Barca Baby

This was my second trip to Barcelona, and it was just as good as the first time. I really don’t think you can tire yourself of Barcelona. As I still haven’t had enough. ( Which means I’m definately planning to go again. Just have to sweeten the hubby up)

The first time I went with hubby and the kids, and we watched a game and had the tour of Camp Nou- (which was amazing. I need to do a blog on this!) And this time I went with Sabina, and we did…well….. Everything I wouldn’t do with the men in my life.

And that’s the beauty of Barcelona, it caters for all. I loved both my trips as much as each other.

The tickets were brought in advance from skyscanner- flights with Ryanair for £ 44. If you know you want to go, it’s best to book in advance and wait for the prices – as they fluctuate daily. And we were lucky that Ryan Air didn’t have any delays either. Bonus

As soon as we landed we went straight to the Aerobus located outside of the airport. Having been here before- we had already worked out getting around without the use of expensive taxis. For 2.15 euros we got dropped off outside Las Rambles within 30 minutes. The centre and hotspot of Barcelona. From here we walked down to our hotel which was a 15 minute walk away and located in Placa Reial. This is actually a popular square in the ‘Gothic’ part of Barcelona. Our stay for the 2 nights was at Hotel Roma Reial.

It is an actual square with a fountain in the middle, and surrounded by restaurants, coffee shops and clubs. Making it a tourist attraction and a very busy location especially at night.

Placa Roma Reial is a functional and basic hotel set In the best location. I couldn’t have asked for a better location. Rooms are clean and comfortable, the bathroom is clean, open and towels included.For our short city break, this was just perfect.

We had a twin room at £63 a night including breakfast. We literally slept here, the rest of the time we were out.

Breakfast is served in a cove at basement level, and it is quite cool, for breakfast we are given muffins, rolls, butter and jam, yoghurt, cereals, and hot drinks and cold juices. Exactly what we needed, and what we have for breakfast generally.

( I seriously need to sort out my photography skills )

When leaving the square on the left a five minute walk away we have the cruise port, and on the right we have Las Ramblas. Could we get a better location? (Repeat that in Chandler’s voice from friends, it’s funnier.)

So what did we do?

La Boqueria Market / Las Ramblas Market

Known to be one of the most famous markets in Europe, this has to be visited when in last Ramblas.

This market is bursting with colours and smells and scents, it’s definately an experience not to be missed. It has all that a market has to offer- from the hustle and bustle, the bargaining and the pickpockets, and it tends to be busy no matter what time of day you go.

And the food is so enjoyable. The fresh fruit drinks are not to be missed.

Casa Batllò

From my first visit to Barcelona with the family- this building was always on my list of priorities to visit.

Entrance tickets were 25 euros each.

And it truly was everything that I expected it to be and more. This historical landmark/museum was bought and decorated by Antoni Gaudi, a Spanish architect. His work is known to be very individualistic, and one of a kind.

On entrance we are given a smart guide and headphones. The audio keeps us informed of all the rooms and how and why this famous landmark was decorated in the way it was. what textures were used, materials used, and general idea behind the structure of the whole building.

In the middle of a grand stairway, you start to see blue tiles making its way up in waves. This is intended to make you feel as though you are underwater. The skylight from above feeding it’s light through, making the tiles glimmer.

The whole building was a chaos of colours and contrast of materials. Then we went to the top floor and the ‘Servants quarters’ . Am I weird if I say that this was my favourite area? The colours stopped- and we had blank white walls, long corridors with arches, and it felt quiet spiritual, almost heavenly vibes .

This trip is not for feint hearted, the stairs do tire your legs out, but all in all, it’s a beautiful experience and a masterpiece. A must go in Barcelona.

Lasoglondrinas Boat Trip

Whilst walking down to the cruise port, we booked ourselves in for the boat trip. It’s a 40 minute boat trip out to the port and back for 7.70 euro each.

In these 40 minutes we get to enjoy the air, the sea and get a glimpse of few icons, and the harbour

And opportunity for photo

And yup that’s Sabina in the middle holding on to the pole, because she decides to tell me at this point she’s sea sick. I do love this woman and all she does for me.

Shopping

The main attraction of Las Ramblas is the shopping! And with a Zara in every corner we were in heaven. From high street shops to designers, it’s a paradise. I’m glad we were only there for the 3 days- because if it had been longer we’d definately need to consider another suitcase on way back home.

