Wood you believe it?

I can’t believe that five years or half a decade has passed since I married my soulmate on a beautiful hot May day in true fairytale style.


The traditional gift associated with five years of marriage is wood.  Since ancient times trees have been thought to symbolise strength and wisdom.  The idea is that after five years, deep roots have been formed meaning that the relationship is strong and you are wiser in that you have learnt from early mistakes and disagreements.

I was a bit stumped (no pun intended!) on a gift for my husband but saw they had released a limited edition Formula One print to celebrate the 1000th race which I knew as an avid fan he would love so got that and a wooden frame to put it in so it fitted with the theme.  He got me a wonderful wooden swing seat for the garden – something I have longed to have for many years.

We always like to do something nice to celebrate our anniversary and if possible go away somewhere.  I am a devoted reader of Stylist magazine and when I saw Mollie’s Motel & Diner featured in there, I just knew that was where I wanted us to go for our anniversary, especially as we had considered doing route 66 across the USA later in the year, before ruling it out given the amount of daily driving we would have to do because annual leave would mean we could only go for two weeks.


Located in Buckland, Oxfordshire, Mollie’s as their website describes it, is a nod to 1950s America.  It is a motel, diner, drive-thru and a general store which opened earlier this year.

The place still had that lovely new smell to it and the staff were so welcoming, particularly Natalie on reception who ordered us complimentary Prosecco for our room to celebrate our anniversary.


The rooms were absolutely stunning, with large beds covered with crisp white sheets against a wooden clad headboard and a shower that was to die for – easily the best shower I have ever had.  Complimentary Cowshed products were also provided.  It felt like a true taste of luxury at a reasonable price.

The diner didn’t disappoint that evening either.  Not only was there a great 50’s American vibe but the food was delicious and American size portions too!  I had an Oreo milkshake which was a little bit of heaven, cheesy nachos to start, followed by a dirty burger and finished off with a humongous chocolate brownie.

I wore a dress from Oasis which has proved to be a great transitional piece with its long sleeves and the fact it looks good with boots, shoes or sandals.  I wore pink pointed buckle shoes, also from Oasis and finished it off with my Dior look-a-like saddle bag from River Island.


The following morning, not wanting to miss out on Parkrun, and needing to burn off last night’s indulgence, we went to one near the motel at Whitney.  They were a really friendly bunch there, but it was a bit of a tougher course, spilt over narrow woodland, some road side and some on the grass.


After that workout, we had a well earned breakfast back at the diner which for me consisted of pancakes with mixed berries and a banana milkshake.


The t-shirt I wore that morning was from Shein – an online boutique I have recently discovered through Facebook.

Five years has flown by and while I would be lying if I said the whole five years was blissful, our marriage has grown and we have a far deeper understanding of each other now.  I don’t know how he puts up with me sometimes!  I never want to imagine life without him.  Here’s to the next five years and then the eternity ring!

Love is Louboutin

May was our third wedding anniversary and to celebrate we decided to go away for a week. Having spent the last few years visiting various far flung places, we thought it was time we explored the treasures the UK has to offer and as such headed to Scotland.

We could have driven or flown but we opted to travel by the Caledonian Sleeper train, which booked in advance was very reasonably priced and hired a car once there. Now the sleeper train is not luxury but an experience none the less and it certainly is nice to fall asleep in London and wake up in the Scottish Highlands.


We were greeted at Fort William by horrendous rain – the main problem with staying in the UK. As we were unable to book into our accommodation before 4pm, we sought refuge at the Inverlochy Castle hotel and indulged in afternoon tea.



Highland scenery is stunning and by our bed and breakfast there was a beautiful wide expanse of lake which was ironic given that they ran out of water by the Thursday!


A walk through Nevis Gorge to Steel Falls is well worth it, if not for the faint hearted – it’s a four and a half mile round trip. The ground is rocky and rough with sheer drops but you are rewarded with a beautiful photo opportunity. Just make sure you wear appropriate footwear – my Italian leather ballerina pumps didn’t cut it!


Glencoe also provides beautiful views and has been used for films such as James Bond – Skyfall and Harry Potter – it’s where Hagrid’s hut was built.


T-Shirt Oasis, cropped jeans Oasis and ballet pumps from Milan

A great way to see some of the flatter scenery the highlands have to offer is by horseback. I have always enjoyed horse riding and really enjoyed my trek in Tain – not least as I managed to tick off my bucket list, riding on the beach.


Sweatshirt Joy, Jeans Oasis and rain jacket New Look

On our actual anniversary we boarded the Jacobite steam train for a journey from Fort William to Mallaig, crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct – made infamous by the Harry Potter films. We celebrated with champagne and exchanged gifts. The three year wedding anniversary is leather and as such, we couldn’t have let it pass without him adding to my shoe collection. I was ecstatic to open my very own pair of classic Pigalle Louboutins in black patent! You can read more about Louboutin in my previous blog First Steps.  I bought him a leather wallet with his initials embossed on it from Aspinal of London.  Leather is traditionally used to protect and shelter due to its durability, so as your relationship matures, a gift of this represents those qualities.



Glenfinnan viaduct


Butter-brew cocktail


Harry Potter Charm




If castles are your thing, Scotland has some fabulous examples. We visited Urquhart castle, overlooking Loch Ness, for a great example of castle ruins which date from the 13th to the 16th century and Dunrobin which is a true fairytale style castle. Interestingly Dunrobin castle was used as a boarding school for seven years – imagine going to a school that looked like that!


