St Petersburg Florida!

I've talked about The Don Cesar hotel in St Petersburg Florida on a few occasions now, see here and here, as is was at this magnificent pink castle that my husband and I got married. It holds such a special place in my heart and makes me smile every time I think about it or see a picture of it. The last time we stayed there was to celebrate our 1 year wedding anniversary and, again, it was just magical and every single member of staff was simply wonderful in making us feel welcome. With the long weekend coming up, (memorial day weekend, last weekend) my husband, Chris, had been talking about taking a little break. So, he booked tickets for us to head back to St Pete, put our feet in the sand, dip our toes in the sea and chill. I was very much looking forward to the trip, though Chris was rather sneaky about where we were staying. He managed to keep it a surprise from me right up until we pulled in to the car park, I wouldn't let myself believe it. I am indeed an extremely lucky girl. :) He had explained to everyone that this was our half anniversary, meaning we are half way to our two year wedding anniversary, gotta love him :p Again, everyone there was as lovely as can be and really looked after us! :)

For today's post, I wanted to share with you some of our favourite spots in St Pete, as well as a few more bits and bobs that The Don has to offer that I may not have touched on before! :)

Driving up to The Don Cesar in the evening, it's a beautiful view and really looks like it hits the sky. :) Along this stretch (Gulf Blvd) there are hotels a plenty, all with different beachy styles, Walgreens, Ihop, beach shops, liquor stores, everything for your convenience with the beach right opposite the road.  

Our first port of call is usually the pool. The Don has two pools separated by an outdoor bar area. They have plenty of lounge chairs and seating and it's always a mixture of fun, with kids running around having a blast, and relaxation as you zone out peacefully into your own little world. Chris loves being in the water, whereas you can usually find me like this...

They do the most scrumptious cocktails by the pool, which you must try!! My favourite is the Mango Tango one, delicious. :) The food by the pool is awesome too, our favourite thing to get is the BBQ Wings. The service is wonderful also, this time we got to talk to a lovely lady called Laura, who was beautiful and so happy and sweet to talk too, she made my day! :) They stop serving food in this area, I want to say around 5pm. The pool officially closes around 10pm but Chris and I do love to sit in the Jacuzzi late at night when it's all peaceful and calm and all you can hear is people having fun in the hotel bars and the waves across the beach! :)

One thing Chris and I love about The Don Cesar is the history behind it. Each time we go we try and learn a little more about the place. On this visit we purchased a copy of The Don Cesar Story and were fascinated with the work that went into making this hotel a reality. It went through so many ups and downs but that just makes what it stands for today all the more spectacular. Through this book, the man who thought up this amazing structure, Thomas J Rowe, truly sounds like an inspiring man, with an incredible sense of dreaming that anything is possible and stopping at nothing till your vision is achieved. I'm very interested to read on from what happened once the Loews hotels took over it and how they got it to be like it is today, though I'm not sure if they have a book for that yet. The steps above are a popular place for wedding ceremonies. I think every time Chris and I have been, we have witnessed a wedding take place here. It gives such a beautiful backdrop, though we opted for the beach, this Pink Castle is simply perfect for a fairytale wedding! :)

The Don Cesar houses many a restaurant/lounge. One I would love to try is the Maritana Grille, a seafood restaurant that is rated one of the top 10 in the USA. I love fish and the décor looks stunning. The Sea Porch would have to be my favourite currently, as this was where we had our rehearsal dinner and also where we had breakfast this past visit. The food here is incredible, to die for. I can't exactly remember what we ate at our rehearsal dinner but I know that I most likely ate every bite of it! Chris and I laugh when we reminisce, as I often hear stories about brides not eating much on their wedding day, due to fitting in their dresses comfortably, I however ate every bit of food available and it was my husband that didn't really have an appetite...naturally I ate what was left on his plate too! :p This delicious treat below is the Monkey bread they have a la carte for breakfast, I simply had to try it, as I had heard of the name before. It was absolutely scrumptious, sweet but actually not too sweet that it was overpowering, soft and melt in your mouth, cinnamony, syrupy goodness, that had a slight crunch to the outside. So, so good! If you are a big foodie like me, you will love what The Don Cesar has to offer. :)