Next up I’ll be telling you about all the food places we visited.

Stay tuned.

Hope you enjoyed- if you did, click the like and leave a comment

Love and regards.

M11bna

Suicide and Stigma

I kept getting messages for a vigil for a 46 year old man in the community who had passed away. I don’t know who the man is, or why I was getting so many messages. (I will call him Mr.X- for privacy purposes)

The cause of death is not mentioned at any point. But Mr X was definately a very popular man considering the amount of messages I was receiving.

It soon became clear why the cause of death was not mentioned. Suicide.

In the UK in 2018 their have been 6507 suicidal deaths- and 3/4 of this is men (mental health.org.uk) usually between ,25-40.

This suicide made me think of another suicide 2 years ago by a 15 year old boy in a local school. Another death that took us by suprise. Apparently it was to do with bullying. This boy was beautiful, I was in shock at how beautiful he was, he was tall, slim, really nice hair- I couldn’t understand how such a good looking boy would Evan get bullied let alone want to take his life.

Mr X took responsibility of his elderly parents, had a divorced sister whom he loved dearly and a nephew he was besotted over. Apparently a smile and a hello to everyone he knew. His smile was his signature look. So what caused him to take his life?

Selfish

The first thing that comes into most people’s mind is- what about the people left behind. How are his parents going to cope? His nephew who he dotted over? His sister who he supported during her bad times. His friends, work colleagues? What about these people? How will they cope? How will they accept this?

It is said that suicide is a very selfish thing, because you could be leaving behind people who may end up blaming themselves, who may get mentally challenged themselves.

Or do we say it is a selfish act by the person as a means to counsel the ones left behind? To pass the blame on to someone so that the ones left behind do not feel guilt?

Is it really the person who took there life selfish? Or the people that are left behind? Thats the ultimate question in my mind, as we would rather a obviously unhappy person be with us, then having to go through the pain of them leaving us.??

Mental Health

There is a stigma when it comes to “mental health” in the Asian/ Indian community still to this day. It is looked down upon, misunderstood, and generally seen as a weakness of faith. Personally speaking Evan in the lowest point of my own life, I have been told to “pray more”. I’m in no way challenging this, for me prayer is my strength, it allows me to be stronger, and focused. But I appreciate it does not work in quite the same way for all.

With mental illness- the individual stigmatised can face alot of negative consequences, some of which include shame within family, isolation, seen as weak, relationship prospects can be damaged, and therefore the individual is told to ignore the feelings, bottle up and put away. I think this is more damaging for men- as men are told to “man up!” And usually for the above reasons mental health problems are kept within the four walls of the house. This in itself can cause more problems rather than dissapearing.

Mental health needs to be talked about more openly in minority communities if a change wants to be made. It’s time to stop hiding away and thinking of mental health as a problem. The problem is our own interpretation of mental health.

Depression leads to suicide, But how is depression perceived in the Indian community? It’s acknowledged for sure, but treatment is a different thing entirely . Getting treated means acknowledging you have a problem in the first place, and generally because of the stigma- people shy away from admitting there’s a problem in the first place.

Another issue is that depression cannot be seen, it is felt and usually this is why people don’t understand it. If a physical pain like a broken leg is seen- we don’t advise a person to get over it and start walking. So why is it that with depression- we tell people to get over it? Just because we can’t see it- does not mean it is not felt, if anything the wound may get bigger.

Selfless

How can a person who commits suicide be considered as selfish? How can someone be so low – that commiting suicide is the easiest option to get away from the pain of it all. Someone who has no value to there own life, that everyday is a struggle- yet they decide to live a day longer through all the hurt and pain. That to me is selfless.

This person no longer wants to exist. No longer wants to have thoughts or feelings, or demons In the head. This person thinks that if they dissapear others around them would be better off. They feel they are a burden on everyone around them. That’s selfless.

Let’s not get this wrong, I’m not encouraging suicide, I’m merely saying that we need to change our attitude. We need to see the signs, we need to listen, and we need to help.

