10 THINGS I’M MOST THANKFUL FOR

meandmybelleblog

10 THINGS I’M MOST THANKFUL FOR

Featured Image -- 125

My children Isabelle & Max 

The day I held each of my babies in my arms my love for them did, and still does overwhelm me. I am extremely blessed to have a beautiful, healthy girl & boy who amaze me every day. They are both kind, beautiful, sensitive thoughtful people with their own very individual personalities, beliefs and opinions and I admire how bright, funny & inquisitive they both are. They are growing up and IMG_0420becoming young adults now and my biggest wish in life is that I have helped guide them to become individual & forward thinking with all the skills they need for adulthood. They are my biggest & best achievement, they make me prouder & prouder every day, they are the most precious people imaginable & I love them more than I ever thought possible.

Tony

Tony & I met…

View original post 1,005 more words

Advertisements

10 THINGS I’M MOST THANKFUL FOR

10 THINGS I’M MOST THANKFUL FOR

Featured Image -- 125

My children Isabelle & Max 

The day I held each of my babies in my arms my love for them did, and still does overwhelm me. I am extremely blessed to have a beautiful, healthy girl & boy who amaze me every day. They are both kind, beautiful, sensitive thoughtful people with their own very individual personalities, beliefs and opinions and I admire how bright, funny & inquisitive they both are. They are growing up and IMG_0420becoming young adults now and my biggest wish in life is that I have helped guide them to become individual & forward thinking with all the skills they need for adulthood. They are my biggest & best achievement, they make me prouder & prouder every day, they are the most precious people imaginable & I love them more than I ever thought possible.

 

Tony

Tony & I met in Barbados whilst we were both working on a Caribbean cruise ship. We got engaged in New York & married in 2003. Marriage takes IMG_1650work and like any relationship we have had our ups & downs but he is my best friend, my husband, my rock & the father of my children. I love him more each day & just enjoy spending as much time with him as possible. He drives me mad, makes me laugh and I look forward to growing old and grey with him!

 

My parents & family 

I consider myself extremely lucky to have the most wonderful parents ever and an idyllic childhood with many many happy memories. My parents are always there for me IMG_9405no matter what & the thing I love most is that Tony & I spend a lot of time with them socially too as we all just enjoy each other’s company. They’re both very good, kind wonderful people and I love them with all my heart.

We don’t have a big family but we’re very close to my brother James, his wife Kate & 2 boys Jack & Ned. I just wish we lived a bit closer so we could see them more.

 

My home 

IMG_5344Whilst we still don’t consider this our forever home & will move probably within the next 5 years, we are slowly but surely getting our house as beautiful as possible. We work hard and a lot of hours so home needs to be a sanctuary filled with beautiful smells, candles, gorgeous prints, flowers and lots & lots of love!

 

How lucky I’ve been to travel the world 

Dancing was my big passion as a child but I also had a passion for travel & seeing new places & cultures. When I graduated from college I had the most amazing opportunities to travel the world on some of the most beautiful cruise liners & I’ve been extremely fortunate to travel extensively to so many amazing places, create the most wonderful memories along with meeting Tony. There’s still so much more I want to see but I’ve been to places some people can only dream of and got paid for doing it. Lucky girl! img_6009

 

Mine & my family’s health 

As long as my family are happy & healthy that’s all that really matters. My mum had a bit of a health scare last year and it really does make you appreciate just how important & precious your family are.

 

Good friends 

I’m lucky to still be very good friends with 3 amazing girls who I’ve been best friends with since birth. I’ve met and made lots of wonderful friends over the years through travelling who have all really enriched my life and I’ve now got friends all over the world. Ten years ago one of my very best friends passed away at the age of 30 which affected me very much, we had been friends since we were 10 and then ended up travelling the world on cruise ships together. His death was tragic and I still think of him every day. On moving back home I’ve met new friends through my job and the children who I’ve become very close to and consider them to be very close friends.

