Alphabet Dating – ‘J’ Date

So it was my turn to plan a date and I had so many ideas but with only one proper free day before Tom goes for the summer (he works away for 2 months every year) I was limited with my options. NONE of the things I wanted to do were running last night and so I went for lots of little things instead….

Part 1 of our J Date – An early morning Jog. Now, I didn’t manage to capture any photos of this part of our morning. That’s because it didn’t happen. Fat Tom flat out refused and looked at me like I’d purposefully trodden on one of his tiny miniature lovingly hand painted models when I even suggested it. So I went off to my Slimming World class and then went for a coffee with my friend, leaving Tom to have a nice long lie in… 

It’s not really Date related… but I did buy Tom some presents…. two Jaws T-shirts because the kid LOVES that film and I was worried he would be disappointed if the J Date didn’t involve watching Jaws, so this was my tactical compromise. I know most of the words to the Jaws films because I’ve been subjected to nearly 11 years of watching them over and over and so I didn’t fancy watching them again and calling it a date. What I wasn’t expecting was for FT to love the tees so much that he wore them out and about in real actual life. They were definitely intended as PJs. 

Part 2 of our J Date was my FAVE. A Jigsaw! Who knew that puzzles were SO fun?! I certainly didn’t. I chose a puzzle called ‘Jewels of the Sea‘ because J and because it had a shark on it. As discussed, Tom loves sharks. 
I have the attention span of a gnat so I was expecting to get bored after 15 minutes and let Tom finish it while I spent the day on the sofa watching Police Camera Action (best.ever). That was not even a little bit the case – I loved it so much that I actually kind of resented having to share my jigsaw experience with someone and really would’ve just happily been left to it. I naively thought it would take an hour or two to finish but it took us until today?! More on that later.


We watched Jumanji while we jigsawed (why do I have a horrible feeling that means something rude / grim to some people…?! I’m off to Google it… OK fear not, it’s ok, it can mean to taunt someone but it isn’t anything deeply offensive so it’s staying in) just because it starts with a J and both of us have only seen it 83 times before. Wonderful film. 


After sitting on our bottoms for 5 solid hours of jigsawing (yes) I managed to convince Otis and Tom to come for a Jog with me. Otis took very little convincing but FT definitely now hates me. 

We went to one of my favourite spots in Bristol called Leigh Woods and I surprised myself with how much I jogged. Tom, not so much, but luckily for us his walking speed (he’s a giant) is my running speed (little legs) so we both got our way. Ish. We got very very lost and I have no idea how because we’ve walked there a gazillion times and I ended up having to move our dinner reservation back by two hours – that’s how lost we got…


Dinner was AMAZING and all of the exercise and fearing for our lives in the woods meant it was really needed too. We went for Japanese food at a restaurant that I’ve wanted to try for ages but never got round to. It’s called Nomu and they have a whole gluten free menu so I was as happy as Larry. 


We ate a LOT of food, had a couple of cocktails, talked about going out out to a disco…. then agreed that we would WAY rather rush back home to put on our Jimjams/Jarmies and finish our jigsaw puzzle. Rock. And. Roll. 

We stayed up doing the jigsaw and drinking squash until we could both no longer keep our eyes open. That is a wild Saturday night right there. I’m so surprised at how long it took us to complete it. Is it normal to take a few sittings to finish a puzzle or are we both total morons?! Either way, we (I) finally finished it today. FT went off to rehearsals for a show he’s in and I promised I would wait for him….. did I arse?! I finished it after another 3 hours and it was one of the most satisfying moments of my entire life?! Wahey for jigsaws – I can definitely see this becoming a hobby of mine. 


This morning we did some scratch cards that I bought as the final part of our J Date…. because Jackpot yeah?! Tenuous link but I love me some gambling so any excuse. We won £20 which is naaaaat to be sniffed at (even if I spent £10 on scratch cards in the first place) and has made it straight into our wedding pot. 


Aaaaaaaand that’s it. J has been a super chilled but our last few dates were ridiculously extravagant (Holiday House, Ilfracombe weekend etc) and so we decided that the next few need to be very low key or we are never going to be able to afford a wedding. With our current fund guests are going to be eating spam and cuppa soups so it’s time to tighten the purse strings. 

I have no idea when our K Date will be but Tom said he’s going to try and pop back home a few times over the summer so hopefully we will fit one in then. Fingers crossed. 
Over and out ✌🏼💛

Alphabet Dating – ‘I’ Date

Ilfracombe, Insects, Ice cream and Injuries. 
So our H date was planned by me and was back in mid February….. I’ve been not so subtly dropping hints to Thomas for the past two months that it’s definitely his turn and that we were supposed to try and do at LEAST one date a month, if not two, otherwise we will still be on round one of alphabet dating when we are 70. So, imagine my delight when the other week he says “so are we still doing that alphabet dating then?!”

YES THOMAS, YES WE ARE.

I’m apparently waaaay too indirect with my hints… “Oi Fat Tom it’s your turn to plan a date – what are we going to do? Thomas when are we going to go on our I Date? So Tommy next weekend is looking pretty quiet, what about doing our next date then?” were all just too subtle. Lesson learnt.

It’s going to be pretty much impossible for either of us to top the H Date because that was just next level fabulous and involved so many people and secrets and so much planning, but Tom pulled a serious corker out of the bag for our I Date that was definitely unexpected.

We try and keep our date plans secret from each other when we can as it’s more fun that way but Tom was thinking out loud the other day and did mention Ilfracombe and I think my wide eyes and manic grin sealed the deal on that one. He mentioned camping too so I was all ready to spend 6 hours putting up our oversized tent that sleeps 12 people, burn some BBQ food, sleep in the tent for a few hours and then spend another 6 hours trying to take it down and fit it back into the teeny tiny bag it came in (WHY?!). I love camping, it’s one of my favourite things to do ever but for just one night it can be a bit of a ball ache.

Turns out Tom agrees.

So, after we went for a run and I went to my Slimming World class on Saturday morning we got home and Tom got to work painting his miniature nerdy model things. He has a big nerdy competition coming up where other nerds who also spend insane amounts of money on tiny little models that can’t actually be seen by the human eye all gather in a giant arena and discuss how they have all spent months slaving over these little guys and then they all turn on each other and compete for the best painter award and it’s very very serious and not to be sniggered at. This year it falls on my birthday weekend and Tom has been a DREAM guy and bought me a ticket to go with him as a birthday treat…. a story for another day.

Tom wasn’t mentioning any plans so I watched reruns of Project Runway and napped – dream Saturday morning. At lunchtime he woke me up and told me to pack an overnight bag. EEK! We shared a suitcase – Tom’s side had one t shirt, one jumper, pants and socks, a toothbrush and some deodorant…. his side also had 3 pairs of my shoes that it turns out I didn’t need, my make up bag that I didn’t touch, two pairs of pyjamas for one night because you just don’t know how cold you’re going to be do you? Two books because obviously I was going to spend our whole date night reading at record speed aaaaand a very large washbag. My side of the suitcase had basically every item of clothing I have that fits me which isn’t a lot but it’s definitely too much for one night away. I still didn’t have anything to wear today btw…

Tom told me to pack a bag for Otis too while he sorted out the car and loaded our suitcase and my 26 carrier bags and backpacks because that suitcase just wasn’t enough space for one night away.

I made us a super low syn pasta salad because Tom had uttered the fateful words “would you be ok with eating some non slimming world/diet food this weekend?” YOU DON’T HAVE TO ASK ME TWICE KIDDO – I’m all over that potentially very unhealthy and totally off plan food because it’s all about that balance right?!!!! Balance shmalance, there’s not enough salad in the world that could balance out this weekend’s extravagance BUT I did try my best to be on plan until the very last minute. So low syn pasta salad for the drive…. which was apparently not up to scratch as despite having three whole portions of the stuff in his Tupperware, Thomas decided to stop off and get a MacDonald’s too. I think he has a deep rooted fear of going hungry, which would never happen ever because he doesn’t go an hour without eating…

ANYWAY, I resisted (even though Maccy Ds chips are gluten free and delicious) and had a small skinny latte instead. Feeling smug and extra slim because turning down chips actually makes you lose a stone instantly, I took over the driving and the DJ-ing and treated Tom to a medley of Emyoncé performances from very old school Beyoncé to Blue circa 2002, High School Musical, LaLa Land, Rod Stewart, Elvis and Eminem. Wonderful.


