Archives

Lifestyle, My Life

Goodbye Facebook. It’s not me, it’s you. 

February 11, 2018

This year I’m giving myself the best Valentine’s gift. I’m deleting my Facebook account.

I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while so by deleting my account for Lent, I can see how I get on without it and then make a decision in 6 weeks time about whether the deletion is a permanent one. At this point, I think it might be.

So why Facebook? In all honestly, I don’t think I get any happiness from Facebook. Yeah, I get tagged in the odd funny meme and video but most of the time I’m scrolling past a load of content that I don’t really care about. I’ve had a few culls of Facebook ‘friends’ over the years to get rid of those random people you met in Freshers week or Sophie, who you sat next to in Year 9 Maths but I still get bored by my feed. It used to be full of status updates and photos that I was interested in but now it’s just endless videos that I don’t watch.

I considered deleting all my social media accounts for Lent but I actually enjoy Twitter and Instagram. I literally LOL at a lot of things on Twitter and am regularly amazed at the beautiful photography I see on Instagram. That’s the reason that I interact on these platforms and not Facebook. I can’t remember the last time I came off Facebook feeling better than I did when I clicked on the app. I honestly just scroll through the app out of habit and I’m looking forward to not doing that anymore. Why should I spend time doing something that doesn’t make me happy?

I’ve had a think about what I might miss about Facebook and nothing immediately springs to mind which probably speaks for itself. I’ve made the decision to keep my blog’s Facebook page as I want to be able to still share my posts with the people who follow the page but my personal account is going to be deactivated and I’m actually really excited to do it!

Goodbye Facebook. It’s not me, it’s you.

Blogging, Lifestyle

My Blogging Goals for 2018

January 16, 2018

I’ve spoken already about what my plans are for 2018 but I want to talk about what my plans for this blog are.

Last year I had lots of grand plans and wrote them down in a notebook and then promptly forgot about them. I’m hoping that by making them a bit more public, I’ll be more inclined to stick to them. Fingers crossed anyway…

So, my main goal is to create regular, engaging content.

Very vague.

What I mean by this, is that I get more enjoyment from my blog when engagement is high and I find that posting more regularly leads to more engagement.

I’ve got a few tips to try and help with this.

  1. I’ve signed up to Sophie Cliff’s e-course to learn how to grow my blog with a full time job. I’m loving the course so far. It’s really inspiring and I can’t wait to put it all in to action.
  2. Make time for blogging. I quite often say that I haven’t got time to post regularly but that’s just an excuse really. I’ve found time to run every day in January so far so I’m sure I can find time to blog.
  3. Quality over quantity. I don’t want regular to mean I post some half-hearted rubbish 3 times a week. I want to make sure I only post what I’m happy with and would enjoy reading on someone else’s blog. After all, if I wouldn’t read it, why would I expect my readers to?
  4. Engage with other blogs more. I’m hoping (though I have no evidence to back this up) that engagement leads to engagement. I want to like more tweets and Instagram photos, comment on blogs and photos, take part in twitter chats and just generally share the love in the blogosphere a bit more. I know how happy it makes me feel when I get comments or someone shares my post so I want to do this more for the blogs I’m enjoying. I also find that blog comment sections are a great place to find other blogs to follow.

So, how does that sound? Achievable? I think so.

So let’s add some goals that seem less achievable to really push myself.

I want to work with 3 brands in 2018.

I want to increase my following on Twitter and Instagram by 20%.

Okay, that was scary to write down. But with this post to hold me accountable, it’s something I can work towards.

Make sure you’re following me on Twitter and Instagram to be a part of my blogging journey in 2018 (cheeky plug to help me achieve my goals…). Let’s do this!

This post is part of my entry to win a place at The Bloggers’ Retreat, wish me luck!

Europe, Iceland, Travel

A Long Weekend in Iceland

January 13, 2018

December 2017 saw me and Stu finally tick a destination off our bucket list which has been on there for years… ICELAND! We were there from Thursday to Sunday and it was absolutely brilliant. Everything we wanted and more.

Here’s what we managed to do on our 3 day/4 night trip.