As mentioned above, I love food and one of mine and Chris's must haves when we visit St Pete is Gigi's pizza. It's a little walk/drive from the Don, along Gulf Blvd and it's the cutest little Italian joint. I, of course, adore all things Italian and am therefore always in the mood for pizza when in search of food. If I remember correctly we first had Gigi's pizza the night all our family arrived in town for our wedding and they were hungry. Gigi's delivered and so pizza is what we were having before anyone got too hangry!!! :p Chris and I love to order it, have a nice evening drive down the Blvd and then head back to the hotel and enjoy it while just hanging out on our big cozy Don bed! :)

The view from our room!!!! :) Such and inspiring bright and beautiful view to wake up too! :) The Don Cesar has its own beach area. They have beds, chairs, umbrellas and there's always tons of activities to undertake and things going on, such as, beach yoga, volley ball, jet skits, corn hole, body boarding etc. They also have a Kids club for the young'uns.

Though on this visit we didn't venture far from The Don, we do love walking around in Pass a Grille. The area is so pretty and the beach simply breathtaking. There's plenty of food spots that we have yet to try but we do recommend a place called The Brass Monkey, it's a fun hang out spot and we always enjoy the food. Around it too, you can find ice cream parlors and unique little shops to nosy in. In the opposite direction from the Don, you will find slightly more hustle and bustle with shops, restaurants and the likes of Treasure Island. :) There is so much to do in St Pete and around the area, yet at the same time all you really need is the beach. My husband has indeed spoilt me rotten and The Don Cesar is ultimately my favourite spot there. You feel like you get to do so much but in a very relaxing way and I love that. :)
I hope you enjoyed this little insight into The Don Cesar hotel and the odd (foodie) spot in St Pete. (It's always about food, I can't help it. :p ) The place is fantastic and the people there even more so. I love when we bump into the staff that looked after us and organized everything on our wedding day, because they are lovely and so accommodating and kind. If you ever think of booking it for your wedding or event, speak to Heather Satterfield, she is amazing! :)
Happy weekend!
Have a great day! :)
Love Lucy. xx

Throwback Thursday...

In between reading a lot of kindle books lately about family, Island life, European vacations and lots and lots of delicious food, I have found myself day dreaming constantly about Italy.

Quote me something sweet!

This week we thought we would share with you some of our favourite quotes to live by. We hope they inspire you, motivate you and make you smile just as much as they make us smile! :)

This one make us smile big as it is exactly who we are as people. When we love something, we LOVE to find people who like it too and connect with them. An example would be how many mornings we wake up to pictures of Chuck, funny animals, Chris Evans or Chris Hemsworth from our little sister, and vice versa. If it makes us happy, we share it! :)

We recently watched the first Captain America movie again and the minute he said this line, we were just like YES!! Ever since we can remember we have always hated bullies. (Doesn't everyone?) We are firm believers in that no matter how rich, famous or 'important' you are, or whether you're a CEO, business owner, top of the totem pole, middle class, top class, popular kid, not with the in crowd, whoever you are, you have no right to make anyone feel belittled, sad, insecure, unloved, or disrespected,  AT ALL. It's never ok! Be nice, be kind, love!!!!
After spending nine years in a business where everyone's goal was to be on top and be in the spotlight, this quote really stood out for how we always felt during that time. We loved wrestling and, sure, we had the drive and passion to want to make it to the big time, but by no means whatsoever did we ever want to do that by stepping on other people. We wanted to do our best and keep making ourselves better and we wanted to be successful while staying true to ourselves and being good people. Some people may have seen that as weakness and act like that's never going to get you anywhere, but to this day, we still believe it's a better attitude to have than putting others down in order to succeed. Be you, work hard, be good, focus on you and do your best, you're light will shine through! :)
This one is simple and is something we think we get a lot from our family, especially the Italian side. Our goal in life is to spread happiness and positivity. Whether it be through baking, cooking, smiling at people, starting a conversation, saying hello to someone or looking after people. Whatever it may be we just want people to have enjoyed being in our company. We must admit that we are not happy 100% of the time and have our off days, (both our husbands know that :p) but the thing is why share our negativity? Why bring others down with our bad moods? As the world gets more technical and crazier over social media, we figure why not use it to promote love and happiness rather than hate and more sadness! We are human, like we mentioned, we definitely have off days and for those who think all the bouncy, happy, positivity can be annoying, it's who we really strive to be. Often when you smile even when you're down, it can help lift you up. So you never know who's day you will make if you share a smile. :)

