Thanksgiving Thoughts

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers! Thanksgiving is an American holiday, dating back to the Pilgrims giving thanks for their first Autumn Harvest. It’s a day that families gather to voice thanks for what they have, spend time together, watch football, and of course, eat tons of yummy food! I could seriously get on board with this holiday just for the food, that’s for sure. It’s pretty much a pre-Christmas warm up, and hey, I’m down for it.

Over the past few years us Brits have stolen Black Friday from the other side of the pond, so maybe we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving in a few years! Also, did you guess why this post was going up on Thursday instead of Wednesday? I’m sorry, I wasn’t being a bad blogger!

In light of the holiday, I thought I’d share with you 20 things I’m feeling super grateful for right now! Some of these are ‘just for fun’ and some are serious and heartfelt. I’m of course thankful for these things every day, but I thought it would be nice to share with you today as I’m feeling the holiday spirit! Also, I apologise in advance if this post looks a little different than usual, this is the first post I’ve done a final edit on using the new WordPress software and I hate change, I’m struggling to get used to it! (I can’t decide if I like it or not yet ha).

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My incredible boyfriend. Matthew is seriously the best thing that’s ever happened to me. We literally laugh ALL the time, we spend most of our free time together and it’s not enough, he looks after me and makes me so happy, and of course he’s the most handsome man I ever did see! He also gives the best kisses and cuddles, and he’s like a human radiator which is even more appreciated in this super cold weather, haha. I love him so much, and I make sure to tell him every single day how much I love and appreciate him!

Cosy evenings. Speaking of my human radiator boyfriend, we have been loving all of the cosy nights in recently, even more now I’m A Celebrity has started again. I’m extremely thankful that since he got his promotion back in July we’ve been able to be together every night and morning, yay for better shifts! We can’t wait to buy our home (hopefully this time next year we’ll be well into the process, how exciting!) but for now we make do and we know we’re very lucky to have two homes. We love to cook, binge watch our shows and snuggle up on the couch, it’s the perfect way to unwind after a busy day at work.

Learning to cook. Matt and I have stepped up our cooking game ten fold over the past couple of months, and we’ve been making some amazing food! (If I do say so myself, HA). We’ve perfected a few dishes, but our favourites to make are always chilli, steak, chili salmon, chicken stir fry and various pasta dishes.

Our families and friends. I’m seriously the luckiest girl to have two families who I absolutely adore and I know they want nothing but the best for Matt and I. We’re super close to both of our families, and it’s one of the best things ever! We’re also blessed to have a great friendship group, and I’m so excited to spend more time with everyone over the festive season! Also, a bonus thing I’m thankful for is Friday night wine night with the Scotney’s, it’s forever my jam.

The build up to Christmas. I am SO excited for Christmas this year, I can’t stand it! I just ordered Matthew and I the cutest Christmas Eve pyjamas, which is totally going to make opening presents together on Christmas morning even more adorable! (I doubt he’ll think that HAHA). I love that stores everywhere have their decorations up, fairy lights seem to be appearing by the minute and we’ll be decorating the tree next weekend! I can already taste the pigs in blankets! There may also be a special something happening on the blog… hint: I’m celebrating twelve days of Christmas with you

Crisp, cool, weather. It’s the best time of the year, y’all! I’m loving wearing my coats, scarves and hats, and it’s SO nice to come in from the cold and grab a hot chocolate. (Swiss Miss Marshmallow FOR LIFE). It’s a little frosty in the mornings and evenings now, so if the snow could just not ever appear that would be great. Also, can you be addicted to hot chocolate? Asking for a friend…

My blog. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my blog is an outlet I didn’t know I needed and I truly feel proud of myself for the little haven I’m creating day by day. I enjoy posting SO much – from taking and editing photos, to writing, to editing, to posting and interacting with readers and fellow bloggers. It’s an amazing community to be a part of, and I’d seriously encourage anyone that wants to write a blog to just do it. I have SO much content planned over the festive period, I can’t wait!

My job. One that may seem very obvious, but I’m seriously thankful that I have a job I enjoy and am (kind of) good at… I know what I’m doing at least 80% of the time, that’s a start, right? I know not everyone has that privilege, so even on a bad day I need to remember to be thankful and appreciate having a job to complain about.

Blueberry muffins for breakfast. Sometimes it’s the little things, right? (Costco muffins are the best, my dad picks them up all the time and I’m so grateful, even if I can’t ever finish one HAHA).