Love and regards

M11bna

Afternoon Tea at the Edgbaston Boutique Hotel

Off on our adventures again, Sabina, Katija, Noor and myself decided to try the Afternoon tea at the Edgbaston Boutique Hotel in Birmingham. In general we try and keep things local so that we can go when kids head off at school and be back before they get back. Although Birmingham is not local for us Leicesterians, it’s local enough to fit within a 6 hour window between 9- 3.

Having heard numerous spoilers about this place, we needed to try it out ourselves, and may I say we were not dissapointed.

Decorated in a look taking us back to the 1920s, the black and gold chic interior- reminded me of the film The Great Gatsby, yet with a slight feline touch.

Being Christmas time again, it was decorated lavishly with dark green bold Christmas trees.

Beautiful ornaments set up in corners of the room.

The afternoon tea was set up in the same place as the cocktail bar, being the first ones in at 11, (that’s when they start the afternoon tea) there were only a few other people inside.

Evan the menu and the cutlery were in the same bold colours. It really felt like a lavish experience.

The afternoon tea started off with a special treat

This sweet treat given in a dramatic way, started our day off just right, the theatrical display of dry ice really got us into the mood. I’m not really sure what it was as I was too busy oohing and ahhing while the waitress was giving us our brief, but what I do remember is something Madagascan vanilla and (edible) lavender. And we were asked to try and guess the scent of the nitrogen oxide. Banana infused. Just a few teaspoon full of this dessert was just the right amount having us wanting more.

In terms of Tea-the Edgebaston use organic loose leaf Jing tea, we just were asked to choose our flavours: our options consisted of ; vanilla black, pure Assam, lemon, gunpowder among few others. These were accompanied by traditional.scones with strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream.

And then came our sandwiches and desserts,

Our sandwiches included Egg mayonnaise and watercress on freshly baked brioche.
Garlic butter, salmon and guacamole on crispy shortbread.
And lastly Lettuce and cucumber in homemade seed bread.
Our desserts included Fresh baked and Warm Apple crumble, Red velvet Cake pop drenched in white chocolate, and choc covered lamington cake.

These beautifully dainty sandwiches and lavishly decorated sweet treats were not just tasty but also visually appetising. We didnt want to touch them. They are a work of art. We took more time just taking photos than anything else, until one of us had to be the first one to take the plunge.

Our beautiful little doll enjoyed her sandwiches, and the waitors were wonderful and gave us warm milk for her.

At £25 a head (child free)this was an absolute steal, from the food to the entertainment, to the Beautifully decorated venue.

Would I go again? I loved it sooo much I went again with this lovely bunch couple of months later, and it was just as perfect as the first time.

My beaut sisters 💓

And I’d do it all over again. Who’s coming with me?

Love and regards

M11bna

People walk In and Out of your Life for a Reason…

I went for my Last display set up last weekend, it was for a Dessert/Fruit set up.

And here it is…..

As I was putting everything in my car I was thinking to myself that I am so glad that I have made this decision. Already exhausted having woken up early to make the Desserts and Fruit platters- I had to pick up the props for the display and put them in car- then unload it all at venue and arrange the set up….And once all is done, I’d have to go back pick up everything, wipe and clean and put away- and then the same all over again the following week, (I just got tired writing this, doing it is a different story altogether) and don’t get me wrong I have a team of people who work with me, but sometimes we are at different venues, and today that was the case.

Fruit Display.

When I got to the venue, as usual I started talking to a couple of the event planners already there, the function owner, the stage dude and dudettes, the cake people, the waitors…. and a lump formed in my throat.

I realised that this may be the last time that I actually talk to these people, im not really an emotional person, but my eyes started stinging. What are the chances I will see them again.

I dont think the reality of the step I had taken had hit me until today. I started thinking that if I wasnt here today- what would I be doing? at home, sleeping? watching tv? making brekky? I mean what do you do on a weekend when you have nothing on? Weekends are my busiest time, apart from when I take a weekend off to go on a day trip with the family, or holidays- I dont think I have ever had a weekend off, and previous to this I use to work for BT Openreach and that required me to work on weekends too. So having weekends off seem surreal to me.

Wedding cake previously done by me 👏👏👏

I think I had a little panic attack, I stopped breathing and just froze. These people have become a big part of my life, all my cakey friends, my customers, the people that work with me….what now? were they all going to dissapear? was I going to loose them?

