Summer Bucket List

Hey, loves! This past Saturday was the very first day of Summer 2020, and apparently the memo made it to Northern England because we’ve actually had some super hot, sunny weather! You can read all about what Matt and I got up to on the first weekend of Summer right here

So… my bucket list posts are some of my very favourite to write, to work through, and to check back up on. They’re some of your favourite too because people always tell me they got ideas from them, and I see you guys going back and looking them up throughout the season! I kinda wrote off a bucket list for Spring and instead posted a Post Lockdown Bucket List in jest… little did I know when Summer rolled around we’d still be in some form of lockdown!

This year, Coronavirus has turned everyone’s lives upside down, and we know for sure we’re not going to have a normal Summer this year. While all of our grand plans can go on hold for 2021, I really still want to make the most of the season. I spend every Summer wishing away the days, desperate for the Autumn air to creep in and for pumpkin flavoured/scented everything to start appearing. This year, I was going to make the MOST of Summer. Meh! Global pandemic 1 – 0 Gillian. Great… 

Bearing in mind travelling is still being discouraged, there’s no chance of us taking a holiday or city break and we probably can’t even visit our family down South this Summer, the one thing we really can do is make the most of all things local. We are SO LUCKY to live in up North; we have beautiful beaches, countryside and the best city in the world (it’s a fact) on our doorstep, so I really hope we can have just as much fun exploring nearby.

Obviously we will be continuing to social distance; real talk, I’m kinda nervous to ever be in a crowded/busy/small space with lots of people ever again. Haha! I really find it difficult to imagine going to somewhere like a football match (one of Matt and I’s favourite date day activities) or even eating in a restaurant or being in the office. It’s going to take a lot of adjusting, and it’s super weird that something we never cared about before; being close to people; is literally terrifying to me now!

Enjoy ice cream AT LEAST one per week! Our very favourite local ice cream place, Arrighi’s in Seaton Delaval, is our go-to Summer spot. I always feel like after every Summer passes we could have gone at least a couple more times! Their ice cream is a family recipe passed down for generations, and it’s such a staple for a Summer day. Also, we LOVE a late night McFlurry run. All year round, every season. Now that McDonald’s has opened back up you can bet we’ll be making the most of that! 

Become a bookworm. Okay, so I’m already a bookworm. I love reading and I’ve been sitting in the sun with my Kindle at any opportunity I get! I’m currently reading Love You, Love You Not by Jo Watson (it’s laugh out loud funny, I totally recommend it) and I really want to make my way through alllll the books this year. Laura Jane Williams’ new book, The Love Square, comes out next month and I’m so excited, her first book Our Stop was one of my favourite ever easy reads.

Spend the day at the beach! The beach is my favourite place, no matter the weather Matt and I LOVE a beach day. I firmly believe some of the most beautiful beaches in the world are right on our doorstep! We love to grab breakfast at one of our many favourite local cafes/restaurants, although it will have to be to go this Summer. There’s so many beaches to explore, we’ve made a little list of the ones we want to spend the day at this season:

  • Cresswell
  • Tynemouth (our very favourite)
  • Druridge Bay
  • Bamburgh
  • Alnmouth
  • Seahouses
  • Saltburn 
  • Holy Island
  • Sandsend 

Go outlet shopping. Matt, his parents and I really love a little road trip to York Designer Outlet (they have sooo many good things there, we even love the food court LOL!) and Matt really wants to make a trip there to grab some great bargains. Shopping in Summer means you get really good deals on Autumn/Winter clothing, and we both need new coats. Last time we were there The North Face store was like 40% off?! I’m hoping I’ll feel comfortable to go shopping before the end of Summer so we can visit.

Explore our new favourite trail. We found the sweetest place around 45 minutes from where live, and we cannot wait to explore more of the area. There’s cute villages all around (cute village = cute family ran bakeries, do you see what I’m saying…? ALL the pastries!) The trail itself is really fun with gorgeous views, and it’s literally the most picture perfect place. We also want to do tons of hikes this Summer!

Make s’mores. I feel like this is a Summer tradition for so many people and I’d love to make it one for us too! Matt is OBSESSED with the fire pit, and I think spending evenings in the garden with my parents is going to be such a fun thing to enjoy this Summer.

Take the office outside. One of the biggest benefits Matt and I have experienced from the global pandemic (a sentence I never thought I’d write…) is the ability to work from home. Matt works from home once or twice per week and I’ve worked from home exclusively since March 24th. I found out yesterday that we’re not going to be back in the office until September at the earliest, and I fully intend to make the most of working from home until then! Countless no makeup days, all the comfy clothes and the ability to have a 20 step commute are HUGE blessings. I’ve not took it for granted one bit, and I’m so grateful to still have my job during this crazy time. Working outside has been one of the biggest blessings, we love our garden set up and hope to make lots of use out of it!

