Tonight’s tea – winter warmer 💕

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It was Tazmyns turn to cook this evening and after a pretty full on day, it was lovely to sit down to something really comforting and hearty. We still have snow, although it’s clearing up now, it’s like an ice rink in most places. There’s nothing better than getting cosy in your favourite pyjamas with the heating on and having dinner.

Tonight’s tea was sausages, swede, mushy peas, sweetcorn and onion gravy. Just what I needed!

We used the British pork with caramelised onion sausages from Waitrose, they’re really full of flavour and yummy! £3.29 per pack of 6 and part of the 2 for £5 deal which is pretty good. We got another pack that we’re going to use later on in the week!

What did you have for your dinner? 💗

Love,

Sinéad Anna Chalke x

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The skincare game changer

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For the past 5/6 months I’ve suffered really bad with my skin, like never before. I’m almost 29 years of age, so I kinda thought I was past the breakout stage and heading towards clearer skin, but no, that just wasn’t in the plan for me. It got to the point where I had to go to the doctors and got prescribed multiple different things to try. None of which really made much difference (I may do a separate post on that!) – I’m actually in the process of being referred to a dermatologist to get prescribed something a little stronger to really tackle the underlying issues with my skin, so I’m looking forward to that & might document that here, we’ll see.

In the mean time though, I’ve been using various things on my face. It’s been a bit trial and error, my skin type is super sensitive but also quite dry! I tend to react really badly to a lot of cheap products as well so it’s cost me a small fortune in different moisturisers and masks etc!

I’m quite a fan of the body shop, as I’ve spoke about a few times here on the blog. I love the tea tree 3 in 1 facial scrub. Although tea tree can be quite strong, my skin reacts quite well to it and it leaves my face feeling really refreshed and clean.. so I make sure I always have one of those handy for when I want to do a scrub type mask.

Superdrug are pretty good, I’m loving their vitamin e range! Really affordable and perfect for every day use. Vitamin e is again something that is quite gentle on my skin type and works well for me. Every brand has a vitamin e range pretty much, but I’ve found that Superdrug is so cheap and affordable, it does the job, so I haven’t needed to purchase anything in a higher end range. My favourite product from the Superdrug range though, is this leave on moisture mask! It’s my absolute favourite go to. I have one beside my bed and one in my make up bag. I use it as a leave on moisturiser throughout the night and it really hydrates my face and just feels amazing when applied. If you have dry skin like me, this is an instant rescue and a real treat for the skin! It’s only £2.99 and my must have!

Most recently though, for the past 3 days I have been using the Eve Lom cleanser after it was gifted to me at Christmas. It’s super pricy at £55 per 100ml so quite high end in terms of affordability, however, it’s dreamy. I’ve been using it twice a day. Morning and night. I use it as part of a hot cloth cleanse and it honestly leaves my skin feeling super soft, super clean, and just really really nourished as well.

I would absolutely recommend this if you feel like treating yourself. It’s amazing and truly is the game changer. I’ve used lots of other cream based cleansers and nothing really comes close.

As well as cleansing my face twice daily, I’ve cut out fizzy drink (there of course is always the odd exception!) I have gone sugar free as much as I can & I aim to drink around 2 litres of water daily too. I feel like this massively helps in trying to keep your skin healthy. Of course my skin is nowhere near close to how I want it to be, but I feel like I’m taking the right steps to ensure I’m doing all I can do until I meet with a dermatologist! I hear dairy plays a huge part in skin breakouts too, so I’m curious to know whether this has been the case for any of my readers. Have you eliminated dairy and noticed any differences? Let me know.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What skincare products do you swear by? 💗

As always, love

Sinéad Anna Chalke x

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The Olde Bell inn Hurley: Review

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So we just spent the most amazing weekend at Tazmyns favourite place ever, which is The Olde Bell in Hurley. This was actually a Christmas gift from me to Tazmyn, it’s what she really wanted so I was super happy I could surprise her with this. We have been lucky enough to stay at this hotel four times in total and each stay has never let us down. I thought I’d combine this blog post with a review of the hotel for you guys as there’s really so much to this luxurious 5 star hotel and we all know I love to give credit where it’s due, so here goes!

History of The Olde Bell Inn

Probably known for being the most well known building in Hurley, The Olde Bell first opened its doors in 1135 AD, as a guest house for visitors to the near by Benedictine Priory.

Some notable guests have included Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Cary Grant & Errol Flynn.

The Olde Bell has had many owners during its long history, but despite its many changes of ownership, it still keeps to the traditions of St. Benedict, that true hospitality be provided to travellers and strangers.

