Yearly Round Up (and my only blog post) of 2018!

So… I’m back! Can’t promise how long for this time but I’m back for now! This year has just gone by in a flash and I can’t believe Christmas has been and gone and it’s (almost) 2019.

There’s been a LOT going on this year from pretty much all my friends (me included) turning 30, 3 holidays, wedding planning, courses, work in general the list goes on and before you know it, boom, it’s another year gone!

The next year ahead is going to be EVEN MORE full on (doing another and more intense course, working full time, wedding planning and actually getting married to name a few). I need to remember to take time to breathe, trust my gut look after myself in the process. Easier said than done I’m sure, but I will definitely be making that a priority over anything.

Without further a do – here’s my yearly round up in the form of a LiveJournal quiz that I’ve used for the last 10+ years. It may be my only post of the year – but knew I definitely had to do at least this one!

In 2018:

1. What did you do that you’d never done before? Passed a post graduate course at level 6 (unless you count mentorship done 6 years ago, which even that I failed first time round) and went to a proper drag show (with brunch!)

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Don’t think I made any last year… whoops. Resolutions for this year: get to my SlimmingWorld target (preferably pre-wedding), get back to the gym (as I’ve been off since dental work was done and have been using that and Christmas as an excuse), allow more time for reading books, try and blog more than once this year, finish planning our wedding and actually get married!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes a friend of mine

4. Did anyone close to you die? No.

5. What countries did you visit? Malta, Portugal (Lisbon) and the USA (Las Vegas)

6. What would you like to do more of in 2019 that lacked in 2018? Make socialising and spending time with friends and family more of a priority.

7. What dates from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory? Probably my 30th birthday, finding out I’d passed my course and finding my perfect wedding dress!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Passing my Diabetes Course.

9. Did you suffer illness or injury? Only a fair bit of agony from having all my wisdoms out under local anaesthetic – here’s to no further dental issues in 2019..!

10. What was the best thing you bought? I didn’t buy anything frivolous for myself this year, more house things really and wedding payments.

11. Whose behaviour merited celebration? Paul and Jo for the helpful wedding planning advice, my Mum for just being her and Joe for all the support (during my course, wedding planning, the house dramas and everything in between) throughout the last year. 

12. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? No one I can think of.

13. Where did most of your money go? Dental work and house issues!?

14. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Wedding dress shopping, holidays to Vegas and Malta and Lisbon, turning 30 with my close friends

15. What song/album will always remind you of 2018?: Honestly? Probably Baby Shark sadly enough. That’s not to say I like it – but it was pretty huge. Bit like the crazy frog year. Personally? Be More Kind – Frank Turner

16. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder? Happier

ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner (healthier)

iii. richer or poorer? The same.

17. What do you wish you’d done more of? Seeing friends.

18. What do you wish you’d done less of? Worrying / sorting out house things and just get out and about more.

19. How did you be spend Christmas?: I spent it with Joe’s family on Christmas Day, my family on boxing day, the 27th December being our annual ‘games night’ and the secret santa the weekend before with the guys.          

20. Did you fall in love in 2018?: Stayed well and truly in it.

21. What was the best book you read? I Found You by Lisa Jewell. Currently reading This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay (bit late to the party I know..!)

22. What was your greatest musical discovery? Not an Artist or band this time but Spotify. Just Spotify.

23. What did you want and get? A Diabetes Qualification?

24. What did you want and not get? Nothing springs to mind

25. What was your favorite film of this year? The Greatest Showman

26. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 30 and went to Oxford with my friends for punting and cocktails

27. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Spending more time on family and friends

28. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018? Not greatly changed, a little more experimental but good.

29. What kept you sane? Having a job that allows some element of routine I think has kept me more sane. People wise it’d have to be Joe, Jo and some work colleagues who put up with me!

30. Which celebrity/public figure did you like the most? Phillip Schofield – random.

31. What political issue stirred you the most? I’d say Brexit but nobody knows what’s happening yet so can’t really get stirred about it

32. Who did you miss? Some friends I’ve not seen for a while

33. Who was the best new person you met? The group of PDSNs and Dietitian’s I met on my Diabetes Course and my super encouraging Slimming World family

34. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018: If you don’t want to do something, don’t be afraid to say no.

Hopes / Goals for 2019:

– Continue to exercise regularly and nourish my body better with good food that’s valuable for me.

