Vegas Baby!!!!

We had a truly wonderful time in Vegas. Talk about getting spoilt thoroughly by my amazing husband… and some other very special folks! I am such a lucky girl!

(Just to let you know you can click on the photos below to see them larger!)

We drove up to North Carolina with Kate on Saturday. It is such a long drive and I was so glad that we hadn’t done that with Gwennie in tow. We already have the “Are we there yet? This taking for aaaaages!” after just 40 minutes. Kate, on the other hand, is a trooper and slept the whole way up albeit for a few potty breaks.

I couldn’t get over how tall Gwennie looked when we arrived. She came running out of the house and I was taken aback! I swear she grew a few inches in just a week. Ginny had made a lovely dinner for us… Mexican pizza followed by delicious cupcakes from a new bakery in town, Oh My Cupcake!

With my bright little spark!

“Look at Miss Kate up there!!!”

Then it was time for an earlyish night as Bill and I had to be up at the crack of dawn again to get to Asheville airport.

Picked up in a limo at Las Vegas airport!

We arrived safely in Las Vegas and grabbed a bite to eat and a drink whilst we waited on our suite to be ready. We then just chilled for a bit and settled into our room before heading out to watch Zumanity at New York New York. Our friends Lourdes and Gerald were due to join us in Sin City for a few days, so we met up with them before the show and had a drink. It was so good to see them!

Me, Gerald, and Lourdes

Me and my handsome man!

Zumanity didn’t disappoint. It truly is such an amazing and fun show! We had a blast. Then it was off for a special birthday treat… to Joel Robuchon for a “quiet romantic” dinner with my hubby. I had been dying to go there for years! I knew something was amiss when we arrived the hostess said, “Hallo Mr Porter. Party of 5?” I knew Lourdes and Gerald weren’t eating with us so was a tad confused! We took a seat and waited in the reception area and shortly I noticed BFF, James McKeown, popping into my vision, followed by his lovely girlfriend, Laura. Bill went out to get them and told them the game was up… I had spotted them… and who should walk in with them but my Dad also!!!! Such a lovely surprise! I was just so thrilled to see them all! We enjoyed an amazing meal thanks to my darling Bill. It really was out of this world. The restaurant itself was stunning and very intimate. Such a fabulous treat!

Bill, me, Dad, Laura, and James

My beautiful salmon

Dad completely overwhelmed by his dessert!

Me and my love!

Monday morning brought an hour or so by the pool with my Dad. Then we went to meet up with Laura and James at Cesar’s Palace. We had lunch at Beijing Noodle No. 9… very kindly treated by James’ friend, Bonnie, who is the hospitality manager at the hotel. We enjoyed a lovely feast of Singapore noodles and various chow meins.

Me, Bill, James and Laura

Ready for lunch!

Bill and I then took Dad to see the Bellagio and experience its beautiful conservatory and Chihuly glass sculptures.

Chihuly glass

Bellagio Conservatory

The hotel lobby

In the evening, we all met up (introduced Lourdes and Gerald to James and Laura) and hit the show called Le Reve at the Wynn. It really is another of my faves and is stunningly gorgeous.

The Wynn Lobby!

Gorgeous couple!

Ready for the show!

We all headed to Gordon Ramsey’s Steak in Paris for dinner afterwards. We had a semi-private room to ourselves that was fab. I had Gordon’s signature Beef Wellington, which was to-die-for! So tender! Much laughter and hilarity, of course!

Beautiful Lourdes got lucky and won $2.75!!!!

Tuesday brought rainy skies, so Dad and I hit the Planet Hollywood Miracle Mile of Shops whilst Bill did some work at the hotel.

We then met up with Laura and James for lunch at the Wynn, at one of my fave lunch hangouts, The Terrace Pointe Café. We had to then sadly say goodbye to them as they were flying home that evening to the UK.

James and Laura gave me a gorgeous Pandora bracelet for my birthday!

Dad, Bill, and I walked back through Cesar’s Palace Forum of Shops. We got Gwennie a couple of cute outfits from Gap Kids.

In the evening, we met up with Lourdes and Gerald at Nobu at the Hard Rock Café. We had the most wonderful meal. Gerald and our waiter did an outstanding job of picking out various plates and dishes a la Tapas style. The flavours and quality of food was completely out of this world. I think we all agreed it was out best meal of the trip. So much fun! We wished James and Laura could have experienced it with us too.