My personal review & experience

Okay so we’re locals to this beautiful hotel, with it being just a 10-15 minute drive from where we live. My mum and dad actually had their engagement party here in 1987, and more recently Tazmyn and I attended the wedding fayre here just a couple of years ago when we first got engaged. The Olde Bell is the most fantastic wedding location, if you’re looking for a barn style wedding with the shabby chic feel. The wedding fayres take place regularly throughout the year too and are definitely worth paying a visit to, all information about that can be found on their website which I’ll link you to at the end of this post.

Our first stay here was in 2016, the weekend of our engagement. Tazmyn surprised me with a luxury night away & she just so happened to have chose here! Situated right in between the beautiful town of Marlow and the picturesque Henley-On-Thames, is this beautiful, historic inn that bodes so much character. Since our first stay back in 2016, we have been lucky enough to return a further 3 times and each stay has topped the last.

This stay however, was of course for Tazmyns Christmas present so we were both really excited. We arrived at around 1pm and although check in isn’t officially until 2pm, the member of staff at reception was super helpful and offered to take our luggage for us, whilst we waited in the bar area until our room was ready. During this time we decided to have lunch in the hotels restaurant which was really busy with lots of guests but we still were given a really lovely table very quickly.

We both thought the menu choice was really lovely, and to some, the price of some of the dishes may seem a little expensive, however The Olde Bell does accept tastecard, should you have one and want to use it, which of course would then bring down the price of your meal quite considerably by 50% so well worth using if you do have one.

So for lunch, I chose the roast beef dinner, of course I did.. what else would I order?! Tazmyn went for the fish and chips. Both meals were served really quickly which was a bonus as the restaurant was busy so we did anticipate having to wait a while, but fortunately we didn’t. I also asked for extra gravy with my roast dinner too which was no problem for the staff at all, & this was accommodated really quickly too.

I’m going to be honest, because aren’t I always? Whilst I think the presentation for Tazmyns fish and chips is lovely, I do feel like the roast dinner could have looked a little better. For £18 I would expect it to be presented nicer, perhaps on a different plate, I’m not sure how exactly but the meal itself looks like something I could cook at home and for the price, and coming away for the weekend to a luxurious hotel, I would want that theme to be spread across into the restaurant also but maybe that’s just me. Presentation aside, my roast beef was gorgeous and tasted perfect. The gravy was really rich in flavour and I couldn’t fault the meal at all what’s so ever.

For pudding, Tazmyn ordered the sticky toffee pudding which was served with custard and ice cream! And for me, the apple crumble tart, served with calvados cream (life changer I’m telling you!) best dessert I’ve had in a really long time!

After lunch, we went back to reception to check in to our room and we were really lucky to have been given a little upgrade! Our room was 11, which is located in the main building, so not far to walk at all. The staff couldn’t be more helpful, they offered to take our bags and literally couldn’t do enough for us.

Our room was stunning. Equipped with a super king size bed, (always a winner) a walk in shower which is definitely big enough for two people (tried and tested!) plenty of wardrobe space, a vanity table with mirror, tea and coffee making facilities, both still and sparkling bottled water, a TV, and bedside tables. Inside the room is also a welcome pack from the hotel, with all the relevant information you should need regarding the hotel and the local area which I think is really lovely for those who are visiting and not familiar with what there is to do locally.

Breakfast is always a bit hit & miss with this hotel which is a little annoying. During the busier months of the year, the hotel offers a hot buffet of both continental and cooked breakfast, and during the quieter periods, breakfast can be cooked to order from the breakfast menu provided, in addition to the continental style buffet that is beautifully set up for you to help yourselves to at your own leisure.

For this particular stay, we were pleasantly surprised to find breakfast menu’s at our table in the restaurant as well as the continental buffet set up. We much prefer ordering from the menu, as we feel the hot food is a lot more fresh that way.

We both ordered a cooked breakfast which came relatively quick so we were happy about that, however the sausages were not edible due to the taste of them being incredibly cheap and we didn’t like the egg either, as it tasted like it had been microwaved. Such a shame because we have experienced first class breakfast at this hotel before so it’s just really unfortunate that we were able to find fault on this occasion. The staff did offer us alternatives but we chose to stick to the continental buffet and fill up on toast and cereals and fresh fruit instead which was lovely.

Tea & coffee is also provided as much as you like, to your table so you don’t need to get this yourself.

If you’d like to check out The Olde Bell, you can find their website here.

