Wedding recap and back to reality

I’m back! After an amazingly epic week away in Spain at the BTN Fitness Retreat I am home safe and sound. I got back Friday and then sadly was struck down with some awful illness for about three days. I couldn’t even make it into work on Monday and spent the entire day pretty much in bed sleeping. I feel a bit better now but still not hundred per cent. Hey ho!

I’ll do a full recap of the fitness retreat soon… it deserves a good coverage. It was a fantastic week and I learnt a lot about myself (both good and bad). Before going to Spain I had my friend’s wedding as well. I’m the genius that books to go on holiday the day after a wedding!

The wedding was so good. It was my close friend, Shell, who I know from university and her lovely partner Rob. The wedding was held in Dumbleton Hall near to Cheltenham. As I live in Southampton this is quite a drive so I stayed with my friends in Bristol, getting the train from work on the Friday. We went to a fantastic Lebanese restaurant, Lona Grillhouse, on the Friday night which rocked my world.Lona Bristol

We shared a platter of different meat, including lamb cutlets, king prawns, lamb kuftas, shish taouk and lots more Lebanese-style meat. It came with couscous, chips, nan bread and salad. Very tasty! There was also free Turkish delight at the end when you paid your bill.

The next day we got up fairly early to go and do some running. Kate and Jamie have recently just gotten into running (they came down to do the parkrun the other week with me). Though we’d have loved to have done a parkrun, sadly the nearest one was about 30 minutes away now Little Stoke is no longer there. And we just didn’t have the time with the wedding being at 1pm.

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They took me to their local park instead which was basically a 1000 metre track. It had 100m markers and went in a loop. It was exactly 1km.

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We did that five times (not the most exciting of runs but very cool to have the markers) and then we got ready for the wedding.

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The wedding venue was literally perfect. The weather was good – sunny but not too hot. All in all it was a fantastic day. Shell and Rob are such a lovely couple as well and we were all so happy to see them get married.

It was also nice to have another get together with my university friends and just laugh and chat like we always do. And so nice to put a dress on and be all fancy Winking smile

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There were lots of garden games as well to keep everyone entertained. And a hog roast sizzling away for the evening’s buffet… yessss!

IMG_2715Jamie and I were very pleased about this Winking smile

Shell’s dress was beautiful as well. She looked amazing.

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And of course the food and cake was amazing. Probably the best food at a wedding I’ve ever had. And I have a very good friend, Charlotte, who traded half her pudding with me so I could try both Winking smileShell's wedding meal

I had soup to start, lamb (very tasty!) for main and then half an apple tart and half a chocolate mousse thing. The wedding had a Japanese theme as they both love Japan. The favours were these very pretty tea light holders as well as some homemade Welsh cakes (as Rob’s side of the family is Welsh). Lovely touches.

I’m not going to lie. I did drink a fair bit (for me). I wanted to let my hair down and relax. I rarely ever drink… unfortunately I didn’t really stick with a type of beverage and went from Pimms, to a Bud, to sparkling wine, to red wind to then gin and tonics. It tasted great at the time… The cake was delicious (obviously) with a carrot cake layer and chocolate layer.

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We all had a good time boogying the night away as well. It was a great evening. My lovely parents came to pick me up at midnight and it was time to go home. I felt rough on the way home. A combination of all those different drinks and too much food (read: cake) meant I might have had to have stopped (*cough* twice) on the way home to be sick. Much to my parents great amusement. As I said, this isn’t something I normally would do! Oh the shame…

I had my alarm set for 6am and arrived home at 2.30am (ouch). And for whatever bizarre reason I woke up at 4:59am and got up! I was so convinced my alarm was going to go off at 5am. So I got showered and ready and then at 5.45am wondered where my taxi was… The penny then dropped that I was a full hour early. Needless to say I reset my alarm and went back to bed (fully dressed).

