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Hubby’s Birthday Weekend

By 3 February 2015 Eating Out, Food, General, Life, Lifestyle
Hubby's birthday weekend -

Last weekend was hubby’s birthday. He turned 29, so he’s caught up with me for a while! He likes to joke that I’m a cougar, but I don’t think it counts if you’re only three months older! Since his birthday was on the Friday I took the day off work so we could spend the day together.

As it turns out we didn’t really do too much. I had my last counselling session in the morning and then we popped over to his parents so he could blow the candles out on his cakes. I thought it would be a bit weird if we did that at home, just the two of us!

The cupcakes I baked were amazing. I followed a recipe for Cosmopolitan Cupcakes from Peggy Porschen’s Boutique Baking book. They were orange flavour with boozy cranberries and copious amounts of Cointreau. Not the manliest birthday cakes ever, but they went down very well.

In the evening, we joined my sister and our friends for a birthday meal at a new burger place that has recently opened in Folkestone. Big Boys Fine Burger Company has taken over a building in the Old High Street and it’s a good job we booked because it was packed!

Le Garcon Francais

Le Garcon Francais

This was my choice of burger, Le Garçon Français. It was a 6 oz beef patty with bacon, huge chunks of brie, lettuce and wholegrain mustard in a brioche bun. C’etait delicieux! Sis opted for El Chico Mexicano, which had guacamole, tortillas and chipotle ketchup in, one of our friends had the BBFC Mother Clucker, a burger with fried chicken in it too, and the three boys each chose the signature Fat Boy. Beef patty, pulled pork, bacon, cheese, lettuce and tomato.  Epic.

El Chico Mexicano and The Fat Boy

For sides, hubby, sis and I shared ginormous onion rings, amazing smoked bacon beans and homemade coleslaw.

Big Boys sides

It was an awesome meal and I was so stuffed but determined to give one of their milkshakes a go. Having told everyone at work that I didn’t like milkshake (forgetting that I’d previously happily supped a KFC Crushem) I realised that actually I love milkshake! But only ones without fake flavours. This one was rather special. Behold, the Bakewell tart milkshake…



From this point I decided that all desserts should actually be liquidised. They’re so much easier to consume! We finished the night with a drink at Wetherspoon’s and were home in bed by 11 pm. It’s a crazy life we oldies lead!


On Saturday we drove over to Canterbury to visit The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge where they’ve just opened a new temporary exhibition about Enid Blyton. Celebrating her life and works, Mystery, Magic and Midnight Feasts is a wonderful gallery filled with transcripts, illustrations, diaries and even the author’s old typewriter.

I grew up with Enid Blyton, from watching and reading Noddy, to sharing the Famous Five’s adventures and wishing I went to boarding school so I could have midnight feasts and play lacrosse. The exhibition brought back lots of memories, and it was great to see that young children today are still enjoying her books. My only regret is that I’m too big to go down the slide and wear the dressing up outfits!

Unfortunately, there was no photography allowed inside the exhibition so I’ve borrowed the below picture from the Beaney’s Facebook page.

Thank you to Annabelle at Canterbury Museums and Galleries for inviting me along.

We’d booked a table at Pizza Express for lunch but had time to kill so found ourselves in Costa. I also did a little bit of shopping, purchasing a new lanyard for my work pass from Cath Kidston, and of course I had to pop into Lush and grab a unicorn horn bubble bar (because I’d seen them all over the internet and wanted one!) and some solid toothpaste tablet thingys because I thought they’d be handy for when I fly to France in the summer as I’m going hand luggage only. They’re rose flavour so that’ll be interesting!

Gold chocolate!

Gold chocolate!

Massive chai latte


Waiting for pizza

Waiting for pizza

The birthday boy!

The birthday boy!

Emilia pizza at Pizza Express

Emilia pizza at Pizza Express

Canterbury purchases

Canterbury purchases

Obligatory unicorn horn selfie!

Obligatory unicorn horn selfie!


A lazy day for me but hubby went to help his friend give his car a good scrub and polish up. They then both came back for dinner, which was just an easy all in one pan roast chicken pieces with vegetables.

