Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Saying Goodbye to the Orchards

I knew that the day I'd have to say goodbye to my little home would be a sad day.  It's a day I have dreaded since moving in, back in February 2013.  It's a day that is almost here.  That day is tomorrow.

It has been a journey full of ups and downs.  Lots of incredible memories that I will treasure forever, but also some of the saddest times of my life.  Times I never imagined I would ever encounter.

Meeting the most incredible lady,  Mrs Pudney.  She had lived there since the second world war.  She was posted to The Orchards as a land girl, fell in love and married the farmer and lived there for the rest of her life, right up to the grand age of 94, such an inspirational woman.  I miss her dearly, her stories were just fascinating.   

The past three, almost four years, has given me that taste for country living and it's left me hungry for more.  I know that it is the lifestyle for me.  Who knew I would become such a lover of chickens, such funny little characters giving us the most delicious eggs I've ever tasted. 
I may not be moving straight into the next step of that country dream but I know it is in my future, it has to be, I will make sure it is. 

It has been a really tough few weeks, going through all of my belongings and evaluating what I have.  It makes you wonder why you hold on to some things.  It has given me a lot of time to think about who I am and what I want from life.  The one thing I want more than anything though is to be happy.  I intend to work on that, doing things for myself and living for the moment, because if I've learnt one thing this year, it is that you really don't know what is round the corner. 

So as the season moves to Christmas I'm determined to embrace it.  You'll be seeing a lot of Christmas themed posts about the place and I'm going to be looking forward to what lies ahead, whatever that may be.  But the one thing I do know for sure is that I will forever hold a place in my heart for The Orchards, my little piece of country life and I will be eternally grateful for the experience it has provided me with these past few years.

~ Gem x

Friday, 18 November 2016

Christmas with LUSH

I blogged last month about the blogger event I attended at LUSH Romford.  Back then it seemed just a little to early (even for me)  to talk about their Christmas range.  Now we are mid way through November and I can't refrain from talking about Christmas any longer as you at have noticed from my article published on Wednesday.

The range this Christmas is pretty special with some favourites from last year returning and a few new products being introduced.  Take a look a just a small selection of what's in store.

 Peeping Santa bubble bar.

 Luxury Christmas Pub bath bomb.

 Father Christmas bath bomb.

*New* Santasaurus reusable bubble bar (my favourite newbie this year)

 *New* Ruby Red Slippers bubble bar.

 Butterbear gift set (perfect for the little ones this Christmas)

*New* Jester reusable bubble bar

I am loving the Christmas range this year and have stocked up with a pretty big collection, and there is still plenty more that I could happily buy. 

So if you're stuck for gift ideas this Christmas, pop into your local Lush store, I'm sure you will find something for just about anyone in there.

~ Gem x

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like...

Yep, you've guessed it, Christmas.

The Christmas adverts are out.  I have to say at the moment I'm not too sure on the John Lewis ad this year, it's definitely not one of their best, I'm sure it will grow on me though.  The Aldi advert though, wow, I love it.  I mean how adorable is Kevin the carrot?!

The shops are filled with decorations and gifts.  I've been stepping into shops and I literally don't know where to look next.

Not to mention the coffee shop Christmas menus and the infamous red cups.  Starbucks have pulled out all the stops this year.  The patterns on their cups are amazing.

So it is safe to say that the festivities are definitely kicking off in style this year and I'm running at it full throttle.

~ Gem x

Monday, 14 November 2016

Life Changes

Over the past few months there have been odd comments dropped into some of my posts that would indicate that there have been some difficult times in my life of late.  I've played around with this post over and over in my mind, never really being able to find the right words to express exactly how I feel or what it is I want to say.  

I've been unsure whether to publish what has been going on but I feel that I should.  Having never been one for sharing every detail of my life it's been difficult to know what to say, however a lot of my life has been very present within my blog, which is one of the reasons why I feel this would make sense to document.  It may also help to explain my blog posts in the future, moving forward.  

Basically what I'm wanting to say is that sadly myself and my husband are no longer together.  I'm not going to go into all the details as that is personal between the two of us, but it has meant that there have been many changes in my life since July.  It has been a really tough journey, one I didn't think I would ever have to cope with, one I hadn't thought I was capable of handling.  I have surprised myself at how strong I have been.  I have found so much strength, love and support through my amazing friends and family and would never have got through it without them.  They have all been incredible, I'm so lucky to have them in my life.

I have had a lot of time to process what has gone on.  I don't think I will ever fully get over it, but learning to deal with it has certainly become easier.  I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, it's become almost like a mantra to me, I seem to have found a few of those these past five months or so.  Life is for living and that's exactly what I'm going to do.  So to the rest of my life, 'Let's be having you, I'm ready'.

~ Gem x

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Embracing The Here and Now

In this fast paced world we live in, it is so easy to fall into the trap of constant forward planning.  No sooner has one life event happened, we are already onto planning the next and I am just as guilty of this as the next person.

With Halloween and Fireworks Night over, the shops are packed to the rafters with Christmas decorations and gift ideas.  Don't get me wrong, I am in my element right here as you all know how much this girl LOVES Christmas.  But sometimes I do ask myself whether it is all a bit too soon.