– Spend less time on my phone – more so on social media apps – and use that time to do other activities. Exercise, reading, studying, maybe even blogging? So if I don’t respond to friends Facebook posts over the next few months – I’m sorry in advance. Just sick of constant mindless scrolling taking up valuable me time.

– To get married to the love of my life in an absolutely fabulous dress with friends and family around me without too many hiccups along the way!

– To pass my Non-Medical Prescribing Course (will need all the hope and luck for that!)

⁃ That my family and friends remain well and that I see more of them in 2019.

– Read more books and enforce it into my bedtime routine. 

– Blog more..?

2019, it’s going to be a big one, let’s be having ya! x

Yearly Round-Up (2017)

I know I have barely blogged his year – but I couldn’t see the year out without doing my yearly round up quiz. May need to look at tweaking some of the questions next year as I’ve been using the same one for around 10 years… So without further ado…

In 2017:

1. What did you do that you’d never done before? Got engaged!! Ahem, and tried out gliding which was scary and awsome! 

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Resolutions from last year were to exercise more. This has been a bit up and down this year due to changing jobs where I’m now office based as opposed to running around A&E for 12 hours a day so slowly saw the pounds creeping on. However, I did train and complete a 5k race for life and recently joined a gym in my area and pushing myself to do 2-3 classes a week that I enjoy.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? My cousin had a baby boy.

4. Did anyone close to you die? No.

5. What countries did you visit? Hungary, Wales and the Peak District if that counts..!

6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017? More travel – which will be easy to beat with Lisbon, Vegas and Malta already in planning. I also want to be better at making the most use of my spare time and see friends/family a bit more regularly.

7. What dates from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory? Getting Engaged and getting a new (and 9-5!) specialist nursing role and J’s Graduation day. 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Landing my new job. 

9. Did you suffer illness or injury? Dental issues – but what’s new?

10. What was the best thing you bought? Going for a boring/adult answer here, but probably a tumble dryer. Has made the world of difference..!

11. Whose behavior merited celebration? Probably my Mum and partner for commuting endlessly to work and having to pretty much live in a hotel for 6 months whilst waiting for their new house to be completed..! Also J for all the support throughout the last year. 

12. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? No one I can think of.

13. Where did most of your money go? Bills!  

14. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Being engaged? That was/still is an exciting time. Also – FRIENDS Fest! 

15. What song/album will always remind you of 2016? Song – probably Ed Sheeran – Perfect.

16. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder? Happier!

ii. thinner or fatter? FATTER

iii. richer or poorer? The same?  So basically fat and happy!

17. What do you wish you’d done more of? Seeing friends.

18. What do you wish you’d done less of? Worrying and Procrastinting. Same as last year, but definitely feels like I did less of it this year. 

19. How will you be spending Christmas?: I spent it with my family Christmas Day and  J’s family boxing day – plus the yearly secret santa guys gift exchange and meet up                   


20. Did you fall in love in 2017? Already in it and stayed very much in it 

21. How many one night stands in this last year? None.

22. What was your favorite TV program this year? Greys Anatomy

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No hate this year..!

25. What was the best book you read? The Goddess Revolution by Mel Wells and Harry Potter – The Order of the Phoenix

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Pass. Not really kept up to date with music this year – although did enjoy Paramore’s new album and new sound.

27. What did you want and get? A new laptop and a new job 

28. What did you want and not get? Nothing springs to mind.

29. What was your favorite film of this year? The second kingsman film probably

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 29 and celebrated my birthday (and engagement) with a BBQ at ours with close friends 

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Not having enough time with family/ friends due to work and other commitments and blogging

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017? Not greatly changed. 

33. What kept you sane? J

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you like the most? Hmmm, not sure.

35. What political issue stirred you the most? Nursing Pay Cap 

36. Who did you miss? Some friends I’ve not seen in a while. 

37. Who was the best new person you met? All my new work colleagues!

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017: If you need help, ask for it.

Hopes for 2018:

– Continue to exercise regularly and nourish my body better with good food that nourishes my body. 

– That both me and J enjoy wedding planning without toooo much stress..! 

– That I continue to enjoy my job and work hard pass my courses relevant to it. 

– Blog more. Blog more. Blog more! 

– Enjoy celebrating most of my friends 30th Birthdays (including my own!) 

– Read more books and enforce it into my bedtime routine. 

Thanks 2017, you were life changing (for the better!) 

2018, let’s be having ya! x

Yays & Nays (#18) 

Yes you read that right – first yays and nays in 7 months! 

