Monday, 14 October 2019


This years summer holiday took me to Greece, to the beautiful island of Zakynthos.  For me, a big part of a holiday is being able to explore somewhere new and different.  The world is a huge place, and I'd love to be able to visit everywhere.  Although there are definitely places I would happily visit again and again, I do prefer to travel somewhere new, just to be able to cross another destination off the list.

 I would usually spend the entire holiday travelling around all the different places and really exploring the island or country I'm visiting to the fullest.  This holiday was a little different though and was mainly spent relaxing by the pool, which is so not like me at all but was very much needed.  

One day was spent in Zakynthos Town, although I'll have to admit to being somewhat disappointed by this.  I was expecting something like Corfu Town which really is beautiful but sadly it wasn't comparable.  There didn't seem to be all that much there and it looked very run down and not as pretty as I had hoped.

I'll admit to feeling a little guilty about spending the majority of the holiday within the confines of the hotel but like I said it was very much needed.  There were plenty of evening strolls along the beach though to catch those dreamy skies at sunset, one of my favourite things to do on holiday, so not all was lost.

And all of those pool days meant that I was able to read 5 whole books.  In less than 2 weeks, that is unheard of for me, I was super chuffed.

So not quite the usual holiday for me this year but a good one none the less.

~ Gem x

Friday, 4 October 2019

40 Before 40 Update - Year 2

Back in July I reached the two year mark of my 40 Before 40 list and thanks to my first year I'm still making good progress.  In the past year I only managed to cross off 4 things from the list, however this still means I've crossed off a total of 11 things so I'm still ahead of target. This past year I managed to cross off:

2: Learn and Develop a New Skill.

I have wanted to complete a calligraphy course for as long as I can remember.  This year was the year to finally do it and I loved it just as much as I thought I would.  You can see how I got on here.

14. Complete a run at one of the Disney Parks.

This has been by far one of the best things I have achieved from this list, possibly one of the greatest things of my life EVER.  I still can't quite believe that I've done it.  You can read more about my experience here.   

24. Go and see a pantomime.

Last Christmas I saw my very first pantomime at Southend's Cliff Pavilion starring Diversity.  It was amazing, although I have to sat it was Diversity that made it for me as opposed to the pantomime set up itself.

32. See the seals and their pups at Blakeney.

I travelled to the coast with my parents in December to see the seals with their pups.  It was such an amazing thing to see.  They really are so cute.  We didn't actually go to Blakney but it was more the seals and pups I was interested in as opposed to the location of where they were.

It wasn't the most productive year, but still making good progress, and the Disney Run was a pretty big one too so I'm very happy with that one.  I'll just try and cross off more this coming year.

~ Gem x

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Lydia Packham Calligraphy Workshop

For a long time I have been wanting to learn calligraphy.  I love how fancy and professional it looks and would love to be able to write out cards for loved ones in a fancy scrawl.  I'd often looked at classes but found that they were either midweek which isn't ideal for those who work full time during the week like me, or they have been mega expensive and so I have never bothered.  Well until earlier this year.  

I had found Lydia Packham Calligraphy via Instagram and noticed she was running beginners workshops for modern calligraphy local to me in Chelmsford.  I headed straight to her website and booked myself on one of her workshops being held at Moto Pizza on a Saturday morning.

The set up was great.  Everyone each had their own little pack including a nib, nib holder, ink, paper and calligraphy guides all cutely laid out on the tables ready for the workshop to begin.

Lydia demonstrated how to get started and explained how to hold the pen and when to apply pressure to get the letters looking their best.

It was a fairly small group which allowed her time to move between us all guiding us as and when needed and giving us pointers and tips to help us improve our writing.  I was amazed at how well my work turned out, it was much better than I ever imagined it would be.

I've probably not practised anywhere near as much as I should have and writing this has made me think I really ought to get the pen and paper out and get practising again but that aside it was a really great workshop which I enjoyed from start to finish.  If you're local to the Chelmsford area and are keen to learn Calligraphy then Lydia is definitely your girl.  She is so friendly and a great teacher in a very relaxed environment.  I'm really glad I booked on.

~ Gem x