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I took a very early flight from Gatwick. Once at Venice airport I was greeted by Gaby who worked for Flashpack, Ciara our guide for the day and Anne a fellow traveller. We were the inside group checking this tour out. It was just the 4 of us.
We started our adventure in our smart air conditioned mini bus and headed up to the Valdobbiadene area and to the first of many winery’s we were going to visit. Toni doro, is run by two brothers, one of which gave us a tour and told us about the ground, the grapes and the process from growing to bottling. Some vines were 6 years old, some 11. It was then time for the tasting, and it was made especially nice with fresh salami, breadsticks and cheese. I was in heaven, a nice glass of prosecco in hand (and these weren’t small tasting glasses either). We got a good amount to taste!!
This was definitely a lovely prosecco. We were then off to our next stop – Osteria Senz’Oste but this this one was different as it was “unhosted”. It was a lovely little farmhouse tucked away in the hills off the beaten track. No one behind the bar, you just help yourself to fresh bread, meats and cheese and leave some money in the pot and then you follow the prosecco sign up to the prosecco vending machine! How amazing.. Such a good idea. We headed up the hill to some old plastic chairs and an outside basic toilet! But this is the place to go as locals. Hang out here, anytime of day and night. Our guide told us about her first date she had here!
We again polished off another bottle of prosecco and more bread and salami! We even had the chance to make our driver a salami sandwich – we thought it was best to keep him on side.
We were then off to our next winery Bisol. The early morning flight and daytime drinking had definitely caught up with me! I had a little snooze on the way there.
This winery was more industrial and here we saw thousands and thousands of bottles of prosecco. This is where they even bottle Tescos finest prosecco! Here we learnt the names of all the sizes of the bottles and how long it takes from start to finish. Again we tasted 4 different ones and learnt about doc and docg and the labels to look out for.
It was a great first day! Rounded off with a Lovely meal. Followed by a few spritz Aperol. We had a fairly early night as we had to be up early for our trip to Venice.
We caught the train from Treviso which only takes 25 mins. It was a Lovely sunny day and was very busy in Venice but it was nice to get lost down some of the back streets. We did the normal touristy things:
Selfie on a Gondola – Tick
St Mark’s square – Tick
It was lovely but was nice to return to Treviso where it is a bit quieter! with less bustle. We had the best pizza in town. It was a true authentic pizzeria and this is where all the locals seem to hang out and eat. Clearly a popular place.
We finish off the night with a few Aperol spritz at the buzzy bar by our hotel. I’ve clearly found a new drink!
Next morning we met for our bike ride along the canal, more prosecco and also tiramisu tasting. Tiramisu means to be cheerful. We got equipped for our 20km bike ride along the Cale de Suile. The Ride along the canal was beautiful. Passing poppy fields, stunning villas and at half way we stopped for guess what? A glass of Prosecco! We then carried along on our bikes back to Treviso. Then it was time for traditional lunch and tiramisu tasting. What can I say? Delicious!!
This trip has been a lot of eating, drinking prosecco, beautiful scenery and seeing things off the beaten track. Aperol spritz has definitely won me over as my new summer drink so let’s hope I find it when back in the UK! I’m on a mission :0). It seems such lovely way of life in Italy. Very relaxed and it was lovely to see the places I may not have found on my own! Highly recommended trip.
This blog was first published on Flashpack Website July 2016: https://www.theflashpack.co.uk/blog/italy-prosecco-group-adventure/]]>
‘If Millie has puppies I’ll have one’, I said to my friend about her gorgeous spaniel dog! And guess what, 6 months later Millie was pregnant!
So I then had a choice – did I want a puppy?. Of course the answer was yes but was now the right time?! Single, working full time in London, good social life.
I thought long and hard and researched all my options. To be honest I wanted to change things and thought this may give me the change of life I needed. I thought about nice long dog walks in the country, holidays in the lakes, pub lunches and always having someone there when I got home. I looked into dog walkers and dog minders as this wasn’t a breed that could be left for long periods at home.
Of course you can’t go and see puppies and walk away without one so I decided to go for it. Harley was the first one that came up to me and wanted cuddles and then basically wouldn’t leave me. I thought he has to be the one. He was bigger than all the rest, all black but with the cutest face ever looking up at me! Sold… So then work began in turning my house into a puppy-proof place. Baby gates, making sure the garden was secure, my life completely changed from this moment on.
I picked up Harley and we made the 3.5 hour journey home and I have to say he was a little poppet in the car home. He slept most of the way and just woke near the end to take a look at where he was.
We arrived and of course, he wanted to explore his new home, sniffing everything, looking everywhere but this cute ball of fluff was mine. As predicted, I was up to comfort and fuss him 2-3 times the first night. But I was very strong and no cuddles allowed. I just spoke to him through his crate.
So the first week was all about settling in and bonding. I have to admit a bit like a new mother with a baby, I had mixed emotions, I found it tough. I loved him but he was tiring and I was getting more and more tired and I did start to wonder if I had done the right thing. My house was turned up side down by this little ball of energy. It was constant and I had to keep an eye on him every minute otherwise he would be chewing something, jumping on something, weeing!!
I called my dad and said I can’t cope. I can’t do this. You need to come and take him. My dad’s response, “you wanted a puppy you deal with it. Just be calm and give yourself time”. So I had a roller coaster ride, for several months. Trying to hold down a full-time, full-on job, look after a tiny puppy that wanted attention 24 x 7. But I did have a great help from my dog minder. She has Harley in the day from 8-3pm and it works. So all those people that say you can’t have a dog when you work full time. You can but you just need to pay for someone to have them!
My life has changed but I wouldn’t be without him now. It’s made me calm down, not worry about cleaning all the time, I’ve had to become less selfish and I now have responsibility. My life does have to be a bit more pre-planned than before but I wouldn’t change it. It gets me out every weekend and you always meet people when dog walking.
It’s made me realise that I have to think about someone else first before me and I’ve learnt not to be so OCD about cleaning the house and car. Life’s too short and Harley gives me the motivation to get outside come rain or shine. The best thing is a lovely long walk followed by a pub lunch! That’s my life now. That’s my weekends. No longer laying in bed nursing a hangover!
I don’t say I don’t go out anymore, but I have do have 2-3 people that I trust to look after him. I appreciate my nights and weekends out more now as I’m not doing it every weekend.
Harley has taught me a lot about myself… And I think I’ve changed for the better. He’s taught me about commitment, having responsibility for someone else other than myself. To think about others. To chill out .
People say he’s just a dog but he’s more than that.. He’s my best friend. And if he could talk he would tell you everything, as he knows exactly how I feel and I do talk to him . When he’s not around, the house seems empty and I miss him.
I’m hoping Harley will help me meet my Mr Right. It worked for Davina McCall so why not?!]]>
68 nail varnishes, 3 bin bags of clothes, 1 bag of shoes and still counting……
It’s that time of year again where I like to have a spring clean and clear out. I’ve got so much junk I’ve accumulated. I physically couldn’t get anymore in my wardrobes or drawers. I’ve ended up wearing the same stuff to work as I cannot see or find anything easily. I have far too many clothes I know!!So where do I start?.. I thought I would start at the top of the house, in the loft and work my way down to the shed. I was on a mission. So I got started…
In the loft, ten, yes ten suitcases – all different sizes although not one really any good for a week or a few days holiday! I didn’t go away enough to warrant ten!
Then it was the Christmas decorations that I had gathered over the years. Hundreds of different coloured themed baubles and 4 Christmas trees in a range of sizes and yet in the last 5 years I had always had a real one! This was the moment I realised I had become quite a hoarder.
68 nail varnishes – how many does a girl really need? I cleared out all the dried up lumpy ones, the ones that were of the colour I was never going to wear. Or I had 4 of pretty much the same colour. I clearly hadn’t remembered I had them.
Then next came the bedroom drawers- T shirts and clothes that I had saved for gardening, painting and washing the car. None of these activities I had done for about 10 years, so no idea why I was keeping them all. They went straight into the charity bag.
I cleared out my make up bag. Stuff I didn’t need anymore or use ever and or had been in my bag for years , why I ever thought I would wear green eye shadow?! Or orange lipstick.
