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

Travel Diaries: Croatia

Hi, loves! Matt and I just got back at the beginning of this month from the most perfect week in *in our opinion* the most beautiful hotel on the Adriatic Coast. We stayed at the TUI Sensimar Adriatic Beach and every second since we came home we’ve wished we were back there! We would 100000% recommend this hotel if you’re looking for a chilled holiday not too far from home. The staff were incredible, the food and drinks were amazing (strawberry daiquiris became our drink of the holiday), the rooms were gorgeous and the views were straight out of a TUI advert. We literally couldn’t have asked for more, it was beyond what we expected or even imagined! We were staying on the side of a freaking mountain, and the views from every direction were breathtaking. The Biokovo mountain towered over us and the incredible coastline beneath it, it was the most peaceful of places. The sea was so. dang. clear. and I swear the photos don’t even do it justice!

It was so hot during our holiday which was a little uncharacteristic for the time of year as Europe was experiencing some kind of freak heatwave throughout June. It was 36 degrees even at 6pm in the evening, which is crazy to us! We spent our days swimming, eating delicious food, drinking our way through the cocktail menu, laying on sun loungers and exploring along the local beach and nearby harbour. We spent one evening in Makarska, which is a larger town around 25 minutes away from the hotel and we were so in love with the whole place, it was so beautiful! There was a lot more going on here compared to the sleepy relaxation of our resort, and it was so fun to be able to see another little town of the Adriatic. We explored quaint streets, drank local beers and watched another gorgeous sunset at the harbour. It truly was such a perfect holiday!

Something you may know about me, is that watching sunsets with Matt is literally my favourite way to spend an evening, and these were the most beautiful sunsets we’ve ever seen! Our beaches right by our hometown do have beautiful sunsets, but seriously nothing will compare to the ones we saw in Croatia. Every evening we looked forward to watching them, it literally was surreal to watch! We even saw dolphins during sunset some evenings, they were so close to the hotel whilst we ate dinner and the moment could not have been more amazing! I posted a few videos on my Instagram and got so many messages of people asking where the heck we were and how the sunsets were so dang pretty… they’re saved in my Croatia highlight on my Instagram profile if you want to take a look, along with some other fun videos and photos that aren’t in this post.

Editing this blog post and putting all of our photos together has made me SO sad and nostalgic!! We seriously couldn’t have asked for more, it’s absolutely our favourite place we’ve ever been, and I can’t wait to go back one day. If you have any questions please feel free to ask below or message me on Instagram! Looking at these photos I SO BADLY want to just jump through my screen and go back. Why can’t we blue skidoo like in Blues Clues? Matt and I are already talking about our holiday for next Summer and we have SUCH a big list to make our way through. Even though there are so many countries and islands we want to explore, we know one year we’ll head back to Adriatic Beach. I fully realise that I’m so so lucky to be able to holiday with my love every year – twice next year, we’re so excited! – and I never ever take it for granted! I love every second we spend together but holidays are just a little bit extra special aren’t they?

Just a slight disclaimer: this post is not a day by day account of what we got up to! The photos are in chronological order but I didn’t take many photos on some days, and on some days I took SO. MANY. Apologies in advance that some of them probably look exactly the same, I promise they’re not haha! It was so hard not to keep snapping photos every time we walked around the resort because everything was so. dang. beautiful. 

We landed around 8.30pm, and were treated to a dusky pink sky. We had NO idea how beautiful the sunsets would be every night!

We didn’t get to our hotel until just before midnight, so we had no idea what the area around us looked like. We woke up at 6.30am on our first day (LOL we were so excited!) and stepped out onto our balcony to this. We never got over how beautiful this view was!

How badly do you want to be in that water!?

We were obsessed with this chocolate throughout our holiday! I was so sad when I couldn’t find it in Home Bargains with the other Milka chocolate bars 😦

We loved going for a walk down by the beach in the afternoons to work off our lunch. If you headed right out of the hotel you came to this gorgeous teeny little harbour town. There were maybe thirty houses, one bakery and one bar. It was SO quiet and beautiful!