Candles and snuggly blankets. Kind of hand in hand with the cosy nights in, but I just love anything that makes me feel cosy and snuggly. I’ve already broken out the Christmas candles, and I’m seriously loving Snowflake Cookie from Yankee Candle and Peppermint from DW Home right now.

Lush Snow Fairy shower gel and body conditioner. If you haven’t already picked up the best products Lush make, what are you waiting for?! Every year I love the shower gel, and this year I’m equally as obsessed with the body conditioner. I’ve used and liked the Ro’s Argan option before, but this is approximately ten thousand times better… seriously! The smell literally just makes me happy, and I can’t tell you how much I love it. Lush, please make it an all round thing?!

Sundays with Matthew. It’s our favourite day of the week because we almost always get to spend it together! We love spending every night together even when sometimes it’s literally eating dinner and going to bed, and of course, any Saturdays we get to spend together are just as great but I really love the cosy, laid back vibe of a Sunday. We run errands, we watch football, we grocery shop, we go for long walks or road trips, and we eat tons of good food. We spend our evenings (like most other nights) snuggled up watching Netflix shows or a movie, and it’s just the best. The old saying “A Sunday well spent brings a week of content” could not be more true.

My car. This one probably seems a little strange, but especially as the weather gets colder and it’s raining every day, I really appreciate being able to drive myself wherever I need to be. (Candle runs to Homesense are a need, right?) For real, I’m so thankful I’m able to get to work, from my house to Matthew’s and back, and just wherever else I need to be in-between. It’s such a huge privilege and I don’t ever want to take it for granted. 

Our NHS & Emergency Services. Around the holidays a lot of time and attention seems to be put into our ES departments, although it should be that way all year round. It seriously blows my mind that some countries have to pay for healthcare, and if they can’t pay they literally go without. We are SO lucky in the UK to not have that concern. Matt and I have been watching Ambulance with his family all month (it’s the most amazing show, I cry at every episode!) and it really highlights the reality of modern day society. The paramedics in this show work SO. DAMN. HARD as do paramedics all over the country, and they do it with such love and determination. I’d love a new insider show on the police and/or fire department, that would be so interesting! BBC, are you reading?! 

Laughing every day. No matter how bad a day can be, there’s always joy and laughter in it. Matthew makes me DIE laughing, literally tears rolling down my face all the time! My friends, coworkers and our families are also people who love to laugh (who isn’t?) and it’s one of the things I love most. One of the best feelings in the world is laughing so hard you can’t breathe or talk, and my boyfriend and I laugh like that on the daily!

Small Town Murder. I seriously LOVE this podcast, it’s literally the stories of murders in small towns, mainly in the US but told in such a fun way. James & Jimmy are so good at telling stories, although they never make fun of the victim or the victim’s family. I literally laugh out loud throughout each episode, and right now I’m loving listening on my way to/from work! Matthew’s even getting on board a little bit, and it’s so interesting learning about new towns and the stories that happen there. If you have an hour car journey coming up, I really think you should give them a go – I listen on Spotify!

Victoria’s Secret finally opening in our local mall. Could I be any more #basic?! I have loved VS since I was around 12, and when I heard we were finally getting a store I was SO excited! Our closest one before was two and a half hours away, do you feel my pain?! When ours opened last week they had some really good deals, so me and my underwear drawer are very happy.

The places I’ve been to this year. I’m very lucky in the fact that I’ve been to lots of cities/countries in my life, and this year was no exception. Matt and I have visited York, Dublin, Kos, Belfast, Liverpool, Manchester and we’ve explored our hometown and surrounding area a ton! We’re also going to Edinburgh in a few weeks time for the Christmas markets and I can’t wait, it’s one of our favourite cities as that was the first city break we ever went on together! I’m already anticipating all of the new places we’re hoping to explore next year, and I’m so excited to book our Summer 2019 holiday! We’re pretty sure we’re heading to Jamaica… (I’m literally giddy at the thought of booking, I CAN’T WAIT!)

