UK 2023 TRIP TO CELEBRATE MY DAUGHTER’S UNIVERSITY GRADUATION & MY SON’S 30TH BIRTHDAY
Not only is 2023 my daughter’s graduation year but it is also her 21st birthday this year and our 10 day visit also coincided with my son’s 30th birthday. Gosh, typing the number 30 makes me feel like a dinosaur (ha ha). This year has a lot of milestones as hubby will turn a nifty 50 this year as well. I am a Spring chicken compared to him and won’t turn 50 until early next year (ha ha). 2023 is definitely a year of huge celebrations in our family. I am extremely lucky because Teanna’s graduation could have been on any day throughout July but it just so happened to be 2 days apart from my son’s milestone birthday so I was very fortunate to be able to visit family and friends and spend these awesome special days with my beloved children. Unfortunately our 10 day stay resulted in us missing some epic UK annual festivals: Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, Harbour Festival and St Paul’s Festival but it didn’t matter because we made our own Family Festival of FUN!
We had a tight schedule and 10 wonderful days to catch up with friends and family. Our flight was from Porto to Bristol and we decided to fly back from Luton airport to Porto as it is nearer to where hubby’s family are located. We ended up splitting our time between my hometown of Bristol where my Dad and children live as well as London and Essex where hubby’s mum and sibling’s reside. One of the most exciting visits was to meet our new baby nephew Rex in the capital city of London. Rex is now 1 and it’s our first ever cuddle so it was a special and precious moment for sure. I’ve always wanted to be an aunt and now my dream has come true.
The Geriatric Unicorn Princess
My Unicorn suitcase is down and dusted off and ready to Party in Bristol & London. Unfortunately I couldn’t borrow hubby’s grey case as he accompanied me on my travels this year as we managed to get a trusty house and pet sitter. I bought this case over a decade ago when unicorns were all the rage. I’m pretty sure it’s a child’s suitcase but I don’t care. It matches my childlike immature personality and crazy sense of adventure. The zip is broke but hopefully it will survive the crazy adventure, lets hope that I survive it too (ha ha). Be a studded diamond unicorn, unbreakable and unique! I missed my little oasis of a garden, prancing and dancing around and colour coordinating with my flowers (ha ha).
I have limited cash and savings as I don’t work anymore, I’m a lady of leisure and I LOVE it (ha ha). Due to my lack of funds I had to come up with unique and genius gift ideas to surprise both my children. For Teanna’s gift I decided to purchase her a pair of earrings because she loves her earrings and I asked the amazing talented Anita to paint me a rock with artwork of Milo (Teanna’s bunny) wearing a graduation cap and carrying a scroll. Hubby and I also had unrealistic grand plans to make her a graduation cake which actually did not actually happen as we are not bakers so we bought one in a shop, it’s the thought that counts (ha ha). I did ask Teanna what gift she would like but I told her not to say a car (ha ha). She actually could not think of anything and then said that she wouldn’t mind me paying for her tattoo. She really wants a tiny bunny tattoo and has sourced the artwork. I promised her we would get matching ones on our ankles so although I had no immediate plans of any more inking’s, a promise is a promise. I’m not sure when we will get them done but when we do I know I’m paying (ha ha).
Milo Graduated Too
Showcasing the Stone
I tried to take photos modelling the gorgeous stone but it was a tad windy on the day in question. I chose the wrong day to prance around the garden. I tried again after lunch, hence my outfit change but I think the wind was stronger as I nearly lost my wig (ha ha). I think bunny boy Milo showcased it better than the aging Brit!
30th Birthday Boy Gifts
Males are so much harder to buy for and I wanted something special for this milestone birthday. I decided upon a creative handmade artisan project of a bumblebee. We recently crocheted lots of tiny yellow and black bumble bees to yarn bomb our garden and I thought Josh would appreciate a larger Bee as we did not have the time to crochet 30. I decided to crochet Mr Birthday Bee in bright rainbow happy colours instead of yellow and black. Then I realised after a little research that the rainbow colours represent Pride LQBTQ+ and I stumbled across all the different coloured flags for different orientations. The Bisexual flag was created in 1998 by Michael Page and it features the colours pink, royal blue with an overlapping purple stripe in the centre. The pink is intended to represent attraction toward the same sex while the royal blue stands for attraction against the opposite sex. The purple band is meant to symbolise attraction to all genders. I’m not really sure what Josh thought of his Bi Bee but I LOVE him and it’s certainly one of a kind and a unique gift for sure. LOVE is LOVE so BEE HAPPY.
