Summer Of Fun – Part 1

I’ve not long returned from a work trip and as usual, going on an aeroplane fills my head with memories of trips gone by and those to come too so I wanted to bring you some of my top tips for some of my favourite places. Following on from the Essex Girls Half Marathon effort last year in June, we jetted off for our much anticipated trip to The White Isle for part 1 of what I’ve named the ‘Summer Of Fun’.

If you are planning a visit, these are my must-sees….

Pacha 

The ‘original’ super club. On my first visit last year, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I’ve seen films and heard stories that made me think I was going to be heading into something similar to an illegal rave and being that drugs are totally not my bag, I was nervous. Yes, that exists but Pacha itself is super G-L-A-M and in 2015 the decor was themed around the Moulin Rouge which was convenient as our last trip together was to the original in Paris. There’s so many different areas to discover but my favourite bits are the roof terrace – with girls dancing in giant martini glasses and chilled beats on balmy summer nights – and the discovery this time round of the R’n’B room. If you are not into EDM and prefer something a little more commercial then this is the room is definitely the one for you!

 

Ocean Beach 

Words can’t describe how excited I was to be heading to Ocean Beach Ibiza. All my favourites in one day! My girls, champagne, vodka, old skool garage music courtesy of Kisstory all whilst enjoying the blazing sunshine!! Perfection. I’d highly recommend booking yourselves a VIP bed if there are a few of you as you will easily meet the minimum spend throughout the day. The day is spent flitting between the pool – adorned with giant glitterballs and amazing aerialists – back to the ‘Veuve Cliquot’ accessorised bed to dry off and top up the tan. My advice to you is remember to drink water and try and wear a hat to keep the sun off your head…. You don’t want to end up with sunstroke and ruin the evening plans! 

  

Blue Marlin 

Set in its own secluded spot in Cala Jondal away from the hustle and bustle of San An and Playa D’en Bossa, Blue Marlin gives you the perfect day to night venue. It’s a beach club by day, with exclusive cabana beds and a private beach before welcoming house DJs and dancing girls by night. This is flanked by an amazing al fresco dining area where you can watch the sunset before the trees are lit up with pink fairy lights. It’s not the cheapest of places but it feel exclusive, glam and is well worth every penny! You wouldn’t be surprised if a yacht pulled up and an A Lister stepped off to sit on the table next to you. I can highly recommend the Burrata with tomato, zucchini flower, Wagyu ham and fresh basil, Beef Tournedos with homemade cranberry mustard, green beans and potato purée! I was also a massive fan of the illuminated bottle of ‘Ibiza’ Belvedere vodka! Absolutely perfect venue for a more chilled night, with good music, good food, good wine, best friends and lots of laughs. 

  

 Cafe Mambo

An essential! One of the most iconic bars in Ibiza. The most important tip I can give you is to book a seafront table (as far in advance as possible) to ensure you get the best view of the amazing sunset that falls over the bay. Don’t worry about the (low) minimum spend as the food is great and the cocktails go down a treat so between a group you it’s easily achievable. As it’s such a renowned venue on the White Isle, you are likely to have some of the worlds best DJs providing the soundtrack to the view of a lifetime. And you might even spot the famous Mambo Brothers on the next table if you are very lucky.

  

The other places I would try and pay a visit to whilst on the island would be Ushuaia – for one of their club nights, nothing better than starting your night here, before a quick freshen up in the hotel and off to finish off your night at one of the super clubs, and The Ninth – the rooftop bar at the Hard Rock Hotel – clean white leather sofas, cocktails and amazing views across Playa D’en Bossa bay. I’ve also heard good things about Ibiza Rocks House, where they filmed Wham’s Club Tropicana video. I’ve not been but it sounds like my kind of place! 
  

I’ve visited Ibiza twice and I have to say that I really love it there. Besides the sunshine, Spanish food and beautiful beaches, I found an affection for this little place with a big personality because you don’t have to conform, you can be yourself and nobody passes judgement. 

Katie xx

The sun has set beautifully on 2015

So I’ve been AWOL for quite some time. 

Basically 2015 was a whirlwind, amazing year. Well a few initial hiccups then amazing for the majority before turning a bit shitty in December but I’ll get to that. 

