Viewing your first house… just like dating?

Buying your first house with your partner should be a wonderful thing, an exciting time building a life together. There are so many things to think about when it comes choosing you home. Location, how many bedrooms, size of the garden, do you want a kitchen-dinner or separate and most importantly what can you afford.

When we bought our first house together it wasn’t all the fairy tales of wonder that we had hoped for. We had a mortgage in principle of 175 thousand pounds from the bank, however we knew we wanted to enjoy life as well. So we had decided that we didn’t want to spend more than 150 thousand on our first home. We also either, wanted to spend toward the top of our budget on something that didn’t need a lot of work doing or something lower that needed some work doing.

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So our search began. The first house we viewed was a 3 bedroomed semi-detached house on an estate the other side of town. The first thing we were greeted with was a very large photograph of a child and I mean a large photograph, clearly they were proud parents to this little one. However seeing this photograph scared me, I mean really scared me. Anyway on walking through the house, it most certainly didn’t get us thinking, about starting our life together there.

The house was full off the oddest thing, the biggest TV was sat in the corner on a homemade TV stand that was standing about 4 foot high with the TV balanced on top of it. I know that seeing a house as your future home is about seeing passed all of the ‘stuff and decorations’ however I just couldn’t see anything about this house that would be right for us.

We both left the house almost laughing about it, the interior was just awful, the vibes from the house just didn’t sit right and even now 10 years later I still shudder then I look back at the house.

Safe to say after a few weeks and a good few viewings we found our first home together. We loved it from the seconded we walked through the door, it just felt right and like home.A bit like our first date together. The property, a 3 bedroom modern town house that was towards the top end of the budget but needed nothing doing as it was only a year old. 

Fast forward 10 years and one house move, we are now dreaming about our forever home in the country. It’s still a dream for now but one day it will happen.

Viewing your first house…. just like a first date?

The Law House have put together some fun information about ‘The Perfect House Date’. I guess when you think about it, your first date is very much like the first impressions you make viewing a property.

 

*This post was made in collaboration with The Law House. As always thoughts and opinions are my own.*

Menu tasting at The Grosvenor Casino in Nottingham

Have you ever been to a casino? Well up until last week, I hadn’t. I always thought about them as either very posh, tuxedos and cocktail dresses (very Oceans 11) or as dark, grotty, seedy places that women generally don’t go. How very wrong I was!

The Grosvenor Casino in Nottingham, invited me and 3 friends to spend an evening with them, to see what a modern casino is really like and to try out their new menu. I invited 3 of my closet friends, who had not been to a casino before either.

Grosvenor Casino In Nottingham

The Grosvenor Casino in Nottingham

We arrived to be greeted by the manager Daren Brain, who gave us a tour and explained that he worked on the refurbishment of the old casino. The refurbishment saw big changes within the casino, a restaurant, a bar area with large screens for sporting events, the addition of sectioning off areas for VIP’s or private events. An open space for American Roulette, blackjack, punto banko, Texas Hold’em cash game tables and the online roulette gaming machines. There was also a balcony with a couple of outside slot machines, so the smokers can play while outside. Not forgetting the double license for additional slot machines, spilt over two areas, in the more lively area by the tables and a quieter area at the other side of the reception.

I was surprised by how inviting the whole place was, lots of space, chairs and tables for sitting to enjoy a meal or watching something on the big screen. The reception area was large, with a very inviting bar in eye sight. The casino area was large, plenty of space to stand around the tables, with a VIP area that is closed off when they have high rollers in or hired out for events.

To mark it’s 1st anniversary of opening, Daren and the team have launched a new meal and cocktail menu, which we came to try out.

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Cocktails

We ordered cocktails and were shown to our table for dinner, the restaurant area had a luxurious modern feel it to. As you know I love a nice cocktail so seeing a menu full of different ones I would like to try is always good. They arrived and we all enjoyed them, I choose a ‘Passion Fruit Martini’ and two girls went for the ‘Raspberry Lynchburg Lemonade’ and driver went for the ‘Virgin Colada’ all great cocktails. I generally stick to Champagne or Prosecco based cocktails and I haven’t found one I don’t like yet. Looking back I’m not sure why we only had one cocktail each, we should have ordered more, they all looked delicious. 

cocktails-at-the-grosvenor-casino-nottingham

New menu tasting

While enjoying the cocktails we looked at the menu. The restaurant manager recommended the calamari and the buttermilk chicken for starters then the fillet steaks for main course. Plus a bottle of rosé to enjoy with it.

We decided that we would choose 4 different starters so we could all try a bit of everything. We ordered nachos, salt and pepper dusted fried calamari, fried cajun buttermilk chicken strips and tender slow cooked pork ribs. Which all arrived in a good time and tasted amazing the calamari was the best I had eaten, I would definitely order those again and not share them. As a group we were all happy with the starters and really enjoyed eating them. 

For our main courses, we all found it quite difficult to choose something because there was lots of choice and all sounded very appealing. In the end I went for the 7oz fillet steak, cooked well done, with a Caesar dressing over the lettuce side and the red wine sauce for the steak. One of the others also opted for a fillet steak cooked medium rare, with a blue cheese dressing over the lettuce side and the bourbon sauce. The other two girls chose the classic double beef burger, they both added cheese. The four of us also went for sides of fresh vegetables and onion rings.

The steaks were both cooked perfectly to our individual likings. I have so many times had to return a steak when it has not been cooked through enough for me. This was perfect! The sauce that came with both of the steaks were also delicious, we all tried both of them. I loved them both and would struggle to choose between then if I was to order another steak. The girls burgers were fabulous, really big, loads of extras inside the bun along with chips and whatever sauces your fancied. They were burgers that my Hubby would be really impressed by and he likes a BIG burger.

After our main courses we ordered puddings, the restaurants staff recommended the waffles, but we all went for something else. Two of us ordered the peach and raspberry cheesecake, I love a cheesecake. The others went for the three berry mousse cake and the salted caramel chocolate roulade. The deserts were all delicious, we sampled each others not wanting to miss out. I was not disappointed with cheesecake, it was lovely. Although when Darren came over and spoke about the waffles I kind of wish I had ordered them instead.

Ask any of my friends, I am definitely one for sending food back if I don’t feel it is up to standard, I am also well known for making complaints if the service isn’t up to standard or the staff have poor attitudes. So for me to go out for a meal and genuinely be 100% happy with everything is quite unusual, and I found this at the Grosvenor and believe me, even I was surprised.

Our Casino Lesson

After our meals we headed for a lesson on the American Roulette boards, the casino is the only one in the country that offers the colour changing roulette wheel. I did not have a clue. I know literally nothing roulette. However after an enjoyable 30 minute lesson we all came away thinking we knew a little bit more about it all. I seemed to do really well with the winnings while having our practice lessons, I just seem to wing it enough to win lots of chips, unfortunately they did not transfer into piles of money. We moved over to a quite blackjack lesson, which was easier to understand however I was rubbish at it. A couple of the girls seemed to really have the knack of it.

Once we had finished our practice lessons, on to the boards we went…… well, honestly we went to the online roulette boards. They just seemed less intimidating than live tables with lots of people around then that all seemed to know what they were doing. It was so much fun just having a go on a few numbers, or black and red. We played for about an hour or so between us and I came away 45p up. Which for someone who had never even stepped foot in a casino before or really even played a game of cards other than snap or rummy I think I did ok.

After our evening of amazing food and drinks, plus all the excitement of winning 45p we heading home. Each one of us throughly enjoyed our evening with Daren and team, they made us feel welcome and even though non of us had a clue about casino games they were more than happy to give us lessons. We all came away saying that we would go again, for food, drinks and also roulette, we might even take our partners along.

Although I hadn’t really thought about it before as a hen party location. I really think it would be a great laugh. Head there for a fabulous meal, cocktails, enjoy the atmosphere of the casino before heading into the city with a group of girls. Daren said it is quite popular with hen parties but as you would guess very popular with stag parties.

Thank you to Daren and the team at The Grosvenor Casino in Nottingham for having us all along for the evening. I look forward to coming back again one day soon.

 

Dressing to impress with Jacamo

My Hubby loves to get dressed up almost as much as me. In recent years his style has really improved, with a little help from me. Well, no, a lot of help from me. The Hubby loves a bit of tweed, it goes with his country style really well. Imagine, checked farmers shirts, jeans, waxed jackets and you are about there with his style. Plus it really suits him.

dressing-to-impress-with-jacamo

I have been looking for a tweed style blazer that was a bit different to everything else he has in his wardrobe. Something that would be warn casually day to day but also could be used for a evening meal out or a party.

Jacamo got in touch a while ago to ask if the Hubby would like a couple of items. So I thought I would have a look to see if they have anything nice other than Freddie Flintoff. I had never looked at the Jacamo site before, because in all honestly I thought it was designed for larger, taller men. Although my Hubby isn’t the smallest man he, also doesn’t struggle for clothing in standard shops. However when I popped onto the Jacamo site I was impressed to see that they offer clothing from a size small to a 5 xl. Brilliant, it means that whatever your size and also style you would be able to find items at Jacamo. Which I did for the Hubby and every easily.

I’m not the most decisive person, so I often have to think about things for a while before can make my mind up. For me I will often order 4 or 5 items even when I am just wanting one. When buying for someone else it can be even more difficult. So after spending probably a few to many hours looking at the Jacamo items, I found a gorgeous grey herringbone ‘Have a blast’ blazer, matching waist coat and a white shirt that all looked rather lovely on model that was was wearing with it. As the Hubby generals wears a checked shirt, I thought I would also go for the white shirt for something a bit different. I was really impressed with the results.

The items arrived a few days later. The Joe Browns ‘Have a Blast’ blazer costs £100, but it was on offer for £65. The matching waist coat cost £50, but again was on offer for £35 and the Williams and Brown white shirt was only £16.

We were both really impressed with the quality of the items. The blazer and waist coat are both finished beautifully with contrasting linings, the grey herringbone has a real subtle check running through it, giving it just enough of the country feel that my Hubby loves. I hadn’t noticed in photographs on the web page, but the blazer also has a lovely button hole of feathers that looks lovely on it. Fair enough a feather button hole might not be for everyone, but it is easily removable. The buttons on the cuffs just finish it all off.

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The white shirt for £16 is good quality, it easily irons and looks great with the blazer and waist coat combination. We are both really pleased with the fit and style of the outfit I had chosen, fingers crossed I might get taken out for dinner soon.

I wouldn’t hesitate to order items from Jacamo again, they have a great range of clothing, in fact I have my eye on some other bit’s for the Hubby to help change up his love of checked shirts.

 

*Thank you Jacamo for sending these lovely outfits for my Hubby. As always thoughts and opinions are my own.*

 

Mother’s Day with Lisa Angel

Mother’s Day is almost here again, it doesn’t seem like 5 minutes since last years. Mother’s day in our house often consists of the Hubby being at work and me spending the day with the children. Sometimes we will head to the local National Trust property for the children to burn off some steam and get some fresh air. If the Hubby is at home we will generally go for a nice walk with the dogs and he will (with my help) cook a lovely roast dinner.

As it’s Mother’s Day we always try to make it a bit more special, I love that both the children are still young enough to make lots of things at school and pre-school, cards, pictures and vast array of other wonderful items. I always keep the things the children make, my dresser is just as full of their creations as it is my ever growing collection of Emma Bridgewater pottery. Not only do I receive my little darlings wonderful creations, I also get cards and gifts. Some years it can just be flowers other years it can be host of delightful gifts.

There are so many lovely online shops now that it is difficult to find one that offers gorgeous items, at good prices with great customer service. I have placed orders with the lovely Lisa Angel a few times over the last couple of years, gifts for friends and personalised items for my little girl who loves the cutest things.

This Mother’s Day Lisa Angel have sent me a some gorgeous items to help make my Mothers Day extra special.

Mother’s Day with Lisa Angel

Lisa Angel’s web site is a place you can get lost in, just looking at all of the fabulous things they have to offer, it was really difficult to choose just a couple of items. In the end I chose these as my top picks for Mothers Day.

Peas in a pod

I have seen a few people with a pea in a pod necklace, often made within one metal and each pea representing people you love. It could be for best friends, your brothers and sisters or like me my little family of four peas. However, it could be you just love peas.

What really draw me to this rose gold ‘Peas in a Pod’ necklace was that each pea is a different colour, making it much clearer to me that it holds a representation for different people. You are able to order this necklace with varying amounts of peas, from two to four. It also is available in just silver if you would prefer that. My necklace cost £22 and came in a cute little box and mounted on a card.

Mummy Scarf

I love a scarf, I have more than I could ever possibly need, however I just keep adding more to my already over flowing box. I do however wear them all, it’s not often that I don’t have a scarf with me, even through the summer months I will add scarf to a vest top and jeans combo.

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I spotted this lovely ‘Starry Nights Watercolour Cloud’ scarf that costs £20. Your also able to personalise the scarf with up to 30 letters. I just loved the fresh spring colours, perfect for a Mother’s day gift. Time to hopefully pack away the big winter scarfs and get out the lighter weight ones.

I chose to have Mummy added to mine, it’s in gold scripted letters that is just enough to stand out but not so it is in your face obvious.  The scarf is large, which for me is perfect, I really love large scarfs, I think they are much more versatile.

Family Memory box

For years people have had memory boxes of some kind, for children’s birth or just to keep special items in. However generally they are hidden away in the cupboard filled with cards like a few I have, I have an issue with throwing important cards, invitations, newspaper clippings, tickets and god knows what else that I think I must keep. Much to my Hubby’s disgust.

However I have loved the idea of having a memory box on display. Something you can just pop in the cinema tickets or the train tickets, or even the tickets to Lego land or a leaflet of a place we have visited. Anything that makes memories for our family however big or small. Maybe even at the end of the year empty it as a family to remember the adventures for the year.

While looking through I found this lovely personalised ‘Family Memory Frame’, it’s simple but just right for filling with our memories. It has a slot at the top in the frame where you are able to easily pop your bits through, then the back opens up to remove any things when its fill.

This memory frame is a wonderful gift for any Mummy for mother’s day.

What would your ideal Mother’s Day gift be? Whatever your doing for Mother’s Day, I hope you have a lovely day.

 

*thank you Lisa Angel for sending me these beautiful items. As always thoughts and opinions are my own.*