Tom navigated and we arrived at our home for the night – Sunny Cove Hotel in Ilfracombe. He said it was a nightmare to find somewhere dog friendly near Ilfracombe that wasn’t totally run down and grotty OR a crazy overpriced beach hut. This place was GORGEOUS. There was a wedding going on (more on that later) so we settled into our room and then decided to go off exploring so that we were out of the way whilst photos and chaos was going on outside. Our room was in a little annex to the side of the hotel with its own front door which is perfect when you have a giant dog that most little children scream at. This way we were able to just slip in and out of the hotel really easily and not bother anyone. For a dog friendly room it was lovely – not shabby and worn at all – still clean and fresh and holiday-like. Otis pulled a Tom (see H Date) and walked smack bang into the glass doors in our room that lead to a patio as soon as we arrived! It’s definitely not as funny seeing your dog hurt himself as it is seeing Fat Tom do the same.


We were told that “just 500 yards down the track” we would find a secret little beach. LIES. Bearing in mind that we aren’t massively fit anyway, AND we had already gone for a run that morning, I’m fairly certain that this walk nearly killed all three of us. Going down to the beach was OK. Sure, it was 25732 steep steps but gravity helped us and we all managed just fine. We spent an hour playing in the sea and waiting for the tide to go out a bit more as that meant we could creep around to the next coves and find more secret beaches. However, we should’ve been reserving every ounce of energy we had left in us as the climb back up to our hotel was GROSS. Actually vile and insulting. I always assume that because FT is a lanky bastard (that’s why his nickname is funny yeah?) that he’s just naturally athletic. Not true at all. We were both crawling and stopping every few steps to wheeze to each other and pretend that we were just appreciating the view and taking it all in when actually we were contemplating forward rolling back down the steps to the beach and living out the rest of our years down there. I’ve watched Bear Grylls – The Island, I know how to catch a Cayman and cook it and I’ve also read Swiss Family Robinson so I also know how to make a bad ass tree house. Alas no, we needn’t have worried. After what felt like 5 hours we made it back up to the top to see that it had only taken us 15 minutes. It’s a good job neither of us is at all dramatic or that could’ve been way worse.


Tom would like me to add a statement in here that he found an insect on the walk and that begins with “i” so it needs to be included in the blog. The insect was a May Beetle called Ian (convenient 🙄) and Tom “rescued” it from a spider’s web and massaged it (for real, like an actual full body massage with one finger, it was awkward to watch) until it was able to walk again. Ian then shat on Tom’s hand which is apparently how they say thank you to humans for saving their lives.


After our walk (torture) and insect rescue (weird experience) we decided to make the most of the hotel’s spa facilities. I don’t know what came over us but we had to pool to ourselves and swam 20 lengths (you know when you’re pretending to be super casual but actually you’re racing each other and even though he’s a foot taller than you it’s really important that you win because swimming and being a mermaid is your thing) and then we played. I was all “I’ve just washed my hair so I’m not getting my hair wet OK?” – cue Thomas dunking me underwater. So, handstands, holding your breath underwater competitions, who can do the best impression of Otis swimming, trying to teach Tom how to float (I don’t get it, can’t everyone just float? Aren’t we all born with the ability to just stay still and float? I’ve been trying to teach him for 10 years and I will never stop but the fella really cannot float) and then we went in the sauna and got alllllllll chilled and zen, post swim.

We went back to the room to find Otis who was also totally zen just chilling in his bed and watching the wedding going on outside. Quick showers, warm clothes and off to Ilfracombe beach on the hunt for something gluten free that I could eat. I will say that Ilfracombe is AMAZING for gluten free – I can’t believe the difference since last time I was there. I’m totally down with gluten free eating being a health fad that loads of people are following because they think it’s healthier as it’s made life SO much easier for those of us who don’t have a choice. I’m hoping people of Devon spread the word to their neighbours in Cornwall as trying to track down a gluten free pasty last year was impossible and I ended up with someone selling me the insides of a pasty wrapped up in tinfoil instead and charging me extra for the privilege.

I digress.

We found a place called Lynbay’s Fish and Chips which did gluten free eeeeeeverything. As you can imagine I was beside myself with excitement and very nearly ordered one of everything. In the end we went for standard cod and chips with curry sauce and mushy peas. They had to cook it all separately from fresh so while we waited we found a wine bar and I got a little bit tipsy very quickly. I don’t know if it was the sea air or all the exercise but I was a cheap date nonetheless and being even more hilarious than usual.


The fish and chips were AMAZING. It’s such a novelty for me to be able to eat food like that and actual batter – could’ve cried happy unhealthy deep fried food tears (nothing to do with the wine). We walked down to the harbour and sat in the sand with our blanket and ate sandy fish and chips and shouted all of the rude words we could think of at the seagulls that were after our leftovers. Foolish seagulls, there are no such thing as leftovers when you’ve got a girl who is forgetting about her diet for the weekend and a boy who thinks it’s normal to eat 21 Krispy Kreme doughnuts in a day (that actually happened).


We did a bit more exploring, went to see Damien Hirst’s amazing ginormous statue and waited for the sun to go down and then we made our way back to the hotel.

When we got back the wedding was in full swing and the music was LOUD. If you can’t beat em, join em, so we got some drinks from the bar and went and sat out on the decking where we tried to plot a master plan of how we would crash the wedding (intruding 😏). Thing is, if it had been inside the hotel I think we could’ve got away with it, but the party was actually in a marquee with some burly looking lads stood outside and a load of inquisitive children/bridesmaids hanging around too. I don’t think we could’ve played the “we’re evening guests” card either as we were both wearing every single item of clothing we had brought with us – a clear and dry night it was, a warm night it was not. So, instead, we lay on the wicker sofas wrapped up in 100 layers drinking our beers and G&Ts, Otis by our side, looking out on to the sea and singing along to their live music (which was brilliant) whilst making plans for our own wedding. Life doesn’t get much better than that.


I was woken up bright and early this morning by Otis nudging me and gesturing to go outside so I got up and I’m glad I did as it was the MOST gorgeous sunny morning. We went to breakfast and saw all of the bridal party and agreed we definitely couldn’t have risked showing our faces at breakfast had we managed to crash last night’s wedding – so it’s all for the best because I don’t like to miss out on food.


Breakfast was quick and we were quick to pack up and leave the hotel too as we wanted to get to the beach as early as possible to make the most of the sunshine. I read a blog about dog friendly beaches and one that kept getting mentioned was Putsborough Beach so we went there. They have the fanciest public loos I’ve ever met. They were nicer and cleaner than my bathroom at home and I really like my bathroom. The beach was gorgeous. Sometimes I don’t think I give England enough credit, I go on about wanting to move to Australia but today I lay on a beautiful sandy beach, I played in the clear sea, I caught the sun and I wasn’t 24 hours and two plane rides away from my friends and family….


Now, this is a story involving myself and Tom and we are a bundle of chaos, so something had to go a little bit tits up. That thing would be my back. Longtime followers of my Instagram and blog may remember that I slipped a few discs last year and was not loving life, well…. I can’t yet tell how bad it is but something’s gone awry in my back and it’s all feeling very familiar. I don’t know exactly when it happened but I do know that me trying to get up from the rug where I had been lying for an hour seriously amused FT until he realised how bad it was. I was like a poor sad overturned woodlouse rocking from side to side trying to build up enough momentum to roll onto my side….. and then be stuck on my side. Just when you’re thinking life’s a pile of roses and you’ve got alllllll your shit together and your back has healed and you’re running again and BAM. I got too cocky. Anyway, it’s something I’m used to and I know how to deal with so it’s going to be FINE (she says, at home and needing a wee but stranded on the sofa because I can’t get up by myself and Tom is MIA).

It took a VERY long time to walk back to the car but we got there in the end and made our way back to Ilfracombe for some lunch. We found a place called The Tea Garden that did gluten free cream teas – YES Ilfracombe, you dreamy little seaside haven. We had sarnies and cream teas (and FT had an ice cream float because he’s a child) whilst Otis slept at our feet and we fought off seagulls. Again, as mentioned in previous blog posts I’m terrified of birds and they don’t get much scarier than seagulls. As I was in no state to leap out of my chair and run if one came for me. I had kind of resigned myself to the fact that today was probably going to include deathbyseagull but what a final meal to go out on eh?! Scones are a really new thing to me as I don’t have a massively sweet tooth and just never fancied them before but since starting slimming world I’ve developed this really annoying NEED for sweet stuff all the time and now I think scones are up there with my all time favourite things. Cream first then jam yeah?!


