WOW! What a month it's been! From mini jaunts to Glasgow and London to my hen do, our wedding and mini moon, it's been an incredible whirlwind of fun, laughter and tears (mostly the happy kind!) If you've been following along on the ol' social media (@jo_want, @sunshine_jo or the Hello Sunshine Facebook page), then you'll probably have an inkling as to what I've been up to but I thought I'd try and round up May in one of my usual monthly updates too!
So... let's see how much of this whirlwind I can take you on...
A last minute (and one of the best) decisions to tag along on The Beard's work trip resulted in me spending 48 hours in Glasgow. The flights were super cheap and I managed to wangle a nights stay in the shiny new Radisson RED hotel, who have a resident puppy called Baxter - SQUEE!
Seeing as I didn't have much time (and had a list as long as my arm thanks to lovely follower's suggestions) I decided that the best way for me to explore the city on day 1 would be by following the City Centre Mural Trail. 22 incredible pieces of street art led me around the city and I covered nearly 13 miles altogether - click through to the IG links in the peeks below to see more photos of each mural.
It was brilliant and although my poor feet were blistered to buggery by the end of it I'd seen so much of the city, enjoyed a mac'n'cheese pizza at Pizza Punks, climbed to the top of the Mackintosh Tower at The Lighthouse and wandered (what felt like) the entire length of the River Clyde!
Day 2 brought a much slower morning as I was hobbling about A LOT! But after a scrummy breakfast at the hotel, I slapped on all the compeed and waddled my way over to The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and boy was I glad I did! What a magnificent building!
From the impressive architecture to the inspiring and intriguing exhibits, I had the best couple of hours mooching around taking it all in (the haggis and haggis was maybe one of my faves, heehee!) I also enjoyed a quick refuel at the nearby Tantrum Doughnuts - most excellent coffee and a dreamy millionaires doughnut - before I hobbled onwards to wander through the University of Glasgow and on to The Botanic Gardens.
The walk through the university grounds was very Harry Potter-esque to say that none of the films were shot there and the views of Kelvingrove from there were stunning. I took a stroll up to the Botanic Gardens from the University and enjoyed slowly wandering through the glass houses and around the grounds - the Kibble Palace glasshouse is stunning inside and out!
My feet and tummy were ready to call it a day by this point and with a plane to catch in the evening I headed back to the hotel in time to enjoy some dirty fries (hello cheese and gravy loaded carb heaven!) before The Beard returned from his conference and we had to head to the airport.
48 hours wasn't nearly enough but I feel like I packed a lot in and came away with a huge smile on my face (despite the blisters!) I can wholeheartedly recommend a jaunt to Glasgow if you're ever considering it and it certainly won't be be long before I visit Glasgow again I'm sure - I still have a lot of things on my list of recommendations to tick off around the city, never mind exploring the nearby mountains too!
hello hen do
Sorry, hello 'Llama Llama Duck Do' as it is now known!
To say I didn't want a hen do at all, I am so unbelievably happy and grateful that I let my sister talk me in to it because with a few of my bestest bitches she planned the most incredible weekend of fun, laughter and sunshine with my favourite faces!
I didn't really know much about the weekend (other than to bring my tent!) but I was blown away on Friday evening when I arrived at a beautiful campsite, after the most hilarious car journey and found so many of my favourite faces (two who are 7 months pregnant and a lot of others who don’t do camping!) It made my heart somersault!
As if seeing everyone and being handed gin and scotch eggs wasn't enough to break me, I also had the pleasure of meeting Pablo the piñata... I felt pretty guilty when I knocked his head off but that soon passed when ALL THE MINI CHEESES fell out of him!
After a morning of campsite giggles, bacon butties, brews, the most AMAZING goody bags and BUBBLES on Saturday, I was whisked off to paddle board down the canal with the team from SUP Yoga Fitness. Everyone was BRILLIANT, the sun shone all day and playing canal bingo was an experience in itself... I thought a used sanitary towel had won it but a dead bloated rat beat it hands down!
Sunday morning brought another Sunshine filled day at the #llamallamaduckdo festival-esque looking camp before I was bundled into the car and taken to meet ALL THE LLAMAS 😍 The lovely folk who run National Forest Llama Trekking are amazing, the set up they had, the friendliness and the happy llamas was everything 😍 Meeting the whole llama gang and walking Bob (a mischievous llama for a mischievous face I think was uttered!) was just THE BEST! I was so excited the whole time and it was AN AWESOME SURPRISE!!
After we had all pootled around with the llamas we enjoyed more giggles and an incredible picnic lunch put on by the Llama Trek crew (crisp sarnies a go-go!) and I was spoilt rotten with the most thoughtful gifts to wrap up the perfect weekend away.
I still get choked up when I think about the whole weekend, I have the BEST BITCHES in the world in my life and could not be more grateful to each of them for the BEST hen do I could have ever hoped for. My sister, (one of the 7 month preggers peeps) could not have planned a more perfect weekend and has also provided me with a photo that will forever be my favourite...
So it may have seemed a bit bonkers, but just 2 days before my birthday and 6 days before the Wedding, I agreed to still take part in the rescheduled Handmade Nottingham Spring Fair at The Malt Cross. I mean, if things for the wedding weren't sorted by then we'd be in trouble anyway and I BLOODY LOVE the Handmade Nottingham Markets - they're always super well organised, so much fun and in my hometown!
I am so glad I agreed to take part too! I had the BEST time meeting and doodling so many wonderful beans, especially Titan the Chihuahua - you can imagine how excited I was when this little dude and his lovely human turned up! It was my busiest ever portrait event and I’m SO happy and so grateful to everyone who came along and to team @hnmarkets who put on another cracking event!
As if the week wasn't going to be busy enough already, I then decided to spend my birthday in London. The sun was shining, I was able to have a picnic lunch with one of my gorgeous university pals in Hyde Park, I popped into sketch for some treats, mooched around Liberty and soaked up some more sunshine at The Barbican.
We also enjoyed the most bizarre but wonderful dining experience at Dans Le Noir in the evening. I'd heard great things about this crazy 'eating in the dark' place - that the food was incredible and challenging your other senses to identify what you're eating was another level. They weren't wrong, it was delicious food and I enjoyed seeing what we'd guessed right/wrong after the experience. I think the only thing I hadn't thought about was how anxiety inducing it would be, not being able to get up and go to the loo when I wanted to and not being able to see an actual thing ("it was like wicked dark down there!") was actually something I really struggled with, especially between waiting for courses.
However, I was brave(ish) and I was able to go to the loo (thank goodness) twice when I needed to - yes I have a bladder the size of a pea! and overall, I would reccommend Dans Le Noir to anyone who wants a completely different dining experience and a challenge for their tastebuds!
So, after a fun-filled day of sunshine and scary dark rooms, I turned another year older with pawprints and a Bowie Kitty on my dress. Who says getting older means growing up anyway...
And just like that it was here, it was time for the BIG DAY itself, the day we had spent over 18 months fumbling our way through planning and making up things as we went along. AND IT WAS MAGICAL!
I won't gush about it too much now because, as I mentioned earlier, I would like to write a proper 'wedding post' when my brain can process it all and so I can feature, shout about and thank everyone involved who made it so damn perfect for us! There are A LOT of special beans to shout about too - you're gonna LOVE IT!
I do have to share this snap of our AMAZING cake though - the cheese tower of dreams! We have actually nicknamed our freezer 'THE CHEEZER' now as we still have rather a lot of left over wedding cake... YASSSSS!
In the mean time, whilst I get my shit together and my head back out of the clouds, I'll leave you with a link to our Wedding Pinterest boards which helps to give you a little bit of an idea of the kind of day we planned...
I'll be honest, it wasn't all fun and games planning our Big Day, mainly because we wanted to do a lot of things that weren't classed as 'normal' but with a lot of help from a lot of wonderful people, we bloody well did it and couldn't have wished for a more perfect day in the sunshine with our favourite beans.
Genuinely though, I have never felt so much love and happiness between more people, in one place. A PERFECT DAY with a BIG "L for LOVE!"
As with our Big Day, I won't waffle on about our time after the wedding too much here as I'd like to do a 'Honeymoon post' towards the end of July when we return from our big honeymoon - yes, we are greedy and have planned more than one honeymoon adventure!
For our mini-moon we hired a GORGEOUS buttercup yellow camper (just like my Grandparents had) well over a year ago as we knew we wanted to escape for a few days after the wedding. It wasn't always the plan to have Colin the Camper as our wedding car (mainly because we got married almost next door to where we live so our Tandem was top of the wedding car list!) but he ended up being part of the day itself AND our mini-moon which was just perfect... I mean LOOK AT HIM!
Colin took us across to The Cotswolds, all the way over to Pembrokeshire, then back to the Breacon Beacons and The Cotswolds again before we had to end our mini-moon adventures. It was a lovely way to spend the week after our wedding and we crammed in plenty of walking, gin drinking, some coasteering, cheese feasting and even a cheeky mountain! But more on that another time...
I can't actually believe I'M A WIFE now and I have a husband... it almost sounds like I'm an adult or something... NAH!
As always, thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed following along with this whirlwind journey through May and all it brought our way.
Until next time... TOODLEPIP!