A trip to Rivington Pike | Days Out

I think we can all agree that January in the UK is basically horrible. So very often at this time of year, M and I take ourselves off to somewhere lovely for a day out. Last year it was Astley Park in Chorley and this year we decided to go Rivington Pike, which is here:

For us, this is about 30 miles/40 minutes from our house and as we had never been before, we weren’t sure where to park. So we pulled into a little cafe and found a space tucked in the corner of the car park. As it turns out, we were still about ¼ mile from the start of all the official walking paths, but we found a nice path to stroll along, which ran parallel to the Go-Ape trails, which are also located there. Good start.

At the end of the first path we reached the “bottom barn”, which also housed a very busy cafe, toilets and an information centre. We popped into the information centre and bought a map, but honestly the map buying was a gesture as a very lovely lady in the centre gave us excellent directions up to the pike. So we set off.

A little like Delamere Forest, there are a few trails that you can follow, which have way markers, denoted on striped posts.

Rivington Barn sign with red route marker

The red route we followed was supposed to be about 3 miles, we followed the markers and ended up walking a little over 4 miles. The route is also described as “challenging” and I would have to agree with that; some uphill, some flat, lots of steps and quite a lot of the paths were very rocky under foot.

There were SO many people on the paths too, even on a damp and cold Sunday in February, it was VERY busy! Also, sidenote, today it was also muddy underfoot as it was raining quite hard for most of yesterday, so it befuddled me why we saw so many people in pristine white trainers, pink boots and most worrying of all, UGG boots?!  All the aforementioned footwear slowly getting ruined with every step.

Anyway, it took us about 1 ½ hours to get to the top and it was worth the hike. Stunning views at the top overlooking Bolton, Wigan and the surrounding areas. Again though, not much solitude at the top as it was very very busy, but we enjoyed it nonetheless.

As a day out, I would give is 9/10 as it really was a lovely walk and we are sure that we barely scratched the surface on our first visit. The only reason it loses a point was the parking. As I mentioned, due to our lack of local knowledge, we parked about a 10 minute walk away from all the main car parks. But it was obvious that even though there is quite a lot of parking, it’s nowhere near enough as everywhere was jammed and we witnessed one particular traffic jam on the narrow roads, all caused by double parking.

My TOP TIP would be go early, to avoid the crazy parking situation, but honestly, well worth a visit!

We will be back.

G x

My YouTube Channel is being de-monetised

I have been creating videos on YouTube since 2009, before I even knew “vlogging” was a thing. I have always loved having that creative freedom to commit anything to video and then have those memories saved within YouTube. From around 2013 – 2015 I had a break from creating videos and then I decided to pick up my camera again and got a little more serious in my content creation.

One of the reasons I took things a little more serious, was that YouTube had changed in my absence and I found out I could monetize my videos – “Ok” I thought, I’m in. Of course I have never made ANY money over those 2+ years of monetization, despite having over 72,000 views to date.

But after logging in to YouTube this afternoon after a little day-job related absence, I saw a notification to tell me from next month, my channel is being de-monetised as it doesn’t meet the criteria of 4,000 watch hours and 1,000 subscribers. 😣 . *sighs*

So I guess I have a decision to make as to whether I carry on my channel, I still enjoy making videos and I’ve only had a hiatus as my day-job has changed, which doesn’t leave me with enough time or energy to create things each week. I need to have a think about it.

I have to say though, that I have continued to blog throughout this intense work period and so maybe this is where my heart actually lies. But either way, if you have got all the way to the end of this blog, I would like to thank you for reading and for your support.

I have always loved keeping a sort of online diary and even though I have loved working with brands, this isn’t why I do it. I love just simply keeping a note of where I have been, what I have done and in doing that, passing on any useful information I might have collected along the way.

Anyway, Happy Sunday people – thanks for stopping by!

Gill x

I’m not beautiful – but actually I am.

So much of acceptance in society is based on how we look, how we present ourselves to the world. At this time of year especially, when seemingly every TV advert, documentary and online article is focussed on people losing weight and becoming a “new person”. But frankly diet culture is very wearing.

I’m in the middle of my own weight loss journey, but it’s very important to remind myself why I started. I was unhealthily overweight, I think the term you might use is “medically obese”. I couldn’t climb stairs and I struggled to get clothes to fit me, my resting HR was too high and I was at risk of Type 2 diabetes (which runs in my family).

You see, beauty has nothing to do with weight or dress size and I know this for a fact. I used to work with a girl years ago who, on nights out, used to get approached by guys ALL the time. She was an exotic looking brunette which was a big hit with every penis within 5 feet of her. However, this particular girl was also an absolute hard-faced cow so no matter how symmetrical her face, her bitchy nature used to shine through if you spent more than 10 minutes with her. *Side note* I bumped into this person a couple of years ago at a funeral of all places and we exchanged brief pleasantries.  Later when I needed to get past her in a room full of mourners, she firstly pretended that she didn’t hear me when I said the the standard “Excuse me”,  I tried again with no response and eventually when I tapped her shoulder and repeated my request, she moved perhaps an inch, so I still couldn’t get really get past with bumping into people’s chairs. We had no beef whatsoever, but like I said, 🐮.