First I want to tell you why I’ve been quiet for so long. I’ve covered off the first half of the year during previous posts on my #100daysofhappiness so I’ll just give a whistle stop tour of the second half. 

In June, myself and 4 of the best ones completed our new year challenge. We ran a half marathon. When I say ran, I actually ran. The entire way. I never ever thought I would be able to do it and with actual blood, sweat and tears through training we managed to achieve it, together. The dream team! 

To reward ourselves, we headed off to Ibiza shortly after. God I love that island. The weekend was full of laughs and memories that will last a lifetime. I want to share the places we visited but I’ll save that for another post! Sunning myself with my best girls, partying to Kisstory at Ocean Beach and experiencing how the other half live at Blue Marlin were definitely highlights for me! 

  

In August my parents celebrated 40 years of marriage. What an achievement! They are a shining example of true love, married at 18 and still having fun together 40 years later. My aim is to share the same kind of true love with someone myself one day. If I can have even 10 years experiencing the same depth of love they have for each other then I’ll be happy. I don’t want to settle for anything less. 

A reoccurring event in my annual calendar is V Festival. Those who have read my blog know about my love of music and I am so lucky to welcome some of the worlds best bands and artists to a festival on my doorstep every August. 

The following week I headed off to one of the most anticipated events of the year… My friend’s wedding in Rome. There were many things going through my mind prior to the trip as it was my first time in Italy, I’d never experienced a wedding abroad before and the thing that was making me most apprehensive was that these friends (and all the other people going) were people I had met through Mr Long Term, so he himself was going to be there too. I was nervous but I needn’t have been.  

Rome turned out to be everything I wanted and more. The city and food were amazing, the wedding itself was INCREDIBLE and I laughed until my face hurt every moment of every day there. Most coined phrase ‘when in Rome’ made almost any behaviour acceptable. I also met someone, who I’ve named Mr Nice Guy, you’ll hear more later. I’m so honoured to have been given the opportunity to celebrate with the happy couple and experience the love surrounding them, something that I will never forget. 

  

After four days at home, I jetted off to my happy place in Majorca where I spent two blissful weeks with my family. Sunbathing, eating, drinking, repeating. 
  

On my return to the UK I wasn’t met with the usual horrendous blues I have when I leave there. Many reasons for this included dates with Mr Nice Guy, one of my girls getting engaged, another two giving birth to their beautiful babies and one of my closest friends asking me to be her Maid of Honour next year. 

The final few months of the year sped by with lots of nights out, weekends with Mr Nice Guy and work being so busy heading into the festive season. 

So, Mr Nice Guy. Who is he? He is exactly that. He’s fun, good-looking, so kind, adores his family and is loyal beyond words. I made some great memories with him which made it all the more difficult when things didn’t work out for us just a few days before my birthday and Christmas. It was a bit of a shock as things seemed to be great during my visit to see him the weekend before.

I’m not really sure what happened. I questioned myself (and still do occasionally) wondering if it was something I did wrong. Did I say or do something wrong? What’s wrong with me? Why doesn’t he want it to work? Why is this happening to me again? Feeling so sad at a time when you are meant to be full of Christmas spirit is really hard. So I got drunk a lot with my friends. 

But now, I’ve focused on the fact that everyone crosses your path for a reason. His reason? To show me the sort of person I’d like to be with and that there are actually some decent single guys left out there. I’m really happy we met and that I had the opportunity to get to know him. 

What now for 2016? 

Well even though we are only 10 days in, it’s shaping up to be quite some year already. 5 weddings plus 3 hen weekends, a new baby in the summer (not mine, obvs), 2 wedding cakes to make and 10 days in Majorca in the Autumn. But I have also felt the need to make some big changes to my own life so have been focusing on self development. 

I’m going back to uni to complete my marketing diploma, I’ve never been more focused on saving money to achieve my goal of buying my own home, I’m going to learn Spanish and I am determined to shift the last 10lbs that has been lingering during 2015. Basically, I’ve chosen some things to achieve that I am solely responsible for so basically my happiness has no reliance on other people. If I don’t achieve these things, I can only blame myself. On the flip side, when I do achieve them, I’ll be able to feel immensely proud. 