In the MGM Signature Lobby

Oh Gerald!!!! I’m going to name my rock after you!

We kept our rocks as a memento of a fab night!

Happy birthday!!!!

Wednesday brought my big 4.0.
Crazy… I might look it, but I still feel 28 on the inside! Well, okay, maybe 32! LOL!

Dad, Bill, and I headed off to the airport and took a Maverick helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon. It was a beautiful day and we had a lot of fun.

Enjoying one of the seven wonders!

Looking all official!

Ready to take off!

Back in 2003, when Bill and I first went to Vegas, we took a helicopter ride to the Canyon and I thought he was going to propose to me. He didn’t until a good year later… but we always joked about it. This time, he grabbed my hand once we were out of “the bird” and proposed to me once again, finishing with “This time I brought a ring!” He proceeded to give me the most gorgeous amethyst David Yurman ring. It is absolutely stunning! Talk about being a spoilt lady! Dad bought me lovely pair of amethyst earrings to go with it. I was so delighted!


My beautiful ring and earrings!

Thanks Dad!


I love it!!!!!

The Grand Canyon

We enjoyed a glass of champagne, took some photos, and all too soon it was time to fly back to the city.

Bill and I met up with Lourdes and Gerald for lunch by the pool at their hotel, the Mandarin Oriental. What a gorgeous place! We had a fabulous lunch and some wicked cocktails! Then we had to say goodbye to the dear O’Connors as they were flying back to Orlando that afternoon.

I then hit the pool with Dad for a bit before heading up to get ready for the evening.

I came back to our hotel room to find a bottle of champagne and dish of gorgeous chocolate-covered strawberries from my beautiful boss (and friend!) Karen! I was so touched! She is so thoughtful!

Thank you, Kawen!!!!

Bill and I went to see the show Absinthe at Cesar’s Palace. Wow! What a show! So different, funny, intimate, spectacular, and close-to-the-edge! Definitely an experience! We loved it! Not for the faint of heart, that is to be certain!

Afterwards we met up with Dad at Emeril’s in the MGM for dinner.
What a full and fabulous day!

Thank you for the beautiful dress, Lourdes and Gerald!

Thursday was our day to catch our breath a bit! We had a leisurely breakfast and then Dad and I cooked out by the pool for most of the day!

In the evening, we went over to the City Center and showed Dad Crystals and the Aria Hotel. We then met up with Bill’s friend and former employee, Brian and his sweet girlfriend, Monique, at the Todd English Pub. We had a wonderful meal (again!)… Dad and I were excited to share oysters and introduce Monique to them! We then had a walk through the Cosmopolitan and had a drink at the Chandelier Bar, which was a lot fun.

With Brian and Monique

Crazy Vegas nights!

The boys at Crystals

At the Cosmopolitan

Friday morning came all too soon and Bill & I were up at the crack of dawn to catch our flight back to Asheville.

What a truly amazing five days! I can’t thank Bill enough for all that he did to make it so very special for me… and so much gratitude to my Dad, James, Laura, Lourdes, and Gerald for joining us and making it that much more fantastic!

Happy girly!

As you can imagine, I am feeling a bit flat now!!!!!

It was wonderful to get back and see Gwennie and Kate again… and Ginny too, of course! We were so grateful to Ginny for looking after our girls for us!

Our little flower!

Great things that happened this week!

Firstly, The Bar Method Winter Park turned 1!!!!

Secondly, Karen taught her first Level 2 class at the studio. She was absolutely fantastic. She taught the class flawlessly, with confidence and finesse.
We enjoyed 4 sets of thigh and two sets of seat. It was challenging and fun… and felt such an accomplishment at the end of class.
We were so proud of our seasoned clients who joined and conquered the class!

Thirdly, the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony in London! Wow! What a truly fabulous spectacular.
I have to admit, I got pretty teary watching it all. I am so proud to be British.
The hubby and I LOVED the Queen’s “entrance”… and Mr. Bean was an absolute hoot!
I wish all the athletes the very best of luck and here’s to a happy and safe Olympic Games this 2012.

Fourthly, we are off on holiday!!! Sin City here we come!
Somebody’s turning 40! I wonder who???

Sarah & her war wounds and buddy, Jingle!

Baby Sash

Of movies and sushi!

Happy weekend!

