Exploring: St Pete Beach, FL

Is exactly what the German and I had a couple of weeks ago before I headed back to the UK for a couple of weeks and it was bliss!

My aunty and uncle were flying out to Florida and staying in an apartment there so they suggested that we jumped in our car and drove down to stay with them for the weekend as they wouldn’t be able to make it to Atlanta this year. Do you really think we were going to say no? Erm…I don’t think so!

So, we did exactly that:

Road Trip!

Road Trip!

Early on Friday morning, we hopped in the car and started the 7 hour drive to St. Pete Beach on the gulf coast of Florida. Now, back in the day when we lived in the UK, driving 7 hours for a weekend away would have been deemed ridiculous but in America-land this is normal.

At just after 7am we were on the road, and, after a quick stop for some brunch, by 4pm we had arrived here:

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Beautiful, right? You can’t go wrong with white sand, clear water and blue skies! We are so lucky to have this, in American terms, on our doorstep. Spending a weekend in Florida is something I could only dream of a few years ago, I could only dream of flying to America on holiday, and now, here I am, having a weekend break in the Sunshine State. One very lucky lady indeed.

Back to the story, we jumped out of the carsaid a big fat excited hello to my aunty and uncle who we hadn’t seen since the wedding and literally within minutes we were changed and by the pool – you get pretty hot and sweaty in the German’s car and we were in serious need of a cool down! After a few hours chilling out and catching up, we went back to the apartment, got changed and went out for dinner where we stuffed ourselves with some amazing seafood (when at the beach!) before having a stroll to a local home-made ice cream parlour – just delicious!

The following morning we got up, had breakfast and drove to Fort Desoto in search of some dolphins and, after never seeing a dolphin in real life before, the German and I ticked something else off our bucket list and spotted some! Just amazing!

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The Dolphin Hunters / Spotted One! / Happy Dolphin Spotters

Sadly, we didn’t spot a manatee – hopefully next time!

The rest of the weekend was pretty much spent relaxing on the beach, perfect right? We spent Saturday on Fort Desoto beach and Sunday at St Pete Beach just across the road from the apartment. The German and I went for a walk along the beach and spotted some baby birds and turtle nests, we drank a couple of beers, caught some sunshine and had a few dips in the sea – amazing.

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Fort Desoto Beach / Beach Fun / St Pete Beach

Then there was the food. We were on the gulf coast where there is some amazing seafood so, obviously, that was just about all we ate, well, apart from the very tasty Italian we had in St Petersburg! We tucked into snapper, tuna, salmon and grouper and everything was just delicious!

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But sadly, Monday morning came around and we had to say our goodbyes once again (the part I hate the most about being an expat) and head back to the ATL. Sad, sad, sad times. Driving 7 hours for a weekend at the beach was definitely worth it though. We got to spend some time with my aunty and uncle, even if it is just for a couple of days, when you live so far away just a couple of days makes all the difference. Thanks for a great weekend Team Lodge! We had an amazing time!

Before I go though, I can’t forget to show you the stunning sunset we managed to catch a glimpse of in St Petersburg:

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And that is just one of the many reasons why I will be heading to Florida once again very soon!

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Life is Good. {May in Review}

Today marks the return to reality for myself and the German after the whirlwind month that was May. The German is back at work, I’m making friends with my desk again, I went for a run this morning (and nearly died after so long away from exercise) and weddings are well and truly behind us…sob, sob.

So, I thought I would link up with the lovely Belinda over at Found Love, Now What and give you a little review of the good (and god damn amazing!) things that happened in May, ranging from the little things that make us happy to huge, life changing events, I think you can guess what that one was!

May Review 1
Catching some last-minute sun by the pool for that all important wedding tan.

Some Braves baseball action. Baseball is now my favourite American sport.

Dinner with friends (including the famous queso!) before we left for our wedding.

Having all our friends and family descend on a little sleepy town in Germany.

Eating German stodge (or trying to avoid it for the wedding dress) with the German and his friends.

One word: Maiwoche!

May Review (2)
May’s life changing event full of love and laughter: getting married again!

Still the only picture we have so far...

Still the only picture we have so far…

The new addition to the Richter household: a much longed for hutch! Believe me, I have Pinterested the hell out of hutch pictures!

Fun with friends at Brew at the Zoo.

