Autumn, Lifestyle, Lifestyle, Summer

50 things to do before you turn 11 3/4s pt1

Lists. Lists have helped me a lot these past few months, they’ve helped me keep sane or sometimes even find my sanity during the dark days when anxiety had full control of my brain. I bought myself a wonderful book and it contains multiple lists, all positive and full of things I have achieved week in week out.

One day when scrolling my way through Pinterest I stumbled upon:

50 things to do before you turn 11 3/4.

Well, upon reading the different sub categories I realised that at 28 and 1/4 there was things on this list I had never even achieved never mind little legs who had only just turned 11! I have never skimmed a stone, nor have I ever ate an apple straight from a tree. Plenty of blackberries, cucumbers and tomatoes have been demolished straight from their vines but never an apple. No, this was not on. So off I went dead set that we would complete this list from scratch which means nothing can be crossed off until we complete it after the list has been written. I thought this might be a nice bonding session between me and LL’s who if truth be told is growing more and more into a teenager as the hours go by. Ever seen the BBC comedy Kevin becomes a teenager? Yeah that is currently LL’s.

So here is what we have currently completed, photos and all!

 

Climb a Tree

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This one I thought would be fairly simple but if truth be told I have to take my hat off to LL’s for getting so far up that slippery branch with nothing to hold onto for support! With every photo I took to document his achievement he seemed to climb further and further up the branch. What was lovely to see was the look of absolute terror from when he first attempted the climb melt away with every step / shuffle as he made his way up the tree branch.

Roll down a really big hill

This one was so funny. When on holiday we decided to go for a spontaneous walk to get charcoal for the marshmallow toasting that was going to occur later that evening which is when we stumbled upon a steep hill right in the middle of three cabins on the site. It hadn’t even occurred to me that this could be the hill we had been looking for as I had walked past it a few times, however LL’s ran right to the top of the said hill and rolled all the way back down again, as the name of the task suggests much to the bemusement of our fellow holiday neighbours.

Run around in the rain

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We didn’t so much run around in the rain, but instead we went on a long walk on the weekend the weather had changed from glorious sunshine to torrential downpours. Something I have learned this year is that I quite enjoy being outside in the rain, it makes me feel as if all my worries are being washed away, even if it is just temporary. I convinced LL’s to go for a walk with the promise of puddle jumping, and by god did he puddle jump! Regardless of the rain, he was drenched from head to toe in muddy puddle water to the point that it took us 5 minute’s to peel his jeans off him at the front door which had absolutely nothing at all to do with us falling about giggling as we realised he was stuck in said jeans. Off he went for a wonderful warm clean bath, and by the front door I stayed to pour out the puddle of water he tried to sneak home with him in his walking boots.

 

Play Pooh Sticks

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This has always been our favourite game to play when we go on walks to our local park, to the point that we have named the bridges , ‘the first bridge’ , ‘bridge two’ and ‘pooh stick bridge’ which probably doesn’t sound right if you don’t know what we are referring too. On the day we completed this task it seemed like a HUGE achievement as unfortunately my anxiety at the time meant (and still often means) I fear leaving the house, on this day we left just with the attitude of ‘we will see’ when it came to how far into the park we could get. The goal was bridge two, but I had barely managed to get to past the ‘first bridge’ on our last visit a month earlier. This time however, we managed to get all the way up to ‘Pooh stick bridge’, play pooh sticks AND go even further into the woods to play in the stream! All in all a fantastic day!

 

Go Star Gazing

Again, this was one of the many achievement we crossed off our list on holiday. Due to being in the middle of nowhere and the removal of all street lights, we discovered that when you sat outside on the decking late at night you could see what seemed like hundreds of tiny stars in the wonderfully dark night sky. It felt magical sitting and pointing the stars out and listening to the bats and other wildlife that were waking up for their night-time activities. LL’s thought he had seen a shooting star, but it turned out to be a plane.

 

Cook on a campfire

Okay, so I am classing this as cooking on a campfire, even if it was just roasting some marshmallows on a disposable BBQ tray. And oh my it was delicious! 10 out of 10 would do again and also I fully recommend you try it for yourself, in fact I may even do this again in the back garden on bonfire night when watching the fireworks.

 

Pick Blackberries in the wild

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What is better than going out into the wild with a Tupperware box and coming home with it filled to the brim with freshly picked fruit? This summer we have picked Strawberries, Raspberries and now Blackberries too. This is definitely something I’m going to keep doing year on year as it was so much fun. You can read more about our blackberry picking adventures here.

 

 

 

 

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Lifestyle, Summer

10 things that have made me happy this week

As if it is this time of the week again! I can’t be the only one who feels like these past two weeks have whizzed past ridiculously fast, even more so with the return to school chaos. Anyway! Here are the top 10 things that have made me feel happy over the past 7 days and please don’t forget to let me know what made you happy this past week as well.