This was a quote that came to us at the right time and was a little gentle reminder for us that things will be ok and to always look at the positive to a situation. You may know from this blog that we miss our family back home in England every second of every day, but we also are blessed with husbands and wonderful friends over here Stateside. Sometimes it can be extremely hard to balance and we feel awful that we struggle and get sad when we are so thankful for everything we have. In the moments of missing everyone like crazy, this quote makes us smile. We truly are grateful for all that moving to America gave to us and we know that even when we move back home we are going to miss the amazing people that became family here. :)

This one is for every single person who comes across this blog and for everyone in the world in general. We all go through our struggles and ups and downs, we all deal with insecurities and self doubt, we all have moments where we think someone has it all or we wish that we were as put together as someone else, but please whenever you get a moment where you feel down that a dream is too far fetched, a goal too far out of reach or by gum why won't your hair ever look as nice as the girls you see around you, do you have to live every day looking like a frazzled yoda, with whispy bits sticking up everywhere... :p you are you and you are so incredibly awesome and no one in this world can be you. Think about the people you have in your life, the journey you have been on so far, the stories and memories you have created, it's all you, no one has been through the things you have, or felt exactly the same as you have in certain moments, you are special and don't ever forget it!!!! :)

Lots of love
Lucy and Kelly xx

Be kind to yourself!

Do you ever have one of those days where you feel really sad and down on yourself? Where you somehow feel guilty for everything or mad at yourself for no real reason?

Well this is something I tend to do a lot.

At the beginning of the year I set myself a goal to 'work harder than I think I'm working' You see, I knew when I could be a little lazy or that there where times when I could have got stuff done but instead chose to read a book or simply distracted myself doing something else. And although reading a book shouldn't make you feel guilty and it's ok to do other things like tidy the apartment or do laundry, I did feel like I wasn't pushing myself enough to get certain projects completed or goals achieved. So at the start of the year I set about with this aforementioned phrase above, in mind.

"Work harder than I think I'm working." Now I have to say that since I geared myself up with this game plan, I most definitely feel like I am doing just that, yet somehow I still find that I can be quite mean to myself.  As I was walking back from work the other day, admittedly pretty beat and just exhausted, I started compiling lists in my head of what I hadn't done or what dreams I should have achieved by now. I was putting pressure on myself adding time frames to goals and getting down that they weren't happening quick enough, etc. Not only was I physically drained, I was making myself mentally drained and it didn't feel good. When I got home it felt like I was overwhelmed with all the things I had to do, instead of just getting on with them I simply wanted to curl up and put a movie on, and in a way give up for the night. Well, you know what?! After too many days feeling like that recently, on this day I decided to actually go ahead and put a movie on. I switched off from the world, my husband sat on the couch with me and I got lost in Captain America, The First Avenger. And Holy moly did I feel better. :p