I have to say I have never felt so ill in my life from alcohol. On the plane I was freezing cold. I asked for a blanket but they didn’t offer them (well, it was FlyBe…). I felt unbelievably rough and it only reconfirmed to me why I don’t drink excessively. And sadly my first night in Spain, after meeting everyone at the retreat, was spent missing dinner and going to bed early. You know I’m not well when I miss a meal time!! Serves me right I know.

Do you enjoy getting dressed up?

Do you drink? When was your last hangover?

What’s your tipple of choice?

A Marvel-lous wedding and a long weekend

Nothing says the start of summer better than a wedding, cider and a long weekend. In the UK we had a Bank holiday weekend which meant many of us had the Monday off. I also had the Friday as holiday because it was my friend, Ashley’s, wedding.

Very badly timed for me was a team building paintballing the night before…

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Luckily I didn’t get hit significantly to create any hideous bruises on me. Though I was on a team with a real suicide squad that just went into the cross-fire like crazy men so I pretty much stayed hidden except for the occasional bursts of bravery.

Anyway, the wedding. Ashley is a good friend from school and there were a group of us who all knew each other so it was going to be good fun. I’d planned to go with my friend Louise to the ceremony but she was late, but not through her own fault. She had made the wedding cake and had to set it up in the morning at the venue but the board was delivered late which knocked on to her getting ready. As a pregnant lady, this was not good stress for her! I really felt for her but luckily she made it in time.

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The ceremony was beautiful. Ashley’s dress was gorgeous and really suited her style. The wedding also had a Marvel-theme to it.

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The groom, Paul, is a big comic book fan. It was very quirky and individual. Luckily the weather was lovely and warm as well so after the ceremony we spilled outside to sip some champagne and mingle.

IMG_1587My dress is from French Connection

As I stood chatting away to my friends I noticed the photographer. He looked familiar… Yep, he was the same one I had at my wedding. Ahh bit awkward (to any new readers: my husband and me are separated). I thought “nahh he’ll never recognise me so it’ll be fine”. Only he did and he came up to me and chatted away. Apparently a few of my wedding photos go to every wedding fair he does so of course he recognises me! Luckily though he didn’t ask where Ben was.

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There were space hoppers, giant Jenga and Nerf balls all about the place to keep us big kids entertained Winking smile

Ashley's Wedding

And then it was time for lunch. It was mushroom soup for starters, chicken with cabbage and bacon and then a chocolate tart for pudding.

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Very tasty! And instead of wine there was apple and pear cider on the table. I’m not a wine drinker at all (apart from Prosecco and champagne) but I do quite enjoy cider from time to time (probably because a) it’s apple and b) it’s very sweet). We also cheekily managed to swap a few of our non-alcoholic fruit drinks with another table’s cider – they were more than happy as they weren’t drinking which was a win-win scenario.

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The rest of the celebrations were good fun. There was a HUGE bouncy castle which we all went on (post food and drink probably not the best of ideas…and in a reasonably short dress). But it was a good laugh. And obviously the best part…

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Louise’s amazing cake. It was chocolate Bailey’s and vanilla Victoria sponge. Very tasty indeed.

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And then of course lots of dancing after Ashley and Paul’s first dance…which went to the tune of Star Wars until Paul jokingly got the DJ to turn it to their proper song (Hero by Nickelback of course).

IMG_1760The groom wore proper trousers for the ceremony!

A lovely evening. Congratulations Ashley and Paul!

I’ll recap parkrun in a separate post as it was a special one (my dad’s first ever!). The rest of the weekend was all very relaxed. I enjoyed a lovely BBQ with my family on the Saturday.

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Of course this involved lots of meat. I had chicken skewers, pork skewers and kangaroo burgers. But I did balance it out with lots of salad and roasted vegetables (which you can see part of skewered in the photo – my perfect meat:veg ratio Winking smile).

I also managed to get a great selfie with Alfie.

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He was enjoying the sunshine too (and managed to get a sneaky sausage as well! Jammy dog that he is).

