14 Nov 2012

Bali

On our way home from Aus, we chose to spend 5 nights in Bali.  We dreamed of a beautiful paradise island, white sandy beaches and lovely inviting sea but were a little disappointed!  Having spoken to other people who've been to Bali perhaps we stayed in the wrong part of Bali though...

The little hotel we stayed in was lovely and definitely value for money.  The staff and management were fantactic and we cannot recommend Ellie's Hotel in Nusa Dua enough!!  Its not somewhere you would stay if you're looking for 5 star luxury but if you want somewhere clean, comfortable and friendly it is ideal.  We were made to feel incredibly welcome and couldn't fault it.  Especially after I got food poisoning (not at the hotel I should mention!) - the manager David gave me something to settle my stomach and the staff ordered food in for my husband to eat in the room as we couldn't leave to go out to a restaurant.





On our first night we ate a restaurant on the beach, watching the sunset and being serenaded by a band.  While it was lovely at the time, the food poisoning I got wasn't so great!



Once I got over my food poisoning, we hired a driver for a day and did a tour of the island and on the last day both did a tandem paraglide which we would recommend!  I thought I would chicken out but it was the most amazing experience!!





Bali tourist police, ready at a moments notice!


3 Nov 2012

Adventures Down Under

It was so lovely to catch up with family in Australia!  Some of them we'd seen when they came over to the UK for our wedding last year but most we hadn't seen for 3 or 4 years and a lot had changed since then. Our first stop off was in Sydney where we enjoyed chilling out with the family by the pool and with occasional trips to the beach.  It was so great to have fantastic weather too, we were incredibly lucky!










After our stay in Sydney, we headed up to the Gold Coast to stay for a few days with Mr M's cousin and his family who live on a beautiful mountain. Since we were last there there's been 3 new additions to the family so we loved meeting the youngest members of the family and getting to know them.




It was difficult to leave the mountain but from there we drove up to Brisbane for a few more days of R&R and to celebrate my brother in laws 40th birthday.






1 Nov 2012

Singapore

We're very lucky to have family in Australia and had an amazing time visiting them! We stopped over in Singapore for a few nights en route before continuing our journey to Sydney and Brisbane before eventually heading to Bali on our way home.

Singapore was absolutely amazing!  Such a beautiful and clean city, we will definitely be going back again one day I hope!  We loved the little Hawker centres dotted around the city, delicious food at a reasonable price and the best (cheapest) place to get beer.

First beers in Singapore
On our first full day we went to Sentosa Island

Cable car to Sentosa
Skyline at Sentosa Island
We particularly enjoyed China town


And the views from the Skypark were fantastic!






27 Sep 2012

I'm back!

We're back from a fantastic holiday Down Under and it's time for me to stop neglecting this...  We had a brilliant time and it's a struggle readjusting back to life in the cold, wet UK after such amazing weather in Aus.

We were incredibly lucky and had nothing but good weather while we were away.  It's depressing to be back and see rain again, we even had a little snow the other night.  Jetlag combined with the dark nights has been a real killer too.  Poor MrM only had a short time at home to adjust to it before he had to head back to work again too, so yesterday he had to get on his gazillionth long haul flight in 5 weeks to rejoin his ship.  (Maybe not quite accurate but I'm sure it felt like his gazillionth!)

I'm going to try and put some posts up about our lovely holiday as and when I can but it seems like there's so much to write about it and I'm in the process of negotiating a new job (which I'm very excited about!), as well as going back to shifts in the pub, so it might take me a little while!

An Asian Adventure

MrM and I are en route to Australia with a pit stop in Singapore. This is my first time here but certainly won't be my last!
I thought a built up city like this would be dirty and smoggy but its not at all, I found it to be a beautiful and eclectic mix of cultures and architecture. We've spent 3 nights here and seen so many things, tasted a lot of delicious foods and drank a lot of tiger beer.
Highlights of the trip have to be the marina bay sands skypark (SGD$20 each but well worth it for the amazing view), chinatown (fantastic colourful lanterns for the mid autumn festival), orchard road, bugis village and boat quay. We got tourist passes and have enjoyed the freedom of being able to jump on and off the mrt as we pleased. We particularly enjoyed frequenting hawker centres where we were able to get amazing food for a very cheap price. Perhaps the most memorable part of the trip will be our visit to orchard towers, at the bottom of orchard road - I think I was the only woman in those bars who was a customer and not looking for business, it was quite a shock to the system to watch women flaunt themselves at MrM. I found it particularly amusing to watch him squirm as they approached and propositioned him! Its certainly not a venue for anyone who is even slightly prudish ;-)
Its time to say goodbye to Singapore and continue our journey to Aus now, its been a fun adventure but I think we're both ready to continue our holiday in Sydney. We're looking forward to a long overdue catch up with family and friends we've not seen in too long!

