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

Weekend In My Life: WFH, First Weekend Of Summer, Exploring In The North

Happy MONDAY, my loves! 

Matt and I had a heck of a week last week, Matt’s auntie Hilary sadly lost her battle with cancer. We spent the week grieving and reminiscing on happy memories. It was pretty unexpected, but we are grateful she is out of pain and at peace. If you pray, we’d so appreciate if you kept Matt’s family in your prayers 🙂 

We picked ourselves up and packed so much fun, love and joy into this weekend. We were super grateful for a little sunshine and warm weather, and we’re so excited the next week is going to be filled with sunny days, we’re going to make the most of those after work! Let’s throw it back to Friday…

Friday

Friday’s are my favourite days of the week 🙂 I love the anticipation of the weekend coming and I 100% believe the weekend starts on Friday. Matt and I slept in a little and didn’t wake up until around 7.30am which was great! I start late and finish early on Friday’s, and on this particular day Matt had a breakfast meeting (via Zoom) so wasn’t in a hurry to get ready and head into work.

I made us breakfast and cups of tea, showered and got ready for the day. I love sitting at my vanity table each morning! I watched a couple of Bonnie Hoellein’s old vlogs whilst I got ready – I can’t stop re-watching old vlogs from my favorite YouTuber’s – and got ready to head out to M&S. We’re super happy the Dine in for £10 pizza deal is back so I had gone to grab those for dinner that evening. If you go, make sure to get the loaded potato skins, they’re one of our fave things M&S makes! Also, this mug makes me so happy, Disney + yellow = happiness.

I was in and out of M&S within twenty minutes and I was so happy to get a bunch of our favourite things. Strange thing: I don’t know if anyone else has experienced this recently but I cannot find nice strawberries ANYWHERE. Matt doesn’t like strawberries but I love them and could happily eat a whole packet per day. Half the time when I do our weekly grocery run I can’t get them, and when I have been able to get them they’re super sour and gooey inside. If you’re having this problem… head to Marks & Spencer. They’re the same price as any other supermarket but they’re the only ones I’ve found that taste really good right now. Matt had headed out whilst I was shopping for an in-person meeting – I can’t remember what they feel like! – so I put away our groceries, changed into sweats and sat down to start my work day. I was half way through our office quiz when he got back home (yep, best job ever) so he set up his little work station in our office at the dining table and we worked for a few hours together.

One of my most favourite things about at-home work days is that Matt works from home once or twice per week too and we get to enjoy our lunch breaks together! A mid-week lunch date? We’re so lucky. We had soup (Tarka Dahl is THE BEST, even if the photo below doesn’t do it justice) with fresh sourdough and it was the perfect lunch. We had planned to eat outside but it suddenly got super dark and windy – I swear we’re experiencing all four seasons in one day recently. We got back to work for a few more hours…

Sneaking a peek at this handsome chap between my monitors… 🙂

…ate an afternoon snack and before we knew it 4.30pm had rolled around, our work day was done! Matt popped out to the post office whilst I finished up a couple things, and then we had an accidental nap. We literally lay down to watch a little TV to unwind then woke up 45 minutes later. OOPS! Matt had been whinging at asking me to cut his hair again for a couple of days so we grabbed ten minutes before the rain started and I played barber. I see girls so excited about cutting their partner’s hair and I don’t get it. I hate cutting Matt’s hair! I find it really stressful and I know that I’m really not good (lol) so I can’t freaking wait until his barber is back at work. I really need my hair done but I know I won’t feel comfortable heading to the salon for a long time yet. I think it’s going to take me a very long time to feel comfortable doing ‘normal’ life things again! Does anyone else feel like that or am I crazy?!

Check out that post-nap hair. I also slept with MAKEUP ON! Euuurggghh! I would never sleep with makeup on (even for 45 minutes) so I felt extra gross when we woke up!

Post hair cut, we showered up and spent the majority of our evening relaxing, eating dinner, and watching football. Man U were playing (my family are HUGE Man U supporters) so we watched the game with the fam and it was so nice, even if they didn’t win! Also… have you tried honey on a pepperoni pizza? It’s literally the only way I can eat pepperoni pizza now, I swear it’s the most delicious thing ever! We ended our evening snuggled in bed watching The Office, which is truly our happiest place.