But I digress. Beauty is definitely something that different people have a different idea of, which is one of the wonderful things about it. I have known people that were long-term single  and heard them lament about different people that they knew that were happily in relationships whilst they remained on the shelf. One was even more candid than perhaps they intended to be wondering out loud why a person they knew had a boyfriend, when that person “didn’t go to the gym or anything”. I remember thinking at the time that perhaps that comment explained her singledom, but who am I to judge….

My point is basically this. Beauty is whatever you want it to be and it doesn’t depend on how you look. That’s not to say, don’t try to look good, whatever that means to you. Wear clothes because they make you feel kick-ass and not because you think you should or worse, because you think other people will think you look good.

As I get older I care so much less about what other people think about me, but this is something I have learned over time. I think I know what type of clothes suit me and I am now not really swayed by trends. I want to feel sexy and I obviously want my husband to find me attractive, but I know that part of my own power comes from confidence, some of which comes from me wearing stuff I feel amazing in.

They biggest thing I try to do is not say bad things to myself because if anyone told my friends “That looks shit on you” I would immediately jump in and tell them they were wrong, ergo, why did I ever say that to myself?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not perfect at this and there are definitely times when my own confidence takes a knock, but I am actively trying to empower myself in 2018. Women are amazing, beautiful and powerful and this has nothing to do with dress size. Be healthy, be skinny, be bigger, be curvy, big boobs, small boobs, strong, curly, bald, hairy, small, tall or absolutely anything that you like, it’s ALL beautiful. Don’t let anyone, any Instagram or Snapchat filter tell you otherwise or even make you think for one second you aren’t good enough. Unless you are Donald Trump, in which case, you are crap. Otherwise, you are AMAZING!

G x

p.s. this photo is in 2 halves, the first one is taken straight out of the shower and the other one is after I am dressed and I have put some makeup on. My tendency is to think I look like CRAP in the first one, but it’s my face and my face is definitely NOT crap. If I had smiled then the 2 photos would have been the same apart from a bit of mascara and things. Both sides of this image contain me, who works hard, loves her family, laughs at fart jokes, gives back and is kind to strangers. This is my beauty.

Premier Suites Newcastle | Review

As part of my current job, I have been staying in a variety of budget hotels around the UK. But one of the drawbacks of staying in a hotel, is going out for dinner alone, which is not something I always feel like doing. Inevitably, I end up having a “bed picnic”, which sometimes means I can go a whole trip without a hot meal. Not ideal. So when a last minute trip to Newcastle landed at my door last week, I decided to stay at Premier Suites instead. As I booked the 1 bedroom apartment via our work travel agent, it cost around £55 per night and I booked for 2 nights.

I arrived at about 5:30pm and the suites are about a 7 minute walk from Newcastle Central Station here:

The first thing I noticed is that the street it’s on isn’t particularly well lit and with just a single door entrance, it was a little hard to spot in the dark. But once inside, the receptionist gave me a really warm welcome and with a simple check in, she  gave me the key to my home for the next few days.

The apartment I booked was only a 1 bedroom, but they actually gave me the keys  to a 2 bedroom one. However, there was a note on the bed of the 2nd bedroom to say that if I used it, they would charge me an extra £35 a night. Message received, door shut. Room ignored.

I’d have to say that the apartment had it’s good points and bad points.

Good Points
  • Good size lounge with large couch in living room.
  • A small tray of essentials, i.e. tea & coffee.
  • A large fridge.
  • Very comfortable bed.
  • Free Wifi.
  • Central location.
  • 5 minute walk from The Prince’s Trust In Newcastle (where I was working)
Bad Points
  • Whilst the couch was large, there were…… stains…. which I tried to ignore.
  • Both the kitchen and bathroom looked good from afar but close up they both showed signs of age with the bathroom in particular showing wear and tear.

When I put my key in the door, the apartment was cold and dark as bizarrely for January, all the radiators were turned off and the windows were all open! I was already cold due to a frozzy train journey and damp walk from the station, so a cold apartment was not a good start. I turned all the radiators on and closed all the windows and things did warm up, however, I didn’t realise until the following day, that I missed one of the open kitchen windows, which fully explained my slight chill before bedtime!

But it was great to stay in an apartment as I was able to cook for myself both nights and eat breakfast in my PJs in before I left for work. This is a great upside to hotel stays as I am not sure PJs in a communal breakfast situation is really acceptable!

Overall though, the apartment was very reasonably priced at around £55 a night and was clean and tidy. I would give it 3/5 stars 🌟🌟🌟 as it was value for money, but it lacked a bit of something special.

However, if you are looking for an alternative to a hotel in Newcastle, then why not give Premier Suites a look! I reckon this would be nice, flexible way to see the city on a budget.

G x

I’ve entered Race for Life!

Ok people get ready, it’s that time of year…..I have entered the 2018 Race for Life. Around this time every year since 2004 I enter this race, which is a 5k that I do to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

I have already lost 3 of my grandparents to cancer and in 2015 I lost mum. I have blogged before about how heartbreaking my mum’s cancer journey was and I honestly wouldn’t want another family to go through it. It almost broke me in two when she passed away.

Also in 2017 I started a fitness journey, which is still ongoing. In July 2017 I did the Haydock Race for Life and I was thrilled to walk around in a decent time, so in 2018 I am hoping to do a sort of run/walk and maybe create a new personal best!

Anyway, if you have got a spare £1 or £5 or anything at all really, I would really appreciate it if you could support me and Cancer Research UK by clicking on the picture below: