Tag Archives: love

A day of vintage shopping and exploring off the beaten track in my favourite city

After a week of stressing about lots of little things, it was time to unwind over the weekend by spending a little time with my loved ones and trying something different. Saturday was spent in Norwich with my boyfriend, after waking up first thing, we decided to head to the city for a day of browsing the lanes – neither of us needing to buy anything just fancying a look around the city in the sunshine.

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First of all we went to the Patisserie for a drink and some gateaux – I indulged in the double chocolate, while Mark went for the chocolate mousse combined with fruit smoothies and chocolate milkshakes. Absolutely delicious – I can never resist this place because all of the cakes look so gorgeous.

After, we headed into the lanes where we wandered among the cobbled streets for hours, popping into little boutique and vintage shops, found adorable cafes and delis that we had never seen before, including one that was selling a type of venison salami. The sun came out in force and it was a beautiful day, which only added to the feeling of being on holiday – I love when you rediscovered a place so familiar to yourself just by wandering off the beaten track.

After a few hours, we suddenly came across this huge vintage and antiques shop, Looses Emporium, which looked incredible. We were instantly sucked in and began to explore the enormous warehouse and its contents. We found some amazing items – mainly furniture that made me wish I were moving out so I could fill my home with these unique pieces – but also books, clothes, ornaments and much, much more. Here are some of my favourites:

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A vintage Lotto machine..

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A throne!

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Obviously need one of these for above the mantlepiece!

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Still in perfect working condition – such a beautiful tone to the music that you just don’t get from iPods etc…Image

As suggested by my friend – a sex gong! Haha

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And my favourite item of the day – a classic novel..

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Then, after two and a half hours of exploring (which included a flea market we found upstairs where Mark bought the purple 50’s bowling bomber as pictured above and an original 1960’s kimono), we moved on to Aladdin’s Cave, which was just down the street where I had to persuade Mark not to buy a life-size statue of Jesus for his new living room.

Both stored were amazing for one-off pieces and for finding something a little different, something we both love to do. Mark is moving into a new house, that his mum and step-dad are renovating in order to rent out, with one of his mates at the start of November and he is really excited to furniture shop for his own home. The place he shares now with two friends is filled with furniture and items that don’t belong to Mark, either to the others or they were given to the boys. He is definitely getting to that point where he wan’t to have a home to call his own and to have all his own things, rather than just a room in a house.

It was an amazing day and nicely rounded off with a meal in a Tapas restaurant we discovered which had the most amazing food. We shared a selection of dishes including Patatas Bravas, prawns in garlic and oil, mozzarella sticks in breadcrumbs with garlic mayonnaise, meatballs in a tomato sauce with peas, and a phenomenally tasty chorizo, bacon, and pea stew in a smoky tomato sauce that fired up my taste buds.

It was so nice to spend a day with Mark, just the two of us, exploring somewhere we both love. We haven’t had enough couple time lately and haven’t appreciated each other as much as we should so it was nice to be together away from everything and everyone at home.

Travel: More from Ireland as I search for my ‘pot of gold’

The next day, I awoke bright and early feeling refreshed from an amazing night’s sleep in a cosy bed and lay there for a little while, watching the boats from the bed. I was thrilled to see the sun was shining and that my beautiful new shoes would be safe from the heavy rain I had been warned about. We headed downstairs where a delicious breakfast of cereal, juice, yoghurt with fresh fruit, toast and a full fry-up was awaiting us. We filled our boots knowing full well that we wouldn’t be eating again until dinnertime with the wedding taking place at 2pm at a church that was 30 minutes away. We smartened ourselves up and headed over to meet the others.

I wore a Love by Topshop floral dress which I customised by sewing up the slit at the front of the dress, with a black New Look blazer, a Topshop necklace, my bargain Dorothy Perkins shoes (a steal after the were reduced to £15) and a Primark bag.

Mark wore a River Island suit, with River Island shoes, his tie and shirt came from Topshop, he also wore a waistcoat from River Island and red braces.

We were first in the hotel lobby and made the most of it by having a sneak around to look at the reception rooms and have a drink.

The wedding ceremony was beautiful and suited the couple, Brendan and Liza down to the ground, they are very big on family and the importance of everyone being involved – when we visited them last year they did everything they could to make me feel incredibly welcome and they are endlessly generous and kind.

For the service, they started with Liza walking down the aisle to the tune of Mark’s uncle playing the fiddle.

The couple made their vows, interspersed with readings from several members of the family, in front of priest (Great Uncle) Richard, who had made the journey from South Africa where he works as a missionary in order to conduct the service. Such a lovely touch and he made it so personal to them. I was thrilled to finally meet his after hearing so much about him over the past six years.

Later on, after a champagne reception back the the hotel, with strawberries to dip in our glasses, we enjoyed a hearty meal of a large seafood vol-au-vent, followed by prime Irish beef with gravy, roast potatoes, mash and vegetables (all in endless supply) and finished the meal with profiteroles and meringue. Just what we all needed after such a long day. And the meal was later followed by sausage sandwiches for an evening snack!

Then the dancing started. The entertainment was a rockabilly band which later turned into a disco with the best playlist I have ever heard at a wedding – all good, party anthems such as Cornershop and FatBoySlim – perfect to get everyone dancing!

After dancing until our feet could take it no more, and the DJ closed down for the night, we retired to the bar for more drinking and a lot more laughs. Myself and Mark finally left at around 4-4.30am but heard the party was still going on until 6.30am! We stumbled back to the B&B and hit the deck fairly quickly.

The next morning, after missing breakfast in the B&B, we got our stuff together and headed out for a walk and lunch by ourselves, to make the most of the final day before catching our flight. After a gorgeous lunch of linguine with fresh prawns and a garlic, white wine sauce as we sat outside overlooking the ocean, I insisted on dipping my toes into the water – something that means a lot to me. I love the sea and to be close to it is a big part of my life.

I achieved what I came to Ireland to do – I ate heartily, drank heavily, chatted to everyone, danced merrily, made people smile, learnt to smile again after a stressful few weeks and most importantly, it gave me the break I needed.

By dipping my toes into the chilly Irish sea, I feel like a new woman and that is the most important thing.

Ireland is a stunning country and the views, especially in this part, always leave me breathless. I would recommend that everyone visits Dunmore East at least once – as you can see from my pictures, it really is beautiful.

Aside

After a summer of madness as I trekked across the country, and Europe, to party at festival after festival, it was time to head to Ireland for the maddest get-together of all – my boyfriend’s Irish family for a huge … Continue reading