Valentine's Day at Bistro Jacques | Just Add Ginger

Bistro Jacques - Just Add Ginger

This year, it was my turn to plan what The Boy and I were going to do for Valentine's Day. Having planned a very romantical excursion to The Liverpool Philharmonic to watch the Valentine's Day concert there, I thought that after we had seen the performance, we could jump a taxi home and just fix something to eat there. 

But on a whim, after we left the concert, we decided to just pop our heads in to Bistro Jacques to see if they happened to have a free table. I didn't hod out much hope. It was about 10pm on one of the busiest nights of the year. There was not a chance a table would be free for us. 

To my delight, a table had just become free....And the kitchen was still open. This was our lucky night. After being shown to a corner table, and handed our menus, my tummy did a little somersault in delight. 

Bistro Jacques - Just Add Ginger

I have never been to Bistro Jacques before. I have visited Bistro Franc with The Boy and my mother and father-in-law, and I wasn't disappointed then. But I was intrigued to see how Bistro Jacques was in comparison.

The atmosphere in the restaurant already surpassed that of Bistro Franc. The restaurant seems much more intimate a setting, with French-themed décor adorning the walls lit with low-lighting.  The intimacy added additional romance to the evening, and made it seem like you really could be sitting in a Parisian restaurant on a magical, romance-filled evening. 

Bistro Jacques - Just Add Ginger

Bistro Jacques offered a Valentine's Day 3 course meal with a complementary glass of fizz. And this suited us well. Having only really eaten rubbish during the day, we were ready to sample something hearty and nutritious, and the menu offered plenty of choice.

For starters, I opted for toasted brioche. The Boy went for the pigeon breast. Neither of us could find fault with our choices. My brioche was soft and delicious, neither too small nor overbearing. The chive hollandaise sauce complemented the combination of mushrooms and prosciutto to perfection. It was easily one of the most beautiful starters I have ever had. It wasn't too heavy, and really got my appetite going ready for the rest of the courses. 

The Boy's pigeon was tender and succulent. I, having never eaten pigeon before, was pleasantly surprised when I sampled a piece. The Boy must have been impressed too because he polished off the plate in next to no time. Similar to my choice, the portion size was perfect for a starter, and got us both even more excited for our mains. 

Bistro Jacques- Just Add Ginger

Bistro Jacques- Just Add Ginger

For our main, we could not have chosen two dishes more opposite in direction. The Boy chose the beef bouguignon, and I, the salmon. Looking back, the dishes we chose could not have been more perfect for us. It makes me laugh because if you had asked us to pick for each other, these would have been our first choices. 

I love salmon. Boyfriend can be a little funny with fish so we rarely have it in the house. Salmon is my little treat to myself from time to time and this makes me a little picky about the way it's cooked. But I needn't have had reason to worry. The salmon was thick and meaty and gorgeous. The skin was crispy and delicious, and the ratatouille, which I confess I had been a bit nervous about, was a lovely, and unusual accompaniment, and one that I never thought would have worked. But it did. The fish herb pesto really hit the spot and really highlighted the flavour in the salmon. Ohh...just thinking back to how yummy it was my tummy is starting to rumble.

The beef bouguignon was Boyfriend's first try of the dish. It came presented beautiful, in a rustic pot atop a wooden board. The pot was filled right up to the top and fit to burst with vegetables and pieces of beef. I'm not really a fan of beef unless it is minced and in a meatball or burger patty, but I did try a little piece. It was buttery, tender, and nearly melted away in my mouth. The gratin daupinois was creamy and rich, but at the same time a lot lighter than other potato-ey alternatives. 

Bistro Jacques- Just Add Ginger

And the wine.. Oh my goodness I just have to mention the wine. Even though I had salmon, the bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape we ordered was the perfect choice. It was deep, and rich, and spicy and beautiful, leaving a subtle after-taste in your mouth that I can only describe as"chocolatey" (it probably isn't chocolatey at all, but there is a hint of sweetness there that cuts through the spiciness.) 

Bistro Jacques- Just Add Ginger

Bistro Jacques- Just Add Ginger
That's not mess on the table....it's passion!
By the time dessert came around I was starting to feel a little bit full. My belt had to be undone two whole notches! But it was all so worth it. I decided to take a risk and ordered bread and butter pudding (which I'd never had before.) The Boy was more traditional and ordered the cheeseboard. 