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We had a lovely walk along the beach as well in the evening. The temperature was perfect! I love the summer Smile

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I’d decided against the Cakeathon. I just wasn’t up for it: the long journey there, it being such an early start on the Monday (we’d need to leave before 6am) and then not sure how many laps I’d do to make it worth it and even if I’d enjoy it. So I set it to rest and enjoyed the rest of the weekend now far more relaxed. It is a huge shame and I was gutted not to go but I didn’t want to go and regret it. It was the right decision.

Instead on the Monday I went on a little daytrip to Stockbridge with my parents and we had a lovely walk and a delicious lunch out.

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The restaurant was called Woodfire and it was fantastic. I had a feta, butternut squash and nut pesto salad. Delicious!

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It was a very relaxed weekend…bit of shopping, chilling in the garden, lots of walks with Alfie and my family. I shan’t waffle on any longer, this post ifs far too long now!

How was your weekend?

What’s your favourite salad?

Have you been to any themed weddings before?

Another wedding and yet more cake

I’ve had four days off and yet I feel like I’m even more tired. We’ve just been crazy busy. But in a nice way.

Ben and me had Thursday and Friday off as we had a wedding Thursday afternoon and were staying the night in the hotel where the reception was being held. On Thursday morning we tried to get some boring house jobs done and also sort my new car out (very exciting!) Then we headed to the wedding, which was being held in the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth.

IMG_6630 Basically it’s this huge tower-like structure where you can go up in a lift and see amazing views. Well, I say amazing…it’s about as amazing as it can get in Portsmouth 😉 Because we got there about 40 minutes before the wedding began we waited in the cafe and had a sneaky bit of cake.

Spinnaker Tower wedding

We had a slice of carrot cake and millionaire shortbread and had half each of both. This is big news as I never normally share cake!

Spinnaker Tower views

Despite the weather being less than stellar, the views were fantastic. It was really quite a unique and lovely ceremony.

Spinnaker WeddingAnd there was a glass floor you could stand on (without shoes) and look straight down. Very cool.

After the ceremony we headed back to the hotel for the reception. Despite my previous cake, I was getting hungry. The meal was a buffet and in true Anna fashion I started getting antsy. I hate buffets. I’m always scared they’ll not be enough food – and consequently eat way too much. When will I ever learn? Ben said he thinks it’s hilarious, but I tried to make him understand by saying imagine that the bar was a buffet format and there were only so many drinks available. His eyes lit up in panic. Exactly!

Wedding food Spinnaker I ate quite a lot of sweets from the sweet buffet too…and three *little* pieces of wedding cake. I felt quite full by the end. And rather rough. It was a good evening though with lots of great company and banter.

IMG_6654The sign reads: “I’m here for the cake” 

I woke up feeling a little delicate and quite bloated. Not good!

Then we had a mad whirl-wind of a day where we had to dash back home to Southampton to pick up my paper bit of my driving licence to then drive back to Portsmouth to sort my new car out. We’ve officially bought a new Fiat 500!

IMG_6627And amazingly it’ll be ready this week as they had one in stock to the spec we wanted. How lucky is that??

Then from there we had to go home, do the food shop, go to the post office and pick up our road bikes from Halfords. And I wanted to do a bit of baking for a party I was going to the next day. Whew.

As we don’t have a bike rack we could only get one bike safely in our car so I cycled mine home (it was only 4 miles). It was great to get a proper feel for the bike. It felt really good. It fit well, I felt very comfortable and it was light and speedy – from my limited experience!

Unfortunately we don’t have anywhere to put them yet as our shed is rather full. So they’re in the living room for the moment.

IMG_6669 Looks fine, right…? Alfie doesn’t even care.

