The Best Weekend Breakfast At Home

Happy Sunday, loves! One of the small things that’s been kinda difficult during lockdown for Matt and I has been choosing what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner at home every single day. I always meal plan each week and I love creating new meals, but knowing we HAVE to eat each meal at home that I’ve pre-planned gets kinda old. LOL! 

It has been a weird adjustment to not be able to just pop out to the grocery store whenever if we need something additional on the way to or from work. Obviously non-essential shopping is still being discouraged, and as I’ve been working from home for the past two and a half months I’m not passing grocery stores every day. It looks like I’ll be working at home for at least a couple more months (I’m so happy about this!) so I guess it’s good to really get used to doing a big weekly shop and then making do with what we have the rest of the week. It’s a much more simple way of life that I actually really enjoy for the most part. You guys already know but we LOVE our breakfast food, and breakfast dates are one of our very favourite parts of our weekends (pre-Corona). 

For our breakfasts at home we typically rotate between cinnamon rolls, bagels, pancakes, eggs, yogurt with granola and fruit or bacon sandwiches. We don’t really love cereal (although we do enjoy it more late at night… why does it taste better then?) These options are our go-to’s that are super quick and easy, but when we fancy something a little extra, like on Saturday’s or Sunday’s, we have been really enjoying these breakfast burritos! They are super filling and it’s the closest we’re going to get to any kind of Mexican style breakfast for a while. I totally get why, but it still makes me so sad that I have no idea when we’ll be able to go for breakfast dates again! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 x large sweet potato
  • 1 x bell pepper
  • 2 x eggs
  • 6 x chipolata sausages
  • 4 x slices of chipotle chilli cheese
  • 1/2 can of baked beans
  • 2 x wraps (I prefer wholemeal but they were out when I went grocery shopping on this week!)
  • olive oil
  • chipotle sauce, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic* to taste

*I’m aware garlic is probably not something most people would add to breakfast food (or any Mexican style dish) but I always use garlic in cooking and I like it to season the sausages. You could totally skip this ingredient!

Step by step: 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Boil a pan of water, add the two eggs and a pinch of salt and boil for seven minutes. (For hard boiled eggs. This is just how I do it because I don’t really like eggs cooked any other way right now, I have no idea why because scrambled eggs used to be my favourite. If you want to fry, scramble or poach them you can do this step last before you assemble your burritos).
  3. Cut your sausages into small pieces, dice your pepper and place mixed together on a foil lined tray. Cover with olive oil, chipotle sauce and seasonings of your choice. Place in the oven.
  4. Chop up the sweet potato into small cubed pieces, place onto baking tray and cover with olive oil and seasonings of your choice. 
  5. I cook the sausages and peppers for approximately 22 minutes in total, and the sweet potatoes for around 15 minutes. This is why I put them in the oven in that order! 
  6. Peel your eggs, cut into small pieces and set to one side. 
  7. Cook half a can of beans as per the pack instructions. 
  8. Place tortilla wraps into your dish, line cheese along the bottom. Add in your cut eggs and baked beans.
  9. Remove sweet potatoes, sausages and bell peppers from the oven and add into the wraps. I typically add a little more cheese on top so the cheese covers most of the mixture and keeps the wrap tight.
  10. Fold in edges, wrap up tightly and place your dish in the oven for eight to ten minutes, until the tortilla has hardened and all your cheese is gooey and delicious.

That’s it! It definitely is not the quickest breakfast to throw together but it’s maybe one of the most delicious?! We genuinely look forward to the next time we’re going to eat it, I like that we’re creating fun traditions during lockdown even if they’re super small 🙂  

Thanks so much for reading! Are you going to try these burritos out? You could definitely swap any of the ingredients out easily or add in anything extra you may like. I hope you love them as much as we do!

-G x

Day In My Life: WFH | UK Lockdown

Happy Easter Sunday, my loves! I hope you’re happily eating all of the Easter chocolate, and still doing well throughout this crazy time in the world. How are you doing? I’ve had a pretty good week overall and I’m feeling really grateful for everything I have right now. Whilst I’m very hopeful that this will all be over soon I also want to be realistic, and I’m trying to get used to our ‘new normal’ as much as possible.

I was going to write up a week in my life for this past week but honestly a couple of days in it was SO repetitive and I really just didn’t want to bore you all! I really miss writing week/weekend in my life posts and I’m really going to make a conscious effort to record weekends especially at least once per month. Round ups of what people have been up to are some of my favourite posts to read, when I post them they always get high views (thank you!) and I also love to read them back a while later. Today I’m sharing my new ‘typical’ day in my life with you, and I already know this is going to be SO crazy to look back on in a few months’ time!

On this particular day I woke up pretty late at 7.45am. Matt is a key worker – he’s a Store Manager – so he’s been in work most days, and has been starting at 7am so I’ve been getting up with him around 6am. He wasn’t starting until later so we got to sleep in which was so nice because I was awake for at least two hours during the night. I struggle with insomnia and it seems to be getting worse not better… I’ve no idea why it happens but I’m WIDE awake and unable to sleep for what feels like forever! The mornings I’ve been getting up earlier I’ve either spent an hour reading my Kindle, practicing yoga or just catching up on YouTube. I was grateful to sleep in but I kinda missed that time today. After a quick cuddle with Matt I got up, brushed my teeth and washed my face. This Effaclar Hydrating Cleansing Cream from La Roche Posay is my favourite cleanser for the mornings; it’s so gentle, removes my skincare products from the night before and does not irritate my skin at all. I’ve took my skincare routine ‘back to basics’ for the most part after another really bad breakout and I’m seeing such a difference already. I’m currently waiting for my prescription skincare to arrive from Dermatica but I can’t wait to share my minimalistic skincare routine with you all next month!