That night I talked to my hubby and told him of my little panic attack, and what he said made me settle a little, “The people that you meet in your life, they are there to get you through that part of your life” so right now I may feel awful about the changes that are to take place, and evan while I am writing this I am very dubious, but I know ill be fine.

Drinks Display

This made me think further about people that have walked in and out of my life. Some people stayed, some ‘popped’ in, and some left, but at some point or another, whether by purpose or not, whether it was recognised or not, they made a difference to my life (and hopefully in the right way) some guided me, some helped me and some taught me valuable lessons in life.

I’ve also got to accept that not everyone will make it into the future, some will come and go in different stages but yet not dissapear, some will come for a short while and leave, and some will stay and nag me for the rest of my life 🙄 (I promise I say that with a smile on my face)

I just hope that whoever’s life I may have ‘popped’ into- I have made a difference to them for the better.

Love

M11bna

Birthday Boi in Manchester

One of the greatest things about Sabina is that she finds the most amazing deals. When she watsapped me a poster of ‘Crystal Maze’ Live experience in Manchester, I had answered yes before she Evan asked when. She found the deal on Wowcher at £25 per person. (Normal price being from £44.99 depending on dates)

The younger Boi, Adil was turning 13 and first thing that came to my mind is this is the perfect gift for him. (And I was not wrong). We rounded up our group of 7 ( we needed 8, but bought full vouchers as worked out better) and settled on a date (after a hell of alot of mixups, and date changing- it gets hard when everyone has work and kids to cater for)

Having booked it for 4.30, we had enough time to run a few errands in the morning, and set off at 12.30. Our journey was from Leicester to Manchester. Wanting to make a day of it, we decided to leave early so that we can get lunch in before the start of our game.

Knowing that Katija is with us we left the decision of lunch to her, and she did what she does best… She knew where we would park our cars, where we would eat, how long we could stay in restaurant, and also how to get to Crystal maze and back- without the worry of time…. And she did it all brilliantly.

And Venue wise… We couldn’t have had a better place. We ended up at ‘Kai’ on Deansgate. Which is a Turkish Meze bar and Grill. On entering the place we were amazed. It was stunning. So much detail and attention.

Preety Bar
Ceiling full of flowers dropping into sharp black and white flooring.
Rich leather seating.

The name ‘Kai’ is a turkish name, and comes from the famous ‘Kayi Tribe’ who are known to be the original founding fathers of the Ottoman Empire. With the world going ‘Resurrection Ertrugrul’ ( netflix series/ Game of Thrones halalified) crazy, and all of us being big fans, It started our day off just right, but it wasn’t just a preety place, the food was finger licking too, so much taste, flavours and aromas.

Adana and Sheesh kebabs.
Lunch menu offered these platters at £8
Kofte burger from lunch menu.

After filling out bellies, and taking the most instagrammable pics ever, we headed off for Crystal maze. With Google maps on, we started on our short 15 minute walk towards our destination

Minus a few…
The excitement as we got close
Always a selfie, this time with the lovely Noor.

Unfortunately we are not allowed any photos or photography inside the event itself, which is such a downfall. The closest I got is the changing rooms, we did get 2 photos within the place itself as part of the package.

Can I just say what a good time we had. All of us. The whole experience from beginning to end was amazing. It felt as though we were actually in the show- all we needed was the camera crew.

It is so much more larger than life inside the maze, no expenses have been spared in making it. The music as you run through the tunnels to move from one area to another makes you want to run faster, the game master with his wacky personality bringing the game to life. Each and every game was fantastic, all living up to the dream. We had laughs, tears, swearing ( much to the amusement of my boys who had never heard their Aunt swear. They see her in a different light now ) and joy. We spent around an hour and a half in here, but it felt as though we were here all day because it took us to a world away from this world.

The team in Aztec.

Proud to say I won the team a crystal, and we got 5 crystals in total, with one lock in. We were well impressed with that. Then came the crystal dome the highlight of the whole thing. We took our places in the dome . When the game master said ” will you start the fans please?” We allowed the gold tickets to fly around us and on hearing the whistle we started collecting frantically, each on our mission. Best 25 seconds of my life.

Team: Reflection

How did the Boi find it? Well I already knows what he wants for his birthday next year.

On the way home, our journey felt short and sweet, with constant laughter and jokes about the event. It really was an out of world experience made for any age. If you are ever going Manchester- make sure you book this in. It’s an experience not to be missed.