13 Sep 2012

Epic Fail!

It turns out I didn't get off to a very good start with this blogging thing...  I intended to blog as regularly as possible, along with taking up a fitness regime but it's not quite gone to plan so far!

MrM is back next week and I really can't wait to see him again, it feels like an eternity since I dropped him off at the airport and we said our goodbyes but I've had a sudden realisation that I've not really achieved any of my goals for his trip away!  I blame the bar job, as much I've enjoyed working there I have somehow ended up working pretty much full time - it really defeats the whole point of me quitting me last job! The only good point is that it's been while MrM is away and I finish the day before he gets home :-)

The 30 Day Shred fell by the way side when I moved to level 2, I managed one day of it and that was it!  I'm really disappointed in myself as I've not really made up for it by going to the gym.  I have eaten better for the most part and thankfully I am on my feet most days at the pub so I have lost about 6lbs in the time MrM has been away but I wish I could have kept myself on track to tone up a little bit in time for our holiday.

In other news, I have spent a fair amount of time planning our amazing holiday though :-)  MrM gets home next week, then a few days later we fly to Singapore for 3 nights, then of to Aus and back home via Bali.  I cannot wait!!!!!  Only 10 sleeps to go to the most amazing holiday!

13 Aug 2012

Back on the shred

So what should have been day 5 of the shred became day 3... After my epic fail on the real day 3, I got up on day 4 and decided to do that days attempt after work as I was due to finish work at 9.  In reality, I got home from the pub with sore feet and a general lack of enthusiasm.  But I think the 2 day break did me good!
The aching in the my thighs has finally gone and I can bend down again with wincing! It feels amazing!!!!! So yesterday, on what should have been day 5, I motivated myself enough to do it and I felt so good about myself afterwards.  I was worried the aches and pains would return after having had my little break but I got up this morning and was absolutely fine.  I felt so good in fact that I did the shred again.  I'm still struggling to do the whole 20 mins without a little break but it is getting easier, thank god!  Let's hope I still feel this positive when I move onto to Level 2, I've heard it's going to be a killer... But I have another 6 days of level 1 to go before I need to worry about that!

10 Aug 2012

Ballymoney to Killybegs

After a delicious breakfast at our little B&B we set off on our long trip along the coast, trying to take in as many sights as possible before eventually ending up in Killybegs, Co Donegal. We found our way up to Magilligan Pier and took a ferry crossing to Greencastle.
Ferry from Magilligan Pier to Greencastle
Ferry from Magilligan Pier to Greencastle
We then headed down to Londonderry, over to Letterkenny and back up to Dunfanaghy, following the coast road along to Dunglow and then down to Killybegs.  We found it a bit off that when we kept passing from Northern Ireland to the Republic, there was no signs telling us. The only thing that gave it away was the road signs - we noticed the change from the use of mile to the use of kilometers.  I know there's no formal border between the 2 these days but we expected some sort of signs saying welcome to the Republic of Ireland or whatever, in the same way you see them when you cross the border from England to Scotland...

By the time we arrived in Killybegs the weather was terrible and we were glad to arrive at our B&B.  The B&B was unfortunately somewhat disappointing so the less said the better about that!  But we enjoyed a lovely meal in the local town and a few drinks in one of the friendly local pubs, with a  few games of pool.

Pinetrees Bed & Breakfast Ballymoney

Getting off the ferry in Larne both MrM and I were pretty excited to be in Ireland and explore somewhere new together. I've been to Ireland before, but only to the South, and MrM had never been.  Prior to setting off we'd planned a route and booked all our B&Bs so we knew where we needed to be each night. The first B&B we'd chosen was the Pinetrees Bed & Breakfast in Ballymoney, Co. Antrim.

I'm sure there's probably a more direct route to get to Ballymoney from Larne but we were both keen to see as much of the coast line as possible so we followed the Causeway coastal route to Ballycastle, Bushmills and Portrush, via the famous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the Giants Causeway, before heading down to Ballymoney. We didn't pay to go over the bridge as we're not National Trust members and thought the price was a little steep but we did go down to the Giants Causeway. 