I was debating giving it up but after 17 of them – seemed silly to.

So what’s being going on? 


New Job

I packed in my A&E job for a specialist role in paediatric diabetes! 

I had been on the lookout for a specialist role for a while as A&E, although a fantastic learning and team environment  – just got too exhausting for me mentally and physically – (see previous post ‘cutting myself some slack’ to give you a picture of where I was at). This new role is completely different to anything I’ve ever done before and feel that’s it’s exactly what I needed to reboot myself. I want to be the best nurse I can be and I feel by focusing, specialising and developing myself in one particular field and becoming awesome at it will for sure help me do that. 

I now work Monday – Friday 9-5, something I have never experienced before and although I am now in 5 days a week as opposed to 3 or 4, boy am I enjoying having evenings to do what ever I like with. To just go to bed at a reasonable hour, to go running or Zumba or even chilling in front of Netflix at home because I CAN. 

My mental state feels so much better for it, although taking on a new role has its challenges and there is a lot to learn and courses to do etc, my head is so much more clearer. I can focus on the things that matter where I feel I didn’t have the capacity to even do that 2 months ago. 

Happy times.

I went gliding! 

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a thing for planes and aircraft in general. The road nearby us has a gliding centre (not going to lie, one of the reasons I moved here, although not the sole reason) and regularly watch the gliders take off and fly over my house. I was super stoked when I found out J had got me some trial winch flights for Christmas. Sweeeet! 

I got two flights and although they are relitively short flights (8-15 minutes – this is dependant on wind/weather) they were terrifyingly brilliant. I did both flights one after the other so barely had time to recover from the first! 

It’s such a weird feeling being in aircraft with no engine whatsoever. Not weird, quite liberatingly terrifying. The winch takes you up so quick that we were on the floor to 1500ft in 20 seconds or so. Like a friggin catapult..! As soon as the winch rope is realeased from the glider though and you’ve actually taken a breath, the feeling is so surreal. Although being in the smallest metal aircraft ever with no engine, once you forget about that it’s actually quite a blissful experience and the views, well, spectacular! 

Let’s just say that it’s not going to be my last go that’s for sure.

It’s quite an expensive activity to do and get into, but if you live around the Oxford area, I think they’re still doing Groupon offers for trial flights – so go check it out if it’s sounds like your kinda thing! (Hopefully what I’ve said hasn’t actually put you off) 


With my now much freer evenings I have signed up to my local Zumba class (hadn’t done Zumba in 2/3 years or so) and also downloaded the Couch to 5k app and signed up to Race for Life in Oxford in July. 

Exercise makes me feel good about myself and really helps me get out of my mind / body funks and eliviate stress and bad moods. I’ve even gone so far as to book a Race for Life 5k (despite only being on week 2 of 8 of couch to 5k) but I’m sick of starting things and never finishing them so felt I had to in order to prove it to myself that I can do it and give me that kick up my backside to keep at it. 


Since we last spoke, I have been to Weymouth with J and Budapest for a friends birthday. Both short trips and both places in which I’ve done before (Weymouth is practically my second home) but was really nice to just escape life for a while, especially when these trips were around the end of my time in A&E and were definitely needed! Budapest was better the second time round, mainly cause it wasn’t based around drinking every night and got round to seeing things I didn’t last time and spend some quality time with my best friend.


Now that I have my evenings back, I’m gunna put a bit more time and effort into this blog. I’m going to try not to think of it as something I have to ‘work’ on or have on my ‘to do’ list, but actually just post whatever I feel like when I feel like. It’s what I’ve always used it for and don’t want to become a chore. I will however though, state that there will be some difference in post content. I’m looking to do a few on house buying and decoration, music, product reviews and more importantly and one that will always be a staple: my yays and nays. 


Not really a nay as such but couldn’t leave it empty – it’s more of a reflective thought – with what I said in my fitness part of this post, you can tell that I’m still pushing myself and I know in myself I still give myself a hard time for, well, no reason. The counselleing that I had did, has and will continue to help tonnes, but it’s still something I’m working on. I’m in a miles better place than I was two months ago, so this should probably be in Yays… Now hopefully with this new work / life balance, things will only continue to improve.

Till next time! 

Gem x

Things I won’t miss about commuting 

Things I won’t miss about commuting 

I am eagerly looking forward to my new job. 

