After the mad rush of Christmas, which saw us doing our annual road trip to visit friends and family, we aimed to have a low key frugal January where we’d stay home, relax in front of the fire, and try to spend as little as possible in order to splash out on some weekend breaks throughout the year.
Unfortunately though, circumstances made this impossible. Two ill cats have meant I’m on first name terms with most of the staff at my vets and have made my stress levels skyrocket, as well as my credit card bill! On top of that we’ve ended up forking out for five new tyres – only days after replacing the old worn ones, J hit a curb and got a puncture. Typical!
It’s not all been drama though. I tied in a trip to Cortina to review the lovely Hotel Ambra with Justin’s birthday and so we spent a snowy weekend up in the Dolomites in northern Italy under the care of the hotel’s wonderful owner, Elisabetta. It was gorgeous taking the winding roads up to the mountains and although it was bloomin’ freezing (it hit -18 one night) we both absolutely loved it there, especially going up the mountains to eat paninis and pizzas for lunch or drink hot chocolates, and then go for little walks out in the untouched snow.
Neither of us ski, but we discovered there’s so much more than this to do when you visit a ski resort – I’ll be sharing my insider tips in upcoming weeks as well as my full review of the hotel…
This past month has been an odd one for me, it began with an unreal adventure to Iceland for my husband’s 30th birthday and has since settled back into the average day-to-day. Whilst in our favourite country, we explored every inch of Reykjavik, ventured into an ice cave (one of the best experiences of my life so far), saw glacier lagoons, stood beneath waterfalls (including the one we got hitched at) with the northern lights above us and strolled along an arresting black sand beach. Every time I visit Iceland, it’s like a breath of fresh air. I come back reinvigorated and ready to take on any challenges that lay before me. It also helps by presenting me with a bit of perspective, it’s so beautifully hypnotic yet so dependent on natural events that it really does show you not to stress about the small things – life is too short.
On my return, I’ve been taking it quite slowly, catching up with friends and taking leisurely walks. I’ve seen quite a few good films at the cinema, which is something I love to do on a quiet Sunday. All I can say is, if you haven’t seen La La Land then you are missing out, you have to go! There’s something about the film that feels so positive and refreshing, a bit like waking up the day after the Women’s Marches all across the world. Since seeing it, all I’ve wanted to do is buy my plane tickets to LA and listen to a LOT of jazz. Inspired by the music, Joe and I have booked ourselves an evening at a London jazz club for Valentine’s Day… too early?
We had a quiet Christmas in our house this year, which was great. Patrick and I had an enforced week off as our day job was closed (he’s an automotive engineer and I work the office). So I took the opportunity to have an actual proper break – I told all my freelance clients I was away, turned on my out of office and even went to so far as to delete loads of apps off my phone so I wouldn’t get distracted. It all ended up being really rather relaxing and having a full break (instead of my usual half break, half work/study) is definitely something I’m going to try and be better at this year.
To be honest, January has been dark, cold, miserable and boring and I’m glad it’s almost over. We’ve just really been hunkered down, getting used to getting back into our routine and waiting for the mornings and evenings to lighten up again. There were a few little highlights though – Keri and I went to the first Cotswold Blogger and Influencers group meet up in December, I’ve been to what feels like a hundred different board game evening with various friends (always a lot of fun) and Keri, Justin, Patrick and I went for a belated Xmas meal at Hotel du Vin in Bristol last weekend, making use of a free dinner that we won in competition a few months back. But on the whole, I’m looking forward to February!
Getting back into the swing of work after a long Christmas break was difficult, but thankfully I had some exciting things to look forward to this month.
My friend managed to get tickets to see Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed and In Flames at the O2 last weekend, which was amazing! I love going to see live music, the atmosphere is just incredible. I try and go to as many gigs as I can and this year I’m seeing Sum 41 in February as well as going to Download festival in June.
My mum has decided that this year she will do something new every month and has convinced me to do the same. This month my friend Amy and I tried pole fitness. We were pretty nervous at our first class, but the teacher soon put us at ease and it was really fun! It takes a lot of upper body strength (which I need to work on!) and you don’t half ache afterwards, but we’re definitely going to keep at it. If anyone has any ideas of more things I can try out, let me know!