We went for a little wander around the shops to walk off our lunch and also Tom had spotted a little sweet shop night before that sold rhubarb and custard ice cream and the poor kid was starving after his sandwich, crisps, scone, tea and ice cream float so we went on a mission to find that. Otis and FT shared the ice cream much to the amusement of the 284682 tourists also at Ilfracombe today (is it just me who, despite being one myself, really despises other tourists?!) and then we decided to head home.


I slept all of the way home in the foetal position with the chair rolled all the way back because that is how we roll when our backs are useless.

This weekend is up there with my favourite weekends in all of ever and I know I say this alllll the time but if you’re thinking about alphabet dating or you’ve been together forever and you’re totally bored of each other orrrr if you’re trying to convince your partner to do it but they’re not keen just DO it. You won’t regret it and you will make a whole load of memories that you probably wouldn’t have made otherwise.

All that aside, it’s time for some seriously budget friendly dates now. J next and my turn to plan…. Jam sandwiches and Jenga?!

Over and out ✌🏼💛

Bucket List – Berlin

This blog post is a little behind schedule… nearly 2 months behind schedule. The thing is, I’ve put off writing about our Berlin trip because, those who follow me on Instagram may remember, it didn’t end well and I’m ever so slightly (totally and completely) traumatised by the whole experience.

In the wise words of Maria von Trapp (so sassy, LOVE her), let’s start at the very beginning….

As my previous blog post explained, Tom turned 30 in February and I went bonkers with the presents. Like ‘who cares if you’ve got a mortgage and a dog to feed and wedding to save for, sod all that and spend your life savings on some lanky kid’s birthday celebrations because YOLO’ type bonkers. He has lots of stuff and lots of hobbies and if I bought him any more stuff our house would go pop SO I went with the gift of happy cheesy memories instead. Or so I thought.

Part 2 of his birthday week involved a present that, I can’t lie, was partly for me. I’ve been obsessed with going to Berlin for a really long time and although Tom has been previously for work I wanted to improve his experience of the city as his first trip was a total disaster. His plane got cancelled so he had to take a dodgy tin can train there from Amsterdam through the night and leap out at the place that looked most like it could be Berlin (there were no announcements on the tin train) AND the airline kept hold of his luggage and then lost it so he had to show up to business meetings in his skinny jeans and Nike high tops, then he had to go and buy a suit for an evening do from the nearest shop which means he left with a VERY shiny, very silver, very small and very short in the arms and legs collection of highly flammable items. SO, this trip was going to cure Thomas of his Berlin phobia and give me the chance to tick something else off my bucket list. Win win.

As I have said in previous posts, if I don’t write something down immediately then I forget it. Add post-traumatic stress to that and my memories of Berlin are very hazy so this is going to have to be a brief (but always waffly) summary of probably true and definitely not exaggerated events:

Monday

  • When we arrived at Bristol Airport (with four hours to spare because I am paranoid about missing flights) the place was chaos. Every single flight before ours and most of the flights directly after ours were cancelled because of the fog. I still don’t understand why none of those planes could make their way through the Bristol smog and yet ours could… cocky pilot? Xray vision fog lights? I don’t know, but this unnerved me. Alas, we made it through the mighty fog and landed in Berlin with no issues. I slept on Thomas for the entire flight which he really enjoyed because at only 6ft3 tall he has LOADS of extra leg/arm room on EasyJet flights and so likes to share his portion of the plane with a dribbling chubby limpet in a giant fur hood.
  • The taxi drive to our hotel was typical of any taxi ride in Europe – most of the time the car only needed to be on two of its wheels AND the taxi driver liked to test his acceleration and breaks often just to make sure they were working ok. They were.
  • The hotel was GORGEOUS. We stayed at the SANA Berlin http://www.berlin.sanahotels.com/ in Charlottenberg and I would definitely stay there again. It was clean and shiny and super modern. So clean and shiny that when we got to our room Tom walked straight into a clear glass wall… He left an actual imprint of his nose and forehead on the glass and I’m going to say that this memory makes it into the Top 5 most hilarious Fat Tom moments I have ever witnessed. This was Tom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9j3heYZAk8 and this was the glass partition:

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  • It’s a good job we’ve been together for over a decade and that Tom has finally accepted that girls do number twos because the bathroom was NOT private. The loo had a sliding door with a MASSIVE peeky hole in it and no sound proofing and the shower was just there, right in the eye line of someone sat on the bed. Please remember this bathroom situation when I get to the final night of our trip…..

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  • As it was very late and Thomas had mild concussion and an egg growing on his head we got room service which was faaaancy and we sat and watched Friends with German dubbing. I still laughed at all the jokes because I know them off by heart. As you can imagine, Tom was having a wonderful birthday so far…

Tuesday

  • You know that first day in a hotel where you’ve paid for the breakfast so you feel obliged to have one of everything? That. So I had ham and granola and bacon and yoghurt and egg and fruit and mushrooms on my plate. With a latte. Wonderful.
  • We didn’t make real plans for the week – I’m a useless tourist and like to be guided and Tom likes to go where the wind takes him so we just did a bit of what we fancied each day. I had loads of amazing recommendations via my Instagram so we pretty much used that alone and went with the most mentioned things.

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  • A highlight of the trip for me was recommended by LOADS of people too, the Sandemans http://www.neweuropetours.eu/berlin/en/home# FREE walking tours. Actual free. We ended up tipping ridiculously generously becuase our tour guide was the tits and foreign money feels like monopoly money right?! Especially on Day 1 when you’ve stashed a bundle of it in your bra and you feel all sassy and flash. Their income is based on tips though and our guy was super lovely and knowledgeable and fun and patient with my 24731 questions right at the end of the tour when I had finally worked up the courage to speak up and everyone else just wanted to go home. Also, you walk a LONG way so you feel very healthy and fabulous too and like that one day of walking will probably undo all of the damage that holiday food and gin replacing water will have done.

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  • We were lucky that we chose the one sunny day to do the tour BUT it was still freezing so there’s an 86% chance that we smuggled some booze to sip on whilst we hid at the back of our group like the naughty kids.
  • On the one walking tour we saw probably 70% of the things we had hoped to see on our trip and felt very pleased with ourselves. It also took the pressure off for the rest of our trip.

 

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  • We ate at somewhere called Vapiano on the first night (and then a few more times) as it had a really vast and sexy gluten free menu. Saying that, the novelty of gluten free pizza had worn off by day 3…

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  • We were back at our hotel and wrapped up in bed with German chocolates (YES) and horror movies on the iPad by 10pm. Perfect.

Wednesday

  • I think this is evidence of the extreme lack of exercise and partying we do but Fat Tom and I woke up KNACKERED and aching on the Wednesday. Tom had been away with work and then going straight on to our party weekend in Dorset and then straight to Berlin with a day of walking and exploring and I’m just not very fit and I enjoy resting so we decided to have a really chilled day making the most of the facilities our hotel had to offer. Spa, swimming, steam room that looked like the inside of a spaceship with lots of pods to sit in, reading, napping, grazing on snacks and more napping.

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  • Loads of people had told us to go to a restaurant called Transit for the most amazing Thai street food / tapas so we decided to get dressed up in the evening and do that. I left Tom in charge…. so we ended up using 1/3 of our Euros getting a taxi to the restaurant on the other side of Berlin rather than the one that was 10 minutes from our hotel…. And that is why I’m the planner in our team.
  • When we arrived I asked the lady if anything was gluten free and she said ‘everything yes yes yes, all ok, eat eat’ *smiley face and lots of nodding*. Now, when you have a severe allergy to something it’s probably best not allow a very odd conversation in broken English to be your definitive confirmation that said food is not going to break you. I learnt a lesson here. But before I learnt a lesson we enjoyed the MOST delicious meal. We ordered half the menu, laughed when it all arrived and said ‘well this is awkward, we are never going to eat it all’, and then we ate it all. Every last crumb and grain of rice.

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  • Gut rot started pretty much immediately.
  • Once we had digested our food enough to be able to move we decided to head back to our side of the city and find some cocktails and jazz music. We went to The Monkey Bar in Charlottenberg and enjoyed some really saucy cocktails whilst sitting on floor cushions in very close proximity to lots of people I have never met before… I am FAR too British for that kind of behaviour. I think I held my breath for entire time and didn’t make eye contact with anyone. Tom, however, is a thespian and was totally fine with perfect strangers being in his personal space. The views from the Monkey Bar are meant to be incredible but it was very rainy and very dark so I cannot vouch for that.