I think sometimes its not only important to know when to push yourself and tell yourself to keep going, but it's equally important to tell yourself and allow yourself to have a break. I'm someone that will think about others all the time, which includes the dreaded, 'well I can't be tired, look at what they do.' And while yes at times that is great motivation, I don't believe we should live comparing ourselves to others, especially in that we all have different routines, we are all capable of different things. I think it can often be best to admire others but go about things your own way. Just for a small example, I'm an early to bed, early to rise kind of person, I can't help it, if it gets past 9:30 and I'm not in bed I tend to freak out a little bit when I have to be up at 5:30. I know people who stay up a lot later and still get up early, so I have had times where I feel silly and guilty, but I'm learning that I am me and I shouldn't apologize for that. I know how I function best and I know that when I'm about to face 5 babies for 9 hours, I need my sleep! :p Of course there are times when I've worked on 4 hours sleep, mainly for TNA British Boot camp, and did indeed survive, but 9:30 on a school night is how I like it and I shouldn't feel bad. :)

So the point of this here blog today is just a gentle reminder to...

At this point in my life I am:

*Working a full time job, 7-4, where I am responsible for 5 babies. I adore working with children, but as those of you who are parents or fellow teachers will know, juggling 5 babies routines all at once can sometimes be a challenge, however, the smiles and cuddles always make up for tears and off days. :) 
* I keep up with my little blog, aiming to write at least 3 posts a week.
* I work on a YouTube channel and film videos and spend time prepping and thinking of ideas for said videos.
* I'm a wife and do my best to take care of my husband and fulfill all my wifey duties.
* I cook, I clean, do laundry, grocery shop.
* I am 4000 miles away from my family but always make time for Skype calls or if my Mum rings. Family is the most important thing and even when I have stuff to do, they come first.

Now I'm not writing all these things for a pat on the back or praise, as I guarantee you all do many things on this list in some capacity. Some of you may add being a parent, having a second, third or fourth job, juggling school, looking after brothers and sisters, etc, to the list, but my reason for sharing it with you is that I'm taking a step back and taking time to be proud of myself, to be kind to myself, and say 'wow' I am working hard. I'm working harder than ever to make my dreams come true. I've been brave this year and started up projects that I have been thinking about forever too and that in itself I am proud of also. :) So it's ok every now and again to allow yourself to say "I'm tired", it's ok to want to switch off and watch a movie without feeling guilty that you're not sending emails or looking at your phone, it's ok to stop and breathe and just for a second smile at what you have in front of you and what you are accomplishing each day, without always obsessing over the 'bigger picture'.

Dreams, goals, aspirations are all important, fun, exciting and awesome in keeping us motivated, happy and aiming for more out of life. But living in the moment, taking in every second of every day, allowing yourself to feel what you feel without comparison, judgment of yourself or negativity towards yourself is even more important for a happy and healthy, joy filled life! :)

So put your feet up, look around you, breathe, relax and smile...

Have a blessed day!

Love Lucy. xx

The first Avenger!

So after swapping back and forth a few times between Thor and Captain America, I can now officially say that Captain America is my favourite Avenger. Originally it was a tough decision because I loved the Thor movies, especially when the second one had Zachary Levi in ( you know I had to mention him somewhere) but ultimately my heart belongs to Chris Evans...erm I mean Captain America.

Happy Mom's Day! :)

Happy Mommies day to all the wonderful Mom's out there! Wishing you the best day! :) Mother's day has already been and gone in jolly old England, though we are firm believers in celebrating our Mum every day and telling her we love her every single second of the day, but we couldn't feel more blessed and grateful that we now get to celebrate American (and other countries?) Mom's day too! You see, we hit the jackpot when we both got married and our Mom in laws are the absolute best.

Momma O!

This adorable bundle of cuteness was raised right. I simply love my Momma O for that and many reasons! :) She is my second Mom, no questions about it, I am so lucky that we just click together. She looks after me, looks out for me and whenever she is around I feel at home. We both love to scrapbook and one of my most favourite, treasured scrapbooks is the one she made Chris and I for our wedding. The time and effort it would have taken her to complete that book (it's HUGE) shows what she does for her children, she simply goes above and beyond!! :) Family is the most important thing to my Mom, which I adore about her. She is also, always full of life and chatting away, which yes, she gets points for being a talker like me, and I count my lucky stars for getting her as a Mom in law! :)

Love you to the moon and back Mom! :)
Momma S!