Saturday

Saturday morning rolled around a little too quickly for my liking… I was EXHAUSTED. We wanted something quick and easy to eat, and cinnamon rolls are our go-to weekend breakfast so I made a beeline to the kitchen to bake them. I always use the Jus Rol pack and they’re soooo delicious. I never use the icing they provide though, we get this one in bulk at Costco. Pro tip!

We ate breakfast together, drank huge cups of tea, got ready and headed out to our very favourite place…

…the beach! We loveeee the beach so much. I have been feeling kinda down, on edge and anxious recently (probably because things are opening back up/people are completely ignoring social distancing rules and it’s making me very nervous) but literally an hour by the sea and I felt like a whole new person. I just feel so relaxed and happy there; we go at least once per week but we decided during Summer we really want to go more often. This week we’re going to go late one evening to watch the sunset, I’m so excited!

I love you so much 🙂
pure happiness ❤️

We walked along the coast for a little while – it was pretty busy but it’s a big enough space that you never really felt ‘too’ close to people. I think if the weather had been a little better I would have hated how busy it was, tbh. We walked back to the car and headed back home, via the Number One Ice Cream Spot in the North East*. Seriously though for us, nothing beats Arrighi’s ice cream. NOTHING! We always get vanilla/original flavour because it’s the best. If you live here I would guess you’re as big a fan as we are, but if you’re ever visiting Up North you need to try it! We sat in the sun and ate our ice cream, it was a truly perfect, serene ten minutes 🙂

*not official information 😉

We were only out for a little while as Matt had golf booked in with the boys at 3pm. He had to get sorted for that and drive to the golf course around 45 minutes away, so we didn’t want to be pushed for time. He headed out to golf (and had the best time!) whilst I jumped in my car and went grocery shopping. I’m pretty sure some people might think I well and truly drew the short straw here, but I really enjoy grocery shopping (I mean, I like it much more pre-COVID but y’know). I love planning our meals out for the week and picking up everything we need. I also love putting in my headphones and listening to Shagged, Married, Annoyed and laughing my way through the store!

Matt was out for a good four/five hours so when I got back I cleaned, changed our bed sheets and did a yoga workout. I really really really want to get back into a good routine with yoga, I used to be so good with practicing at least four times per week but now it’s once or twice, and even then I have to push myself. I only set out to do this practice, but I enjoyed it so much I also did this one. Adrienne is by far my favourite virtual teacher! I had a new hair treatment to use from Aussie – spoiler: I really enjoyed it – so I was super excited for a nice long bath. There’s nothing quite like a post yoga bubble bath; I grabbed a Diet Coke and started a new book on my Kindle, it was the perfect start to my evening.

Matt arrived home from golf with Chinese food and I cannot tell you how excited I was, we were so hungry! Sorry that so many of the photos in this post are food… LOL! This was the best takeaway we’ve had in a really long time, we ate sooo much and had no regrets. Matt took a long bath, I watched a bunch of my favourite YouTube subscriptions and then we ended the night watching… The Office. Obviously!

Sunday

We both woke up much later than planned, we didn’t get out of bed until after 9am which is just not like us! I jumped out of bed to shower, do my makeup, clean up our room and get dressed. Matt usually takes longer than me to get ready (he’ll totally dispute this) but he got ready pretty quickly and popped out to get petrol whilst I packed us a picnic for later in the day. I love picnics so much, they’re my favourite! He got back just as I was finishing up so we left my dad’s Father’s Day gifts for him to open when he woke up, packed up the car and headed to our new favourite countryside location… Stocksfield!

We found the most incredible place a few weeks back that we’ve decided is going to be our Summer spot. We typically spend so much time at the beach but with all the social distancing guidelines sunny weekend days at the beach will be few and far between. We do have tons of places we want to spend time at this Summer (there may be a Summer bucket list coming up very soon with lots of fun ideas…) but there are so many beautiful countryside spots around this area and we just can’t wait to explore more. We went on a small easy hike and enjoyed a couple hours out in the countryside.