I hope 2016 is the happiest yet for you all and that your hopes and dreams come true x

30-odd years on earth have taught me… 

I was inspired to write this after reading another blogger’s post. Check hers out here

1 – Hard work pays off. My parents are proof. Forever grateful for the sacrifices they made to give my brother and I the best lives. 

2 – Laughing with your friends is the best. It really is.   

3 – Never keep secrets. It’s dangerous, it makes you ill and no good will ever come of it.  It’s good to talk. 

4 – Be kind, always. You don’t know what others have been through or are going through.

5 – Friendship takes work (it doesn’t just happen) but the rewards are so worth it.

6 – McDonald’s breakfast is the only cure for hangovers. Sausage & egg McMuffin, hash brown and those perfect bottles of tropicana. 

7 – British people are the only people who know how to make tea properly.

8 – True, forever love does exist. My parents and grandparents are proof of this. 40 & 63 years of marriage respectively.

9 – As does love at first sight.

10 – Red lipstick automatically makes you feel ‘party ready’.

11- Dress size doesn’t matter… Wear what makes you feel amazing.

12 – Curves are good.

13 – Sometimes you just have to accept you are not a tidy person.

14 – Forgive people for their mistakes. We all make them. 

15 – You can’t please everyone, so start with yourself and the right people will be happy. 

16 – Tequila is never a good idea. 

17 – You don’t have to fill silences. It’s taken me a while to learn this but sometimes no words need to be spoken. 

18 – Money doesn’t buy happiness. Look at the likes of Peaches Geldof and Amy Winehouse for example. 

19 – Your mum is always right.

20 – You can’t find happiness from other people. They help, but it has to begin with you. 

21 – Try new things – you never know. I didn’t know I’d love formula 1 until I saw it live. You just never know! 

22 –  Being on your own is a blessing. It helps you realise number 20 is true.

23 – Home made cakes are the best.

24 – Sometimes you just have to accept that you are bad with money. 

25 – It really is the thought that counts.

Katie xx

All the single ladies…

I’ve come across a few articles recently which talk about being a single lady…. Cue Beyoncé singalong. 

They talk about various things, like Internet dating, how dating in your 30’s is a different ball game, characteristics of a single 30 something, why it’s better to be single, why it’s better to be in a relationship… Blah blah blah.  

When I wrote this I was sitting on a train back from Liverpool where I spent a weekend with some special friends and I read an article entitled ‘I’m happy being single but no one believes me’ then it struck me, every article takes a side. You either have to want a boyfriend and be desperate or want to be single and hate men. There’s no middle ground and it annoys me! 

This article talks about the fact that she is happy being single because she doesn’t want a boyfriend. It categorises single women into those who don’t want a boyfriend, the eternal ‘spinsters’ (God, I hate that phrase) and those who are desperately seeking their knight in shining armour, sitting around worrying about growing old on their own.

But what about those of us that are happy with life, not needing a man to complete them but not ruling out a forever love either?  These articles are so stereotypical and assuming… It’s ok to just enjoy life and see what happens but the articles never say this!! 

I truly am so happy but that doesn’t mean I don’t want a boyfriend, I’m just selective. I have a very fulfilled and busy life which means that I don’t have time to waste dating people who don’t want the same things as me in life. And maybe there isn’t anyone who wants the same as me, and if there’s not then so be it. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m the only one who’s just on the fence about being single and being in a relationship.

Having said all of that, it is lovely to make memories with someone, laugh with someone and cuddle up watching films with someone but it’s also absolutely lovely to do what you want, when you want, with who you want, stay at work late without feeling guilty, buy what you like, make last minute plans AND have the bed to yourself too!! 

Katie x

Happiness is…. Part 1

If you’ve been reading my blog, I think it’s pretty clear what brings me happiness! I’ve decided to write a series of blog posts around a few of those things and I am starting with one of my favourite things to do…. Going out!