Then I moved to the downstairs
So many out of date medicines and creams. It was like Boots in that cupboard. But half of it I hadn’t even used
In this cupboard I find a selection. Many things I didn’t need anymore, chipped non matching mugs, plus out of date packets of food and I obviously thought one day I would get round to making a cake as I had all the ingredients but just a year out of date!
The “not sure what it is, so ill put in here” drawer!
I was next onto the drawer where you stuff everything into, yep you know the one? Everyone has one. You aren’t quite sure where to put it or what it is so you stick it in that drawer. Just in case you need it! Old phone chargers ( you know the old clunky Nokia ones) and other cables for who knows what, pieces of chalk, drawing pins, birthday candles, pens that don’t work, blue tack,. I cleared the lot, if I didn’t know what it belonged to then it went.
Tupperware cupboard – how many pots do I really need? They were all scattered in there, every size you ever needed, with their lids everywhere and I could hardly close the door, so some order was needed. My ocd crept back in for those minutes.
Now it was time to gather all my stuff that was too good to chuck but wasn’t needed anymore. It was time for a car boot.
5 am start was tough but luckily it was busy and everyone wanting a bargain but it’s true what they say.. one persons junk is another persons treasure! I had to get rid so I was ruthless and charged a £1.00 or 50p for everything. By 11.30 I had got rid of most of the stuff. The rest I had left I was happy to give to charity and just get rid.
Few days later: I was now on a roll . Sorting clothes into piles. Stuff for charity, stuff for eBay and stuff for shop that sells second hand clothes.
Now with that done I’ve now moved onto paperwork..
Clearing out old papers, cards, invites. The things I have kept?? Do i really need these now?
Next up I need to dejunk my electronic filing. Contacts, emails, apps and photos. It’s endless, but they do say when you start to de junk your house it’s a sign of sorting the rest of your life out.
So who knows what the summer will bring. But I’m feeling refreshed and ready!
Maybe it’s too early to tell but at least I can now find my blue dress when I want it and my black top. It’s no longer a mission at 6 am in the morning half asleep. I feel like a woman back in control!]]>
Things have been going well. We have been out for dinners, drinks and TT even helped me choose my new TV, we have shopped in Curry’s together (very coupley) and I’ve cooked for him. Well I use that term loosely – I’ve tried to cook for him. And recently he carried my Christmas tree home for me. Tinder was a numbers game but my number had definitely come up.
We are still using our little pet names of Bond and MMP to banter and tease. Comms are going well. Tinder is a mere memory and I’ve started to admit to friends that I like this one. They are pleased and you can tell they are crossing their fingers that this one is a goodun and works out well.
He scores high on the checklist, ticking most boxes. He seems to be as good as they get. I still think back to that sliding doors moment where I could have swiped left but decided on right – who would have known what could develop from an innocent hello, how are you message?
I love our conversations when he drives home up North, we laugh, and we joke. There’s something about TT that draws me in. That accent gets me everytime.;0) My friends can tell I’ m smitten and start liking the sound of TT. They haven’t met him yet but I’m hoping they will soon.
It was TT’s birthday when he was away for work and so I wanted to send him something special – out of the norm. I love the film “Love actually” and secretly I’ve always wanted to go to someone’s house and run through the cards and tell someone how I felt. Like Mark did to Juliet in that scene – you know the one, when he tells her… To me you are perfect. So lovely. – gets me every time
Anyway I wasn’t going to go that far as to tell TT he was perfect but thought I would use the concept to wish him a happy birthday! So I set myself up, wrote my script, made the video and I even lined up Stevie Wonders, Happy Birthday to play in the background! There you go Bond. A special message from MMP x.
I sent it. He loved it. All was good. Smile on my face. MMP and Bond forever ;0)
Maybe it is now time I thought about ditching the Bridget Jones pants. We are a real couple or so I thought.
2 weeks later
Bam..My phone goes off at 01:30 in the morning. I’m sleepy so can’t quite work out what it is – I first think its my alarm but then I focus and see TT’s smiley face as his face pops up on my screen when he calls and with his pet name Bond 007 calling. Love it. So cute.