May Review 3

A cheese board on the beautiful wedding present Pa Cook (or Mr. Mike as we now like to call him) made us for the big day.

A mini-moon in Destin, the place we secretly said ‘I do’ a year ago!

May Review 4
And ending with my first ever American bachelorette party for this beautiful lady at Montaluce Winery in Dahlonega. So excited to see her marry her lovely man Carson this weekend!

May Review 5I think we can safely say May was an amazing month in the Richter household. We were surrounded by love from all angles, and, for the first time in a very long time, we were able to have all the people we love the most in one room to celebrate our love. Jeez, there is a whole lot of love in there! I wouldn’t change it for the world!

 

Happy One year in Atlanta!

Wow. It’s a year to the day since we stepped foot on American soil and started our new life in Atlanta and what a year it has been! This time last year I was sitting on the plane after saying a very tearful goodbye to Ma and Pa Cook and wondering what lay ahead (and more importantly if they’d actually let me into the country – remember the Big V?) and now I’m a married lady about to embark upon her second year as an expat! Wowzers!

Officially an expat with that stamp!

Officially an expat with that stamp!

I’m not going to lie, packing up our lives and starting a new one in a different country was blummin daunting (well, maybe not so much for the German – he’d done it before!) watching everything go into boxes, knowing the next time I saw it would be in America!! America!! I still can’t quite get my head around the fact that I live here! I really should work on that – I’m technically not a ‘new’ expat anymore! I haven’t ‘just’ moved here, I’m not ‘fresh off the plane’ anymore!

So what has the past 12 months been like? 3 words will cover that – THE BEST EVER!! Yep, it’s been a year of adventure, new experiences and adjustment, excitement, exploring and change and a lot of fun times along the way! So much has happened! There’s no way I’m going to fit it all into this post!

So, after weeks of trawling furniture shops we made a home that happily welcomed a lot of visitors, we made some amazing new friends – something that will only continue the longer we stay here, we survived the pollen attack and the big scary bugs, survived our first Hotlanta summer by the pool, we got engaged (definitely didn’t see that one coming!) and then went to the beach and got married within 3 weeks! (You can read more about that here!) If you’d have asked me this time last year if I would be married within 12 months (well actually it was 5!) I would have laughed in your face and the words ‘I won’t even be engaged’ would probably have come out of my mouth! The German definitely shocked me there!

And then there was the exploring! Being an expat means there’s a whole new world at your fingertips – a never-ending list of places to explore and, me being me, I obviously want to explore all of them!! In 12 months we scouted out some fab places in Georgia (Helen, Stone Mountain, Downtown Atlanta, Blue Ridge, Lake Lanier to name just a few!), immersed ourselves into American life (heading to a Braves game, a Hawks game, some Final Four Madness and Independence Day) and took a road trip to Florida (where we checked out Miami, Clearwater, the Florida Keys and the Everglades).

There’s the food, oh the beautiful food! We’ve definitely attempted to try every little bit on offer (our waistlines can vouch for that!) and done our bit to make sure these expats experience as much American food as possible! There’s the ribs, the burgers, the mac and cheese, the fried chicken, the biscuits and gravy, the sandwiches the size of a house, the tacos, the pizza, the queso, the list is endless!! We’ve been to so many new places in the last 12 months and we still haven’t made a dint in the amount of places we want to try! I’m already excited for the next 12 months of food  based goodness! I think I might have to increase my trips to the gym though!

We’ve had to make some adjustments though to make sure expat life runs smoothly! The first day I was left on my own I was faced with a tornado warning – something I’m definitely not used to at home! I took it all in my stride though, well technically I ignored it! probably not the best way to deal with it but hey it worked for me! Then there’s adjustments like making time at the weekend to FaceTime family back home because the time difference means we can’t do it during the week because of work (well I can, the Geman can’t!) that means before we go anywhere on a Sunday we call Ma and Pa Richter back in Germany. You also make more of a conscious effort to keep in touch with people back home – they’re you’re lifeline when you’re feeling a little low and the fact that it’s so easy to communicate with them now (FaceTime, Skype, iMessage, WhatsApp, e-mail, text message) makes you feel a lot closer to home. I really don’t think I would have settled in as quickly as I did if I didn’t have those tools at my fingertips!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all been plain sailing and a barrell of laughs everyday. We’re not on holiday, the German trots off to work everyday, I attempt to find work and write this beauty and, some days, just like everyone else, we have days when things aren’t all happy and jolly! Then there’s the lack of family and friends around you. Some days you’re fine, others you suddenly get a pang of homesickness and you just wish you could pop round to see your mum or your best friend and have a gossip over a cup of coffee. (You can read more about that here.) There’s the bits I’ve mentioned before about wedding dress shopping without my best friends and missing my best friends little girl growing up but that’s what you sign up to when moving to another country and you just have find ways to deal with it like sending a text or sorting a FaceTime call.