Out of the whole prospect of taking on a completely new role in a new hospital, a new area and taking a 9-5 job as opposed to shift work I’m used to, one of the things I’m looking forward to the most is not having to commute via public transport for hours on end at stupid o’clock in the morning. 
I’ve complied a list of everything that sucks about commuting by public transport (from London Underground, National Rail and more recent addition, bicycle) to keep my excitement going a bit longer prior to starting next month.

I’m sure with time I could make a list about commuting by car and having to use my car for work use, but I can’t comment on that until I do it. 

If that sucks even more I’ll be sure to do a blog post on it, but I really can’t see that list being longer than this one. 

Here goes…. 

  • The mass panic looking at the busy platform and how many potential train seats are left and wondering how you can blag a seat by complaining about a made up ailment. I somehow don’t think “sorry I’m about to take over an Children’s A&E department for 13 hours which will probably busy horrendously busy, so do you mind if I actually try and sit down / sleep whilst I can? Cheers mate” would really cut it. 
  • Having good intentions for your hour long journey (reading, writing, sifting through my to do list) then spend it catching up on sleep. Every. Single. Time.
  • People giving you ‘the look’ when they plonk themselves next to you after you’ve just done a 13 hour night shift and smell of god knows what. “No love, I have in fact already been to work, saving children’s lives I’ll have you know and do you really think I would choose to look like this first thing in the morning?” Just go sit elsewhere and leave me alone if it offends you that much. 
  • Men. Speaking really loud into their mobiles at 6AM about some work related thing or other that really could have waited until they got there. Like, who are you even taking to at this ungodly hour and have you ever heard of an indoor voice?!
  • Having to watch women apply their make up on the train. I mean seriously, can’t you just give yourself 10 more minutes in the morning and do it at home or once you’re at work? Cause then I (and everyone else on the carriage) wont have to sit through the tense 20 minute application of your mascara praying for the train to jolt just at the right moment. Just don’t do it love, you look ridiculous and EVERYONE is watching you. 
  • Having to rely on the Underground, in particular the Metropolitan Line (before I moved out to Bicester). Enough said. 
  • THAT awkward position. You sitting on chair. Male standing and holding hand rail above you. Do. Not. Look. At. His. Crotch. Best get my book out and pretend to read on my lap.
  • The revolting position. Being on a crammed train in the ‘summer’ at rush hour and being rammed under some sweaty guys pit for at least 30 minutes. Mmmmm. #smallgirlproblems.
  • It alway deciding to rain JUST as I’m leaving home or work and have to cycle in it and end up looking totally wrecked before I’ve even started work in muddy trousers and lion mane hair. YAY. 
  • The fact that my bike locks alone weigh 2kg let alone my work gear itself…
  • The fact that currently, based on the average amount of times I travel into work a week (4), times the amount of time spent each day commuting (3-4hours a day there and back), I spent approximately 8 hours a week traveling. That’s the length of a standard working day and I’ve not even included work in that! 
  • In addition to the above, my monthly train fare is currently the same amount of money as what I receive for my Inner City Allowance, so I’m actually no financially better off working in London. Yay me! 

Now do you see why I’m excited to start? No more 5:40am wake ups, no more nights and helloooo weekends! 


Till next time! 

Gem x

Dearest Vicki

Dearest Vicki 

Today more than ever I am reminded of you. You probably don’t even remember me but I want you to know what an impact you had on my life. 

It was devastating to find out what happened and broke me more than I actually thought it would when I found out.

You see, we met on holiday in our early teens, wrote each other (yes like pen pals – the days before broadband internet and Facebook) for around a year and then fizzled out, as most holiday friendships do.

Not only that, our families got on ridiculously well on holiday too. Also had 3 children, all scarily the same age and so we all hit it off together but in different ways. 

What you probably didn’t realise though, was just how cool I thought you were! I was so stoked to have made a friend on holiday who knew nothing about me and who thought I was cool too… I think. 

Looking back at these letters always give me a giggle. They must have been back in 2002 as we speak a lot about music, in particular Destiny’s Child, Blue and Avril Lavigne. 

Even though we had many different interests, we always made the effort to write to each other, even if it was months apart at a time and you always asked about me. In particular, through the time of my parents splitting up. I can’t even remember what I even wrote about it come to think of it or how I came out with it, as to everyone else I kept pretty quiet about it and myself to myself as always.

It wasn’t until I began to clear my room out a few years back now, when I came across your letters in my memory box. 

Oh, I’ll see if she’s on Facebook now and maybe catch up. 

