Best and Worst of 2017

So Christmas is over, hope you had a good one, mine was pretty good as it goes ūüėĄ¬†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¬†¬Ĺ 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 РInstagrammers 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

A Few Days in Keswick

What a wonderful few days away we have had this week, as on Tuesday we made our way to Keswick for a little break. M’s middle sister turned 50 on the 23rd and all the family were invited to stay with her and her husband for a few days. Lovely.

M actually has 2 sisters, both with partners and is lucky enough to still have his mum & dad. We all stayed in a self-catering property called Fernbank House, which is part of a quad¬†of properties all owned by the same person in and around Keswick. M’s sister booked it because we had stayed in the sister property River Cottage a couple of years ago and it was just lovely.

We arrived around lunchtime and after a buffet lunch, we all decided to go and play crazy golf in Hope Park as M had cunningly devised a scoring system. The weather, it had to be said was HOT and much MUCH hotter than expected. I actually burnt my arm it was so hot!!

It’s fair to say the weather in the Lakes was better than expected #lovethelakes #lakedistrict #sunburn

A post shared by Gill Lysons ? (@gilliblogs) on

After the Crazy Golf we went home and as this was the actual day of M’s sister’s birthday, her husband had arranged for an outside caterer to come and make us Dinner.¬†?

The menu consisted of:

Starter
Trout with Asparagus & potato salad

Main
Saddle of Lamb with Dauphinoise Potatoes & seasonal vegetable

Dessert

Profiteroles with lemon cream and white chocolate curls

Every single bit of food was delicious and was made by Laura in the Lakes. She has a coffee shop/cafe in the centre of Keswick, a cake making business as well as doing outside catering.

Laura did know in advance that I was lactose intolerant, so as a delicious alternative she did new potatoes for me with my main (Dauphinoise¬†contains cream) ¬†and for dessert she gave me a lemon and blueberry cake with strawberries, which was divine!!! I am only sorry I don’t have pictures to show you, I was too busy shoving it in my face!!!

M’s mum also had a birthday cake made for M’s sis as you can tell, she loves travelling and is going to see the gorillas (in the wild) for her main birthday present.

On our second day, we all did our own thing in the early part of the day and M and I went off to Keswick for a wander round and we ended up in Fitz park just enjoying the warm weather and the amazing feeling of having nothing to do. But we had to make sure we were back at the house in plenty of time, as we were booked in to Armathwaite Hall again for afternoon Tea at 3pm. It was a slightly larger affair this time, with their being 8 of us and full disclosure, we got off to a bumpy start as the sandwiches they brought me were ones I didn’t like (egg mayo, tuna & sweetcorn & something indeterminable) so I had to wait for quite a while to get anything to eat. Then they told me the cakes were dairy free, but I wasn’t convinced and sure enough I was poorly at the end of the meal.¬†?

However, the staff were wonderful and the afternoon was a lovely and honestly for around ¬£25 per person, I don’t think you can get better.

In the evening we spent some time just hanging out and the boys even went for fish & chips. It’s funny isn’t it, before they went no-one was hungry, at the mention of chips, 6/8 hands went up to put their chippy order in!!! Could we be more English?!

I had also done a quiz for everyone in the evening and it was won by M’s eldest sister, who was double chuffed. Competitive should have been her middle name.

We finished our trip with another walk to Whinlatter Forest¬†where¬† the first mission of the day was to find a missing diary. M’s mum lives by her diary – she asks for one every Christmas with an attached pen and her (and our) whole life is written in it. So you can imagine how mortified she was on Wednesday night when she couldn’t find it. We turned the house upside down, but no luck.

However, when we got to Whinlatter we asked at the desk to see if it had seen it (MIL had been there the day before) and sure enough some kind soul had handed it in. THRILLED!!!

Anyway… the last time we were at Whinlatter we did the Red route and on Thursday we did the Blue route, both marked as moderate, both very strenuous to me. However it was idyllic in the sunshine, no matter how hard the very steep and windy uphills were at the end, and we even had a mini photo shoot half way round!!!

We set off for home about 2ish with a smile on our faces and just thrilled that M’s sister and her husband invited us to spend some time with them for J’s birthday. M is so lucky to have such a kind and caring family. Also if you ever have a chance to visit the Lake District, then do. It’s my favourite place in the whole world as it’s a beautiful as it is green and exfoliates¬†my brain every single time we visit.

G x