Experience is Priceless

As a child, I went on family holidays once a year to somewhere in the UK. Usually Devon or somewhere similar. We had a few trips on a ferry to France, but until I met Gary the furthest I’d been away from my home was Belgium, and that was on a school trip.

Gary and I visited New York within a year of meeting, for Valentine’s Day. My first taste of America and we were snowed-in in the most beautiful place to be snowed-in.

506406072_498aaec972_oAnother trip to New York followed, this time in spring. And then for our honeymoon we travelled to San Francisco, Las Vegas and New York.

Gary was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease not long after, and what followed was years of surgery, recovery and coming to terms with a change of life as well as a change of pace for both of us. We put holidays on the back burner and trips consisted of Center Parcs breaks and days out in London, which were great, but didn’t get close to our previous trips.

We then jumped onto the property ladder with both feet and all of our savings. Any home owner knows that the first few years are hard. Belts are tightened and holidays are pretty much off the cards. But this year, Gary and I decided to throw caution to the wind. We’re not getting any younger, both of our health seems to have improved and plateaued and the urge to travel hasn’t been getting any weaker.

This year we have already been to Las Vegas, Gary to Rome and me to Ibiza. We’ve had some lovely weekends away, a trip to Liverpool and next…. we’ve booked to go back to New York!

Not only that, we fly on Christmas Day and will get to spend Christmas afternoon and evening there. We can’t wait to see the Christmas lights, the tree at Rockefeller Center, ice skate – everything! It’s been a long time since we were last there (our honeymoon 8 years ago!) and there have been so many changes to the city since then.

Being a rather Christmassey pair, we have pulled out all our New York movies, and begun watching them with a final flourish of our New York Christmas movies further into the season. Home Alone 2 will certainly feature more than once, Serendipity (and we intend on visiting this cafe during our stay!) and Scrooged are on the list.

This year has certainly been a year of holidays, especially after having not travelled for so many years, but we realised that experience is priceless. You can wait until you’re richer, healthier, have more time, but there will always be something that gets in the way. We’re grabbing the world with both hands this year. I can’t wait to experience the rest of it!

Sarah’s Ibiza Hen, Pt 3

Hello! This is my 3rd and final post rounding up my recent trip to Ibiza. If you haven’t read the other two you can read part one here, and part two here!

So after an exciting, but soggy day previous, we woke, had a lovely breakfast at the hotel and then headed off to get our cab to the other side of the island and to Playa Den Bossa. At this point the rain started, rain like we’d never seen before.

Being from England we’re used to the rain, but we’re also used to it draining somewhere. Not in Ibiza. That water just sits on top of the ground. I have a wonderful memory of us all sat in the cab, chatting to the driver when the rain hit so hard. Don’t Worry be Happy came on the cab’s radio and we all (cabby included) started to sing along. It was really rather fitting with the weather being as it was.

Our hotel front was down a short path with no access from the road, and so we had to unload and carry our cases down the slope to the hotel lobby. Wading through 5 inch water in flip flops isn’t the one when your case weighs 21kg. The receptionist was wonderful and brought us dry towels before doing anything. We were delighted to find out our rooms were ready already, and so we wouldn’t have to hang about before checking in.

Our original plan had been to head to Nassau Beach where we had reserved beach loungers for the afternoon, but with the rain we knew this wasn’t possible. So we headed to our rooms, opened the complimentary wine and enjoyed our rooms until the sun cleared.

imageThe view from our balcony.

We headed to Nassau Beach club once the rain had cleared, and straight for the restaurant for lunch. I had the most amazing cocktail called a Hendrick’s Cucumber Sorbet, and Yakisoba for lunch.

imageimageThen we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our evening out!


Pacha is world famous and we’d gotten tickets for their Flower Power night. Dressed in our hippy best we headed to Ibiza town to watch the sunset from the top of old town and then walked the cobbled streets for a shop and a look around until our table was ready for dinner.

La Oliva was a beautiful little restaurant in the bustle of old town Ibiza. I would have loved to visit old town in the day and had a proper good look around as the rising cobbled streets looked beautiful and something out of a painting. I’ll just have to go back!

It was at our restaurant on this evening I tried steak tartare for the first time, and really rather enjoyed it!

imageJust tilt your head for a good look…..

We then headed off to Pacha!


The tiredness of the week catching up with me, I only stayed a few hours, but Caz and Sarah made it until around 4am because they’re hardcore!