We also bought Josh a cute Japanese chopstick set with a lucky cat design from one of my favourite stores here: Gato Preto, aftershave from Duty Free and a shed load of Duty Free Portuguese wine for the Birthday BBQ/Picnic. We also had to re-gift him some Polish Vodka that hubby’s friend gave to him as we couldn’t carry more than 100 ml of liquid on the plane. I’m not gonna lie, at one point I did moderately consider taking multiple shots of this 40% Vodka at our family BBQ but I was so hung over from consuming the best part of 5 bottles of Portuguese wine to myself at Josh’s birthday bash that I decided it was a very bad idea, it was a wise owl decision moment (ha ha).
Beautiful Bi Bee
Someone’s been a busy bee! The rainbow Bee is finally finished and my other Bees are chilling on the branches of my fig tree so I get a lovely view whilst chilling in my hammock with my chickens.
My favourite bird Michonne awards my hanging Bees a 10/10!
Crazy Crochet Club
Come join my crazy crochet club!
Having FUN Creative crafting for a loved ones birthday because I don’t have a job or any spare cash for gifts. Little gestures bring big smiles.
Message to my Favourite Son on his 30th Birthday
Happy 30th Birthday to my first born: Joshua Arden Ling. I can’t honestly believe that you are 30 years old. Where did the years go? I remember heading off on my year backpacking adventure trip around the world in 1992 and I never anticipated that I would get pregnant in Australia and return to the UK and raise you all by myself as a young single teenage mum.
We may have struggled financially but I always worked hard, often 2 jobs to provide you with everything you needed and there was no shortage of LOVE. I never ever regret having you or how my life changed because it changed for the better. I swapped nights out for changing nappies at home and I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but it was the 2 of us against the world for nearly a decade and we were fierce and unstoppable. You made me the strong person that I am today. For that I thank you.
I couldn’t be more proud of you and the young man you have become. You are quirky, hilarious, kind and highly intelligent (you must get that from your dad). Don’t ever change because you are unique and a true star. I hope you have an awesome birthday and I am elated that I can spend the day with you in my hometown of Bristol. I will try my best not to poison you at our family BBQ picnic in the park. If it rains on our parade we will party and BBQ on the blissful balcony. Adrian can be on Chef duties and I will pour the Duty Free Portuguese wine. Cheers to my favourite son Josh (My only son).
We could not return to the UK without baring gifts. I purchased these 2 cute artisan crystal necklaces at our local market. I LOVE them and I hope my sister-in-laws share my love and joy.
Vila Nova de Gaia
Beautiful Vila Nova de Gaia. Whenever we venture to Porto airport we always spend a couple of hours strolling alongside the Douro river whilst admiring all the tourist boats and soaking up the atmosphere. There are plenty of awesome restaurants for lunch and incredible wine cellars to explore. We enjoyed a picnic next to the water, our last healthy meal before all the Cornish pasties and British fish & chips marathon commences (ha ha). The Douro river and bridge is just picture postcard perfect. There is a Pink Experience nearby and I am slowly working on hubby to take me one day. He doesn’t own any pink clothing but I have a feeling that I will eventually work my magic on him and persuade him to accompany me one day wearing head to toe attire in Hot SEXY Barbie pink, watch this space (ha ha).
Teanna’s Gorgeous Graduation
I still can’t believe my baby girl has graduated from NTU. I woke up bursting with pride, ever so much the proud Momma. The day of her Graduation certainly went too fast for my liking. It really was the absolute perfect exhilarating day and we were lucky as the rain held off. I also deserve a medal because I survived a 6 hour round trip car journey and a restaurant dinner with my “Wasband” Ex hubby Carlos although I much prefer the name “Wasband” (ha ha). Actually we get on great and he is a godsend with helping me with the Portuguese language barrier.