The Causeway Coastal Route
The Causeway Coastal Route
 
Carrick-Rede Rope Bridge
Carrick-Rede Rope Bridge from afar
 
Walking down to the Causeway
Walking down to the Causeway
 
The Giant's Causeway
The Giant's Causeway
Arriving in Ballymoney, we found Pinetrees B&B with ease.  It was fairly central to the town but in a quiet residential looking area.  We were greeted by the owner who gave us a lovely warm welcome and showed us to our room which was really comfortable.  After our travels we were both pretty weary so were pleased to be able to take our gear off, relax and take a shower.  The weather was absolutely glorious and was perfect for a little wander into town for dinner.


Joey Dunlop's Memorial Garden, Ballymoney
Joey Dunlop's Memorial Garden, Ballymoney
The lady at the B&B recommended a little restaurant called Molly's where we had a delicious meal and afterwards we took a walk down to Joey Dunlop's memorial garden before heading back to Pinetrees.
The next morning we were served a fantastic Irish breakfast which really set us up for a long day ahead. I wanted to go see Dunluce castle (which was unfortunately closed when we got there) and being so close to the track of the North West 200, MrM wanted to ride round the track before setting off on the rest of our adventure round Ireland.

Dunluce Castle
Dunluce Castle
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A bike tour of Ireland

MrM has been away for 5 days now and I'm really missing him. We're lucky that we can communicate via email and MSN messenger and also have the odd call every now and then while he's on board the ship. We talk about a lot of day to day stuff but also reminisce quite a bit about what we did on the previous leave.  One of the main things this time being our bike tour around Ireland.


Bike tour of Ireland

MrM is a keen biker and over the last few years I've learned to love his bikes too. I would never ride a bike myself, I don't think I have the confidence, but I love to ride pillion. A couple of years ago we did a tour around Wales which was amazing.  And talking to some friends recently, who toured Europe on their bike, it got us fired up so we decided to do a mini tour around Ireland this summer in preparation for hopefully touring Europe next year. MrM bought a comms system so we could communicate with each other whilst on the bike and I really don't know how we managed without it before!

We set off from Newcastle on the Sunday morning and headed up North to stay with friends in Glasgow for the night, before heading over to Cairnryan to catch the ferry to Larne. It was pretty grey and miserable on the ride to Larne so we didn't have high hopes for the weather for the rest of the trip, thankfully though we both have textiles which are waterproof.

On the ferry over we got chatting to a group of elderely people (3 couples) who regaled us with tales of when they used to be bikers.  It was strange to hear an old lady in her 70s telling us stories about her bike! MrM was in his element talking about old bikes!

When we arrived in Larne the weather was much better and we took the Causeway Coastal Route to a B&B in Ballymoney (via the Giants Causeway) where we stayed the night, the following day we followed the coast to Killybegs, then onto Westport on day 3 before heading cross country to Dundalk and eventually back up to Larne to catch the ferry back.  It was a long week and backsides were incredibly sore by the time we got back home but it was an amzing trip which we both loved and we're both even more keen to have our European bike adventure now!

Shredding day 3 = epic fail!

Maybe I was wrong thinking the Shred was getting easier!  I thought I could power through the aches and pains but I started day 3 and couldn't get past the first circuit!!! All my limbs feel so heavy and I'm aching all over, I just couldn't go any further...  Maybe a day off will help?  Once the aches die off a little (hopefully by tomorrow!) I'll be able to start again...  fingers crossed!!  In the meantime, I have a 6 hour shift to look forward to in the pub - I've been really struggling to bend down to the glass shelves under the bar the last few days, I really hope it's easier tonight!

Day 2 of the Shred

I think the 30 Day Shred is starting to work, I got up yesterday and felt incredibly stiff (from reading other peoples reviews I think this is normal) and the last thing I wanted was to actually do another day of it. I didn't feel like I would be able to do any of it. But I forced myself to get into my gym gear and put the DVD on. Surprisingly once I got going I didn't really notice the aches and pains and managed much more of Level 1, I still had a few breaks but not nearly as much as day 1 so I guess it was a little easier than the first time.  I didn't want to be as stiff this morning as I was yesterday so I went for a little swim afterwards and a relax in the steam room and jacuzzi.  Alas it didn't work!  I am just as stiff this morning and again not really wanting to put the DVD on but I've been assured by a friend that it gets better and it will be worth it!

