Week 11 – SURPRISE!

When I received an invite to attend a friend’s wedding in South Africa in Cape Town, I knew that I had to combine it with a trip to Johannesburg to see my family…. and when I looked at the dates and how they all fell, I saw that the weekend immediately before the wedding fell just a few days after my mom’s birthday and I’d be able to tie the 2 in together really easily.

And so I decided to do something that I had not yet done (and will never do again – the stress!)… I decided to surprise my mom for her birthday ❤

Of course I had to get some people involved to ensure that she would be where she needed to on the day that I needed her to be there and so I got my sister and her fiancée involved. That was about 8 months ago, and eventually the day arrived on 16 March where I eventually flew home and surprised my mom on 17 March 🙂

Leading up to all of this was a plan to get my bridesmaid dress to me (for my sister’s wedding). My mom wanted to post it to me but because my sister knew that I was going to be in SA in March, she made up some story about how someone from work was travelling, and we managed to stick to that story right until the very end. And to make it even more believable, the day before I flew home I sent my mom a message telling her that I planned on meeting this lady and picking my dress up the next day 😉

I brought in the help of my best friend to pick me up from the airport and then since I had a few hours to kill in the morning, I managed to sneak in a breakfast with my 2 besties before heading off to Sun City where the plan would all fall into place.

We (sister, fiancée and I) arrived in Sun City on Friday afternoon and unpacked our stuff from the car and then waited for the arrival of the parents. When we knew that they were close, I went into the bedroom and put on my bridesmaid dress and then waited until the family had said their usual hello’s to one another…. and then I opened the door, got the nod from my sister and walked out.

It took my stepfather a couple of seconds to put things in place, and while he was doing so, my mother turned around to face me and managed to stammer out the words “What are you doing here?!”

I held out my helium balloon and little gift and said “Happy birthday, mommy!” which of course led to tears on all sides of the family ❤

That was Friday afternoon. We then spent the whole of Saturday and then Sunday morning together, catching up, drinking beer, playing cards games, lying in the sun and just having a brilliant, quality bit of family time!

Some random photos that I took while on the mini-holiday with the family:

Weeks 27 and 28 – Western Mediterranean Cruising

Weeks 27 and 28 (7th and 14th July respectively) were fantastic weeks for me…. which was a pretty big feat after Week 26 was one of my best holidays ever!

Weeks 27 and 28 were a family holiday, cruising the Western Mediterranean onboard the fabulous MSC Fantasia!!!!!

Mom turned 60 this year so to celebrate in style we all booked this one week cruise – a whole week of chilling, sightseeing, family time ❤

I had been to a few of the places that the boat went to so they’re not necessarily new for my something new, but there were a bunch of other places that we stopped at that I’ve not been to – and a cruise with the family was definitely a FIRST!

I won’t bore you with a day by day account of what we got up to…. the important things to know are:

  • We spent a day in Barcelona before the cruise – lots and lots of walking, sightseeing, chilling
  • We paid an additional €26 per person, per day to upgrade our cruise package to the all-inclusive. This meant that all drinks – beers, cocktails, tea, coffee, waters – were included… and believe me, you reached the value of €26 per day very quickly!
  • Our cabins were all upgraded for reasons none of us can fathom, but we have no complaints! Instead of being in the standard ocean view cabin we booked and paid for (with just a little porthole to look outside), we all ended up being put into BALCONY CABINS! Score!
  • There was only one day that I did not get off the boat for an excursion – and it was a great day spent lying in the sun, napping in the sun, being completely chilled, drinking waaaaay too many BBC cocktails and just having a fab day
  • The stage shows on the boat at night were fantastic – my favourite one being the Michael Jackson tribute
  • Interesting fact: The port of Naples is owned by the family that owns MSC cruise ships 🙂

Below is a huge gallery of some of the photos from the entire trip… hope you enjoy 🙂

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