Matt stayed in bed and chatted to me whilst I got ready at my vanity table which was SO fun. I got fully ready; I straightened the ends of my hair that had got a little kinked from being tied back when I slept – I cut two inches off my hair last week and dyed it! #quarantinelife eh? I actually think I did a pretty good job *toot toot* then my mum evened up a little at the back. I never thought I’d be giving myself DIY haircuts but I also never thought we’d be in the middle of a pandemic, sooo… I did my makeup which makes SUCH a difference to how my day goes. I feel one hundred times better on the days I’ve made somewhat of an effort, and I really love taking twenty minutes to apply my makeup each morning. I highly recommend getting yourself a little more put together if you’re struggling spending all day in the house. As you can see I’m not wearing ‘real’ clothes, but honestly I couldn’t think of anything worse than sitting around in jeans. I love jeans but I wear them to go outside then the second I get home I put sweats or pj pants on anyway! My Disneyland sweatshirt just makes my heart happy, I live in my Ugg slippers every day anyway and these sweat pants from Abercrombie are the comfiest thing I’ve ever worn. My exact ones are sold out right now but all of their sweats are amazing.

Once I was ready it was time for my commute… to the dining room. AKA my Unofficial Home Office! So for the most part I really enjoy working from home and I am so beyond grateful to still have my job and be getting paid. I can’t wait until we’re all back in the office but really I miss commuting to work SO. MUCH. Never again will I complain about it! I miss getting into my cute car. I miss playing music or a podcast a little too loud. I miss blasting the heat (because I’m always cold). I miss actually physically driving. I’ve only driven once in the past two and a half weeks and I can’t wait until I can drive all the time again! I turned on my computer (I have two monitors and a laptop from my job, but I spend probably 90% of my work day sitting at the table using the monitors. I don’t love working on the laptop as much because the screen is so much smaller and I feel less productive) and wrote out my to-do list for the day. I love a to-do list and it makes me feel so much more motivated. I also have been time-blocking my work days which I’ll talk about in a blog post soon.

Whilst my computer was turning on and everything was opening up (as we’re all working remotely it takes a good five minutes) I made Matt’s breakfast and made myself a cup of tea. I haven’t been fixing myself breakfast most days until around 11am, but Matt and I have both developed a weird obsession with bagels over the past few weeks… we can’t stop eating them! Kissing him goodbye is so sad right now, I never ever thought I’d be worried about him working in a supermarket. Once he’d left I got started with work – around 9am – I made another cup of tea and my morning went SO quickly.

A super sweet Easter card arrived from Matt’s parents, we miss them SO much and can’t wait to spend time with them again when all of this is over! My morning went so quickly I couldn’t believe it was already time for my meeting of the day; we held our office meeting via Microsoft Teams which is always a fun part of the week. I’ve really been focused in the mornings without any noise or distraction, then in the afternoon I tend to bring down my MacBook and play Netflix or Disney+ in the background. I love that I can do that whilst working, it’s definitely a huge perk of working from home! Before I knew it it was almost 3pm and because of our office meeting I’d forgotten to eat breakfast, so I was HUNGRY.

I’ve really been trying to take my lunch break away from my desk the dining table and I was good at it this day. Some days, not so much. Ha! I cleaned up the kitchen, wiped down the counters and cleaned the hob before prepping a really quick and easy lunch. I had avocado on a bagel (told you we’re obsessed) with two boiled eggs and cherry tomatoes. I really don’t like poached eggs very much but I’ve probably eaten boiled eggs more often in the past three weeks than I have in my entire life. They’re just so quick to make, can be paired with pretty much anything and really filling!

I took my lunch upstairs and got cosy on our bed with my Kindle. I love reading so much and really actively try to make time for it each day. Again, some days I’m better at this than others but I notice I feel so much better when I’ve took the time to read a little. If you’re looking for some book recommendations I wrote this post last Sunday! Especially right now I’m trying to limit my time on social media; I barely use Facebook anyway but I’m not really checking Twitter very much, and Instagram for the most part is a pretty safe space which makes me happy. I only read the news once or twice per day, although most days I’ve listened to the 5pm press conference because I’d rather know the actual facts of WHAT is being said, not the scaremongering headlines people keep sharing.

It was my last day of the work week as we were about to have a four day weekend! Honestly I feel like there couldn’t be worse timing for this, bank holidays are normally something we all look forward to so much and we can’t even spend it with our loved ones outside of our home! I washed up, made another cup of tea, turned on Lizzie McGuire (thank you, Disney+ for allowing me to relive my childhood) and finished up my working day. Something that’s really surprised me about being at home all day is how many cups of tea I consume. I’m seriously obsessed! I would say it’s overtaking my love for Diet Coke but nothing can do that!