Regards

M11bna

Afternoon Tea at The Dorchester

I was introduced to ‘The Dorchester’ at age of 18. When I say introduced, I mean me and the hubby dearest went to London for a weekend to his aunt’s house, and she took us for a tour, one of the stops was here. And when I say stops I mean we parked outside and saw the hotel.

At that point in time, all I knew was that a cup of tea here was £30 (I’m assuming now that they were talking about afternoon tea), as I could hear aunt saying to her husband ” I’m still waiting for my cup of tea here,” and him replying “Well keep waiting, only silly people pay £30 for a cup of tea, and it’ll be English tea anyway, we won’t Evan like it”.

£30 for a cup of tea! It fascinated me, I needed to know more. At a time when minimum wage was £4.10 an hour, how were people affording this? And what was this place? I needed to know what this tea looked like, the colour, what it came in, the taste, the smell….Those yellow patio umbrellas stuck in my mind forever.

For a long time The Dorchester wasn’t mentioned, being an avid reader I stumbled upon Jackie Collins ‘Hollywood’ collection of books, I’m not sure which book it was, but on a few occasions, London and The Dorchester Hotel were mentioned within the book itself, once again the memory of the yellow parosols etched in my head.

Then 2009 came- the year of Britney Spears, and all across papers were pictures of Britney Spears walking in and out of The Dorchester. It was then that I knew The Dorchester was out of my league. It was a world for the celebrities. And a dream for a call centre worker (at that time).

My time came. December 2017. We booked ourselves in for Afternoon tea at “The Dorchester”. The excitement was real. My hubby who obviously has gone after his uncle was in disbelief that we would pay £70 for tea, but for me it was a dream come true. I was going to the place where Britney spears walks in and out, Jackie Collins had inspiration for her famous novels, where Brad and Angelina stay on visits to London. Where J.K.Rowling accepted her award for “Outstanding Achievement” for South Bank Show Awards. It was all so surreal. Giddy with excitement we wondered if we would meet any celebrities…

By we i mean Katija and Sabina and also we didn’t see any celebrities, but we did have a fantastic time. We arrived half hour early and were told to have a seat just outside the Promenade- perfect. The exact time we needed to take photos.

We came in December so it was dressed up and ready for Christmas.
Beautiful Christmas trees were set up in every corner
A mini figurine of The Dorchester sat at the entrance- all details incorporated inside including room details.
Waiting in reception for our tea…. Always a photo oppurtunity….
Lavishly decorated reception area, all in festive colours
Is it Evan real if there’s no bathroom selfie?

After exactly half hour we were shown to our table

The whole look and atmosphere was lavish, soft padded luxurious carpets as we walked down, every few feet a beautiful Christmas tree, draping curtains from ceiling to floors, beautifully decorated urns full of Evan more beautiful flowers. All the way down to soft padded comfortable seating. The atmosphere oozed with luxury.

Being Christmas time, it was the festive champagne afternoon tea, however on pre-booking we had advised that we do not drink alcohol therefore the champagne was not needed, and also we opted for the halal menu. They met our requirements kindly. Instead of champagne they gave us a non alcoholic festive berries mocktail.

For teas the variety was immense, I remember just reading and reading, I’m sure there were several pages full of various different kinds of teas, and we spent some time, scratching our heads to figure out what we wanted. In the end we settled for ‘ The Dargeeling’ and ‘Vanilla infused tea’ (the simplest ones) both of which were perfect having come from the freezing cold outside.

For sandwiches we were given an option of : (wait for it- this is long….) Montgomery cheddar and green onion on a caraway bread. (Cheese and onion basically). Smoked salmon, lemon balm, English wasabi, and avacado mayonnaise on malted grain bread (we will call this the salmon one). Baby cucumber and apple minted cream cheese on walnut bread (cucumber sandwich), and lastly Turkey, sage,and onion stuffing with mustard mayonnaise on an onion bread. (Turkey sandwich!) And no afternoon tea is complete without warm raisin scones, homemade strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream.