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  1. Reading – There is nothing better than getting lost in a good book and that is what I have been doing these past two weeks. I am currently reading two cute little books, first up is the one I mentioned last week (The Little Book of Hygge) and the other is The Danish way of Parenting, both of which I wish I had found years earlier if truth be told and I fully recommend them both.
  2. Podcasts – These aren’t something I usually listen to, but this week whilst getting ready for work I felt I needed some background noise and my usual music playlist just wasn’t cutting it.  I stumbled upon Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast and I am absolutely in love with the entire idea of breaking down the Harry Potter texts chapter by chapter under a different theme each time. It is safe to say that I am obsessed!IMG_20180907_193145_895
  3. Pub Lunches – Last Friday I managed to toddle up to my local pub on my own and I really enjoyed just being out of the house and being in my own company for a change. Not only that but I also got to eat the best fish and chips I have ever had on a wonderful rainy autumn day in the cutest pub ever, accompanied with a gin and tonic of course.
  4. Bake off – I know I mentioned this last week, but it is obvious that an adorable baking show set in a tent is going to make everyone happy, so it was clearly going to appear here more than once. I think my favourite this year is Rahul, Kim-Joy also amuses me with her little cat creations. Who is your current favourite?IMG_20180914_174634_716
  5. Lush hair care – This time last week my hair was knackered. I don’t mean looking bit dull and lifeless I mean a full-blown frizzy dead mess! I ended up in Lush and picked up the H’suan wen hua hair treatment and that alongside a tiny sample of avocado co-wash seems to have brought my hair back into the land of the living thank god!
  6. Walking – Sounds a bit daft, I mean who likes walking? Me I must admit. I always feel a lot happier and more content after I have been out and about for a stroll, especially now the weather is cooling down. On the way to the pub last week it was fun to jump in all the puddles in the park in my wellies and I have walked part way home from work this week to. I will admit being in a Fitbit challenge with my bestie is the main source of inspiration when it comes to the after-work walks, especially after the long days we have had this week.IMG_20180914_174318_116
  7. Apple Pie – Is there anything better on a chilly Sunday night then a warm apple pie and some vanilla ice cream? The answer is no, no there is not. This week’s bake was just that, and it was magical.
  8. Stew – I know food appears a lot, but that is because food truly makes me happy, due to me being a little pig. The first of the official slow cook meals started this week with my mam making us beef stew with carrots, potatoes and green beans. I brought home some crusty bread from the Grainger market which went down a treat with mopping up the gravy in our bowls afterwards.
  9.  Infinity war!! Oh my god I almost forgot about this one. Sounds silly but I haven’t been to the cinema since before I got a bit fuzzy, and during that time Infinity war was released and I was devastated that I didn’t have the courage to go out and see it. But on Saturday night we had family movie night and after months of avoiding ALL spoilers I finally got to see the movie in all its glory with a G&T in my hand.
  10. Summer house – Our little summer-house is coming along nicely in the garden and even though it is only 40% complete I love toddling down and sitting in the doorway with my cup of tea and just watching the world go by. It will be amazing once it is finished.
Lifestyle, Summer

10 things that have made me happy this week

I really enjoyed writing up the ’10 things that have made me happy post’ two weeks back, it seemed to take me from a negative place mentally to having a more positive outlook on my week and life in general. I also really enjoyed seeing all of the positive responses from everyone who took the time to comment either on the post itself or via my social media as well as seeing what made everybody else happy during that seven-day period.

So once again here is a list of the 10 things that have made me happy since I hit publish on that post two weeks ago.

  1. Knitwear! Within the past 14 days we have seen a dramatic change in the weather here in the North East of England and you can feel the chill slowly beginning to creep back in which means it has been time to dig out those Autumn jumpers as well as heading to Primark to buy some wooly cardigans. I even strayed from my trademark black and bought a mustard yellow cardigan that I am utterly in love with.
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  2. Soup! The cooling weather also means soup is slowly becoming the option of choice for dinner and I have batch cooked once again and added some sweet potato and coconut soup to the freezer for the upcoming month.
  3. The Great British Bake Off! That’s right this week we seen the return of the bake-off and I am beyond excited! This wonderful little tent of treats returning to our screens means that Autumn is well and truly on its way and cake, tea and blankets are once again weekly staple on a Tuesday evening.

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  4. Jam! I made jam for the first time in my life the other day and I am pleasantly surprised with how well it turned out considering I didn’t have the faintest idea what I was doing, I thought that two jars of sticky tangy blackberry jam would be enough to see me through until next year but we have already made our way through jar one and have just opened the second!
  5. Gardening! I know this post should really be titled 10 reason why Jenn is turning into an old lady rather than 10 things that have made me happy… HOWEVER I have always had an interest in gardening since I was tiny when I used to follow my dad around the vegetable patch in his jacket probably pulling up his plants moments after he planted them. This year I have asked my mam and dad once again to take me under their wing to show me the ropes as well as help me plant and look after some winter vegetables. So be warned this may be a recurring theme in these posts.