The next morning was a fairly early start for the Aqua Boat towards the Punta Arabi Hippy Market. The biggest of its kind, this hippy market has been going for 35 years. A maze of crafts, jewellery and clothes, we spent a long time mooching and shopping the stalls.

imageI found this gorgeous rose gold tree of life bracelet to match my tan 🙂

The weather hotted up and soon we needed lunch. We had some yummy pizzas, picked up the last of our purchases and headed back to Playa Den Bossa, as we had a date back at San Antonio.

Having postponed our speedboat trip earlier in the holiday we had to return, and it was strange going back to San Antonio after moving away from it. It was kind of like visiting an old friend and I enjoyed going back to the familiar hustle and bustle.

Speed boats are very different from catamarans and we were soon wide awake from our sleepy stupour from the heat and slow pace of the day.

imageimageThere was opportunity to swim, but I decided to sit that one out, since my jelly fish sting was still fresh and itchy. We did, however get our perfect sunset.

imageIt was amazing and beautiful. The water was so calm and looked like undulating foil below our boat. We stopped just off Cafe Mambo to see the end of the sun and then danced until it was time to go back to the marina.

Paula, our skipper, allowed us into the private bathrooms at the marina to get changed and freshen up, and then we headed off to Bambudda our final meal out.

Bambudda is a fusion restaurant designed to tantilise the senses. Caz and Sarah had and shoulder massages whilst Tash and I people-watched. The food was lovely. I think if I hadn’t been delriously tired I might have enjoyed it more, but still it was a wonderful experience.

imageMe sipping on some kind of cocktail!

The next day was our last full day, and a relaxing one, which boy did we need! We caught the ferry to Formentara, a small island off the Ibiza mainland. I was promised beaches the closest I would get to going to the Maldives without actually going to the Maldives, and it didn’t disappoint.

imageimageI actually managed to catch some sleep on the beach before Sarah bought us all an ice cream (thanks Sarah!) and we headed back. Relaxed and tanned (yay!) we changed for our last activity.

Ushuaia was a club not far from our hotel, which hosts different DJ nights. I’m in a State of Trance was our night, with Armin Van Buuren headlining. It’s an amazing venue, with a pool in the centre, and it’s right under the flight path of Ibiza airport so low flying airplanes often cross your sightline over the stage, like some kind of over the top special effect.

imageimageI had a brilliant time at Ushuaia and would love to go back.

Then we headed back to pack. Our last morning was an early one, by choice. We woke, dressed and headed straight out to the beach. We wanted to catch the sunrise and give Ibiza the proper goodbye it deserved.

imageimageimageWe weren’t let down. The sunrise was as stunning as the sunset and it was a fitting end to the holiday. We got back to the hotel just in time for breakfast to begin, ate and grabbed our bags to meet our driver back to the airport.

We did a little shopping at the airport and boarded the plane for a quiet and solomn flight home.

It was amazing to see Gary at the airport when we arrived back, especially as I’d been away from him for our 9th wedding anniversary. But I really missed the girls very quickly, and I’m still missing Ibiza. I’ll definitely go back…. Girls, just pick a date and I’m there!


Sarah’s Ibiza Hen, Pt 2

This is a follow on from part 1. If you haven’t read that yet, you might want to head on over!

So, I left you at Zoo Project. How was it? It’s all kinds of fun, right?

So the next day was Sunday, and as a lovely follow on from the days before the weather still wasn’t the greatest. Our next surprise for Sarah was postponed for the following day meaning a second 5am start, but it would be worth it. Just keep reading.

So instead of getting up super early we went back to bed for a few hours, got up and ready and not knowing what the next activity was (only Caz knew) we packed our beach bags, donned our bikinis and headed off for breakfast at Skinny Kitchen in the rain.

Gary found Skinny Kitchen one day through Facebook and mentioned it to me, knowing I was interested in eating clean. It’s a little cafe in San Antonio which provides good clean eating food on a San Antonio budget.

imageWe weren’t disappointed as we drank our yummy juices, sipped on protein shakes and nommed on pancakes, waffles and eggs on toast.

imageWe had to move inside when the drizzle started and were a little crestfallen walking to the shops and towards the marina in the rain. But by the time we’d arrived at our next destination the rain had stopped and the forecast was good.