I weighed myself this morning and I've already lost 2lbs which put a huge smile on my face. I'm not going to do my measurements until the end though, hopefully I'll see a difference in those too when I do!  I'm not sure if it's all down to the 30 Day Shred though as I have been working in a pub the last few days so have spent about 14 hours on my feet, running round serving people which I would imagine is contributing to it!  I've also been trying to eat better.  Whatever it is though, I'm happy with losing 2lbs so quickly, let's hope I can keep it up!!

8 Aug 2012

30 Day Shred

I'm feeling inspired by all the good things I've heard about Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred so thought I'd give it a go.  I wasn't really sure what to expect, all I knew about it was that people can loose inches by following her 20 minute workout for 30 days. Sounds easy hey?! Well...  Easy it definitely is not!!  I'm clearly very unfit as I really struggled!!!!!

The 30 Day Shred is split into 3 workouts, you start with level 1, once you're comforable with that you move on to level 2 and then ultimately move to level 3. Each level is split into a 2 minute warm up, 3 circuits (3 minutes strength, 2 minutes cardio and 1 minute abs) and then a 2 minute warm down. I guess you should be doing each level for about 10 days each. I sat and watched level 1 before I attempted it and thought to myself "no problem, I can do that". Wrong!

I puffed and panted my way through the level and had to keep giving myself breaks (exactly what she tells you not to do!).  And now, despite a half arsed attempt to do the level, I feel like I've done a thorough workout at the gym and suspect I will be in pain tomorrow.  Oh well, I guess that means that it's done something?

When I researched the 30 Day Shred online, a lot of people posted pics of themselves before and after and it seems to really work.  I'm not going to be putting pics of myself up here but I will share some of my measurements...

Weight - 11st2
Bust - 35.5"
Arms - 13"
Waist - 32"
Hips - 40"
Thighs- 24"

Lets hope I can keep it up for the whole 30 days and see a difference. It's got to be easier to do it, the more times I try right?!

7 Aug 2012

Just like riding a bike!

So being a lady of leisure didn't last long. I get bored very quickly so went job hunting yesterday and was offered a trial shift at a local pub. It's been 8 years since I last worked behind a bar so I was a little rusty but think it went well. I guess we'll just have to wait and see if I'm offered any more shifts... Fingers crossed as it would be nice to earn a little bit of pocket money and not have to rely solely on MrM for spends!

6 Aug 2012

Day 1 of my new life...

I finished my job last week and although I finished on the Tuesday and had the rest of the week with my lovely MrM I'm classing today as my first proper, full day as a lady of leisure...

MrM works offshore and went back to work yesterday :-( We had a lovely few days before he left just chilling out together, it's a long time since we've done that!  In the past I've always been at work during the day when he's at home and then our precious evenings and weekends have been filled with trying to see friends/family and catch up with everyone.  So to have 4 full days doing nothing together at home has been absolute bliss!  It was so hard taking him to the airport and saying goodbye yesterday though and I'm already counting down the sleeps until I can head to the airport again to pick him up!!!

So today I've found myself at a little bit of a loose end.  It was strange waking up alone, having breakfast etc and not having to rush out the door to go to work.  Last week it didn't seem real, it just felt like I had a few days off but now reality has hit.  I've never not worked so this will be a huge shock to the system for me and I'm already looking for a part time role to keep my occupied while MrM is away. But in the meantime I've been searching for other blogs to read and follow for inspiration and have realised something about myself...  I always knew I loved food but it seems that the only ones catching my interest today are the food blogs which have some amazing looking recipes.  Not really a good thing when I'm off to Australia in 7 weeks time and need to be bikini ready.  MrM's trip is supposed to be my opportunity to tone up and slim down a little, not to discover new and exciting foods!!  I need to find some health and fitness blogs to motivate me instead, if anyone has any recommendations please let me know ;-) For now though, I think I'll go watch the olympics...  it's the thought that counts right?!

5 Aug 2012

Hello world!

Hello world and welcome to my first ever blog post! My name is Mrs Matt and I was a marketing professional until recently. MrM works offshore for a good proportion of the year and as I was always at work during his time at home we got to see very little of each other. Our time together was extremely precious and neither of us felt we had enough of it so...  we recently made the monumental decision that I would give up my full time job. I have now finished work and am looking for a part time role but also need to fill the rest of time when he's away, which is why I've decided to start this blog.

I've never blogged before so I'm not entirely sure what I'll be blogging about just yet.  I guess it will mainly be about my life in general...  I love food and drink and absolutely love travelling.  I'm also slowly becoming more adventurous as MrM introduces me to more of his interests. To start off with, my posts will probably revolve around the things we've done recently. I hope it's interesting reading for those of you that stumble across it!