After Parkrun on Saturday morning I headed to a surprise party for our lovely previous ladies’ captain who’s currently pregnant. A fair few of us made cakes and it was all very lovely. She was very surprised and chuffed (I think!) I brought cupcakes but forgot to take a photo. They looked liked cupcakes… 😉

IMG_6666 Obviously I was in my element with the cake…

So much cakeWhich was well documented by our current ladies captain (I’ve stolen the photos from her – thank you, Kelly!)

But this was the best part:

Mini running gear  Photo credit – stolen from Karen (thank you!)

Now, I’m not a baby person but that is just adorable! Mini Hedge End Running Club gear. Karen’s baby will be the best dressed baby in town 🙂

On Sunday we went to the Alton 10 mile race where Ben aimed to beat his PB (around 1:26 I think) and I planned to just run with him and help push him along and keep him company. I’ll do a recap of my latest runnings in another post. Spoiler alert: Ben got his PB 🙂

Whew. Lots going on!!

Next weekend is the Netley 10k which is our running club championships (lots of medals up for grabs for different achievements). I’ve eaten so much rubbish the past few days (yep, I include cake in that) that I’ve decided to go on a bit of a ‘detox’ this week. I say detox but what I mean is a ‘cake and rubbish free zone’. No cake, chocolate or ‘big’ treats until I finish the race. I feel like I went overboard the past couple of days and I want to get back to feeling good and in race shape!

How was your weekend?

What’s the best part of a wedding for you? I’d be lying if I said the cake was one of my favourite parts…

What’s your car like? I’ve never had a new car so this is very exciting. I will be cleaning it every weekend…maybe.

How do you deal with a weekend or few days of eating rubbish?

Bath, Bristol, a run and lots of food

I am on cloud nine right now. Actually, maybe cloud eight. I feel exhausted! But in a good way. I had a mad but brilliant weekend.

It was one of my close friend’s hen weekend (for Americans, I think you guys call this a bachelorette party?). I drove up to Bath on Friday morning as I had Friday off of work and met up with the hen, her sister and another friend. We were staying in the very posh and lovely Windsor hotel for the night.

The Windsor, Bath I shared a the room on the left with another friend who arrived later and the bottom-right picture is the view from our window

The location of the hotel was perfect. It was only a very short walk and you were right in the centre of Bath with the shops and restaurants.

Great Pulteney Street, Bath The road that the hotel was on

After sorting ourselves out we headed out for lunch at Bill’s. I went for my favourite: Caesar salad and a cheeky portion of sweet potato fries.

Bills Caesar salad So yummy. Then we headed for a few lovely hours at the Thermae Bath Spa.

Thermae Bath SpaFabulously relaxing. It was like swimming in a huge bath! And there were these steam rooms that were infused with different scents, like peppermint (like being in a big vat of Vix) and sandalwood. Very nice. And the top layer had another warm pool right out in the open with a lovely view of Bath.

After this we hopped back to the hotel to get showered and dressed ready for dinner. We went to Browns where we met up with another friend.

Browns restaurant, Bath I had a very refreshing glass of Prosecco and a wild boar burger with fries. This definitely filled a hole! I wanted something carby enough for my planned long run the next day…

We didn’t go to bed too late (for normal people – late enough for me!). And my alarm was set for 5.45am. Oh joy. My intention was to run 10 miles, but see how my foot felt and would stop if it hurt. I had planned a route and took a printed map with me in case I got lost. I was a super ninja in the morning getting up and dressed as quiet as possible as to not wake my friend (she was fine with me going out early – I had checked beforehand!)

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My planned route had a HUGE hill to start with so I ignored it and just ran wherever. Unfortunately the beginning was still quite hilly but then I managed to find a good area to run around that was flat for the second portion of the run. I ran 11 miles! And everything felt NORMAL. No niggles. OK it was tough and I know I’ve lost so much fitness (from both injury breaks). But I am over the moon.

Bath long runView of Bath on my run 

It’s given me a little bit of confidence for Paris. I only stopped at 11 because I was running out of time. Though it was probably sensible to not go further if I’m honest.

The hardest part? These stairs back to the room.IMG_6123 Yep all the way to the top. Brutal.

Then it was a quick shower and delicious breakfast of kippers and scrambled egg.

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Loved this. I wouldn’t have it every day as it was overwhelmingly fishy but it was a nice change.

Then we zoomed to Bristol, picking up another friend en route and had an afternoon of quad biking and high ropes.

Hen weekend activities High ropes were stupidly scary. I was all the ‘Big I Am’ when I got there, thinking I’d have no issues but as soon as I got up the top beam I was shaking, terrified and just wanted to get down. Turns out I’m a bit of a wuss. Quad biking though was more my forté. I got the fastest lap round the course!

Afternoon cake hen do Later as we got back to the hen’s house we enjoyed cake and champagne while getting ready.

After getting all glammed up we headed out for dinner at Cuban in the centre of Bristol and met up with yet more people. It was funny because I got huge déjà vu when I realised where we were. This is where the race village had been set up for the Bristol half marathon!

IMG_6177 I ate so much I’m not gonna lie. There were so many sharing starters at the beginning. And then I had a huge but lovely seafood soup thing.

IMG_6187Phenomenally good.

Then my least favourite part of the night…going clubbing. Ah I think I’m just too old now. Well actually I never really enjoyed clubbing that much when I was at university. I wasn’t drinking heavily, maybe that was problem.

IMG_6196 All the tacky hen do stuff of course

Very loud, sticky floors, past my bedtime <—granny status right there. Not my thing. But the hen had a great time and that’s the important part. I tried to get into it for her sake anyway.

Anyway the weekend was brilliant but I am shattered. It didn’t help that the airbed my friend and I were sleeping on half deflated in the middle of the night and we woke up at 5am with our legs in the air going “what the hell??”. It was fairly amusing.

I got home Sunday afternoon and went to bed very early. But I still need another day, you know? All in all, a truly great weekend 🙂

Have you been to Bath or Bristol before?

Have you been on a hen do before?

What’s your ideal hen do? I like lots of activity-style things, like paintballing and go-karting.

I’m back! Mexico recap–part 1

Hello! Wow it seems ages since I last blogged. Yep sadly, my holiday is over. 

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I am back in the UK. Well, I’ve been back since last Wednesday but needed a bit more time to normalise back into reality. You know what it’s like. Blissful time in the beautiful sunshine…then bam back to the real world.

Honestly, the holiday was amazing. And do you know what? We had half a day of rain. The rest of the time it was HOT, HUMID and sunny, sunny, sunny. So my fears of rubbish weather were unfounded. Hurrah!IMG_5182

Gosh, I don’t even know where to begin with my recap. I will save all the food yumminess until Wednesday and focus on what we did instead for this post. Though I will say, the food…oh wow, it was so good. So much, so good, so yummy.

We left at 5am on Friday morning to get to the airport and have some breakfast.IMG_5041

Very excited, but a bit tired and dishevelled looking

OK, OK I will show one meal! If you’ve been a long-time reader (kudos to you Winking smile) then you know how I adore Jamie Oliver restaurants. So we had to go to the Jamie’s Italian for breakfast. It’s just a holiday essential in my eyes. And believe me, you cannot start a holiday in any better way.

Jamie Oliver breakfast

I umm’ed and arr-ed for about five seconds before thinking “sod it” and ordering this beast of a meal. Go big of go home Winking smile And how I love my husband. He got the same but he hates black pudding so I got his. Amazing. I’m not ashamed to say I cleared this plate all except a few spoonful’s of beans and a couple of fried potatoes. Embarrassingly I wasn’t hungry at all for our in-flight meal (how unsurprising) and had to have it in sat front of me on my little table for so long a flight attendant thought I didn’t want it! I was like “hold up lady, I will eat this. But give me a little time!”.

The flight was fine (movie watching makes everything good in my book) and then we got a coach from Cancun airport to Playa Del Carmen. Instantly the heat hit us. It was unreal.