My bread and butter pudding was yummy. My photo doesn't do it justice, because as soon as it came out I tucked in straight away and forgot all about documenting the experience! I really don't know how to describe the flavour to you, but just trust me when I say that it was delicious, soft, and very, very more-ish. If you take a trip to Bistro Jacques and it is on the board as a dessert, definitely give it a go. If you're sweet-toothed like me you won't be disappointed. 

Boyfriend's cheeseboard offered a range of different cheeses to sample, with accompanying crackers, celery, butter and chutney. He enjoyed it very much, especially coupled with some sips from his glass of Chateauneuf. I'm definitely more of a sweets person at dinner, but if you aren't really in the mood for pud or want something to share, then the cheeseboard would be perfect. 

There was something really exciting and magical eating so late. It made us feel very French indeed and we sat back and reminisced about our little Parisian getaway in the summer, and the night we got engaged. We left the restaurant feeling comfortably and jolly. I had one of the best dining experiences at Bistro Jacques, and I can't wait to return to sample more of the menu!

For more information about Bistro Jacques, and to peruse the menu, head to:


New Lighting. New Blogging | Just Add Ginger

Just Add Ginger blog - lighting
I've said it before and I'll say it again...

Our house is horrendous for lighting.

So, Boyfriend ordering me a set of soft-box lighting was - in my eyes - the most lovely gesture ever. It shows that he really takes an interest in my blogging and YouTube and really wants to help improve my video and photo quality. (The number of times he has seem me curse over turning grey/blue/yellow/orange/red in videos is just ridiculous. 

Having new lighting means that I don't have to wait for the sun to be in the perfect place. I can film at any time I like. And in whatever weather condition. I've turned our little "box office" in to my new filming spot, and even though the lights take up most of the floor space, they make one hell of a difference! 

I've already filmed my first video using the lights (I just couldn't help myself,) and can't wait to film more videos and take pictures to see how much things are improved. I feel like a new burst of inspiration has come over me now, and I can't wait to grow from strength to strength! 


The Glam Guide by Fleur de Force | Just Add Ginger

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Fleur de Force has been one of my favourite YouTubers/Bloggers to watch & read for years now. Her down-to-earth personality and the very personable way she comes across on camera make her one of my favourite subscriptions to see pop up on my feeds (even Boyfriend takes interest when I'm watching her videos.) So when she announced that she was writing a book, I actually got pretty excited. 

I tried to hold out as long as I could before ordering my copy of The Glam Guide, but this month my willpower completely failed, and on Saturday, my very own copy popped through my letterbox, and plonked on to the doormat, carrying with it excited anticipation.

Now, I know we never should "judge a book by its cover," but with actually books themselves I think its pretty difficult not to, isn't it? As soon as I tore back the cardboard packaging and saw the front cover of The Glam Guide I couldn't help but give a little squeak of joy. The cover is just beautiful. It translates so much prettier in person than it does on camera. Rose gold lettering and shiny stars....a wash of watercolour, and a selection of pictures creating a bottom border of the cover make the book look the perfect mix of feminine and fun. As a blogger in my late-twenties (just,) I was a bit concerned that the book might be targeted at a bit of a younger audience than me, but just by looking at the front cover, I was pretty confident that this wouldn't be the case. 

The book itself is split in to seven main chapters, so you can delve in and out as you so wish. Each chapter is finished with "10 Quick Tips" by Fleur, which summarise key points that she thinks is important for each section. Again, in keeping with the option to pick out individual topics, each main chapter is broken down in to sub-categories. If there is part of a chapter you enjoyed reading, the black, swirled, and almost handwritten typography is really easy to find. I, of course, disregarded all of this and read it right from the start. But it's great that the book has this option. 

Fleur's "voice" really comes through in The Glam Guide. The written style is informal, and you can really imagine that you could be sitting down and having a conversation with her about all the things in the book. Her "voice" isn't condescending, or aimed specifically at an age demographic. Her written style is just as appealing to me as I think it would be a teenager or young adult. 

Just Add Ginger blog

Just Add Ginger blog

The illustrations and photographs used throughout the book are really in keeping with the design. The illustrations don't outweigh the text, and are there to highlight certain aspects of the chapter, or to describe visually what Fleur is telling us. 