Hello he says… hmm I thought .. a drunk TT?. I can tell he’s drunk as his normal melt me accent is now a little slurred. And then he just says it. Like a bolt out the blue. No warning. Its over. He doesn’t want it anymore. There is no spark. He’s not wanting it and wants to tell me. He says its him but he can’t get past the friendship part with me. He loves spending time with me and has had a great time but no spark. I thank him for being honest.
Then he passes out and the line goes dead. That’s it. It’s over..
The night then passes so slowly as I digest what TT has just said to me. My mind going into overdrive. I tell myself to not get upset. He’s not worth it and it[s his loss. But in reality I’m wired. I look back through the last few messages we had – Did I say something wrong, could I have seen this coming?
I feel sick, I feel like I’ve been punched in my stomach. The tears start rolling as I look back through the messages, the photo gallery, play the Birds of Tokyo song and remember all the good times. How could Tinder Tom just pull the rug on all that? In a short space of time we had made so many memories and now they had gone. Had it all meant nothing to him? I cuddled Ness and remembered that first swipe, that first date, the Bond weekend and the weekend in Derby. Gutted. Was this end of Tinder Tom?
I felt sad. I missed our chats. I missed our Banter. Bond had broken MMP’s heart ;0(. I now had to tell my friends and family yet again it was a fail.
So has it put me off Tinder? For now, yes but has it put me off my quest? No way.
It’s just the Tinder horse – you get on , you get thrown off and you get back on again. Ok I may not be up for that right now – but one day soon ill get back on the Tinder horse again . Oh look Tinder Tim has just messaged. ….
The search for #scottish #ginger # love dogs is back on.
Excited was an understatement as I drove up the motorway North. Red bull at the ready, tunes on the playlist- I was ready. MMP was driving to her Bond.
Bond again surprised me with dinner cooked – yes he can cook aswell. Seriously is there nothing he can’t do? .That was another tick off the checklist.
We spent the evening chatting and Harley took to him, as he cuddled up – in between us on the sofa and made sure he was centre of attention. He made it known to TT that we come as a pair and that to get to his mummy he needed full on belly rubs!
I was surprised how relaxed TT was as I knew he had loads of work to do as he owns his own business and had a trade show the following weekend. That was something I liked about him though.. he clearly knows what he wants and goes and gets it.
So next morning we got ready for our 8 mile walk. Ok, so this is where you can’t wear your sexy heels, you need to dress appropriately but also dress to impress. Tricky. I’m hoping I can pull this off. TT said I scrubbed up well so im taking that as I had managed it.
Me and TT chatted, laughed, teased one another and stopped for the odd selfie along the way. I just remember thinking – how nice it was to be so open with someone and not have to think about things or any awkward moments. It all felt very relaxed. We were so similar on our outlook and values it was bonkers. Tinder swiping seemed a thing of the past for me as we walked the 4 miles back. That one small moment when I swiped right had paid off or so it seemed and I was happy.
The weekend goes past with a lot of eating, drinking, chatting and finding out our musical tastes. We take it in turns to choose our favourite tunes on Spotify and find we clearly both have a love of karaoke!
TT introduces me to Sonos and Spotify (#musicheaven) and a new band Birds of Tokyo. We chat, have coffee, TT makes breakfast. It’s all so relaxing and he hasn’t thought about work once! Had I tamed this workaholic – who knows?
As I set off on Sunday evening back to London I feel happy and relaxed.
Up until now we had fun, quirky dates but this week we had a date in TT’s work warehouse. He had to get ready for his trade show so we got down and dirty (not like that!), packing boxes of golf gear in boxes.
Did this put me off TT? No not at all. This was part of his life and he opened up and let me in. This is where he spent his hours working, being creative (yep another tick off the checklist). And to top it off he bought me dinner. Ok so it was fish and chips in paper over the boxes with a glass of red. But it was simple. Bond and MMP laughed and joked over the parcel tape and bubble wrap . #datingheaven. That’s the thing – I can’t describe what it is and it doesn’t appear on a checklist but TT is a special person. I don’t let many people in but there was something different about him.