When I was finished working I switched off my computer and my four day weekend had begun. I went straight into the bathroom because I knew if I sat down in our room I’d get so comfy and not move until after Matt got home from work, hahaha. I removed my makeup (always one of the highlights of my day, why does clean skin feel SO GOOD?) and hopped in the shower. I washed my hair the night before so thankfully I didn’t need to do that, but the second I got out of the shower I really regretted not opting for a bath, ha! Post-shower I lit my favourite candle, took my time applying my skincare, moisturising and getting into comfy pj’s, then settled in to plan my blog posts over the next few weeks. I’m a little bummed because so many of the posts I was writing/had scheduled are just not appropriate for the season of life we’re all in right now, so I’m creating new content and working really hard to bring you positivity! The posts I had planned will still go up at some point, it may just be in a few months time.

My mum arrived home from work (only my brother and I are working from home. My mum, dad and Matthew are all key workers so they’re still getting up and heading out into the world everyday) and we caught up on our day for a little while whilst she sorted out some of her clothes. I swear NOBODY has more clothes than my mum, yet I’m pretty sure she wears the same twenty tops on rotation… she won’t mind me saying that, it’s true, ha! Matt arrived home not long after and he’d only brought home a couple bottles of our favourite wine ever, it’s seriously the best. It’s so inexpensive, you need to try it next time you’re out shopping (for essentials). He showered up and got into comfy clothes for the evening, and as I was just about to start cooking us a bolognese my dad offered to treat us to an Indian takeaway. Umm… YES please! No need to even think about that, Indian food is our favourite.

As they are every time, our meals were incredible – for anyone who lives nearby, we always go to Moti Jheel #shoplocal – and we were so happy and full! We clapped for our carers at 8pm which is honestly one of the highlights of my whole week. I truly think it’s the sweetest thing and I hope all of those key workers know just how important they are not just now but always. We live pretty close to our local hospital and we could hear all of the sirens blaring/noise being made there – this video shows what all of the police officers do every week at the hospital. It makes me cry every time!

After dinner and clapping we snuggled up in bed with a couple of fruity ciders (strawberry and lime cider is one of my favourite ever alcoholic drinks and it just tastes like Summer to me). We turned on Brooklyn 99 which is one of our go-to we-haven’t-got-much-time-but-want-to-watch-something-funny shows! The latest season just went live on Netflix a few weeks back – I think season six? – and we seriously love this show SO much. I just can’t pick a favourite character because I love them all (except Hitchcock, he really gets on our nerves) but I really don’t think it could be a more perfect cast. Our other favourite shows to watch when we don’t have a ton of time are The Office and Friends, but I think we’re going to start Schitt’s Creek soon!

We watched three episodes because we just couldn’t turn it off, then Matt went into the bathroom before me and found a SPIDER on my TOOTHBRUSH. I’m terrified of spiders (except little money spiders, I can deal with them) so I was beside myself haha. Matt killed the spider like a good boyfriend should whilst I jumped around screaming 🙂 not exactly relaxing before bed… After we brushed our teeth – I used my electric toothbrush and threw the other one out, ugh! – I sprayed our pillows and duvet down with this sleep spray. I am a HUGE fan of sleep sprays and I’ve tried quite a few now. I think the This Works one is probably my favourite, it helps so much as I’m a terrible sleeper. Once I get into bed I apply my Laneige lip sleeping mask which is hands down the best lip balm I’ve ever used, my lips still feel so moisturised when I wake up. I really need to order a back up because I don’t ever want to be without this. I then apply Cicaplast on any spots/bumps/pimples I have on my face as it does an incredible job of clearing them up, and apply it to any dry patches on my hands. From constantly washing my hands my hands are so cracked and sore, but this is incredible. I use the SPF50 version because that’s what I have but next time I’ll definitely order without the SPF. I then use my Aveeno hand cream just to lock all of the moisture in, Matt set Alexa to play Waves on Sleep Sounds and that was our day over!

I hope you enjoyed seeing a little look into my life 🙂 what does your every day look like right now? I hope you and your families are all safe and well, and just taking each day at a time! Every day that passes is another day closer to all of this being over, and I think we all really need to acknowledge that even though this is a horrific situation we’re so lucky to be safe in our homes with our loved ones. Thank you to all of our incredible NHS staff, grocery store workers, delivery drivers, warehouse workers and other essential professions keeping our country going right now, you are so loved and we’re all so grateful! Have a happy bank holiday weekend, AT HOME 🙂

I’ll be back on Wednesday, with the weirdest bucket list post I’ll probably ever write!

-G x

A Spontaneous Fall Trip: Photo Diary

Hi, loves! I am SO excited to share today’s post with you; a little recap in a photo diary style from Matt and I’s trip last week. Any regular readers may remember I’ve spoken a few times about the fact we were trying to plan a night away for our anniversary (which was back in September) and due to both of our work schedules we just couldn’t make it work in that month. Then, we hoped to book a weekend getaway in October but Matt’s work schedule was even more busy and it seemed it would be impossible to make it work. We decided we’d just go away around December time, but then Matt managed to get TWO week days off work, and I was so grateful to get the same days… hence our spontaneous trip!

Snapple fact: I’m literally the least spontaneous person EVER. I need structure and routine and planning, but we booked our hotel late on Friday night, then travelled early Tuesday morning. I know it’s only a one night trip and this is probably so normal to most people, but this was such a big deal for me! We decided to split our two days between York and Harrogate because we love both of those places and it’s been a hot minute since we last visited. York is a super special place to us as it’s where we went on our first date. Yep, we drove two and a half hours away from home on our very first date… thank God it went well, hahaha. Matt was obviously feeling confident because it was his suggestion! We also really love Harrogate; we stayed there for my birthday last year and it is just such a beautiful town. We unfortunately didn’t get to see very much of Harrogate at all as it was SO rainy and cold!