IMG_3903I have had a couple of toxic friends who caused upset and a lot of hurt a couple of years ago but removing them from my life has been liberating and like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. As I’ve got older I think I’m a good judge of character and can sift out the people who only want to befriend you for what you can do for them not for who you are. The biggest lesson you can learn is that it’s far more important to have a few really good, true friends that you trust than a huge group who you can’t. My mum, dad & Tony are my best friends in the world though. They are my rocks & I don’t know what I’d do without them.

 

My gorgeous Cavachon puppy Dora.

I’ve never really been a pet person but Tony & the kids have wanted a dog for a long long time. After a long time trying to be persuaded I finally gave in and agreed to it. What I didn’t expect was just how much I could love her & how much she’s enhanced our whole family’s life. She just our adorable Dora! Featured Image -- 987

 

My achievements in my job. 

My job has always been important to me as dancing turned from my passion as a hobby to my career and in the 15 years I worked as a professional dancer I was never out of work and enjoyed the wonderful experiences of dancing on Television, performing in front of Royalty on The Royal Variety Performance, pantomimes with big stars and travelling the world extensively on cruise ships. On returning home I then passed all my teaching qualifications & opened my own Theatre School. I have had a lot of success over the years with pupils winning regional and national championships & scholarships, one of my pupils being the 2016 Miss Dance of Great Britain winner, many pupils gaining places at prestigious Theatre Schools in London and pupils going on to work in the business professionally including The West End. All these things make me immensely proud but I am also just as proud of all the other hundreds of children I’ve taught over the years who loved dancing as a hobby and it enhanced their childhoods, many of who are still in touch and still come to see me.

 

Loving my life. 

They say if you have a family that loves you, a few good friends, food on the table and a roof over your head, you are one of the richest people on earth. Well I’ve got that and much much more and get to share it with the best family imaginable. I consider myself to be extremely fortunate & I love the life we have.

AN AMAZING WEEK IN THE BIG APPLE! – NEW YORK NEW YORK!!!

meandmybelleblog

AN AMAZING WEEK IN THE BIG APPLE! – NEW YORK NEW YORK!!!

IMG_0975

As a professional dancer, one of my contracts was 9 months on a ship that sailed in and out of New York 3 times a week & from the minute I arrived in the city I absolutely fell in love!!! 

Being there for so long, not only did I get to see & do all the many touristy things Manhattan has to offer but I also got to know the other side of New York from people who lived there such as the fabulous Jazz Clubs, Coffee Bars & Rooftop bars. 

It’s also the city Tony & I got engaged in so it holds a very special place in my heart. 

IMG_0976

The last time I was there was exactly a year to the day before the Twin Towers fell and Tony & I went to the top. It…

View original post 1,806 more words

AN AMAZING WEEK IN THE BIG APPLE! – NEW YORK NEW YORK!!!

AN AMAZING WEEK IN THE BIG APPLE! – NEW YORK NEW YORK!!!

IMG_0975

As a professional dancer, one of my contracts was 9 months on a ship that sailed in and out of New York 3 times a week & from the minute I arrived in the city I absolutely fell in love!!! 

Being there for so long, not only did I get to see & do all the many touristy things Manhattan has to offer but I also got to know the other side of New York from people who lived there such as the fabulous Jazz Clubs, Coffee Bars & Rooftop bars. 

It’s also the city Tony & I got engaged in so it holds a very special place in my heart. 

IMG_0976

The last time I was there was exactly a year to the day before the Twin Towers fell and Tony & I went to the top. It still shocks me to this day watching the footage of that tragic moment in history and going to the memorial is high on my priority list this trip. 

We all see New York in movies and TV shows all the time but until you’ve been you can’t describe the amazing atmosphere and how alive you feel when you’re there. Now Isabelle and Max are 14 & 11 and old enough to appreciate it, Tony and I are so excited to show them our favourite city in the world. 