Bae always trying to ruin my shots!

If you turned left out of the hotel and through this little arch, you came to a nudist beach! LOL we saw way more than we bargained for on this walk. (But the views out to sea were amazing!) The water was even clearer along this stretch.

Each evening we’d head down to the beach to watch the sunset in total peace and quiet. There was usually just a handful of people here, but some evenings there was just us two! All you could hear was the crashing of the waves on the shore, and the golden hours in Croatia were everything. Oh, how I want to be back!

The mountain was incredible. It’s visible from every part of the hotel, and were the prettiest backdrop you could ask for!

This was our view on the way down to the pool each morning (yep, we’re totally those people that put their towels on sun beds before we go for breakfast!) and we stopped and stared out every. single. morning.

This lemon tree was right outside of our apartment block! We got the short straw and were on the top floor of the furthest away building. However, the views were out of this world, and we toned our butts up going up and down thousands of steps every day! LOL!

That golden hour glow *ft squinting eyes because dang the sun is bright*

😍😍😍 the most handsome man I’ve ever seen. So lucky to be yours, Matthew!

Some of our favourite views were from up on the Mojito Terrace, it was so magical!

Hahahahaha. This photo makes us DIE laughing. My mum and dad were on holiday at the same time as us and sending us typical ‘mum and dad selfies’ so we sent them one back. Hahahaha.

🤩 I love this photo!

This was the very last set of steps (the FOURTH set!) between our apartment and the beach, coming down was easy but heading back up was a STRUGGLE in 36 degree heat! We loved walking down to the pool then up to breakfast every morning, it was so freaking peaceful.

He’s so shy…

I realise this is the worst picture ever, but I was trying to capture the butterflies! Seriously I’ve never seen so many butterflies in my life as we did on this holiday, and they were SO friendly. They’d land on you and just sit super still, so beautiful!

My dress wasn’t this tight, it was actually super flowy but I was holding it at the front because I wore a dress on the only windy night of our holiday 🙂 an *actual* candid photo!

The strawberry daiquiris were everything 🙂

Our favourite spot ❤️

This was along a main street at the top of our hotel – I would NOT have liked to drive on these roads haha! My poor little car would have fell down one of the pot holes for sure. The views walking along to our favourite little shop were so cute though!

Our first view when we stepped off the bus in Makarska! The harbour was insanely beautiful, and everywhere was so. dang. clean. There wasn’t a spot of litter anywhere!

I just love him so much!

I am so lucky to do life with you. I love you, Matt ❤️

This is one of my favourite photos of our whole holiday! Dreaming of being back in paradise.

We stopped in the most gorgeous little street to enjoy drinks and listen to live music. The video from this night is SO much better than the photos, but I couldn’t upload to my blog. It’s in my Instagram highlight! I cried when we were sitting here because I was just so happy. LOL. The most perfect Saturday date night with my love!

My favorite Summer lipstick! The Duchess by Charlotte Tilbury, which was a present from Matt, the little cutie

Matt is literally shaking his butt in the first picture because we had just eaten such an amazing dinner at the hotel’s a la carte restaurant and he was so happy hahaha. Life with this one is always so fun 😍 (also can we just take a moment to acknowledge the fact I have actual CANKLES!!! It was so hot my feet swelled up like crazy hahaha).

We both got the tomato and basil soup to start. It was so buttery and had rice in the bottom!

Matthew got beef with mushroom gravy and truffle mash potato…

…and I got sea bass on a bed of spinach risotto and roasted veggies. This was the best meal I’ve ever eaten, Matt had a taste and was so sad he didn’t opt for this too!

Our desserts were just as good as our app and main! Tiramisu for Matthew…

…and limoncello cheesecake for me. Every couple staying on an all inclusive package at the hotel was gifted one free evening meal at this restaurant, and if you’re planning to go we HIGHLY recommend eating here! If we’d visited earlier in our holiday we definitely would have went back again, as you could pay to eat there are very discounted prices too. It was truly the perfect way to spend our last night in Croatia!