We played ‘hide from the rain under the big trees’ at least four times, but the sun even came out a couple times too! It was mostly grey and cloudy but that was perfect, some of those hills are really steep so we appreciated it being a little cooler.

We saw so many squirrels! 🙂
Checking if Matt liked butter… he does. I know this because I’ve made approx 99% of his food for the past (almost!) three years, but it was good to have it confirmed. LOL! Did anyone else do this as a kid?!

One thing we really need to get is hiking gear. We’ve been thinking about it for a couple weeks but we need to really need to get some bits soon. I’d like a couple pairs of new leggings to rotate through, a pair of shorts and a few ‘workout’ tops. Matt wants some nice shorts and a few t-shirts that he can wear too. We also both desperately need hiking shoes/boots as we have so many hikes and adventures we want to do this Summer and really don’t have the appropriate footwear. Omg we’re 70 years old I swear. I’ve found a couple brands that look really good but if you have any suggestions please let me know?!

We followed a bunch of trails and ended up on the other side of the valley from where we parked. All of the country lanes look so alike it’s really hard to differentiate from where you are, so I had dropped a pin on Google maps in case we got lost and needed to find our way back. Great thinking, right?! Not so much, once we got out of the woods (on the other side) we had zero service. You can’t easily walk back through the woods because there’s so many tracks this way and that, and who knows which turns we took?!

Matt somehow managed to get us back to where we parked the car pretty quickly, even though we were nowhere near where we started! I have no idea how he does it but he has this incredible internal geography. Like, we’ll visit somewhere one time, or even just drive through it, and then we’ll be there again maybe even years later and he knows exactly where to go. I however barely know my left from right. Thank God opposites attract or we’d still be out there looking for our car! We made it back to the car for a picnic whilst sitting on the edge of the boot, we were so hungry as we’d not even ate breakfast. There’s something about picnics that will always remind me of reading Famous Five books when I was a kid, I so wanted to be part of the gang. I wanted my own Timmy!

We headed to visit with Matt’s parents in their garden and give Matt’s dad his Father’s Day presents. He is the best person to give gifts to, he is always so excited it melts my heart 🙂 after we went home to chill out, work on a couple things and of course… to watch the game! Newcastle United were playing, Matt is SO EXCITED football is back and I kinda am too, we’re both really missing going to the games. We snuggled up on the couch and it was so nice to win, the final score was 3-0! It’s really weird that there’s no fans in the stadium but they’re playing the sound effects of a crowd. We popped out at half time to the Co-Op to pick up a few things and Matt grabbed custard donuts (one of my favourite things). He also go me a Milky Way (another of my favourite things) and I’m already thinking about how good it will be to eat it during my work day one day this week…

We finally got to spend a little time with my dad, then I got roped into fixing Matt’s hair (it needed a little more blending from Friday), Matt watched his Formula 1 show on Netflix that he’s become obsessed with, and I worked on planning more blog content. It’s super hard to plan everything in advance but I feel much happier when I know what I need to write/take photos of etc. I have so many fun things planned and I really am so excited to share more of the beautiful North of England with you this Summer 🙂 we also had a freak Summer rainstorm that was so peaceful and calming, I love the rain. We could see the most beautiful rainbow right from our window!

I picked up this candle from Sainsbury’s and I need you all to know how gorgeous it is! It was only five pounds and is the best dupe I’ve ever smelled for Jo Malone’s Peony & Blush Suede. It’s almost 10pm as I’m writing this, we’ve had it burning for over three hours now and it’s barely gone down at all. I don’t like dupes of things that are direct rip offs off high end brands – Peony & Blush Suede is my favourite Jo Malone scent (I always have the perfume in my collection and I have the candle on my bedside table that Matt bought me almost two years ago and I don’t want to burn because it’s so expensive – but this is marketed in it’s own way and smells so incredible. Our whole room smells incredible!

