September has been my favourite month of 2018, of course with the biggest news being, Mr S turned 40! I can hardly believe it finally happened! We first met when he was 32 and honestly he doesn’t look that much different apart from a few grey hairs here and there! His actual birthday was the 29th of September and with it falling on a Saturday we chose to celebrate on the day with a big party for all our friends.
We booked out the Secret Garden at Shoreditch House and I hired Kaye Ford from Fordtography to be be our photographer on the day. Here are some of my favourite photos from the night.
Another very special person in my life celebrated a birthday too. My nephew Jackson turned 1 year old at the beginning of September!
Jackson and his brother Charlie really are the two lights of my life, they are absolutely wonderful boys always full of smiles and joy. We celebrated with a little party at my sister’s flat with his grandparents and aunties and uncles all present. I wanted to give Jackson a really special gift for turning 1 so throughout the year I’d recorded little snippets of video of him on my phone. I pieced together a video montage of his first year, starting with meeting him at the hospital, his first Christmas, the first time he rolled, ate solid food and the first time he crawled. He’s very close to walking now and and changing everyday, I can’t wait to follow his journey through life guided by big brother Charlie.
As I was away for around half of the month I got up to very little in London. I always get asked how I don’t put on weight when travelling and eating out so much – trust me I do – but I try to curb it as much as possible by being super healthy and doing lots of exercise in between. After all, I had a dress to fit into at the end of September!
As for travelling, I headed to Morocco, for the first time in about ten years to discover the beauty of the Atlas Mountains and the secrets of the souks of Marrakech. My trip started high in the hills at Kasbah Tamadot, the beautiful hotel owned by Richard Branson.
I got some great feedback on my photos at this hotel because I think that you could all see how utterly exquisite it was! We spent our two nights there in one of the hotels unique Berber tents and enjoyed delicious Moroccan feasts, incredible views and THAT pool…
From the mountains to Marrakech… we made our way down to much lower altitude to stay in exquisite riad, Villa Des Orangers. By coincidence I stayed here on my last trip to the city 10 years ago, the hotel had hardly changed and had been beautifully kept up! Our room was amazing and you loved it too on my Instagram story tour!
If you’re planning to visit Marrakech make sure you check out my other posts from my visit: top ten things to do in Marrakech and three places to eat in Marrakech.
After ten days at home we packed our bags and headed off on Mr S’s big birthday trip! I’d been planning this trip for months and months and I couldn’t wait it to actually happen. You may have seen me mention on Instagram that I’d considered a few options as to where to take him – I wanted to ‘go big’ and do safari in Tanzania with a stay in Mozambique too… but then I thought what would he really want to do for his fortieth? Sit by the pool, relax, have a beer and do a boat trip. So I thought to myself, where’s hot at the end of September? And I settled on Greece… I managed to keep it a secret up until about one month before when we were discussing our upcoming travel plans and it slipped of my mouth! Oops! But he still didn’t know exactly what we were doing so that was ok!
We started off in Athens with a stay in the beautiful Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection hotel. We had a fantastic historical tour of Athen and ate in some superb restaurants! It was Mr S’s first time in the city, I’d been when I was 14 but didn’t really remember anything so it felt like the first time. Honestly, I was a little apprehensive as I’d heard negative things about Athens so I was glad I’d only booked two nights, but it turned out we absolutely loved it and wished we’d had longer!
From Athens it was about a two and half hour journey to the sensational Amanzoe in Porto Heli. Honestly this hotel could not have been a better choice we absolutely loved every single thing about it. Possibly as close to perfection as can be!! Of course I’ll be telling you about it in lots more detail but our week there was spent either in our room enjoying our private pool, on the beach eating pizza and Greek salads and of course Mr S’s special boat trip!
One thing I booked that was a little rogue was booking a couples photo shoot, I knew he’d be apprehensive – both about posing for photos and about taking a couple of hours away from his relaxation time.
But honestly, I’m so glad that we did it and that we’ll have these special memories forever. We even ended up extending our time with the photographer and afterwards Mr S said ‘you were right about the photo shoot…’ – can I have that in writing please? A framed photo of the shoot also made the perfect final gift for him on the day of his birthday.
The Expedia Hotel Edit
Talking of travel, I’m taking over the Expedia Hotel Edit for the next few months. My first article is one close to my heart: wine! Read about some of my favourite hotels with vineyards plus a few I’d like to visit on the Expedia website.
What I’m Wearing:
I picked up a few new bits and pieces for my travels all of which are investment pieces that I know I’ll wear for years to come.
This beautiful Peony print dress from Dolce & Gabbana got it’s first outing in Morocco but I wore it for a special date might in Athens too.
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The best thing about airport shopping? Having something brand new to wear on your holiday! I picked up this gorgeous pair of shoes during my personal shopping experience at @heathrow_airport and wore them for romantic nights out during my special holiday to Greece. Having beautiful items reserved in advance to try on in the private suite whilst sipping champagne is such a luxury before a trip and I was so happy with my purchase. #Heathrow #fashion #styletips #HeathrowPersonalShopper #ad
This dress is from Zimmermann and I’m absolutely in love with it! It’s a little short and low cut so definitely more one for holidays, I paired it with the Valentino shoes that I picked up on my personal shopping experience at Heathrow Airport.
I’m not quite sure where swimsuits have been during my adult years as I always avoided them thinking bikinis were actually more flattering… but this one (also Zimmermann) is my new favourite thing. It’s sooooo flattering and has introduced me to a whole new world of swimwear.
What I’ve been reading:
A couple of months ago I picked up the Tattooist of Auschwitz in the airport book shop. As the title didn’t suggest it was a light holiday read, I didn’t read it while I was away and then it just sat on my shelf for a few months. I finally picked it up just before going to Morocco and I’m so glad that I did. It’s a real life story about Lale who tattoos the numbers on his fellow prisoners at Auschwitz-Birkenau where he meets the love of his life. It’s utterly moving and captivating, I highly recommend a read.
I have a little UK break with my parents which generally involves playing board games, a little bit of country walking and lots of eating! I’m looking forward to spending some time in the Cotswolds with them at my favourite place. Can you guess where? Let me know in the comments.
A Final Shout:
I must mention the lovely Polly, a UK expat blogger living in Qatar, who many of you will be familiar with. The last few weeks she’s been confined to her home having undergone radiation therapy – the worst thing being a separation from her daughter Sophia. Emma, Binny and I have kept her going as much as possible from the UK sending her cheesy jokes and inspirational quotes. She’s put on such a brave face as usual and has finally been reunited with her loved ones