About Me

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Hello there, thanks for visiting my blog. So, a bit about me; I'm Natalie and I am a Christian, committed to living by God's Word each and every day. I am a proud mother to three beautiful children and creator of The Accidental Mogul - a blog designed to channel my ambitious juices and unleash the writer within! This blog is a reflection of me, so it contains a little bit of everything. I’ll be documenting my walk with my saviour Jesus Christ, as well as my natural hair journey, I'll be writing thought provoking posts, product reviews, hosting giveaway's and of course offering up a generous dollop of everyday mummy musings. I like to hear uplifting and motivational stories, so I’ll be interviewing inspirational people when I can to encourage and inspire others. Sharing experiences is what makes life beautiful, so let's share.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

This crazy little thing called blogging

Meeting and making friends with great people.
Me with the vlogger legend
Fusion of Cultures
Sometimes I look at my little blog and think to myself, wow, I've come a long way in nearly six months. Then other times I feel disillusioned, unsure of the direction I'm going in.

Am I saying too little, am I revealing too much?

One thing I do know for certain is that everything within these pages is 100% me. It pretty much mirrors my life. Of course not every single detail is documented here, but it's pretty close.

Blogging has provided such a creative outlet for me. It's like my dream job, but without the monthly wage. *wails*

I am meeting fabulous, inspirational people, being involved with exciting projects, going to great events. Twitter has proved invaluable, so much so I think I'll have to dedicate a post to it.

Blogging is all encompassing, addictive and rewarding and I'm still working on striking the right balance. I don't know where this blogging journey is going to take me, but one thing is for sure I'm enjoying the ride.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Beside the seaside

We went on an impromptu day out to Littlehampton in West Sussex yesterday.


The weather was glorious. We were supposed to be going to church, but we were running ridiculously late so decided to go to the coast instead.


Here are some pics from our beautiful day at the seaside.



My gorgeous girls.
On the ferry boat to the beach on the west side.


So, so cheeky. Mwaaah 




Lapping up the rays


Checking she's tall enough for the ride. Yep she is.
Just about. Phew.


Aww, my li'l man is tired. Wish he'd keep his sun hat on.



Boats on the mariner



Daddy and girls go for a dip.



Beautiful sunshine *swoon*

Such a wonderful day. Priceless.

Losing things and losing it...

I don't know what's going on.

I keep losing things and it's really, really frustrating.

If it's not my things, then it's the other half's things or the children's things. The thing is, (excuse the overuse of the word thing) I could swear blind that I put everything (sorry) in a place where they are easy to recover, but when it comes to needing them again, I'm at a complete loss because they are not where I remember putting them.

I trace back my steps and rack my brains but to no avail because the sought after item has, it seems, disappeared into thin air. 
I feel like someone is playing a cruel joke on me because the number of items I've lost in the past few days is crazy; 
Some new clothes I brought for the children - found a few days later in a bag behind the bedroom door. 
The OH's house keys. These were lost yesterday, after our trip to the beach (we went to Littlehampton for the day). He put the contents of his pocket, which included his keys, on a towel whilst he went in the sea for a dip with the girls. I picked everything up and put them into the zip pocket of my bag. I found everything else but the keys are not there..... 
.....so I'm having to get a new set cut today - *groan*.
The OH's keys live here now.

I was gifted a lovely ring from Decorus Bespoke at Fashion Mist 2012. I washed my hands and the ring got wet. I took the ring off, wrapped it in kitchen towel to dry it and now I can't find that either  *boo hiss*
My lovely gifted ring (mine is on the right) is LOST.
I know it is in the flat somewhere. It WILL be found.

These incidents are only the tip of the iceberg....I'm so irritated because I feel like I'm going mad. I feel flustered, confused and like I can never locate anything despite my best efforts to be organised. The thing is, I end up finding these  lost misplaced item's 90% of the time, but when I'm no longer frantically looking for needing them. What is up with that????
The OH is always saying I'm forever moving and losing his stuff. I used to argue that this wasn't the case. These days I think I'm going to have to begin eating some humble pie.
Please tell me I am not alone. Is anyone else experiencing this? It is driving me insane!!
UPDATE ALERT - 29 May 2012
OH came home last night with his house keys. They were next to the baby's car seat in the car.  YESSS!!
Now to find my beloved ring.......it's got to be somewhere.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Two lives

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Well not quite these days,
but you get the jist lol
I was saddened to see an old classmate the other day. He really looked worst for wear. Dishevelled and confused with a can of lager in his hand at 3 in the afternoon.


I was just walking past with my children and my sister and saw a man getting pulled over to one side by the police. I didn't think anything of it, then I overheard the policeman ask him for his name and when he gave it to them I instantly recognised who it was, despite him having gained quite a bit of weight.


At school; we couldn't have been more than 12 or 13, I remember him being a cheeky chappy, who was always a bit of laugh. Now here he was spilling his guts out to the authorities looking, if I am completely honest. Awful.


It got me thinking, you really don't know what cards life is going to throw at you, do you? I know he didn't grow up in the best surroundings, but then some people don't yet are still able to turn things around for themselves, somehow.


I have been in some dark places in my life, but my love and faith in God always pulls me through and gives me a reason to keep on keeping on. For me there is no alternative.


I look at my lot sometimes and although I am not precisely where I want to be in terms of my career and my living arrangements, I know there are those who are truly struggling, like my old classmate appeared to be, so I can't take what I have for granted. 


I know I'm on my own little journey of self discovery right now, so who am I to rush it?

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Queue

What a queue.
I had to queue for over three hours last Saturday. 


Not to audition for the X factor, or to get my hands on some tickets to the Olympics, no, no, no the endless queuing was to get my girls into swimming lessons at my local leisure centre. 


It's utterly ridiculous how difficult it is to get your children into any kind of extra curricular activity these days, and that's even when you're paying. A lot.


The Government are always talking about an obesity epidemic and the fact that children do not do enough exercise, but there is little in the way of clubs or activities readily available for children to take part in. Yes there is the park and I take my kids often but even our local playground has been closed for months on end as it gets refurbished.

I want to get my children into trampolining, gymnastics, dance classes, playing an instrument. Obviously not all at once, but an activity once a week that can stimulate them and help them to learn new things. In my utopian world I envision a place where little people are able to take part in every single kind of activity under the sun, with perfect ease. They laugh and play, they get fit and make friends. Everything is all good but the reality couldn't be further from the truth.....

Ooh look, I may have to eat my words, for through the letterbox is a leaflet listing a number of fun activities for the run up to the Olympics. Plus the local park has just re-opened with a big celebration launch due next week.



Looks like things are set to get a little bit exciting around here......


Feast your eyes on these pics. What a park eh? No guessing where my brood and I will be most days this summer......


Such a fun climbing frame. And the sand is fab.



These metal trays are great. There are more like this
especially designed for water play.

The hill in the background has tunnels running underneath.
So much fun for children.



And there's a lido..woo hoo!
Currently locked away until launch day.

What activities do your children do? Were they difficult to find and sign up to?



Wednesday, 23 May 2012

How does your garden grow?

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As the title suggests this is indeed intended as a euphemism to discuss the disaster area that is my nether region.

Please don't laugh, but my bikini line/ area, whatever it is called is a mess  and it is irking me immensely.  Pre children it was always kept in order. Regular sessions with removal cream and a trusty pair of scissors meant things never really got too out of hand down there.



Nowadays I can just about get into the shower at my scheduled time, and if I'm lucky give my legs and underarms a quick shave, then there's my eyebrows (I get them done at my local beauty salon for a bargain £2.99), and the top lip, but the less said about that the better.......so my bikini line is way, way down the pecking order, especially as my body remains well covered these days. But with the glorious weather the UK is experiencing at the moment, that is most certainly about to change.

AND.....

Tomorrow I have a smear test and this neglected region desperately needs doing, so I've put a reminder in my phone to do it tonight after putting the children to bed. To be honest I can't be bothered, but I really don't want to freak out the nurse.

Veet removal cream, although fantastic is so faffy. The mess is annoying, but after my experience with waxing - yes don't think I didn't leave a salon half waxed before - Veet works a charm.

The pain I experienced with waxing was ridiculous. It was like nothing I've ever known. It felt like my skin was being ripped off and I was left red (yes my chocolate brown skin was RED) and swollen. I was in a lot of discomfort for days. And this comes from a woman who has endured numerous childbirths but the pain that waxing inflicts is all together different,  especially since there's no bundle of joy to hug at the end. Although I guess a well preened private region comes a very close second.

Nah I don't think so. Bring on the Veet...

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

That guilty feeling...

Looking at my 11 month old son briskly walking around and generally being full of beans, takes me back to when my middle daughter was this age. I don't remember much of it because it was all such a guilt ridden blur.
I went back to work for the first time when my eldest daughter was 14 months old, (I was rather embarrassingly five months pregnant with daughter number two) so we were able to experience quite a lot together. Since she was my only child at that point, I was able to dedicate myself to her fully. We had so much fun together, getting to know one another whilst taking on the world.  
When my maternity leave ended and I went back to work pregnant (ooops) I was only going to be back for three months so my eldest was looked after by my sister. This arrangement meant she never experienced nursery life when she was very small. When my second daughter was born I stayed at home and pottered along with two children 17 months apart. 
As my second stint of maternity leave drew to a close, money was tight, so I had to cut it short and go back to work when my baby was 9 months and my eldest nearly 2 and a half. This time they both went to nursery and the guilt was immense. Especially where my youngest was concerned. After the first week they had both picked up chicken pox. 
Then my baby at only 10 months caught hand, foot and mouth. I was gob smacked. I had heard of livestock getting this, but humans? The two are very different, but it still racked me with guilt to see her have to go through these yucky illnesses, just so I could go to work yet still struggle to get by.
Then on her first birthday she was sick with hand foot and mouth again. The vomiting, not being herself, plus the blisters on her mouth, hands and feet were the horrible tale, tale signs. I was so sad for her. Poorly AGAIN, but this time on her first birthday. I was angry and again guilt ridden. 
On a weekly basis there seemed to be some awful illness or another circulating the nursery: vomiting, diarrhoea, coughs, colds, flu, nits, the icing on the cake was when scarlet fever was doing the rounds. Sorry what? Scarlet fever? I thought this had been consigned to Victorian times. 
I was forever stressed and worried about the health of my children. Were they going to be sick again this week. Was I going to have to take yet more time off work. I particularly felt bad for my middle daughter, she was no more than one yet the amount of sickness she had endured in her little life was ridiculous. Maybe that's why she's such a tough cookie. 
I look back now and at the 'big' ages of four and a half and three my girls are hardly ever sick at all. They have immune systems of steel. And are well prepared for when they start school. Looking at my son I know we have all this to come. But at least he will be older than my daughter was, and I will hopefully be working in a flexible environment where I am able to feel like I am properly caring for my children without neglecting my work. 
Only time will tell.
In the meantime I'm enjoying all of this......

Bubbles in the park













Monday, 21 May 2012

If money were no object

I'm in need of some escapism........


Having to watch the pennies is really beginning to bug me. So....I'm going to feed my well hidden, but secretly bursting to get out, materialistic side with some things I wish I could have or thought I would have by now *sigh*......


A beautiful house in a beautiful location


Source


A beautiful kitchen


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Fabulous


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A gorgeous walk in wardrobe
Amazing


A swimming pool

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Sensational


A BMW 5 series

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Yeeeeaaah!




A Range Rover Super Sport

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Yes it's a monstrous gas guzzler, but this is me being materialistic.


Several luxurious holidays to the Caribbean, the States, any beautiful island for that matter, per year.
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St Lucia. I want to be here. Right NOW. *swoon*

A personal chef

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Plates of gorgeousness prepared by a professional on a daily basis?
Bliss


A cleaner..........


OK, think I'm getting carried away now and this is probably more of a celebrity life than one I could seriously aspire to, but you get my drift................


Saturday, 19 May 2012

Listography - Top 5 things I love about kids

Kate at Kate takes 5 has restarted her listography - Yay.  This time instead of being weekly it's now monthly. This month's topic is the top five things I love about kids.


Here goes;

1 - The most simple things bring immense pleasure; bubbles, water, dirt, feeding ducks,  swings....these things a happy child makes.