Learning to live better with arthritic pain. I have mentioned this a few times on the blog, but if you don’t already know, I have arthritis and it mainly affects my knees, hips and fingers. I constantly deal with pains and aches, and I don’t remember being young enough for it to not be super bad. I literally feel like an 80 year old sometimes HA! Since around August when the weather started to change and get cooler, I’ve been waking up in the night crying from pain in my knees (they lock if I’m in the same position for too long, and the colder nights makes it worse). Matthew is the best about it and jumps up without thinking to massage my knee(s) until it/they feels better. Sometimes I must still be asleep as I don’t remember waking up until the next morning when he tells me! He picked me up some Ibuprofen gel that I apply each morning and night and that has been such a huge help. I have hot bubble baths most nights and that also makes a really noticable difference, I’ve been loving the Radox bath salts recently too!

Black Friday. …your girl is hoping to finish her Christmas shopping TOMORROW! Well, aside from all of the chocolates and wine gifts because I can never pick those for everyone and always leave it until the last minute, haha. Matt and I have our lists ready and I’m really hoping we can get everything else we need. 

Thank you so much for reading! What are you feeling most thankful for recently? If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving today I hope you have the most wonderful day with your families, please eat all of the mac n cheese and stuffing for me! I’m SO jealous!!

-G x

What Wellness Means To Me

Happy Sunday, loves!

Can you believe it’s November?! It’s blowing my mind that October has already been and gone, I feel like the year is going SO quickly! Michael Buble is officially my music of choice again, it’s pretty much Christmas, right? I hope you’re having a great weekend, we sure are! My post on Wednesday is going to be another weekend in my life so I’ll fill you in then, but it’s already been SUCH a great weekend, I don’t want it to end! What have you been up to? I hope yours is just as good! Today’s post is very special to me and it’s another personal one!

So, ‘wellness’ is a word we’re seeing everywhere in the media world recently, but what does it actually mean? Well, the dictionary definition is;

wellness
ˈwɛlnəs/
noun
wellness
  1. the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.

…so, we’re clear then, yeah? It’s an ever-growing, ever-changing topic and, to be honest, I think we can all have our own perceptions of how it applies to us and our lifestyles individually. For me, wellbeing means I am happy and content in my life, and by taking time out to do things I love, practice self-care and spend time with my loved ones, I think I achieve that pretty well. It has a positive effect on my mental health, and I’d like to share with you a few things I think are more meaningful to me now, than ever.

I wrote a post all about how I unwind a few months ago, which you can read here if you missed it, and as much as this topic crosses over I think it definitely deserves it’s own post. I think wellness is a branch of self-care, and doing things that make you feel good in turn make you think good.

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Pampering mind and body.
My personal favourite way to unwind (other than cuddling the heck out of my boyfriend) is to indulge in a pamper night. I love to have a hot bubble bath with a Lush bath bomb or bubble bar ideally, use a face/hair mask, carry out an elaborate skincare routine etc. I usually get gel nails every two to three weeks, which is definitely an indulgence, but it’s something that makes me feel so good. (I just got them taken off last week for a ‘breather’ and my nails are ruined!!) For me, pamper nights are not all about the beauty products, it’s also about looking after your brain. I love to read blogs and books, I’ve included a list of all the books I’ve recently loved in this post, and I find it’s one of the best ways to clear my mind. I’m currently reading The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand and it’s SO good, I’d highly recommend picking it up! I also really enjoy watching reality shows like Botched and Keeping Up With The Kardashians, which I’m not sure necessarily stimulates my brain, but they do make me happy!

Listening to Podcasts.
Okay, I hold my hands up and admit, I didn’t think I’d ever get on the podcast hype. I was SO wrong and now I am borderline obsessed! I’ve found they’re a great alternative to music or YouTube, which would be my usual go-to’s. I listen to podcasts getting ready in the morning, on my way to/from work, whilst tidying up, doing the dishes etc – all of the mundane, boring errands and tasks can be so much more fun when you’re distracted with a podcast. My favourite right now is Small Town Murder – each episode tells the story of a murder in a different small town (
no, really?!) but it’s all told in such a humorous way. The guys who run it, James and Jimmy, are HILARIOUS but they never make fun of the victims or their family. I’d highly recommend giving it a listen, and they also have another podcast called Crime In Sports that is just as good! I’m pretty sure Matt is sick of me going on and on about how good STM is, haha!

Voicing gratitude.
As I said in my afore-mentioned post, I started to make a point of writing down things every day that I was grateful for, and it’s been a great pick-me-up if I ever feel down. I’m a very grateful person and also a very expressive person; I tell Matthew approximately 250 times per day I love him and I’m so thankful for everything we have! I mean it so much, and I’m happy that he knows just how much he means to me. I used to laugh and joke that I told him too much, but realistically I don’t think that’s true – it’s important to voice how we feel – good or bad – and I’m happy I’m able to do this. I no longer write down something I’m grateful for every day, but I do as often as I can. I recently read my list back and had a giggle that 90% of it involves Matthew and/or food, I’m a simple gal!