Caz had arranged for us to go on a catamaran! Our own private boat, with a chance to swim in the sea and lunch at an exclusive beach club. Of course we didn’t know any of that at this point.

imageWe popped open the bubbly and headed out to sea. It wasn’t long before we were posing on the nets at the back of the boat… and then we anchored and headed out for a swim. Our skipper provided a paddle board and inflatable for two. As Caz isn’t a confident swimmer I offered to lounge on the inflatable with her, and then after a while jumped into the water. Only to be stung by a jelly fish…..

imageThe picture above was from the next day, but you can see it’s pretty big and it hurt somewhat. Jelly fish aren’t normally in the water this time of year, but the stormy weather had brought them closer to shore and later on we saw them in their thousands.

imageThat’s two of the little buggers but they littered the water the later we drew into the evening. Still in a little shock we were driven off to shore and to Cala Bassa beach club where I was able to collect myself and relax a little.

imageThis shot was taken for my photo bingo. As you can see I decided water was a better idea after the jelly fish incident, but you can kind of sea the shoreline beyond the bottle. It was a beautiful location, to sit and eat a yummy lunch.

imageBack on the boat we knew we wouldn’t be able to swim any more due to the jelly fish and the clouds promised a disappointing sunset, so our Skipper drove us out on a little dingy and showed us some private beaches and also Beyoncé’s Ibiza home.

We listened to music, drunk wine and watched what there was of the sunset.

imageimageimageAnd then, off in the distance I saw what I thought was either a shark or dolphin… Thankfully it was not 1 but 5 dolphins, swimming together all around the boat. Our driver was wonderful enough to keep moving the boat around so we could see them. We watched them for what was probably the best part of an hour before we lost the light.

It was an amazing experience and we were so thankful to Jose our skipper, who gave us a really unique day. From the boat we changed our clothes and headed off to Sa Capella, an authentic Spanish restaurant.

imageBuilt inside an old church, the waiters were middle-aged men with little aprons on. It was the kind of restaurant where people would be, and were, proposed to.


Our table was up in a little alcove so set away from the rest of the tables, which was lovely and in our relaxed and happily tired states we were able to have a really good chat.

And then, in a little miss communication, they played the birthday music and brought Sarah a birthday surprise. I’m guessing they don’t understand ‘bride to be’ in Spain…

imageWe had a good giggle about that!

And then it was back home and to bed, as we had to be up in a few hours for the next surprise!

Up at the crack of dawn and very sleepy, we were picked up from the hotel by Jose (a different Jose) who drove us far and far and far into the heart of Ibiza. At which point we parked up in a field and this happened:

imageI am rather frightened of heights, but it was a good experience that I’m glad I’ve had. Though I did hold onto the side for a long time…

imageVery sleepy Erin…. Back on the ground we helped put the balloon away, and then ‘blessed the earth’….


This was having cava with soil poured onto our heads…. as you can see from the photo, it was a little chilly…

imageAnd we couldn’t resist a selfie!

We were then taken into the very centre of Ibiza for a wonderful breakfast of tomatoes and oil on bread (for the lactose intolerant) and ham and cheese on bread for the rest. We also had coffee and fresh spanish orange juice (the best I’ve ever tasted).

And then we were back at the hotel, because we had tickets for a club to attend! Ocean Beach is a day club not far from where we were staying, with DJs, loungers, cocktails and live entertainment. We’d booked loungers on the mezzanine which overlooked the club and the pool area.

With threatening clouds, we ordered lunch pretty quickly and enjoyed some amazing hot sunshine. But then the rain came….. and it was a storm. It went for about an hour and a half constantly. Since we were dressed for pool weather we embraced it and continued to dance whilst the rest of the floor hid under a cover by the bar. We just carried on! People downstairs jumped into the pool, the music kept playing and even though we got a little chilly I’m so glad we stayed. We now have an amazing memory of dancing in the Ibiza rain!

imageHiding under sopping wet towels! When the rain stopped and the sun began to shine again we got dry towels and listened to Lovely Laura Sax playing her tunes, live, below us.


I was rather soggy….


We survived the rain! (Look at those clouds!)

We decided to head off earlier than originally planned, because we were chilly and soggy and headed back to the hotel. We briskly changed and then headed back out to the sunset strip for dinner and chats, before heading back to pack….. We were crossing the island the next morning!

Stay tuned for part 3, the final part of my holiday rundown……


Sarah’s Ibiza Hen, Pt 1

I’ve been away from the blogosphere for a few weeks, and that’s mainly because I’ve been preparing for being away, being away and then recovering from being away!

I’ve recently returned from Ibiza, where me and 3 of my best friends went to celebrate the engagement and impending wedding of Sarah. It was my first girly holiday and first time to Ibiza. The whole break had been planned out meticulously by Caz, who had been 7 times before and knows how to plan a holiday.

And now a warning: this post, and the ones to follow are going to have a lot of pictures in them, so if your browser can’t hack it maybe you should upgrade your browser…. it’s 2015!

So we arrived at Caz’s house after an evening of panic that my case was going to go over the weight limit which included me driving to Tash’s to pick up her suitcase scales and discovering I was, indeed, taking too many dresses, belts and shoes…..