We left Bristol late morning and I shared a ride with Carlos and Teanna. It’s a real shame that each student is only allocated 2 tickets as her Stepdad would have loved to see her graduate and celebrate her special moment with her too. Her University did have the option of reserving extra tickets but this was not to sit in the main arena but to join other family members in a marquee and watch on a huge screen which in my eyes is not the same at all. We debated long and hard but in the end we decided that hubby may as well stay behind in Bristol and catch up with friends and family as the event was live streamed so he could watch on a TV screen from anywhere in the world. I am very lucky that although I divorced Teanna’s dad several years ago when she was a small child, he has always stepped up to the plate and has spent time with her every weekend without fail. We have a friendly amicable relationship which is awesome.
Teanna also has a special Stepdad and Stepdaughter bond, it’s magical to watch. He has raised her since she was 9 and was always the person that helped her with her homework when I couldn’t. I don’t consider myself stupid by any means but once she got to about Year 8 some of her homework (which they now call Homelearning) was way too hard for me and above my capabilities (ha ha). I think it is awesome that we all get on and have put any differences aside to give Teanna the best upbringing and enjoyable childhood. My biological dad left when I was a small child and I had zero contact for years. My mum was my Mum and Dad and an excellent role model but I missed a father figure until my wonderful Stepdad came into my life when I was 7. Mum didn’t mention my biological Dad much but when she did it was always negative. I don’t blame her one bit but living through this experience made me a bigger person and when I divorced my Ex-Hubby I decided to never talk bad about him in front of my daughter and to always show her that she has 2 parents who love her unconditionally. As my hero Judge Judy always says “Love your kids more than you hate each other”. Carlos has been a tremendous help to us since we related to Portugal especially with the language barrier and some Portuguese official agencies. I always say this but Blended Families ROCK!
My gorgeous daughter graduated BSc Psychology with an amazing 2:1. I honestly am the proudest Momma in the world! I cannot believe that my gorgeous baby girl Teanna is all grown up and graduated University this year, what an achievement! She is the first one in our immediate family to graduate as my sister nor I went to University and neither did our parents. I am so very proud of her and all she has accomplished in the past 3 years. She has blossomed into an amazing kind and wonderful young lady. The first 2 years+ of her University life was surviving through the dreaded Covid pandemic so there was no Freshers week or meet or greets to socialise and get to know folk. Being so isolated and living away from one’s hometown in a strange city must have been extremely challenging yet she persevered and smashed her goals and our expectations as parents. She also encountered a couple of Stalkers! Gosh there really are some weird ass people out there. Her final year was crazy manic and she worked so very hard on her final dissertation. Every time I would call her she would be in the library studying in peace. Her final research project on near death experiences was challenging but so rewarding and she met some amazing characters from around the world. All her hard effort has paid off, just not her student debt (ha ha). The funniest thing is that she did not open her results for 2 days as she thought she had failed.
In all honesty I never knew if Teanna would make it to university as she struggled with some academic subjects and even had extra tuition at primary school when she took her SATS. She smashed her GCSE’s and A Levels with the equivalent of grade A’s and B’s which is more than I could ever wish for. Just seeing her all dressed up in her Graduation cap and gown made me more than a little emotional. It was a good job that I was wearing waterproof mascara. The challenge was fitting that cap on top of her huge amazing afro, she certainly had to tame her mane (ha ha). I was slightly worried about how the official would pronounce her surname. The Monteiro bit of her triple-barreled surname is pronounced “Mon Tare Oh” but most folk say “Mon Tee Air Oh”. Then I thought to myself, well it can’t be any worse than the blunder that recently went viral when a graduation announcer accidentally read out Julie Jerkoff instead of Julie Kirkhoff (ha ha). The lady did pronounce it wrong in a very weird way and said ” Mon Teer O (like a teardrop). After the Graduation I obviously sniffed out a NTU cupcake and glass of prosecco then we went to dinner in Nottingham to celebrate. It was 2 for 1 cocktails, it’s always a Happy Hour somewhere in the world (ha ha). Teanna was driving us home so I had to take one for the team again and drink one of her cocktails, it’s a hard life but I somehow managed the task in hand (ha ha). Now the world is her oyster and a bright future awaits. Teanna can go live her life to the max starting with a 3 week trip to Portugal for some Mother and Daughter FUN in the SUN! I raise a glass or 6 to awesome daughters everywhere, if you have a daughter you have a friend for life!
