TBB Vacation Edition Link Up, Our Week-end and BIG NEWS!

And so the week-end is coming to a close and I am still recovering from the Mexican Fiesta we hosted for my Dad on Saturday night! We decided to do this instead of the BBQ Sunday to get some real quality time.

I had spent all of Friday in a FIRE WARDEN training course in the 100+ heat. Of course, no air con, just one tiny fan. It was sooooo hot! Could not wait to get home and go straight into the garden - it took me two hours to get the BBQ going but it was worth it! We then went for a beautiful walk at anout 8:30pm - it was still so balmy and the light was beautiful - it was a gorgeous evening!

Apologies for the lack of makeup!! Saturday AM I got straight into my new Beachbody workout - it totally kicked my behind and there were 'some words said' but I felt ACE after I'd done it. It did take my face two hours though to change back to it's normal colour. I knew straight away that sticking at this I would get fit and toned in no time at all!

The rest of the day was spent shopping and cooking (in the exceptionally hot kitchen). I made guacamole from scratch for the first time. I was a bit baffled as to how it would come out and taste edible but it was actually delicious and I won't ever buy it in again after this! Summer goals of cooking more from scratch are progressing!

Ok it was kind of picked through  by the time I got to take this photo! I wish I'd taken images of everything else but I basically ushered everyone out of the kitchen so I could get in the zone and focus - I made the Tequila Chicken Tacos from scratch (so tender and not too hot), Beef Burritos and Beef Tacos with sour cream, salad, cheese etc. It was a hit and my parents (and us) loved it!

The star of the show were the margaritas I made. Again, I thought they'd be a disaster as I was trying to juggle making them while cooking - with only half a cocktail shaker (no lid only a glass). I used a recipe with only 100% agave tequila (should have been blanco but we could only find blue), Cointreau and fresh lime juice. They were STUNNING - really the best I've had probably ever, and I'm not one to sound my own trumpet. Some recipes cited sugar syrup but really it was much better without it!

How gorgeous was the packaging for the tequila? I used to have tons of cocktail accessories and glasses but got rid of them ages ago so I only had these claret glasses to hand, but really the size was perfect!

All in all it was an excellent night. Instead of using our crummy garden table we've had 12 years and never really cared for we dragged the full dining table outside!

The best part was the laughing until the sun set (about 23:30) - something we should do more often. As time went on we just layered up - first dresses, then sweaters, then jackets, then throws! We watched the birds then the bats flying around the garden and I played my country favourites Spotify playlist. Check out the colour of the night sky!

A margarita and a couple of rums later no-one wanted to move:

We just got more jovial:

I went to bed at about 1am, I can't even remember the last time I did this! After my parents went Andy and I watched Brothers Osborne and Chris Stapleton on You Tube. Andy is obsessed with 'Tennessee Whiskey' and as he was slightly tiddly bongo must have watched it on a loop 5 times. This morning he got up at 06:45 to work the dog (how?!) and I slept in until 8:30. Coffee in the garden was the order of the day.

Andy then went out to the supermarket and got me a pregnancy test as it was the first day of my missed period today. I was NOT expecting this result!!

This month was our second month of 'trying' and at my age I didn't think it would be this quick - I am over the moon! It is going to take a while for it to sink in! I had to be open about it immediately as a. I show REALLY quickly, b. I got very very sick last time and c. I am hopeless at holding these things in! I know that at my age I stand a higher chance of miscarrying but I figured even if I did, I would want to be open about this too, as I cannot imagine how difficult that would be. That being said I am very happy and excited! I think I am closer to three weeks pregnant. In a concerted effort to have as healthy a pregnancy as I can - I cleared out all my products with a high chemical content. I am also going to try and do without my hayfever meds (if I can), caffeine and obviously alcohol (which doesn't bother me at all). I also had a portion of household cleaning items I put in the garage and replaced today with non-toxic options:

Tomorrow I will book in to see my GP and take it from there! Usually in the UK they ask you at your first appointment if you want a hospital based system of checks and appointments or midwife at the doctor's surgery. I will go for midwife. They also ask you immediately where you want the baby to be born - my first choice will be a home birth but I know Andy disagrees with me on this ( I will win through). Basically I want to (if I can) keep it as non-medicalised as possible - fingers crossed I can achieve that, if not, I am not going to cut myself up about it. Exciting times ahead!!!

Moving on to this month's link up!

1. Will you go on a summer vacation this year?
Not this year! We do have a fabulous staycation bucket list to get through though!
2. Do nothing but relax or a pack it all in vacation?
We like to have a half - half day (even prior to Caspar) - where we'd spend half the day by the beach or pool, and then the other half, or the evening (dependent on how hot the country was) exploring the nearby sights and towns. Last time we went to Menorca it was still 40c when we were heading into the town at night! A really great beach, within walking distance is a must when on holiday for a week or more for us:
Varadero Beach
Even when we do explore the area we rarely have a list of sights to tick off. We don't go on tours or planned excursions. Rather we have a list of great bars, restaurants and shops we like to see! Or 'cultural experiences' to have!
Preggo in Menorca in 2006 - we love this place that much we have been 4 times!
3. What month do you like to vacation?
Ideally I'd love to go off season somewhere warm in either October or February - but there aren't many places in Europe warm enough at that time. We have done quite a few May holidays and had great weather - not always perfect but not baking hot - meaning you can actually get out and about and explore more.
There is always a risk holidaying in this country in May - here we were in Crabh Haven, Scotland in 2012 - it rained for most of the time:

We just cracked on and got out and about despite the rain and still had a great time. Having a cosy log cabin to come back to really helped. It has a sauna (we did the Swedish thing and went in there with cold beers):

And when the sun did come out for 2 hours in grand total, we made the most of it!

That was Ted, our rescue Cocker Spaniel - he was a beautiful soul. We didn't have him for long enough.
4. Cruise: YES or NO?
I'd possibly go on a Cunard, but I'd find some of the huge liners with Royal Caribbean etc outfacing. We like to disappear on holiday and tend to avoid scheduled entertainment. I think the only thing I'd really appreciate about a cruise would be getting to try lots of different destinations - I am sure we will try it one day if we get the right ship.
5. Favorite vacation tradition?
I am really wracking my brains to think if we have one! Usually just that my husband goes out first thing, does most of the shopping and most of the cooking! He loves that time out and about on his own, chatting to the locals.
6. Most memorable vacation? 
Our honeymoon in Malaysia. We spent three nights in the Mandarian Oriental in Kuala Lumpur, next to the Petronas towers, and then flew for the remaining 7 nights to the island of Langkawi to stay at The Andaman:

Sorry about the poor quality, these have been snapped from my photo album! We used to love just sitting in the beach cabana at night playing board games - we were so wild haha!

 The beach was pretty much empty and backed by rainforest - every so often you would see monitor lizards and wild boar running around, or flying squirrels. It was amazing! A memorable solo vacation was one I did on my own to see a friend who was building his own safari camp in the middle of Tanzania. I went in 2002 - met him in the middle of the bush after being dropped off on a bus after a 4 hour journey from Dar-es-Salaam:

7. Pack light or Pack it all?
In bygone years I would barely scrape through weight limits on aeroplanes, and I'd be almost crying trying to drag my case. The last holiday we took was 5 days to Granada and I just used a small backpack and could have got away with taking half of what I did. It was a truly liberating experience!!
8. Hotel, Condo or House? 
Short haul it has to be small, independent, historic boutique hotels. Longer holidays we like self catering in bungalow style accommodation attached to a hotel - so you get the hotel facilities but the independence too. Saying that I know some places where local shopping is not possible a hotel is the best option - like in Varadero - here is a snap of the room:
And the view to the beach:
9. Favorite thing(s) to eat on vacation? 
Fresh, local specialities we can pick up from local farmers markets - home grown vegetables, fresh local meat and fish.  So here in Menorca these old buildings had little independent butchers who were more than happy to provide recipe ideas!!
Even in the UK we will always find the best traditional pub we can and call it our home. This one is in the wonderful village of Bosham, West Sussex. My Dad had his own company and worked away for many years and basically lived here, just coming home some week-ends. I loved the fact in this village there weren't any street lights so you'd have to link arms and walk to the pub in the pitch black!
10. Warm or Cold Destinations.
I would LOVE to do a cold destination in winter - the closest we got was to Venice in 2006 in January when I was pregnant with Caspar. Because it was so cool we really got to cover some ground on foot in the city and explore the tiny streets and squares and find where the locals ate:
I think the only other cold place I've done (other than Poland in Autumn) was Berlin for NYE 2000 -
Linking up with TBB and Lindsay:


Andrea Nine said…
Over the moon excited for you!!!! xo
Hooray! That is so great. Did you tell Caspar already? Is he excited?
Aim2mom said…
Congrats again! Do you think you will change the focus of your blog or just do updates? I would read either way - just curious! Your Mexican feast looks amazing. I thought maybe your avocados were underripe but the finished product looks perfect. Have you tried dry toast with avocado mushed and salt and pepper? It’s delish and might be a good pregnancy food. Did you know you have a greater chance of twins? Lol! I’m not sure you want to hear that!
I would love to visit Menorca! You have traveled a bunch!
Britt Hensley said…
Girl!!! I’m shouting CONGRATS all the way from Tennessee! Prayers for a healthy pregnancy & baby. We were just talking about this the other night on Insta! Goodness...I’m so excited for you guys. I need the recipe for those chicken tacos in my life, and how sweet are those pictures from your dad’s fiesta!? Love it so much.
Yayyyyy!! Joanne, that's amazing!! I was reading ever so patiently but I was so eager to hear what the big news was! I hope everything goes perfectly. I'm so excited for you!
Europafox said…
Thank you Andrea!! And thank you for this month's blog link up - it was a really fun one!
Europafox said…
We told Caspar straight away - he is excited and wants a brother. I think he's going to be really supportive bless him!
Europafox said…
You were right Amy one of them was under-ripe and it was a bugger to mash but it got there! The food was great - I am definitely going to make more Mexican from scratch in the future. The home made GUAC goes brown in a day though doesn't it? Need to eat it quicker next time! I def need to do some on toast too like you suggested - with a poached egg topper! Def going to max out on the avocados as I know I am only supposed to have two oily fish portions a week now - bummer! Yes I definitely realise about the twins - lots of early forties women have twins (including quite a few I know) - my Mum keeps mentioning it all the time. Oh well, that would be quite nice! Going to the doctor's today. Will probably just do a feature once in a while say as part of Friday favourites or something, or a separate update every couple of weeks in case people don't want to read it. Hope you had a good week-end!
Europafox said…
THAAAAANKS Britt!! Save me those bows just in case it's a girl :) Shouting YAAAAAY! back across the Atlantic!
Europafox said…
Thanks Kristen! I really appreciate your best wishes - fingers crossed for a healthy pregnancy - I am aiming for a big FAT BABY hahah!
Kimberly F said…
Wow, congrats!! Such exciting news!
And it looks like you have been on some AMAZING vacations!
Congrats again! That is just so dang exciting! Keeping y'all in my prayers! Also, my favorite thing in life is Mexican food and guac..and margs! haha way to go! Hope y'all have a fabulous week! xo
I LOVE Mexican food and your fiesta looks so good!! I am so happy for you!! That is so exciting and you both seriously look like your already on cloud9. What great smiles! Sierra Beautifully Candid
Shannon said…
Wahoo!! So much love here Joanne!! First and foremost, congratulations!! SO thrilled for you all! I bet big brother to-be Caspar is over the moon! Praying for a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby! Love the party you had for your dad and the Mexican feast! Yum yum! Also am super impressed with your TBB answers. You are quite the traveler!
Europafox said…
Thank you for visiting Kimberly! It was fun to look back on some of these holidays for the post - you forget where you've been! And thank you for the congrats :))
Europafox said…
I am definitely LOVING the Mexican food - really want to get experimenting with that, there is no going back! Sadly having to leave the tequila behind :( Thank you for the prayers - I really appreciate that xx
Europafox said…
Thanks Sierra! Those photos were before the news - so the pregnancy just capped off an already very happy weekend:))) It was so nice to spend time with my parents away from the family business x Hope you had an excellent weekend too xx
YAYYYY! Congratulations again! So very happy for you and wishing you a healthy, smooth-sailing pregnancy ahead. :) PS - Your guac looks incredible. I refuse to buy it in the store after making my own! So easy and tasty!
Jane Mc said…
Congrats! I had my last child at 41 and it has been such a blessing! What an exciting time for you and your family!!
I am shouting off the roof tops for you. I am soooo happy that you are expecting. Yes! When I saw this on IG, I was over the moon for you guys. I can't wait to hear more about it!
Europafox said…
Thank you Jen! I really appreciate your best wishes. I am totally a home made guac convert now!
Europafox said…
Thanks Jane - it's always lovely to hear from someone else who's has a forties pregnancy. We are very excited xx
Europafox said…
Such a lovely message Danielle - thank you, I really appreciate it! Really looking forward to charting this on the blog - it will be great to look back on, and great to share everything with you guys xx
I saw your news on Instagram, and I am so happy for you! I can't wait to follow along! XOXO
Europafox said…
Yay!!! I can't wait to share it all - in FULL TECHNICOLOR!! I won't just be pretty highlights haha.
Europafox said…
I just realised I am spending so much time communicating with Americans I am even spelling American hahah!

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