A quick log in to Facebook to see if you were on there… I remember that instant sinking feeling in my chest that all I could find was a memorial page. 

Even looking on there I had no idea what had actually happened. How could someone so full of life, a girl that really took life by the horns, suddenly just go in a blink?  

I remember crying to Mum about it and from there, decided to get in contact with Vicki’s Mum, not to find out what happened, but to give my deepest sympathy.

Since then, my Mum and now partner have been in contact with Vicki’s Parents, have got back in contact where and even met up on occasion. So it’s not all doom and gloom. 

I’ve brought two friends back together and while I don’t have my friend in real life, the memories we do share more than make up for that.

Happy Birthday Vicki.

Love Gem x

Cutting Myself Some Slack

I was writing out my Yays and Nays post the other evening when I just stopped. 

I didn’t want to write about that. 

I wanted to write that in fact, due to a lot of stresses over the last month, I’m going to actually write what I want to write right now, I’m not going to worry about what people think. 

This is half the reason I don’t blog as often as I ‘should’ be, because I constantly wonder not only what people will think of me as a blogger, but every think of every part of me and it’s exhausting. 

Even debating whether to post this or not has taken me the best part of a week to do.

It’s exhausting because I don’t just have this mindset towards blogging, I have this mindset in most other areas of my life. 

What I needed, was someone to tell me how to process all 101 thoughts in constantly going round in my head, which get so piled up on top of each other, it feels as though I don’t have the brain capacity to know how to deal with them – and if I do – I worry about the potential consequences doing something about it.

A vicious circle indeed. 

This revelation has not come out of the blue. 

It wasn’t until an unfortunate incident at work last month that got to me much more personally than it would normally do, to the point where I could no longer actually function. I literally came to a standstill for 3 days straight while my brain tried to process not only this incident, but everything else I’d been trying to juggle.

I talk with J and my Mum all the time about work stresses and cannot thank and appreciate them enough for their support and advice – but this time I needed someone to tell me why this incident affected me more than it should and how the hell I can begin to clear the chaos that goes on inside my brain on a daily basis. 

I decided I needed to get out of this state. After discussing it through with J – I decided to do something I would never normally do. 

Speak to a complete stranger about it all in attempt to gain another view of things as I could only focus on what was in my brain, but even that itself I couldn’t focus on. 

After a couple of sessions it was clear that in fact this self doubt and feeling the need to constantly please people has always been there deep down. Ive struggled to make friends at school, and when I do, I’m so worried about loosing them I don’t show them any signs of weakness incase they feel as though I’m demanding for them. Instead I’ve always been the friend who will listen and support at a moments notice, which is why I feel a lot of them rely (and I’m happy to give it of course) on me as a go to source of advice and support. 

I have now been given little affirmations to say to myself when things get too much and attempting to find my own way of de-stressing (at the moment it’s going for walks and keeping a to do list and reflection diary). Although when I started this and went back to tell this person , she told me I was still putting pressure on myself to want to correct everything right away and that I will slowly learn with time that not everything going on needs to be sorted out right now- just face one problem at a time and the others will naturally resolve as I’ll then have more ‘capacity’ to deal with them. 

That’s not to say I’m going to stop caring about any one anymore, but I just need to recognise when I need to slow things down and take time out to look after myself, to cut myself some slack in a bid to avoid these massive build ups leading to break downs. 

I need to remember that while I may only have a select group of friends and family, these are invaluable relationships that I have built up and should remember that these people love me for who I am and that I shouldn’t feel ashamed at all of showing signs of weakness. It’s time to use my support group and actually take from it as opposed to just giving. 

I’m so glad I sought help, because that in itself I felt was a massive weakness in myself. I am now recognising the need to slow down and care less. I wouldn’t say I’m a ‘totally changed new person’ but I sure am making progress. 

Till next time 

Gem x 

The Yearly Rundown (2016)

Every year pretty much since I started blogging (even back in my livejournal days!) I have done this yearly review.