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  6. Books! I have always been an avid reader and get wrong for buying more books than I can handle, however I have just purchased ‘The little book of Hygge’ from Amazon which so far seems full of lovely little tit bits about the Danish way of life. Why was I drawn towards this book? The author of it is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and I was interested to see if this book would have any fun little tips to incorporate into my everyday life, plus the front cover is pretty cute.
  7. Pins! I have gone pin mad! I have always loved cute little brooches despite not having a clue how you wear them correctly but pins are now slowly taking over my accessory collection. My recent buys include this adorable Spyro pin from Ohayou!  (pictured below and also above with my mustard yellow cardigan) as well as a melt your heart cute Loki and Thor Pin.

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  8. Wax Melts! I have never in my life used a wax melt, but after buying my adorable little owl burner for £3.50 in my local Wilkos I went on a mission to find some wonderful smelling melts ready for when the dark nights and cold weather starts to really kick in.
  9. Disney films! There is nothing better than curling up with a good drink and some snacks and snuggling down to watch a DVD, even more so when that DVD is a  classic Disney one!
  10. Christmas! I know, I can’t believe I have just wrote that either howeverrr, this is the time of year where everyone starts to announce their Christmas events and I won’t lie it actually makes me feel a little bit warm and fuzzy inside! I live for the Christmas build up and I have already began eyeing up the amazing classes that Moth Studios is offering throughout the festive season, Christmas at Beamish  tickets also go on sale next week and I have obviously already emailed Jesmond Dene House about their festive afternoon tea.

 

And that is that! 🙂

 

Lifestyle, Summer

10 things that have made me happy this week

This week I have pretty much been feeling the holiday and back to reality with a bang blues, which I have pretty much documented on every single one of my social media channels so sorry about that! So I thought I would write-up a 10 things that have made me happy this week themed post, which I can not take credit for idea wise as I was inspired by the wonderful Cider with Rosie series.

So let’s go!

  1. Home! Despite really enjoying my week away I am over the moon to finally be back home in my own bed with the ability to bake and read and play my Playstation as and when I would like to. Sometime’s having some time away from it all can really make you appreciate the little things, and this is one of them for me.cropped-img_20180817_1230531740.jpg
  2.  Blackberries! I am so excited that the blackberries are now appearing on the branches. We went out a few days ago to our local park and picked a whole load, and I am praying they are still okay and if so I will hopefully be turning them into yummy jam later today. Wish me luck!
  3. Postcards! I have this week sent my first ever post card off to my wonderful friend and I am so excited for her to receive it.
  4. Foundation! Not so much the foundation itself, even though the Kat Von D Lock It Tattoo Foundation is exceeding all my expectations so far, but more the fact that I was able to go after work and get my skin matched to my perfect shade at the Newcastle Debenhams branch. As silly as it sounds that is a big thing for me with my current struggle with anxiety, and it just shows how much better I have managed to become in just a few months. Also a good foundation gives you a wonderful confidence boost!IMG_20180805_154551_314.jpg
  5. De-cafe coffee! Okay so it may not be the real thing but sometimes it tastes just as good and is an instant warm hug in a cup.
  6. Glass Jars! With the hopes that my first attempt at jam making will be a success, I have purchased some super cute jam jars to hold all that sticky blackberry goodness in.
  7. Gardening! Over the Summer I had my own little herb garden going on in the back garden, which I had to look after and tend to. When we arrived home last Saturday one of the first things I did was cut back all of my poor overgrown herbs (it is amazing what a week of leaving your plants will do). I found 5 different types spiders and a caterpillar I named Parsley.IMG_20180817_094645_168.jpg
  8. Batch cooking! This week I made butternut squash and coconut curry and it was delicious. I managed to get four good portion sizes out of one pot worth and I took half to work with me and froze the other half to take at a later date. There’s something lovely about having a home cooked meal at work, especially when the colder months start creeping up.
  9. Inspiration! Okay, so I know I feel a little frazzled after being back at work for two days however I am over the moon to be inspired once again to write posts for this little blog. I have even managed to create a posting and content plan for Blogtober!
  10. Rain! As much as I have really enjoyed summer, I really do like rain at this time of year. It isn’t too cold yet so the rain always feels welcoming rather than harsh, plus the north-east keeps getting random rumbles of thunder and there is nothing better than a good thunderstorm.

 

Lifestyle, Summer

June Favourites

As if June is over and July is already well underway! I know it’s a little ironic to upload a June favourites post considering we are now a week into July and the fact that my blog page was shut down for the majority of June but I feel I should celebrate the month of my birth as it has been pretty bloody awesome!