Day 1

We arrived about midday after flying from Bristol with Easyjet. After collecting our luggage (and saying hello to the puffin hanging from the ceiling) we headed outside to get our transfer coach to the hotel. We both had our warm coats on and a couple of other layers but no hats, scarves or gloves at this point. Our initial thoughts were, “This isn’t that bad” and then suddenly the cold hits you. My hands felt like they were going to drop off and I huddled into Stu to try and keep warm. Luckily there wasn’t much of a queue and we were on the coach within minutes. All the coaches we went on during the trip were nice and warm so there was never any problems staying warm when travelling.

It was about a 45 minute journey from the airport to central Reykjavik and the views on the journey are amazing. It’s totally different landscape to anywhere I’ve been before and I was completely awestruck and couldn’t wait to explore.

We couldn’t check in to our hotel until 3pm so had a few hours to walk around Reykjavik. The first thing on our mind was food so we walked down the main road keeping an eye out for places to eat. We kept getting distracted though because Reykjavik is full of quirky colourful buildings and it’s right next to more amazing scenery. Being winter, the sun was low and this made the surrounding mountains look almost purple. Pictures just can’t do it justice. In fact, it’s hard to get a picture because you risk frost bite when you take your gloves off to get a picture.

For lunch we went to SÆTA SVÍNIÐ, a small pub by Ingólfur Square. We both went for a lamb sandwich which came with waffle chips. It was absolutely gorgeous! We found out afterwards that lamb is a favourite for Iceland and it definitely didn’t disappoint. The portion sizes were huge as well!  This was our first experience of Icelandic prices and two meals, a beer and a coffee came to £65. So, not cheap. Stu’s pint was about £10 and this did turn out to be his most expensive one of the trip. When I had wine, it tended to be about £8-£10 for a glass. So yes, Iceland is expensive but you can find cheaper food if you don’t want a sit down meal every time and there’s plenty of happy hours to take advantage of for drinks.

Night 1 – Northern Lights tour with Grayline.

Having the chance to see the Northern Lights are probably one of the main attractions to Iceland. We’ve all seen those fantastic images of the green lights shooting across the skies. I booked all of our tours with Grayline before we left because I found a discount code online (See5 if it still works!).

We were picked up about 8pm and then headed out of the city to chase the lights. We had a brilliant tour guide who told us loads of interesting facts and kept the excitement high in the group. Now, most people me and Stu know who had been to Iceland before, hadn’t seen the Northern Lights so we had low expectations. In fact, our expectations were at an all time low because the nightly forecast put our chances at a 2 on a scale of 1 to 9.

However…

About half an hour in to the trip, the coach driver turned off all the interior lights and we were asked to look to our left. Above the mountains, the tour guide pointed out something that looked like a strange cloud formation. This was what the Northern Lights looked like as they were developing. We couldn’t believe it, we were going to see them!

We pulled over shortly after this in the middle of the National Park and our tour guide showed us how to set our cameras to get the best possible pictures. This is the thing that no one really tells you about the lights. All the vibrant colours are invisible to the human eye and only your camera can capture them. What you see is very pale green colours in the sky. We were extra lucky and the lights decided to dance on this night so we got to see all the different movements as well as the static formation. I was probably the coldest I’ve ever been, and ever will be, despite lots of layers but it was so worth it! I can’t describe how special the experience was. Our photos seriously don’t do it justice. We probably spent about an hour and a half watching them and then it was time to head back to the hotel.

Most of the tour operators offer you the chance to return and try again the next night if you don’t see the lights so don’t worry if you miss out the first time.

Day 2

As we knew the previous night was going to be a late one, we decided to book the blue lagoon for our second day. There’s no better way to relax than in a lagoon right? We weren’t due at the lagoon until 1pm so had a little stroll into the centre in the morning for breakfast. As it doesn’t get light until 11am it felt strange trying to find somewhere to eat in the pitch black. The streets were really quiet as well so we felt like we’d got out of bed at the wrong time. We decided to try out The Laundromat Cafe which had nice interiors and was decorated for Christmas. The prices in here were a lot more reasonable as well. We could have probably picked anything from the breakfast menu but eventually decided on the banana and blueberry pancakes and scrambled eggs and bacon on rye bread. We even shared because we both wanted to try more than one dish!