That said though we’ve literally lived the dream for the last 12 months and embracing expat life as much as possible – you have to when you’re given the opportunity! And the next 12 months are looking just as exciting – the Hotel Richter is re-opening!! Our first guests are already booked in with more already planning their visits throughout the year! We have a looooooong list of places we still want to explore (stay tuned on that one – I’m planning to write a bucket list VERY soon!) and of course, not forgetting the fact we’re getting married again!! Jeez, it’s gonna be another busy but bloody amazing year!!

Being an expat isn’t always fun.

So usually my posts are about all the exciting things about being an expat and the exploring we’ve been up to in our new country, all of which is amazing!! Yep we can immerse ourselves in the American culture and check out the 4th of July parade and things like Braves, Hawks and Falcons games. (The last one we haven’t done yet but it’s on the list!) Yep we can explore the delights of Georgia and head to places like Stone Mountain, the Georgia Aquarium, the mountains and Lake Lanier that we would never have seen if we’d have stayed in the UK. Yep we can explore further afield in this amazing country and jump on a plane to places like Chicago, Vegas and New York and be there in a couple of hours or we can drive down the road for a few hours (well about 8!) and we get to the beautiful beaches of Florida and chow down on some of the most amazing American food ever! And I can’t complain when most days the weather is like this:

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Just beautiful!

Now don’t get me wrong all of this is the best experience ever and for that I am so very grateful but sometimes it’s not all plain sailing!

First of all I’m 4,000 miles away from my family and friends and I miss them so much! Yeah we FaceTime as often as possible and it’s fab that we can see their faces and feel like we’re sitting at home and having a chat but it’s not the same as a big hug! Nothing beats a hug! And you can’t just pop round for a coffee or head out shopping together or go out for dinner and drinks – things I used to take for granted with them. It’s my mum’s birthday next weekend and the fact I can’t celebrate with her in person and take her out for dinner or something makes me sad. We’ll FaceTime instead but it’s just not the same.  It does mean though that the time when I am back at home is that little bit more special!

Then there’s my best friend in the whole wide world who just gave birth to her first baby. When I moved over here she was 5 months pregnant and the baby was due on my birthday. Luckily I already had a trip back to the UK planned as I was celebrating the big 3-0 and the beautiful Lily was born exactly on time – well half an hour before her due date so I got to spend some time with both the bump and the new baby. Now though I’m watching her grow up through pictures and Skype calls – all of which are amazing but again they’re not the same as a big hug! Like I said nothing beats a hug! I wish we could bob out for a coffee together, go shopping and have lots of baby cuddles. I can’t wait to get home at Christmas to see them both again – Lily is already so much bigger than when I last saw her!

Oh and not forgetting the wedding planning! Yep we’re planning a wedding in Germany whilst living in the United States with 3 bridesmaids in the UK, a best man in Germany and parents in both countries! Believe me it’s tough! We have to work out where to get suits for the men from bearing in mind they’re in 3 different countries! We have to work out how we’re going to get things to the wedding like a cake, the all important dress (that I’ve bought in the States when my mum was here but I didn’t have my Aunty and bridesmaids with me – something that made the experience a little sad because I always thought they’d be with me when I made that big decision) and our guests who, again, are travelling from 3 different countries. I have to find someone to do my hair and make up for the big day and I probably won’t be able to have a trial run – something a lot of brides take for granted. I need to go bridesmaid dress shopping with my bridesmaids but I’m in the US and they’re in the UK! Thankfully we’re getting a lot of help from our friends and family who are checking out things like cars and DJs for us, my bridesmaids keep sending pictures of potential dresses to look at when I’m back and my mum is making our cake! But we still have so much to pack into our trip back to Europe for Christmas and New Year!!

Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining at all and I don’t regret moving to the States but sometimes you just want your home comforts and especially your family and friends! They’ve been there for as long as I can remember and they always will be – I just definitely don’t get to see them as often as I’d like and I know that it’s technically my own fault and my choice but it’s still hard. Thankfully I have the German who keeps me smiling everyday and always manages to perk me up when I’m feeling a little down like the other day when he came home with a beautiful bunch of flowers for me!

Exploring: The Florida Keys, FL

That we didn’t actually eat whilst in the home of the good stuff the Florida Keys!! I know – we’re useless! So this was the next and final stop on our Florida road trip – sad times I know! We planned to stay for just the one night and then start the loooong journey back to Atlanta with a stop off on the way but that didn’t actually happen and this is why…

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Yep it was bloody lovely!! We rocked up at the hotel that we’d booked for one night – the Hilton in Key Largo and it was AMAZING!!! Yeah it was an old hotel but it literally had everything!! You didn’t need to leave it at all!! It had swimming pools, 2 beaches, a basketball court (Jannis was majorly impressed with that one!!) tennis courts, table tennis tables, a restaurant and everything else you could need on a holiday including one of those beach bars with a single barman like the one in the film Cocktail! At one point it felt like we were in a film, especially when one loud and slightly tipsy American bloke was getting the rest of the drinkers to chant the barman’s name!! Classic!! We were amazed and after literally 2 minutes in our rooms we were out exploring our new surroundings! Oh and we’d already wished we’d booked for 2 nights!

Off we trotted and discovered the swimming pools but decided to take a little stroll to the beach! We started out on the small beach simply because it was the first one we found, and had a little paddle in the clearest sea ever!!! You could literally see all the little fishes in the bottom and at one point some jellyfish – this actually scared myself and Melanie but we were brave enough to dodge them!! Then we took a stroll to explore the larger beach and it seemed this was where it was at!! We spotted the table tennis tables and the very competitive Jannis tried his luck against the German and Melanie but sadly wasn’t victorious! Here’s a pic of them in action…

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I went up against the German but failed miserably! For some reason he won’t just play nice and has to try to spin the ball and hit it in fancy ways! In the end I gave up and purposely lost!! He always has to be big and clever!! We also found a game that had 2 wooden boxes with a hole in and bean bags! The aim was to get the bag in the hole. We played couple against couple and the Cook-Richters (as we were then!!) were victorious on 2 occasions – much to Jannis’s disappointment! Sorry Jannis! It was purely a game of luck though and Jannis and Melanie were close to winning in just about every game!!

So after our afternoon of relaxing and making the most of our new surroundings we decided to see if we could stay for a second night but sadly this wasn’t to be – it was fully booked. Boooooooooo!!! But all was not lost – we found another place just down the road! Result!!! So the following morning we packed up our stuff (AGAIN!) and drove a whole 5 minutes down the road to our new apartment!! Then we decided to explore more of the keys and headed down Overseas Highway towards Key West. And we saw some amazing sights along the way! The sea was so blue and so many different colours, it was so pretty!! Some parts of the road were literally over the sea (hence the name of the road!!) and had no land at either side a little bit like this…

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I think it has to be the prettiest drive I have ever been on! You NEED to drive down this road if you’re ever in the area – it’s not to be missed!! Check out this beaut – one of the many pics I tried to take whilst driving along – therefore you need to excuse any car parts that may have made it into the picture – it’s not the easiest way to take a pic!

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We drove for about an hour and a half past a place called Marathon and made it to the Bahia Honda national park. Now this place was supposed to be picturesque so we thought we’d check it out and we definitely weren’t disappointed!! It was beautiful! Pure white sand, clear water and spectacular views!! Here’s just one of them…

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

We had a wander around and took some more pictures before spotting this beast…

WOWZERS!!

WOWZERS!!

He was the biggest lizard I have ever seen!! And despite my fear of all animals I somehow plucked up the courage to get kind of close and take some pics! I don’t know what came over me!!! I just couldn’t believe how big he was!!! He soon wandered off into the distance though – the German missed him completely! I think he was taking pictures somewhere!!