Give them a follow on Instagram too for all the latest updates of what’s going on.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post/review. & I hope my darling wife has enjoyed this stay as part of her Christmas present! 💗

Sending love,

Mrs Chalke x

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6 months of being Mrs Chalke 👰🏻🌸

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Little girls spend their lives dreaming about their wedding day, how they’ll look, what the day will be like. Not me though. I dreamt of happiness, feeling content, safe, and wondering whether there was someone out there for me who would know me better than I knew myself. Who’d be able to finish my sentences for me and know what type of coffee to order me without asking. I dreamt of the little things. I hoped they were out there but I’m not sure I believed in it, not really. Fairytales only happen in the movies right? That scene in pretty woman where Richard Gere climbs up the ladder and rescues Julia Roberts from her apartment with a bunch of red roses and whisks her off into a life so much better than she could have ever imagined. That always seemed so unrealistic to me. Or when Patrick Swayze tells Baby that nobody puts her in the corner. I’d get lost in moments like that, they were my favourite. The romance, the love, the happily ever afters.

When Tazmyn asked me to marry her, it was a surprise, it was a shock, it was amazing. It was everything all at once. We always knew we would get married just the two of us, that’s just how we wanted it. We had an engagement party shortly after we got engaged though, in the most gorgeous of pubs, we invited everybody that mattered to us. It was lovely. It was exactly how we wanted it to be. As for getting married, like the actual date and the organisation, the finer details.. we didn’t plan much. At first we wanted an autumn wedding. I saw Chelsea Houska from teen moms wedding photos and I was obsessed. I made mood boards and collages of how I wanted our day to look like hers, I loved the colour schemes, her hair, the lace on her dress. Everything. But then we realised that it really didn’t matter what month of the year we got married in, or whether my hair was plum or auburn, just as long as we were married. That’s all that really mattered. We didn’t tell anyone once we had picked an actual date. Keeping it a secret was super hard, especially from my mum. She did my wedding flowers and she didn’t even know. I think I kind of like that though. We booked the registry office, we gave notice of our intent to marry, we wrote our own vows, that was definitely my most favourite part of the day. I chose my dress, £65 from ASOS but it was pretty and exactly what I wanted. Lacey at the top, the sleeves were fitted and feminine and the lower half was floral and pastels and floaty. It wasn’t a wedding dress but it made me feel like a princess wearing it. I booked a make up artist to do my hair and make up. She was the dream and she made me look exactly how I did in my mind. I’ll never not love my eyebrows in any of our wedding photos. I’ll never forget when Tazmyn saw me on the day of our wedding, she said I looked like Kim Kardashian! Only Tazmyn would ever say that! We had two witnesses. We picked a photographer who was building his portfolio and agreed to charge us peanuts for the most stunning photos. I look at every single one with a heart so full of love. He captured our vision and made us feel so comfortable. We ate Italian food the evening of our wedding, we drank Prosecco and I slept in my make up. It was the best day of both of our lives and I can hardly believe it was six months ago already! We decided to tell everyone about our marriage all at the same time. Which, in hindsight may or may not have been the right thing to do. We announced the news to everyone whilst we were quite literally on the motorway on our way to Brighton for our minimoon 24 hours after we had officially got married. We got mixed reactions. The people that mattered the most to us were happy for us though. We spent 3 amazing days in Brighton by the sea, the place where I fell in love with Tazmyn, but now we were back as a married couple. We took photos, we explored, we ate and we laughed. It was perfect to us and if we had to do it again? We wouldn’t have changed a thing.

In the six months since becoming a wife, I feel like we have grown in love more. That probably sounds silly to those who aren’t married. Like how can you be more in love after getting married? I’m not entirely sure myself, but I know that marriage is the start of an empty box, you must put something in before you can take anything out. It requires work, effort, love, patience and respect. There is no love in marriage, love is in people and people put love into marriage. We have become more of a team than ever before. Tazmyn often tells me we are now “one” kinda like two people submerged into one being. We know each other inside out and we are each other’s biggest fans. I am the anchor that supports her dreams and determination & she is the safety that holds me each time I reach for another star. Together, we are a team, we are best friends and we will always be better together.

I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing letters addressed to me as Mrs Chalke, or people saying my name when we are out somewhere. I love the way it sounds. I love being her wife and I love our wonderful life we have built together. There is not a day that goes by where I would trade what we have for anything or that I am not grateful for all that we have together. We’re the lucky ones.

What advice would I give to anybody else who’s engaged and about to get married/planning their wedding?

I can’t stress this enough, but keeping your wedding day centred to you and your partner is so important. Don’t worry about anyone else, family members, friends, what they want for you or what they expect from you. Don’t aim to please everyone else and lose sight of what getting married is all about, which ultimately will always be you. We did things our way and we have no regrets. Since we got married we have had so many messages from people telling us they wished they’d followed their hearts and done it how we did it, because our day was entirely just about us and what we wanted. Whether you have 200 people at your wedding or 2, as long as you call the shots and make it about you and everything you love, ensuring you enjoy every moment of your special day, you can’t go wrong.