It was getting light when we left so we got to appreciate all the cute coloured houses and street art on our walk back to the hotel. It’s weird visiting a country and not getting many chances to see it in daylight!

So, the blue lagoon. We went for the Premium package which gave you a few extras on top of the standard ticket. These included a drink at the swim up bar, a dressing gown and an extra face mask. You can upgrade on the day so don’t worry if you’re not sure what to go for just yet. Once we’d changed in to our swim stuff, we decided to take a few photos before getting in the lagoon. Unfortunately our GoPro ran out of battery and we didn’t bring the charger so had to make do with our phones. Once we were happy with our shots, we had our first dip! The outside temperature was about -7 and the water 37 degrees so it was absolute bliss. It’s really, really steamy so you can’t see that far in front of you but that just adds to the experience. You feel like you’re exploring the whole lagoon and keep coming across new areas.

We decided to have our free drinks first so headed over to the bar area. It was amazing to have a glass of wine and just people watch for a bit. Everyone looked so happy! Well, everyone apart from the lifeguards who looked bloody freezing. I would not want their jobs!

After a little swim and explore we went to try out the face masks. Stu was a bit tentative at first but soon immersed himself in the experience when he realised that everyone was using the masks. I completely caked it on so probably looked more scary than relaxed.

There’s absolutely loads to see at the blue lagoon. There’s a little cave with a voiceover telling you the history of the lagoon, there’s a steam room and a sauna and there’s a waterfall! We spent about 3 and a half hours there and could have stayed longer really. All the tickets let you stay until close so you can truly relax and enjoy yourself.

For our second night we decided to go to the Hard Rock Café which only opened in 2016. Yes we are those people that visit chain restaurants when on holiday. I’m sorry but the nachos are just too good. We also had a walk around the town as it was lit up for Christmas and had an ice rink in the square. Another reason we were so glad to see the Northern Lights on our first night was because it meant we had some evenings to ourselves and not on a tour. I would have felt that we hadn’t spent enough time in Reykjavik if we’d spent every night on a coach trying to see the lights again.

Day 3

Our third day was spent on an all day trip with Grayline on the Golden Circle classic tour. The Golden Circle is basically the name of the trip which shows you all the main natural landmarks in the area. Along with the blue lagoon and the northern lights, it’s probably one of the most popular attractions for those visiting Iceland. We were really excited for this trip so we could see all the amazing scenery up close and feel like an extra on Game of Thrones.

Again, our Grayline tour guide and driver were fantastic in keeping the group entertained with stories about Iceland. I was especially impressed that our guide quizzed us on what he’d told us with Mars bars for prizes! Miss Competitive over here obviously won one!

So the Golden Circle tour takes you to Þingvellir National Park, the Geysir geothermal area and the Gullfoss Waterfall. We also stopped off at another waterfall and to see some Icelandic horses!

The first stop at the National Park was very pretty as the sun was just coming up. Now when you’re at this National Park, you actually get to visit two continents… sort of. This is the point where the tectonic plates of North America and Europe meet. Little geography lesson for you there. Þingvellir is also where the old Icelandic leaders used to meet to make important decisions so it’s quite a cool landmark to visit. You’ll also get some amazing photos here.

We headed to the Gullfoss waterfall next which is a huge double waterfall. When my Dad and Stepmum visited, it was completely frozen but it was still flowing for us. It was bitterly cold here with the wind and spray but it’s an impressive sight. I know I keep going on about how amazing the landscape is in Iceland but it really is. I felt like I was on another planet, not just a 3 hour flight away from Bristol.

The last main stop was the Geysir area. This was cool. Every 5 minutes or so, one of the hot springs blasts out a huge column of water into the air and Stu took a great picture of it. Everyone gathers around the spring and watches it bubble away and then suddenly a huge bubble grows and then the water shoots out! Just writing about it is making me want to go again!

On the way back, we made one last little stop to a cute church. The sun was setting as we were there and it made for a great end to the day. This was a fantastic trip and one I would highly recommend. I can’t even pick a favourite stop of the day it was all that good.