I’m busy packing today and Isabelle have both had our nails, toes and brows done ready for an exciting week ahead. 

Day 1

Wow! What a day! After a good flight from London Gatwick to JFK we had a lovely drive through Queens into Manhattan to our hotel. The Hotel Edison is a very typical 1930’s hotel with its Art Deco design and I’m sure it was a very well to do Hotel in its hey day. It’s perfect for us as its two minutes away from Times Square and in walking distance of everything. It has a lovely lobby and the room is perfect for what we need. A hotel in New York is just for sleeping and showering in as there’s so much to see and do. It really does still have a 1930’s feel mad it immediately transports you back to Old New York. 

Once we’d settled into our room we got straight out and has a look at Times Square. It’s even busier than I remember from when I was here 18 years ago but I soon found my bearings. Isabelle and Max loved it immediately. We decided to walk to The Empire State Building and when we got there it was really quiet with no queue which is unheard of so we took advantage of it and bought tickets to go straight up. It’s a magnificent building and there’s so much fascinating history to see and read before you go up to the observation deck. Once we got to the viewing level Max really did feel like he was in New York. The view is astonishing and it was so quiet we got completely unobstructed views which I couldn’t get last time I went. 

Having travelled all over the world one of my traditions has been to visit the Hard Rock Cafe in every city so I’d pre booked us a table for our first night. It’s the usual burgers and chips but it was great food and amazing service plus the place is just huge. 

Isabelle and I had a cheeky look in the world famous Macey’s department store and both bought ourselves a DKNY handbag each. 

After being up for nearly 48 hours as none of us slept much on the plane we decided to have a reasonably early night as we were all exhausted and we want to make the most of every minute tomorrow. 

An amazing first day in my favourite city. The adventure has begun! 

Day 2

After a much needed good nights sleep we awoke early and went out for breakfast. I’d been recommended Juniors Bakery and diner, which was great. An all American, all New York diner with great (& huge) breakfasts with so much choice. 

One of my favourite things to do in any city when I first arrive is to go on an open top bus tour as its a great way of seeing the city and getting your bearings for where you want to visit. We had pre booked this before we arrived and got a great deal to give us 72 hours of being able to use the hop on hop off bus. This tour had two routes so in the morning we did the downtown tour starting in Times Square which took us everywhere including Greenwich Village, TriBeCa, China Town, Little Italy, Soho, Battery Park and a glance at the 9/11 Memorials which we’re going to visit properly tomorrow. We even drove past the port where I docked in New York on the Cruise ship I was on so it was fantastic seeing all that area again. 

IMG_0142

Then after a quick stop off for lunch we went on the Uptown tour taking us around Central Park, The Upper West Side, Harlem &The Upper East Side.

After our tour, which gave us all a fabulous look around this amazing city, we walked to The Rockerfeller Centre, saw Radio City Music Hall and then payed the stunning Grand Central Station a visit. Isabelle was desperate to re create some ‘Gossip Girl’ shots!!

 

A quick look a the New York Public Library where my beloved Carrie Bradshaw was stood up on her wedding day by Mr Big we then went back to our hotel to get ready for dinner. The weather has been stunning today although extremely hot at 91 degrees! 

We ate at Planet Hollywood! Not the classiest of places but fun for Max and the meal was great. 

Tony & Max went back to the hotel after our meal and left Isabelle and I to do a spot of shopping in Times Square, Isabelle was desperate to visit the amazing Times Square Sephora. 

A fantastic day was had by us all, I love New York just as much as I did before, if not more and I’m loving seeing my children fall in love with the city too. 

Day 3

Phew! What a day!

We got up early and went back to Juniors for breakfast then got straight on the open top IMG_0974bus to head downtown. 

We’d had some excellent advice that there was another Tkts booth downtown that opened earlier and was much less well known and therefore much quieter than the Times Square one. We only had to queue for 10 minutes and managed to get 4 extremely reduced tickets to see ‘Frozen’ for that night. 