We also watched the BluRay of The Equalizer that I bought hubby for his birthday, which was a pretty good film if a little gory in parts, before watching Top Gear. I made up for all the testosterone by watching Call the Midwife afterwards!

So that’s pretty much my weekend! Hubby had a good birthday now I need to decide what I want for my birthday (my 30th’s in October – eek!) and start dropping some not-so-subtle hints!

What would you want for your 30th birthday? Tell me in the comments below!

Rachel x

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Instagrammers I’m Loving Right Now

By 1 February 2015 General, Life, Lifestyle, Photography
Taking photos with an iPhone. Instagrammers I'm loving right now -

I’m quite a visual person, so naturally I do like Instagram. I’m always trying to find new people to follow so keep reading those ‘who to follow’ articles in the hope to stumbling across an Instagrammer I adore.

So to give a little back, and hopefully help you to find new Instagrammers to follow too, here’s whose photos I’m loving in my feed right now.

The Everygirl

For inspirational life photos follow The Everygirl

A photo posted by The Everygirl (@theeverygirl_) on

The Everygirl is an awesome website. My favourite is the home tour section, mostly because I’m nosy! This site is for young women and it’s full of inspiring career profiles, finance advice and the aforementioned home tours. If only my house looked anything like any of the featured women’s fabulous pads.


For the prettiest Instagram you’ve ever seen, have a gander at Becky’s. Her milkbubbletea blog is her life in white.

A photo posted by Becky ♡ (@milkbubbleteablog) on

I’m too messy to even consider taking photos around my house but her pictures are just so lovely. And her little sausage dog Oscar is adorable.


For Devonshire life and cute doggies, Michelleoutsidelondon doesn’t disappoint.

Expect country walks, cakes, cups of tea and plenty of cute spaniels!


For all the puppies it has to be furdeforce.

This is the dedicated Instagram account for Fleur and Mike de Force’s gorgeous pets; Piglet, Treacle, Squidge, Beaver and Growler. I personally could never see too many pictures of Piglet. I’d love a little sausage dog, I think they’re so cute!

A Beautiful Mess

For brightly coloured, home and food inspiration it has to be A Beautiful Mess.

Their website inspires me to want to make loads of cool shit for my house. Why have a house that looks the same as everyone else’s when you can make it your own?

Do you have any recommendations for awesome Instagrammers to follow? Please leave me links in the comments!

Rachel x

p.s. Follow me on Instagram too if you like!

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Home Office Inspiration

By 26 January 2015 Home Styling, Lifestyle
Girl typing on keyboard

As I type I’m stretched out on the sofa, under a blanket, kind of watching A Place in the Sun and kind of concentrating on what I’m doing. I can’t help but think I’ll be more productive if I had an office.

Up until June last year, my sister was living with us. She’s moved out but some of her furniture is still in our spare room. Add to that our camping equipment and the washing airer and our second bedroom is getting a little full. However, there is a desk in there and I reckon I can shift hubby’s DJ mixer thingy and laptop and reclaim the desk for my use.

It won’t be a full blown home office because the room is still going to be multi purpose. I’ll still have to share it with the clutter and the washing but at least I’ll be able to close the door, put some music on and knuckle down to some serious blogging. Hopefully it’ll be more productive than sitting on the sofa in front of the tv where it’s so easy to get distracted. Especially when hubby’s playing COD and keeps wanting to show me things. He doesn’t seem to understand that Xbox isn’t a spectator sport!

I’m hoping one day I’ll be able to have a desk in a proper guest room rather than a room filled with junk! But I’ve found that Wilko do screens that I believe could be the perfect antidote. Although they’re £75, so not the cheapest option. Maybe I should just tidy up.

Because I’ve been planning my home office for a while I’ve created this Pinterest board:

Follow Rachel Birchley’s board Home Office on Pinterest.

My spare room is painted pale blue with blue carpet. I reckon I’ll get a rug or something and put some pictures up. I really like the inspirational quote prints on TheEverygirl but they don’t ship to the UK.

Even if I successfully hide all the crap in the room, make my desk nice and put all the gorgeous pictures up I want, there’s still one problem. Superman curtains….

The spare room was supposed to get turned into hubby’s man cave. I don’t think he’d be very happy if I took them down. Oh well.