Cook new foods. One thing that I’m excited about is trying new meals and learning how to incorporate new ingredients into our meals. I love cooking, and Matt loves eating (LOL) so I’m always trying to create new dinners that we can enjoy. Every season I love to add in seasonal ingredients and this Summer I want to include lots of strawberries, asparagus, cabbage, raspberries and courgettes! Not in the same dish obviously…

Take a road trip to the Lake District for the day. So this has been on our Summer bucket list for TWO YEARS and we’ve still not been! Unfortunately we won’t be able to stay over (I don’t feel comfortable staying in a hotel at all right now), but it would be so good to leave home around 7am and get there super early, to spend the whole day exploring and adventuring. I’m hoping we can take a little family trip with my mum and dad, I know my brother will not come with us ha!

Catch a thunderstorm. How many times do you know there’s a thunderstorm happening but life is so busy you just can’t enjoy it? Well, this is the Summer to enjoy every storm… it’s the least busy you’ll ever be! We are set for big storms today and tomorrow, and I LOVE a storm when I’m cosy and safe at home.

Pack a picnic and find a spot in the countryside. There is so much beautiful countryside around us, we’re honestly a little spoilt for choice. We LOVE all of the spots in Northumberland; and the further you go up towards Scotland the more beautiful places you’ll stumble across. It’s picture perfect everywhere you look, and I really can’t wait to make the most of it. Also, we freaking love a picnic! 

Get back into yoga. I love yoga, I really do. BUT I really find it hard to stay consistent with it. I think it’s because I’ve always got 100 things going on and it’s not something I always prioritise, but then after every yoga practice I wish I prioritised it more. I really want to get into a routine and stick to it! I’ve practiced yoga five times this week already so maybe this is the start of a routine…

Go fruit picking. Last year Matt and I visited Brockbushes Farm and came back with the most delicious, juicy strawberries you can imagine! They were quite literally perfect. I’m not sure what the rules will be on fruit picking this year (?) but it’s super easy to social distance in their huge fields, so I really hope we can go again. Also I miss my balayage. I can’t wait until I feel safe to go back to see Erin at Rein & Co (the best salon in the North East!) to get my hair done!

Enjoy a waterfall. We have so many beautiful waterfalls here in the North! I mean, the water is freezing and I’m 99% sure you might catch Frostbite if you went for a dip, but they’re stinking pretty to look at.

Find the prettiest pebbles/seashells at the beach. Does anyone else challenge whoever they’re at the beach with to find the prettiest pebbles or seashells?! I’ve done that ever since I was a kid and it still makes me happy. You can’t tell so much in the photo but these ones had pink running through them that looked like rose quartz. Matt and I’s favourite game though? Find the largest piece of seaglass, extra points if it’s blue. He beats me every time. I always seem to let him win that one… 😉

Enjoy the Summer beers and wines. Now that we can finally move on from FaceTime calls and see our friends IRL – socially distanced, of course – which feels like the biggest treat, we’re going to make the most of it. Matt loves the German Summer beers the most, he’s always trying new ones. There are SO many great wines too, although my favourite option is always going to be a pinot blush!

TBT to Summer 2019, on the most beautiful beach in Croatia

Catch a beautiful sunset at least once per week. I mean, they’re never going to beat the sunsets we experienced in Croatia last year, but we do have beautiful sunsets here at home, too. I’m actually having a little cry right now editing this post – Matt and I looked back at my Croatia blog post; this very week last year was when we were there. I would do anything for Matt and I to be back there right now. Best holiday EVER ❤️ We went for a sunset beach walk on Wednesday evening and it was so lovely, we’ll definitely be doing it often!

Enjoy BBQ’s with your loved ones. We’re all so grateful we can see family and friends again, I really hope we can make the most of that and spend afternoons/evenings chilling in our gardens. I’m super excited for a family BBQ coming up next weekend to celebrate Matt’s grandma’s 80th birthday, I’ll make sure to record a Weekend In My Life to share that! 

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you got some fun ideas for what you can do this Summer whilst staying close to home. Of course you can adapt pretty much everything in here no matter where you live, but the North really is the best place to be 😉 have a great weekend my friends!