My photos are not great but it was quite a rush to queue up and get tickets, gown hire, collect certificates etc. We managed to make it to the venue and get quite close to the front of the queue which meant we were in the very second row, the first row was reserved for stewards. We got an excellent view of the ceremony. There were some tacky signs to hold and many photo opportunities but we ran out of time. I did have to hold the “Proud Parent” sign although I didn’t need a sign because my wide ass smile portrayed just how elated and happy I was, forever the proud parent! I have no idea what Carlos is looking at in any of the photos I took of him, he looks quite miserable and mildly constipated which does not represent how he was on the day because like me, he was simply over the moon. Teanna got to keep her cap, which did not happen years ago when hubby graduated from Uni. I suppose it’s a health and safety/hygiene issue now. Teanna let me wear her cap which was beyond funny as it’s the only ever time I will experience wearing one and pretending to graduate from Uni because I’m Dumbo the elephant (ha ha). It’s been an emotional, exhausting but beautiful memorable day. Life is GREAT and I’m totally blest with the best family.
The Grand Moment
I just filmed the couple of minutes of Teanna accepting her Diploma. Here are a trio of screenshots from my video. I did try to buy the official photo but she had her bloody eyes closed! They only took 1 and I’m a bit pissed but it is funny (ha ha).
Carlos the Crap Photographer (Her Dad’s Photos)
These were the best 6 of his photos, good god what is wrong with the man! He took random behind shots without us knowing (ha ha). He also filmed the whole ceremony which lasted 30 minutes despite us telling him it was live screened and available to download. Thank goodness for professional photographers, worth every penny (ha ha).
My Frugal Graduation Outfit
As the mother of the graduate I felt huge pressure to find a suitable outfit which was not only pretty but fit for the occasion and age appropriate. I don’t have anything in my wardrobe as I gave away 99% of my clothing to charity shops when I relocated to Portugal. The only dresses I own are cheap and cheerful and not suitable. I also needed new shoes because I only own one pair of heels and one pair of wedge sandals. Portugal pavements and heels are not a match made in heaven. I didn’t want to spend a fortune on a one off outfit that I would never wear again so I decided to buy a pre-loved outfit from a charity shop in Bristol. I only had one day to shop before the big day but my theory was that if I couldn’t find anything I liked then I could visit Cabot Circus and hopefully buy something in a store like Zara. I was recently awarded £50 in compensation from my UK bank due to an error on their behalf so I decided that my total budget would be £50 and this would make it totally free which fills me with glee (ha ha). I didn’t mind if my dress didn’t see the daylight again as it was cheap but my aim was to buy a shoe with some form of a heel in a neural colour that I could wear again in the near future. Not that I wear heels much in Portugal as I’m usually in leisure gear for jogging/hiking, bikini and shorts when paddle boarding and dirty leggings and vest top when gardening or DIY.
I also wanted to purchase my outfit in the UK so Teanna could give her opinion and seal of approval as I have zero fashion sense (ha ha). My outfit had to be comfy and not crease to readily as it’s a 3 hour car journey each way. I also needed heels and not flats as Teanna’s dad is over 6 foot tall and Teanna is 5 foot 8 and I’m a short ass at 5 foot 4 so I don’t want to look like an idiot in any family photos. It actually transpired that Teanna was in London when I shopped so I had to make the tricky decision all by myself, I did try and send her photos of my outfit choices from the changing rooms but she didn’t reply so in the end I chose 2 charity shop dresses, one Yumi red and black leopard print wrap dress and a black sensible Coast dress both were under £5 each. I even sourced some awesome shoes for under £5 too. Everyone agreed that the red dress was nicer as the black was way too funeral looking (ha ha). I’m not totally in love with my dress but I’m a happy bunny as I managed to buy my dress and shoes for under £10. No one is going to be looking at me when the student stars of the show including my princess Teanna will be on the centre stage.
Here I am ready to rock my daughters graduation day in Nottingham. I tried my best to wear a sensible “Act my age” dress. I even bought a proud & pink flamingo cake for Teanna. I did have a plan to make my own cake in the design of the cap (mortarboard) complete with tassel from my tittie tassel collection (ha ha). I changed my mind as my baking skills suck. I will stick to dancing.
The Crazy Outfits
For the past year now I have been sending Teanna random photos of dodgy looking outfits and captioning them with the following “This is my graduation outfit”. I saw these 2 gems in the SCOPE charity shop and couldn’t resist sending them to Teanna (ha ha).
