Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017

What a year 2017 has been! It's been a year of so many changes for me; including changing my job, car and moving into a rented house with Dan. One of the main things I've learnt this year is that happiness is such a valuable thing, and I'm finishing the year feeling truly happy and content. I've decided to do a little round up of my year - with links to my month in numbers posts which I've enjoyed writing this year.



January was quite possibly the busiest month of the year. Not only did I start my new job, but two days before I moved into a little one bed house with Dan. An exciting, but exhausting, way to start 2017.


Nothing major happened in February, but we did get the chance to catch up with friends from uni which was lovely.


March is a busy month for family birthdays - especially in 2017 as my sister turned 21 and my grandma turned 80! We had parties to attend, and I took my sister to London for a day of birthday fun.


In April, I visited Poland for the first time ever with a weekend break in Warsaw. We spent time with my grandparents, and I upgraded my car to a mini one which I love, and has made me a much more confident driver.


May was a busy travel month. Dan and I headed to Valencia for a couple of days, and later that same week I jetted off to Stockholm with my friend Mary.


I'll admit that June was spent invested in Love Island, but I didn't put all of my eggs in one basket - and headed to Canterbury for a hen do as well. 


I headed to the Battle Proms at Hatfield House with my work colleagues, and spent a lot of time watching Jane the Virgin, which is hilarious.


In August, I visited two new countries (Luxembourg with my mum, and Czechia with my Dad) and I also read eight books - reading in the summer is one of my favourite things.


Dan and I headed away to Centre Parcs for a week of R and R. I'm convinced that we need to go on a staycation yearly, because it was so relaxing. I'm eyeing up Cornwall for 2018 as I've never been!


My baby sister graduated with a first class degree (I'm so proud!), I turned 24 and also saw Zara Larsson with my best friends. What a month! October is always a family filled month, and I love it.


November saw my Dad ordained as a Baptist minister. I'm so proud of what he's achieved, and celebrating with the family (and the 120 people who turned up because my dad is brilliant) was a highlight. 

December 2017

A busy, but lovely and festive month. We had Christmas for the first time together alone, and spent a lot of time with friends and family. A lovely way to round off 2017!

Here's hoping for as good a year in 2018! I'm looking forward to what the new year will bring, and hope to continue with my month in numbers. Wishing you all health, wealth and happiness for the coming year!

What did you get up to in 2017?
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December in Numbers

December is one of my favourite months of the year. I love feeling festive, and spending quality time with all of my loved ones. Every year I feel so lucky to have such a wonderful family, and to be in the position I'm in. December has certainly been a month full of love!


visits to Worthing to celebrate Dan's 25th birthday, and Christmas, with Dan's family.

1 trip to Portobello road market with one of my colleagues and our ex-colleague - it was great to catch up.

Christmas celebrations including our first Christmas in our own home which was very special. We ate Christmas lunch on deck chairs!

5 books read, 4 of which were festive reads and I enjoyed them all thoroughly. These books took me over my target of 52 books in 2017, so I was chuffed to meet that goal!

December was a lovely month, full of lots of time spent with family and friends which, for me, is the most important part of the festive season.

How was your December? 

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Friday, 15 December 2017

Reflecting on my 2017 Goals

 2017 has truly been a whirlwind of a year. I've changed jobs, moved house and treated myself to a new car, as well as exploring four new countries! At the beginning of the year, I set myself a couple of goals so I thought I'd have a look back at them and see which goals I can tick off!


Travel somewhere with one of my best friends from uni, Mary. We've been saying we're going to do this for three years now so 2017 is the day it will happen! No matter where we go we will have the best time I'm sure. Mary and I travelled to Stockholm in May and had such a fun long weekend! We're hoping to go to Copenhagen soon...

Finally buy a light-box and focus a bit more on my photography! I found it very frustrating last year, but only time will tell if I can improve it a little. I did buy a lightbox, but I certainly haven't focused more on my photography.

Rent, or buy (if we miraculously find a house!) a place to call our own. We're excited to be moving out but also so grateful to my parents for putting up with us for nearly two years! It's definitely the next step for us to take and I am so looking forward to it. Dan and I moved into a little one bed house at the beginning of the year, and we're still loving being together!

Go to at least three new different places: maybe even a new continent! I love exploring the world and seeing new places so this is another year to go continue to do so. I'd love to visit Germany or Poland this year! I visited four new countries, and another city in Spain! One of the new countries I visited was Poland as well which was incredible.