One of life's simple pleasures


2 - Their laughing and giggling. Admittedly when it's bed time and the giggling still persists it gets less than funny, but hearing a child's laughter always warms my cockles.


3 - Tiny chubby feet. I love tiny hands too, but kids, and babies feet in particular always make me go 'ahhhhhh.' So cute and squidgy.


4 -  Their clothes. Children's clothes are so small, yet so perfectly formed. Rather like them. I'm a sucker for pretty dresses and cute shorts and little short sleeved shirts. My children's wardrobe's are heaving.


5 - When they are sleeping children look so beautiful and serene. Who knew their was such a hidden mass of energy just waiting to burst open as soon as they awake.


To add your top five pop on over to Kate's blog. Go on you know you want to : )


Friday, 18 May 2012

Crazy photography

An old work colleague of mine shared this fabulous piece of photography by Jason Lee, on his blog recently.

Source



I thought it was brilliant, not to mention heart warming - Jason took the photos of his gorgeous daughters for his mother, who was undergoing chemotherapy so was unable to see them.
I had to share with you all.

Click on the link below to see more fantastic pics.



P.S: Stu's blog is a great read too.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The (not so) joys of pregnancy

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Nope I'm not pregnant with a fourth baby. But after reading a post on the midwife to mum blog about sickness in pregnancy, it really struck a chord and got me thinking and re-living the extent of my own suffering when I was pregnant with all three of my children.

You may ask, and rightly so, how on earth did I come to have three little ones when my experiences were so horrendous? Well my last two babies were very unplanned, but very much wanted. You see there was a point in my life when I doubted I would ever become a mother. I have a complicated gestational history (several miscarriages and a lost ovary due to a cyst, during one very sad, unsuccessful pregnancy) so I felt nothing but blessed to be able to experience the joys of carrying to full term and giving birth to three healthy babies. But it was not easy.

Extreme sickness in pregnancy or Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) to give it is medical term is very real and very hideous. In my case it would commence from around 6-10 weeks, and the symptoms would start with a vengeance. I would feel nauseous ALL DAY long. You may say these symptoms are typical for most women and yes you'd be right - for the first three months at least but the whole nine months? I hoped and prayed that passing the magic 12/14 week mark would immediately make me feel better and see me with a spring in my step, but alas it was not meant to be. In ANY of my pregnancies.

NOTHING tasted good or would alleviate the horrible sicky feeling, the TASTE in my mouth was horrific, brushing my teeth would make me throw up, cooking would make me feel awful, my other half's deodrant, aftershave and anyone else's for that matter made me feel ill, the smell of washing powder or coffee was repulsive, I would throw up at regular intervals, I could only drink extremely sour beverages or water with tons of ice. Jalepeno peppers were my friend because they would temporarily strip my tastebuds of all feeling and taste. I would eat them straight out of the jar. FOR BREAKFAST. My work colleagues thought I was mad, but it was my way of coping.

I had absolutely no energy at all. I'm baffled how I managed to keep on working. In my second and third pregnancies it took every ounce of my being to be able to function in the most basic way so I was able to look after the children that I had. The house was always a mess, I was always a mess, I felt depressed, fed up, I lost weight, it was a desperate state of affairs.

I had to be on strong anti-sickness meds, which although would temporarily ease the sicky feeling would leave me completely knocked out, I was also worried about the effects on my unborn child but thankfully they are all perfect.

I was hospitalised on numerous ocassions for severe dehydration as well as some bleeding when pregnant with my daughters. With my son I was marginally better, but the immense ALL DAY nausea persisted throughout. My mum would gently urge me to chew on ginger or boil it and drink the water, but the thought alone turned my stomach inside out.

My other half would rather insist that it was my poor choice of food that was to blame for me feeling so ill all the time and I suppose if you don't experience this awful 'disease' for yourself then it's easy to give your tuppence worth. But in all honesty he was lucky I ate at all because food was the last thing on my mind. My appetite was non-existent and bread, pasta, potatoes and lemons was just about all I could stomach, so to have to listen to him harp on about how his sister in law ate avocado's and nuts daily and jogged and skipped and performed somersaults, did little to stop me wanting to rip his smug head from his smug shoulders.