Personal Message to Teanna
To Our Darling Daughter Teanna.
My gorgeous graduation goddess Teanna. We are very proud parents today! You made our dreams come true and are the most beautiful, kind and caring daughter anyone could ever have. We know how hard you worked and now you reap your reward. Congratulations, my precious child!
May you continue to bloom like the lovely flower that you are and strike and strive for greater goals. Reach for the stars and live life to the MAX. We hope all of your dreams come true, you are a true warrior and deserve all the happiness in the world. We are so proud of you, our dear daughter. May your future be as bright and beautiful as you are.
My plan is still to marry you off to a Portuguese man so you can live here permanently so I get to see you daily and watch my grandkids grow up (ha ha).
Love you to the moon and back.
Mum & Dad.
Josh’s 30th Birthday Bash
It rained on our parade so our BBQ location of the park was swapped for a friends awesome apartment overlooking the waterfront. 3 people weren’t drinking so I took one for the team and basically consumed 5 bottles of duty free wine all to myself (ha ha). Why not, it’s not every day your only son turns the BIG 30. I am glad that we had a back up plan of an inside venue for Josh’s party as the typical British weather is very unpredictable and unfortunately reared it’s drizzle doom and gloom. Josh’s friend Nick lives in a massive luxury apartment overlooking the harbour in Hotwells so we held the event here. We did have a plan of having the BBQ on his covered balcony but fire regulations prevented this from happening. I did send hubby down to the gardens but it started to drizzle so we just cooked all the meat on the cooker. We were treated to a rare occurrence as hubby’s daughter Libby is a chef so she kindly prepared the food for us. She sliced and diced like a pro, Gordon Ramsey would have been pleased and not dropped the F bomb as it was total perfection. In all honesty the meat did not have the awesome yummy BBQ smoky flavour but I didn’t even notice as I consumed the best part of 5 bottles of Portuguese wine all to myself as a lot of the guests weren’t drinking alcohol for some crazy ass reason (ha ha). I then got roasted and lost all the card games but I blame my team mates. For dessert we enjoyed tasty birthday cake – Ginny the Guinea Pig because once I saw the cake in Asda designed as a Guinea Pig I could not resist! Libby is Vegan so we tried to buy a vegan cake but the choice was limited so we purchased her some vegan chocolate muffins which apparently were very tasty as I scoffed one on the slow drunken walk home but I have no recollection (ha ha). I got very drunk and I don’t remember much or how I got home but luckily I didn’t fall into the river Avon (ha ha). The next day was rough with a Helena Hangover from hell! I swear I am never ever drinking alcohol again (ha ha). It may have been a grey day but we brought the sunshine and laughter to Josh’s 30th birthday celebration.
My Crazy Kids
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! My children always try to prank me when I take too many photos of them. They try to pose like they hate each other with a passion, then they just end up bursting into laughter (ha ha).
Ginny verses Gretel
We did find another Guinea Pig cake named Gretel in the Free From aisle of Asda. It looked shit next to Ginny and I’m not sure who made it but I suspect a blind 5 year old child because it was really bad to the point I had to take a photo whilst trying not to piss my pants laughing.
Celebratory Family BBQ (Ashton Court)
The only day it rained throughout our whole 10 days was on Josh’s birthday so we decided to have a special family celebration BBQ with just the 4 of us and what a dramatic change in weather! Wow, what a difference a day makes. The sun came out to the point where I needed sunscreen, not quite Portuguese levels but hey ho, not bad for Bristol (ha ha). We enjoyed another BBQ with a meat feast and plenty of beer and wine. We spent the afternoon lazing around on the grass and Teanna opened her cards and graduation gifts. Josh had a poignant afternoon too as I gave him an old shoe box full of letters from his biological Dad who lives in Australia and he had fun reading some of the postcards and letters and finding out about his Maori heritage. I even found another Unicorn called “Bristol Kiss”. I enjoyed my final day in Bristol with hubby and my grown up babies, I don’t like to boast but life is pretty perfect! A final farewell to my amazing children before we head to Essex and London to meet up with hubby’s family. I’m exhausted but a happy Helena. Loving my chaotic beautiful and blessed life. I know I’m bias but my family are the best. In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony. Today I raise another glass to my very own harmonious daughter: Teanna Bonita Harmony Monteiro De Lima, the girl with the long name and big heart
The only negative was the fact that you now have to pay to park! I have no idea when this was introduced but it sucks big time. The UK drives me insane as they always try to rip us off wherever possible. It was only £3 but that is not the point. We should not have to pay to take a walk in nature. Also there wasn’t a bin in sight so we had to pack up our BBQ and rubbish and take it home with us which is totally crazy. I consumed so much food including a burger in a bap, sausage in a roll, marinated chicken breast, nachos with dip and salad. We didn’t have room for Teanna’s “Pink and Proud” Flamingo celebratory cake but we made her blow out the candles and sang Congratulations to her then we all took some home. At about 10 pm I decided to eat a huge slice of cake which pushed my IBS belly over the edge and I ended up shitting through the eye of a needle all night at my Dad’s house. I was in so much pain but I have no one to blame but myself (ha ha).