With this in mind I am going to try and pull it back and embrace the here and now. Make the most of those golden hues that line the streets for the last few days, as the leaves begin to fall from the trees leaving them cold and bare and enjoy listening to that crunching sound underfoot. 

Spending my evenings wrapped in a blanket catching up with Vlogs and Netflix, or time with my laptop reading blogs with the candles lit and a nice hot cuppa and maybe some cake, my idea of perfection. 

There have been a lot of changes in my life recently, which I promise I will update you on soon.  It's just a case of finding the right time and the right words to explain it, but I'm sure a lot of things will make sense to you when I do.  So for now I'm going to make the most of right now, live for every moment and enjoy it for what it is.  Perhaps with a little Christmas sprinkled in for good measure.  I am a blogger after all.

And while on the topic of Christmas I can announce the winners of my Country Living Christmas Fair Giveaway.  Congratulations to Marion who won the London tickets and to Mamasmercantile who has won the Harrogate tickets.  The Glasgow tickets are sill up for grabs as I hadn't received any entries for them.  So if you want to be in with a chance of winning those just leave a comment on this post letting me know you're interested and I can pick a winner.

~ Gem x

Monday, 7 November 2016

Christmas With Laura Ashley

I'm so excited to be sharing with you my blog article which was featured on the Laura Ashley blog on Friday.

It may only just be November, but Christmas is fast approaching and will soon be upon us.  In truth, I cannot wait.  It is by far my most favourite time of the year and the build up to it is the best part.

I've slowly been sneaking little bits of Christmas d├ęcor into my home but it won't be long now until I shall be embracing it in it's full glory, especially now that Halloween is over.

Looking at the Autumn and Winter range and in particular the Christmas range at Laura Ashley this year, I have fallen in love with so many of their products. 

I'm already longing for the chillier evenings where I can hunker down under this beautifully soft Tartan Cranberry Check Cotton Mix Throw, with a good Christmas themed book and a glass of mulled wine. 

Even better when enjoyed by candlelight and wouldn't you agree, the Finlay Wooden Lantern certainly helps to set the scene. 


Another favourite from the Christmas range which shall be adorning my mantelpiece this year is this beautiful Ceramic Christmas Tree Tealight Holder.  The way the soft light pours through the little holes is just so pretty, I've found myself mesmerised by it already.   

I don't know about you but Christmas is the one time of year that I find myself being transported back to previous years and childhood memories.  Isn't it funny how our minds are triggered by certain sights, sounds and smells.  Certain pieces in the current range at Laura Ashley have definitely done this to me, the Christmas Tree Snow Globe being one of them.  I remember as a child sitting and watching the tiny flakes of snow fall, trapped under the shiny glass that glistening under the lights from the Christmas tree.  This would be perfect as a gift to a loved one or even a gift to yourself, because Christmas is a time for giving after all. 

So as I begin my gift wrapping for the season ahead I shall be making sure the scene is set for that perfect Christmas this year.  A Christmas with family and loved ones I hold dear.  A Christmas for giving the loveliest of gifts.  And a Christmas for embracing the celebration for everything that it is.

Merry Christmas.
~ Gem x

* This post contains press samples

Friday, 4 November 2016

Country Living Christmas Fairs Giveaway

With less than 8 weeks to go now until Christmas it's time for us to start planning and getting ourselves organised.  Personally I couldn't be happier about that. 

If you find yourself stuck for ideas of that perfect gift to buy or decorating inspiration, then the team at Country Living Fairs could be just the ones to give you that helping hand. 

Having visited the Country Living Fairs in the past, they have become a date in my diary that I always look forward to.  But I have to say the Christmas one is my favourite, surely that figures with me though, right!

With three shows taking place across the country, London (9-13 Nov), Glasgow (17-20 Nov) and Harrogate (1-4 Dec) They reach out to a huge audience and if you can make it to one of them I would highly recommend it, even if just for a day out with a friend or loved one. 

To help you get there, I have teamed up with Country Living Fairs and have 3 sets of tickets to give away to you, my readers.  I have one pair for each show.  To be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets, please leave me a comment on this post telling me why you love Christmas.  If you could also let me know which show you would like to attend so I can make sure you're down to win the correct set of tickets. 

I will be contacting the winner of the London show on Monday 7th November  and will announce winners for the other two shows on Wednesday 9th November.

Good Luck.

~ Gem x

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

November Bucket List

The end of 2016 is fast approaching so with two months of the year to go I want to try and make the most of it.

* Watch Fireworks ~
Preferably at an organised event as it's been about eleven years since I've been to a firework display. 

* Go for a countryside drive ~
It's been a little while since I've done this so it would be nice to go for a drive out to see where the roads may lead me.

* Enjoy hazy misty mornings ~
I love watching the sunrise at this time of year.  Especially if it isn't a work day, being able to enjoy the slower pace of things is rather quite nice.

* Attend some Christmas themed events ~
That special time of year is fast approaching, like it or not.  As a huge Christmas fan I'm looking to embrace the celebration this month and start getting myself organised for the festivities. 

Is there anything in particular that you would like to achieve this month?

~ Gem x