saturday morning pottering at home, flicking through twitter / Instagram in bed and generally taking the morning slowly. We then usually head out to a favourite coffee shop and enjoy a few flat whites and possibly brunch.

Reasons to be grateful

This is going to sound really soppy, but I've lots of reasons to be happy - looking after 3 fun children is a huge part of that, I'm very lucky to be in a job that I love. I owe all of this to one very special lady - my Grandma. I really wouldn't be where I am without her.

So without turning this into a sad soppy post - I want to say be happy, be grateful. And if you can't - talk about it. Life can be hard, even at the best of times. If you're struggling, please, talk!

Sarah x


Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Travel | 10 reasons why you need to visit Sri Lanka

Back in March we travelled to Sri Lanka for our Honeymoon  I lay on the sunbed writing a few points for blogposts - with the intentions to post pretty soon after our return. However time has just been flying, so please excuse the delay. Here are my 10 reasons why you need to visit Sri Lanka - because I think it's possibly underestimated. People may not understand why they should visit Sri Lanka, they may choose Thailand or perhaps Bali over it. But here's why I love Sri Lanka. And why you should visit..

1. The Culture - there's a lot of culture to see in Sri Lanka. In fact we visited 5 of Sri Lanka's 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We visited lots of temples and learnt about the history of this fascinating country. (Below the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Kandy).
2. The tea. Ceylon & Tea. Two words which just go together really. We drank plenty of Ceylon tea during our stay. We also visited a tea factory which was really interesting. We drove through the winding roads of tea country, as well as riding through tea plantations on the train, (more on that later..). If you're even a tiny bit interested in tea this really could be the country for you.

3. The elephants. And other wildlife. We came to see elephants and Sri Lanka delivered. Spectacularly. We were lucky enough to do two safaris during our time in Sri Lanka and enjoyed seeing the elephants in the wild. We would recommend the Safari at Minneriya National Park. 

4. The trains and beautiful train rides. I found myself turning into rather a trainspotter - the vivid blue train that carries hundreds of people, (mainly tourists) between Nurawa Eliya and Ella is something else.  After arriving in Ella we wandered along the train tracks, through tunnels and across 9 arch bridge which is an attraction in itself. (Below: aforementioned train ride - said to be one of the most scenic train rides in the world)
5. The People. The people in Sri Lanka are truly lovely - we came across friendly, accommodating people wherever we went, but in particular was our lovely driver Asanka, who is genuinely one of the nicest men we've ever met. He really couldn't have done anything else to make our honeymoon anymore special. Please do get in touch with me if you'd like a personal recommendation for a driver in Sri Lanka.

6. The Palm Trees. How could you say no to lying in a hammock hung between palm trees? There must be millions of palm trees in Sri Lanka, and boy do they make a good photo.

7. The Landscape. Sri Lanka has a fast array of landscape - beautiful beaches, wonderful mountains and lakes and rivers. We really did get a chance to explore them all. Here I am looking across from Little Adam's Peak to Ella Rock. That view!
8. The Colour. Everywhere you look there's colour - saris, leyland trucks wonderfully lit, shops filled with colourful items. You'll also find colourful additional in the temples, at shrines and of course prayer flags. Sri Lanka is a colourful country. 

9. Coconuts - drinking fresh coconut water is surely the way to enrich every aspect of life. No? I must say I became quite partial to ordering a King Coconut. 

10. Wanderlust. We do love exploring new countries and Sri Lanka satisfied our need for culture and adventure on our honeymoon. Lying on a beach for 2.5 weeks wouldn't have been our ideal honeymoon, but our Sri Lankan adventures fulfilled our Wanderlust. 

Have you visited Sri Lanka? Is it on your list?

Until next time. X

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Life | A little update..

\\.. Life lately.. // 

I've been... 

thinking about those blogposts I've drafted. The ones I've written in my head. Time just seems to be of the essence at the moment, I'm finding myself super busy. Blogging has once again taken a back seat. It saddens me every time. 

feeling grateful for lovely weekends with friends. 

using Mapstr to log new places to go and places I have been. Fabrique & Bronte. And those wonderful macaroon ice-creams!

wearing flower crowns - I feel they should be an acceptable everyday accessory, as just the idea of a flower crown puts a smile on my face.

training for the Vitality 10,000 which I ran at the end of May - since running has taken a back seat whilst I relax a little.

feeling a little detached from the world of blogging. I don't mean to - but I find the weekday evenings fly by. I often find I don't even get chance to check Twitter or Instagram the way I used to - oh for the weekends! 

eating cake at Cutter & Squidge. I thought it was healthy cake.. it turns out I was a little wrong, but I guess it's as healthy as cake will get! Passionfruit & pistachio cake - as yummy as it sounds.

dreaming of Summer. I get far too excited when the sun comes out, don't we all? Then I start dreaming about the Summer wardrobe I'd like to have. But then I realise this Summer lark isn't quite the reality I'd hope for. 

watching 13 Reasons Why. I'm actually really terrible at concentrating and become distracted by everything else before turning the tv on, meaning we've only watched the first 2 episodes. 

voting, of course today was Election Day. Something I don't really feel the need to discuss on social media, but something I feel everyone should do.

drinking coffee from my new favourite Coffee Shop - The Eclectic Collection which I will write about soon.

reading Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I'm terrible at finding the time to read, but I've really got into this book and I hear the TV series 'Big Little Lies' is worth watching. But I will finish the book first. 

feeling desperately sorry for London. I love our city and hate what is happening in it at the moment. I couldn't help but snap this photo at the weekend. Some wise words.

scheduling my next posts. It's the only way. I'm on a bit of a roll this evening..

Until next time. X

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