I am blessed to have the fantastic city of London virtually on my doorstep and whilst my friends and I have our favourite places that we visit time and again, I’ve actually tried a few new places recently and now have a list as long as my arm of places that I NEED to try!! A few of my favourites haunts are:

Mabel’s – Covent Garden
Previously known as Jewel Bar, Mabel’s was recently the venue for a friend’s boyfriend’s 30th birthday. It was a Friday night so Maiden Lane itself was buzzing, the bouncer opened the door to let us in and we were greeted by people laughing and singing along with the band that were making their way round the tables singing modern classics like ‘Sex Is On Fire’ and ‘Mr Brightside’. I loved it immediately.

We made our way downstairs to the reserved area which was more of a club feel, with a dance floor, a bar, booth areas and later, a DJ. The staff were all fabulous and I was suitably impressed when after just a couple of orders, I went to get another and the barman remembered my order.

I recently suggested Mabel’s as the location for a little Thursday night soiree with one of my oldest friends. We popped along for a spot of food (which is DELICIOUS) and cocktails. It was a Thursday evening mid-month so slightly more chilled than my previous visit. We sat in leather armchairs and sipped our drinks, putting the world to rights. It was like sitting in someone’s lounge… just with a few more people!

I can highly recommend a visit to Mabel’s and my cocktail of choice was the ‘Ginchello’ – Gin, limoncello, homemade redcurrant syrup, lychee juice and prosecco. Divine!

Oyster Shed – City of London
I love a bar with a view, usually from a rooftop terrace, but there’s no need for a rooftop at The Oyster Shed as it overlooks the Thames with views of The Shard, Tower Bridge and some of the other fab buildings along the river. The Oyster Shed is a fave of mine and the girls during the summer months with long evenings spent there, soaking up the evening sun.

The Oyster Shed is a firm favourite of mine because it’s decked out (excuse the pun) in a beach theme, even the toilet cubicles downstairs are beach huts!! Combined with the fact it overlooks the water, I automatically feel as though I am on holiday without a care in the world, forgetting that I am in the City!!

The menu has a good selection of seafood, but if you are not a fan of seafood, there are plenty of other options so don’t let that put you off!

This is one of my favourite places to visit throughout the summer months when the sunshine is putting a smile on everyone’s face.

On the Roof – Selfridges
I love Selfridges, and I love rooftop bars. When I heard Selfridges had a rooftop bar, well that was it, I HAD to visit. I first visited for lunch last summer when the rooftop was branded as ‘On the Roof with Q’, a grill restaurant that had recently opened in Camden. I have to say that I was slightly disappointed with the view as mostly you just see rooftops, however, it doesn’t take away from the experience at all. The astroturf and cute furniture made me feel as though I was at a BBQ in someone’s garden which I liked a lot.

I visited again just before Christmas. I was worn out and chilled to the bone from a day of Christmas Shopping and a visit to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park so decided to rest my feet . To my delight, On The Roof had been re-themed to ‘Le Chalet’ with patio heaters, warming cocktails and wool blankets on each chair. I’ve never been skiing as I love the beach but Le Chalet was exactly how I imagine après ski to be!

I can’t wait to see what the theming will be this year, it’s somewhere I would definitely add to a list of date nights, particularly in the winter months.

21 – Covent Garden
On to my favourite bar. The bar overlooks the piazza in Covent Garden, and when most people head to the Punch and Judy for an al fresco drink with a view, I will head to 21, where I can sit on their balcony and watch all of those people crammed in to Punch and Judy.

I don’t know if I can put my finger on why 21 is my favourite. It’s quite small but it’s also unpretentious, laid back and relaxed (so maybe because I feel it matches my personality)? I took one of best friends there last week and she also loved it. She said it reminded her of being on holiday and I wondered if that might be another reason why I like it so much.

I went again last week with some other friends and for the first time I sat downstairs in the restaurant area which was just as fab. It’s Italian, reasonably priced and it also had happy hour on cocktails, always a winner. I had the Alla Roma pizza and although I have not visited Italy, I can imagine that all the pizza’s taste that good!!!

I can’t wait to visit Rome in the summer, if the bars and restaurants are anything like 21 then I am not sure I’ll be on the flight home!!!