And it's the same with the photographs. I remember Fleur saying in a vlog that nearly all of the props and wardrobe used in photographs in the book belong to her. And - if you subscribe to her videos - you can tell. That gorgeous Chanel bag makes a feature, as do some of her go-to beauty products and her fabulous - and oh so enviable shoe collection. Even husband Mike and their dogs appear in photos, underpinning even more how Fleur really uses her own experiences, thoughts and opinions to drive the book.

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The Glam Guide is the first book in a very long time that I have sat down and read cover to cover in one day. And that says a lot. As a self-professed YouTube video junkie, my preferences of late have been to watch videos from my subscription box than read, but yesterday I couldn't put The Glam Guide down. It is just so readable. The style is engaging, the topics are vast, and although there are some that aren't wholly relevant to my life situation, I still read through them with gusto. It must be really difficult to write a book to a target audience that varies so much, but I think The Glam Guide has something for everyone. If you're a bit older, you aren't inundated with topics you can't relate to any more, and if you are that bit younger, the book does give some good advice on things that you are probably still discovering and unsure of. Fleur balances out her voice as the author really well, and at no points did I stop reading and think "I'm too old to be reading this."

With chapters ranging from beauty to blogging, health and fitness to hair, there is something for everyone. The Glam Guide isn't just your bog-standard how-to guide, it's a really personal offering, written by someone who truly believes in the advice she's giving, and wants to pass it on to her fellow girls, young women and ladies alike. 

With the perfect balance of personality and professionalism, The Glam Guide is the perfect beauty, fashion and lifestyle manual to help us make 2015 the most fabulous!


The Most Perfect Maxi Dress | Just Add Ginger

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Just Add Ginger blog

Maxi dresses always make me feel sexy. Granted that not every style will suit me, but there will always be one out there that - once I put it on - makes me feel like a million dollars.

So as soon as we had received an invite to a party, I hit the ASOS website to see what I could spot. The party didn't have a formal dress code, but I have been looking to add a classic black maxi dress to my wardrobe for a while, Something I know I have should the need for formal dress ever arise. This gorgeous beauty caught my eye straight away. With super-flattering sleeves, a cheeky slit on one side, and a plunging neckline it offers just the right amount of slinkiness but still looks exceptionally feminine and pretty.  And it fit like a glove! 

I teamed the dress with a glittery gold clutch, my new Daisy Street Darcy heels, To emphasise my hair I added a statement multi-row necklace, and The Boy & I headed out to dance the night away. 


A Weekend At A Wedding Show | Just Add Ginger

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Just Add Ginger blog
Flowers: Emma Floral Designs

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Just Add Ginger blog
Michele Paradise - Bridal Coach

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Since getting engaged, I have been to a few different wedding shows and fairs. Some local. And some not so local. At the end of last year, I won a Twitter contest through The UK Wedding Shows and bagged myself two free tickets to a wedding show of my choice. Because MG & I haven't been to many wedding-related things together yet, I chose to go to The London ExCel Wedding Show, and on 31st January, we headed down to Londinium to see what was going on. 

I am a great believer in attending as many local wedding shows as you can. It's a bit pointless to go to lots of wedding shows outside the area/city/town you are getting married. However, big wedding shows are the perfect opportunity to collect your thoughts and ideas and just get a general feel for the kind of wedding that you want and how you want things to be. 

The London ExCel Wedding Show was undoubtedly one of the - if not the best wedding show I've been to so far. Don't get me wrong, the wedding show at Formby Hall I went to last year was great because it was where we found specific vendors we wanted for the big day, but at this show, I discovered a lot more. I asked questions, I talked, I explored, I took inspiration photos....I got a lot more things clear in my head than I had ever before. I don't know if it was because I was with MG, or because I'm a lot more sure of myself as a bride-to-be now. But either way, it was a lovely day out.

The absolute highlights of the show were definitely the catwalk show and the talk we attended by Michele Paradise - a bridal coach. MG had actually been in touch with her on Twitter before the show (get MG and her technological mastery!) We all know what I'm like when it comes to dealing with my personal stress, and I think she wanted to give me the option of having someone to talk to if I needed it. We attended Michele's How to work the camera talk first, and she did really give some incredibly helpful tips for posing, standing and smiling on the day. Things that you just don't think about until the day but that you really should. I don't know about you, but I am so picky when it comes to photographs.

There was such a big queue for those wanting to see Michele after her talk that we didn't actually get round to speaking to her, but I'll definitely be doing searches online nearer the big day looking for any tips and tricks she has published about how not to be a Bridezilla. If you're going to a wedding show in the future and she's there, definitely think about attending one of her talks. Trust me...it's well worth it. 