My beautiful birth town of Bristol.
Perfect Pizza & Precious Father & Daughter Time
I LOVE my city of Bristol, especially Bristol Harbour by night. Hubby’s daughter Libby caught the train up to Bristol with a friend and we had a lovely time with them at a Pizzeria and Four Quarters (Retro gaming bar) and we sampled a few drinks at typical British pubs. It was a delight to meet my Stepdaughter for the first time, she is truly stunning and lovely young lady and her friend was a beautiful soul too. We bought her a matching necklace, bracelet and earring set from Portugal and she opened her gift and immediately put the jewellery on which delighted hubby.
Unicornfest Trail (Bristol)
If you are from Bristol you will be aware of the awesome Gorillas and Gromits, well now there are magical Unicorns! A new sculpture trail arrived in Bristol which runs from July to September 2023 and is raising money for Leukemia Care. I was ecstatic to view a herd of mythical creatures designed by Bristol artists. This event will also form part of the 650th anniversary of Bristol – with a pair of unicorns on our city’s coat of arms, how fantastic!
I was hoping to see a few of these spectacular Unicorns whilst in Bristol but I didn’t expect to see a whopping 26 out of the 60 total. They are located all over Bristol and some are outside of the City such as WSM so I knew we wouldn’t see all 40 as we were on foot with no transport. Due to our busy schedule it meant that we only had one day to ourselves so we decided to embark on a walking tour of Bristol to see some of the amazing tourist attractions and unicorns. It was strange being a tourist in my birth town. The first unicorn we visited was located at a local garden centre just seconds from my dads house. We then walked up trendy North Street BS3 and through Bedminster with a stop at Windmill Hill City Farm where hubby found his favourite unicorn. I love this city farm as it brings fond memories of the past. My first little rented flat was in Windmill Hill and I used to frequent this farm a lot as a teenage single mum with baby Josh as it was local and free. I even had an allotment here 30 years ago and Josh loved the soft play rumpus room. I also completed a few courses here in computers. It is a lively community hub and the animals are cute. The cafe serves delicious food too.
We enjoyed a Soulmate Sunday strolling around Bristol alongside the Harbourside to see the SS Great Britain and The Matthew. I found a narrow boat with a crazy collection of yellow rubber ducks (ha ha). We then cut up past Clifton Village through the City Centre stopping at various points of interest like Bristol Cathedral and College Green. The day ended at Castle Park and we sat on the grass eating yummy Falafel which resulted in a traumatic al fresco medical emergency operation Helena!
We found a few more unicorns on different days by pure accident. They were located at Ashton Court, Bristol City football club ground stadium and Temple Meads train station had 2! As well as our 60 large unicorn statues, Bristol is blessed with over 40 smaller foals that have been decorated by schools, colleges, nurseries and community groups. I found one of the foals in the old M & S store. At the end of the project all the unicorns are auctioned off, now if only I could transport one back to Portugal. I can’t begin to imagine the € they would want in VAT and Custom charges. I could probably buy a mansion with a swimming pool for the amount they would request (ha ha).
