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

What’s What!

Hi, loves! Happy Friday 🙂 normal posts are resuming again here on my blog, but I’ve really enjoyed taking the past week to read, listen, learn and grow. I shared this post with a bunch of information on Black Lives Matter and links in that you can check out if you want to know a little more and find out how to help.

How are you doing right now? The weight of everything happening in the world is a little heavy and I’ve been limiting my social media time over the past few days because of it. I’m also very… nervous… about life returning to normal. Well, whatever normal looks like now. Here in the UK our ‘non-essential stores’ are opening again this coming week and I just don’t understand why that’s a priority when we’re still at risk level 4. I certainly won’t be rushing to go shopping! On top of that I’ve felt super headachey and just off all week. I swear this week feels like it’s lasted 40 days. Anyone else?! This week lockdown life has got me like:

BUT. It’s Friday! It’s the weekend! Matt is just getting ready to leave for work, I’m snuggled under my blanket with a cup of vanilla chai feeling so cosy. Let’s get into a little what’s what in my life! 

What I’m Eating:

So it may not be Summer weather right now (seriously, where has the sun and heat gone?!) but Matt and I are eating all of the Summer dinners and I couldn’t be happier about it. Most evenings we’re enjoying a variation of subs, fajitas, tacos, pasta salads, burgers or fish. We love salmon A LOT – I typically serve with roast potatoes, rice and a feta salad – but I’ve been switching up how I make it recently. I made a honey chilli glaze the other week that was so delicious we’ve had it three times since. My mum even liked it and she is a super picker eater! I’ll share a ‘recipe’ on the blog soon. It’s so easy I don’t know if it can be classed as a recipe, but it’s delicious and you need to try it! 

What I’m Disappointed About:

My No Buy Month is going very well, so well I’m making money back! I ordered a couple things at the end of May that arrived this past week and were not what I expected. First off I got a ‘vintage’ Levi’s denim jacket from Depop that was just disgusting and not at all what I was told. The seller was super rude and anyone who knows me IRL knows that me and confrontation do not mix. It was my first (and hopefully last) bad experience using Depop and I was horrified. Thankfully PayPal stepped up with a refund to fix it! I had also ordered a pair of Veja trainers after lusting after them for over a year – I went for the Campo style – and I was SO BUMMED with the quality. They’re a sustainable, ethical brand and I swear I’d only heard good things about them. I don’t know if I somehow got a ‘bad’ pair but the leather looked unfinished and the laces were marked. I had been so excited but I’ve sent them back to Office 😦 I still really want a pair of Nike Air Force Ones (I know everyone has a pair, but they’re just so cute) so maybe at the end of the month I’ll purchase those instead! 

What I’m Excited About:

Matt and I found the CUTEST spot around 45 minutes away from where we live and I can’t wait to spend hot, sunny weekends exploring everything around there! If the sun ever comes back, that is. I’m in a really good routine working from home – if I haven’t already mentioned enough, I really love it – and Matt has been working from home a couple days out of the week too, so we’re spending the most time together we ever have. Matt got a new job a couple months ago and he (for the first time ever) has weekends off now! We used to pack everything possible into the random weekend days Matt got off work but now we’re able to do whatever, whenever and I’m so thankful for it. It’s a shame we can’t go too far this Summer but we’ve decided we’re going to explore as much of the North East as we can, especially this cute new spot, and we have a HUGE bucket list of things to do and places to see. The best part is, they’re right on our doorstep!

What I’m LOL’ing At:

Okay so I know I talk about this podcast all. the. time. but it’s for good reason! Shagged, Married, Annoyed seriously makes me CRY with laughter every single week, and I swear the episodes get funnier each week! The podcast is hosted by Chris & Rosie Ramsey; one is a professional comedian and one is married to her. Ha! (For anyone confused, Chris is the professional comedian. But Rosie is funnier. I said what I said). A new episode is released each Friday but I save them for my weekly grocery shop on a Saturday morning. I wear my AirPods (I’m obsessed) and giggle my way round the store, anything to make me forget how stressful getting groceries is right now is a good thing. Rosie posts the funniest Insta stories too! She & Chris have the most adorable son named Robin (my dad’s name!) who just melts my heart and is always on her stories. If you need a little light and laughter in your life, pull up SMA on your Spotify. I promise you won’t regret it! I’m even listening to the old episodes (again…) some afternoons whilst I work.