Our final night arrived far too quickly. How could our bucketlist trip be almost over? We couldn’t decide where to go to eat on this night. In fact, we even bought a hot dog from a stall to eat whilst walking up and down the streets trying to decide on a restaurant. In fairness, it was a nice hot dog. Eventually, we decided on a cosy Italian restaurant which I can’t remember the name of. If I can find it on google maps, I’ll add the link as it was lovely food and a great atmosphere in there. As it was our last night, we decided to ignore Iceland prices and just eat and drink as much as we wanted. The way it should be on holiday! After having some bruschetta each to start, Stu decided to try some Icelandic cuisine and went for a salted cod pizza for his main and I had a pasta dish. Delicious!

Day 4

Our last day was basically travelling home because our flight was at midday. We had breakfast at the airport and then had one last look at this beautiful country from the window of the plane. It’s just phenomenal. It’s only a 3 hour flight to Bristol so we were soon back home and actually got greeted by even more snow. My car was covered by a few inches at the airport and it was nice to have a pretty landscape at home as well.

As you can see it was a lot to fit in to one trip. If we hadn’t seen the Northern Lights on our first night, we would have spent potentially the next two nights on that trip again. That would have left us with very little time to explore Reykjavik. We barely saw it in daylight as it was so had to get all our daytime pictures on the first day. 3 days/4 nights is enough time for your first trip to Iceland but only just. It will leave you wanting more, especially if you miss out on seeing the lights.

If I was to go again (which I’d love to!), I’d definitely go in the Summer to experience the 24 hours of sunshine and see the icy landscape transformed. There’s also so much more of the island to explore, like the glaciers and ice caves. We’re both big Game of Thrones fans so that tour was tempting but we didn’t have long enough this time.

Iceland, you were great.

Lifestyle, My Life

Living Like It’s Your Last Day

January 11, 2018

I, like many other people it seems, recently read this post by Holly Butcher where she left one last message to the world before she sadly passed away. If you haven’t read it yet then I urge you to do so.

We all know that life is short but unfortunately it usually takes the loss of a loved one to make us realise just how fragile life is.

So what can we do? Is living each day as if it’s your last actually realistic?

Well I think that depends on what you would do on your ‘last day’. Would you spend all your money on a new car or would you want to spend time with your friends and family? When it comes to it, we’ve still got to work (girl got bills to pay) so most days will be normal. Average even. So here’s how I’m going to make the most of every day.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. If it won’t matter in a year, it doesn’t matter now.

Get outside more.

Appreciate the moment.

Really taste good food.

Put my phone away more on an evening.

Stop comparing myself to others.

Say yes to new experiences.

Ring my friends and family more.

Say ‘I love you’ more.

Recognise when I need to relax.

Not get obsessed with saving and stop feeling guilty when spending money on myself.

What are you planning on changing?

Oh and if you want to really make a difference, sign up to give blood and register to be an organ donor.

Enjoy life!

Lifestyle, My Life

Plans for 2018.

January 1, 2018

HAPPY NEW YEAR PALS!

Hope your heads aren’t too sore and you make the most of the last day of the Christmas holidays by eating all the cheese and chocolate in sight. I’ve actually got tomorrow off work as well but we’re planning on taking the tree down which is sad. Secretly excited to dust and hoover the lounge again though. Adult life.

I was writing some events in our new calendar and it got me realising that there’s already a lot to look forward to this year. We’ve got tickets to Jake Bugg, Ed Sheeran, Wicked and the athletics in Birmingham.

This month I’ve signed up to the crazy challenge of running every day in January. Urggghh. I’ll be running a half marathon in March so I’m just thinking of it as good training. I’m putting myself through this for Mind as the January blues are a real thing for many of us and Mind offer amazing support to those suffering with their mental health. If you’d like to donate, please do so here.

I’ve mentioned on here before that I’ve been training to become a Business & Personal coach so this year will see me complete the qualification. I’m already putting my training to good use and I love coaching. I’d like to stretch myself and aim to take on some paying clients this year. Something which both scares and excites me!