There is no doubt that I know exactly where my Husband gets his energy, love of wrestling and fun loving nature from!! My mother in law is wonderful and always makes me smile, she is so supportive of her children and has taught them to go for their dreams no matter what and that she will be their cheering them on all the way. I'm lucky we have lots in common too, we both love baking, so I love getting to spend time in the kitchen with her when we go to Virginia. She looks out for us all the time and is always sending us boxes of goodies...she knows how much fun I have stocking up the kitchen. I love that she has so much energy and that we can chat for hours, she is very similar to my Mum in that way which makes me happy. :)

I am so blessed and grateful that I joined such a wonderful family, there are no horror Mother In Law stories here!!
We are both so thankful that we have three awesome families that came together to make one big "Totally Awesome" unit! Furthermore, our families wouldn't be complete without our Meme and Grandma who are quite simply the sweetest people in the world! You are amazing in every way and we love you both to pieces! :)
Happy Mother's day!!!
Love Lucy and Kelly xx

I heart Disney! Looking back! :)

When thinking about what to write this week my mind kept going back to one place and one place only... Disney World. You see even though I am beyond happy to be back in Kentucky with Lucy and all of my friends, and though it definitely feels more homely here than it did in Florida, I do miss DisneyWorld so so much. I feel so happy, not to mention extremely lucky, that me and my husband got to be Walt Disney World pass holders for 8 months. Having that magical place as our backyard for all that time was the coolest thing ever. Going after work, in the morning, evening, all day, just for food, just for a walk round...sigh you get the picture, I just LOVED it!! I mean, who doesn't love Disney? The castle truly is a breathtaking site to behold and no matter how many times I saw it, it still gave me goose bumps and I would just pause and take it all in. 
If you have never been to any Disney park before, I hope that one day you will get to experience the magic too! :) 
With that being said, I thought I would share some of my favourite Disney memories with you...
Here I am in Epcot's Italian shop grinning from ear to ear after finding out they had all my favourite Italian treats. Funnily enough it took me a few trips to Epcot before I actually realized they had this shop, and boy was I happy when I eventually went in. I definitely stocked up on all my Baci here, it's definitely my favourite part of Epcot. I also got some cute Italian tea towels as well as trying other Italian chocolates while I had the chance.
This next picture is from a day out at Typhoon Lagoon, which we were fortunate enough to visit twice, on our own and once when Lucy and her husband came to visit. I loved walking round the water parks, it's just a different vibe and atmosphere. My favourite rides are when you can sit in a rubber ring or go as a group. I'm not a bit fan of slides as I hate the water spitting up in my face. Typhoon Lagoon has a HUGE wave pool and I mean HUGE! At first I wasn't keen as I felt like I was being dragged under water, which scared me, but once I got used to it, it was actually a lot of fun. Luc was exactly the same when she visited! I like that me and my husband are smiling in this picture, it was such a fun and sunny day! 
Tangled is my favourite Disney movie! One day we stayed for the new Festival of Fantasy parade and they had this made!! I was so excited!! :)

The first time we rode the carousel in Magic Kingdom was on Valentines day at close to midnight. Here's a quick fact about me, once I am home nine times out of ten I will immediately change into pajama bottoms or sweatpants, with the perfect evening being spent reading a book with a cup of tea or cuddled up on the couch watching a movie. I rarely like to make evening plans as I know I am not one to keep them. However, my husband wanted to do something nice for Valentines day and with our time nearly coming to an end in Florida, we actually planned fast passes and an evening in Magic Kingdom starting at 9pm, yes you read that right STARTING at 9pm!!! I pat myself on the back for following through with it! :p It turned out to be a wonderful evening, one that just made me happy and smiley. We rode the new Snow White ride at midnight and it was just so amazing. I also found the "Chip" from Beauty and The Beast mug that I had been looking for, for a while! :) Disney at midnight is a definite must do at least once, it's magic during the day but it's extra magical at night, especially if like me, you love twinkling lights! 