It was about 5 minutes before the first bottle of cava was opened. Who doesn’t want to toast a holiday at 6am? We were surprised with a beautiful stretch limo, organised by fiance, Nick, complete with more wine….. Start as you mean to go on!

imageChecked in at the airport and luggage successfully weighed and allowed on the plane (phew!) we headed off for a breakfast and relax until our gate was called.

The flight was quick and uneventful, since I’m used to long haul flights it felt like we were barely flying an hour!

imageOnce off the plane, we were greeted by our driver from the airport to our first hotel, which was situated in San Antonio. Overlooking the beach front, the Marina Playa Apartment Hotel was perfect. Each room slept two (or three on a pull out sofa-bed), had kitchenette and bathroom and a beautiful view of the beach. Each balcony looked out over the pool area.

imageAfter a quick unpack and mini sunbathe by the pool, we put on our glad rags and took a walk to what would be our first meal of many in a beautiful location.

Kumharas, situated on a tiny beach, was a perfect location for us to watch our first sunset, have a drink and toast the holiday. The sangria here was beautiful and it was so relaxing to sit and watch the sun go down.

imageimageOnce the sun had gone down, we moved to the restaurant area for our dinner reservation, and true to form Caz had arranged for us to eat in their chill out area. This was a low table on a platform with cushions to sit on and draped fabric over head.

imageWhilst we ate, people shopped at the mini hippy market behind us, and danced to the music played by the DJ well into the evening. It was great for people watching and the food was lovely.

imageFairly sleepy from the early start, and the sea air, we walked back to the hotel just as flashes of lightning threatened the skies.

dDspite this we slept well. It was a big day on Day 2 – the Hen day! We dedicated a whole day to Sarah’s Hen, with secret activities and theme. Sarah came to Tash and my room, that morning, where we had decorated in a nautical theme, prepared a breakfast and dressed up complete with captain’s hats!

imageWe played music, ate and Caz provided us with a photo treasure hunt, for photos we needed to take throughout the trip. The person who completed their list would win a prize!


This was followed by pass the parcel, with forfeits and prizes!


We then dressed up for our first activity – lunch at Es Nautic. This was a lovely restaurant on the marina serving amazing seafood and fish.

imageimageFrom here we headed to the sunset strip and to Savanna for cocktail making. There was more drinking than making to be honest. After two glasses of cava, two strawberry daiquiris, one porn star martini and a mojito we were feeling rather merry….


Though we did manage to get some cocktail making done, behind the bar too!

imageAfter this we headed to the marina and to a beautiful speedboat. But the skies were threatening another storm, and on the advice of our skipper we rescheduled our speed boat trip for later in the week. Having pre booked sushi on the boat for the evening we ate this on the balcony whilst the clouds rolled in. Then we got ready for the final activity of the day.

Caz wanted us to have a classy holiday but she also wanted us to visit one of the more ‘chavvy’ clubs so off to Es Paradis we went. Es Paradis was having its water party, so it went with our nautical theme.

imageimageDespite waiting until the early hours (and Caz and Sarah waited until the even earlier hours) we didn’t see the pool (pictured behind us, above) fill up.

Day 3 began with a leisurely walk to a nearby cafe and a lovely breakfast. Just what I needed.

imageWe met a lovely Spanish waiter there who looked like Drake, had never left Spain but whose accent flipped between Scottish and Liverpudlian…. it was bizarre!

From here we got ready for our next activity, which was Zoo Project. Situated in an old abandoned Zoo, people visit dressed up in feathers and snake skins, with body paint, ready to dance. With clubbing and chill out areas it promised to be exciting. The girls had all opted for body paint, whereas I’m not really a body paint kinda gal, so I made use of my Urban Decay Electric palette and painted on rainbow eyes.

imageimageLunch was at Ibiza Rocks bar. Yummy strawberry sangria and burgers. And then we headed to Zoo.

We spent most of our evening dancing, watching DJs and dancers at the seal pit, then headed to the chill out area to listen to musicians and watch more dancers and acrobats. We also got rather hungry so grabbed some outdoor BBQ which was delicious. I enjoyed it all, but I could have stayed in the chill out area for hours.

And so ended day 3! We had barely started…. stay tuned for the next part!

This Week I Have Been Mostly

this week i have been mostlyThis isn’t a real post – merely a checking in since not a huge amount has been happening here. This last couple of weeks I have been head down and getting over a cold, working hard and prepping for my upcoming holiday.