We set off bright dark and early so we could spend most of our day exploring and enjoying York, not stuck in the car. The roads were pretty clear which we were thankful for, and we had our favourite car snacks too! We sang along to our favourite songs and talked the whole way there, which is one of my very favourite things about road trips with Matt. It was a very grey day which is pretty common here from October through to March (!) but that didn’t dampen our spirits at all, we were so excited to get to our first stop; the pumpkin patch!

…so very excited that I didn’t even check it was open mid-week. And guess what? IT WAS CLOSED. Hahaha. We pulled up to what was clearly a working farm with not another car in sight (just tractors and farm equipment) and the sweet farmer headed over right away to see us. We pretty quickly knew it wasn’t open, so explained we hadn’t checked before coming and before we could say any more he told us to park the car out of the mud and he’d meet us up at the top of the courtyard. Guys, he was SO NICE and let us explore anyway! He gave us a little private tour, showing us the barn and the Halloween activities that had been set up for the next few weeks. He then showed us around his land a little, and left us to explore his pumpkin patch and land for as long as we wanted to! There were chickens everywhere which was so fun to see. We were so grateful to get to visit because we had been so excited to see the pumpkin patch (okay, I was way more excited than Matt!) and I can’t believe I didn’t think to check if it was open. The farm was called Cundall Lodge Farm, and it’s also a B&B which looks so beautiful! Matt and I want to go back and stay here soon, the farmer was seriously so nice and the grounds are amazing.

Side note: I was SO FREAKING GLAD we had taken wellies with us, it was very very muddy! My wellies look like chelsea boots and are from J Crew, but I can’t find a link. Sorry! My colourblock sweater is linked here, I got a size Small and it’s pretty oversized but I love it.

He is just the most handsome man I ever did see! I LOVED this look on him!
A Barbour jacket + wellies = 😍😍😍

I actually really like that shot of me opening the car door, it’s a genuine candid Matt took that we didn’t plan ha! Thanks babe. We left the pumpkin patch covered in mud (seriously, our jeans somehow had mud EVERYWHERE) and headed into York city centre. We come to York pretty often but we very rarely go into the centre so I was super excited to wander around. We did a little shopping – I picked up this Disney tee in Zara and I’m obsessed with it! Matt so badly wants one of those coats pictured below but he can never quite decide on which. We also went to Expressions Clothing which is a vintage store selling lots of American brands and sportswear. I treated Matt to a rugby shirt for SUCH a good price, and I picked up an oversized Broncos tee that still had the tags on. I’m super excited to wear it with mom jeans and Vans!

After looking round a few more shops we headed for lunch at Lucky Days cafe – we first went here in December 2017 and ordered soup because we were so freezing. We remembered how amazing the food was so specifically went back for their soup, and it was just as good! Matt got thai green chicken and I went for broccoli and cheddar, and we split a red velvet cake. A perk of being an adult? You can eat dessert before your main course. Which we did… oops!

We spent another hour or so exploring York; venturing around the shambles and just enjoying being in a new city before making a quick visit to York Designer Outlet. We love the outlets, and I swear Matt snaps up every great deal there is! He got a new Ted Baker shirt, a Paul Smith shirt (sadly not the one I found below which was perfect for #spookyszn) and a Fred Perry polo shirt. I got a cute slogan t-shirt from Tommy Hilfiger which I love – it will be perfect with jeans/leggings and an oversized cardigan – and we of course made a visit to the Cadbury store and the Haribo store!

The outlets were SO EMPTY – we’d definitely recommend going mid-week instead of during the weekend if you can. Sometimes when we’ve been it’s been so busy you can barely look around the stores! We finished up our shopping and made our way to Harrogate to get cosy in our hotel. We stayed at the new Doubletree by Hilton, which we didn’t know had only become a Hilton three weeks before! The hotel was undergoing renovations but when it’s finished it is going to be SO BEAUTIFUL. We had a huge room that had just been done out (I really didn’t take many photos, sorry guys!) and had no complaints. As we booked pretty last minute we didn’t check TripAdvisor, but when I looked a day or two before I was slightly worried, the reviews were AWFUL. We had no need to be worried though, we had a great stay and the staff were really friendly. One thing I really love about Hilton hotels is that you get a warm chocolate chip cookie on arrival, that’s great service!

We took a few blog photos for this post (I swear Matt is the best boyfriend ever!!) and then got ready for our evening enjoying a few glasses of wine. We ate at one of our favourite restaurants, Gino’s, and the food as always was AMAZING. I love that they have a photo booth up on the top level of the restaurant, and a heated outside bar. We of course took photo booth photos as that’s another little tradition of ours, we’ve got tons! As it was a Tuesday night there wasn’t too much going on in the centre, so we headed back to our hotel for drinks in the beautiful lobby. We then took a few drinks upstairs and snuggled in bed to watch Chaos In The Cockpit… we always watch shows like this. No wonder I’m so scared of flying!! Also yes, date night and we prefer to spend it in bed. We’re 25 going on 85 HAH.

Oh hey there, you can see me in the mirror!

Okay so I took this photo because I need your guys’ advice/help!! After a full day of wearing makeup (which is almost every day because y’know… I love my makeup) my skin is SO RED. It is almost rash-like and so so hot to touch, and covers my cheeks, chin and nose. Has anyone else ever experienced this? My skin is looking and feeling SO good right now (except for acne scars and the odd spot), but this random redness – it almost looks like a rash? – is kinda freaking me out. Please help me!