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  • Gut rot continued and I was now looking 4-5 months pregnant.
  • Once we had made our horrendously-expensive-but-so-delicious-that-you-forget-about-the–price cocktails last as long as physically possibly we decided to go elsewhere. We found a tiny little jazz bar down a side street called The Hat and plonked ourselves there at the bar. We were the first people in and had a lovely chat with the barman (possibly owner) who let me try alllllllllllll of the gins and Tom try alllll of the rums. Suffice to say, our memory of the rest of the night is a little hazy. I definitely sang along to the music very loudly and also definitely made friend with a very cute little dog in there who’s owner did not want to hear all about my giant scruffy labradoodle back in England.

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  • Back to our hotel, took a bit of effort as dead phones meant walking back using memory / my fantastic sense of direction instead of Google Maps. We got there in the end.

Thursday

  • Very rainy morning. We went out for breakfast and spent too long searching for anywhere that did a breakfast that I could eat that it became lunch time and we ended up having another Vapianos pizza… I didn’t manage much as I wasn’t feeling well and my tummy was veeeeery bloated.
  • Before the trip the one thing I had booked in advance was for us to go up the TV Tower (Berlin Fernsehturm) on our last night. I wouldn’t bother with this again. It wasn’t awful but we got squished into a lift with a load of snotty school children and then I didn’t massively rate it once we were up there. I feel like Berlin is most impressive from the ground and looking up and around. We did buy a cocktail there but I was already on the path to hell by this point so I don’t think I drunk much of mine.

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  • We found a lovely little restaurant overlooking a pretty building that I’ve forgotten the name of and got an excellent table right in the window. I didn’t want to ruin our last night by telling Thomas that my stomach was broken so I channelled my strong sassy Emyoncé and soldiered on through. Of course, Tom knew. I ordered a bun-less steak burger ‘this is just meat and no breadcrumbs we promise’ and salad and ate what I could. I believe this to be the meal that escalated me from abouttobequitepoorly to abouttobreakentirely.

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  • We had managed to do well over 10,000 steps every day and nearly 20,000 on the first day so I decided we should walk back to the hotel so we could up our step count and maybe give my tummy a chance to settle.

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  • We walked MILES and I loved seeing Berlin by night. I’m really glad we made the most of the last evening even though we still had a full day ahead of us on Friday because….

Friday

  • I woke up at about 1am with the worst shooting pains in my stomach that I have ever experienced. I had genuinely resound myself to the fact that I was about to pull a Sonia Fowler and start giving birth to a baby that I didn’t even know I was expecting.
  • I won’t ruin your day (possibly life) with the gory details of what followed but it was hellish. Remember that bathroom I described?! YEAH. Not the kind of place you want to be ill in. Tom saw more than he should ever have had to see. I don’t remember all of it but it was constant and relentless. I fainted a few times and one of those times Tom caught me just before I went head first straight through that (bloody health and safety hazard) glass wall.
  • Tom stayed very calm throughout but has since told me he was terrified for me. He was an utter hero. The hotel, lovely and clean and shiny but not very sympathetic to a panicked man and his sickly girlfriend forced Tom pay a lot of money for us to be able to stay there until the last possible moment before our flight. I had lost a LOT of blood (sorry) and Tom wanted to get me to a hospital but I just needed to get home. Never ever in my life have I wanted my own home comforts more. He showed me and washed my hair and let me insist on shaving my legs (because that’s important when you’re in such a state?!), he blow dried my hair and packed for us and just did everything.
  • The journey to the airport and the nightmare that is Berlin Schonefeld airport are, probably thankfully, the bits I remember least. I know I slept for most of it, sweated loads but was freezing, got checked at security by a very suspicious looking team (Tom thinks it’s because I looked like a heavily pregnant crack addict) and fainted on the plane. It was honestly truly awful and when we finally, after every delay and queue imaginable, landed in Bristol and I saw my best pal Yas waiting for us I cried and cried happy, relieved tears.
  • I saw a doctor once I got back, carried on being sick for days, had an excellent loss at Slimming World and eventually my swollen stomach went down after ONE WHOLE MONTH. Now I can’t use the swollen gluten belly excuse anymore, that bad boy is all my own.

I’ve rushed that last day and left out most of the detail because just no. I’m really pleased I managed to tick another thing off my Bucket List and I’m sure that one day Tom and I will both be able to forget our traumatic experience and just remember Berlin as a beautiful city with a fascinating history and excellent jazz music. One day.

For now I just remember it as being full of fuckers who tried to poison me.

Over and out.

Alphabet Dating – ‘H’ Date

The Holiday House 

I LOVE the idea of planning surprises and trips and spreadsheets etc. but actually putting these ideas into motion I’m not so good at (severe lack of wedding planning during the last 10 months is evidence of this). The first and main part of planning Tom’s surprise 30th birthday week was working out how many people liked him enough to pay a chunk of money to spend three days in a house with him (turns out more than I thought) and then finding a house to fit all of us inside. In the end I went for Beechgrove House – near the sea (because sea = happiness), dog friendly (because Otis will always be the guest of honour at any party I plan) and not too far from Bristol as travel time is wasted time during a weekend getaway.  

Beechgrove House 

These plans were finalised and paid for back in November which meant FOUR whole months of pretty much not speaking to Thomas. If you tell me a secret it’ll go to the grave with me but if I have a secret of my own…. not so much. Luckily Thomas is the most laid back human that ever walked this earth (probably) and so the next few months went pretty smoothly – no interrogations about Birthday plans, no ‘WHY?!’ when I asked him to book a week off work, no questioning why his closest friends hadn’t made any effort to see him during his 30th birthday week and so on and so forth. 

Leading up to ‘T-Day’, as it became known, was mainly me talking about all the stuff I would do in preparation and then not doing it which meant that the fortnight before was preeeeeetty hectic. I chose a colour scheme and then ordered a LOT of balloons and party bits and bobs from Candle and Cake (http://www.candleandcake.co.uk/new – again I’m sorry for introducing you to companies that are going to seduce you and make you give away your money, but just do me a favour and go and have a look on their Instagram page. It’s balloon porn). It took all of my willpower not to buy rose gold everything but if I was to convince everyone that this was a party for Fat Tom and not me then I had to resist. I went with a multicoloured theme and then I did a secret squirrel mission to drop them to Somerset with my best friend Roxanne who was Chief Party Co-Ordinator/RemindEmilieToActuallySortStuffOut-er/Balloon Boss… we will talk about the balloons later. So, Roxannie was on the decorations, Mama Darke was making the multi-coloured themed birthday cake, Yas and Amy were in charge of party games, I did the most mind bogglingly excessive and complicated online food shop I will probably (hopefully) ever do (feeding 14 people takes a LOT of maths skills) – we were good to go.

When T-Day finally came around I was so nervous – a few months of planning and all I had to do was NOT ruin the surprise for another 12 hours. I was paranoid that Thomas wasn’t asking enough questions and therefore knew what was going on and was trying to help me to not ruin the surprise that was already ruined because he knew about it… So I started feeding him some white lies; ‘you will need to pack really warm clothes’, ‘it’s just you me and the dog and it’s something we’ve never done before’, ‘I will pack lots of alcohol….. to help us stay warm’ etc. I was hoping he would think we were going on glamping/canopy under the starts type of trip as we have talked about those before (but have you SEEN how expensive it is to sleep in a treehouse?!) and it turns out that trick worked as that’s exactly where he thought we were heading. Sneaky.

 

We planned it so that everyone else would arrive at Beechgrove House early evening and then Tom and I would arrive at 8pm. I made him drive the first chunk of the journey so that I could frantically text everyone and find out where to go once we arrived and where they would be hiding. A couple of people downloaded that stalker app where you can see exactly where someone is so that once I took over the driving they could track us and be ready. My turn to drive and this crazy fog appeared out of nowhere, like actual end of the world fog, which was really not ideal when you’re driving country lanes in the dark looking out for a tiny sign post saying the house name. I had blindfolded Tom ‘because I only want you to see the amazing view when I’m ready’ NOT ‘because you will recognise everyone’s cars on the driveway, especially your pal’s bright yellow giant van’. I had the sat nav off because I was worried Sat Nav Susan was going to go ‘You have reached your destination…of Beechgrove House where a surprise 30th Birthday party awaits you Fat Tom’ so I was on my own. They apparently all watched me miss the turning and drive a mile in the wrong direction before eventually finding my way there. I would like to add that Fat Tom was sat beside me, blindfold on, merrily ‘rapping’ along to Kanye (though I think the lack of vision affected all of his other senses too because it was not good) while I was driving at 4 mph through the fog, ghosts and zombies.
 

