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Planning Our Honeymoon

While we were planning our wedding we always thought we would never be able to afford to go on a honeymoon, we had always said that once the wedding was over our honeymoon would be spent at home in our own house giving our head some peace. It got to the beginning of 2017, we were on our final countdown to the wedding and we started to think maybe we deserved some time away. Our first thoughts were maybe we should just take the weekend and have a minimoon in Ireland somewhere, so we booked a weekend in Donegal, in the Redcastle hotel (www.redcastlehoteldonegal.com). After this was booked we got the itch to go further, we knew we couldn’t really afford it with the massive cost of a wedding, so we started looking into how much a once in a lifetime trip would cost and how we would be able to afford it. Let me just start with this, we would have been totally fine moneywise if we hadn’t bought our home in the middle of our wedding planning process but no regrets. So, we began our research, hubby to be and I sat down and thought about where we wanted to go and came up with Mexico, the Caribbean, Thailand or a massive road trip across the USA. All of these options sound amazing and I would love to do each of them!
When we were choosing places to go our thought process was pretty much this…let’s go somewhere we will never be able to go to again, a once in a lifetime experience, total 5* and no kids. It’s not that we don’t like children actually we love them but we didn’t want to listen to other people’s children when we wanted to be in total relaxation mode. We had a look around and we asked friends and family about their honeymoons, where they went and what they thought of their destinations. The number one piece of advice we received was to

“go somewhere you will never be able to go once you have a family”.

Let me tell you how we narrowed it down. We looked at Mexico and it is somewhere we would love to visit but a number of our siblings had gone there on their honeymoons and absolutely loved it but if you know me or Brian you will know that we don’t like to go anywhere or do anything that everyone else has done. After being the younger children in our households we have a small chip on our shoulders about copying anything our siblings have done. So that was Mexico off the honeymoon list and onto the future holiday list. Thailand was at the top of the list for a while because it was so inexpensive and there was so much to do but we found that we would love to travel around a little and see multiple islands and beaches and we weren’t too keen to do this while on honeymoon so we decided against it, again this has been added to the future holiday list. For a long time, Brian and I have wanted to do a USA road trip. We looked into an east coast road trip, a west coast road trip and the route 66 trip, we did some research into this and seen how viable it would be on our budget and it was working out a little too expensive and again we thought we may not want a holiday that was all go. A road trip in the USA would be incredible and definitely something we will look into in the future. But for our honeymoon, it just wasn’t relaxing enough. Lastly, we looked into the Caribbean, to us this was the picture-perfect place, blue skies, bright blue sea, white beaches, next decision was what island and what kind of resort we wanted to go to. When we decided on where we wanted to go we took a trip to Virgin holidays travel agent to have a discussion about prices and options. We wanted a package holiday so it would be as stress-free as possible. I guess the reason for a honeymoon is to relax after all the wedding planning so we didn’t want a big job of planning a honeymoon.

For what we decided on you will have to wait until my next post…

We were very lucky when we booked our weekend in Donegal because we had bumped into the Redcastle Hotel’s promotional team while shopping in Belfast in Victoria Square where they had a deal on. We had a conversation with the staff there and discussed what facilities were there and if they would do something special for us as we would be newlyweds at the time of visiting. The promotional staff took our details and our wants and needs and emailed us the following day, it was a nice touch to have such fast response to our personal enquiry and overall we were really impressed. When we decided on a minimoon we wanted a hotel that had a nice restaurant and spa on site and was in a beautiful location and Redcastle ticked both of those boxes.
When we arrived at the Redcastle hotel we had arrived earlier than check in but the staff were fabulous and took our bags and gave us a €10 voucher to spend in the bar, we quickly obliged and went to the bar to discover they had a large gin selection which we were over the moon about as we would be fond of the gin. When our room was ready a member of staff walked us to our room and carried our bags which was a lovely touch. Once we had arrived at our room we discovered that we had been upgraded to a beautiful corner suite right on the sea. Which unfortunately I don’t have any photographs of.
To say that our trip in Donegal was relaxing is an understatement, which is exactly what we had wanted when we booked but after living a fast-paced life for the past two years it was a bit of a shock for both of us and I have to admit we were a little bored. The hotel has its own 9 hole golf course but as neither Brian and I play, we didn’t have any want to use this facility. Part of the package we booked included dinner for both nights we stayed which was so good as it meant that we could both have a drink and we didn’t have to think about driving anywhere.

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While on our weekend away we took advantage of all the facilities available to us, we had a bath in our room which is quite unusual so that was one of the first things I had done when we arrived. We used the Spa and Brian and I got a couple’s massage and it was amazing! There is nothing nicer than a full body massage after two years of wedding planning. After our massage Brian and I went to the swimming pool to check out their leisure facilities, this was nice although a little dated, but the pool overlooked the sea and it was a relaxing environment, there were hot tub and jets in the pool which was quite soothing.
We also used the restaurant on both nights we were staying at the hotel and the food was lovely, my only criticism is that with the offer we had booked through there was a special menu that was quite limited and it did not change so although this would be perfect if you were only staying the one night it was a little repetitive for us as we were eating there two nights in a row.

Overall our weekend away was exactly what we needed and we felt very special during our stay. We went on our minimoon just after our wedding as we waited a couple of months to go on our big honeymoon. I would recommend this method to everyone post-wedding as it allowed us to save some money and see many of our guests again after the wedding. We had been told by friends and family that when they went on their honeymoon straight away they felt like they had missed the buzz about their wedding and when they came back from their honeymoon they had wedding blues as they had the high of their wedding and the high of their honeymoon and once they had come home it was a hard crash back to reality. So, having our wedding in August and then waiting until October to have our honeymoon was perfect for us and our little trip to Redcastle allowed us to ease back into reality post wedding and we still had the big honeymoon to look forward to! Its almost like we were floating for a few months and once we had come home from our honeymoon we had mostly adjusted to married life and being back to work.

Laura..x

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Goodbye 2017

“2017 is going to be my year”

How many of you said this at the end of 2016? Did it follow through? Was it as perfect as you had intended it to be? Did you stick to those new year’s resolutions? Did you reach your targets and goals? I’m going to hazard a guess and say no?

Why do we always expect so much from ourselves year in year out? Can we not be happy with what we have or what we know is coming to us?

I started 2017 the exact same way. It was going to be MY year! I had so much to look forward to, I was getting married, so I expected all the attention to be on me all year. Everyone was going to want to know what I was doing next. It wasn’t exactly the case. This makes me sound so negative and self-centred but that is not my intention. 2017 was a brilliant and memorable year for me, I got married to my best friend in August and up until then, I was wedding on the brain. I think as we think about our year ahead we only really think of how amazing our personal year will be, all your plans that involve other people will come together without a fault, what about other people’s plans? Then year after year when it comes to December 26th we can’t wait to start the next year because that year didn’t live up to expectations.

I decided to be a little different this year! I decided that I wouldn’t have any huge expectations of 2018, I am going to take each day as it comes and try to enjoy it for what it is.

This can either come across as carefree or delusional, let me explain why I want to take a new outlook on the year ahead!

2017 was supposed to be perfect, I was going to have a new baby nephew in January, I was going to get into shape again for my wedding, I was going to have the perfect wedding completely stress free, get the perfect wedding gift for my husband, have a perfect honeymoon and end the year being elated at what I had accomplished in 2017.

This is how 2017 went; my nephew was born in January as expected and he was the most beautiful little pudgy baby I had ever seen, compared to his big brother who was premature, this delivery was much smoother for my sister. Perfect first expectation.

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The plan to get into perfect shape for my wedding, I had been a member of a gym for a while, so I started attending more classes, restricted my diet and lost a satisfactory amount of weight, two weeks in I started losing motivation and slipped back into eating badly and the weight crept on. I ended up not being in perfect shape and needing my wedding dress let out for the big day, not what I had planned but I still felt beautiful on my wedding day and that’s what was really important to me. Second expectation didn’t go quite to plan.

Now onto my perfect stress-free wedding; I have no idea why I had ever thought planning a wedding would be stress-free? Having said that the wedding day itself was pretty perfect. The upcoming weeks to the wedding when you are trying to make sure all your vendors are paid up to date and organised for the day is a demanding time, this was going well until my mum took unwell and went into the hospital to be treated for pneumonia. She wasn’t well enough to attend my cousin’s wedding and in the back of your head, you are selfishly thinking please be ok to come to my wedding. Weddings are very selfish events because you want everything to be perfect there are things that go through your head that you do not say aloud. No panic there though mummy was fighting fit for the big day and was by my side the week before helping me entertain guests and arrange last minute details, she even got crafty. Amazing woman!

Onto two weeks before the wedding, we had been trying to arrange to see our cars, as when we booked them they were being refurbished. It was probably silly waiting until just before the wedding, but you just assume these details have already been sorted. We met with the car owner who informed us that he had sold the vintage beetle that we had booked, and we would, in fact, be getting a modern beetle, this would have been fine if we had known or we could have arranged alternative cars. My husband to be was devastated as this was the one thing he had thought about during the planning process, the cars were ‘his thing’. We took the hit and just went with the beetle to try and prevent any pre-wedding stress but if you ask him now he is still a little bitter about it. As much as our wedding was amazing and perfect for us there were a few little things that were unexpected, some unexpected stress.

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The perfect wedding gift! A trip to see Liverpool play in Anfield. I had enlisted the help of a colleague for this one, I had no idea where to start in getting tickets for a football game and I had no idea what cost it would be. I had been thinking about this for over a year before the wedding, so I had been setting aside money. My colleague had said he could get me two tickets, but he would have to get them from a friend who was a season ticket holder, but I would have to wait. Luckily, I trusted him, and I sat on nails until he confirmed he had got the tickets for me, next step book flights and a nice hotel. Perfect! Hubby was over the moon with his gift and we had an amazing time in Liverpool, we managed to do some sightseeing and take in an Anfield tour while we were there. I won the award for the best wife and I honestly don’t think I could top that gift! Another expectation achieved, although stressful waiting for the tickets it was totally worth it!

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Time for the perfect honeymoon!! We had booked St. Lucia in the Caribbean and we were staying at a Sandals resort. As a Hospitality graduate, this was exactly what I had wanted, 5* service in paradise. Our trip got off to a bumpy start with a dodgy hotel in Gatwick, but we were going to St. Lucia, so we weren’t going to let this ruin our trip, it was only one night after all. Onto our flight and landed in St. Lucia. This trip was incredible, and I would recommend it to anyone! I will have to create a blog post about our honeymoon at some stage. The flight home was a little less exciting. Our trip was so good I didn’t want to go home, and I think I should have stayed. There was some confusion with our transfer from Gatwick to Dublin, although booked through a holiday package we had to leave the terminal and check in again, this almost caused us to lose the Caribbean rum we had purchased in duty free, as you can guess we demanded a solution and they checked in our cabin bag for free, result! The miscommunication between the airlines meant that we and about 30 other people to miss our connection, at the time Ireland was experiencing their worst storm in 30years, ex-hurricane Ophelia. Eventually, we got on a flight much to our parent’s dismay, there were some choice words via text message from my mother, all from concern of course. We flew into Dublin on a very rocky flight, but we landed on the runway safely and made our way back up the road home. It was an amazing two weeks and I look at our flight home experience just as that – an experience.

 

2017 was supposed to be perfect and it pretty much was up until the end of November when I lost my job! Then came my spiral, I didn’t know what to do with myself, I felt completely at fault although no one around me agrees. It is still technically ongoing, so I can’t divulge any details, but 2017 was supposed to be perfect and work ruined my last month! Our first Christmas as Mr & Mrs had a little grey cloud over it. We made the most of what we had as we always do, I am taking each day as it comes, some days I have so much energy I don’t know what to do with it and others I don’t want to leave my bed, eat or even wash. I keep telling myself this phase will pass, and it is just a blip in my long life.

So, because of my last month in 2017, I have decided that 2018 is not going to be my year! I don’t have any real expectations for the year ahead. Yes, of course, I have goals, but I am not basing the success of my year upon these!

2018 isn’t going to be perfect…no year is but this year I am ok with that! This year I am living each day as well as it allows me to!

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Laura..x

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Who am I?

Hi…

I’m Laura, I am pretty new to this so forgive me if it seems a bit through other.
I am a lifestyle blogger, well trying to be. I want to write about my past challenges and how I survived them, and how I have been dealing with any current challenges or successes, I want to share almost everything I have accomplished and failed at and how.

“Just here to tell my honest story.”

I really enjoy makeup and would consider myself reasonably good at it but don’t ask how to do it on anyone else’s faces, we will leave that to the professionals.
I love fashion but I don’t have the confidence to wear what I want, I would be a little plus sized and honestly, know how to dress my shape so I’ll not give you advice there but I will definitely talk about what I like about what other people are wearing.
My husband and I have purchased our first home and I have become obsessed with interior design, I want my house to be Pinterest worthy! It is not there quite yet but here’s hoping one day it will be.

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Our first home!

One would say I should appeal to ladies in their 20s but I’m not going to stop anyone reading. I would consider myself mature beyond my years but I guarantee you many won’t agree!

I have done a lot in my quarter century of being on this beautiful planet.
I completed school with GCSE’s and A-Levels as most do these days, I completed a degree in International Hospitality Management and came out hating hospitality, not for the industry, it is but for the antisocial hours it requires, some people are made for it but I am not one of those people.

I lived and worked in South Florida for a year working in a Country Club, away from all my friends and family and working harder than I had ever worked before, but I’ll tell you more about that later.
Shortly after Uni, my boyfriend at the time, who lived in London for work, proposed, I said yes and our wedding planning began!

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Our Wedding Day!

And that brings us up to now! A newlywed with a new outlook on life!
I want to be honest! Life is not easy and although social media makes it seem so, we all know how crap it can be!
Through my blog posts, I want to include a few survival guides, possibly some downloadable content such as checklists and spreadsheets. My husband is the money man for us and although I budget for myself we can tap into some of his spreadsheets that can help you spread your money a little further!

After all that info about me here is a little more…
-Born in 1992
-Met my husband in 2008
-Engaged in 2015
-Graduated in 2015
-Homeowner at 24 (2016)
-Married at 25 (2017)

Interests that I may bore you about…
-Travelling
-Northern Ireland
-Food and restaurants
-Movies and Theatre
-Netflix & NowTV
-House & Home
-Pets
-Cystic Fibrosis

If you are interested in reading more of the nonsense I write, I invite you along on this random journey of self-discovery.

 

Love Laura..x