When I relocated to Newcastle, I wasn't sure how easy it would be to visit Clare as Bristol is 300 miles away on the opposite side of the country. Luckily, after a little bit of investigation, we realised that there are direct flights between Newcastle and Bristol, so last Thursday I found myself heading off to the airport with my weekend clothes squashed into a small bag.
Seeing Clare was very exciting, not only had I not seen her properly since moving to the North East but she'd also got engaged to her boyfriend Scott a few days earlier. There are some weddings that you spend many years looking forward to and Clare's is definitely one of them. It's so exciting that both my sister and best friend have got engaged in the same year and I'm on Bridesmaid duty for both.
I didn't take my camera away with me as I decided to document my weekend through my iPhone. A camera phone is a lifestyle bloggers best friend, taking photos so easily on your phone to document the "here and now" is sometimes far more practical than dragging your camera about.
The forecast for the weekend wasn't fantastic so we found ourselves having to plan indoor activities to dodge the rain showers. Friday was pretty dreary so we had a little drive to Puxton Park for lunch and a look round the farm shop. The shop sells food guaranteed to come from within a 20 mile radius. I'm pretty familiar with local produce in the North East so it was really interesting to see what Somerset has to offer.
I was a little gutted that I'd had to travel so light otherwise I'm sure I would have bought loads of jams, cheese and "Ooh Chocolata" which Clare assures me is beautiful.
We then stopped at Cadbury Garden Centre which somehow turned into a 3 hour trip. I love Garden Centres, you can get completely lost in them and it's the perfect rainy day activity with so much to look at. Clare has already started to think about the theme she'd like for her wedding so we had fun looking around for wedding inspiration and found some great things that are beautiful and cheap.
It baffles me how expensive weddings can be, especially small but essential details like table decorations, so we were happy we found so many great things. I'm not going to talk too much about Clare's wedding as I'm sure she wants her guests to be surprised on the day but lets just say we had a great weekend chatting about her ideas and it's all really exciting.
We had a little look round the Pets area and had a lovely time flirting with a parrot who was showing off by swinging round his cage on one leg and chattering away to us.
Of course no trip to a Garden Centre is complete without cake and I soon found myself with a nice big slab of chocolate cake sitting in front of me.
It amuses me that we're suddenly in our 30s and having a really enjoyable day looking round Farm Shops and Garden Centres ... when did we become our mothers?
We finished our Friday with an evening trip into Bristol to visit Turtle Bay, a Caribbean themed restaurant for a celebration dinner. It was really lively and I loved the décor although as it was happy hour, the restaurant was a little packed and noisy. I'm not sure I'd recommend going at a weekend if you want a nice peaceful evening meal.
The food was lovely, although not being a huge fan of spicy food I did have to select my meal quite carefully and even though I chose the mildest food on the menu I did still end up drinking a lot of water to cool my tongue down. I opted for the Pulled Pork Bun which was from the cheaper lunch menu but actually ended up being just as big as the main meal portions.
For dessert I had the spiced chocolate pot which came with refreshing coconut ice-cream.
As we were celebrating, I also treated myself to a Jamaican Mule cocktail which was made with the most delicious home made ginger beer.
The weather on Saturday wasn't any better so it was a great day to look round the shops. Clare told me that there was a Next Home and Garden Store at Cribbs Causeway so I was pretty excited to go and have a look round.
As I've mentioned before, now that Simon and I have started to think about buying our own house we've become a little obsessed with testing out sofas and we really like the furniture in Next. My eyes almost popped out when I saw how huge the store was, and I had no idea that Next also do kitchens! I was in my element and was soon playing round the displays like a big kid.
The garden section was huge, and made me dream of maybe one day owning our own home with a garden. At the moment we have no outside space at all so it would be amazing. The rain was still tipping down but Next had umbrellas at the ready so we could look around.
We finally saw some good weather on Sunday so we were eager to head out for a stroll round the Marina in Portishead. It is full of "dream homes", gorgeous flats sitting on the water side with beautifully decorated balconies bathed in sunshine.
Walking away from the harbour we had a little potter around the wetlands, chilling out in a bird hide for a spot of twitching before stopping at a pub for Sunday lunch.
Our weekend finished with a little trip to the traditional seaside town of Clevedon which I've visited a few times before and love. There was a brass band playing in the bandstand on the promenade and plenty of dog walkers out enjoying the sunshine. For any eagle eyed pop fans you might recognise the pier as it's been featured in One Direction's new video, "You and I".
Our adventure in Clevedon ended with a visit to Five The Beach where they do the most amazing homemade cakes. A huge slab of coconut cake was just what I needed before heading off to the airport to catch my flight back home to Newcastle.
I had such a wonderful weekend and now I've discovered I can get to Bristol so easily from Newcastle hopefully we won't be leaving it so long next time. I can't wait to return the invitation and show Clare and Scott my new home in the North East.