ANYWAY, we got there and here is what happened next (please note Otis walking straight past the 14 people hiding on the staircase): ​​

It was perfect! Everyone managed to stay totally silent and Otis didn’t freak out and howl when he noticed everyone! Tom was totally stunned (see that face?!) and there were definitely some tears shed. Yas had created a mega spreadsheet with everyone’s Indian Takeaway so she set off to collect that while we had a tour of the incredible, MTV Cribs style house that Roxannie had decorated SO beautifully. With balloons yeah?

 

I really hope that you noticed the balloons in those photos and were so flabbergasted with the size and fabulousness of them that you fell off your chairs. If you didn’t then don’t tell me. I nearly had to remortage my home for those bloody balloons – turns out helium is kind of pricy?! You can imagine how pleased I was that by Saturday morning half of them had already deflated! 

 

The weekend was just magical. A lot of food, a lot of gin, a lot of fun and games and a lot of hot tubbing. Some of my memories are a tad gin-hazy so photos will have to tell the story instead:

Friday Night: Indian takeway (the one food Tom really doesn’t like but the only takeaway option we could find!) and present opening followed by a very messy and aggressively competitive game of Ring of Fire.

 

I also splashed out and hired some very sober musicians to come and perform live classical music for us while we played Ring of Fire:

​ 

I took myself to bed at about 2am which is a skill I have always been very proud of – knowing when to call it a night. Thomas – not so much. He woke me up at 4am waving his trunks in my face telling me to wake up and join them in the hot tub. Alas, I did not. In the morning I woke to find this next to me:

 

We also discovered Matt’s phone and a wallet in a pool of water next to the hot tub too, that Matt’s bed hadn’t been slept in and eventually found Matt passed out totally starkers in the TV room. Rock and roll. I won’t post a photograph of that.

Saturday Daytime: We had a big cooked breakfast then went on a long walk to Lyme Regis beach with Otis (who thought the whole weekend was in aid of celebrating his existence), sat on the beach while Otis swam, had ice cream and chips and then made our way back to the house.

 

Saturday Evening: We all dressed up in nice clean shiny clothes (I had packed Tom’s dickie bow for him), ate an enormous spag bol and then played party games all night long. Yas and Brad need a special mention for creating the Beechgrove Pub Quiz. It was the real deal – teams, answer sheets, hilarious visuals and trophies. There were a few music rounds (because Tom is a music man), general knowledge and then a film round…. Guess the film from the movie poster (spot Tom):

I was on the winning team with Roxannie and Tom T and to celebrate we did the only thing you can do with tiny trophies that have Tom’s face on them… shots:

 

The next game, and potentially a highlight of my whole entire life, was ‘Bin Bag Ball Gowns’; dressing up our boyfriends in 30 minutes (which goes really fast when you’ve been drinking) using plastic bags, paper, tape and paper plates. We had a couple of brides, a mermaid and a Victoria’s Secret catwalk model in the mix and I think they all looked FAAAAABULOUS:

 

And a special close up for this rugged beauty: 

Following a couple of hours in the hot tub discussing all sorts of really deep, meaningful and intellectual stuff (‘would you rather have a head the size of a tennis ball or a watermelon’) we all eventually made our way to our beds. Even Matt. 

Sunday: Bacon sarnies, naps, sweets and chocolates, board games, roast beef cooked by the birthday boy, more board games, epic leftover bolognese and cheese sandwiches, more sweets and chocolate, horror films, a bath and then bed in the biggest, comfiest bed I have ever ever slept in. The perfect Sunday

 

I chose on Sunday night to tell Thomas about the next part of his surprise birthday week which also involved ticking something off my bucket list, something I haven’t done for a while – blog post to follow very shortly.

Monday: On Monday we had to leave so we don’t talk about Monday.

To conclude, a bit of cheese: thank you Kate & Tom’s for finding this amazing house and letting us rent it for our party weekend and pretend that it was real life, thank you friends for being nice enough humans that we all tolerated each other for three whole days and had excellent fun and thank you Thomas for being a swell enough guy that we all thought you worthy of the stress and pennies that go into organising a surprise like this one. It was one of my favourite weekends in all of ever.

Over and out.

 As a little aside – I’ve had a lot of questions on Instagram about the house we stayed in. if you’re ever planning something similar to this or a hen weekend or you want to holiday in the UK somewhere really special then you need to go and check out Kate and Tom’s (http://kateandtoms.com/). This post isn’t sponsored (I would’ve left out the naked person on the sofa story) and we paid full whack for the house, I just adore the company and want to rave about them because although they’re kind of niche (enormous, one of a kind, belong in the pages of a magazine type homes), if you’re looking at booking a holiday/party/hen weekend type house then they are definitely worth a look. If people are paying per head or per room then they’re not too pricey either – we paid £140 each for three nights which we all thought was really fair given how incredible the house was, for example, our room had TWO bathrooms and an upstairs and disco lights and music in the shower. Whilst searching for Beechgrove House I also found where I would like my hen do and where we’re all going to stay during our wedding week next year so I will warn you that perusing their website is both wonderfully dreamy and also a little bit dangerous. 

Alphabet Dating – ‘G’ Date

OKAAAY so usually I write my Alphabet Dating blog posts the day of or the next day because I have the WORST memory ever. Like really awful. I rarely ever remember faces, names, the endings of films or books, what I ate last night etc. It’s reaaaally annoying. Anyway, I’ve left writing this blog post a week too long and now I’m struggling remember what happened… Thomas is in Kazakhstan for work so I can’t make him write this for me either… So, here are the bits I can remember:

1. When I was driving home from work on the Friday night I decided I would get myself in the ‘G Date’ mood and play something/someone that begins with a G…. so I put on some old school CraiG David…. So dyslexic..It was only when I told Thomas that I realised. There is a G in his name somewhere though so I’m letting myself off.

2. Thomas said we needed to dress up super warm so that is what we did:



3. He was too excited and told me what our G Date was before we got there – Ghost Walk! Now, we LOVE ghost stuff, both obsessed with horror films and ghost stories so this was right up our street. He told me it would be a walk around Bristol to lots of haunted destinations with a tour guide telling us all about them.

4. Tom knew that as thrilled as I was about a Ghost Walk, that he couldn’t organise a G Date for me without involving some gin. After Dry January I was VERY ready for a G&T so we got a taxi into town with a taxi driver who did NOT want to chat to me (first time he spoke was to demand money) and we went to a bar to grab our first drink before the tour started. This was essential to our warmth/survival.


5. I was surprised at how many people turned up to this Ghost Walk. It happens every Friday in Bristol and I was expecting it to be just us and a man dressed as a creepy butler…. it was about 30 people and our tour guide was just a normal man wearing a raincoat. He didn’t even have vampire teeth.

6. We met outside Bristol Cathedral and as people started to arrive I tried to suss out who was the tour guide’s “fake” customer – you know, someone there pretending to be one of us and then he would disappear at one point and come back covered in blood or with a sheet over his head or something. I made my pick, Thomas made his. We were both wrong…. I think we TOTALLY misunderstood what the whole Ghost Walk thing was going to be like to be honest….


7. We walked about 266 miles around Bristol over 2 hours. It was freezing and I couldn’t hear much because I’m short and always ended up at the back BUT I still had the BEST time. I couldn’t really explain why. Partly because I can’t remember and partly because it was an odd experience and I can’t really put my finger on it.

8. There were some really interesting ghost stories about various spots in Bristol including the Hippodrome, a few pubs and the Waterfront. The only story that freaked me out and gave me proper heeby jeebies was about the Odeon Cinema on Union Street. If anyone is from Bristol and reading this then you should Google it. Thomas and I are going to go and see a film there soon so that we can go real actual ghost hunting and then probably regret it for the rest of our lives. I’m the token blonde so the ghost will definitely get me first.


9. I think calling it a Ghost Walk is possibly a bit misleading; nobody jumped out at us, I didn’t scream once and I slept perfectly that night BUT I learned a lot about Bristol, it’s history, celebrity visitors and who’s stayed where. And a few ghosts. I will still 100% recommend it to anyone and it’s only £5 a head so you can’t go wrong with that. This is another thing we never ever would’ve bothered doing if it wasn’t for Alphabet Dating.

10. I didn’t take many photos of the Ghost Walk because I was too cold to take my hands out of my pockets. Obviously I would’ve braved the elements and filmed it for you had we actually seen any ghosts….