So if I’m going to set up my perfect workspace what do I need? What are your home office must haves? Please leave a comment below!

Rachel x

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2015 Travel Plans

By 13 January 2015 Life, Lifestyle, Travel
Travel plans 2015

This year, I’m actually going to travel abroad. My poor passport didn’t see any action in 2014. I’m sure it’s feeling a little neglected.


Yes I realise this isn’t abroad, but I’m going to include my weekend in this royal borough in my travel plans because I intend to make the most of it. I’m going to the Traverse 15 travel blogger conference. Yes, these meagre travel plans mean I’m not exactly a top travel blogger, but travel is my passion and I’m sure that what I’ll learn will be transferable.

I’m determined to travel more. In fact, I read a great article by Monica of The Travel Hack about saving money for travel and I intend to take on board her advice. This year, these few plans are all I can muster but I intend to get my finances in order during the year so that from next year on I can travel a whole lot more.


Pontivy panorama

My parents live in Brittany. You’d think that would mean regular trips over to see them but unfortunately, finances dictate otherwise. The last time we went over there was Christmas 2013.  I was determined to visit during the summer though as it’s been quite chilly during our last couple of trips.

I’m going alone to France in June. I’ve picked up a £50 flight from Ryanair and timed it over a weekend so that I can spend 6 days there but only take 4 days holiday.  I only get 20 days annual leave per year so every day is precious.


I’ve booked two weeks off in October to coincide with my birthday and I’m determined to spend it on a beach somewhere. Unfortunately I can’t afford the Caribbean or somewhere else exotic or tropical but we can hopefully stretch to ten nights on the Algarve.

I’ve seen some pretty amazing deals where we can get 10 nights self catering for about £500. I’m definitely going to be exploring lots of options. We’ll hopefully be spending lots of time out and about so the accommodation doesn’t matter too much, but I’d like decent self catering facilities as we won’t be able to afford to eat out every night, and a swimming pool is also a must. Somehow it doesn’t feel like a holiday unless there’s swimming involved!

If anyone has any recommendations for places to stay, things to do, etc on the Algarve please let me know!

I’ll probably buy a guide book. I’m trying to do my bit to keep the travel book publishers in business! 😉 Or perhaps I’m just old-school.

guidebook collection

So that’s about it for my 2015 travel plans.

Where are you off to this year? Let me know in the comments.

Rachel x

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Too Late for 30 Before 30?

By 6 January 2015 Life, Lifestyle
30 before 30

Yesterday at work, a colleague was talking about creating her 30 before 30 list. The first thing I thought was ‘I don’t have time for that!’

I turn 30 in nine months and six days.

Is it too late for me to start a 30 before 30?

The answer to that is yes if I wanted to include big and expensive things like go to New York, sky dive, or go on a cruise. However, it’s got me thinking about what I could achieve before reaching the big 3-0.

At the moment, money is a bit tight because we’re paying off our wedding. Once this is cleared, the plan is to pay the same we’re currently paying off our loan into a savings account so that we can get a house deposit. I seem to be planning my life for four years in the future. When we have a house we can get a dishwasher, we can have child, we can move away, etc, etc. I’m inadvertently wishing my life away.

Rather than focusing on these big life goals that I can’t do anything about right now, why not choose 30 small but achievable goals? So what could my 30 before 30 be?

Read 30 books? I could choose 30 must read titles. But even that’s probably unachievable because I’d need to read one book every nine days. Mmm… next?!

Last year, I stopped going to WeightWatchers. Again. Since stopping I’ve pretty much put back on every last pound I worked so hard to lose. Again. I’m planning on celebrating my birthday on the beach in Portugal. This means a swimsuit. Perhaps the best option for my 30 before 30 is to lose 30lbs before my birthday. It’ll be a good start towards a healthier, happier me.

Swimming in the sea in Turkey

This is me on my honeymoon in Turkey. It’d be nice not to feel so self-conscious in a swimming costume.

Why not start my thirties ready to embrace life with the knowledge, experience and love that I’ve gained during my twenties? But perhaps a little lighter.

If you had nine months to get in your 30 before 30, what would you choose to do?

Rachel x

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