The catwalk show was beautiful. There was such an array of beautiful bridal gowns, mother-of-the-bride ensembles, bridesmaid dresses and suits. If you hadn't got your wedding dress or ideas for your bridesmaids, the show was perfect because it showcased a rage of styles from different designers. 

Ordinarily I would say that I recommend going for a more local show, but if you hear of a wedding show coming up from The UK Wedding Shows, then definitely grab your girlfriends, get yourself tickets and go and check it out. It will not only give you loads of inspiration, but it's a really fun day out too! 
Ps: If you haven't seen it yet, here is my vlog from The London ExCel Wedding Show (thank you to the lovely people there for letting me film!) 


Dave's Christmas Holiday | Just Add Ginger

Dave the Cat has been with us for eight whole months now, and he is well and truly part of the family. He is probably the craziest (and strangest) cat I've ever met, but he is our little weirdo and I love him to absolute pieces. 

So - as you can guess - knowing that we had to leave him whilst we went away on our Christmas holidays was really difficult. I felt so guilty that we had to leave him behind and couldn't take him with us. Finding a fantastic place for him to go on his own holiday was priority number one. 

It was MG who discovered The Pets Country Manor online. With lots of really positive reviews, I knew it was a place that we had to check out. So, one Autumn afternoon, MG and I set off to see it for ourselves. 

I was not disappointed by what I saw. The Pets Country Manor has got to be the most spacious cattery I've ever seen. The grounds are absolutely huge, with beautiful views over the surrounding countryside. The owners were absolutely lovely, and put my mind completely at ease. I honestly was an emotional wreck at the thought of leaving my furry baby with complete strangers, but you could just tell that the owners live and breathe their job. There was so much passion and love behind all the information I was being told, that any fears I had were instantly quashed. 

The morning I had to drop off Dave was really difficult emotionally I felt really sad that I had to leave Dave, and was worried that he was going to be a little menace. He is still coming out of being a kitten and still has mad half hours where he tears around like a loon. I dropped him off with his favourite toys - just in case he got lonely - and waited for him to protest at me abandoning him. But quite honestly I didn't have to worry. No sooner had I unclipped the hatches of his cat box he was off exploring his suite without so much as a glance back at me to say goodbye. I on the other hand, was holding back the tears.

What I loved so much about The Pets Country Manor is that whilst you are away, their Facebook page is regularly updated with photo and video updates of how your cat is getting on. This is a great comfort for those of us who may be leaving our cats for the first time because you can see how they are getting on. In all of Dave's updates he looked contented and happy as can be, playing away happily without a care in the world and nosing into his neighbours' suites to see what was going on.

It was pretty clear that whilst we were away, Dave got bucket-loads of attention. The suites are heated so there was no chance of him getting cold (he does feel the cold quite a lot, choosing to sit with me underneath a blanket if it's bitter outside.) And with his own dining area, he could still maintain the routine we have got him in of having a completely separate eating and play area. It was an all-inclusive holiday, with Dave's food, litter, and toys for his stay provided. He had been one pampered puss on his holidays!

When we returned the ten days after leaving Dave, it was as if we had only left him for five seconds. He could not have been less fazed at being on his own little holiday, and was happy and content. He got a stellar report from the owners, and we were told that on Christmas Day he had received his own little cat-friendly turkey dinner, and that a little Christmas present was coming home with him for him to enjoy. He had been absolutely a spoilt! And we could not have been happier. 

The Pets Country Manor does not just provide a cattery service. It also has accommodation for smaller pets too, with hay, fruit & veg, bedding etc. provided.

I would have absolutely no hesitation in booking Dave in to The Pets Country Manor again. It is an outstanding facility, and to have owners with so much passion and drive looking after your furry baby is such a comfort. "The Manor" and owners have won a number of awards, and in 2014, The Pets Country Manor was awarded The UK's Number 1 Cattery title. 

If you live in or around Liverpool and you are looking for somewhere for your cat or smaller pet to spend their holidays whilst you are away, please check out The Pets Country Manor. It really is an amazing place, and it deserves every praise for providing such a dedicated and loving service for its guests. Come future holidays, I can only imagine Dave will be only too happy to return and spend some time sunning himself in his suite. And he won't miss us one bit. 