The only thing I enjoyed about being pregnant was finding out the sex, knowing everything was OK and feeling my babies move. In a way knowing the sex of the baby I was carrying was the only thing that enabled me to bond with the little being growing inside of me.

If I'm really being honest, and it saddens me to admit it, but the best thing about being pregnant was not being pregnant. The only thing I truly loved was giving birth. It provided the one true relief from a long, bleak and lonely tunnel.

I got excited when my waters broke and the contractions crashed in back to back because it meant an end to the solitude of constant sickness and not being or feeling myself. Luckily the good Lord took pity on me and my suffering and made sure my children came early. My first born was 5 weeks early, this was terrifying and I believe it was due to an undiagnosed over active thyroid. She was and is completely fine and looking at how happy, healthy and strong she is makes it easy to forget she was a bit premature. My last two children were born two weeks early.

All my labours were super fast, lasting no more than 3 hours each, if that. They were so quick I was able to get by on gas and air alone. I absolutely love gas and air. I always see my quick labours as my reward for the awful 9 months I had to endure. LOL.

My family is complete now. I love babies but they are hard work and I don't think my mind or body could handle another pregnancy, it is so tough going. I look on in awe at women who are able to continue business as usual, unfortunately that wasn't to be for me. I was able to put on a front in public (just about), but behind closed doors I was a miserable mess.

Despite all this I am eternally thankful for my three beautiful and amazing children, the products of my pregnancy struggles. HG is awful and I hope the medical profession are able to pinpoint what causes it so it can be properly managed in the future. I dread to think of my own daughters having to go through what I did years down the line. I pray they never have to.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from HG this organisation could help;

www.pregnancysicknesssupport.org.uk

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

TRESemme Smooth Salon Silk conditioner

A few days ago I bought the New Advanced Technology TRESemme smooth salon silk conditioner especially formulated to smooth frizz and condition hair.

I am super impressed with this product so I had to write about it. My children and I have natural afro hair all varying in texture. Unlike European hair, afro hair craves water and oil to stay moisturised, shiny and healthy, something I have been learning a lot of since I transitioned to natural hair nearly 18 months ago.

I have been trying out a variety of products over the months looking for that special mix of ingredients that would leave our hair feeling clean, soft and nourished. What I have been using so far has worked well, but the quantities aren't great, so with three full heads of hair to wash, plus my lil man and the other half a 370ml bottle can quickly run out and at £3/£4 a pop it can get very expensive.

On a recent trip to Wilkinson I was pleased to see an offer they had on the new TRESemmme advanced technology range. The bottles are a generous 900ml and Wilkinson had a promotion on so the prices were £2.13 a bottle instead of the usual £4.27.

I have steered clear of TRESemme products in the past because I always thought they would be too drying for afro hair. I couldn't have been more wrong.

After looking at the Curly Nikki site and reading a post on conditioners and the ingrediants to look out for, I was pretty confident this conditioner would do the trick in nourishing and moisturising as it it contained some key ingredients such as; Cetearyl Alcohol and Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine. (These ingredients provide good slip a term used to describe how slippery a product is (usually a conditioner or detangler)... the more slip it has, the more effectively it will coat the hair to aid in detangling.)


I was due to wash my daughters hair, so I was keen to start using the conditioner straight away. After washing both heads with our usual shampoo I applied the conditioner. It was easy to apply with a creamy yet slightly runny consistency,and smelt lovely. Very fresh. Both my daughters have thick hair, so the consistency of the conditioner really helped me to cover all of their hair in no time. Once applied I combed through with a wide tooth comb to detangle and can I just say this was a breeze. The comb glided through, but of course both managed to wince every now and again. They are not the best when it comes to doing their hair. In fact they are terrible. You can read about the dramas here.

I left the conditioner on for three minutes as recommended and washed out. Both heads of hair were incredibly soft, clean and moisturised. You might take it is a given that hair should be clean as a whistle after washing and conditioning, but I have been experiencing issues with product build up in both my girls hair. Regardless of how much I would lather and rinse, residue would still remain. With this conditioner their hair was left completely clean with no residue.

After lightly patting their hair with a towel, I applied olive oil, African pride castor oil and Anita Grant's grapefruit butter whip and braided their hair.