Learn a new skill. Learning a language, or a bit more about SEO would be great. I'm hopefully going to be able to have a bit more time to do so as well so that's exciting! Technically, I'm not sure I can count this but I've had to learn lots of new skills with my new job which has been exciting. I'm really enjoying it so far.

A very generic one, but I want to get a bit more active! I really enjoy swimming but memberships are so expensive. I want to find something that gets my heart pumping without spending too much money! A definite FAIL!

Keep up with my gratitude journal; I have been doing this for two years now and really helps me to focus on the good. Especially on bad days! I actually decided to stop writing in my gratitude journal this year because it stopped being beneficial for me. I'm still aware of being grateful but no longer feel the need to write these things down daily!

2017 has been a year of change for me, and I've loved it. I've seen some incredible places in the world, settled into my new job and house - I'm excited for what this next year will bring.

Did you set yourself any goals for 2017?
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Saturday, 9 December 2017

2017 in Travel

2017, much like 2016, has been good to me in terms of travel. I've visited four new countries (Poland, Sweden, Luxembourg and Czechia) and seen more of Europe. It's safe to say that I've made the most of living 15 minutes away from Stansted airport.

Our first trip of the year was Warsaw in April. I loved the Polish capital city, and was so excited to finally visit Poland after wanting to visit for years. It's a different city to ones I've visited before, with picturesque streets in close proximity to sky scrapers but it had a nice vibe to it. The food was good, and we had such a lovely couple of days exploring. If you're looking for an affordable city break, Warsaw is one to go to!


In May I went away twice. My first tip was to Valencia with Dan. Valencia is a pretty city, but it definitely wasn't my favourite of the Spanish cities I've been to. It was perfect for a sunny break in May, and if you've been to Madrid or Barcelona and are looking for another place to visit in Spain, Valencia is worth adding to your list.


A few days later I was jetting off to Stockholm with my friend Mary. I fell in love with the capital of Sweden, it's such a cool city to visit. It was lovely to be so close to the water all the time, and there is so much to see in Stockholm. Museum island is definitely worth a visit. Stockholm surprised me, and in a really pleasant way. I'd love to explore more of Sweden in the future!


My first trip in August was to Luxembourg with my mum. I'm not sure I'll ever go to a city as beautiful as Luxembourg - it truly was a fairy tale village. It's quite a small city, but we spent three lovely days there. We could have easily taken a trip out of the city centre but we stayed at a lovely hotel with a spa and pool so decided to have a bit of a restful time as well.


Prague was my final trip abroad this year. I went for four days with my dad, and we had a lovely time exploring the Czech capital! We walked miles, and saw some beautiful views across Prague. It was a much bigger city than I thought and there was so much to see. Prague was a very beautiful city, and I feel like whilst we saw so much, we only scratched the surface!


I've had such a fun time this year exploring more of Europe. There are so many different and vibrant cities, and I'm looking forward to exploring further in the future.

Where did you travel to in 2017?
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Thursday, 7 December 2017

Meet Beau

 A couple of weeks ago I was sat at work on my lunch break, and my mum sends across a picture of the handsome chap below. After a very quick phone call, mum was heading to Wood Green Animal Shelter to visit him, and about three weeks later he is happily settled at home with my parents!

Huge thanks to Georgia from Mapped Out for these pictures!

We are all pretty smitten with this lovely chap. Whilst I no longer live at home, I have been really enjoying visiting our playful Beau! It is so funny to watch when he is in a playful mood, as he chases his ball around the living room at such a fast speed. At the moment, he isn't a massive fan of cuddles but he is getting more used to being around people and he apparently sits in whichever room my parents are working in at home which is nice.



Wood Green animal shelter opened in 1924, and now has three locations in Heydon, London and Godmanchester. I have to say how impressed I was by the shelter in Heydon when we visited Beau. Each cat had such a huge amount of space, and you could tell that the people working there genuinely cared about the cats. Beau was sadly abandoned when he was younger, and spent a bit of time as a stray before being taken in by another family. Unfortunately, he didn't get on with their cat and so ended up at Wood Green.

Thankfully Beau's story has a happy ending! My parents are so pleased with how Beau is settling in, and it's so nice that they have been able to give this lovely cat a new home. If you live near one of the centres and are looking for a cat yourself, I'd really recommend visiting the centre.

Do you have any pets?

