Monday, 20 March 2017

Planning A Wedding: Where To Start

Buy a wedding planner!

A good wedding planner will have all the sections you need to keep you organised from start to finish and being organised massively reduces the stress, trust me! I bought mine on Ebay - this one. It had a couple of sections I didn't need but I just used them for ones I did.

I put EVERYTHING in my book.. Guest list, favour ideas, wedding gift ideas, table plan, menu choices, questions for the venue, all paperwork (venue, photographer etc), a list of things to remember to take to the venue (I'm staying there the night before), budget planner/tracker, list of things I need to get/track purchases and a section with a whole bunch of cut outs from magazines of things I liked from dresses to hair and make up, cakes, favours and monthly and 24 hour wedding check lists.


Set A Budget!

Even roughly. There is no point in going to look round/contacting venues and suppliers until you know what you can afford and how many people you need it/them to accomodate. Venues will ask how many people you're expecting and the price of feeding your guests is one of the largest bills you'll pay.

It's not just your wedding!

Discuss with your other half the kind of wedding you'd both like. Small and intimate with a handful of those closest to you or big and bold with every family member and friend you can think of? (This will help you know the kind of size venue to look for) Don't be disheartened if your other half doesn't want to talk decorations and favours.. As long as you can agree on a colour scheme, they will be happy to leave the decor to you!


Venue

It's also worth thinking about the time of year you plan on getting married - this can sway your mind on venues. When you have an idea of numbers you can start viewing venues. If you're searching local venues online, I'm betting you're looking up 'wedding venues in...' this will usually only bring up the venues that have paid to be on the websites listing wedding venues. If you're after a hotel for instance, try searching 'hotel in...' - we found ours that way - they have weddings on all year round and don't need to advertise so they don't come up in wedding related searches.

When you find a venue you love and have a date in mind you'll need to check with the local registry office that a registrar is available for your chosen date - don't just assume! Most venues will hold your chosen date for a week to enable you to make sure a registrar and suppliers are also available.


More wedding posts to follow :) Are any of you brides to be? xxx

Sunday, 12 February 2017

New York - My Trip in Pictures

As you'll know from my previous post (New York - My Top Tips) we went to New York a couple of months back. It was a brilliant week, we got to see and do (and eat!) everything on our list. Whilst I'm so glad we went and did really enjoy it, I wouldn't chose to go back. It didn't quite have that magical/overwhelming/exciting feel that I thought it would, it definitely wasn't as cheap as everybody would have you believe and the majority of people were pretty miserable/rude. It didn't put me off returning to America though, there are plenty more places we will visit over there without a doubt :)






















Hope you enjoyed the pictures! xxx

Thursday, 9 February 2017

New York - My Top Tips

Back in November/December we ticked one off our bucket list and went to New York for a week. It was one of those places everybody raved about and I thought I'd never get to see for myself but in February last year we booked it and now a year later I'm able to write this post!

When is the best time to visit New York?
Summer time can be really hot and sticky but your pictures will be cracking, Christmas is expensive and busier but more magical and February is the coldest time to go but also the cheapest. We were divided between going in February so it was cheap or before Christmas so we could see all the Christmas lights and window displays. In the end we decided to go right at the end of November into the first week of December, it was much cheaper than a week or so on and Christmas was in full swing too so it was a win win.


Where is the best place to stay in New York? And how can I get a good deal?
If you book your flights and hotel separately, it works out far cheaper and means more money for shopping! I always use compare sites to find the best deal. We flew with Norwegian Air, our experience was very good and I would definitely use them again. We knew we wanted to be within walking distance of as many of our must-see places as possible but didn't want to pay through the roof. It is cheaper to stay further out but then you need to take into consideration taxis and the subway to get around, with those added in, is it still cheaper? I didn't find there was a lot of difference. We stayed at the Hyatt place, Midtown South which I booked through TripAdvisor and I'd definitely recommend it. Times square was a few minutes walk, we were 2 streets away from the Empire State Building and had the perfect view of it out our hotel window and our room was modern, the bed was the comfiest hotel bed ever, we had a huge TV and free WiFi.. and free breakfast.


Things to do in New York?
Walk over Brooklyn Bridge - the views of manhattan as you look back are Inst-worthy!, stand in the middle of Grand Central station, take a yellow cab just for the experience, ride the subway - also an experience, go up Top of the Rock - it's cheaper than the Empire State and your pictures over the city will include it. Winning!, go shopping in Macy's, take a stroll (and tons of pictures) in central park, take the Staten Island ferry for pictures of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty - it's completely free!, wander round Times Square, visit a Target store for cheap goodies - we went to the one in Brooklyn after walking over the bridge, find the Flat Iron building just to take pictures of it, same with the beautiful Chrysler building and walk the high line for some different views over the city.