For more information about The Pets Country Manor, please visit: 


ESPA Bergamot & Jasmine Foam Bath | Just Add Ginger

I discovered ESPA last year. And it was love at first sight

The ESPA Bergamot & Jasmine Foam Bath was the first ESPA product that I ever tried. I found it nestled in a goodie bag at a North West Bloggers event. And with one sniff my infatuation with the brand began.

I think we all know that when it comes to me and my baths, it takes a lot for me to be blown away. As a self-professed "LUSHie." when it comes to soaking in a roasting hot bubble bath, I like to indulge in a bath ballistic or bubble bar. Bath foams get a little bit boring. 

Until I met ESPA! Firstly, let's take a moment to admire how beautiful the packaging is. The sleek, deep purple bottle with rose gold and lavender lettering just sings to me. It looks opulent and luxe, and really high-end. It calls out in hushed tones "You know you want me. Pick me for your bath tonight."  

The scent is just as enticing. The blend of notes create a deep and spicy scent that is right up my street when it comes to fragrance. It smells like you have walked out of your bathroom and stepped in to a spa. It is just divine. Once a bottle of this foam bath is merely in your presence, the bergamot, jasmine and cedarwood waltz their way in to your nostrils and bring about this sense of calm that is inescapable. 

The consistency of the foam bath is thick without being gloopy, and bubbles up under running hot water beautifully. Before you know it your bath is filled with fluffy, amazing-smelling bubbles that bob up and down on the water. Unlike quite a lot of the bath foams I've tried, the bubbles don't melt. They glide on the water for ages, and keep the spicy scent filtering in to your presence.  After the bath is over, the fragrance lingers on your skin, and makes you feel like you have just left a luxury spa treatment. 

I honestly cannot sing the praises of little bottle of bath-time joy enough. Boyfriend and I are on our second bottle, and we are both dreading the day that it is all gone. There is no question about it. We will be investing in this foam bath again. It's going to be a battle to decide who gets to have the last drop in their bath. At £18.00 a bottle it is a touch on the pricier side, but in my opinion, it is worth every single penny. The Boy and I both get so much enjoyment out of having it in our lives that I don't think we'd know where we were without it.

 There is nothing like coming home from the gym, or a really long day, and slipping yourself in to those soapy, spicy suds. 

To find out about the ESPA Bergamot & Jasmine Foam Bath, or any other ESPA product, head to: 


Last Minute Valentine's Day Gift Ideas (For Him) | Just Add Ginger

Valentine's Day Ideas

When it comes to buying gifts for Boyfriend, I'm not ashamed to admit hat I do find it a bit of a struggle. It's not that he's difficult to buy for, just that I like to buy gifts with either special meaning, or that he will get a lot of use out of. 

This Valentine's Day I had to think long and hard about what to get him. He is such a good egg that he really does deserve to be treated like a king! 

Finding just the right gift can be a bit tricky, but I think as long as you know a little bit about your guy, ideas will fall in to place. All you may need is a little spark of ideas first. 

Food-related gifts are a good place to start. A lot of the presents that I have bought for Boyfriend have been food, drink or cooking related and he has really appreciated and got a great deal of use out of them. The best ones have been a personalised whisky tumbler (he likes an occasional Friday night tipple,) and two wooden heavy-duty cheese and antipasti boards. We are very social creatures, and whenever we have guests over, the boards are always taken out and put pride of place in the middle of the dining room table adorned with yummy treats.

Is your man a fan of keeping facial hair? A shaving set or luxury skin product could be ideal. I found a great shaving kit from ESPA and the Boy really likes to use it (he smells fab afterwards too.) 

If you are confident that you know his taste, be brave and go down the fashion route. A great shirt, a lovely watch, or a luxurious jumper will not only show you've put a lot of thought in to recognising his personal taste, but will also be something that will make him instantly think of you whenever he puts it on. 

The Boy and I love to travel. At the moment we are constantly trying to think of exotic and romantic places we could go to for our Honeymoon (literally every time we think of one place, one of us will suggest another and we're back to square one.) If you're like us and constantly have itchy feet, why not indulge in a world map for Him and use it to plan out all the places you want to or have travelled together. Over time you'll be able to cross places off the map, add photos and memories. 

Gifts that last a lifetime and build on hopes and dreams are really romantic, don't you think? 