Travel wise, I don’t have much planned so far. We’re in Glasgow at the moment and will be in Kent next week for a wedding. We’ve then got a family trip to Center Parcs booked for May but that’s all for now. I’m desperate for some sun so hopefully we can book a trip somewhere hot soon. We’ve  done quite a few city breaks in the last few years so hopefully we can explore some more of Europe this way.

So that’s my plans so far, what are your plans for 2018?

Lifestyle, My Life

Reflections on 2017.

December 28, 2017

How is it time to write this post already? I’ve been writing my ‘reflections’ posts since 2014 and I really enjoy looking back on the year and taking a moment to appreciate all that I’ve done.

So 2017. Full of Fake News, Brexit news, Trump news and a whole lot of worry that we’re on a brink of a nuclear war. You’ve got to look on the bright side though right? You could be that girl in Bristol who got stuck in a window trying to rescue the poo that she was trying to get rid of. Imagine.

I’ve had such a busy few years that when I was thinking about what I’ve done this year, there wasn’t anything that immediately came to mind. It’s been a fairly steady year. Same job, same house and a few more places ticked off the bucket list. Here’s a few of my highlights:

  • Celebrating various weddings with friends and family
  • Drinking beer in Bruges and actually enjoying it
  • Eating the best pasties in the world in Cornwall
  • Seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland
  • Starting my Post Grad course in Business & Personal Coaching
  • Finally decorating the living room
  • Feeling like a proud parent taking my Mum and Stepdad to the airport for their gap year
  • Seeing the Harry Potter play in London with my sister
  • Seeing Busted twice – still can’t believe that they’re back!
  • Attending numerous blog events and reviewing some of my favourite restaurants

Me and Stu are going to be in Glasgow for NYE so I’m looking forward to seeing in the year Scottish style! Hope you’ve all had a fantastic year. Thanks for staying with my blog – I’ve been blogging less recently but it’s good to see that people still read when I do occasionally post.

See you in 2018!

Health & Fitness, Travel, UK

HarSpa at Bristol Harbour Hotel

December 18, 2017

Christmas may be the time of giving but I’m a big believer in looking after yourself so when I was invited to Bristol Harbour Hotel‘s spa facilities, I made sure I could attend.

I’d had a busy day at work and then rushed to the Harbour Hotel. Recently opened, this was my first visit so I had no idea what to expect. The entrance was fairly standard of a nice hotel but the spa is the hidden gem of this building.

The building used to be a bank and the spa has been built within the original bank vaults. It’s so cool! I’m talking curved ceilings, big vault doors and lots of twists and turns. It’s worth a visit just to see the vault doors to be honest!

I was greeted by the spa manager Kayley who booked me in for my treatment later in the evening and I then got to catch up with the other Bristol bloggers with a glass of prosecco. To get us in the Christmas spirit, we were soon given Christmas pudding cocktails. I had no idea what this would taste like and it was basically very very strong. I’m still not sure what the main flavour was…

Kayley then told us more about the spa and the express spa treatments that have been introduced recently. Kayley is so passionate about the Harbour Spa and it’s clearly got a very exciting future. It’s a beautiful hotel in a great location so I’m sure the new spa will be very popular in the area.

Before long it was time for my treatment! I decided to go for a head and scalp massage. Walking to my treatment room, I got a sneak peek of the pool area and other relaxation spaces. It looked incredible and somewhere I’d love to spend a few hours. My massage was an absolute dream and I’m pretty sure I did almost start dreaming at one point… I felt so relaxed and my masseuse clearly explained all the products and what she would be doing. I love that feeling after a massage when you feel completely rejuvenated and even this little taster gave me that feeling. I can’t wait to return for a longer spa visit.

After my treatment I got to have a little look around the rest of the hotel. If you’re ever in the area then you need to check out the incredible Gold Bar. Ideal for some Christmas cocktails!

As always, I’m incredibly grateful that this blog offers me the chance to review beautiful places like this and this taster evening reminded me how much I love a spa day. You don’t always think of visiting somewhere so close to home but I’ll definitely be booking a visit in early next year!

Whether you’re after a last minute Christmas gift or want to get 2018 off to a relaxing start, make sure you check out the treatments available at the Harbour Spa!

 

Blogging, Lifestyle, My Life

4 Years of Blogging

November 11, 2017

Happy 4th blog birthday to me! 