The difference between this afternoon tea, and afternoon teas anywhere else is that rather than it the food coming on a tiered stand – we had a Butler (Aaaaahhhhhhhh! that is what you call them? Isn’t it? , I wanted to take a photo of him, but felt it was rude to ask. 🙄)He Came with the sandwiches on a tray and we would say which ones we wanted. He would come every time he saw our plates empty, so sandwich’s were basically limitless. Initially this was really nice, “we have our own Butler (na na na na na).” After a little while we felt claustrophobic, like someone standing on top of us, everytime he came out, our conversation stopped. I don’t think it was a bad thing- I just think we are not use to that kind of attention.

Our Afternoon tea experience ended with a selection of desserts and pastries- this did come on a tiered stand

And so we got the perfect photo oppurtunity.

These petite desserts were so beautifully decorated, all dressed for the festive month. From cheesecake, the chocolate tart, to the santa cupcake, it was devoured instantly.

And to top it all off, our left overs were brought back in a presentable bag to take home.

When it comes to Afternoon teas- this is on the dearer side of the market, yet it is definately the most memorable afternoon tea ever. It does not get any better than this. The service was amazing, location cannot get any better, and food was very filling and tasty. It ticks all the boxes of an afternoon tea experience.

Hope you enjoyed my post as much as we enjoyed the experience.

To more afternoon teas….(glasses clink)

M11bna

I’ll be there for you….

Going through a mid-life crisis, I Have decided to end my business of 6 years as an Event planner, I’ve put alot of people in suprise as I decided spontaneously and at the peak of my business.

Why have I done this? Well in pure simplicity- it’s because I’m tired, and I feel I lost people whilst running after this business. As much as I am grateful for how successful I became, how much I achieved, and the blessings of wealth. It’s time for me to stop. Running your own business has its own pros and cons, and at this moment in time, the cons are outweighing the pros.

The Lovecake.co family- a very tired looking us after an event. My business runs with the help of my sister in law Afsha, and my friend Banu. Our Awesome Threesome runs with alot of love, laughter, insults and determination. I wouldn’t be as successful without these two behind me holding me up.

Eid came and went, and wedding season hit us. Whilst battling our already lack of time with events on every other day, my dearest grannie of the age of 93 got admitted into hospital. With the language barrier being a issue, and generally because she is a very needy person who will not stay alone for a second, we had to arrange rotas between the family members to make sure that someone was at her bedside at all times. It was quite an exhausting time for all of us, but honestly each and every one of us pulled through to help her as much as we could.

My beautiful granni. Soldiering on. Her arms are so frail.

This made me think of the importance of friends and family.

According to the dictionary, family is ” A group consisting of two parents and their children living together as a unit”. Theoretically this is me and my family. But looking at it from a different angle, the term “Family” has a broader meaning.

We are brought up with this notion that friends and family are two different things, for me this is so untrue, as I have family who are more like friends to me, and I have family who are related by blood and connections within the family itself and are just it. Family. And I have friends who I consider as family….

In this day and age, where there is a reinvention of the ‘modern family’. I don’t believe that any one person would define family in the same way- or Evan as the dictionary defines it. Everyone has there own understanding of the term ‘Family’.

A simple example is my hubby’s friends, he defines them as ‘Bros’. They are his first point of contact. One phonecall and they are outside the house- and this works both ways. To me they are his friends- to him it’s more than that, as he would choose them before quite a few other members of family.

My ‘Bros’. My childhood friends. We have been through it all from childhood crushes, to heartbreak, marriage and children, now moving on to be the dreaded Mother in law group… (One of my friends son has just recently got engaged. Congrats Nas)

As you grow older you learn who your real friends and family are, this all comes at an expense of heartache, frustration and hurt. I’ve always been a person who accepts people for who they are, as they are, and my mother’s golden words ” if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all ” was definitely the right piece of advice- as i may be tolerant to this- but others are not, and eventually true colours of people come out. I’ve been stung a few times, but if anything it helped me grow and allowed me to see who the real people in my life are.

With age comes responsibility, and as we get consumed within our responsibility of husband’s/ partners/ extended family/children/ work…it gets difficult to keep in touch with friends. Only true friends understand this. And along the way we meet more people, some stick around and most ‘waft’ in and out of our lives. One such person became a true gem in my life. On initial meeting, I thought she’d be a ‘wafter’ being my husband’s friends (one of his bros) wife, and honestly although we got along we both had reservation with each other. On one of my most lowest point in life- she came in. She listened when it was time to listen, she was quiet when I needed peace. And she took over when I needed time to myself. No intervening, no pressure, no questions. At that point I knew she was a keeper… The rest of the time she drives me insane.