We then headed straight for Brooklyn Bridge to get a look at this area of the city. 

Our next stop was at the docks to get on a boat to take us on a 2 hour trip to see the NYC skyline, Staten Island, Brooklyn and of course the fabulous Statue of Liberty. It was a great and very informative trip with stunning views, helped by the glorious weather. 

One of the places I was very keen to visit were the 9/11 memorials which we visited next. The new One World Trade is a beautiful building and it proves to the world that these tragic events won’t stop us and instead show how we can come back bigger and stronger in the face of such tragic adversity. The two memorials are simply stunning and I was extremely moved seeing everyone’s name around the memorials with a white rose placed on the name of anyone who’s birthday it is. A stunning and very appropriate memorial for these amazing people who lost their lives so tragically and their families to know they will never be forgotten. 

IMG_0512

After spending some time here we headed uptown a little way and went up onto the High Line. This is a new addition to Manhattan since I was here before and is an old disused rail track which has been developed into a big walkway instead of pulling it down. It has plants and greenery and is being developed with restaurants, bars and shops along the way. It’s a nice way of walking a few blocks without having to be on the busy streets and roads. 

We needed an early dinner with the show starting at 7.00pm so we went back to Hard Rock Cafe as it was on our way and had another great meal. 

A quick stop off at our hotel to get showered and changed and we were back out on Times Square and headed for the St James Theatre. 

IMG_0639

‘Frozen’ was simply stunning sprinkled with Disney Magic at its best. Amazing performances by the cast and a superb technical production with unbelievable lighting effects. Watching a show ‘On Broadway’! Another thing ticket off my kids bucket lists. 

Another wonderful day in this incredible city! 

 

Day 4

Today we headed Uptown after breakfast, hired 4 bikes and spent a blissful 3 hours cycling around the entire circumference of the beautiful Central Park. Last time I was here we took a horse & carriage ride but it only takes you a fraction of the way in so cycling around is the perfect way to see the park in its glorious entirety. Of course I had to get a few ‘Sex and the City’ shots of the Loeb boat house etc and the kids loved cycling and seeing this amazing place.

We then spent the next couple of hours walking down 5th Avenue with a visit to Tiffany & Co, the biggest Victoria Secret you’ve ever seen and looking at all the high end designer shops and of course The Plaza & Trump Tower! 

Back near Times Square we bought a few souvenirs before heading back to the hotel to shower and change for dinner. 

After dinner, for our last night in New York we took a night tour bus to experience the city at night which also went across the famous Brooklyn Bridge giving us superb views of the incredible skyline lit up at night. 

IMG_0855

Day 5

Our last day but luckily we didn’t fly until 11pm giving us another full day in NYC. We reluctantly packed our suitcases and left them at the hotel so we could head out and have one last day exploring. IMG_0977

Since I was in Manhattan 20 years ago, many fabulous rooftop bars have been opened to give locals and visitors stunning views of the city as they enjoyed drinks and meals. We’d been recommended 230 fifth Rooftop bar so booked in for lunch on yet another gloriously sunny (& very hot) day. 

After checking out of our hotel we walked down 5th and on to 34th St for another stop off at Macey’s. I must admit I did treat myself to another handbag, this time a gorgeous Michael Kors satchel bag. It had to be done!!!!!! 

We then made our way to 230 fifth Rooftop bar and what a fabulous choice for our last day. The views are sensational and directly across from The Empire State. Cocktails & lunch with these views of Manhattan and glorious sunshine, just perfect!!

Isabelle was loving the instagramable photo opportunities and we all had a delicious meal. 

We then made our way back to the hotel ready to be picked up for our journey home. 

New York you have been simply amazing!

20 years ago Tony & I got engaged in this fabulous city and its been wonderful to bring our children here in 2019 and experience it together.

New York you will always have my heart!! 

IMG_0973