Date night with you is my favourite. I love you, Matthew!

Any restaurant/bar that provides blankets is my kind of place!

The next morning we slept in a little, and enjoyed not having to rush around getting ready. We literally snuggled in bed for like, half an hour! It was perfect. I read a little whilst Matt caught up on a few e-mails, and we slowly got ready for our day! I am borderline obsessed with my Zara x Disney t-shirt, it is just soooo cute. I’m really going to miss wearing slogan/cute t-shirts as the weather gets colder and I have to wear a sweater every day! In the photo below Matt was totally stuffing his face with our Haribo pick n mix. Hahaha.

We were planning on going for breakfast in Harrogate but it was pouring rain and we really weren’t dressed for the weather so we decided to just head back up North early. We went into Newcastle city centre for a wander, browse of the shops and lunch at one of our favourite local restaurants; The Botanist. The food is always amazing and their cocktails are out of this world, although sadly we didn’t get any as it was 2pm on a Tuesday. #sigh #life (although, if you go… get a blueberry martini! I don’t even like a regular martini but wow, these are AMAZING and my ‘treat’ every time we go. Thank me later!)

We had the best afternoon wandering around our hometown, but we were so freaking tired. We headed home, unpacked the car and… took a nap. At 4pm on a week day. It was FANTASTIC! We highly recommend, guys. Toddlers are so lucky! I can’t even tell you how much we needed that nap; we woke up around 5.30pm, I took a shower and we headed over to Matt’s parents, where we just managed to stay awake past 10pm, hahaha. We had a lovely night visiting with them, watching football and eating dinner. I feel like all we did those two days was eat, but hey you have to enjoy yourself right?! We sadly had to be back at work the next day, but this was such a special trip for us and we had so much fun! Thank you for being my favourite travel partner, I love you Matthew 🙂

And thank YOU so much for reading and following along on our little Fall getaway! I hope you enjoyed this post, how beautiful is that pumpkin patch?! I feel so grateful and lucky we got to have a mini anniversary celebration after all, and I’m so thankful to be able to share it with you guys. Thank you for your continued support; you have no idea how much it means to me that you read my blog and I am so excited for all of the fun, festive content planned for the next few months 🙂 have you visited York or Harrogate before? Where’s your favourite road trip place?!

-G x

Weekend In My Life

Happy Sunday, loves! Today’s post is another Weekend In My Life; something I’ve had so many requests to do! As I started doing more of a photo diary style weekend recap instead, it’s been a long time since my last one (you can catch that here if you missed it) but I’m so happy to be writing another. Last weekend was one of Matt and I’s favourite weekends of the whole year; Great North Run weekend! During it we went to a rugby game (my very first!), had so much fun with family and seen Matt’s cousin complete another half marathon. It was packed full and we were SO tired over the following week, but it was definitely worth it. Let’s rewind back to Friday…

Friday 6th September

I had set our alarm for a little earlier than usual as I had to write my Feelin’ It Friday post. I had cheated a little bit and wrote lots of it the night before as Matt was out with work and didn’t get home until around 8pm, which was the perfect blog writing time for me! I let Matt sleep in, made a little ‘soft office’ in bed, grabbed my iPad and finished up writing my post. Matt was super cute and sleepy so I snuggled back in for a cuddle, then had to rush to get ready for work. I swear this happens every day, hah!

I headed to work for what turned out to be a good day. It went super quickly and we had a very chilled day in the office, which is always appreciated on a Friday! My coworker Laura and I made a Costa run during our lunch break for our first Bonfire Spice drinks of the season… we were SO HAPPY! I also picked up mac n cheese for lunch which is quite possibly my favourite ever food, it was delish! This Friday was also pay day which made the day even better, it’s the little things isn’t it 🙂 before I knew it, it was 5pm and I was leaving to rush home to get ready for the evening! I listened to the new Shagged, Married, Annoyed podcast (obviously) on the drive to/from work – it’s literally laugh out loud funny EVERY week! I wish they would come out with daily episodes, I just love Rosie Ramsey so. dang. much.

I took off my makeup, had a super quick shower and began to get re-ready for the evening. Matt had spent the day at home and seeing his cousins and their partners who had just drove up for the weekend, so he got home just as I was finishing up getting ready. I’m always so happy to be back together at the end of the day! We had tickets for a rugby game at St James’ park; England were playing Italy and we were SUPER excited! It’s the first time England have played outside of Twickenham in a very long time and also our first rugby game together. We made it to town with plenty of time to spare, so popped to Zapatista for a burrito before the game. I feel like Zapatista is so underrated, we always enjoy our visits there and the food is SO GOOD!

Look at that sky… 😍

I love you so much Matthew! (Here’s two blurry selfies from the game. Because one isn’t enough!)

How dang pretty is that sunset?!?! The game was so much fun (well the second half – the first half was a little boring), and so very different to the football games we’re used to! Rugby is very posh compared to football, it made me laugh so much when the signs came up saying ‘great kick’ when we scored…. football fans, can you imagine that during a match?! England won 37 – 0 and we had the best time watching; the atmosphere was so different and it was packed full! I especially loved the Mexican wave hahaha, pretty much the whole stadium participated… that’s more than 50,000 people! Matt’s godparents were sitting really close to us so it was especially nice to see them, and we could drink alcohol inside the stadium which was weird. If you’re not familiar with UK football stadiums, you’re not allowed to drink alcohol inside the stadium, only inside the corridors at half time. Snapple fact: I worked at St James’ Park for around three years, and I loved my time there so much! We headed into the city for a few drinks with Matt’s godparents after the game before heading home. As soon as I’d took my makeup off, we turned on thunderstorm sounds via Alexa and drifted off to sleep!