Adventure Bar – Covent Garden
Adventure Bar has a reputation of being my go to place now. When I turned up last week the bouncer said ‘You again?!’…. think I maybe need to find a new place to go! In truth, I have only been 5 times over the last year, I am clearly just very memorable!!!

It’s a party bar with an extensive cocktail list, random flavoured shots and probably the best catalogue of music available. The staff are all really fun, clearly enjoying their jobs and their happiness is infectious. They also serve the drinks REALLY fast which is a bonus.

I can recommend booking an area if you are planning a visit as it can get really busy and then if your names not down, you’re not coming in.

The Alchemist – Bevis Marks
I first visited The Alchemist at Trinity Leeds shopping centre whilst on a work trip and once I’d been, I was desperate for them to open one at the shopping centre I work at, or if not, then at least in London. Then, 2 years later, they finally opened one in the heart of the city. YES! I’ve not visited properly yet. I did go for one quick double vodka and DC en route to Liverpool Street late last week but I was quite well-oiled. I remember loving the high ceilings at the fairy lights but that’s about it.

I can’t wait to go and sample the cocktails with the girls. I’m not sure whether to try the French Martini, White Chocolate Raspberry Martini or the White Cosmo first!!!

Let me know if you’ve visited any of my favourites or whether you have any recommendations for me to try. As much as I love the classics, I like to try somewhere new once in a while.

Hugs, Katie xx

 

The Effect Of #100HappyDays

The final stint #100happydays has been and gone….

Day 94 – Picked up the parents from the airport and although running in the terrible wind made me feel I was standing still at times, I managed my fastest 5km.

Day 95 – Purchased a new dress for Ibiza AND Chase and Status announced and Ibiza residency!!

Day 96 – Got a lovely new pair of suede boots in the River Island sale for £20!  Bargain!  Oh and Camilla made my day by sending me a link to the best mugs ever!!

Day 97 – Fab away day with work today, brushing upon Harrods history!  #Geek

Day 98 – 4 day weekend started with drinks in Adventure Bar….Fave!!

Day 99 – Nice evening seeing the best one and her little monkeys!

Day 100 – Well it’s been emotional, but here we are again!  Today’s happiness is bought to you by some random at Westfield telling me I was beautiful.  Always nice to hear!  Thanks everyone for putting up with my 100 days, good luck to those I’ve inspired and sorry to those I’ve annoyed along the way!!  Thanks for your support.  Love you all long time xxx

So we all know why I began this blog and embarked on my second round of #100happydays and it appears that I am not alone.  I thought I was a *little* crazy, the only one that thought doing this would make a difference but it appears I’m not the only one…I’ve been in touch with some other people who have also undertaken their own #100days and there are such similarities.  Knowing that everyone else has experienced the same feelings during and after completing their #100days is comforting – feel more normal now!

The situations that have bought on the need to seek some positivity in life have varied from depression and anxiety to splitting up with a husband, loss of a loved one and one the same as me… going from being a glass half full girl to feeling negative and unhappy.  Each person had been inspired to do #100days because they had seen a friend do it on social media and felt that it was worth a try.

It absolutely is worth a try. They have all. said how some days it can be a struggle to find a happy moment but as every day goes by it becomes easier…. perhaps because finding happiness each day actually starts to alter the way that you think eventually.  One person who was dealing with multiple heartbreaking and life changing situations said,  ‘I truly believe that life wasn’t getting better on its own, it just wasn’t seeming so bad anymore as I was having a shift in attitude.’  And I completely agree.

Everyone has challenges, problems and situations to deal with and whilst you may think that what’s happening to them is small, insignificant and unimportant it can be all-consuming and affect them in ways that they never felt possible.  It could also be one of many things that have happened to them – the final nail as it were – but talking to the other ladies that have undertaken this project has showed me that no matter what the challenge, happiness and positivity is always the answer AND you are not alone.

Coming soon – Marriage, What Happiness Is To Me and More Dating….

Love Katie xx

 

The home straight of happiness… 

I’ve not written about my #100daysofhappiness since Day 56.  I’m now on the home straight of the 100 days (today is day 94) so thought now would be a good time to break my silence on the happy days. 