I just love having something to look back on in the years to come and see how far I’ve come. This year for sure has been quite something! Apologies for the lack of blog posts this year – but if you read on, you can see I’ve been a bit busy…

In 2016:

1. What did you do that you’d never done before? Bought my first home, went scuba diving and got myself a ginger cat!

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? To exercise more, buy a house and improve clinical skills at work. Well the last two happened..! For 2017 I want to go back to number 1 on last years last years list which – to exercise more. I did about 7 weeks of the couch to 5K over Jan/Feb and then gave up. Back on it in January. Need to look up Zumba classes around Bicester too. Although I am cycling to and from Bicester station now so that’s something..!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? One of my friends had a gorgeous baby girl, Emilia 🙂

4. Did anyone close to you die? No.

5. What countries did you visit? France, Spain (Barcelona and Valencia) and Furteventura

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016? I honestly feel like I’m not lacking anything right now. Life is pretty darn sweet…

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory? Moving into my first home with J was a pretty big date and J finishing his Nursing degree at University.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Passing the Advanced Paediatric Life Support Course, Buying a House and getting the balls to try scuba diving 💪

9. Did you suffer illness or injury? Not much apart from the odd D&V 👌

10. What was the best thing you bought?  House, Tigger (cat) and Holiday to Fuerteventura with J

11. Whose behavior merited celebration? Mum for supporting me greatly with the house buying and J for still putting up with me 😂

12. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? An old college friend of mine and someone I’d rather not mention as they’ll probably read this.

13. Where did most of your money go? Household Appliances and Furniture..!

14. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Again – Holiday and House..!

15. What song/album will always remind you of 2016? Craig David – When the baseline drops. Welcome back Craig David!!

16. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier!
ii. thinner or fatter? The same
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer but worth it ☺️

17. What do you wish you’d done more of? Exercising.

18. What do you wish you’d done less of? Worrying and Procrastinting

19. How will you be spending Christmas?: I spent it working night shifts but managed to see family in between. Looking forward to New Years with friends ☺️

20. Did you fall in love in 2016? Only more in love than I was already – now that I have two favourite boys ☺️

21. How many one night stands in this last year? None.

22. What was your favorite TV program this year?  Probably Bake Off and surprisingly Planet Earth. Proper grown up now!

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Not hate – but dislike yes.

25. What was the best book you read? Harry Potter 1-3

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Seeing Elshay back in Cafe 1001 took me by complete surprise. Miss going to underground gigs and seeing unsigned talent first hand.

27. What did you want and get? A House and a Cat – got both 👌

28. What did you want and not get? Nothing springs to mind

29. What was your favorite film of this year? Probably Fantastic Beasts and where to find them. Also enjoyed finally watching Inside Out.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 28 and did a joint birthday do at Junkyard Golf Club in Shoreditch and was treated my J to a slap up meal at the Crazy Bear in Beaconsfield

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? B big more productive with my time and having more time for family / friends.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016? Not greatly changed to be honest.

33. What kept you sane? J, for sure.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you like the most?

35. What political issue stirred you the most? Erm, Brexit?!

36. Who did you miss? Seeing close friends more often.

37. Who was the best new person you met? Some new work colleagues 

**Please excuse  the mid-nights, eye bag posing **

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016: If you put your mind to it, you can and will achieve it.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year? “If you gave me a chance I would take it – It’s a shot in the dark but I’ll make it – Know with all of your heart, you can’t shake me – When I am with you, there’s no place I’d rather be”

Best of 2016:

1. Party: My brothers Disney Themed 30th!

2. Show: Didn’t see any *hides in shame*

3. Album: KT Tunstall’s new music

4. Movie: Fantatsic Beasts and where to find them

5. Song: Craig David – When the baseline drops

6. Experience: Scuba Diving and moving into new home with J.

7. Concert: Erm… don’t think I went to any? 😱

8. Book: Harry Potter 1-3

9. Month: May, August, September and October

10. Day: A friends wedding in May and Moving House Day in October

Hopes for 2017:

1. Predict something that you think will happen in 2017?: It’s going to take a lot to beat it…!

2. What do you hope changes about your country?: People see the benefits of the NHS and stop abusing it

3. What do you hope for yourself?: That I get a little fitter and progress further in my career

4. What do you hope for your family?: That we all remain in good health.

5. What do you hope for your best friend?: That they’re happy.

During 2016:

1. Where were you when it began?: In bed trying to sleep between day shifts

2. Did you stay up?: Till 12:30

3. What was your new year wish?: Didn’t make one

4. How many boy/girlfriends?: One.

5. Break up?:  0 👌

6. Have any crushes?: Nope.

7. Care to mention names?:

8. New friends?: Few work colleagues

9. Had to say goodbye?: Nope.

10. Missed anyone?: Some close friends

11. Win anything?: Just at life 👌

12. Best place you went to?: Valencia

13. Worse place you went to?: Can’t think of any.

14. Happiest moment?: Going on holiday with J, watching friends get married, getting my own house and bringing Tigger (cat) home

15. How was your birthday?: Pretty different trying out Junkyard Golf and experiencing dinner at the Crazy Bear.

16. Best present?: Dinner at the Crazy Bear with new dress & heels to go with it, Smart TV for new home, and 2 glider lessons and membership for Bicester Gliding Centre.