  • It appears it’s autumn already and the rain keeps coming. I’m currently wearing a thick jumper and fuzzy socks whilst the rain hits the windows.
  • Over the last week I’ve met up with my Book Club friends to finalise preparations for Ibiza.
  • Gary and I went to London for a day trip with Amy and her boyfriend Chris.
  • Today we attended a birthday party for Gary’s aunt and a retirement gathering for my Mum.
  • I was sad to hear of Wes Craven’s passing this morning. We’ve been watching Scream the TV series and I understand that the final episode, next to air, will have some kind of dedication to him.
  • We completed re-watching the whole series of Dexter and are now searching for our next tv show. Any suggestions?

My next blog will be post-ibiza. I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

This Week I Have Been Mostly

this week i have been mostlyLast weekend I had the pleasure of taking family photos for my good friend Caroline, with her husband Chris and their baby Leo. It was a lovely afternoon and the weather held off for us, meaning we were able to utilise their lovely garden and the natural light of the sun, which had decided to grace us with its presence.

13We got some lovely photos, and having sent them over, Caz and Chris seem to like them too! So I’m very pleased 🙂

On Wednesday I headed over to Amy’s house for a Bridesmaid dress trying on session. Sarah’s getting married next year and the dress samples had arrived to we piled into Amy’s house, ate fajitas and tried the dresses on. It was good fun to try the different styles on and get our first bridesmaid fix!

Yesterday I turned 32 and we had a nice relaxed day. We headed to Bicester Village for a browse and I got some amazing presents from friends and family. I have some awesome new things to take to Ibiza in 3 weeks and one of my friends even gave me some Euro to take. I’m a very lucky girl!

I also let myself go a little, diet-wise, so this week I’m going to begin training again. Now that my injured hip seems to have recovered, and my tattoo has mostly healed I have no excuses!

Listening, Learning and Looking Forward

This week has been tiring, but rewarding. When I’m busy I tend to go all in or nothing, and this week was an all in week. I have a problem pacing myself in all aspects, not just running…. I’m aware.

Anyway, last weekend I trained Saturday (weights and core), Sunday (my first 5k run in 6 months), Monday (Yoga) and then I was busy Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Thursday was more yoga and friday I sat on the sofa and dribbled…..

So it was busy but rewarding. I really enjoyed my Sunday treadmill run and even though my legs ached for the next few days, it was a familiar ache – like welcoming back an old friend! Today I was back at it with another weights session, but this time I was able to train with my friend Tash who wanted to try out a little more in the weight section. It’s really rewarding to start finding certain areas of my workout getting easier and also gain some of the fitness back that I’d lost over the last few months, whilst not training.

My yoga sessions were completed using the improved Nike Training Club app which I’m really liking this time around. When it first launched I looked at it, but ended up deleting it from my phone as it was taking up too much space. Since my phone upgrade I hadn’t remembered the app, but they’ve been pushing it fairly heavily on social media and I thought I’d give it another go. What I like about it is your workouts add to your existing Nike Fuel however you earn it. I’ve linked my Nike Running app to it, so I already have a fair bit of fuel.

The app can be used to strengthen, lean down, tone and what they call ‘focus’ which incorporates yoga. You choose the workouts you like to look of and download them for later use. What I like about these it you’re talked through the moves, with the option to watch a video on how to perform each section.

I might even try some of the cardio workouts in the spring when I can use the space in the back garden.

Other than knackering myself out, I’ve been getting rather excited about a couple of trips I’m going on this year. In 5 weeks I fly out to Las Vegas for a week. It’s been 8 years since I was last there and so much has been built since then. We’re trying to decide on a show to see, though I think Gary and I are most looking forward to eating and shopping! The other trip isn’t until September but I’m going on a holiday of firsts – my first hen party, my first all girl holiday and my first beach holiday – I’m off to Ibiza! I really can’t wait! I’m determined to have worked out enough to be happy to put on a bikini by then too!

This week I’ve also been doing a lot of online reading and a couple of articles caught my attention. I’ve mentioned periods in the past, and in the past felt I’ve had to apologise for it. Well it was a breath of fresh air to read what this journalist wrote. Have a look here if you’re so inclined. I also read this article about positive morning rituals. I was interested in how the author rejected most social media in the morning and replaced it with simple things to start his day on the best possible foot. Another interesting point was his choice to continue to include instagram as a positive stimulus in his morning, making the point that you just don’t see anything negative posted (as long as you haven’t chosen to follow spam or troll instagram users, but who would really want to do that?). And finally this article and accompanying video from a very intelligent and articulate victim of revenge porn. Technology and social media has changed the world and changed how people interact with each other. It’s a new kind of warfare and even though some of the blows people hit others with are horrific, it’s wonderful to see women this eloquent and head strong come out of it fighting.

How was your week?