A day later I used the conditioner and had the same great results. I have recently bought the TRESemme salon silk shampoo to accompany the conditioner because I am so pleased with the quantity and the results. I await great things.

TRESemme salon silk conditioner - What it does;

Deeply hydrates your hair, targeting the driest areas where your hair needs the most moisturisation, for a silky-smooth feel

Tames unruly frizz and flyaways - thanks to its nourishing formula and vitamin H and silk proteins

Leaves your hair looking salon smooth

Lightweight formula is ideal for daily use

This is not a review post. I just love raving about great products sometimes : )

    Monday, 14 May 2012

    Birthday escapades

    My little grumble about parenting being hard work, completely overlooked the post that should have been about my glorious birthday escapades.


    Well lets rectify that shall we?


    Right, well first off the weather was fabulous. The sun shone ALL day. The sky was blue and the clouds were fluffy and white it was divine.


    The other half did disappoint me though *sigh*.  As usual I had to ask him a million times to help with the children and everything else blah, blah, blah. Really what is it with men and simple tasks??


    He sort of redeemed himself when he and the kiddies gave me birthday cards and this yummy chocolate cake.


    Birthday cakie


    Then he ruined it again by complaining about, having a headache then not coming with us to church or the restaurant I had booked for lunch, so that left me quietly seething for a few hours. I suppose if you're sick, you're sick but his timing is appalling. At least the sun was still shining though. Unlike my mood. 


    So after church my children, my nephew, sister, brother, parents and I went to Browns by Tower Bridge for lunch. We couldn't find any street parking so had to pay £3.50 an hour for a car park. Three cars, three hours. £10.50 each. Ouch. Better than getting a ticket or worse getting clamped I suppose.


    I love this branch of Browns, the location is great ( the other half proposed along the river here), plus the food is hearty.  Unfortunately I have no photos of what we ate, because I was too pre-occupied with overexcited children to be able to think straight. 


    Chaos


    I had cheese and rocket flat bread with hummus for a starter which was scrummy, followed by crab and prawn linguine which was bland, but a bit of salt livened it up, and then I had a ginger and chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream for dessert. I also treated myself to a cheeky birthday mojito which was nice but had a ton of crushed ice, so you don't get much bang for your buck. Lol.


    Then back to my mum and dad's for a bit where my sister presented me with my lovely presents. Some eye-shadows and lip-gloss. She knows I want to begin taking make up seriously so she got me a few pieces for my make up bag, bless her. She'd also noticed I'd been eyeing up some cute rose bud earrings she has, so she got me  a pair too. Finally I've been hankering after satin pillowcases to help with my natural hair (It helps to reduce the friction of my hair on the pillow), so she bought me a lovely satin duvet set. I love practical presents. I'm so Taurean and my sister hit the mark with all of her fabulous gifts. Thanks sis. Mwaah.





    The other half perked up, so I went and picked him up from the station and off we went to Upper Street in Islington for my second meal of the day. I was still stuffed from lunch, so wanted something light. we opted for a lovely Thai restaurant Isarn. Again I forgot to take pictures of the food. What's up with that??


    I had garlic prawns for starters, the other half had crispy duck with pancakes and plum sauce. One word. Delicious. For main I had the baked Sea bass with herb sauce and jasmine rice. The other half had swordfish with a salsa type accompaniment and coconut rice. The food was gorgeous and I was gutted I had no room to finish it all or properly enjoy it because I wasn't overly hungry. We had raspberry bellinis which were really tasty and refreshing. Think the bubbles went to my head a little because I got a bit giggly. Ooops.






    The other half got the bill and rather cleverly they split the cost of the meal for you, so you don't have to faff about working it out . I haven't ever seen that before and thought it was a really good idea (splitting a bill between two isn't rocket science, but for bigger parties you can see where this would be super beneficial). Obviously going dutch didn't apply to me on this occasion. Heeheee






    We then mosied onto a cocktail bar called Ladybird where we had a chilli cocktail to share. I didn't like it because it really tasted of chilli. Funny that. And it was warm and fiery at the back of my throat. It was a very weird sensation. I'm used to eating hot food, but drinking it is altogether a different experience.


    Then we made our way back to my folks to pick up our children. What a lovely day.

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