My top 10 places to visit

I love travelling and I’ve been lucky enough to go to some amazing places. As we are starting to get into holiday season I thought I would do a post about my 10 most favourite places to go to. They are not in any order.

Highlands, Scotland. The scenery is breathtaking. Standing in Glencoe by all the mountains puts me completely in my place.

Italy. So far I have been to Rome, Milan and Verona. Great wine, scenery, food and weather. Also have never seen a more attractive police force and priests!

Monte Carlo. If you’re looking for somewhere to feed your soul, this is definitely not the place to go. It’s in your face materialistic and showy but I loved that about it. Where else can you go and look in the shops to buy your own boat and plane!!

Southwold. It’s just lovely and quant and English. Gets a bit busy through the summer, I like it best out of season.

Granada. It’s really pretty and you can definitely see the Moorish Arabic influence. A must see is the Alhambra and the gardens. The gardens especially are lovely. Granada has a nice centre with bars and restaurants. Another must do is to have Churros, it’s a really thick hot chocolate with long thin donuts. You dunk the donuts in the chocolate and enjoy!

Playa De Las Americas, Tenerife. I first went to Tenerife in my early 20’s when it was THE party place to go. Hadn’t been back for years but went back last year and it’s so different! Much more catered for families and couples. A must do is Harley’s Bar, the food and cocktails are lovely.  

Annecy. Annecy is on the French, Switzerland border right by the Alps and the scenery is stunning. There’s a big lake that you can walk around. The food was pretty great as well.

Sri Lanka. I love Sri Lanka. I’ve been lucky enough to go a couple of times. The people are so nice. If you go make sure you do a tut tut journey!

London. I love London. My parents used to take us in our school holidays and I think my love for it started then. I love shopping in London and then going somewhere for an afternoon tea! Very English!  

South West of France. We flew to Toulouse, hired a car and drove down to Montpelier and the scenery was stunning. I didn’t realise how mountainous it was going to be. My partner had great fun driving around! While we were there we visited the Millau suspension bridge and I would recommend to go as it is truly incredible.

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How do you deal with stress?

I’m not great with stress and I’m trying to handle it better because let’s face it, we live in a stressful world and most people will have an element of stress to deal with.

I’m just out of a stressful time and I feel like I have been through a war and it made me think about writing this post to get some ideas and tips on how other people deal with stress.

I asked around my group of girlfriends and one little tip a friend gave me was to break everything down to bite size pieces and it does seem to work. Say you are thinking about moving, which is in the top 5 of the most stressful things you can do. Concentrate on each step rather than the whole move. So first put your house up for sale, second step start looking for houses etc. It sounds like a good idea, I’m just not sure if I could shut my brain off enough to not start thinking ahead.

Another tip was to exercise. This is something I have tried and have had some success at. When I feel really overwhelmed I have gone for a walk and it has helped to calm me down and chill my brain out a little.

One thing I would like to try is meditation. I have an over active brain so I don’t think I could ever just think of nothing. I’m going to give it a try because I do like the idea of just trying to be in the moment.

Failing all of these there is always wine and chocolate!!

Chocolate!

For anyone who knows me it was only a matter of time for me to do a chocolate post!

To say I love chocolate is an understatement. When life is tough, when I have had a really rubbish day, chocolate can make things better.

I don’t know if I have a favourite but I do definitely have “go to” chocolate. In the biggest debate of the century aka Galaxy or Dairy Milk I am definitely a Galaxy girl and I have to admit that’s the chocolate I do go to most often. Although, I do love Dairy Milk Jelly Popping Candy bars.

Once again with my amateur psychologist’s hat on, chocolate has been found to increase the levels of endorphins released into the brain. Endorphins lower blood pressure and can reduce stress so the next time you feel stressed reach for the chocolate!

I have Latin America to thank for chocolate. First recorded usage was around 1000BC! Back then they would drink chocolate and amazingly it wasn’t made into solid bar form until the mid 1850’s by the Fry’s chocolate man!

Mmmmm anyone for hot chocolate……

For a special treat I buy Green and Black’s. Their chocolate is amazing and my favourite is the white chocolate bar. It’s so good and so creamy.

I’m also not a purist, I don’t mind things in my chocolate so I equally love Twix’s, fruit and nut, Caramel and Crunchy to name a few.

Another favourite thing of mine is to get a bowl of vanilla ice cream, a bag of maltesers and a rolling pin. Don’t open the maltesers yet, get the rolling pin and bash the maltesers until they are mostly broken up but don’t do it too much otherwise you will just get a bag of crumbs (although each to their own, you might like that) and then sprinkle on the ice cream. It’s delicious. I do the same with a ripple too.

Who knew I could write a whole post on my love of chocolate!

