Best and Worst of 2017

So Christmas is over, hope you had a good one, mine was pretty good as it goes 😄 It’s funny though, as the end of the year approaches, it’s my tendency to get quite reflective and as such, I thought I would put together a Top 3 list of all the things I have loved, but also the big misses of 2017 to me. I mean, who doesn’t love a good list?! Here we go:

Top 3 – Highlights of 2017

  1. Getting to the top of Dodd Wood/Fell in September. I have been on something of a fitness journey this year and when I tried to do a much less strenuous walk in May, I nearly cried as I couldn’t do it. This time around, despite it being really hard, I did manage the walk! Thrilled.
  2. Starting my secondment at work and spending 5 weeks working in London. I am very much a home bird and so to be away so much was an adjustment, especially being in such a busy city, which is definitely not my cup of tea.
  3. I started my weightloss and fitness journey in May this year and to date I have lost 2 ½ stones (35 lbs/15.9 kg). I have struggled to keep a healthy weight most of my adult life, but I love the fact my weight has started to come down.

Top 3 – Telly Finds of 2017

  1. Fleabag – I stumbled upon this BBC series whilst working from home one day and ended up binge watching it in an afternoon. It’s a tragi-comedy featuring Phoebe Waller-Bridge and it was just fab. Strong female comedy, so good that I watched it all for a 2nd time whilst we were away in Harrogate. Highly recommend.
  2. That Day we Sang – It’s no surprise to hear I am a Northern girl and so was in love that anything Victoria Wood created. I was so sad when she passed away in 2016 and so I was beyond chuffed when I discovered this comedy/drama about a Manchester choir, written and directed by the glorious VW.
  3. Little Boy Blue – This ITV drama about the real life shooting of Rhys Jones. It was utterly compelling and brilliantly acted. M and I were hooked from the first 5 minutes. It was made all the more poignant as we both remember this happening and it was only about 15 miles away from where we live.

Top 3 – Rubbish things in 2017

  1. Donald Trump became President of the United States. After almost a year in office, I have yet to see him do a single useful thing. He is crass and uses Twitter like a teenager,  complaining about what people are saying about him on the TV. The least presidential President the USA has ever seen.  What a tool.
  2. Sorry I can’t think of a 2nd and 3rd, No 1 is bad enough.

Top 3 – Gorgeous Restaurants I’ve visited in 2017 

  1. Vigour Kitchen is a place we discovered in 2017 in our local town of St Helens. St Helens itself is quite neglected and so to have a fab new place to eat is brilliant. It’s serves nutritious and gorgeous food with a focus on healthy eating. We can’t get enough.
  2. Armathwaite Hall is where M and I went on Honeymoon and we were lucky enough to visit and stay again this year. They do simply the BEST afternoon teas and my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
  3. Ok so this last one is a cheat, as is wasn’t a restaurant, but someone that does outside catering. We visited the Lake District in May to celebrate a family birthday and as part of the celebrations, we organised for an outside caterer to come and do us a meal. The caterer was Laura in the Lakes who also have a cafe in Keswick. The meal Laura made for us was delicious and she also coped brilliantly with my Lactose Intolerance by making me a scrummy lemon and blueberry cake! Yummy

Top 3 – Instagrammers for 2017 

  1. The incomparable Susie Verrill. She makes me smile or laugh or just gasp with delight on daily basis. So funny, so irreverent and all the whilst coping with being a new mum and the also delightful Greg Rutherford.
  2. The unbelievably funny Anna Whitehouse, aka Mother Pukka. She has been through some tough times this year, but is honestly one the funniest person to ever Insta Story.
  3. You might be able to spot a theme in this category, but number 3 is another funny woman in Celeste Barber. She is the pioneer for #challengeaccepted in which she copies the narcissistic posts that top social media and Hollywood people post in an hilarious fashion.

I am sure there are a million categories that I could add to this list and maybe I will as I think of them. I’ve had quite a good year overall and I feel quite happy going into 2018.  Someone asked me what my hopes were for the New Year and this is what I came up with:

  • Continue with my weight loss journey and get even more healthy in 2018
  • Kick start my YouTube Channel and start getting creative again
  • Visit Barcelona in September (already booked!!!)
  • Do a Couch to 5k programme
  • Make some landscape changes in the garden
  • Get a dog!!

The most important one of my hopes is the last one. My whole blogging story started in 2009 when I started a blog documenting our beloved Peggy Dog. We lost her in 2013 and 2018 is the year we adopt another furry friend into our home. I can’t wait, although I really will have to, until my secondment at work is over and I am home a little more.