After chilling out in the water for a while we decided to head back to the apartment but not before stopping off at Taco Bell to give Jannis his first taste of the fast food delight!! I wouldn’t say it’s the best fast food in the world  but I would go again!! It wouldn’t be my first choice though! Ha! Later that night we ventured out to find some food and went to a place called Tasters. I think this could have been the BEST food of the holiday!! It was amazing!! You seriously need to check this place out! (Once again food is one of the main elements in a blog post – I really am obsessed with it!!!) So we decided to eat outside and brave the bugs – the only people to do it! We literally had a private dining area with flame lanterns and everything! I tucked into some shrimp and grits (stereotypical southern food!) and it was beautiful…

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The BEST shrimp and grits I’ve ever tasted! And I topped it off with some bread pudding – now this wasn’t just any bread pudding like you’d have over here, it had chocolate swirled in it and tasted amazing!!!! You NEED to try it! We did ask to try some key lime pie (seen as though we were in the keys!) but it wasn’t actually on the menu and when we asked our server where the best one was served she said Publix – the local supermarket!! It would appear you don’t have to go to the Florida Keys to have a taste of the best key lime pie!!

Sadly our Florida road trip was coming to an end…boooooo! And the following morning we loaded up the car and set off on the loooong journey back to Atlanta. We planned to stop off on the way but myself and the German took it in turns behind the wheel and we made it home 12 hours after we started. Our first ever American road trip was over but we’d had an amazing time and it ended with that lovely feeling of sleeping in your own bed!! You can’t beat it!!!

So what will I tell you about next now the trip has ended…well my new status as a wife means I had another trip to the US Embassy this week! Want to know what happened this time? You’ll have to wait til my next post for that one…after I’ve caught up with some of my amazing friends on a hen weekend in Leeds! I see carnage on the horizon but hopefully I’ll survive and be able to string some sentences together to fill you in on my latest Embassy adventure!!

Wedding Number 1

Right now I’m back in England and I’m supposed to be telling you about the next stop on our Florida road trip Miami but a LOT has happened since then (hence the lack of blog posts!!) and I need to tell you that first! Brace yourselves…it’s along the lines of the big, huge, mahoosive news so it might just shock you! We’ve already shocked others with it!! Get ready…here it comes!!

So as you know the German shocked me with his marriage proposal and of course I said yes! We then started talking about when we’d get married and decided it would be a year or two. We told our families and they were all happy with the news and the thought of a wedding in a year or so! But then the German and I had other ideas…

Nearly 2 weeks ago we jumped in the car and went back to Florida for the weekend, Destin to be precise where there’s white sand, blue sky and lots of sunshine!! We planned to stay for a long weekend, getting there on Thursday and heading back to Atlanta on the Monday. And here’s the bit that will shock you…we also decided to do this…

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Yep we only went and got married…tied the knot…got hitched whatever you want to call it!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! I am officially a wife with a husband and called Mrs Richter!! Does make me feel a little old but I LOVE it!!! Now I suppose you’re wondering why/how it all happened? Well here goes…

So after the proposal the German turned to me and said why don’t we make the most of the place we’re in at the moment – bearing in mind we were heading back to Europe in a month or so – and get married…on a beach…with white sand and blue sky? I thought about it for a moment and of course I said yes! And with a time frame of a month the planning immediately begun!

But we had a problem, our friends were visiting and we were heading on that road trip to Florida! Now the fact our friends were visiting and we were going on said road trip to Florida wasn’t actually the problem – that was fab! The problem was that we needed to get a wedding sorted and fast! We were leaving to Europe in less than a month! Oh and here’s something I forgot to tell you – nobody knew we were planning this!! Well apart from my best friend, Toby’s best friend and Toby’s boss Rob who somehow managed to keep the secret – a mahoosive achievement for him!!

So whilst on the road trip Toby and I were secret squirrels and managed to decide a date and book the wedding! Result!! But we still needed rings, a dress, a shirt for Toby, a hotel and a photographer so once we got back and our friends left we set straight to work!! We had just over a week but Toby found a hotel and a photographer, I finally got an engagement ring a week before the actual wedding along with wedding rings for both of us and within one shopping trip thanks to my fab friend in Atlanta I had a dress and some jewellery ready for the big day! Oh I also got a shirt for Toby too…don’t worry he wasn’t going to be half-naked on his big day!! We were ready to head off and get married…in secret…with nobody knowing!! Sly dogs I know!