Where to eat in New York?
Have a burrito from a market (we went to Herald Square market, twice, for ours and it was the best burrito we've ever had!) - we also tried Chipotle for the first time there but their burritos weren't quite as good.
Have donuts! I done research before I went and we walked quite far to a little place called Dough, sadly the service was poor and the donuts ended up in the bin but Tim Hortons, wowzers. Go in the morning when they're most fresh.
Bubba Gump is a must. I know we have one in London but apparently it's not as good? We had a window overlooking Times Square, the food was delicious and service fantastic.
Pizza duuude! The best pizza place we found (and ended up in 3 times, oops) was The Big Slice near the flat iron. You definitely should try a dollar slice somewhere too, we tried one near central park and it was actually much nicer and tastier than I'd expected.
iHop gave me mixed feelings, I had a small fry up that came with a couple of pancakes on the side. The breakfast was really good and the pancakes were fluffy but not as sweet as I'd have liked and came with a salty lump of what I presume was butter on top. Service was brilliant though.
If you've tried Five Guys in the UK and didn't think it was all that (like my other half!) you probably wouldn't try one over there but trust me, it's far superior. You wouldn't think they were the same company. Mmmm!
I also recommend Chick-fil-A, Wendys and bags of Dove chocolate promises in peanut butter flavour!


Anything else?
-  Take comfortable shoes! - We walked over 50 miles in the week we were there.
- It's not as cheap out there as people say. $4.99 for a bag of crisps Dorito size.. $4.50 for a large bag of M&Ms.. And forget bringing home a suitcase full of Reeces Cups, they're cheaper over here!
- People in New York just aren't that friendly. Apparently everyone knows this - I didn't. Unless they're working for tips in general people are pretty miserable.
- Create 'My Maps' on Google. Pin all of your must-see places on a map for when you get there. It doesn't need data either as it uses GPS so it's free!
- Don't worry about not being able to use your social media accounts without running up a huge bill, almost everywhere has free wifi.
- Toilets.. I never saw a public toilet?! We had daily Starbucks pit stops to refuel and use the loo (and wifi!). Most of them have codes on the door which you need to get from staff.
- The subway is £2.50 per person per ride. We used it coming back from Brooklyn (we walked around 9 miles that day, there was no way I could have walked back!) the staff are really helpful although we still found it a little intimidating to use, definitely wouldn't have used it at night.
- Prices on items in shops/restaurants etc don't usually include tax - this is added at the til when you pay.
- If you find yourself being pestered by people trying to sell you tickets, try leaving the hotel not looking like a tourist.. The days I didn't take my bag or have my camera out we were left completely alone which we both found highly amusing!
- There are a lot of homeless people and beggers, especially at night and around main train stations. We visited Penn Station one night as we had planned to get the train back to the airport but it put us off.
- Don't go to the airport any earlier than you need to coming home, trust me. For a main airport, the facilities were very lacking. Coming in was pretty quick and easy and the staff very friendly.


In my next post I'll share some of our pictures from our trip :) xxx

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Why I don't want children..

Some people were born to be mothers. I was not.
From a young age (I'm talking middle school age) I've been adamant I don't want children and I still feel that way now, if not more so. I always said I want cats, not children!
Before I carry on, please remember all of this is my opinion and how I feel, my aim is not to annoy anybody but just to explain why I feel the way I do. 
I'm not entirely sure why I was so sure I didn't want children when I was just a child myself but I'm older now and have several reasons and it isn't just because I don't want to push one out my lady parts!! Thankfully I'm with someone who shares these views and also does not want children.

My mum always told me I'd change my mind. I'd put money on it that she's still hoping I will.

Put simply, children annoy me. There, I said it. Not all children of course (I mean, I love my nieces, nephew and cousins to bits) but the annoying ones that are just relentless, too loud and too grizzley - I'll try to avoid those ones where possible. Don't get me wrong, I'll be the first to point out a family with well behaved children.. But I'll also be the first to moan when a child is screaming, playing up, whining, crying and so on. I can't bear the noise, it goes right through me - how do mothers carry on like they can't hear it?! - What's the secret please??


I enjoy being able to do what I want, when I want. This one is pretty self explanitory but I/we just like to be able to come and go as we please and if you have a child or children it's not always feasible. Plus any money we have is for us, no children means more money for us to do with as we please. Taking children out is so expensive!! We definitely wouldn't be able to go out half as much as we do now.. Sometimes when we're bored, we'll just jump in the car and go for a random drive to the coast or wherever - even if it's really late at night. It's times like this or when we go for peaceful walks that we have great chats about anything and everything, with no interuptions.


As I mentioned above, I love my nieces, nephew and cousins to bits and do really enjoy spoiling them and taking them for days out.. But that's just the fun stuff isn't it, that's the easy part. As much as we love them all, not having to deal with the bad stuff and getting home to a quiet house afterwards is priceless. My mum's always said we'd be great parents, we are both really good with children and we'd give a child a great life but it's just not what we want, we enjoy our peace and quiet!