-G x

My Post Lockdown Bucket List

Hi loves, happy Wednesday! Today’s post is a little light hearted and just-for-fun, but I also REALLY need to have things to look forward to for my own sanity too. My Spring bucket list should have gone live a few weeks ago but due to everything going on in the world it just didn’t seem right to post it, knowing that we (and you!) wouldn’t be able to do anything on the list. We are still completely unaware of how long the lockdown will last for – in the UK our lockdown is expected to be extended tomorrow – but I think we all know we’re in this for the long haul. I keep reminding myself every day that passes is a day closer to this all being over, but I really like having things to look forward to. If you’re an essential key worker who is working through this terrible time in potentially dangers and definitely stressful environments please know how much you mean to all of us! We’ll never be able to repay you for all you’ve done so far and will do in the future, but from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I’m so grateful that me, Matt, our families, friends and community are safe and healthy, and although lockdown is NOT fun, it’s so necessary.

From probably day three of lockdown Matt and I have been talking about all of the fun things we’ll do when Boris says we’re allowed out again, and it’s crazy how much we (unknowingly) took for granted! So many people are upset about holidays being cancelled which is understandable but looking at the bigger picture is so much more important. We’re being realistic and we’re pretty sure our family trip to Florida won’t be happening in October – it would have been Matt’s first visit and it was to celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday 😦 – which we’re all devastated about, but in the grand scheme of things it is NOT a big deal. We can re-book our trip when it’s safe to do so, and it’s really a small price to pay! Matt and I were hoping to squeeze in city breaks to Lisbon and Krakow this year but honestly I’m not sure how long it’ll be before flights are running normally and we feel comfortable with international travel again. Everything in this list is things we can do in the UK, and some are really quite silly… if you told me I’d be so excited about walking around Tesco or Costco a month ago I’d think you were crazy! 

  • Spend time with Matt’s parents and our grandparents! This is what we’re most excited for, we miss them all SO much! 
  • Go to the movies 
  • Enjoy the biggest family meal with Matt and I’s families at our favourite restaurant, Lollo Rosso
  • Walk around ‘Big’ Tesco for like… hours 
  • Spend an afternoon (and probably night) in the beer garden with our friends
  • Celebrate Matt’s birthday, his new job and my birthday! We’ve already missed two of these and my birthday (May 17th) looks like it will be spent under lockdown too
  • Go for all of the Saturday morning breakfast dates at Postbox Coffee
  • Enjoy all the beach walks we possibly can
  • Go for a long drive. I miss driving SO MUCH
  • Have a picnic at Linhope Spout
  • Go makeup shopping and enjoy using all of the testers. Anybody else missing “non-essential” shopping?! 
  • Visit Bolam Lake
  • Host a BBQ
  • Walk around Costco aimlessly, buying stuff we definitely do not need just because we can 
  • Head for the Costa drive thru
  • Book a staycation at our favourite hotel (hence the feature photo! I’d do anything for a cosy night away in our favourite place)
  • Enjoy our late night McFlurry runs again
  • Re-schedule our getaway to Harrogate
  • Enjoy ALL of the date nights
  • Have a picnic in the park
  • Shop local!! 
  • Spend the day at The Alnwick Garden and eat lunch in the treehouse 
  • Drive up to the Scottish Borders and just find a B&B to stay at for the night
  • Get back on track with weekly grocery shopping and meal planning. I’m so excited about this!! 
  • Go beer tasting at our local brewery
  • Spend a weekend in the Lake District
  • Drive to pretty spots to watch the sunset 
  • Enjoy a couples spa day 
  • Go for early morning hikes
  • Buy candles at Homesense. I wish I was joking but I’m running LOW! Hahaha
  • Go for more double dates with our friends
  • Take walks in the countryside (it sure beats walking around our estate, that’s pretty much as far as we’re allowed to go right now!) 
  • Eat at Wagamama’s, it’s definitely our favourite chain restaurant! 
  • Visit Beamish
  • Spend Sunday mornings at Tynemouth Market
  • Go outlet shopping in York
  • Enjoy a girls night
  • Go out for Sunday lunch at our favourite countryside pubs

I hope this made you smile and gave you a few ideas of things you can also look forward to when lockdown ends! What is the first things you’ll be doing/planning when lockdown is over? What do you miss the most right now?! 

-G x

#NEwhereToGo: A Sunday Afternoon In Tynemouth

Hi, loves! I am so excited to share today’s blog post with you because it’s the very first in my new series, #NEwhereToGo! Every few weeks I’ll be sharing one of my very favourite places in the North East (#NEwhere… anywhere… get it :)?) from things to do, places to eat or just beautiful places to see. I’ve never took for granted where I live – Matt and I are the biggest advocates of the North East not getting the credit it deserves – but seriously, it is so beautiful here. Right on our doorstep we have the countryside, world famous (yes, really!) beaches, and our favourite city, Newcastle Upon Tyne. From where we live it’s literally a ten to twenty minute drive in different directions to get to all of these places, how lucky are we?! The North is known for being a bloody cold place, but it’s also known for how friendly the people are, the local businesses, the amazing coastlines, the countryside and a whole host of incredible food places. I’ll be sharing all of my favourites and I’m so excited!