Where will we be in 6 months time?

If the second half of the first year of marriage is anywhere as near as crazy busy as the first, then I know we’re in for an action packed 6 months! We have a two week holiday booked to Turkey in June which we both can’t wait for. Individually we have grown so much but together we have grown even more in love and I’m excited for the next 6 months and all that’s yet to come!

& to you, who made me see things I could never see alone… This has been the best 6 months of my entire life. Look where we are now, somewhere beyond anything that I ever dreamed of. Everyday you never fail to make me laugh uncontrollably until my tummy hurts, you finish my sentences and yes, you know what coffee to order me off by heart. You’ve changed my life, I love you in a way that goes deeper than anything I’ll ever be able to really explain to you, so I hope that my actions show you, every second of every day that I spend with you. I promise to give you a lifetime full of adventures, and I can’t wait for all the memories we are still yet to make together 💗

Your wife xx

Weekend plans

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I’m so sorry I haven’t blogged in a couple of days, life’s got in the way and we have been so busy I’ve barely had time to pick up my phone. I guess this post is just a little update really, we are currently packing as we are going away for the weekend this weekend. It’s my Christmas present to Tazmyn so she’s really excited, as am I. Expect lots of photos. Foodie pics and hotel related posts too! I’ll probably do a full blog post on the actual hotel once we are back Monday lunchtime because the hotel we are going to is actually the oldest inn in the country. We have been lucky enough to have stayed there 3 times already and this will be our fourth. It’s Tazmyns most favourite place to stay & it’s what she wanted for Christmas so I’m super happy I could surprise her with this. We absolutely love our weekends away and after having the most busiest of weeks, this is just what we need.

I think this morning we’re going to have a mooch around Waitrose and pick up some snacks (something we always do before we go away anywhere!) and then maybe get some lunch somewhere too!

What are your weekend plans? Have you had snow? We haven’t but it’s definitely been freezing.

Sending love,

Sinéad Anna Chalke x

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Tom Kerridge Pea & Ham pasta. (We used pancetta!)

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I’m going to be super lazy with this post and literally just attach photos of the actual book and the recipes for you instead of writing them out word by word, but you still kinda get the drift! I cook all the pasta in our household and I must say, this recipe was seriously seriously easy! Anybody could make it and it’s really quick too! A few of the ingredients we didn’t use, for example anchovies.. neither of us like those so we left them out! And instead of ham we used M&S pancetta. But yeah overall this is super easy and yummy!

There’s nothing quite like the smell of garlic, onions and pancetta cooking away is there?

I also found it super weird how the recipe tells you to add the frozen peas into the boiling pasta once cooked! Something I’d never actually done before but totally makes sense now.

We served ours with some rocket, grated Parmesan cheese, and garlic bread too of course!

Rating out of 5 stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Let me know if you enjoyed this recipe and if you think you’d give it a go yourself! If you like carbonara type dishes, you’ll love this!

Sending love as always,

Mrs Chalke x x

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Gracie Selfies And Westlife

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I lost my buzz for blogging a little while ago. I think there was like a two week break where I had no words to say and no motivation to type them even if I did. But it’s back and I love writing here every day. Whenever there’s something to say or show, I’m here. This blog is my little diary journal.

So this morning started with my normal cuddle on the sofa with Gracie and the strongest coffee I could make. How is my little angel baby going to be two next month please? I love her more now when she’s apparently overweight than when I did when she was tiny and just a little fluff ball who would sleep under my arm in bed at night. We did a little photo shoot this morning.

I then did an intensive clean of the house. Got a chair and scrubbed the shelves and cupboards in the kitchen, 1001’d the shit out of the carpets, used my favourite method (wild rhubarb) on all the sides and kitchen surfaces. Stripped beds, hoovered. Took rubbish out, lots of rubbish, and decided I love the new westlife song.

For lunch, I had chorizo, chicken and prawn paella from Marks & Spencer’s balanced diet range which was super yummy at 429 calories.

We met one of our best friends new born baby today when they came over for coffee which was super cute. We’re surrounded by babies and children at the moment!

It’s been raining all day, I currently have a bath and body works candle burning, some clothes drying in the tumble dryer, and I’m desperate for a two hour soak in the bath but I’m cooking dinner tonight (I promised!) so stay tuned for that post and recipe later on!

How’s your Wednesday?

Love,

Sinéad Anna Chalke x

(I love how that sounds)

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