The quest for #scottish #ginger # love dogs had slowed down as I took a break from swiping. TT was ticking alot of the boxes.
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I’m 40, single and a Tinderette. Just waiting for date two with Tinder Tom.
TT has his own business and splits his time between his home up North for weekends and office in London at weekdays. As we chatted I got an insight into his life. And I admit I quite liked it. We were similar. Both driven, both ambitious, both had that oomph, which had been lacking it my past relationships.
So after the first date TT called me on his drive home up North. His voice just made me melt and I admit I think I smiled the whole way through the conversation which I think was about 40 minutes! Yes a male talking on the phone for that long – that was unheard of surely?.
Again I went to bed and was very happy with my choice of swiping right and to be honest I’d put Tinder and swiping to the back of my mind.
The next day and after a few messages that were exchanged he asked when we would meet again? I really wanted to say now but remembered that you should play it cool, don’t rush in, don’t look keen. But inside I was so excited. The fluttering stomach reappeared. I was thinking oh next week sometime?
Bam…. TT says how about tonight? in his gorgeous “sean connery #makes me melt” accent. So before I knew it I was driving up the M25/M40 – TT had sorted a venue half way between us I’ve got to find something wrong with this guy soon as yet again he’d pulled it out the bag. I must admit I was slightly nervous but mostly excited. A spontaneous date in the middle of nowhere?! What could go wrong?
Nothing is the answer –We had a lovely evening chatting and finding out about each other. I got even more insight into this guy and I liked it. #scottish#ginger#lovedogs = #datingheaven!
So as we gained momentum, cheeky banter on texts and phone calls we began to get pet names for one another – Bond and Miss Moneypenny (MMP). I loved it when he called me up and said the words “moneypenny” in that Scottish accent. It made me giddy.
It was my turn this time to pull it out the bag. Date night number 4. So where else? , but to see the latest Bond movie in nice big seats with drinks.
After the film we carried on drinking, chatting, getting to know one another more and more. In fact it was about 3am in the morning when we called it a night. Somehow I ended up back at his brothers with him.(memory loss due to drinking) and as I opened an eye in the morning I sheepishly looked around, trying to adjust and work out exactly where I was. I looked over and saw Bond asleep next to me. Clearly nothing happened, but we had a big day ahead of us.
Bond (TT) was coming as my plus 1 to my work colleagues wedding. I was so pleased I’d managed to fill my ‘plus one’ space. Bond was cool, dressed nice,smiley and I knew he would go down well and behave with my work colleagues. But first I had to face the brother and get rid of those pesky woodpeckers in my head!
Not a first impression I had wanted to make. I walked down the stairs and into the kitchen and introduced myself. His brother gave me that look. You know the one? I knew what that meant. I just thought I’ve got to get through this bit, act normal and all will be ok. Hard when you feel like you want to throw up and dive back under the duvet for cover. Bond said I had gone down well – Phew… another tick and one family member met. Right now to get ready and try to function normally.
I was right, Bond was a hit with my work colleagues and we had a fun time at the wedding. Really easy and relaxed. I knew I could leave him and he would entertain the table. More drinkies, more chat. It was that exciting time in our relationship where you are discovering about one another. You know finding out likes, dislikes, what makes the other one tick.
We rounded the night off with a “dirty burger” at the station and I remember thinking this was a lucky swipe right, we have so much in common as I drift off with a smile on my face ;0)
The quest for #scottish #ginger # love dogs was still on but was TT the one to break it…who knows?
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So I’ve now become a “Tinderette”. Yep I made the decision to join Tinder, why not give it a go I thought?! A few colleagues from work met their now long term partners on there and my other friend got engaged to her Tinder man so it does work – right? So I joined..
There’s something therapeutic of swiping left and right – well mainly left with the occasional right. In fact, at first, it became a bit addictive and there was an air of excitement when a match popped up on my phone screen or a new message!
The Letter T in my phone started to fill up (as I filed Adam Tinder, David Tinder, Paul Tinder, Steve Tinder) as conversations moved on, off Tinder and onto whatsapp.