Last-Minute Valentine's Day Gift Ideas (For Her) | Just Add Ginger

Valentine's Day Inspo

With Valentine's Day being less than a week away, it seemed only fitting that I put together a little Valentine's Day Mood board. 

As I am getting a bit older, I am quickly discovering that it is the more personalised gifts that mean more, For example, Boyfriend this year is getting me something that I have been longing for for ages. It ties in completely with one of my biggest passions in life, and I am going to get so much joy out of it. For me, it is the most thoughtful and romantic gift because it means he knows me

But if you are in a bit of a pickle trying to think of what to get for that special lady in your life, then here are my thoughts. In my honest opinion, you can never go wrong with flowers, chocolates (Charbonnel et Walker are my absolute favourite special occasion chocolates,) and - if you are of the appropriate, legal age - a lovely bottle of bubbles. A candlelit, romantic, home-cooked meal is another great gift. So what if you can't wrap it up in a box, and tie it with a red, sparkly bow, but it will be a memory that you can both look back on with love and happiness. 

If you are confident you know your girl well enough, a carefully selected beauty or fashion themed present could be a good option. Try looking on the ASOS website for some ideas - ASOS is my go-to place when I'm looking for a certain dress, bag, or pair of shoes, and they never fail me! It is  really good place to hunt for an affordable gift that you know she'll love. Jo Malone is also a good place to look if you're on the lookout for a perfume that is completely luxe. They do an extensive range of fragrances, and if she's not really into perfume, there are home scents and candles to boot!

Something home-y can be spot on too. At the moment, I am obsessed with home décor, and the rose pictures above epitomise what Valentine's Day is about, and also fulfil my love for all things pretty for our home. Of course it won't be to everyone's liking, but you can always find the piece of art you know she'll appreciate. 

Whatever you do for Valentine's Day, I hope you have the most amazing day. It's a day for sharing and celebrating love in all shapes and sizes - new, old, love between friends, family....and ultimately, taking time out to celebrate the love you have for yourself. And that's the greatest love that we all should praise. So even if you don't have an exclusive Valentine this year, make 14th February a day about pampering yourself and taking some time out for an indulgent bit of TLC. 


It's Okay Not To Be Okay | Just Add Ginger

I started off 2015 with a very candid blogpost  about the story of my relationship with food. Feeling brave, I then took the plunge and created a video also sharing my story, and going into a bit more detail on a more personal level.

There can sometimes be a bit of a stigma around talking about metal health, and I don't think this is right. It's important to talk about the things that we have been through or are still going through. Not only might it help and inspire others who are going through difficult times to be brave and speak about their experiences, but it also can be really liberating, and enable you to reach out and get help and support you may need.

Talking through my journey with an eating disorder has been a long time coming. But I've had to build myself up to talking about it. Telling your closest friends that you are going through something is difficult enough. Telling the world that you went through a rough time is a completely different kettle of fish.

If you click on the video below and watch my story, please treat is sensitively. It took a lot of inner-strength for me even to press "record" on my camera. But now, I feel so liberated. Mental health is an issue that is incredibly close and incredibly important to me, and now that I have spoken about my experiences, I will do all I can to help break any stigma and raise awareness.


Master Bedroom Revamp | Just Add Ginger

Master Bedroom Revamp

As you would expect, alongside being a bride-to-be comes inescapable and incredibly exciting thoughts about married life and the future. I have lived in the house I am in now for seven years this year, and it has been perfect for me. Bur it's not really the house I see me and Boyfriend living in until our golden years.

We have no plans - no matter how much MG protests - to move yet. Not until after the wedding. I don't think any of us could handle the stress (and we couldn't afford it either.) But to make our home seem a little bit more grown up and family friendly, we are looking to revamp our master bedroom and just generally have a re-jig of things so that our house works better for us.

I love the thought of having a fresh, clean, white bedroom. Because the house has limited light, dark colours make everything seem more enclosed, and the bedroom constantly looks like a cave. In an ideal world, I would have a new crisp, white chest of drawers (our one is broken - we can't even open the bottom drawer any more,) and bright walls. Because our bedroom also acts as my filming room for my videos, I want to create as much airiness as possible, and have little sprinkles of decorative and slightly feminine elements....a few plants here...some woodland creature ornaments there....and a collage of photos of our loved ones. Nothing too OTT, but just enough to add some colour back in.