I/we just don't want to give up our (good) life because we're so happy as we are and don't wish for it to change. What do you get out of being a parent? I asked my mum and all she could say was she wouldn't change me for the world.. But what does she get out of being a mum? What would I get out of being a mum? Pooey nappies, sleepless nights, grumpiness, snotty noses (gag), a messy house, bickering with Aaron, less money, less 'us' time, fewer holidays/weekends away, much less peace and quiet/down time, headaches, constant worry.. and the odd good day with the odd 'I love you.'

Will I ever regret not having children? No. Why? Cause I'll have had freedom.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Our Holiday to Crete

Our holiday to Crete is my favourite holiday that we've had so far. Would I go there again? Yes! There are so many beautiful places to see - I'd definitely recommend hiring a car/quad bike and seeing as much as you can.

Where To Stay In Crete.
When we went, we stayed in Platanes, just outside Rethymno on the north coast. Although we thoroughly enjoyed where we stayed and liked how we were quite central, if we were to return then we'd definitely stay in Chania (west of Rethymno) as it's one of the nicest cities I've ever visited and most of the places we fell in love with were that side of the island. The north of the island has a main road running right along which makes getting about a lot easier and quicker. The roads on the south of the island leave a lot to be desired! Many of the ones we ended up on were rubble which made journeys take a lot longer but don't let that put you off, it's less touristy and the beaches on the south are quieter and there's gorgeous deserted coves too.

beach in crete
Dipping my toes in the sea :)

We travelled as far east as Malia (around 1 hour 15 mins away) - out of curiosity really - and unless it's soley nightlife you're looking for, I wouldn't recommend. We travelled as far west (south-west) as Elafonisi lagoon (just over 2 hours away) which is the most beautiful place I've ever seen in my life.

Top 5 things to do in Crete.
 
Elafonisi beach lagoon

Elafonisi beach lagoon

Elafonisi lagoon

As I mentioned, this is the most beautiful place I've ever seen. I'm not sure the pictures do it justice, it was just bliss. The sand is pinky white and the water is clear blue and in many parts very shallow, we were able to go out so far and it never got any higher than my knees. It was well worth the 2 hour drive each way but as I said, I'd stay closer if I were to return. We were told about 2 lagoons, this one was the best of the 2 but I've decided to do a comparison post where I'll really go into it as they're very different.

Chania

Chania

Chania promenade


We really enjoyed visiting Chania, it's a city so there's plenty to see and do but what sold it for us was the promenade/port area. There's a lot of places to eat and drink right by the water, we really enjoyed chilling out with drinks and the sound of the water gently lapping the wall but we ate dinner in the old part of the town. We found a pretty little 'old Cretian style' restaurant with outside seating in a little courtyard. It was really difficult to choose where to eat as there were so many great little places.

South of the island

Agios Pavlos Crete

Agios Pavlos cove Crete

We only saw a small part of the south island as it look over an hour to get there and the roads weren't great. We visited Preveli beach which looked gorgeous online but unfortuntely we were disappointed. It was over crowded and dirty. We headed along to the Agios Pavlos area, in the middle of nothing really. We had the whole place to ourselves and caught the sunset, it was so lovely. On our way to the south of the island, we stopped to stretch our legs and both experienced something we'd never experienced before. We got off the quad, looked at the view then realised we could literally hear nothing. No wind, no traffic, no birds.. Absolute silence, with a gorgeous view. It was just amazing.

Hire a quad

Quad bike hire Crete


Me quad bike
Aaron quad bike






















For the first week of the holiday we hired a car to get around, then we swapped it for a quad for the last few days which was awesome. There's something far more exciting and exhilarating about jumping on a quad bike to get about rather than a car. We'll definitely be opting for a quad over a car for future holidays, I do recommend getting one with a box on the back to put your handbag/suncream/map though - although it's not safe to leave unattended.

Try a gyro

Our flight to Crete was an evening one but by the time we'd got off the transfer coach - which seemed to take forever - it was around 11pm. We dropped our cases in our hotel room and wandered down the road in search of food! The only place still serving food was a fast food shop with a restaurant on the side.. This was our first taste of gyros, they're a must if visiting Crete. They're kind of a kebab, it has the kebab meat but it also has chips and a gorgeous Tzatziki sauce in there, boy it was good. The sauce was so good, we've been making it ourselves since, although it's not quite as good as the real thing! Unfortunately I never got a picture of this (what?!) but I can assure you it was yummy!

tiffanyleighx blog
don't worry, my eyebrows are way better now ;)

What a brilliant holiday it was. I always say I would go back but I probably won't go back. I would because it's beautiful and the people are so friendly and laid back but I won't because there are so many other places for us to visit first before we make repeats, do you know what I mean?

Are you thinking of visiting Crete? Or have you been before? I'd love to know where you stayed/where your favourite places were! xxx