Saturday 7th September

Saturday morning we were up pretty early to head over to Matt’s parents to meet with the family and go out for the day. I washed my hair in preparation for a busy weekend (the best feeling, right?! side note: looking at this photo I’m even more happy I just got my hair back dark this week!), did my makeup and got dressed. I wore my new favourite cardigan from ASOS and I love it so much, I really want to get the grey one too. Matt got to laze in bed whilst I got ready and I so wished I could have too, we were so tired after such a busy work week! It’s not too often we get full weekends together due to Matt’s work schedule, so I just felt really grateful for our time together.

We got to Matt’s parents just after they got home – they stayed with Debbie’s mum whilst the family were up! – and it was so nice to see everyone, (even though we had just seen them in Stamford a few weeks before). We caught up for a little then all headed into Newcastle for the day. We went to the Quayside, which is one of Matt and I’s favourite ever places, but it was so crazy busy! The children’s Great North Run was being held around the Quayside, so the crowds were huge – which is never great for my anxiety! – but we still had such a good day. We loved all the cute kiddos running with their parents, it was so sweet to see how excited they were. We cheered them on for a little before heading across the river to grab lunch and drinks at By The River Brewing Co. It’s essentially a mini village made out of used shipping containers, selling food and brewing their own beer, as well as serving typical well know brands. I was freezing (what’s new?) so I was super glad to be snuggled under the heat lamps, and the food was amazing! Almost everyone got Greek food but Matt and I totally missed out on that memo, dang it. We did get really good food (pizza fries for me, pizza for Matthew so we could have a little of each others) and I already can’t wait to go back in a few weeks time. We picked up a salted caramel brownie to take home and guys. It was the best thing we’ve ever tasted!!!

I mean… 😍😍😍 he’s just so handsome! Also, I’m so sad the below photo is blurred!

After spending most of the day in town, we all headed back to shower and get re-ready for the evening, as we were heading to dinner at one of Matt and I’s favourite restaurants, Fratelli’s in Ponteland. We’ve been coming to Fratelli’s since we were dating, before it was ‘official’ and it’s such a special place to us! I got out of the shower to find Matt flat out, snuggled in under our blanket and his dressing gown. My heart can’t take it!

Matt’s parents picked us up a little while later – we discussed our Christmas plans in the car! In September! Hah, we’ve since booked up for Christmas Dinner at the same pub we went to last year and we already can’t wait! We settled into a great table, ordered drinks, apps and mains and had the most lovely night. As always, the food was great and everyone enjoyed it so much. Matt and I shared our usual starter (potato skins) and we always tend to get the same meals here. Matt got the spicy sausage pasta he always gets but I tried their carbonara for the first time and I can’t even tell you how delicious it was, I’ll definitely be ordering it again! We all headed for a cocktail at YOLO before we headed home – I had a Candy Pants which was amazing, and Matt got a Long Island Iced Tea that was SO STRONG, haha, but tasted exactly like the drinks in Croatia. I loved this evening and I’m so grateful to Matt’s parents, we really are so lucky to have them 🙂

…the best photo we got all night #sophotogenic

Sunday 8th September

A 7.30am alarm on a Sunday morning isn’t usually something I’d be too happy about, but it was GNR day!! I jumped out of bed to shower and get ready whilst Matt did a few work emails, then we headed back to his parents house to pick everyone up and make our way to South Shields. It was super cold and I stayed snuggled under my car blanket… I swear I’m like a child! Although, it did make me very excited for #sweaterweather. Lots of the roads are closed for the run which means traffic can be CRAZY, so we like to get there early; Matt and I took Adam and Charlotte whilst his parents followed with Laura (they had to drop Adam – yep, two Adam’s! It’s confusing! – off at the start) and we all met up near the finish line. After it was MY fault the sat nav took us to the wrong place. Thanks, Matt. 😂 We grabbed drinks and browsed the stalls for a little while, but as we were there so early not much was really set up. We were gutted because we realllllly wanted free Wagamama’s!

We found a great spot near the finish line, and settled in for a few hours to watch the competitors coming in! David Weir was first through as he won the wheelchair race for the eight time in a row, the crowd was already so excitable when he crossed the finish line. Bridgid Kosgei won the women’s race and broke a freaking world record for the fastest half marathon ran by a woman, ever! We were right there when she broke it and it was crazy to be part of that. She was INCREDIBLE! She also looked like she’d been for maybe a brisk walk at worst… hahaha. Mo Farrah came through for the men’s race (of course) and won for the sixth time in a row; the crowd went CRAZY for him as always, we experienced it last year too and it was even more electric this time round. He came back for his little lap of honour right in front of us and gave everyone high fives, he’s so teeny tiny in person, just a little dot! Not too far behind Mo was the man we were actually there for, Adam ran the half marathon in one hour, thirty five minutes! That’s crazy to me, he did so well and everyone was so proud!