After my mini melt down that occured the first five months of 2018, June was finally the month that I acknowledged something was a little off and I worked my butt off to pull myself out the of mental gutter I had slid my way into. After seeing what I accomplished in June I am majorly looking forward to see what I can achieve through July and onwards over the next few months and beyond. One thing that helped me a lot was an app called Headspace, which teaches mindfulness and has re-taught me how to acknowledge and approach certain situations that happen to all of us daily. I fully recommend you check it out!

June is also the month I give myself the crazy task to bake my way through the entire Mary Berry’s Baking Bible. This is no mean feat with 223 individual recipes making up the contents of this book this challenge should take me around 3 to 4 years to fully complete. I will be blogging my way through the challenge where you can find weekly posts under the Lavender and Black Bakes tab in the menu bar or alternatively you can follow my new Instagram page here which will be a visual collection of images throughout this challenge.

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Product wise I may not have posted a lot (okay, fine nothing, I posted nothing) in June but it was the month I discovered the Pixi skincare range that has taken over my entire skincare routine and has changed the appearance of my dull lifeless skin for the better! It was also the month Lush kitchen made a tiny come back and released some of their more sought after liquid shower gels, which I was lucky enough to grab two bottles of. So look forward to these posts appearing hopefully sometime in July!

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Clothing wise I discovered how amazing Tesco’s F&F clothing range is this month, I picked up these adorable Pj’s which have come in super useful during the past few weeks of hot weather we have had as well as a new jacket which hasn’t been as useful but I am sure I’ll get my money’s worth come the cooler months. I also bought some Dungarees mid way through June from Ebay and I am in LOVE with how light they are to wear in this heat as well as how they make me feel like I am living through some 80s rom com.

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E3 which feels like a lifetime ago also took place during June. E3 is basically a yearly event called the Electronic Entertainment Expo where game developers showcase what they have been creating and the games we will be playing during the upcoming months / years. This year I was personally blown away by the Berthera and Microsoft announcements and I am looking forward to Fallout 76 and Gears of War 5 (despite still not finishing Fallout 4 or Gears of War 4).

And that’s that! That was June summed up in around 550 words, here is hoping July is a lot more productive and just as awesome as last month was!

Lifestyle, Summer

August Favourites

Here we are at the end of another month, and I must admit as much as I have enjoyed the summer sunshine on its rare appearance, I am now longing for the crisp Autumn breeze, woolly knits, crunchy leaves and drinking tea under a cosy blanket watching bake off. Autumn is my favourite season, I get excited about Bonfire night, Halloween and dare I say it? The run up to Christmas, so much so I’m excited just typing out the words.

But anyway, before I run off with the idea of the festive period let’s get back to August, and what a month it has been! After a small period of self-doubt and uncertainty about my future in blogging, I eventually got this little page up and running and began posting content again. I know it has a lot of work still to be done to it but I’m sure as time moves on and I progress forward my page will evolve, and I’m very excited about that!

201708281438532052Jelly Face Masks

This month also seen Lush finally launch its Jelly range in the form of both Bath Bombs and new face masks, although I’m not overly keen on trying out their new range of bath bombs at this moment in time, I have found myself obsessed with their face masks! I am currently trying two out of the six masks that are available both online and in-store and I can’t wait until I get the chance to review them in full, which will hopefully be live this Sunday.

IMG_20170828_171952_801The Body Shop

Carrying on with the pampering theme, I also managed to get my hands on The Body Shop’s banana hair care range! This past month it seemed that the entire internet exploded with excitement over these products, and it took a little while before I was able to purchase them for myself as they always seemed out of stock in my local branch. Once I did get my hands on them, I decided to purchased the shampoo, conditioner and the hair mask together and they smell absolutely amazing! Like banana milkshake. So far the shampoo and conditioner have left my hair smelling wonderful and I am currently sitting with the mask on my hair as I type this post out.

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I also ventured into Primark this month, which is rare as it’s a bit out-of-the-way for me to go to. I originally ventured in to get little legs some PJ’s from their new Harry Potter range but left with two new pairs of shoes for myself! Primark are really stepping up their game with their amazing A/W footwear range and I’m excited to see what they will bring out next. Read more about these cute Bee flats pictured in last weeks post found here.

IMG_20170828_171735_955Vanillary

Also sneaking in right at the end of the month with only a few days to go is once again another Lush product. This time it is their amazing Vanillary perfume which I would usually avoid like the plague as I have never been a huge fan of vanilla based scents. However, the vanilla isn’t overly powerful and after being shown this product by one of the Newcastle staff I instantly fell in love with it and knew it had to be in my life.

So that’s that. What products have you fell in love with this past month? Have you also tried out any of the ones I have mentioned above. Let me know in the comments below what you think or anything you would recommend me to try..