Hvala, Hrvatska. The most perfect week, with my best friend in the whole world. I’m so grateful for you Matthew, and I can’t wait to explore the world with you for the rest of our lives! I love you so much baby.

Thank you so much for reading, and re-living our holiday with me! Don’t you just want to be there right now? Me too. We seriously can’t wait to plan our holiday for next Summer! We’re going to Florida next September with my mum, dad and brother for my dad’s 60th birthday celebration – I finally get to take Matt to Disney World!!! – and I can barely wait, I feel so lucky we’re going to have two holidays to look forward to in 2020. Do you have any trips planned for this year or next? Where would you love to go? I’m planning to write a travel bucket list over the next few weeks, because I’d love to share that with you! If you’ve written any posts about your recent holidays, please leave them below so I can go read them and live vicariously through you!

-G x

Summer Bucket List

Happy, happy Wednesday loves! Today I’m back with another seasonal bucket list, these are some of my favourite posts to write! I’m linking my Winter Bucket List here, and my Spring Bucket List here. We ticked off so many things from our Spring bucket list this year, and I already have tons of ideas for the things we want to do next year! We especially loved seeing the cherry blossoms at Alnwick Garden, taking all the road trips and celebrating our 25th birthdays. There were unfortunately a lot of things we didn’t get round to, as we were super busy the past few months and it kinda feels like we barely stopped. We have very high hopes our Summer will be way more relaxed, and we really want to spend so much more quality time together! There’s already so many fun things planned in for Summer already, and tons more we’re hoping to do!

– Visit Croatia! We go this coming Monday, UGH I’m so excited!! And thankfully no longer feeling stressed
– Play mini golf… and ideally beat Matt (haha that will never happen)
– Have a picnic in the woods
– Take a road trip to a new city
– Book a city break to Lisbon. We couldn’t confirm dates last season so hopefully we’ll be able to go in late Summer!
– Have a huge BBQ with both our families at Matt’s grandma’s house
– Visit the Lake District
– Go on lots of hikes
– Spend lots of time reading outside in our hammock*
– *Buy hammock
– Prioritise breakfast dates. This is literally in every single bucket list because we love going out for breakfast
– Wear less makeup when it’s hot
– Visit Bolam Lake on a hot sunny day
– Matt is running a 5k! I’m so proud of him and I can’t wait to cheer him on from the sidelines 🙂
– Spend a hot sunny day picking baskets of fresh fruit from Brocksbushes Farm
– Wear lots of yellow clothing
– Visit Matt’s family down South, I’m SO EXCITED
– Go wine tasting
– Take a road trip through the Scottish borders, stopping off at any little towns we fancy along the way
– Eat dinner outside during the warm evenings
– Make s’mores. This post from Savannah inspired me last year, we definitely need to try to re-create some of these!
– Play tourist in our own city. This is one of our favourite ways to spend the weekend
– Watch as many beach sunsets as we can possibly squeeze in
– Go for afternoon tea at Spanish City
– Visit a waterfall
– Shoot more in-front-of-the-camera content
– Enjoy a day at the spa
– Spend an afternoon at a Summer fete. Definitely not just for the mini sugared donuts…
– Shop fresh produce at a local Farmer’s Market
– Spend a day at Cragside
– Go for lots of early morning beach walks
– Enjoy August bank holiday at the Quayside
– Eat ALL of the ice cream from Arrighi’s. It’s literally the best thing ever
– Spend a rainy day watching movies and eating popcorn in bed. It is Summer in England, after all!
– Go to NUFC games once the season starts again

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this post gave you lots of fun ideas of things to do this Summer, especially if you live in Northern England! I can’t wait for another fun season, and this year I’m determined to embrace every second of Summer! What are some fun things you have planned this year? Do you also write bucket lists to be able to get some kind of plan in place? What else should we try to squeeze in?!

-G x