My favorite Unicorn is: Time Travelling Odyssey 2187 by Artist: Alpha Wilson. This piece uses a captivating blend of vinyl wrap and spray paint art. Through this unique technique, Alpha recreates stunning James Webb Telescope images, seamlessly integrating them into the artwork. Embrace the cosmic wonders and urban beauty that unfold within this mesmerizing installation. I also really loved The Bristol Kiss by Artist: Emma Catherine. The Bristol Kiss represents love and kindness, encouraging warm embraces. Resplendent in gold, this unicorn reminds us that we must remember the importance of physical love and affection especially after times of disconnection like lockdown. Inspired by one of the most sensual and controversial pieces Of Art ever created, Gustav Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’ it welcomes lovers and cuddlers to celebrate and take selfies. Perhaps this golden symbol of eternal love might even inspire a proposal! Hubby loved Roarsome by Artist: Paula Bowles. A tiger striped unicorn! This unicorn has some roar-some tiger energy. I bloody well wish that I did as I’m surviving on caffeine, sugar, pizza and pure old lady enthusiasm (ha ha).
What a Falafel!
I bit the inside of my lip whilst enjoying my falafel. The blood blister got so huge I literally could not speak so I sent hubby to Boots for medical supplies. I know one should not perform such a procedure to burst the blister and release the blood as it risks infection but it was so painful and the pressure was making me feel quite nauseous so I just went for it. there was blood literally everywhere. I found a quiet spot in the bandstand but I had to pierce it at least 6 times, it was horrific. The pharmacist also sold me some special potion to numb the area and clean it, a liquid antiseptic and anesthetic which was far superior to my usual bonjela gel.
A few Dad selfies and a photo of my 2 most favourite men in the world, sorry Josh (ha ha). I also managed to meet up with my lovely Sister Amanda and her partner at a Bristol coffee shop but I totally forgot to take a photo, apologies. Just in case you are wondering, we look alike but I am the crazy one (ha ha).
My BFF Sue
Whenever I am in Bristol I always visit my best friend’s grave to lay a bunch of flowers and pay my respects. My BFF was taken way too soon from breast cancer. I miss Sue so much but the cemetery is such a serene and beautiful place to sit on one of the memory benches and reflect on life. I got rather emotional as there was a huge memorial of flowers for a recently departed baby girl. I know this may be morbid to share but can I just say how absolutely stunning the floral arrangements/tributes are. I had a tear in my eye. May you rest in heavenly peace baby girl.
It was so fabulous to meet up with my friend Ali. Due to ill health she has not left the house or gone out for a whopping 4 years! It was an amazing night in Bristol pubs. Yes I am hungover, sleep deprived and do not look my best but I made a semi effort in the 15 minutes that I had to get ready before the Uber collected us. I actually look rough as hell! (ha ha). We sampled blood orange cider for the very first time and I did not like it. I really wanted the cherry infusion cider but it was very popular and had run dry, not because of me (ha ha). I do not understand all the different flavours of cider. Surely cider is made from apples and that is enough fruit for anyone! I might not agree with it but when the choice is vast Helena is fascinated and easily lured into the BS so I just have to give it a try. Here I am ready for my drinking session outside of my childhood home followed by a few photos of friends reunited before everything got a tad too blurry (ha ha). When I got back home to Portugal, I dramatically shrunk this dress so now I’m lucky if it will fit on one of my legs. I might ask hubby to wear it to try and stretch it for me because at present I can just about get it on but I can’t open my legs to walk and I do like to open my legs on special occasions (ha ha).
A crazy drunken night out on the tiles and fun with friends. Basically I’m on a 10 day bender and I don’t usually drink (ha ha). It was probably not the best life choice to go drinking on a Sunday night before my daughters graduation.
Look who took an E Scooter all the way from Brislington to wave me goodbye at the train station! My princess Teanna.
The Only Way Is Essex
After spending 4 days in Bristol we headed to Maldon in Essex to stay with my MIL. She lives in a beautiful 4 bedroom bungalow with a pretty little garden which was a perfect spot for my morning physio. We enjoyed a gorgeous stroll along the Promenade and a pit stop at the quaint cafe. Although the skies were grey the rain held off. We also visited the Queen’s Head pub overlooking the harbour for a delightful dinner. This British pub is so scenic with the best view overlooking the water. I love the British signs and humour asking patrons to keep their tops on. I’m not sure hubby was about to expose his 6 pack on a breezy evening. His 6 pack is beer (ha ha). The sunset was sensational, it hit the boats and lit up the nighttime sky, simply magical. I loved watching all the birds perching in a line on the top of the sail, Mother Nature at its best. My favourite boat name I found: Star Oars, From a boat yard far, far away! They must be an avid Star Wars fan (ha ha). Here I had my second IBS attack as I enjoyed Scampi and Chips followed by Rum and Raisin Ice cream but the portion size was so huge that it triggered my IBS and I was in agony within a couple of hours and was exhausted by a night of toilet shenanigans. I was absolutely mortified to be ill at my MIL’s house but what can I say, SHIT HAPPENS! – Sometimes literally (ha ha).