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Tuesday, 5 December 2017

November in Numbers

Whilst we don't get into the festive mode until early December, as we like to celebrate Dan's birthday on 1 December first, November is always a fun month! You're beginning to feel festive and the evenings seem to last longer because you think it's later due to it being pitch black by five. Let's get stuck in shall we...

Photo by Mapped Out

1 new blog design, and I'm really loving it! It's sleek, and much more user-friendly than my last site. I'm so happy with it and am feeling quite inspired to blog at the minute.

books read. I'm currently half-way through Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi which is both beautiful and heartbreaking. Well worth a read.

1 trip to the ice rink in Cambridge with Georgia from Mapped Out which was so festive and fun. We also took some outfit photos - sneak peak above!

2 hours on the phone with my friend who lives in Kuwait, which was lovely. It's quite hard to catch up with friends sometimes so it was so nice to spend a few hours catching up!

1 day celebrating my Dad's ordination after 4 years of his hard work. It was a lovely day, and the amount of people that showed up was so touching. My dad is one of the kindest people you'll ever meet, and works so hard in his community so it was nice to see how appreciated he is!

1 new cat who I'm sure will be introduced on Suitcase and Sandals very soon.

November has been a fantastic month, full of family and friends as it should be! I've enjoyed celebrating with my family, and taking some me-time too.

How has November been for you?


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Sunday, 3 December 2017

3 ways to feel festive this December

 As Dan's birthday is on 1 December, we don't usually start to feel Christmassy until his birthday weekend is over. Feeling festive is one of the best feelings in the world, so when Dan's birthday has been and gone, we do all we can to get that feeling. Here's to cosy nights in with the Christmas tree glowing and the candles burning!

Winter Wonderland, December 2015

Whack Buble on - or just Christmas music in general

Of course this was going to be on my list. I can't listen to any of Buble's songs without being reminded of Christmas. A few personal faves are Feliz Navidad, and Blue Christmas. Buble's Christmas album always reminds me of the first few Christmasses with Dan so it has an extra special festive feel to it. We also used to listen to Christmas songs as a family whilst we put up our tree when we were younger so it always brings back some lovely memories.

Get stuck into a festive read

Reading is one of my favourite things to do, as I've mentioned on here probably a thousand times. Getting cosy with candles and a festive book is one of my favourite ways to get into the spirit of Christmas. Usually I go for Christmas chick flicks as they are easy to read but usually get me in the festive mood because they are about love and friendship!

Watch your favourite Christmas film

Christmas films are easily one of the best parts of Christmas. With so many to choose from, there is nothing better than spending the evenings in the lead up to Christmas watching a festive flick! A few of my faves are The Holiday (Jude Law!), Miracle on 34th Street and Elf. I'm so excited to watch ALL the Christmas films.

Another way I feel extra festive is to do all of the above with loved ones! Christmas is all about love, and spending time with family so if you can watch your favourite Christmas film, why not invite your bestie over, or have a festive book swap with your Mum?

What do you to feel festive?
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Friday, 1 December 2017

Ice Skating at North Pole, Cambridge

A couple of weeks ago, I headed to North Pole, Cambridge with Georgia from Mapped Out blog. Georgia had been sent some tickets, and kindly took me with her! We went on the first Saturday it was open, and selected the earliest slot possible which is 11am. If you're looking to go, I'd recommend getting there early so the ice rink isn't took busy! It's open until 8 January so there's still time to go.



It's worth noting that you need to bring a £2 coin with you if you want to use the lockers. As we were going alone, we made sure to bring one as we knew we'd want to store our things. We arrived about ten minutes before our session which was plenty of time to get our skates on before heading out on the ice.


Each session is 45 minutes long, and we found that was the perfect length of time. As much as I love ice skating, I forget that it is quite good exercise so 45 minutes is the ideal length of time to spend on the ice - especially in the English weather! I love being on the rink, we used to go ice skating quite a bit when we were younger as my mum's cousin's wife is an ice skating teacher so it always brings back lovely childhood memories.


Ice skating is the perfect festive activity and I much preferred ice skating in Cambridge, than somewhere busier in London. There were enough people on the ice for there to be a good festive atmosphere, but Georgia and I could skate around happily without too much fear of people skating into us.

Within the North Pole area on Parker's Piece, there are also some rides and food stalls as well which makes it the perfect place to visit with your family. There's a lot to do, and the whole area feels incredibly festive. Visiting made me very excited for Christmas!

Thank you Georgia for taking me along.

Have you been to the North Pole, Cambridge?

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