Bill, Gwennie, & I went to see “Ice Age: Continental Drift” yesterday. It didn’t fail to disappoint.
Again, the reviews for it were a little mixed, but I think I look at these animated films now through different eyes… those of a 5 year old. I see the silly humour in everything and don’t take them too seriously.
The cast was a fabulous of array of stars… the old faithfuls of Ray Romano, Denis Leary, Queen Latifa, and John Leguizamo. This time they were joined by Peter Dinklage, Jennifer Lopez, and Nicki Minaj.
As always Scrat stole the show with his hilarious antics!
Gwennie’s favourite was JLo’s character, Shira, a beautiful sabre toothed tiger. I fell in love with Sid’s Granny, fabulously taken on by the wonderful Wanda Sykes.
Before the movie began, Maggie Simpson starred in a short called “The Longest Daycare”. It was absolutely brilliant! We all loved it!
The entire movie theatre enjoyed the entire entertainment and there were rounds of applause after both the Simpson short and the movie finale.

Afterwards we headed on over to a restaurant we haven’t tried before. Sushi Pop is located near UCF.
Bill had read good reviews about it and so we decided to give it a whirl. It is such an understated little place on the outside and we were so surprised when we walked in!
It is very spacious and modern and has a very cute ambience. There is Manga art on the walls and Gwennie was mesmerized by the TV screens playing Anime type movies.
Banzai trees are displayed all over the locale. The waiters and waitresses are all dressed up in cute little outfits. Lucy, our waitress, looked like a modern day flapper girl.
The food was tremendous. Bill and I both enjoyed the Pop Salads and then the Ceviche and Hot Mess rolls. The fish was super fresh, as were all the amazing flavours.
The chef put together a dish of tempura chicken with bok choy and rice for Gwennie, which she enjoyed.
Then we all shared two wonderful desserts… a coconut creme brulee and something completely decadent called PMS (think chocolate lava cake filled with chocolate and peanut butter… accompanied by sea salt caramel ice cream!!!! OMG!!!!). All washed down with a Japanese wheat beer (I don’t remember the name!) and a lovely glass of Sauvignon Blanc, which was deliciously apple-y and complimented the rolls perfectly.
Lucy was delightful and was super attentive, cute, and a hit with Gwennie… especially after awarding her with a bunch of chopsticks to take home, complete with a child’s chopstick “learner” tool!
We will definitely go there again.

Today we are getting ready to enjoy an afternoon with Grandpoo by the pool. Here are some photos of the crazy duo from last week!

Swim buddies!

Ready, steady….



Movie Reviews… “Brave” & “War Horse”

Bill & I took Gwennie to see “Brave” last weekend. I was excited to see it as I love Pixar movies and I wasn’t disappointed.
Both Bill & I were blown away with the stunning and realistic animation. I instantly liked Merida. She is quirky, cute, fun and strong-willed.
And who wouldn’t adore that head of massive red curly locks!
The cast were fabulous and it was so fun to hear all these famous voices (Billy Connolly, Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane).
I was a little surprised that so many critics found the movie bland and lacking in content. I didn’t find it to be that way at all.
However, I do think it is more of a “chick flick”. By the end of the film, Gwennie and I were snuggled up together with tears running down our cheeks.
To me, it is a story of a young woman and her mother… at the beginning of the story, they misunderstand each other and butt heads.
It is a story about them coming together, despite their very different personalities and outlooks, and appreciating what the other one is about.
We loved it!
It is a little scary in parts… so be aware if your little one balks a little at these more frightening parts in Disney movies.
We will be buying it when it comes out on DVD. Go Pixar! You did it again!

Last night Bill & I watched “War Horse“. Oh. my. goodness.
What a beautiful, heart-wrenching story. The movie begins in the stunning rolling green fields and hills of Dartmoor.
Again, the cast is phenomenal. As for Joey the horse and (later on) his friend Topthorn… well, those animals should have gotten Oscars.
I don’t think I stopped crying the entire movie. It started off with just the tears welling in the eyes, moving on to the silent tears rolling down the cheeks,
finally progressing to the ugly cry and ending with the full on “can’t hold back” sobbing. (If you have watched the movie, you will know which part I completely lost it at!)
Thank GOD it had a happy ending. I don’t think my heart could have taken it otherwise.
It is such a moving story… about a friendship between a young man and his horse and how, once separated, their lives run parallel…
both experiencing war and the loss of dear friends… until they finally find each other again.
What a wonderful film. I really want to see the stage show. I hear it is phenomenal also.
If you watch the movie, have your box of Kleenex close by. I defy you not to become completely enveloped by this sweet and tragic tale.