The only other thing I want to change is my make-up storage and "blogger station." Currently, my make up, beauty stash, and products that I am yet to review are scattered everywhere. Earlier in the year, we did buy a beautiful sea grass until from Dunelm Mill, but it doesn't work any more. Dave uses it as a scratching post too much, and once, actually got stuck in the gap where one of the drawers goes. It was a disaster trying to get him out. The Alex drawer unit from Ikea has recently caught my eye again. I know it's the storage unit that most bloggers have, but now I'm really starting to understand why. I can have it in our little "box office" room and keep everything I need in it.

It'll be a work in progress, but hopefully by the end of the summer, we will have a brand new master bedroom, and we'll be taking the first step forward in to having a marital home we can be really proud of.


28 Goals For My 28th Year | Just Add Ginger

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On the 9th January I turned the grand old age of twenty-eight

I have made it a sort of birthday tradition in more recent years to set out some goals for myself to work towards throughout the year (sort of in keeping with New Year Resolutions I guess.) These aren't necessarily goals I have to achieve, but things that I hope I can work on to better and challenge myself.

1. Focus more time on YouTube & Blogging. 

December and January were kind of dud months for my blog, and I've really missed it. Sitting here right now in my little "box office" and feeling so inspired, I don't really know what happened at the end of last year. Well, I do (#busyYuletide,) but I love my little creative babies and I want to show them as much love as I can. 

2. Take time to bring all my friends together. 

With the wedding being just a little over a year away, I wan to make sure that I can bring everyone together as much as possible. My friends are an extension of my family, and on the bog day, I want everyone to know as many faces as possible, and have the best time together!

3. Learn to manage my personal stress levels. 
I really am a contradiction. At work when I am stressed, or have a deadline to meet, I thrive. But at home, when it comes to my own personal stresses, I crumble. I turn in to a complete stress-head. I've already had a Bridezilla wobble over wedding details this year, and I need to make sure I keep myself cool, calm and collected so that I don't turn into a crazy Bride that nobody can bear to be around.

4. Climb Snowdon 
My Northern family are the most active people. Forever outdoors, climbing, walking...it is just amazing. I want to be a part of it as much as I can. The first step is to climb Snowdon. I've walked a bit of it, but I want to go all the way to the top. The Boy and I are planning to do it in April at some-point, so I'd better get training....and fast.

5. Cook more. 

I have a confession to make....when it comes to cooking, I am a lazy BUM! When I come in from work I just can't be bothered, and most of the time, it is Boyfriend who makes the tea, or if he's late home, I just have cereal or a ready meal. I need to make more of a conscious effort to cook, and not just leave it to when I'm in the mood.

6. Exercise more regularly. 

This ties in with my Snowdon goal and my upcoming nuptials. Being a curvy girl on my bottom half, my derrière only just about fits into my wedding dress as I'm putting it on. I wouldn't change the shape of my bum (I do love it,) but I do need to tone up a little bit. I also need to train like a beast so that I can make it up Snowdon without collapsing in a sweaty heap. I'm hopefully starting some Zumba classes next week, and I see my PT once a week, so I'm on the right track, but I need to really stick at it.

7. Complete the Race for Life Pretty Muddy

Last year I completed the Race for Life, but this year I want to kick things up a notch and try out Pretty Muddy. It looks like so much fun! I don't know if I'll be able to do all the obstacles, but I'm definitely willing to give it my best shot!

8. Sketch more pictures for my friends. 

This year, instead of buying my friends gifts, I really want to make things personal and sketch pictures for them. I miss sketching. I don't make enough time for it, but by having an incentive to draw for other people, I'm hoping to get stuck right back in to it.
9. Revamp the master bedroom. 

Our bedroom is a disgrace. It is in desperate need of a revamp. It's dark and dingy and everytime I look at it it makes me really sad. It needs a good lick of paint and some TLC. We also need to replace the chest of drawers and my vanity unit (which Dave likes to use as a scratching post.) It'll be a work-in-progress, but it'll look so lovely once it's done.
10. Tidy House. Tidy Mind. 

Most of us do it, don't we? Dump bits and pieces round the house when we should really tidy them away? At least I do. And I need to stop. Because when it's my time of the month I turn in to a cow looking at how messy the house gets. And it;s my own fault. My own habits. And I need to change them.

11. Brush my hair. 

One of my friends in particular is forever cursing me about this. But I am the worst person when it comes to brushing my hair. I just tend to throw it up in a high ponytail and forget about it for days. It's not good for my hair. I really need to get out of this horrendously bad habit to keep my hair feeling soft and silky...especially because I'm trying to grow it.