I can’t believe it was four years ago that I sat at home and decided to start this blog. I’d attempted to write a blog before, it was just after graduating and I thought I’d talk about what it was like to look for a job after uni when you didn’t really know what you wanted to do. I soon decided that going travelling was much more exciting than working and once me and Stu had booked our trip, I decided to write my very first blog post.

If you’ve been reading this blog since 2013 then you’d know that is used to be called ‘Frankie goes to…’ and each blog post was called the name of the place we were visiting at the time. This was because that my blog was just a way of writing about our travels and letting everyone at home know what we were up to. I had no idea how big the blogging community was and that blogging could even be a full time job. 

It was towards the end of 2014 that I discovered Bloglovin’ and a ton of blogs that I still love to read today. It was not long after this that Stu and I came home and suddenly I didn’t know what to write about any more. How does a travel blogger keep blogging when they’re not travelling? This was a question that I struggled with for a long time. I wanted to write more but I felt like I couldn’t write about something not travel related on my blog. Eventually I decided to not worry about fitting in a blogging niche and just write about anything I wanted. 

Writing about anything I wanted soon meant that I wasn’t happy with the ‘Frankie goes to…’ brand and I decided to change my blog name to my name instead. I was writing about all aspects of my life so I wanted my blog name to reflect that.

Blogging has created so many wonderful opportunities for me and I’m incredibly proud of my little corner of my internet. I may not have the best photography and I may go weeks and weeks without a single blog post but as long as blogging continues to bring me joy, I’ll still be here. 

Happy Birthday francescaandrews.com

Travel

Regrets from my travels. 

September 24, 2017

This is a bit of a weird post for me to write because I’m a big believer in not having regrets and that everything happens for a reason. However, I honestly believe I was quite naive to the tourist industry and I ended up taking part in, and therefore funding, activities that I now know are wrong on so many levels.

Should I have done more research before going to these places? Yes.

Would I go again? No.

It was wrong of me to do these things but unfortunately I don’t live in the world of Harry Potter and time-turners aren’t a real thing. (Obviously they were all destroyed when Harry and his pals were at the Ministry anyway…). There’s no point in wallowing in self pity so the only thing I can do is help spread the message that it’s not cool to take part in these activities no matter how good the picture will look on your Instagram grid.

So what activities am I talking about?

Specifically I’m on about my time in Thailand. I’m sure you’ve all seen the pictures of people next to tigers and riding elephants. I can still see the attraction. These are amazing animals that we wouldn’t normally get to be so close to. And that’s kind of the point. It’s not normal for an elephant to carry us around. It’s not normal for us to sit next to a fully grown tiger. It’s not normal for animals who are natural predators to be in the such close proximity to us.

It seems obvious now but at the time I was surrounded by other travellers who were all going to visit the tigers and ride an elephant. It was just the thing to do when you were in Thailand. It seemed normal for us to lay down next to a tiger. Normal. That now seems crazy.

I remember reading all the signs at the tiger place about how the tigers weren’t drugged and were trained to be around humans. I thought at the time that it seemed too good to be true and it’s only since I’ve been home and read more about it that I’ve discovered the dark side to Thailand’s tourism industry. The treatment of elephants is particularly horrific, even in places calling themselves an ‘Elephant Sanctuary’. It’s hard to know if any place is truly helping to rescue the animals from the tourist hot spots because we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. I think it’s best not to fund any place that lets tourists near the animals for this reason.

If you’re heading to Thailand soon or any other country that exploits the welfare of animals for the tourism industry, then do your research before parting with your money. Is it really worth a few likes on a picture?

Lifestyle, Lists, My Life

30 before 30

September 10, 2017

Two weeks ago I turned 26 and I’ve started thinking about what I would like to achieve and do before I’m 30. I’ve spoken before about the importance of setting goals but not putting pressure on yourself so I’m hoping giving myself 4 years will be plenty of time. And if I don’t tick everything off the list then I’m sure I’ll allow myself an extension…

1. Gain a qualification.

This is a bit sneaky as I’m actually starting my Post Graduate Certificate in Business and Personal Coaching this month, but starting is no guarantee of completion! I’ve got 3 years to complete the course so hopefully I’ll be a qualified coach before I’m 30.