11. We were pumped and over excited once the tour finished so we decided to go on a bar hop around Bristol doing some gin tasting which turned into us finding one warm place with comfy chairs, Tom drinking beer and me just drinking the cheapest gin they had and then staying there all night until we were tired and had to come home. Rock and roll.


12. I think I got VERY drunk very quickly. I’m blaming Dry January.

13. Drunk Emilie really really nearly ruined Tom’s 30th Birthday surprises for next week. I’m still not entirely sure that I didn’t and that Thomas isn’t just trying to make me feel better by pretending I didn’t….

That’s all I can remember. No idea how I got home but I had a wonderful evening and as per usual when hanging out with Thomas, laughed a LOT.

I am SO excited to blog about our H Date. I have a winner up my sleeve. If Thomas isn’t so impressed that his head does an exorcist spin and then he faints then I’m definitely dumping him and finding Idris Elba/Ryan Gosling/my main man Tom Hanks to replace him.

Over and out ✌🏼💛

Alphabet Dating – ‘F’ Date 

So this is going to be a brief blog post because no matter how expert I feel like I am at nonsensical waffling there’s only so much that can be said about our ‘F’ Date. To summarise briefly; it was one of my favourite weekends with Thomas ever. Chilled, budget friendly (basically free) and exactly what we both needed. 

So, it’s January and if you follow my Instagram page (@sw_emilie) you will know that I’m struggling a little with the January Blues. I think that just like at least half of the humans in the land I’m run down, poor and still carrying some extra Christmas pounds (sad step/chub pounds not Great British Pounds)…..and also all of the pounds that I was already carrying before Christmas….. So the date needed to cost as little as possible and involve sticking to my Slimming World plan. As I’ve said previously I have gone a bit mad with my plans for our ‘H’ Date and therefore had to reign it in a bit for this one so I kept it super simple: Films, Fort and our Favourite Foodstuffs. 

Thomas jumped straight in there on Saturday morning and bought me some beautiful yellow (fave) Flowers to kick off our ‘F’ themed weekend. Obviously that’s a very nice thing of him to do and I willingly accepted my gift because I’m gracious like that and flowers make me feel all fuzzy and warm but he definitely broke an alphabet dating rule…Is he now going to expect me to contribute alphabet themed gifts on his dates? Should I have bought HIM the flowers?! I’m probably overthinking this, he may have just been doing a nice thing.   


We started the day with a Fry-Up (Slimming World style) brunch with all the trimmings.  


Then we walked our Favourite Person (Otis the Labradoodle) in our Favourite Place (in Bristol), for miles and miles and miles. That one isn’t a real F thing but I just wanted to include a photo of Otis because just look at his beard and his eyebrows and his giant hands!? He loves life.  
Then we came home and we made a motherfudging badass FORT. Like an actual real life adult version (so no random sheets, it all had to coordinate) of a Fort. I felt like I was living out my very own Pinterest fantasy if it weren’t for the dog hair and Otis shaped footprints all over the place and the fact that we were hanging out in a total fire hazard. Mixing candles and meters of cheap netting is a risky game.   

I was very impressed with our teamwork. By teamwork I mean me suggesting something and then stepping aside to let Thomas do it. When it transpired that none of our sheets were big enough to reach the ceiling and that our fort may just have to be a mattress on the floor covered in blankets my bottom lip started to wobble as my Pinterest dreams began crumbling before my very eyes. A few moments later and Tom appeared from the attic with a giant net thing that I had bought from Ikea many moons ago and never used (because I gave up trying to explain to him that the fact that we probably don’t have any killer mosquitos in Bristol doesn’t matter and that nets above your bed could just be for pretty) looking VERY smug. So I carried on ‘art directing’ Thomas as he constructed our fort (more of den if I’m honest but let’s not be pedantic) and this big old pile of cosy was the result:  

For dinner I made us a Chinese ‘Fakeaway’ which looked and tasted like our favourite takeaway but for a fraction of the cost and calories. Boring I know, MSG and grease are all kinds of fun but needs must.  

I had originally planned that we would watch our ‘Favourite Films’ but Tom didn’t fancy watching a weekend full of musicals and I didn’t fancy watching Jaws on repeat (don’t get me wrong, brilliant film but I know nearly all of the words as he’s made me watch it so many times). So, we just went for new films that neither of us have seen before. Thomas can’t believe I stayed awake for so many whole films AND I didn’t even have to ask him 2864 questions like ’who is the baddie?’ and ‘yeah but why is he a baddie?’ and ‘why did that just happen?’ and ‘what did she just say?’ and ‘do you think she’s pretty?’ and ‘I don’t understand what’s happening can we try another film?’ 

Some of the films we watched were:  

Whiplash: SEE IT IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY. Then allow yourself time to calm down afterwards and unclench your bottom cheeks. Perhaps a whiskey too. It’s tense AF.

Don’t Breathe: Again, so good. SO gross. But so good.  

Safe Haven: ……my choice. Tom was falling asleep so I chose something that I thought wouldn’t give me nightmares but it turns out its pretty intense for a chick flick (and am I allowed to say pretty good?!) and we both stayed awake for the whole thing. I promised Thomas I wouldn’t tell anyone that.  

The Ones Below: Still don’t know what I thought about this. Didn’t hate it. Liked the ending. Almost put me off the colour yellow. Worth a watch.  

The Shallows: How fit is Blake Lively?! Tom got his shark fill with this film (he’s obsessed) and I was surprised at how fun this film actually was? A little farfetched, sure, but fun.  

Aaaaaand then apart from a dog walk we pretty much didn’t move right through until Sunday night at 11pm when we finished out final film and went back up to our real bedroom and our real bed (which is not fort like at all) and back to reality.  

I’m one of those people who plans out every moment of their life – if it’s not in the diary it’s not happening. I find it so hard to truly switch off and relax but the fact that I had written ‘Forts, Films and Doing Fuck All’ in my diary for ALL of Saturday and Sunday meant that because it was organised fun I totally embraced it, chilled out, napped, switched off my phone (for some of it) and actually engaged in whole films. I’ve decided that this should be a quarterly thing for us and I’m going to put it in the diary so that it will definitely happen.  

Over and out  ✌🏼💛

Alphabet Dating – ‘E’ Date

Thomas really struggled with ideas for our ‘E‘ Date. He was going to do ‘Eating Out‘ but seeing as I’m currently on a MISSION with Slimming World he decided against that and I thank Beyoncé he did because I’m not sure I’m strong enough to say no to delicious naughty food put right in front of my mouth hole and knowing Thomas he would’ve taken us somewhere with all the cheese and all the fried foods on the menu. He said he also thought about taking me to the Everyman Cinema in Bristol but the film I’ve been badgering him about wanting to see for a month isn’t out yet (LaLa Land – cannot WAIT for Gosling to sing and dance for me) plus he already took me there for our ‘C’ Date (it’s amazing and I would’ve been happy to go again and curl up on their sofas and sleep through another film – expensive but fabulous napping venue!). He also considered the Eden Project but decided it’s too far to travel for something that he’s fairly certain would be a litttttle bit dull unless plants are your jam. And plants are not our jam so much. So… 

Eggs! The day started with scrambled eggs and all sorts of other bits and bobs for a delicious, syn free (brownie points for Thomas) brunch and a coffee in my ‘E’ mug: Actually, Thomas would tell you that our “E” date started with an ‘Early Morning Dog Walk‘ but he forgot to actually take me on this walk. While I was having a shower he and Otis disappeared off to the fields behind our house on an adventure where they apparently saw three deer (I just had to Google “what is the plural of deer” and I was judging myself as I typed but turns out Google suggested ‘deer’ as soon as I typed ‘plural’ so I am naaaat alone….) and I was not included. I have suggested that going forward I think it works best if we are both involved in our Alphabet Dates. 

Anyway, following breakfast we set off on a road trip. All I was told is that we were ‘Exploring’– this excited me greatly but my mind went straight to foraging in a muddy woodland so a) I was not dressed appropriately and b) were we going to be playing that game again where Thomas upturns old bits of tree to find aaaaallllll the creepy crawlies and then chases me with them? 

For the drive I was allowed to be DJ and play “Emilie’s Playlist” which, I can’t lie, is the absolute dog gahoonas. It’s a compilation of my favourite car singalong songs so we’re talking Beyoncé (of course), Rod Stewart, Damien Rice, Queen, Jay Z, Elvis and lots and lots of songs from the musicals. I am very very hip. One of my highlights of the day (and possibly my life) was singing a duet of ‘Defying Gravity’ with Tom. I am (always) Galinda and Tom is (forced to be) Elpheba (sadly she/he gets all the best lines in the song) and normally I have to sing both parts and Thomas just kind of hums along but the kid has been practicing?! He was FAAAABULOUS, knew almost all of the words and made up the ones he didn’t. I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned it before but he did a Drama degree and does some acting here and there so he LOVES an audience (I count as an audience) and therefore it was QUITE the performance. I was tempted to film our duet but sometimes I think these moments should be savoured and enjoyed in real time andz then filed in your memories instead. It brought me ALL the happy feels though and I’m probably going to marry him some day.

Throats raw and bellies sore (from laughing) we arrived in Cheltenham. I immediately breathed a sigh of relief for my shiny new Converse trainers – no foraging today. It’s only about an hour from us but we’ve never been there together so Tom thought we should explore a new place for the day! He parked us quite far away so that we could “explore on foot”* and we set off on our merry way. 

(*he had no idea how far away we were from everything) 

First stop: (Wedding) ‘Exhibition‘ in Cheltenham Town Hall. I’ve been to one of these before with my friend but this was Tom’s first experience…. These shows are so good for getting ideas but they’re also carnage. Everyone pounces on you and when you’re an awkward people pleaser like me you have to be very veeeery careful you don’t end up leaving having purchased a wedding dress you absolutely do not enjoy and putting a deposit down on a second wedding venue somewhere you’ve never heard of. There was a fashion show which is the single most uncomfortable thing I’ve ever seen…. I’m just going to end that point there… Highlight was Fat Tom eating all the cake samples and a very exciting goody bags, one of which had Clinique make up and moisturiser in – I’ve never had anything close to this from other wedding shows so I’m still convinced we just picked up some poor soul’s shopping. 

Next we decided to Explore the shops! I’m not a lover of shopping unless it’s for Christmas presents usually (short attention span, people everywhere, spending money guilt etc ) but when I saw The White Company and ‘Sale’ in their window I was there! I would basically like my house to look like one of their shops – who wouldn’t?! I really really really nearly bought myself the ‘pomegranate’ candle that I’ve wanted for many moons but I couldn’t part with the money. Gifts welcome, of course. Just saying. We also went to some really snazzy art galleries and some more shops that we couldn’t afford anything in… 

My biggest excitement of the day was discovering (bear with because I understand this place is old news to many but this was new to me) a shop called T2 Tea. As a lover of tea and especially herbal teas but also a collector of mugs, teacups and teapots I think I’ve discovered my real actual heaven on earth. I’ve never ever seen one of these shops before (there isn’t one in Bristol) and I feel like I’ve been robbed of many years of tea tasting and purchasing. It’s probably ok because I probably wouldn’t have managed to buy a house had I found it sooner but HELLO new favourite shop ever?! I spent a very long time going between “treat yo self Emyoncé” with a pile of teacups, saucers, diffusers, teas building up at the till point and then back to money guilt/should be saving for a wedding but eventually I settled on two new teas and a cayuuuute tea set to add to my collection. 


Tom said that next we should find somewhere to Eat for some Energy and promptly marched me the milkshake shop we had passed on our walk into town. Bastard. He was hoping they would have tea and a gluten free snack for me (he says) but they did not. What they did have was the most pornographic menu of ice creams, sundaes, milkshakes, crepes, waffles and so on and so forth. He was too excited and I couldn’t cope with him not fulfilling his warm Nutella fantasies even though their machines were broken so I couldn’t even have a cup of tea, and so I sat and watched Fat Tom (for those who ask why the nickname, this is why) who had JUST been telling me how he wasn’t that hungry and he’s one of those people who can go all day without eating, sit and demolish a waffle on a stick covered in melted chocolate. This is, I believe, his punishment/my karma for taking him to a Dealership on our D Date to buy me a car. Fair’s fair. And one day his metabolism won’t be so kind and he will wake up reaaaally chunky and I will laugh reaaalllly hard. 

On our way back home I we stopped off at “Emilie’s Favourite Service Station” – this sounds like he’s clutching at straws but I genuinely ADORE this place. It’s on the M5 in Gloucester and my friend Amy renamed it “The Middle Class Services” and she hit the nail on the head. If you’ve been you will know exactly what I’m taking about. It looks like where the Tellitubbies live (I was going to write “lived” but I really hope they’re still there) and it’s called a Farmshop rather than services and it has a gift shop that sells beautiful crockery and scarves and jewellery as well as a butchers and a cheese section and a cakes sections and it’s just dreamy. And REALLY bloody expensive. Tom bought himself a sandwich and some crisps and a giant fresh scotch egg “as a snack” (they had gluten free pork and apple ones too so I had to activate serrrioous will power) because he hasn’t eaten for a whole half hour since his waffle and I had fruit and tea. Will power ✅. 


I’ve loved today. Without Alphabet Dating we probably would’ve spent our Sunday talking about cleaning the house, maybe doing some chores and definitely napping – all necessary things but all things that can wait because taking time out of your busy lives to turn off your phones and just enjoy each other’s company and some simple pleasures is really important and also pretty enjoyable if you’ve chosen an alright partner. 

I already know what I’m going to do for our ‘F’ date and while it might not make the best blog content I think it’s going to be just what both need come the end of January. Thomas is VERY excited for whatever he has planned for our ‘G’ Date and I am eeeeeven more excited for our ‘H’ Date because I have a right corker up my sleeve….

Over and out ✌🏼💛

Alphabet Dating – ‘D’ Date

My turn to plan a date and I’ll be honest from the get go, ‘D’ Date wasn’t my best work. I REALLY struggled with ideas for this one. Originally it was going to be a surprise Double Date and Dancing with friends but nobody was free this weekend and we aren’t free any other weekends until January and I just needed to get on with it before I fall behind schedule (which can’t happen because I’ve already planned the date that should fall near Tom’s 30th in February… you see my predicament?!). I also thought about us just going for Dinner followed by Dancing at a Discotheque but with so many nights out planned for December I just knew neither of us would really fancy it.
So, half arsed D Date it was. We haven’t had a weekend at home in so long and we were both excited about not having to do a whole lot so I decided to keep it reaaaaally simple:

Feeding the Ducks. I would like to point out that my iPhone keeps autocorrecting ducks to fucks and so if any fucks slip into this blog post I’m ever so sorry. I must be a terrible human because Apple obviously noticed that I write the word fuck a lot more than I write the word duck…. AAANYWAY… On Saturday morning we drove to Chew Lake to feed the ducks. Anyone who has followed me on Instagram for a while might remember that Tom rescued a duck that got run over at Chew Lake in the summer and I demanded he bring it home to me so that I could be its mother and nurse it back to health. We called him Derek. He was the tits. We took Derek to the vets because he had a broken beak and a sad wing and they promised to look after him and return him to Chew Lake to be with his bros and hoes….. but it wasn’t a happy ending. He was too broken and died. I cried. This has suddenly turned very miserable, ever so sorry, but my point was we thought we would go and see Derek’s friends and his wife and kids and take them some bread. So we did that. The thing is… I’m REALLY scared of birds. I don’t count ducks/fucks in this because they have cute little waddly bottoms and inoffensive beaks and the most wonderful little webbed hands but seagulls…. they’re actual birds. So, Tom and I wandered down to the water’s edge, hand in hand, it was really lovely, someone should’ve been photographing us for a contrived engagement photoshoot… alas no. We approach the ducks, they’re chilled, friendly even. I get the loaf of bread out of my coat and OUT OF NOWHERE 379316 seagulls come for me. I nearly did an actual vomit right there and then. They were flapping at me and one pecked my leg with its demon beak. It was absolutely not hilarious (Thomas!) and the entire experience immediately made it into the top three most terrifying of my life (along with being squashed into the back of a car as a child with an old piece of furniture my Mum had just bought and seeing a spider crawl along it. No word of a lie I tried to jump out of a moving car on the motorway. Aaaaaaaand then when I was working on a reception for a recruitment company, by myself, in Bristol city centre and a pigeon just marched straight in like Billy Big Balls (presumably to apply for a job), then realising no one was there (I had leapt behind my desk to hide) he tried to get out and couldn’t find the door because city pigeons are MORONS, he FREAKED out and was flying all over the place and shitting everywhere, spilling his feathers and making the most guttural fear inducing sounds I’ve ever heard. I hid for a very very long time, balling my eyes out, until a passer by eventually came to rescue me).

Otis came along to feed the fucks and sat watching the whole thing like the content old man that he is and then just stared blankly at me during seagull-gate. Once I had calmed down we took him for a proper walk along the lake. A Dog walk, if you will, so that can count as a D thing…

You may (absolutely will) notice a theme with this weekend’s alphabet dating which is ‘clutching at straws’.

Next on the list was Decorating the house to transform it into a coppery Christmas grotto. I’ve gradually changed my theme over the past few years from all the colours (this cheered us up when we were living in a dive) to gold/silver/copper so before Decorating could commence we needed to work on the bauble situation. We went shopping to buy a tree and some decorations and returned home eight hours later with no tree, a LOT of decorations and most of our Christmas shopping done. Not a total failure but it did mean we were too late to get a tree and too tired to care. Shopping at Christmas time has got to be the best exercise in all the world?! We did go to IKEA though and picked up lots of Daim chocolates so there’s another ‘D’……..

Sunday was meant to be buying and Decorating the tree and then a Duvet Day. Tom was REALLY excited about this… however, I realised yesterday that I’m running out of time to upgrade my car which meant we had to go to VW which I promised him wouldn’t take long. Also car Dealership….. yeah?! Anyway I lied, it took forever and I couldn’t even make a decision so you could even say it was a total waste of time.

…Writing this is making me feel really sorry for Fat Tom…..

THEN, as if D Date hadn’t been enough of a fail, we decided to be really grown up about the tree and wait another week before buying it. We like a real tree when you have a giant Labradoodle with the waggiest tail you need to time your tree purchasing quite careful. A wrong move and you’ve got a naked needle less tree by December 25th. So that’s happening next week now which works out fine because a lot of the decorations I mass ordered during my Black Friday binge still haven’t arrived. Here’s our bauble haul so far:

Luckily Thomas is the most patient human in the whole wide land and hasn’t dumped me due to my failed D Date. We did compromise that when we got home he could play on his Xbox (coincidentally, the game is called Destiny sooooo it counts as part of the date) and I wouldn’t disturb him or tell him it’s rotting his brain or mock him when he talks to his fellow gamers through his headset or stand in front of the screen and block his view with my giant arse.

Tonight we had a Delicious Dinner (there are not many meals that begin with a D you know) and now we are snuggled on the sofa finally having our Duvet Day (evening).



Fear not, I have already started plotting the ‘F’ Date and it will involve actual plans and no bird attacks. Probably.
Over and out ✌🏼️💛

20 Facts About Me

I’ve been tagged in this lots on Instagram (sw_emilie) and I waffle too much for the word allowance on a post soooooo I thought I would do it on here instead: 

1. I love horror films, the scarier the better. Ghosts and real life crazies are scarier than zombies, but NOTHING is scarier than clowns. Shady things they are. 

2. My dream job is to be a wedding dress designer and have my own little shop – one day….  

3. I love sewing and drawing and used to sell my stuff while I was at uni to make some cash and keep a roof over my head. 

4. I’ve never (knowingly) met my real dad. I would like to one day. 

5. I have really awkward feet and find it impossible to find comfy shoes. I blame years of ballet. They are really small but with high arches and they’re wide at the front but not the back……Which is probably the cause of my foot phobia. I find feet so ugly and when people touch me with their feet I can’t be their friend anymore. 

6. I have a giant scruffbag labradoodle called Otis who was a birthday present from Tom five years ago and he’s the coolest kid I know. 

7. I did a Building Surveying degree at university in Bristol. BORING and not what I had planned to do but very useful and it led to me getting a snazzy job . 

8. I’m a people pleaser and can never say no to anyone (total pushover). 

9. I bloody love a to do list. Lists and plans make everything better……for example, when I was in my late teens I made myself a savings plan to buy a house when I was 25…

10. …and when I was 25 I bought my first house with Thomas. Last year we totally gutted and renovated it and now I love it. Still lots to do and hoping we can finish it all off next year. 

11. I’m allergic to EVERYTHING. It’s so annoying. Gluten, grapes/wine (but I still have white wine occasionally because I adore it and then I just suffer the consequences)/raisins, shellfish, animals, fancy face and skin products, something unknown that I need to find out because it’s driving me insane and I can’t work it out… Etc 

12. I have AWFUL stage fright. I do fear sicks before I have to do presentations. I would turn down a dream job off if it involved doing presentations or speeches. 

13. I have the most AMAZING nostrils. Like a super strength sense of smell. It’s excellent. I can always tell what people have eaten too.

14. I’m obsessed with twins. I really really want to have twins so I say my prayers to Beyoncé every night asking for them. One day. 

15. I love reading and my books are my pride and joy. The Beach, Room and The Time Traveler’s Wife are a few of my favourites. 

16. I’ve been with Thomas for over 10 years and he is the absolute dog’s doodahs. He’s so funny and it’s non stop, so I’m sure under all of this temporary chub I have some sassy abs waiting for me. 

17.  Thomas proposed in June this year in my favourite place in the world (see 18) and it was a complete surprise (see previous blog post). It couldn’t have been more perfect in a really non soppy cheesy perfect way because I’m not a fan of sop. If you know what I mean? It was just very chilled and very us. 

18. My favourite place in the whole world is a secret beach in Cornwall where I have holidayed every year since I was 3. 

19. I went to an all girls school. Boys smell. 

20. I love Beyoncé so hard and I can’t wait until Thomas surprises me and gets her to perform at our wedding.

21…. because apparently I can’t count and now I’ve fixed the numbers there are too many……..I went to Australia and fell in love with it and the people and the weather and the vibe. Thomas and I think we might move there for a year when we (hopefully) have children. 

Alphabet Dating – ‘C’ Date

Tom’s turn! 

We agreed the next few dates will have to be fairly low key as we are saving for Christmas time and all sorts and today was just perfect. We started off with a Cooked breakfast at our favourite Cafe in Clifton. All the C’s! It does gluten free breakfast which is hard to come by and it’s giant hairy Labradoodle friendly too which is excellent because Otis loves a civilised al fresco breakfast on a weekend. Clifton Village is so nice (I feel bad that I’ve written nice, didn’t everyone’s English Teachers ban that word in school? I’m rebelling – it’s staying in). If you’re ever visiting Bristol be sure to go and do what 99% of Bristolians do which is to walk around looking at all the shops and pining after the beautiful stuff that we can’t afford saying “when we we’re actual grown ups and we become rich by magic…” and then drive to the big shopping centre to do actual shopping. There’s no Primark in Clifton Village, for example, but there is an estate agents in which the starting price for a house could buy my entire street. It’s delightful. 


Next stop was the most beautiful little Cake shop called ANNA whom I would like to make my wedding cake (…when I’m an actual grown up and I’ve become rich by magic…) as they make all sorts of gluten free goodies. I don’t actually like cake (don’t tell anyone, in England people don’t trust you if you don’t like cake or tea) so I had a selection of macarons and a white chocolate, strawberry and coconut rocky road. Life. 

… If at this point you were wondering, on alphabet dating days we don’t count Slimming World syns….  

We are plebs and didn’t want posh coffee so we went to Costa and had Christmas Cups and sneakily ate our fancy cakes in there. We were those people. The man next to me was definitely wondering how he had missed the macarons when he was queuing. 


The final (and my favourite) part of our C Date was a trip to the fanciest Cinema I’ve ever been in to see Dr Strange. It’s called Everyman and it’s in what was an old cinema many moons ago and it is the absolute titties. It’s all clean and your feet don’t stick to the carpet and the loos have doors that you can lock so that nobody interrupts your pee time and you order your food and drinks and they bring it to you while you’re sat watching the adverts (which, by the way, is my absolute favourite part of any cinema trip) and they let you have gin and you get your own actual sofa. A whole sofa. Like with cushions and everything. We ordered our drinks (Fat Tom said he couldn’t eat a thing after his cake feast and then proceeded to order a large banana milkshake which was essentially just a tub of icecream – I’m a kind of grown up so I just had gin), got comfy, I engaged in the film long enough to hear a joke about Beyoncé, laughed so loudly that it was verging on antisocial and then I did what I always do when I go to the cinema, I had the most wonderful sleep. For an hour. Then I woke up for the final scene and can tell you that it’s an excellent film and you should definitely watch it. 


Tom ended the C Date by giving me a Card. There was no message in the card but he saw the card and thought of me…… so that’s nice. 

My turn next: D Date….. I had planned on taking Tom to Everyman cinema to see Dr Strange soooo…. any new ideas welcome! 

Over and out xx