Just popping out for chocolate 😉

My October Favourites

No 1 favourite has to be my new Camera. I brought it with a combination of birthday money and my money. Thanks parents, brother and boyfriend! It’s a Canon EOS and I’m still learning how to use it but I love it. Watch this space for more practice photographs!

I’ve just discovered Aveeno and I know this makes me very fickle but it’s because of the TV advert with Jennifer Aniston. Saw the advert, love Jennifer so tried the lotion. It has a slightly strange consistency at first but once it’s on and sinks into your skin, it’s really lovely. I can definitely tell the difference on my really dry elbows.

I’ve started lighting my candles now the nights are starting to draw in. My favourite at the moment is by Yankee Candles and it’s called Soft Blankets and it’s gorgeous!

I’m a bit late to the face mask trend but better late than never. I’ve been trying the face mask sheets by Boots. My favourite so far is the Hydrating & Nourishing one. My face feels lovely and soft once I’ve used it.

 Cold Feet. I loved loved loved the original series and can still remember crying when Rachel died. So I’m beyond happy that the new series has been so good! It’s my 2 most favourite things, humour and warmth. If you haven’t seen it, you really must watch it and then come back to me and say you don’t want to either be Karen or be friends with Karen 😉

 I love a cup a soup and I’ve just found one by Sainsburys in their be good to yourself range. The flavour is Thai style chicken soup and it’s delicious. It’s also reasonably healthy at only 65 calories.

 That’s all for now, hope you’ve enjoyed my October favourites. See you soon!

 Jo x

Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda

Regrets, I’ve had a few sang Frank Sinatra and I think oh Frank you’ve got off lightly if you’ve only got a few regrets! I wish I could be one of those people who doesn’t obsess over past decision but I’m not. I can go over past mistakes again and again.

This isn’t a healthy way to live so I have been trying to stop. I know that I had to make mistakes to learn from them and I know that I will never make the same mistake again. I just wish that for once I could learn something the easy way, why do I have to always learn things the hard way!!

I’ve recently read a book that really affected me. It’s by Bronnie Ware and it’s called The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying. Bronnie was a palliative care nurse and she would nurse people who were coming to the end of their life. She found that most people have the same regrets and the number 1 regret was – I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. We get so caught up in living our lives and making sure our bills are paid that we forget about our dreams and wishes. I know it’s not always possible to just chuck everything in and go round the world (putting my amateur Psychologist hat on isn’t it interesting that I would choose travelling as my thing I’d like to do…..) but when it is possible, doesn’t this prove to us that we should try and achieve at least some of our dreams. I definitely don’t want to have a few weeks left to live and have major regrets.

I have been trying to make an effort to let go and to not go over past decisions relentlessly. With hindsight, yes of course I would have made different decisions and I wouldn’t have allowed people to have behaved the way they did but at the time I didn’t have hindsight so I made the decisions on the information I had.

How about you, do you beat yourself up over past regrets or can you move on and to quote Disney, Let it go 😉

Bedside tables……

These are photo’s

of my bedside table and all the stuff on it. I love a bed side table and it fascinates me what people put on theirs.

Mine is quite cluttered but when I try and take things away I always find a justification for them to stay!

Most important is the photo of my parents on their wedding day.

The last thing I do before I go to sleep (other than kissing the other half) is put hand cream and lip balm on so I always have hand cream and a lip balm on my bedside table.

A very lovely friend brought me the gold and red box from Japan and I love it. Red’s my favourite colour anyway and I love the pretty flowers on the top.

I love my mirrored jewellery box. It’s got a little dent in one of the corners but I don’t care because I love it so much. The teddy on top was a present from my lovely bestie.

I love perfume and I love all the bottles. Have started keeping a few of my favourites when they are empty.

How cute is the L’Occitane tin! I brought some hand cream (the rose hand cream is so good, the smell is good enough to eat and the actually cream is really good and doesn’t leave your hands sticky at all) and got the tin as a free gift and it’s got 2 really dinky little hand creams in. I love the tin!

I love handbags and especially vintage bags. The black one is my most favourite one.

And of course before I took a photo I did clean everything 😉

Hi I’m Jo…….

……….and I’m a Hoarder

I’m very lucky to live with my very non hoarder boyfriend. Given the choice he will throw everything away whereas I am the complete opposite and given a choice I will keep everything!!

A question I ask myself is – can opposites like my boyfriend and I, live together?

I think so yes, but both sides need to respect the others point of view. I respect that he doesn’t like to hoard like me and I do try to keep my hoards to a liveable level. He understands not to throw stuff out without checking with me first.

My point of view is – you never know when you might need something – which I think is a classic hoarder approach. I blame my father (and genetics!) who had a shed full of stuff until the shed fell down and he had to downsize.

How about you, do you hoard or do you clear stuff out?