St. Augustine Distillery is the best place to visit in the city

The St. Augustine Distillery is a place teeming with history, homemade spirits, intrigue, education, delicious food and new experiences. You’ll enjoy the craftsmanship that goes into making the spirits and beyond that the cocktails that they’re used in.

A few weekends ago, Marti and I visited St. Augustine, Florida. It was part of a Christmas present to me: a 2-night getaway from the kids with just Marti in tow. We had a great time exploring the city, but the best part without a doubt was when we visited the St. Augustine Distillery.

The Ice Plant’s history

The St. Augustine Distillery opened just a couple of years ago (March 2014) after successfully securing ownership of the former “Ice Plant” on Riberia St. This Ice Plant opened up as a power plant around 1907 and they started producing ice soon thereafter as the city began to boom in order to support tourism and commerce (such as providing fishermen with a way to keep their fish fresher for longer).

The plant closed down in the 60s and lay dormant for many years before real estate developers who wanted to tear it down to make room for new condos snapped it up in the early 21st century and subsequently lost it in the downturn. The community bandied together with a common goal to save this historic building and the St. Augustine Distillery was born. Continue reading “St. Augustine Distillery is the best place to visit in the city”

Another memorable Christmas

It’s been a pleasant and enjoyable Christmas this year. Ellie had her moments where the excitement got the better of her and her behaviour wasn’t up to scratch, but other than that, it’s been really nice spending some time with family, keeping it moderately low-key and playing some games.

Jack’s first Christmas

Ellie’s 3rd Christmas

We spent yesterday making a trip to Ikea getting a new bed frame to go with the new mattress that I got Marti for Christmas which was a lot of fun. While we ate lunch at the cafe (they have a lot of good vegan options!), we got this adorable picture of Jack:

IMG_2406-1

We ended the day by going to Hofbrauhaus in St Pete – a new German restaurant, which is a lot of fun. They have live music, vegan food (surprisingly good) and a lot of singing and dancing. Great end to the day.

My first tattoo

A few days ago I went and got my first tattoo. I’ve wanted a tattoo for the past four or five years, but could never settle on something that I knew I wanted on my body for the rest of my life.

However, in an article that Marti and I read in New York Magazine lately, the author introduced a phrase that I hadn’t heard before:

Ya’aburnee (Arabic) [ya-BOR-nay] – approximately translates to “you bury me”, meaning that you hope your lover buries you because the idea of living without them is unbearable. Continue reading “My first tattoo”

The completion of my family

With the arrival of Jack a few weeks ago, our family is now complete so these photos are the first of our whole family, causing me to ponder our little unit and the responsibilities of raising them well.

Following the arrival of Jack, my family is now complete. My beautiful wife Marti, my daughter Ellie and my son Jack now make up our little family unit of four, with no more room at the inn.

Jack will be the last of our children so these pictures are the first of our whole family. Even though I’m well aware of the fact that I have a wife and a daughter and a son, to see our family together in a photo somehow makes it seem that much more surreal. I actually have a complete family; it might seem weird for me to say that, but it really hits home that we’re now a whole independent unit responsible to and for one another. And we’ve got another couple of decades like this before we start to divide and multiply. Continue reading “The completion of my family”

A Valentine’s Day gift from Ellie

Marti got me a gift from Ellie for Valentine’s Day consisting of a keychain that says how I’ll always be the first man she ever loved.

This Valentine’s Day, I got a special present from Ellie. She gave me a little token to go on my keys. It reads:

You will always be the first man I ever loved. – Ellie.

I love it and I have to give props to Marti Ellie for being so thoughtful and getting this for me. It’ll live proudly on my keys. Continue reading “A Valentine’s Day gift from Ellie”

Reflecting back on the last 30 years (I’m 30)

Today I turn 30, so it’s a great time to reflect on what I’ve done, how far I’ve come and what I want to do moving forward

30 years ago today, aside from the first ever episode of the most popular British soap Eastenders airing, I was born.

I absolutely couldn’t care less that I’m 30. I haven’t been dreading this day, nor do I attribute any sort of aging to it, any more so than any other day. However, a “n0” birthday is a milestone that only comes along once a decade so it seems like a perfect time for some reflection.

The last 10 years

Since February 2010 (the last 5 years), quite a number of things have changed in my life. I became a professional engineer, I became a father, I have another child on the way, I started my own business which is now thriving and I moved house 3 times.

In the last 10 years, even more has changed. In February 2005, I was in my second year at university, was single, living with my Mum in the UK and I was working for the NHS. Over the next 5 years, I would meet and fall in love with Marti, graduate from university, become a Christian, move to the States to be with her, get married 60 days later, battle 8 months of being unable to work before getting my green card, a job, my driver’s license, a car and our first apartment in the space of about 4 weeks.

Reflection on who I am

Me in December 2005 - the first time I ever visited Marti
Me in a decidedly emo pose in December 2005 – the first time I ever visited Marti

As I think about the man I am today, where I’ve come from and the boy I used to be, I’ve noticed quite a few specific observations about how I’ve changed in particular and more general observations about how we as humans mature (or don’t).

The first thing is that nothing is given. Not only is nothing guaranteed but you’ll change in ways and do things that you would have never believed, conceived or thought possible. Continue reading “Reflecting back on the last 30 years (I’m 30)”

My bucket list

My bucket list consists largely of activities and experiences: most notably, travel. I once read (and completely agree) that the gifts people most treasure and recall are ones that involve experiences rather than material possessions. As such, I have shied away from giving material gifts, instead opting for experiential gifts.

It is for this reason that my bucket list also centers around experiences: a whole list of things that I want to do before I die. I really don’t care to own things, but I’d love to experience these things. Continue reading “My bucket list”

How to suck

After a bit of a break on Twitter lately, I happened to just jump on one morning and saw that @norcross had posted a link to an article entitled “How to Suck“, which intrigued me. I didn’t know if it was WordPress related, or personal, but I started to read.

Within the first few paragraphs, I was hooked, and despite it being a long article (10-15 minutes), I read the whole thing (usually, it’d be “tl;dr”).

The article really awakened me to how “sucky” I’ve become. It made me take a good hard look in the mirror and realised that if I met me, I probably wouldn’t like me.

I got a lot of conviction when I read the article. While I’ve improved in some of these areas (not intentionally, but as part of maturing), I’ve got worse in some others too.

It’s made me draw a line in the sand, and make a concerted effort to be a less-sucky person. I’ve been doing it for a few weeks now and I think it’s making a real difference. It’s not just one of those empty pie-in-the-sky ideas, but a commitment to be better.

So here’s to being a better human. Feel free to call me out if I’m ever being a dick. You won’t offend me.