So off we trotted and we visited a new state on the way…

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Yep we drove through Sweet Home Alabama (I know you’re all singing that song now, I know I am!!) and after 6 hours on the road we made it to the courthouse in Okaloosa County in Florida where we needed to get a marriage licence before we were allowed to get married the following day! So into the courthouse we went and filled in the necessary forms before trotting out with the legal documents to make us Mr and Mrs Richter! This thing was getting real!!! (Oh and while we were in there a couple got married at the window next to us in literally 2 minutes…I kid you not! They were just in normal clothes and I think they even went in there without the intention of getting married! Talk about doing something off the cuff!!) Anyway back to the story!

So then we headed to Destin, checked into the hotel and checked out where we were going to get married…it looked a little bit like this…well it did look like this, this is the spot we actually got married!!!

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Beautiful isn’t it? I decided it was the perfect spot to say I do! We woke up that morning, looked at each other and said…’We’re getting married today!!!!’ The wedding day had arrived but it wasn’t your typical wedding day! For a start we were with each other – that’s obviously not the norm! We went out for breakfast like normal people on holiday, went to the supermarket for emergency snacks for the German (he’s like a child and gets miserable when he’s hungry!) and I had my nails done – that bit is typical of a wedding day at least!

Then at about 4pm we started to get ready – this obviously took me longer than Toby! I locked myself in the bathroom so the German couldn’t see me because it’s not allowed on your wedding day! The German had no idea what I was wearing, I kept that a secret (Well I think I did, I gave him strict instructions not to go into the spare closet but he wanted a screwdriver one day and forgot the strict instructions! He reckons he’s a boy and was focused on finding his screwdriver so he didn’t see it – I wasn’t so sure!) Eventually I emerged…as his bride! I think he was impressed with the transformation!!

We then walked out of the hotel, got in the car and went to the beach where we met our photographer Larry and the most important person, our minister Mary Lou (Yep I loved the American name too!) This was it…we were getting married!! We wandered onto the beach, found the perfect spot and said our vows! Within 10 minutes we were officially Mr and Mrs Richter and the German was allowed to kiss his bride!!! Wooooooooohoooooooooo!!!!!!!! Best day EVER!!!

Then it was time for photos…here’s a little selection for your perusal…

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Within an hour and a half we’d made it to the beach, got married and had loads of pictures taken! It passed really quickly and seemed kind of surreal but I can asssure you it did happen!! And it was the most perfect wedding ever!! Now it was time to celebrate! We went back to the hotel and cracked open the champagne which resulted in this picture…

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Yes we are idiots! Well myself more than the German! He’s the sensible one of the pair!! After that we trotted out to finish off the celebrations with a beautiful meal at Mitchell’s Fish Market (If you’re ever in Destin (well it’s actually in Sandestin!) you NEED to go there!! AMAZING!!!) The German chose well!

Newlyweds!!

Newlyweds!!

Amazing desert!!!

Amazing desert!!!

But the next day came around and we had the lovely task of informing people of what the secret squirrels that were myself and the German had been up to…oh dear. This I was kind of worried about but we got on with the task and started with the FaceTime calls to Germany. First up Mutter und Vater Richter. We called, put our hands in front of the camera and once they’d realised what we’d done we waited for a second and yay there were smiles!!! Phew!!! Then it was the brothers and sister of Toby, all smiles there too!! Phew again!! Next up was Mum and Dad Cook, except they weren’t in. Balls. So we skipped them and went to my brother and sister-in-law who also weren’t in! But they were heading back from the pub and would be home in 5 minutes! We made the call and there were shocked faces all around but they were happy with the news! The next question was ‘have you told mum?’ Erm no she wasn’t in…the brother replied with ‘oh Lord’ and put his head in his hands! How was this phone call going to go??

After hanging up with the brother we made the call again, and they were in…we sat them down, slowly raised our hands and there was some definite shocked faces…but once they realised nobody else was there they were happy bunnies and pleased to have the German as their son-in-law!! MAHOOSIVE PHEW!!!! Huge relief there!

Now everybody knew – well the important people anyway…it was time to enjoy the rest of our mini-honeymoon! And we did it in style…here’s what we did in pictures – it’s easier than writing and probably more fun for you!!