The best present I got someone was J’s birthday present – Scuba Diving with Penguins in Torquay’s zoo and aquarium.

Well that concludes an awesome year that was 2016.

My goal for 2017 is mainly just to use my time and plan things a bit better, without giving myself too much of a hard time! Blogging more is definitely on the list though. Maybe I should start using an actual paper diary again. Yes. That worked well before, when I actually used it that is…

Till next time (year)!

Gem x

Feeling Festive with The Kettle Shed

This last week I have definetly been feeling more in the festive spirit, especially now that the house is coming more together, the Christmas decorations are up and one thing that Christmas focuses around massively of course is the incredible food and drink on offer!

Fortunately for me I was sent some some lovely Christmas Infusions from The Kettle Shed (whose tea I have reviewed before me here) to trial over the festive period. 


The gorgeous smell of this tea hits you as you open the box and smells exactly like gingerbread. Made with rooibos, ginger cinnamon and vanilla, this smell comes off strongly in the flavour too and definitely  has a significant kick of ginger to it!

On the instructions it says you can have it with or without milk – I tried it with both and preferred it without the milk to keep the flavour more locked in.  

As the ginger and vanilla had quite a kick, I’ve been adding a drop of honey or half teaspoon of sugar to add a touch of sweetness to it – but I always add a touch of sugar or honey to any tea i have (such a sweet tooth). That being said – its definitely a warming and enjoyable brew.


A more subtle flavour – eggnog is quite similar in taste to the gingerbread but less ginger-bitter and has a much more subtle taste. It has pretty similar ingredients to the gingerbread (replacing the ginger for nutmeg) and again can be had with or without milk (again I preferred it without milk and a touch of sugar). 

What I love about The Kettle Shed is not only is the tea packed full of antioxidants, the packaging is completely recyclable and the fuso bags are also completely biodegradable. What’s more, every box of fuso tea bags you buy The Kettle Shed donates tea to homeless shelters across the UK. How lovely! 

These brews are perfect after those days of attempting to get 101 things done on your to-do list and leaving yourself exhausted, these brews are lovely to come home and just put your feet up with (biscuits optional but recommended..!) 

Next on my list of their brews to try is Carrot Cake which just sounds DEVINE. You can see their full list of available brews over here.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Till next time! 

Gem x  

Yays and Nays #17

So my last post was 11th August and my last Yays and Nays a whopping 3 months ago. Sorry about that. I really need to stop starting these posts by apologising all the time. Getting a real sense of deja vu. More so, I really need to start my scheduling in my diary again so I can schedule in time to actually blog.
Anyway, due to my lack of blogging, this Yays and Nays update is, like I said, a whopping 3 months worth! Hopefully after reading what’s been going on, you’ll hopefully see why I haven’t blogged in 3 months and forgive me..?! Here goes:


Hughenden Manor
So in an aim to make the most of the summer and my days off in between shifts and visit more parts of the U.K. –  myself and J decided to spend the afternoon at Hughenden Manor. You can read more about Hughenden on my previous post here.

West Wycombe Carters Steam Fair
Me and J went to a steam fair! We actually had a weekend off together and I think this is what mostly sparked the excitement of going to a fair. But it was a lovely evening out and enjoyed doing more child like things like riding the most rattly rides and eating a bag of mini doughnuts (I’m a doughnut as opposed to a candy floss girl) finished off by a firework display – perfect!

Oxford Day Out
In a bid to get to know my soon to be nearest City, I took one of my days off and explored the city of Oxford. Lucky for me it was on a scorcher of a day and spent the afternoon trapsing up and down the little streets and unique shops – albeit a little bit sweaty and avoiding getting burnt. It’s mad, Oxford is only an hour from me now and yet never really given it a second look. Well, I sure have now and only felt love for the place. Very old streets and a mix of old/new stores giving it really is the best of both worlds.