After the run Adam wanted to get home quickly, so we all drove home for snacks and to relax. Unfortunately the family needed to get moving pretty quickly to make their way back home, a long drive on a Sunday is nobody’s idea of fun! We were sad to say goodbye as it felt like the weekend had only just begun, but Matt and I are hoping to visit again before Christmas so I’m sure we’ll see them very soon. After everyone had left, Matt nipped out to see his friend for his birthday and drop his birthday cards in, then we headed to pick my brother up. He had just flown home from Canada overnight on Saturday and landed in Manchester in the morning, then had to get two trains up to Newcastle. A VERY long travel day! We were so happy to see him as it had been almost a week since we had, and he also brought us some delicious snacks home. Mountain Dew is my favourite drink in the whole wide world (okay. So is Diet Coke.) but we can’t get Mountain Dew here. There is a UK version which is naff and tastes nothing like the US/Canadian version, but theirs is literally banned in the EU. I’ve no idea why because it is DELICIOUS!

We caught up with Robert for a little while about his trip, before heading back to Matt’s parents for the night. We relaxed for a little before going to pick up a Chinese takeaway – guys, it was SO GOOD. Sundays are just made for takeaways, right?! Matt’s godparents came round to visit and we spent the evening with them and his parents, which we always love to do! Family filled weekends are some of our favourite, and this one was just perfect. I didn’t shower until super late, but we still had little time to enjoy a few drinks with Matt’s mum and dad. We stayed up until almost midnight which is so not like us, especially on a Sunday! we are early sleepers!!

I hope you enjoyed this post, thank you so much for reading! Would you like to see more Weekend In My Life posts? Matt and I have some really fun weekends coming up and I’d love to share with you! What have your weekends looked like recently? Have you ever ran a half marathon? I can’t tell you how good the atmosphere is at the GNR (I’m biased, I love my hometown so much) but I’m sure that would be a super fun one to do!

-G x

My Smear Test Experience, And Why You Shouldn’t Fear Yours

Happy Sunday, loves!

As you may have guessed by the title, today’s post is very personal but also very important. If you’re due a smear test, or you are expecting to get a letter through the door any day now to book your first appointment, DON’T WORRY! Are you feeling a little apprehensive? Nervous about a nurse having a good ol’ nosy at your downstairs? Well, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re one of the elite who don’t care about this kind of thing and just get on with it like the adult you are, I salute you! You may get a good laugh at my expense in this post, though.

A smear test (also known as a cervical screening test) is designed to check for abnormalities to cells on your cervix. It does NOT test for cancer, although the test is able to prevent cancer in patients as any abnormalities found can be treated, therefore preventing possible cancer in the future.

I received my letter to book my smear test around six months before my 25th birthday. It was the end of November/beginning of December when I opened my letter, and after telling Matt how nervous I was at the thought of it, I put the letter in a drawer, mentally putting off booking my appointment until after Christmas. I was very nervous and worried about the concept of a smear test, and even more about waiting for the results afterwards. January rolled around and to be honest, I was still putting off booking my appointment. The #10yearchallenge trended for a few weeks in January, and apart from cringeworthy throwbacks, something I seen all over social media was photographs of Jade Goody, who sadly passed away from cervical cancer aged 27, ten years ago. Her story was being re-discussed, and an encouragement on ladies attending their smear test was brought up again.

I’m sure Jade Goody’s name will be familiar to everyone based in the UK, as there have been so many campaigns to lower the age for smear tests after her incredibly sad and untimely death. Currently in the UK, smear tests are free for all women from six months before their 25th birthday, and recurring tests (if all is well) are carried out every three years, until the age of 49, when it changes to every five years. These test times can vary based on your results, and we’re very well looked after by our NHS. That being said, it’s currently thought that at least one in three women do not attend appointments for their smear test, often due to embarrassment of the test. As the testing process is so frequent, it’s going to be a regular part of any woman’s life, and it’s 100% for our benefit. As I mentioned above, I was very nervous at the thought of the test process and I see why people are put off, although after having my test I really feel there’s no need to be! It is completely normal to feel nervous and apprehensive about something you’ve never done before, but a simple test that takes less than five minutes could literally save your life. And it’s free, us Brits love a bargain or freebie, right?

My Experience

So, after seeing all of the #10yearchallenge posts (which were to raise awareness, and for me it clearly worked) I knew I had to book my appointment. The night before I booked it, Matt and I were lying in bed talking before we fell asleep, and he told me he’d also seen the #10yearchallenge posts, and thought it was really important I booked in soon. I relayed how terrified I was, and after talking out my concerns with him I felt so much better. The next morning, I plucked up all of the courage I could muster to book my appointment and was told I couldn’t as I wasn’t yet 25. What? I explained that I’d received a letter to arrange my appointment, but was told by the receptionist that as I wasn’t yet 25 she couldn’t book me in. I reluctantly booked just a pill check (as I wanted to do both appointments at the same time) and hung up the phone.

I was at work when this happened, so after relaying the story to my co-workers and having a quick read of the NHS website, I knew what I’d been told was incorrect and that I should be able to have my test any time from six months before I turned 25. I called back and was told that actually yes, I could book my smear test and that I’d been given incorrect information. It may not seem like a big deal to some, but as I was already so nervous to book my test I could have trusted her word and put it off for a further four months. This could have been the difference, literally between life and death, if something is found to be wrong. It makes me terrified to think that if someone else was told this, they would have accepted it to be true and potentially not booked their smear test. Please note, I do not blame the receptionist for this! I just think more training should be provided to anyone giving any kind of medical advice on behalf of the NHS.