All of the below photos are from a Sunday spent in Tynemouth, one of Matt and I’s very favourite places. The town is right on the coast and the view in every direction is just so pretty, even on an incredibly grey day like this one. There’s several little coves along the front, and our first stop is usually right by Tynemouth Sailing Club. This area of the coast is much more quiet, and the views are still so pretty. The walks through town are great but walking along the coastline is our favourite; we love to go out on the pier and walk all the way along to the lighthouse. The views back into the mainland are incredible, and you can see for miles out to sea. Unfortunately on the day we went the winds were too high and the waves were crazy -splashing right over the walls – so the pier was closed to the public. This didn’t stop us from walking onto the viewing platform to the left of the pier; it’s such a cosy spot to take in the view and a little bit of a hidden gem as you’d never know it was there unless you walked right up to the pier.

It’s a pretty steep uphill walk from that part of the coastline to the main town, but it’s so worth it! The views are breathtaking all the way up, and you’re right next to (what’s left of) Tynemouth Priory. This area has it all; the views over King Edward’s Bay are the very best. It’s often a lot busier in this part as this is the ‘pretty part’ that tourists want to see too, and everywhere around you I can guarantee people are eating fish. The place to go in town for fish and chips to takeaway is absolutely Longsands Fish Kitchen! It’s the place everyone knows and flocks to, especially in the warmer months of the year. Also, just in the bay below is Riley’s Fish Shack; another local favourite that has so many unique fish options!

After a walk around the Priory (you can pay to go in and tour inside, but we chose not to on this particular day) we went right into the town centre. The centre is always the busiest; it’s lined with quirky local stores like To The Moon & Back – we found these gin glasses with the Newcastle Upon Tyne skyline along the top in there, how sweet?! – and Razzberry Bazaar are so worth a look. You can find incredible one-off items here, that I guarantee you’d never find anywhere else! We love to wander in and out of the cute independent stores, and it’s so nice to #shoplocal when possible.

Tynemouth is known for being a little bit quirky and one of the sweetest things, in my opinion, is an old church-turned-shopping-centre. It has all the original structure outside and the stained glass windows are so beautiful! Named Green Ginger Shopping Arcade the former church hosts a bunch of independent stores, including Longsands clothing which you will absolutely see people wearing anywhere in the town! There’s some incredible cake and chocolate sold in here, and there is a teeny tiny cafe upstairs that literally is like something from a movie. Downstairs you’ll find a Peaky Blinders themed bar – aptly named Blinders – that is SO small yet packed with personality and all the fun of one of Matt and I’s favourite TV shows.

We love Tynemouth on a weekend especially because they have an incredible market held at Tynemouth Station; it has different stalls on a Saturday (including a football memorabilia one that Matt just LOVES!) to a Sunday, but both days are packed with bric-a-brac, old books, homemade treats and amazing food! The station is still fully functioning, so whilst you’re shopping trains are coming in and out. Some of the homemade goods are incredibly cool and equally as wacky, we stumbled across these fire-extinguishers-turned-loo-roll-holders this time around… it’s never dull, I promise! The vendors are all incredibly friendly and there really are some gems to be found, especially if you have a love for anything vintage. Our go-to food place at the market is Acropolis Street Food; their chicken gyros are pretty much famous here I swear! The guys who run it are always so sweet to us, and the taste takes us straight back to Kos.

The cute, quaint streets surrounding the centre are also worth a wander; the houses are so big and beautiful, and it’s just such a nice place to walk around. I have loved Tynemouth since I was a little girl, and Matt and I often find ourselves there on a weekend just to look around and enjoy the views. It can be a little bit of a tourist trap in the summer, but we honestly love to visit in all seasons. I’d love to share Tynemouth again with you as the seasons change, but you can’t deny it still looks so beautiful on a grey January day!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post – are you now desperate to explore in Tynemouth?! ME TOO! We also love the nightlife side of Tynemouth, I’d love to talk about that in another post if that’s something you’d be interested in? There are so many great independent restaurants (and chains, too) and bars that we love here, it’s a great way to spend a Friday night. Have you visited Tynemouth before? Where is your favourite place along the coast to visit?

-G x