12. Do more baking. 

I've neglected my mixing bowl for too long. Those baking books are coming down from the shelf and being put to good use! You'll be looking at the next Mary Berry in no time!

13. Cut down on chocolate.

I am the biggest chocoholic. I can chomp down a Cadbury's Caramel bar in seconds. It's not healthy. As hard as it's going to be I need to cut down. If I can do it with caffeine, I can do it with chocolate....I hope. 

14. Be more honest to myself. 

Honesty is the best policy, and sometimes it's really hard to be honest with yourself. If I'm having a shit day, I'll accept it. If I'm having the best day, I'll live it up. But I'm never going to be dishonest with my feelings. The healthiest thing to do is always embrace how you're feeling and accept that it's okay to feel that way.

15. Nap less. 

During the day I'm the worst for sitting on the sofa and dozing off. Well...no more! Less napping means more time for blogging, and more blogging means a very happy me.

16. Do at least one good deed everyday. 

Let a car out in front of me, say "thank you" and "have a good day," send a thoughtful text. Whatever it's going to be, it's great to send positive energy and good vibes out into the Universe.

17. Spend less, save more. 

Not that I spend heaps of money, but this year, I'm going to always be bearing in mind that any excessive amount of money I spend on myself I could be putting towards our wedding, or honeymoon, or treating other people to lovely things.

18. Take more time for friends and family.

Quality time with my friends and family is very important. And I want to make some fabulous memories with everyone this year. That means lots of adventures to look back on and remember with love and excitement.

19. Plan a surprise for the Boy every few months.

My Boy does a lot for me, and I absolutely adore the bones of him. I want to give back to him in the best way possible and plan some surprises to him to show him I care. That could be a day trip, a nice dinner, or even just a really fabulous bottle of wine and cheese board. Just something to remind him of how special he is to me.

20. Out with the old. 

Clearing out things you don't need/use/want any more can not only de-clutter your house but also de-clutter your mind. I regularly throw things out or donate items to charity, but with putting more focus in to my creative outlets, it's time to refresh the house and make way for new ideas.

21. Make more "Me Time." 

A hot bubble bath.... A lie in.... A lie down with a cup of hot chocolate and a book. Whatever it is everyone is entitled to some "Me Time," and to help me stay calm and let go of my own stresses, I'm going to actively take more time out to focus on myself and just chill. 

22. Keep one weekend a month free. 

Some months Boyfriend and I don't have many plans. And some months we don't have a weekend to ourselves. And those months are really tough. Boyfriend can work some amazingly long hours, and we don't always get much time together during the week. Dedicating at least one weekend a month to just us will make us really appreciate the time we do have together.

23. Don't go to sleep angry/upset/stressed. 

Not that I do this regularly but sometimes I just can't switch off. Something could have annoyed me about the day, or be preying on my mind, and it really gets me down and then I end up taking it out on Boyfriend which isn't fair. I really need to learn to let it go, let it gooo-ooooo! 

24. Go camping.

Our weekend camping last year was so much fun. I can't wait to have more camping adventures this year...Just as long as there is a toilet nearby. I don't think I'm ready to camp anywhere without toilet facilities just yet.

25.  Keep Calm & Read More. 

I used to read a hell of a lot of books, but in the past few years, the time I spend reading has gotten less and less (I get drawn in watching YouTube videos.) This year I need to rekindle my love of reading and put down the iPhone/iPad a bit more. 

26. Maintain a better beauty regime. 

Since I discovered LUSH's Ultrabland and ESPA'S ProCleanser, my skin has not been better. But I find it all too easy to creep in to bed, bleary-eyed and too sleepy to care if I have or haven't taken my make up off. If I don't want my blemishes to reappear, this is a habit I need to kick. 

27. Write More Candidly.

When it comes to posts, I am always honest. I tell it like it is and give you my true opinion. And that's something I want to continue and expand upon. I want to share my experiences of life as a woman, and hopefully help and inspire others. I'm obviously not going to share everything about my life, but when I do write, I want it to be in a really personable way - just like how I'd speak with my friends.

28. Enjoy everyday. Live with no regrets.

Every day here on Earth is a gift, and I intend to live every day to the max. To push boundaries to my own abilities. To be proud of who I am. To love my friends and family. And to never stop chasing my dreams.