2. Run another marathon.

I’ve entered the ballot for the London Marathon again so fingers crossed! If I don’t get in, I’ll look for another race. Potentially one abroad!

3. Visit New Zealand.

New Zealand is the country that got away for me and Stu. We always tell ourselves that we’ll visit one day and I think we need to make it happen.

4. Go skiing again.

As we’re on the subject of travel I should mention this one as well. I went skiing with school years ago and I’d love to try it again.

5. Have a paid coaching client.

At first, I’ll be using my coaching qualification at work but I’d like to explore either consulting to a business or having individual clients. Watch this space!

6.  Volunteer.

I’d like to help out at a charity event or volunteer for a charity in another way.

7. Learn how to do a French plait.

Confession time! I’m awful with my hair and I’d love to be able to do all the pretty braid styles that I see on Pinterest. Time to watch countless YouTube tutorials…

8. Go to an outdoor cinema screening. 

These look so much fun and is one of those things I never get around to booking. Definitely one for the summer though.

9. Get a new kitchen.

Or at least give it a freshen up. New kitchens are expensive but I reeeeeeeally want one!

10. Appear on TV.

Okay, this one is completely random but I’d love to be on a game show. I applied for The Vault a few years ago and got an audition but that’s as close as I’ve got. I’ve just got to keep trying!

11. Treat myself more. 

I’ve always been good at saving and I actually struggle to spend money. Any excuse to take something out of my basket and it’s gone. I’d like to get better at buying things for myself.

12. Visit Italy.

Everything about this country looks gorgeous and it’s really not that far from the UK.

13. Start my family tree.

I love History and this would be a great project to discover more about my family.

14. Complete a triathlon.

I always like to push myself to new challenges and a triathlon would be perfect.

15.  Bake more.

I love baking and definitely don’t do it enough. I’d like to challenge myself more and I’m feeling inspired by the last couple of episodes of Bake Off.

16.  Start Yoga.

I’ve had a little taster of yoga and I’d like to give it a go properly.

17. Upcycle some furniture. 

I like the idea of giving some furniture a new lease of life instead of it going to the bin. I usually start browsing the John Lewis website for new furniture so I think it would be fun to hunt around charity shops and Gumtree instead.

18. Change my hair.

I’ve had the same hairstyle for years and I’m desperate to do something different. Shorter? New colour?

19. Display pictures from our travels.

I’ve started the mammoth task of printing all the photos from our travels but we need to start framing some or making them into a canvas.

20. Try another festival. 

I’ve only ever been to Glastonbury so not sure if other music festivals will live up to my expectations. Maybe a food festival instead?

21. Visit New York. 

Pretty much all of this list is travel related but what’s life without travel? The Big Apple has been on my bucket list for a long time so my 30th would be a perfect excuse to get it ticked off.

22. Blog more. 

I need to make more time for my blog and increase the amount of posts I publish. Even one post a week seems too much to ask at the moment.

23. Add more recipes to our repertoire. 

You know everyone has a handful of go-to meals that they can easily make in the week? I’d like to mix them up a bit more.

24. Host Christmas Day at our house.

This one scares me but I’d like to be the host for Christmas Day. It definitely won’t be this year so that leaves me with three more years to prepare myself (and Stu).

25. Start a podcast. 

I like to listen to them and I’m tempted to start my own…

26. Race more.

I run quite a lot at my local running club but I don’t enter many races. I feel more motivated to run when I have a race in the diary so I’d like to do 4 a year from now on.

27. Visit the Warner Bros studios again.

I visited the Harry Potter studio tour a few years ago and I’m desperate to visit again. There’s so much more to see there now.

28. Read 30 new books.

I tend to read my favourite books over and over again (Harry Potter – I’m looking at you) so I want to challenge myself to read something different and hopefully discover some new authors in the process.

29. Say yes more. 

It’s too easy to get into a routine in life. I’d like to say yes to more opportunities and to not be afraid to step outside of my comfort zone.

30. Be happy.

I’m very happy in my life now and I hope that I still feel the same in 4 years time.