Urquhart castle


Dunrobin castle

If you are looking for an adrenalin rush, I can highly recommend the Seaxplorer fast boat trip out on Loch Leven. We got to see seals and sea birds as well as our captain doing some elaborate fast turns like they do in lifeboats to add to the thrill.


We couldn’t visit Scotland without going to Balmoral of course. Having always been a royalist it was fabulous to see the Queen’s holiday hideaway. Balmoral castle itself is beautiful although we saw very little of the inside. The Landrover safari trip revealed how vast the grounds are, with stunning views and we got to see some majestic deer.






T-Shirt Zara and leather jacket New Look



Being us it was a mad rush to get from Balmoral back to Fort William to catch the sleeper train home but we made it and got a lovely view of Ben Nevis on the journey too.


Ben Nevis


KIP (Krissy is Phil’s) elephant snuggling on the Caledonian sleeper

The UK really has some great sights that shouldn’t be overlooked.  We had a great anniversary and look forward to many more years happily married.  I love my husband because he knows me inside out and loves me anyway.


Some people celebrate their first wedding anniversary with a posh meal, others with a holiday – we chose to complete the London 2015 Moonwalk! Our team of three; my husband, his sister and I completed the 26.2 mile walk around London overnight on 16th/17th May to raise money for breast cancer through the charity Walk the Walk.

We named our team Paper Chase in honour of our wedding anniversary being that paper is the gift most commonly associated with the first. The celebration of wedding anniversaries finds its origins back in the Roman Empire when wives were crowned by their husbands with a silver wreath to denote 25 years of marriage or gold for 50. In the modern day, different gifts are now associated with each anniversary.   The origins of this appear to date back to 1922 with the publication of Etiquette by Emily Post in which symbolic gifts were identified for 8 milestone anniversaries. Mainly due to commercialism, there are now gifts associated with years 1-15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50 and 60 of marriage. The meaning of the first being paper, is believed to relate to the fact that the marriage is fragile like paper and also a new beginning – a blank sheet of paper on which history is to be written. American jewellers in 1937 also published a list of gemstones associated with each anniversary rather than just the later ones and flowers have also been associated with each anniversary – the first one being a pansy.

The first London moonwalk took place in 1998 but its founder Nina Barough began the idea with a New York power walk in decorated bras back in 1996. All participants raise money for Walk the Walk which then grants money to different charities to help the fight against breast cancer. Our team raised a whopping £1800 which feels like a fabulous achievement, with me personally raising just over £730. My company are good enough to match the amount I raised and give it to their charity of choice which is CLIC Sargent this year; so I will also be helping children and young people with cancer. Anyone who has ever raised money for any charity will understand just how difficult it can be to get money out of people. You have to become a thorn in people’s side. Other than simply asking for sponsorship, I made cupcakes which my husband sold at work to raise money.


Each year the Moon walk has a theme around which bras should be decorated. This year’s theme was ‘Night at the Movies’. There were some fantastic takes on the theme including people dressed as popcorn sellers complete with trays of popcorn attached to their bras and those with film reels on theirs. As a team we decided to go with Grease and my sister in law and I wore pink ladies jackets, as well as dying our bras pink and decorating with Grease badges. My husband wore a T Birds jacket and gelled his hair like John Travolta. It appeared the pink ladies was one of the most common ideas, however I don’t think I saw any other T Birds and it was funny at one point when my husband and I were walking arm in arm willing each other on and a volunteer cycled past and said “Oh look, there’s Danny and Sandy!”



I don’t think any of us were prepared for just how tough 26.2 miles pounding the pavements of London would be, especially overnight. We had all put in hours of training although admittedly my sister in law was far more dedicated than my husband and I – our longest training walk was just over 17 miles. Walking during the day however is very different to doing it when your body is battling the natural urge to sleep. The first couple of miles passed relatively quickly despite the crowds (over 15000 people took part). There was lots of encouragement on the way round and it was interesting doing a tour of London’s tourist spots when much of it is deserted. Walking past my office at 1am on a Sunday morning is certainly something I won’t ever be doing again! About mile 18 it really got tough though and we all felt like we had hit a wall. There was some serious doubt amongst us as to whether we could finish. The thought of the money we had raised though, coupled with the terrible suffering those with breast cancer endure spurred us on through and we eventually completed it in about 9 ½ hours excluding lengthy toilet queuing time!

As the medal was put round our necks – it all felt worth it. I had previously done the half moonwalk in 2013, see previous blog and was determined to prove to myself that I could do the whole one. I don’t think any of us will be rushing to sign up again but I would recommend anyone to do it at least once – it certainly is an experience and it really does make a difference.


As many of you would naturally assume, most of Sunday (our anniversary) was spent sleeping and recovering and instead of a celebratory dinner out, my husband and I enjoyed Prosecco and a Chinese take away. His gift to me for our anniversary was a photobook of our honeymoon and mine to him was some Formula One books and a message in a bottle.

My friend suggested I reward my efforts on the walk with a pedicure and a pair of Louboutin’s! As a shoe addict I really should pay more attention to my feet so I took her advice and went to Amazing Space in Rochester the following weekend. An hour’s signature pedicure was £32 and included a hard skin removal, soak, exfoliating scrub, massage, cuticle and nail tidy and a polish all whilst sitting in a body massage chair with soothing music in the background. It was pure indulgence. Unfortunately my pocket can’t stretch to Louboutin’s but I did feel a new pair of shoes may be in order so bought a couple in New Look which I will feature on future blogs.

My pedicure - sandals Oasis

My pedicure – sandals Oasis

Anyone who has done the correct training can do the Moonwalk so why not sign up for 2016 and challenge yourself – people with breast cancer will be thanking you.