Christmas time, DisneyWorld, Cinderella Castle, Frozen music, Twinkly lights to look like icicles on the castle and Christmas decorations everywhere...enough said!! 

We were lucky enough to spend the six weeks leading up to Christmas back home in England, I was so happy to be going home for such a long period of time but I was just a teensy bit sad that I wouldn't get to experience all the Christmas things going on at Disney. Of course they have their decorations up quite early so I got to see some, but I didn't get to see it all in full swing. However, this day was our first day back at Disney after coming back from our Christmas travels and we were happy because they still had their giant Christmas tree up. As you can see it was also a rare quiet day at Magic Kingdom, so much so that we could clearly see the castle from one of the benches. On a normal day that area would have been packed. My husband and I just sat on the bench, in the sun, taking in our surroundings and thanking our lucky stars for all our amazing experiences. 
Disney definitely holds a special place in my heart and I look forward to the day we get to go back. Please share your smiles and memories with me in the comments, it can be a Disney moment or just a special memory that makes you smile thinking or looking at it! 

Until next time, keep smiling.

Life is sweet!! Episode 3!

So, on episode three of Life Is Sweet we wanted to talk to you about our favourite book series this year thus far, actually I think I may have read it towards the end of last year, but then Kelly has just finished it based on my recommendation! :) We have both mentioned it on numerous occasions, 'it' being "The Gingerbread Café" series, by the wonderful Rebecca Raisin.

Although I talked about this over on "Books are always in Style" I just have to tell you again. :p I came across the first book title "Christmas at the Gingerbread café", I want to say early last year and I felt like I was on a mission to find this book. I looked in every bookstore I went in, even asked my Mum to look in Tesco and everywhere back home, only to realize it was available on Kindle...welcome to my world! :p I must have missed that bit, all I read was the title and knew that I had to read the book! :p I was sad as I didn't own a Kindle and I was desperately drawn to this book. Then one fateful day I realized that I had a Kindle app on my phone and...I was on to a winner and doing a happy dance!

We hope you enjoy this episode, and our slightly different version of a book review. Due to the fact that we love to bake and being inspired by all of Lil's creations throughout this series, we knew we had to get in the kitchen and whip up something yummy in honor of talking about this book. :)

Here is the link to where you can watch it:

And here are a few sneak peeks as to what we made and how you can make them too! :)

This adorable little banner we actually didn't talk about in the video as we simply put it up for décor, but as we adore it, we thought we would tell you how to make one yourself on this here blog, as it is really very easy.

* The burlap bunting came from Target and was only $3. As soon as we saw it we thought Gingerbread! :)
* Then we simply used our Gingerbread punch that we purchased from Archivers a few Christmas's ago, to get our Gingerbread men.
* Then all you have to do is glue/hot glue the cute little men onto the banner wherever you'd like! Done! :)

We LOVE doing DIY's and making gifts for people. Last Christmas I bought a silicone candy Gingerbread mold from Michaels, and since reading this series, we have wanted to put together something we felt you would find at "The Gingerbread Café" for ever and it was perfect. We researched a few no bake fudge recipes and then played around with the flavours. For this recipe you can add Nutmeg but as we are not big fans, we didn't. We don't usually measure out our spices either, we just sprinkle until we are happy with the taste! :p

What you will need:
* 1, 12oz bag of white chocolate chips
* 3/4 cups of sweetened condensed milk.
* sprinkle of cinnamon
* sprinkle of ginger.

What to do:
* Pour the white chocolate and condensed milk into a microwave safe bowl and heat until melted together. (This took 1 min for us)
* Stir in the spices and pour in to mold.
* Leave in the fridge to set.
* Pop out and place in jars.

These jars came from the $1 bins at Target.
The baking buttons and twine came from Michaels.
The chalk stickers and pen came from Archivers.

We really hope you like these DIY's and recipe. Make sure to watch the video to find out our favourite books from the series and also we have an easy peasy little Gingerbread milkshake recipe for you too. :)

Have a blessed day!

Love Lucy and Kelly xx