Looking super cute with my frizzy bed hair there from laying down, it’s a LOOK!  Yes we’re eating cream cakes and also yes, we have basically the same glasses. They’re Ted Baker and I’d just like to point out I had mine for almost two years before Matt copied me…

What I’m Watching:

This week Matt and I started a new show… Space Force! It’s laugh out loud funny, kinda silly and Steve Carrell is the main character. I mean what’s not to love?! We love The Office SO MUCH and honestly anything with Steve in is just good TV. I’m also still re-watching all of Modern Family, I’m on season 8 and not ready to be on season 9. I really think it’s one of the best modern shows ever made, I just love every single character and it brings me so much joy! As always, Matt and I’s go-to shows for the evenings we don’t have much time is Friends or The Office reruns. Duh! We’ve also watched a ton of Ted Talks educating us on the Black Lives Matter movement over the past two weeks, there are sooo many amazing ones you can check out here.

What I’m Excited About:
Everything I’ve been planning and working on for the blog! I’ve got lots of beauty and fashion content coming up and I think I’m going to delve into the topic of no buy’s/low buy’s a little too. I’ve become a much more conscious clothes shopper over the past few years – you can read more in this post and this post – and I really want to share my favorite finds, tips, experiences etc on creating a wardrobe full of things you love. Be sure to subscribe to my blog (> you can fill in your email, the box is right over there!) so my posts get delivered right to your email inbox. Oh and also… I’m giddy McDonald’s reopened! We grabbed Quarter Pounder meals for dinner last night and I’m so excited we can start going for weekly late night McFlurry runs again (our fave tradition pre COVID-19).

What I’m Reading:

I started reading White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo last week and I flew through it in four days. Considering I’m still working full time, working on my blog, trying to enjoy down time with Matt and you know, sleep, that’s veryyy quick for me to read a book! I truly think this book should be a requirement to read in high school as it covered everything! It made me so aware of myself and the people around me, and fuelled my passion to always be an ally for the Black community even more. Like many, I really want to educate myself more on Black Lives Matter and I think that was a really good starting point, if you haven’t already you need to read this book! I have just started reading Love You, Love You Not by Jo Watson which was a recommendation from Shay last month. I literally only started last night but I already know it’s my perfect kind of book! Tbh, I love everything Shay recommends 🙂 I actually have tons of books I’m excited to read downloaded onto my Kindle right now and I really love that feeling, it makes me more motivated to read because I have so many options afterwards. Also I’m still crazy obsessed with my Kindle… if you’re on the fence about getting one, don’t be! They’re the best things EVER 🙂 

What I’m Looking Forward To:
Autumn. I know, I know. It’s JUNE. But it’s been super cold this past week and I’ve been pulling out my oversized sweatshirts, cosy cardigans, my favourite leggings and even fluffy socks. I’m ready for it to be September… Every year I count down to the beginning of September and Matt thinks I’m crazy but I love everything about that time of year. It feels like more of a fresh start for me than January does, I can’t wait to eat/drink/smell all things pumpkin and of course #fallfashion is my favourite. Also it’s kinda the beginning of the build up to Christmas (okay I know, I’m actually crazy) but this year has been so weird, let’s just skip to Christmas mode now!  

I’m off to slowly get ready and run a few errands before my work day starts in a couple hours. I might even stop by the drive thru at Costa for a little Friday treat, I still have tons of gift cards from Christmas! 🙂 Friday’s make me so happy. I’m also having a work night IN with my coworkers tonight – we’re doing a CSI Mystery Escape Room on Zoom and I’m so excited!

Have a wonderful weekend, friends! 

-G x