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This photo always makes me giggle! He’s the cutest

Spend quality time with loved ones.
You’ll all be shocked to know that spending quality time with my boyfriend makes me the happiest girl on the planet, I’m sure. Whether it’s a fancy pants date night, a trip/holiday or just our typical evening routine I’m so grateful for everything we have, and I appreciate each minute more than the last. Waking up to him every morning, and snuggling in to sleep with him every night is the best feeling in the world, and it never gets old! We spend lots of time with our families, and I’m so blessed that his family are like my family too! My mam is (of course) one of my favourite ever people and I love spending time with her when we can – we’re both super buys and need to definitely set aside more time together. As we get older we have less free time, and I want to spend it with the people I love most; Matthew, our families and my best friends.

Cooking.
I’ve been banging on about cooking a lot recently, but I really am enjoying it so much. As I mentioned in this post, it took Matt and I so long to even broach the cooking world, but now we’re chef’ing it up on a daily basis and it brings me so much joy. Don’t get me wrong, we’re still partial to an M&S Dine in for Two or a Chinese takeaway now and then, but I definitely feel better on the nights we spend time cooking together. It’s the best feeling when we make something new and it works! The first time we made a BBQ Pineapple Chicken dish it went terribly (pink chicken, anyone?) but now we’re making new dishes most weeks and they’re turning out great. You can read how to make our favourite side dish this Autumn here – it’s so easy! 

Exercising.
I realise that ‘exercise makes you feel good’ is not exactly ground-breaking news, but it’s true! I really enjoy gentle exercises, like yoga and country walks/hikes when we have the time (which also means more quality time with Matthew, do you see a pattern?) but I’m thinking I may step it up a notch. I’d love to try a boxing or spin class or something different to my normal routine, I just need to get the courage to do it! For now, yoga has become something I adore, and I really look forward to spending twenty minutes to an hour when I can, just zen’ing the F out. Spoken like a true Geordie.

Appreciate alone time.
I think it’s extremely important to enjoy time alone; time to collect your thoughts, relax and just
be. For me, taking time for a pamper evening, reading my book or catching up on my favourite girly shows are the ways I enjoy spending time alone the most. Right now I’m all about re-runs of Gilmore Girls and the new series of Riverdale – I LOVE that show! I occasionally like a solo shopping trip or driving alone, as I can shop at my own pace. Spending time alone allows you to re-set in a different way, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying being by yourself for a few hours.

Blogging.
I am so glad I ventured into the blogging world, and every time I get another like, a new follower or, the best, a comment, I know I made the right decision. I’ve received lots of messages and love from people who read my blog, and it’s an indescribable feeling for someone to enjoy the content you put out. For a hobby, it’s a lot of work, but it’s something that brings me happiness, and I enjoy it more and more. I never struggle from writers block as I have so many ideas and as I only post twice a week (usually) I’m chomping at the bit to write my next post. Branching out into style content over the past few weeks – there’s some exciting things coming up! – has been extremely fun, and I genuinely think it’s making me a better person, as my passion is stronger than ever.

Thank you so much for reading, I’d love to know what wellness means to you? How do you nurture your mental health that little bit extra, to make it a priority?

-G x

Monthly Recap: May

a book cup of coffee and flavoured donut on square white ceramic bowl
Photo by Studio 7042 on Pexels.com

Inspired by Anna, from The Anna Edit, I decided to pick out a few things from each month that were personal highlights, in one form or another, and tell you about them in probably too much detail. Remember in my ‘Fifty Facts About Me’ when I said I rambled on telling stories? It’ll be like you were there!

*I’d recommend you settle down with a cuppa, it’s a long one!*

Harrogate

In May I celebrated my 24th birthday in the best possible way; it involved a roll top bath, a bottle of champagne and my lovely boyfriend, Matt. What’s not to love?

Matt and I spent the first part of the morning opening presents, talking about our plans for the next few days and having a good ol’ giggle. We spent an hour or so with my parents (more presents, yay!) and set off for Harrogate. Matt always drives because he gets ‘car sick’ if he’s the passenger… I think he’s just scared of my driving!