The Insane ‘Wafter’ that stayed.

I’ve been brought up with two brothers, being the only girl in the family- I would say for the first 18 years of my life, I missed out on having a sister…. After this I was gifted with two.

The 💓of my life.

My sister in law’s (yes! my husband’s sister). I really am the luckiest person in the world to be gifted with them. These two have seen me at my worst, and at my best, and still love me unconditionally. They know my interests and what makes me happy, and they try and fulfill it for me. My Rock Katija has stood by my side, when I felt alone, watched as I cried, picked me up when I was down, and told me some hard truths (that I needed to hear) with only my best interests in heart- all this while dealing with things and issues of her own. And Sabina – if I say ‘One in a million’ it’s an understatement, she’s ‘ One in a Billion’ and anyone who has met her will agree with me. Just her name puts a smile to anyone’s face. A golden heart and happy go lucky nature’s makes us love her Evan more.

All these wonderful people have weaved in and out of my life when I needed them the most. They have supported me in anything I do, gone with my crazy moments, and cried with me at my lowest and I am forever grateful for them. If there was a term that was more important than ‘family’ and ‘friend’ then the people above fit into that category.

For me both Friend and Family mean the same. Regardless of blood relations, these are the people by your side when you need them the most. They are the people that love you unconditionally, that help you grow, that accept your faults. And no matter how long you go without seeing them, when you meet, it’s though you were together all along.

I love you all.

M11bna.

Oui Paris (part 2) & Disneyland

The Day was here, and morning brought us rumbling in our stomachs. With breakfast only being 8.30 euros per person at the hotel (Au Pacific hotel) it seemed like a no brainer to eat in, rather then spend our time looking for a place to eat. This way we could get to Disneyland earlier.

For 8.30 euros we got unlimited teas and coffees, freshly baked croissants, Pain au Chocolat, selection of butters and cheeses, cereals and juices. Exactly what we needed before we headed off.

With our headbands on we went straight to the Metro station which was a 5 minute walk away from the Hotel. We got our tickets at 7.10 euros each, which took us straight to Marne-la-Vallee- Chessy, which is the station right outside Disneyland.

With our luggage in tow, we thought it’d be best to do a quick stop by at our hotel, drop off luggage, grab a few bottles of water and then head to the magical kingdom.

Our stay for the night was at AppartHotel which was a 10 minute drive away from the park itself. We took a taxi to our hotel which cost us 20 euros.

Check in was at 3, and we had arrived at 11, so we asked if we could leave our luggage. The receptionist staff were super friendly and informed us our room was ready. Extremely pleased we went straight up to our room, deposited our bags, freshened up, and made our way to the magical world of Disney.

One of the perks of this hotel is that it offers a shuttle bus which takes us directly to Disneyland for 2 euros each return. This bus runs every half hour throughout the day. (Minus a few gaps in the day) This is perfect for people who want to stay for longer, as taxis are really a big expense when it comes to travelling on holiday.

And we here….

First glimpse of the place, on entrance There is slight queue for security, but it’s very quick.
Just how magical is this place…..

Now the thing is, once we got here… We didn’t know what to do or where to go…. We always wanted to go to Disneyland, we talked about it, how we would get there, where we would stay, when we would go, how long for….. But we never ever spoke about what we would do once we got there…and now we were here we felt confused and overwhelmed.

We figured out that there are 3 areas: ‘Disneyland’, ‘Disney Studios’, and ‘Disney Village’ which is the Disney shopping heaven. After abit of ” where shall we go? What do we do? Where are we?” “What are we doing here?” We decided on the ‘Disneyland’ Park itself.

Every step we took was magical, with the music softly playing in the background, throughout the park, the magic was all around us. Before coming into the park, me and Sabina were talking about how we had left our kids behind ( I have 2 boys, and she has 3 girls) and how mean it was of us, (it still is mean, but forgivable. I guess) but in Disneyland, age is only a number, young and old were dressed up from head to toe, and in the magical spirit, I didn’t know whether to look at the people or the surroundings. It truly was magical.