I made us a late dinner; we had a chicken & veggie dish with rice, I just made it up as I went which tends to be how we find our favourite meals! Whilst I was cooking I watched Kristin & Marcus’ video all about their accident. I’ve watched Kristin on YouTube for years and I was so shocked/saddened by their horrendous accident last month, you can watch it here if you don’t know what I’m talking about. I cried watching the video but I’m SO GLAD they’re okay. We washed up, we’ve been watching The Office for a couple hours since dinner, and now I’m writing up this post. For real, I know I talk about The Office so much but it’s seriously the best show ever, we love it and it makes us so happy!

Oversized t-shirts are my favourite thing to wear!

Thank you so much for coming along on our weekend 🙂 how was your weekend? Have the best Monday!

-G x

Spring Bucket List

Happy first day of Spring, beautiful people!

I am so excited for the new season, and to finally say goodbye to Winter! It’s weird, we definitely didn’t have a super cold Winter like we have in past years, but it seemed to last so long, I feel like I’ve been anticipating Spring since January. Although most of our Winter was pretty warm, this past weekend we woke up to snow, I was not impressed haha.

Spring is a season of new beginnings, blossoming flowers and warmer weather, and I think this year it’s going to be one of my favourite seasons. Matt and I already have so much planned and it’s the best feeling to have exciting things to look forward to. I’ve been feeling very reflective over the past few days, and after having something unfortunate happen I’ve been truly counting my blessings more than ever. I feel so lucky for what I have; an amazing boyfriend that I love more than life itself, a solid family and friend network, a job that I enjoy, my blog, car and so much more. I’m feeling happy and ready for a fresh new season to bring a little more joy!

I shared Matt and I’s Winter Bucket List in this post, and we ticked off so many of our items despite being super busy, and had so much fun throughout Winter! I recieved messages from people saying they enjoyed seeing what we had planned and took some ideas from what we wanted to do, so I’ve decided this will definitely be a post that is updated for every season this year. Unfortunately we didn’t get to squeeze in a weekend getaway to Glasgow – we’re hoping to this season instead – but we did book our Summer holiday and we’re heading to Croatia in June, we’re so excited! We also went to five NUFC games (and we won most of them), took a few day trips up North, explored Northumberland and Newcastle SO MUCH, and we went for lots of breakfast dates and beach walks. We had lots of fun date nights – some with our friends, and just spent lots of quality time together. We also got to see my family who live in Alaska for the first time in almost five years, it’s so much better to see each other in person instead of FaceTime-ing. We went for dinner with them this week and had such a lovely evening! A few of the things we didn’t get round to in the Winter may have made their way into things we hope to do this Spring…

Explore more of Northumberland during day trips
Spring-clean our wardrobes/lives (again) Marie Kondo style
Enjoy a staycation at Hotel du Vin in Newcastle
Go for more breakfast or brunch dates
Make s’mores on a chilly Spring evening
Go to a drive-in movie
Spend a weekend away in Glasgow
Celebrate bank holidays the way we always do – date night at one of our favourite restaurants!
Start my new blog series. It’s been a while in the making but I’m so excited
Enjoy a picnic in the sun
Use up beauty products before I buy anything new to replace it. I’m officially on a ‘Beauty No Buy’ for Spring… UHOH
Go to Alwnick Gardens during cherry blossom season
Make/create new recipes together for warmer weather
Buy fresh vegetables from a farmers market for the week
Spend as many weekend mornings as possible walking along the beach
Shoot a Spring fashion blog post (super nervous about this one!)
Go to the Lake District
Squeeze in all of the date nights – this will be listed for every season!
Book a city break to Lisbon
Feel comfortable wearing shorts in England as it gets warmer. Matt has no problem with this one, he’s been wearing shorts since February HAHA
Celebrate Matt and I’s birthdays – we both turn 25 this season!
Go to more NUFC games
Buy all the bunches of beautiful peonies – prepare to see them in every blog photo
Change up my hair colour/style a little (I’m thinking coppery, rich brown tones)
Play mini-golf
Spend an afternoon at The Garage Spa
Write more ‘think pieces’ for my blog
Pick fresh fruits at a nearby farm
Begin shopping for our holiday to Croatia
Plant new flowers in my grandma’s garden for her
Take a road trip to somewhere we’ve never been before

Thank you so much for reading! What are you hoping to do this season? Are you as excited as I am for Spring?

-G x