My Birthday
My birthday this year was a very enjoyable one and was spread out over an entire weekend! I did a joint birthday do with one of my work friends and decided to give the new Junkyard Golf in Shoreditch a go. It was a laugh and despite it being quite disorganised in terms of layout and what seemed to be lack of staff on – it was a good evening catching up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while. The Sunday was spent with family having a gorgeous Sunday lunch. J brought the most incredible homemade cake too – a chocolate coca-cola cake topped with M&Ms, Skittles, Buttons, Rolos and Fruit Pastilles – oh and edged with chocolate fingers! A truly lovely day and once again, glorious weather too!

The last installment was on Monday (my actual birthday) and was spoilt rotten by family, friends and of course J. I got to pick from 3 options of dresses and heels he had picked out and was treated to dinner out at the Crazy Bear in Beaconsfield (which if you didn’t know – is a pretty swanky restaurant/hotel). So Definetley an awsome birthday all round. Definitely made turning 28 that little bit easier..!

Camping Torquay
The end of August, J finally got to use the birthday present I had got him back in May – diving with Penguins in Torquay’s Living Coasts Zoo & Aquarium. As the trip itself was quite far (a good 4 hour drive) we decided to make the most of it and do another camping trip for 3 nights. Which I think was well needed as we had both been feeling the strain pretty hard – myself at work and house buying and J finishing University (helloooo nurse!). He absolutely loved it and the smile on his face after was just priceless!

Last week myself and J came back from a well needed 2 week holiday in Fuerteventura (I know I keep saying “well needed day out” and “well needed holiday”, but nursing full time you definitely do need them)!

It was awsome finally getting to meet everyone J goes on about (after teaching scuba diving out there for 5 years prior to studying Nursing). We spent the first week relaxing and exploring the island and the second week I took the plunge and went Scuba Diving! Scuba diving is something I never pictured myself doing due to such anxiety towards it. With J though I completely trusted him with all my heart and not only tried it – but loved it and went on to complete my Open Water course whilst there too! The first dive did scare me of course – but was an overall ‘good’ scary feelings. After the initial panicking, by the 3rd dive in I was eager to get straight in! Looking forward to diving elsewhere now on our future holidays together.

And last but not least…

I completed on my house!
I’m now a proud owner of a 2 bed house in Bicester! Going to be spending the next couple of weeks decorating/ furnishing and hoping to be moved in properly by the end of the month – with J of course too. Very exciting times indeed!


Well, this one is kind of a nays – but saying goodbye to two close friends whilst they go off traveling over the next few months. A yay for them though, finally going and doing what they’ve always wanted to. Takes me back to my traveling trip 3 years ago that’s for sure – I just know they’ll have the time of their lives and learn and grow so much from it.

So that’s my 3 month round up! Hopefully I’ll have a bit more time to blog more once I’m properly settled in so hold fire..!

Till next time!
Gem x

Hughenden Manor, High Wycombe 

On a gorgeous sunny day last month, me and J finally had a day off together with no plans. We (mainly I) decided that I wanted to make the most of the day and head out and explore! We stuck to the local area and decided on the National Trust site Hughenden Manor in High Wycombe.

We do love a good picnic we do, and so doing as we do best, selected the finest freshest baked goods from the local Waitrose. No Tesco Meal Deals, no sirree! 

On a arrival to the site, we waved my parents NT passes (shush, I intend on getting my own soon..!) and parked up no problem. 

Hughenden Manor was the country home of the Victorian statesman and charismatic fellow Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli who lived here from 1848 – 1881. 

The Manor itself has certainly been refurbished since then, but has been done very well and in still in keeping with the era. 

The formal gardens to the front and back of the manor have been recreated based on the original designs of Mary Anne Disraeli. Surrounding the manor and gardens there are ample pathways for you to explore more of the parkland surrounding it.

We were lucky enough to time our visit just right to catch a free 30 minute talk on the history of Benjamin Desralei, his character, his role within the government and royal family and his personal life and aspirations to become a novelist. The talk really covered all the basics and was truely insightful and surprisingly not dull. 

Not only did we catch this talk but we also managed to catch a second talk whilst here – in how the Manor House was used during the war and how pilot maps were made here to allow pilots to track and plan their attacks. I do have quite an interest in WW2 history, in particular aircraft used, so found this quite interesting too.
Overall, I really enjoyed my day out here at Hughenden Manor with J and was really nice making a day off a relaxing but still a somewhat productive one..! 

For more information on Hughenden Manor, including prices, facilities and directions, head over to the National Trust Website 

Till next time! 

Gem x