Knowing that we only had the day here, we didn’t want to spend too much time waiting in the queues so that we could get to all the areas and explore. We managed to get into “Alice’s Curious Labyrinth” within 10 minutes. This is a maze which weaves through hedges and we get to see characters and doors that pop out of every corner. The aim is to get to the ‘Queen of Hearts Castle’ .

She pulled a face at me. Did you see it too????

We next joined the queue to “it’s a small world”- which was a relaxing, colourful, vibrant boat ride, all held inside a big dome. Featuring dolls, all dressed in there traditional attire representing the 7 continents of the world, all singing in there representative language the song “it’s a small world” .

I had to put the one which represented me. Right?

This queue for this actually took just over an hour. After this we decided to move onto the “Disney Studios” as we didn’t want to miss out on this, and we also needed to be back at “Disneyland” for the parade at 5.30.

We didn’t spend too much time here, as it was already 4 in the afternoon and we needed to get back for the parade to ensure we get some good viewing space. We did get to see an exclusive viewing of the new Toy story 4 in 3d which was brilliant. But straight after this we headed back to get our places for the parade. Should I ever come back again I would definitely spend more time here, as reviews show that this is actually better than “Disneyland” park because it’s been built after and renovations are still being carried out.

And now the parade…

A few of my favourites from the parade.

A show not to be missed. It’s last around 45 minutes,but it really is sensational. My phone is full of videos, each one as magical as the other, but seeing it live is another feeling completely.

As soon as we knew the parade was about to end we headed off for a bite too eat. Having been told from back home, just how packed it could get, with queues of up to an hour, we were prepared to wait. We chose to go to Planet Hollywood, in ‘Disney village’as with our entrance tickets we got 15 % off food whilst dining here, and wanted to make use of the offer.

Timing wise, I think the secret is to get in whilst the parade is on, because we went straight after we were the first ones in…

The inside was amazing, inspired by the glamour of cinema and television in Hollywood, it had detail in every corner, with famous hollywood films on screens, and quotes all around restaurant. At a cost of just under 50 euros (includes 15% discount) We ordered breaded shrimps, Spaghetti Pomadoro, Margherita pizza, Jacket Potato, and finished with tea (we had to ask for milk, which got us a curious look) (No halal menu- so stuck to the safe option) Yes it was just the 2 of us, and we finished every last bite.

Having filled ourselves we decide to take a walk round ‘Disney Village’ to see what else it offered, with shops and cafe everywhere, we were in paradise for Disney lovers.

The village is full of restaurants and shops all unique in its own kind. One thing that caught our eye was ‘Cafe Mickey’, one of the perks of cafe Mickey is that the characters are inside the cafe- so whilst dining the customers can meet and greet, and take photos with the characters. The price of eating in was at a set fee of 30 euros per child, which is quite dear but if you only here for short trip, I would say it’s worth it for the children to see there favourite characters as the queues for seeing them in the park were horrendous. This would actually kill two birds with one stone, and whilst in the park you would just need to queue up for the rides.

Having left early, we were now tired to a point where Sabina thought she had lost her sunglasses whilst wearing them. As she furiously patted herself and her bag down, I watched in disbelief but didn’t mention that she had them on. Purely because of how comical she looked. (We have laughed numerous times after this) but the lights show was at 11.30 so we had to pass our time. We decided to pass our time in the Rainforest cafe.

It is exactly what it says, a Rainforest. Once inside you feel as though you are in a jungle, apart from the table and chairs, the whole setting from the walls to the ceiling are covered in greenery, and to top it off, they also have rainforest sounds like a waterfall, the fluttering of butterfly’s, bird sounds, it’s a surreal and beautiful feeling. We ended our day with the best Banofee pancake and coffees. A must stop in Disneyland for sure.

Did we get to the light show? No. Are we silly? . (Having been told numerous times) Yes. Did we regret not staying for light show? Not one bit.

We headed off back to out hotel on our shuttle bus after the cafe, got into our cozy beds, snuggled into the bedsheets, rested our aching feet, and watched the Disney light up on YouTube live.

Without a shadow of a doubt, it would’ve been better to watch it live, but as two middle-aged women, fulfilling our childhood ambitions, it was perfect for us to switch off our phones and be in bed after all done, rather than worry about trip back.

A quick message to this beautiful soul in my life. Thank you for an amazing trip. Love you always. (Plus you look damn cute in this photo 💓)