Less than a week before my scheduled appointment, my test was put back a further week and a half, with little explanation. This really didn’t help my anxiety and worry over the upcoming test, as it meant the time between booking my appointment and the day of my appointment was just over three weeks. Matt had promised we could get a Chinese takeaway that night (on a Wednesday! Takeaways for us are strictly reserved for weekends only LOL) so I had something to look forward to afterwards, the cutie. A few days before, I tried to read every source of information I could find for background on what to do and expect, and I talked through my concerns and worries with Matt, my mam and my co-workers. Nothing’s off limits with the girls you work with, right?!

My test was booked for 9am, and I’m a little embarrassed to admit I spent the whole night before mulling over it, and not sleeping very well. I woke up a few times during the night and was so jealous Matt was sleeping like a baby snuggled into me! When it was finally time to get up, Matt was so good to me, he knew I was super nervous so was making me laugh all morning and trying to help me relax. I got ready – spending a little extra time doing my makeup because that always makes you feel better, right? – kissed Matt goodbye (doing my best Ross I’m fine impression) and drove to the surgery.

The GP surgery was pretty much empty due to having an early appointment, and I was called in before my appointment time. This turned out to be the biggest shock of the day, I didn’t know that ever happened! After a very awkward moment of trying to find the examination room I was supposed to be in, the nurse welcomed me in, called me ‘lovey’ and I instantly felt ten times more comfortable. We chatted a little about the day – very little traffic, lovely sunny morning after it rained through the night. You know, the typical British conversations you have with a stranger. We quickly ran through my pill check and sorted out my repeat prescription for another year, then it was time to have my smear test. I’d already told the nurse I was very nervous and hadn’t slept well, and whilst explaining the method and purpose of the test she was so kind and calm. She had a great way of being informative and reassuring at the same time. All practice nurses I’ve met have been this way, and it’s truly a testament to how good they are at their jobs.

I was asked to step behind the curtain and remove my clothes from the waist down (I wish I’d thought about this earlier and wore a skirt or dress, but I digress) and sit on the bed. All I could think about was how my downstairs looked at this point, my focus wasn’t even on the test! I was given a sheet of paper to cover what dignity I had left, and instructed to lay back, putting the soles of my feet together and my knees out wide. And to relax. Turns out, it’s not the most relaxing environment or position infront of a stranger, and as much as I was trying to pretend I was mid-yoga session, my knees were firmly locked. The nurse was chatting throughout this whole time and without even realising I’d totally relaxed. She told me the speculum* was in place and now she was going to take the sample of cells from my cervix. She inserted a small brush to take the sample, and warned me there may be mild discomfort caused by this. Personally, I barely felt anything, just a slight twinge for literally a second or two. She then told me the test was over and I could get re-dressed, just like that!
*a plastic tool inserted into the vagina to open the area and provide easy access for the test

From taking my clothes off to putting them back on was less than five minutes. That’s less than five minutes of feeling slightly awkward and uncomfortable, that could save my life! The actual test process was, I guess, less than two minutes. The nurse told me the letter with the results would be sent out in two to three weeks, and that everything looked healthy from what she could see. That made me feel so reassured, and also pretty damn stupid that I’d been so unnecessarily worried for months. I texted my boyfriend and my mam with an update (and to tell them I didn’t cry LOL) then went to work as normal to get on with my day, eagerly waiting for Matt to finish work and bring home the Chinese takeaway I’d been promised! Spoiler: it was delicious.

My smear test was carried out almost a week ago, so I’m currently waiting for a letter to see if everything is okay or if further testing is required. Further testing does not necessarily mean something is wrong; sometimes results are inconclusive, and a second round of testing may be required to rule out potential abnormalities. Other outcomes could be that low grade or high grade abnormal changes are detected, or HPV is found, therefore further testing may be needed. A colposcopy is the next round of testing, if a second smear isn’t required, then further information can be given based on those results. I’m not as worried about the results as I expected to be, and it’s not really crossed my mind too much post-test. One thing I have thought about a lot is how I’m incredibly grateful to live in the UK where the testing process is free, and encouraged, and that this simple procedure saves so many lives every year.

My Tips

DO book your test as soon as possible. It could literally save your life.

DO talk about how you’re feeling with your partner, family and/or close friends. Whoever you feel most comfortable with is the person(s) you should go to. Also, tell your nurse any concerns/worries on the day.

DO your own research. Being prepared is the best advice for any situation, and knowing what to expect takes the worry out of the situation, even if that’s just a little.

DO plan something for afterwards to look forward to, even if it sounds a little daft. Takeaway and snuggles all night with your boyfriend highly recommended.

DON’T stress about your upcoming test, try to think about it as little as possible.

DON’T worry about the nurse seeing your hoo-haa. She’s seen hundreds, if not thousands, and I guarantee she couldn’t care less what yours looks like.

DON’T back out of your test then re-book for a later date. I had a wobble a few days before and almost did this, but it would have made re-booking even harder.

DON’T tense up during your test. As hard as it is to chill out, try to forget what’s going on down there and let yourself relax.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful, and that it provided a little bit of a relief (and maybe a laugh at my expense). Please, please, please book your smear tests in girls, and encourage your family members, friends and co-workers to do the same. If they’re feeling a little worried, you can always direct them to this post!

-G x