Day 57 – special memories made tonight in Liverpool with one of my bestests xxx
Day 58 – walk on the beach, shop at Cheshire Oaks followed by curry and wine. Perfect!!
Day 59 – love doing something nice for something when it’s unexpected
Day 60 – After 20 years, I finally got the photo…
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Day 61 – afternoon tea booked with my bestest, can’t wait for next week now xx
Day 62 – excited as today felt like spring is on its way! Woo!
Day 63 – out of the blue phone call from a lovely friend made my day!
Day 64 – really fun work night out
Day 65 – surviving work with a rather bad hangover thanks to Pizza Hut Express and a Reese’s Krispy Kreme
Day 66 – a year ago today my life changed completely.  The last 12 months have been a roller coaster but have been incredible at times.  Happy today because of my wonderful family, friends and everything I’ve experienced since that day xxx
Day 67 – V line up announced.  Can. NOT. WAIT.
Day 68 – enjoyed a little bit of baking
Day 69 – had a fab ‘Christmas’ day out with the best one.  Afternoon tea, shoe purchasing and then a few drinks with a new friend! Great day! X
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Day 70 – so happy that I created a beaut cake for a friend! No pics yet until it’s been given to the recipient.
Day 71 – evening of bubbles and lols with some of the best ones.  And my shoes were christened!
Day 72 – so happy that my 100 days have inspired Jo to do the same.  There you go, you finally got your own day!!
Day 73 – did a decent 5km run in the sunshine.  Happy days!
Day 74 – Sam Smith and John Legend.  Just amazing.  If you haven’t heard their Comic Relief single then get it in your life!!
Day 75 – picked up my spring coat from the dry cleaners.  Winter coat will soon be banished!! And while looking for something else I found this pic of me and a special girl x
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Day 76 – so thankful to be in my bed with fresh sheets
Day 77 – so much love for my best one Flamingo Monroe for speaking up about thyroid issues.  What an inspiration.  Proud is not the word! Check it out www.flamingomonroe.com
Day 78 – amazing fashion shows at work always make me happy!!!
Day 79 – fab night at Mangetout, highly recommend!
Day 80 – don’t know how, but managed to avoid a hangover!
Day 81 – found a way to laugh off a very ‘cringe’ situation
Day 82 – another happy cake delivery today, my very first Tiffany box cake! Bad picture. And I FINALLY got my eyebrows done!
Day 83 – a tough one today.  5am start, not a very nice experience in a meeting, looked at Christmas grottos, train delayed on the way home AND got a parking ticket.  BUT still smiling thanks to my gals and Thai noodles with fishcake dinner!
Day 84 – lovely wagas with my amazing friend Camilla.
Day 85 – today was apparently #InternationalDayOfHappiness – I am not so sure.  All I can say is thank god for my amazing friends and the strength I have learned throughout my life.
Day 86 – yes, the day is not over yet, but there is only one thing to say today.  I am so thankful that in my life I’ve learned when it’s time to step up and do the right thing.  Honesty is always, always the best policy.
Day 87 – finally, Mr Grey was ready to see me tonight. He was worth the wait!
Day 88 – feeling motivated in all aspects of life today
Day 89 – only one more sleep until I get to see the incredible Sam Smith! Excited is not even the word.
Day 90 – Sam Smith took my breath away tonight.  Incredible talent, what a voice!
Day 91 – lovely catch up with Mrs Hills tonight!
Day 92 – had a visit from a couple of dear friends at work and a fab night out in Covent Garden.  I do love that place!
Day 93 – had a fabulous night with the girls last night (including FaceTime with Vic in HK) after having the most chilled out day!
Rewriting just these 36 days has made me realise how quickly life can change sometimes for the better and sometimes not.
1. I looked back at how much my life has changed in the 12 months since Mr Long Term and I parted company
2. Two of my closest friends have told me they are expecting babies later this year
3. Mr (not so) Perfect’s deceit and lies were uncovered and realised by his wife
4. I heard about a friend’s plans to travel the world next year
Life changing situations for all those involved.
All I want to say is that life is short, you don’t know when or how things will change but they inevitably will.  So live life to the full, chase after your wishes, hopes and dreams, be honest, be kind and above all do what makes you happy.
Katie xx