My diary became quite busy (I’m not one of those people that had loads of spare time anyway) but I had to make an effort and find slots for the potential suitors. As everyone kept on telling me it’s a numbers game. You need to sort through the weird ones to find the good!
I’ve realised there are three types of men on Tinder.
* No. 1: The ones who just want a quick bunk up and keen to send you, after message 3 the shots of their manhood.. Yep full on ? shot!! ,
* No. 2 : The serial online dater (who has tried every site going, in fact you recognise from that one you were on before) . These people are sometimes nice but don’t leave you with the flutter in your tummy. This type like to analyse how long you have been on said site and how it was working for you.
* No. 3: You have the virgin online dating people who have been in long term relationships for 10 plus years ( and say they are new to this and not good at this stuff) They are in the same position as me now that their friends never went out and people actually talking to one another in pubs was a thing of the past… It’s more a London thing but is getting more common across the country.
I managed to go on dates with the last two types.They were nice people but as I sat there I was thinking I’ve got ironing to do or I’ve got to get back to slob out like Bridget Jones on my sofa, big pants included and a glass of wine!
So after having one day with all slots filled. Yep a breakfast, lunch and dinner date, I decided enough was enough. I realised I was running myself ragged – up late swiping and carefully constructing messages. For what.. To waste a night with someone that I really didn’t have much in common with or want to be with. So I was going to come off Tinder but just one last look and swipe.
Then along came Tinder Tom. Tom was different and his profile stood out. Surprisingly he had listed stuff about himself on his profile, Tom was ginger and was completely different from anyone I’d dated before.
He was what I would call a slow burner. Tom made the first connection with me. We had a few messages but I then went on holiday. Didn’t think much about it but when I got back Tom sent a message. ;0). We had a few back and forth, Tom then went on holiday but we got a date in to meet up. We spoke on the phone several times before the meeting. Tom was Scottish (swoon) and ginger! I was in #datingheaven.
It finally came to our first date. Nervous as hell but Tinder Tom pulled it out the bag. Our first date was going to see Jack Savaretti at the Roundhouse!
? Tinder Tom (TT) was better than his profile. He ticked all the boxes (the all important checklist) and it was fair to say I had that fluttery feeling and fancied the pants off Tinder Tom!
Our first date was drawing to a close and we were waiting in the cab queue TT found a small Lochness monster toy on the floor with a tartan hat and happy ness written on its tum. It was a little dirty but as he passed it to me I thought this could be a sign! TT gained another tick as he paid for my cab home.
Tinder Tom had definitely impressed. No kiss but we had talked all night and I felt totally at ease and comfortable with him.
So with the first date out of the way, it was now that awkward limbo bit where you wonder will they, won’t they text you, did they like me? , how long should you leave it to contact them? . Hmm, beep beep, before I’d even stepped out the cab – TT had messaged me. Yay… I loved Tinder and went to bed with a cheeky smile on my face and little Nessie beside my bed! ;0)
Tinder had redeemed itself.. Finally I’d sifted through the dodgy ones to find a goodun! My number had come up
The quest for #scottish #ginger # love dogs was on..but for how long ..?
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And it makes me think – Yer why can’t I find a nice man?! What does nice mean? What is it I’m looking for? Why do I keep making the same mistakes? Surely there has to be a man the equivalent of me?
So I decide to write my checklist. You know the one. We have all done it and some people write it down and some people keep it in their head, and somehow when you meet a potential partner that checklist comes to the forefront of your mind. You can’t get it out of your head. Or is that just me?
Anyway I digress – I wrote my list down and I decided to split it into three sections: Wants, nice to have and could haves.
Nice to have
So am I asking too much? I think I may be and some of it’s important and some not so much.
So as I embark on my Tinder swiping – I try to keep an open mind. It’s all about spark at the end of the day and connection with the person. That’s what’s hard to explain but when you meet them you know. It’s fire in your belly, it’s the flutters you get when they text or call.
So maybe I’m going to dump the checklist, go with the flow and just find that person with “that thing” the spark!
The quest for #scottish #ginger # love dogs. Hmm maybe it’s on its way out.. a nice person that everyone tells me I should meet is on now on order.
Read my next blog It’s a numbers game to find out how I got on.
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