Hubby visited his old school: Plume. What a blast from the past! We explored a fascinating place called The Maeldune Heritage Centre which is home to Maldon Embroidery. The staff shared an awesome fact about the bridge tapestry: British jumpsmith Eddie Kidd once leaped a spectacular 80 ft across the Maldon broken railway bridge! The stunt was for a film called Riding High (1981) – about, unsurprisingly, a motorcycle stuntman – and Kidd of course, was the star. He said he’d been asked to do this particular stunt towards the end of the film’s shoot because “they were worried”, and it was fraught with jeopardy; a previous rainfall meant his Yamaha had to wear a front mudguard, which affected the jump and landing. Unbelievably, Kidd was only 20 years old when he did this jump. He would later go on to be stuntman for Bonds Dalton and Brosnan, and famously doubled for Harrison Ford, too. My MIL’s house is decorated with many beautiful tapestries all embroidered by hand, such a talent to have, I now know which parent hubby inherited his creativity from. Some are made by my MIL and others are made from family members several years ago so they have a lot of sentimental meaning. My MIL is very fond of boats and is a keen sailor which is clear to see. Spending a couple of days at my MIL’s house was so wonderful as I lost my own mum 8 years ago. She is not only gorgeously attractive but kind, welcoming and the best ever host. A true heart of gold. Family forever. A sad farewell to my gorgeous MIL and marvellous Maldon, we had a blast. We always have a joke with Teanna and say she is an Essex girl as she was born in Basildon Hospital. I relocated to Essex for just over a year when I was pregnant with Teanna due to her dad’s employment as he got a new job in London. We returned to Bristol when Teanna was a few months old so all she knows is Bristol but Basildon is on her passport and will always be her birth town which we all find quite funny.
After a couple of days in Essex we ventured to London to stay at my Sister in law’s house. OMG she and her hubby live in an affluent suburb of London in a house that is worth well over 1 Million and it is simply stunning! They have just had a full re-model of the house and it represents something from Homes and gardens magazine. It’s truly amazing and we had the top floor with our own bathroom to ourselves. We were so happy to meet our baby nephew Rex for the first time and see hubby’s sister in her West end theatre production. She is a talented actress and her hubby is in IT and is a drummer too. His dad is the famous drummer from the 60’s Progressive Rock Band “King Crimson”. Hubby was fascinated and had a lot of fun looking at the bands old albums. The Theatre is located in the famous Covent Garden so hubby and I enjoyed an amazing evening exploring Covent Garden, Leicester Square and China Town. We visited some stunning restaurants and ate way too much food and consumed a lot of alcohol. I think we took the opportunity as we were travelling by public transport so neither one of us had to be designated driver/Sober Sally (ha ha).
There are so many pretty quaint British pubs, we enjoyed a visit to M & M World and one evening may have ended with a cheeky kebab as we were not dressed for a posh restaurant. I loved all the Tuk-tuks and street performers, I even got my photo taken with some awesome golden street artists and I got to wear their golden hat (ha ha). We returned to Covent Garden the following day and had a wander during the daytime before the theatre show which was so awesome. It was a Musical but plenty of comedy too and I honestly don’t know how my SIL manages to remember all the lines as it was such a fast paced production with so much energy, I LOVED it! BRAVO. We had so much family fun meeting our baby nephew Rex for the first time. London is vibrant, chaotic and crowded yet the leafy suburbs are quite charming. We enjoyed a lovely jog around a city park which had an awesome putting green (golf). It was a tough goodbye and I might just have shed a tear or two. We were forbidden to take photos of the show so I just caught the encore at the end. I also am not sharing family photos of the baby but he is so adorable, you will just have to take my word for it.