Anyway, this year has been the right side of FAB and may it continue in 2018.

Thanks for all your support in 2017 and see you very soon.

G x

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Perfect Few Days

So let me just say, if you aren’t into blogs from people telling you what a wonderful time they have had, then I would deffo skip this blog. BUT.. if not strap yourself in!!

This post is entitled “Perfect Few Days” as this is exactly what M and I have just had. Firstly, it was his birthday on Thursday and yes, if your maths is any good, then you will have worked out that he does indeed have a Star Wars Birthday, as in “May the 4th be with you!” Which was reflected in some of his birthday wrapping..


But first things first, as the FIRST thing we did for his birthday is presents in bed. This is something that we have done since almost day 1 and it’s a tradition I particularly love. After pressies, we ventured to ChouxChouxbedo for breakfast and I think it’s fair to see M was very happy with the situation!

After breakfast we had originally planned to go to Pennington Flash for a walk and then to Bents, but in the end we sacked off the walk and just ventured to Bents for a bit of (expensive) food shopping and present buying for M’s mum, whose birthday it actually is TODAY!

Once home we were chilling out when we had a surprise visit from our brother-in-law and our lovely nieces. They stayed for a while and the girls and I made chocolate covered strawberries and I put the Scouse on to cook. I have a whole recipe for Scouse, which is basically lamb stew, but that’s another post I still have to write. ?

Once the girls had gone, we got ready and Michael’s family came, namely his mum & dad, 2 sisters and their partners. We ate the scouse and a birthday cake made by m’s amazing mum. M is very lucky to have such a lovely family.

Then on Saturday, we had a mini lie-in and then set off for Keswick in the Lake District, where we were booked in to the Best Western Castle Plus Inn. It took us about 2 hours to get there and we have to say we were pleasantly surprised on arrival.

Friendly welcome, lovely staff, nice hotel, good start. Full disclosure, our room was a little small as it was crammed with too much furniture which meant we didn’t have too much room to manoeuvre. However, we didn’t stay too long initially as I had booked afternoon tea for M and I at Armathwaite Hall. AH is where M and I stayed on Honeymoon and we hadn’t been back, so we were REALLY excited to see if it had changed at all.

On arrival the staff showed us to our reserved table in the window, overlooking the lake ? . As I have blogged before, I am lactose intolerant and I even though I mentioned it when I booked, I was  little worried about what food might arrive. I needn’t have been, see pics below.

It was all GORGEOUS and I know some of you might think that plain ham sandwiches are boring, but honestly the ham was divine and who doesn’t love ham butties?!

After our feast, we decided to go for a walk in the grounds of the hall, which overlooks Bassenthwaite Lake. We actually got married in February, so on our last trip, we tried to get down to the lake, but were foiled half way as it was too muddy and wet. But this time, it was sunny and we wended our way down the path, across the bridge and eventually the foliage cleared and the lake was resplendent in front of us. Wow.

Heaven is a Place on Earth

We stayed at the lakeside for a little while, talking and throwing stones in the water, the sun was shining on us and I really felt like I wanted to capture that moment and keep it forever. I felt so lucky, almost emotional and if ever I feel stressed and want to think of a happy place, that hour will play on a loop. ?

Once back at the hotel we chilled out for a while (M fell FAST asleep) and then in the evening, we kept it low key and just went down to the bar for a lovely meal of chicken fajita (me) and corned beef hash cakes with poached egg (him).

For day 2 of our mini-break we decided to go to Whinlatter Forest, which was about 10ish miles away from our hotel here:

Parking was easy as there is a visitors centre, loos and cafe along with a decent sized car park. After a slightly dodgy start (we didn’t see the wayfinding signs) we decided to do the aptly named Two Gills trail, which is described as “moderate”. I supposed it depends on fitness levels and your preconceived idea of moderate, but I found parts of this walk quite challenging as there was quite a lot of uphill walking.

Massive elevation gain!

So even though for the uphills I had a face like thunder whilst I was puffing and blowing, I did really enjoy being in the outdoors and the views of the forest at the top were stunning. We will be back.

So overall we really have had a perfect few days and so glad I got to share it with you. This type of post is one of the reasons that I got into blogging, because it holds my memories tight. Thanks for reading too if you got this far. ???

G x

p.s. all photos in this posts are taken with either an iPhone 7 or iPhone7+ (I left my Canon G7x at home this trip)

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