There is something special about being in a capital city… being in such a famous place that is filled with so many people, so many stories and spectacular sights. There is something special about taking your own kids to all of the places you have loved from being a kid and sharing in their excitement as well as holding your own, over all of the famous sights of our beloved London!

For a few weeks now Ethan and I have been excited about our approaching trip to London which took place on Saturday. We had plans to go on a date (just the 2 of us for just the day) and see a few sights, go to the theatre, ride the underground and eat sushi. I love that because we live in Yorkshire, going to London always feels like such an adventure for us, and whilst parent/child dates are becoming an ordinary for us – this one was certainly more extra ordinary!

I really love London these days. We used to live a short tube ride away as a kid, and I have fond memories of being on daddy daughter dates with my Dad there! I also remember in my early 20’s I spent a lot of time visiting my now sister in law at Uni in London and it was always a lot of fun. But as I have had my kids and entered my 30’s, I haven’t had that many opportunities to visit, and at times (with current affairs) I have also felt more than a little anxious to go!

However, since blogging more seriously over the last couple of years I have had many opportunities and reasons to go, and each time I have grown more in love with it again and found myself feeling way more comfortable there. I love that no matter how many times we visit, and no matter what the weather, London never fails to impress and excite me, and being in the capital feels so special!

Seeing London through the eyes of kids is something else though, and the moments spent there with Ethan this weekend were wonderful. It felt so much lighter and less rushed than it usually is. We wandered along those city streets avoiding puddles and laughed as we ran for the tube and through each barrier. We stood in awe at the London eye and the river Thames (because its “such an amazing river”). And we snuggled and sat mesmerized together at the theatre, before enjoying the lights of Leicester square in the evening (and a quick trip to Zara!!).

We didn’t see everything, but we saw enough. He got to see the River, Big Ben, the London Eye, and the main focus – We got to have a wonderful afternoon at the National theatre seeing Pinocchio. And then to tip it all off, we scoffed sushi and noodles on the train as we headed back north in the evening which is something we both share a love for, but that the rest of our little family turn their noses up to!

I really loved my date in London with Ethan. I loved how exciting things felt that I have seen so many times before, and I loved the moments we shared in the capital on our adventure together. I feel we bonded in a way that was much needed between us, and as we headed back to Kingscross station for our train home we made plans to return again very soon to see where the Great fire broke out (his latest interest) and to visit the pigeons and fountains of Trafalgar square.

Parent and child dates provide so many ordinary and special moments together and this is a special little date we will both treasure for a long time.

The main purpose of our visit was to see Pinocchio – if you would like a sneaky preview then you can catch it here. My review should be live in the next day or so if you want to pop back and have a read! It was a spectacular and magical show and we haven’t stopped talking about it!

 

The Ordinary Moments
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Nathan and I have just celebrated 8 years of marriage together and even though he is saying that this milestone makes him feel old, at the same time 8 years has gone by incredibly quickly and has been a great adventure. It was great to once again have a child free night away and some time to reflect on our past and future together.

I adored Nathan long before we became a couple, and continue to feel incredibly grateful for him in my life and by my side. I feel so happy that that affection was (eventually) returned, and his love, loyalty and friendship are a wonderful thing and something I treasure greatly. I love that we fell in love so long ago and now are here  – making each other happy, and strengthening and loving each other through daily life, whilst having fun in the process!

I love that we have our own little happy family and inside jokes…our flow and lots of adventures. I love that he loves me more than I could imagine, and makes me feel so special and of great worth! I love that we are still so happily married and in love! I know that marriage and family life aren’t plain sailing, and they obviously have their ups and downs, but I can honestly say that we are happily married, and deeply in love! That may sound a little cheesy but its true, and just as we hoped (and yet is so very different and more special than we imagined) when we made that commitment 8 years ago.

8 Years Married – How we celebrated

We always have at least one night kid free night away for our wedding anniversary, and combine that with an activity around the traditional theme of anniversaries.

Our night away this year led us only a short distance up the Yorkshire coast to Scarborough! We realised that this was the first time in 8 years of marriage that we have had a child free break at the seaside! Up until now it’s always been city breaks to see historic places (except the countryside adventure of last year), and filled with a lot of culture and business of sightseeing. This break was far more laid back and included a George Michael Tribute!

The Hotel was found on Groupon and for the first time was a deal I kinda regretted! It was a lovely location and Scarborough was rather nice, but the hotel felt tired and a little bit of a let down! I ended up complaining about our room shortly after arrival, and thankfully was able to be swapped to something nicer and more comfortable. The food was mediocre and everything just needed a revamp! But on the plus side the company was excellent and sea views splendid so it was all great too. We loved the fun of a tribute artist and relaxing together, and all in all it was such a laugh.

It was a place we wouldn’t naturally choose, but where curiosity got the better of us. There are probably far nicer places on the coast to stay in but to look back on this little baraginous anniversary trip, it has filled us with funny stories and lots of tat to laugh about together!

8 years of marriage is traditionally celebrated with a gift of pottery or Bronze! So in keeping with our tradition of finding an activity around this we ended up dabbling in a bit of pottery painting at a small place in Scarborough on Saturday morning! We had discussed everything from spray tans (“bronze”) to jetting off to a hot island to catch some rays (no money for that one) … and even clay pigeon shooting!

When we talked about a pottery activity I envisioned a bit of a ghost scene, but Nathan did not, and instead we sat deep in concentration painting things already made. It was for the best as neither of us are that creative, but like all things we do for our anniversary, its an opportunity to break out of our norm! He did a bowl with an “8” and me a tacky flamingo on a jug. We stamped them with the year underneath.

We have talked a lot recently about how life until “us” is almost irrelevant these days because it has little significance to what is now. They are lessons learnt, experiences had and memories made of course, but together in 8 years we have grown together, over come together and we have loved and lost together. We made a family from 2 to 6 and have had some wonderful trips and some awful emotional days at home! But each day from regular life to the great and extra ordinary moments have built us into people different from who we were 8 years ago, and instead have made us into people we perhaps (I’m almost certain) we couldn’t be without the other.

We have helped each other achieve, succeed and overcome failures. We are building our dreams and because of all of these things (and many more I probably can’t even remember), my love for him and his for me is great. It is strong and real and means that life now with each other feels so natural and familiar that its almost like it’s always been this way. I look into his eyes, and hold his hand and it feels such a comfort and snug place to be! We talk and laugh and seem to know what’s coming next… we try new things and joke along the way. We make plans and dream, and we look forward to what life has in store for us now! 8 years of marriage does make us feel old, but when we hope our marriage will be forever, I guess we’re really only just beginning!

Happy 8th Anniversary to the man of my dreams and bestie! It’s a wonderful life we share!

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The City of York is by far my most favourite here in the UK (though I have not yet discovered them all). Every time I visit it just makes me so happy to be there and as a teen I often dreamed of living there too. I find great joy in strolling along the wall, the small cobbled streets and standing in the majesty of the minster. I love to soak up the history and appreciate all that has happened there, see the little shops and tea rooms and sit in the little parks. Being in York, especially as a family just feels lovely to me and therefore seemed the perfect place for this years family date for valentines.

For the last couple of years we have worked on our new tradition of making valentines a family thing. To me it is a great opportunity to teach our children about loving others and saying it to them. An opportunity to teach them about dates and how fun they are, and to take the focus off them feeling a need to have “A Valentine” and just making it fun. Loving people solves so many problems in life and helps us be forgiving, and I feel that by showing my kids ways to show love for others in and out of our family will be a valuable gift.

The exchanging of cards and little inexpensive gifts goes on in the background for us as a couple and then a little date when they’re in bed of food and a cheesy Rom com. But ultimately valentines is focused on the growing love in our family and “dating” the kids. We hold hands more with them, check our phones less and talk about one another.  It’s really lovely and we all look forward to it.

This year’s date saw us not just in the beautiful city of York, but at “York’s Chocolate Story“, which was quite possibly the perfect date destination.

York’s Chocolate Story – The perfect date destination

York’s Chocolate story is an entertaining and informative guided tour through the history of York’s most famous chocolate-making families and their finest creations. It is a fab morning or afternoon out with the family, but even better than that I would go so far as to say it would easily be the prefect place to take a date, go on a date together, or like us – something special and different for a family date. And here’s why:

1. It lets you walk and talk at the same time, and provides ample things to talk about

Being a museum it is rich in interesting facts and things to discover, things we found ourselves “ooooing” and “ahhhing” over as they were delivered to us. There were a lot of smiling and eyebrow raising going on in the group as it was just so fascinating to us all. I have been to chocolate museums before, but as this one is unique to the history of York, I learnt tonnes of interesting things about a city I thought I knew!

You move between rooms so every few minutes there are chances to chat to each other briefly about what you have both seen and heard, and again as you walk down to the chocolate making rooms and the cafe at the end of the tour.

The kids loved it all and gained a lot from it, some of which was the focus of conversation through the rest of our day.

2. There is an element of humour so you can laugh together

The perfect date of course must provide opportunities to laugh together, and there are many of these at York’s chocolate story. The staff are fabulous at what they do and remember, and the delivery of information is brilliant. We found ourselves laughing from the start and with surprises round every corner, accompanied with stories of the past, you and your date(s) won’t be short of a chuckle or 2!

3. It is interactive and fun

With out giving too much away there are parts that are very cleverly created to give the history in a captivating and fun way for kids and adults alike. Of course the sampling that is intertwined with these makes the whole thing come to life even more, and then towards the end you have an opportunity to make your own chocolate creation to take away. Each of these stations, especially the “make it yourself” exhibition, made it hands on and entertaining. Ethan and Megan had sprinkles flying everywhere, and it created an activity that was both different and very enjoyable.

4. It is tasty

Possibly the most obvious one here, but whats a good date without something tasty? Not only is there a gorgeous cafe and tasty shop at the end of the tour, but the whole activity throughout of “Chocolate tasting” is something that is a little bit different. It has an element of romance there and is just plain joyful!

There are opportunities throughout the tour to not only hear how chocolate was invented and created over the years, but also to sample it in its various forms (Our favourite being at the end with the confectioners). We learnt how to see if it is a well made chocolate and how to really get the most from the flavours when trying it (as oppose to just scoffing it down). The kids found this obviously to be one of the better parts, but because they new there were several promises of chocolate tasting it really kept their attention in the more educational points.

5. It is an experience that will be memorable

Each one of us thoroughly enjoyed our visit. The combination of cleverly created displays, along with interesting facts, fun activities and tasty samples is something we will remember together for a long time as a special date.

I love York and always have done, and now its plain to see why. The Tuke, Rowntree, Terry and Craven families made the city of York world-famous for its chocolate and sweets and their legacy runs through it. My favourite city, whether I realised it or not, is built on chocolate – no wonder its the best!


I would most definitely recommend you book on a tour next time you are heading to York, whoever you go with you will be sure to have a tasty time! For more details on prices and booking information click here.

Yorkshire Tots

*Thank you to York’s Chocolate Story for inviting us for a complimentary visit. All thoughts and pictures our own.

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I feel very fortunate that Nathan and I have had a few lovely evenings out together recently, and its been absolutely wonderful following the period of time we’ve had where we barely saw each other! I am wondering how much longer I can milk that as an excuse to have a night out! HA! Its so nice on these occasions to be “us”; to laugh together, have private jokes, flirt, chat without interruptions about everything, and to have him open my door, hold my hand more, steal more kisses and just have fun without little people asking for the “whys” and “what’s” behind everything we do and say! As much as we adore the kids I guess its nice to just not be “parents” for a night.

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Our most recent of these (usually rare) occasions was on Thursday when it was his Graduation Ball for Uni. It was the third to last thing on the calender (the next being results day and last being graduation) before University is well and truly wrapped up and a thing of the past! Whilst it was a chance to be kid free for the evening, we were very aware of how life on these occasions is with children to care for. We were to leave by 5.45ish  and at 5.30 I was still scruffy in the kitchen finishing up dinner for the kiddos, tidying what I could and rushing to make sure things were in order to leave them content and their Aunt in want of nothing. A quick change and hair and make up en route we were both finally dolled up and ready to join his friends and lecturers at Berites in Elland for an evening of fine dining and dancing!

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Not only was it nice to have an evening out celebrating his amazingly hard work, but the food was delish and it was nice to meet people I had heard about for 4 years and chat to them too. We didn’t dance but enjoyed the music and banter, and by 10pm we were yawning and showing our age/parental status! We managed to stretch it out til 11.30pm but with the prospect of a 6.30am wake up call and school runs, we knew we were pushing our luck.
I am so incredibly proud of Nathan for getting to this point, I can’t say that enough. I adore being his wife and having little moments to be just us, dressing up and doing out of the ordinary things together.

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