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Sun, sea, sand and food was the main theme!! And it was ace!!! The best time ever!! But then Monday came around and we had to trot back off to Atlanta, but this time as Mr and Mrs!!!! And when we got back the German carried me over the threshold and everything! Best husband EVER!!!

Oh and what I failed to mention was the reason why nobody went mad when we told them we’d got married…we’re doing it all again next year in Germany! The big wedding day will still happen – we just got the civil ceremony that has to happen before getting married in a church in Germany out-of-the-way in the best way possible!! And it was absolutely perfect!!

So there you have it…more big, huge, mahoosive news for you to digest!! Next up for me is a new passport and another trip to the US Embassy for a new visa – remember the last trip? Yep I’m not looking forward to it much either so expect more blog news from that one!!! Oh and there’s that wedding to plan in Germany next year!! That’s bound to throw up some more interesting posts for your perusal…especially with my German skills!! Busy but very exciting times in the Me, Myself and Atlanta camp!!!

Exploring: Clearwater, FL

Technically no. So our first stop on our Florida road trip was Clearwater Beach! Wooooooo!! Now this beach and the ones surrounding it are branded some of the best in Florida and I have to agree they are pretty picturesque…we’ll get to that bit!

So at the end of the last post we were all pretty miserable, not knowing if we’d booked 2 rooms or 4 and getting a hotel that wasn’t the best ever but also wasn’t the worst! Aaaanyway it turned out we did only book 2 rooms (thanks Hotwire for getting us worried there!! Unsurprisingly we didn’t use that website again to book a hotel!!) and the Beso del Sol wasn’t too bad, well apart from the dirty stain on the sheet…that I was definitely not impressed with!

But after a trip to a Greek restaurant in a mini Greek town for Jannis the Greek and a good nights sleep we got up to blue sky and hot temperatures…the Florida we were expecting! First stop was breakfast and the German found a little gem of a place that did amazing omelettes to start our day! (Yet again the blog includes a food reference!!) If you ever go there you need to check it out…it was a little place  called Broadway Deli & Cafe and it was AMAZING!! I had the salmon omelette and it really hit the spot! So after a good fill we hit the beach and it definitely didn’t disappoint…

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Pure white sand and bright blue sky – the perfect combination for a perfect beach but there was one thing that wasn’t right…the water! So it’s called Clearwater Beach but for some reason the water wasn’t clear at all! Boooooooo! Now I don’t know whether this is a year round thing or not (Can any of you out there clear this one up? Have you been when the water is clear?) but it definitely wasn’t clear enough to see the little fishes at the bottom – I’m presuming they were there, they usually are! Still it was beautiful and not something to complain about!

So we kicked back and relaxed, had a couple of dips in the sea and soaked up the sun! Before leaving for Florida the German and I bought a volleyball…something that was going to get used A LOT on this holiday! Off the boys trotted for some volleyball action, it was their new favourite sport! Although we did end up with an injury when they both went for the ball at the same time and crashed into each other! Toby’s knee took the brunt of it – he ended up with a beautiful scab like a child in the playground!! At one  point he even had a plaster on it to keep the sand out!!

So after a full day on the beach we decided to head home but not after we’d all caught one too many rays! Lobsters all around thanks to the wind and not noticing we were getting burnt! Whoops! It was after sun central before we headed out that night for some amazing seafood at a restaurant called Sea Sea Riders – you seriously need to go there!!! Delicious!! I had the stuffed shrimp – it had crab in there and a chorizo crust on top!! Mmmmmmmm!!!

Our stay in Clearwater was coming to an end…booooooo! But Miami was next and we had the task of finding a hotel again – something we were determined to do before we left Clearwater! So we went down all the usual channels – we looked at Hotwire (but decided not to use them after our previous drama!!) Priceline (where you map out the area you’d like to stay and how many stars then tell them how much you’d like to pay, they then ask the hotels if they’re willing to take that amount per night. Sadly for us in Miami they weren’t but you can get some really nice hotels for a cheap price on that site!!) Trivago and of course we checked out Tripadvisor! I think this is where we found it – the Riviera at South Beach! After checking prices on a few websites we discovered it was cheaper to book it directly with the hotel…Wooooooooo! The next day we headed off to see the beautiful people in Miami before we got there we decided to check out the Everglades…did we see any Gators? Well you’ll have to wait and see!!