Matt had booked us a beautiful room at Hotel du Vin in Harrogate – our favourite hotel chain and one I can HIGHLY recommend. This was the best suite we’ve ever had! I love the feel of every Hotel du Vin we’ve stayed in; they are all based in old buildings, with a rustic but modern feel and beautifully laid out. Matt and I love a good bath and Hotel du Vin baths do not disappoint! The highlights of our room were definitely the roll top bath, his and hers sinks (the dream!), a huge TV and the biggest L shaped sofa I’ve ever seen. 

We spent our afternoon exploring the town and drinking cocktails. Harrogate is the most beautiful British town I’ve been to; it is so clean and there are flowers everywhere you look. We also visited Betty’s Tea Rooms and picked up two huge fondant fancies – it’s not a birthday without cake, right? That night we ate at Gino’s My Restaurant; we love steak and this was cooked perfectly. The restaurant was lovely – the atmosphere was very cosy and relaxed, and service was great; one of the most important things about a restaurant in my opinion. After our meal we ventured up to the terrace to finish our bottle of wine and found there was a free-to-use photo booth, nice touch Gino! We enjoyed our night so much we are already planning to visit Gino’s My Restaurant in Manchester!

We spent the rest of the night drinking wine and enjoying each others company – I had the best birthday and am so thankful to Matt for everything he does. The next morning we were nursing slightly sore heads, so went for a wander around Harrogate in the sun. We walked through Valley Gardens; they are immaculate! There are brightly coloured flowers in every direction, a little stream running through the park and a small cafe right in the centre. On our way home we stopped by York Designer Outlet; which is sentimental to us as it’s one of the places we visited on our first date :). It was so lovely being back and although there wasn’t a great selection, we did start our holiday shopping!

Breakfast Date

Going for breakfast is one of my most favourite things to do. On a typical day I don’t even eat breakfast (naughty, I know) however there is something weirdly exciting about going out for breakfast.

Jessy, my dearest friend, and I met for pancakes… the dreamiest of breakfast foods. Catching up with her was a fun start to my weekend; face to face catch ups are always so much better than talking over the phone or Whatsapp’ing silly memes to keep in touch. 

We spent a little while after browsing the shops (and talking Jess into buying things she didn’t need – a talent if I do say so myself). I have known Jess for six years now and she has always been a little ray of sunshine in my life and everyone else’s! Due to work/life commitments we don’t get to see each other half as much as we’d like to, so breakfast (and shopping) dates are a great way to fit each other in. Life gets so busy and days turn into weeks (and sometimes months) so quickly, I think we all need to make time for a catch up more often. Lesson learned!

Bank Holiday Weekends

May is THE month for bank holidays. One at the start and one at the end means that in the 9am to 5pm working world you only have three full work weeks during the month. The joy of a four-day work week and a three-day weekend is something that I can only describe as bliss.

My first bank holiday weekend consisted of a little bit of shopping, date night at Babucho’s with Matt (again, highly recommend) and a night out in Newcastle with our friends. My new-found love of Edinburgh raspberry gin and lemonade was put to the test this night; turns out if you stick to one drink all night you really don’t get a hangover! Sunday was hot and sunny so we took a trip to the beach for fish and chips; to find out that the beach was actually really windy and freezing – oops! We spent the rest of the day relaxing in the garden where it was much wamer, then spent the evening with Matt’s parents. I love those kind of homey/cosy nights! Monday then consisted of relaxing in the sun, ice cream and a lot of cuddles – I couldnt think of anything better!

My second bank holiday was a little more relaxed and it was perfect. Matt and I enjoyed a cosy night in watching Friday Night Dinner; our latest Netflix obsession. I watched the series years ago as they were released but I forgot just how funny it was! Saturday was all about relaxing and shopping (slightly addicted, what can I say?) We spent Sunday night celebrating our friends birthday and had so much fun. Matt and I had the luxury of a lie in – a VERY rare occurrence for us – on Monday. We had a lovely afternoon accidentally crashing my godparents’ BBQ; it was so nice to see them and the food was great! We then visited my grandma at the hospital and headed home for a cosy night in. A trip to Asda en route home to find a Heineken keg led to Matt posting a (dreadful) photo of me – I included it below for the LOL’s!

Hope you enjoyed this little look into my life; June is already such a fun month I can’t wait to do this all over again. Thank you so much for reading!

-G x