The hotel was beautiful. It was just amazing. We went to bed quite early Mexico time as it was six hours behind British time so we were pooped! Then we got up early (5am!! Thank you jet lag) and decided to go for a run. Might as well!

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This was the hotel lobby at 6am. It was still really hot but the sun wasn’t out yet so it was much ‘easier’ to run in the morning. Plus the beautiful sunrise along the beach definitely helps!

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We didn’t do any actual beach running. It’s really not my thing. Sand in trainers and way too much hard work…so we stuck to the roads. We weren’t alone in our running – there were a fair few locals and other tourists out and about so it didn’t feel strange at all. But the heat. Wow it was oppression. Within one minute of running I was sweating and tired. It added at least one minute on to my usual running times. There was just no way I could go faster. Plus it was nice to just run at a slower pace.

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You might think I’m mad running on holiday but I loved it! I feel weird not running and it’s such a big part of who I am that I couldn’t not run. At times it was tough (when is running not??) but it felt great being out so early and seeing Mexico wake up. Getting back all invigorated for the day as well was brilliant.

Ben and me enjoyed a lot of chilling by the pool time…

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Chilling by the beach time…

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And chilling by the bar time…

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The bar was right next to the pool and a great place to take a break from the sun. I’m not a big drinker so I stuck to tomato juice (where have you been all my life??), iced coffee and diet coke (my absolute addiction). Ben enjoyed the local beer Winking smile

I quite enjoyed putting a podcast on and walking along the beach as well (I’m not overly good at sitting and doing nothing for long periods of time), which I didn’t realise would be quite a work out for my calves!

And lots of swimming in the sea!IMG_5330

Ben and me were so cool, we had goggles (damn you contact lenses)

The sea was perfectly refreshing, not cold but not warm. And so, so clear.

We also did a few excursions. One day we went to Chichen Itza which is a city that was originally built by the ancient Mayans where we saw the Temple of Kukulkan – a seventh wonder of the world!

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We had an hour long tour and found out so much interesting information – there’s a smaller pyramid inside that one! And the Mayans used to sacrifice people at the top of the temple (if you’ve seen Apocalypto it’s similar to that).

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We had such a hilarious day. Our tour guide was a hoot. He wasn’t even meaning to be. He was just was hilarious. We still do impressions of him now. Yep, we’re that couple.

From there we then went to the ‘Sacred Blue Cenote’. Here we got to swim in a crazy underground pool of fresh water (there’s a small hole in the ‘roof’ and that’s it). It was freezing but so refreshing considering the humid heat.

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Another day we went speedboating. We had our own little speedboat and there were about 4 others and we followed the speedboat in front but we could speed up and zig-zag which was quite terrifying. Then when we got so far out we stopped and the instructor gave us snorkels and we went snorkelling and saw some amazing coral reef and fish.

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Terrible photo sorry – it’s a photo of a photo we bought

Unfortunately the afternoon of our anniversary saw a major downpour of rain. But we didn’t really mind – it was quite a nice break from the intense sun. And we had prime positions at the bar.

Mexico rain

For our anniversary meal we chose to go to one of the restaurants that you had to book for in the morning. We chose the Steakhouse.

Anniversary meal

I enjoyed a lovely glass of Sangria with fresh fruit!

It was perfect. Not to get too mushy, but I do love my husband and it’s been such a truly amazing first year Smile

Right, I will leave it there. I have a few more excursions to talk about which I’ll save for another post. Wednesday will all be about FOOD (and a bit more about my running). And as an all-inclusive holiday, there was a lot of food. And puddings. Open-mouthed smile

Have you ever been to Mexico before?

Have you ever been to an all-inclusive? I had never been to one before and I was just amazed (and a little shocked) at how much food was available ALL THE TIME.

Running/working out on holiday – do you take it easy or carry on as normal? Or have a break entirely?