Low key Valentine's Day - Girlglobalising

Happy Valentines Day!

It’s a bit of a funny old day isn’t it? I’m not really that bothered about celebrating it to be honest. I feel pretty neutral on the Valentine’s spectrum. It’s a nice day for sure. I’ll make Dom a card and maybe buy some chocolates (if he promises to share them with me…) and enjoy a quiet evening.

Some people love to go above and beyond on V day, with presents and chocolates and cards and expensive evenings out and that’s cool to if you’re into it. But I have to admit I don’t know any of these people. Most of my immediate friends and family are all about celebrating on the down low.

So for those of you that are looking to celebrate today, but also keep it fuss free, low maintenance and non-OTT here’s a few ideas for you.

Go handmade. Make a card, make it funny, personal, put an in-joke on there. Or make it soppy, write a poem and profess your love. Do what you want, it’s your own work. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Make something special. I’ll never forget the first Valentines day that Dom and I spent together – when he arrived with his Mum’s coolbag full of things to make dinner with. He made a steak salad, complete with slightly under cooked potatoes. But it was nice and it was something a little bit special without ending up in a slightly cringey, expensive restaurant. BBC Good Food have loads of things you could try out.

Plan something for later. Maybe you’re really busy at work, or you’ve had a stressful day and you just don’t want to do anything. That’s totally fine, don’t feel under pressure to celebrate for the sake of celebrating. Why not just plan a cool day trip for the weekend? Something to look forward.

Take some time for yourself. You could just spend the evening having a little bit of me-time. Maybe paint your nails or have a bath, read your book and have a G&T or two.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on flowers and meals out today – unless you want to of course. Let me know if you’re planning to celebrate today and I hope you have a goodun’ whatever your up to.

Pottery class - Girlglobalising

Here’s to a year of trying new things.

How many times do you have an idea that you’re really keen about, raring to get going on and then, well, never actually start? This is the story of my life. Lots of grand ideas and zero follow through.

Pottery class - Girlglobalising

How long have I wanted to join a class or try something new and then just sat around thinking about it rather than getting up off the sofa and actually started it? A very long time is the answer you’re looking for.

Pottery class - Girlglobalising

So fresh off the back of my first pottery lesson (which was brilliant) I’ve decided that 2017 will be the year of activity. Of actually following up on a few things and starting a some new hobbies.

Pottery class - Girlglobalising

Anything from calligraphy, to dress making and sewing, to a dance class or cooking lesson, I’m going to give it all a go this year. Pottery can now be ticked off the list and if there’s one thing that can be said for trying something new, then it’s to get fully involved and not to worry about it. Get in there and embrace the fact that you’re not going to be perfect and it’s going to be a messy job, but it will also be an accomplishment and something that you’ve wanted to achieve for ages.

Pottery class - Girlglobalising

Pottery class - Girlglobalising

The class I took part in was held at Elisabeth Barry Ceramics studio in Bath. She has some serious pottery talent, which I tried and failed to replicate. Make sure you check out her website for some beautiful minimalist pots, cups and bowls.

And while I may not have created such delicate pieces as Elisabeth makes, she was a fantastic teacher and I’ve still come away with a couple of pieces that I will proudly use for whatever takes my fancy – providing they survive the kiln that is…

Pottery class - Elizabeth Barry Pottery - Girlglobalising

Pottery class - Elizabeth Barry Pottery - Girlglobalising

There’s a lot to be said for stepping outside your comfort zone. As we’re always told, but never really listen – ‘you never know what you might achieve’. Here’s to a year of trying new things.

Breakfast bars - Girlglobalising

Breakfast bars - Girlglobalising

I’ve tried many a healthy recipe before and trust me, when it comes down cake and baked goods a lot of the time they just don’t work out.

The consistency is weird, the taste is a bit strange and altogether it leaves you wishing that you’d just gone for the one containing all the sugar and butter.

Since being on the health bandwagon after Christmas, and returning home after the holidays to find some very over ripe bananas in my cupboard, I decided to throw some things together and see what the result was.

And it was actually alright. Pretty good really, which is better than alright. They are incredibly low in sugar, made with coconut oil and still taste nice.

Breakfast bars - Girlglobalising

All you will need:

3 very ripe bananas

1 1/2 cups Oats

2 Tbsp Coconut Oil (melted)

3 Tbsp Honey (or more or less depending on taste)

Cranberries, Desicated Coconut, Peanut Butter (or whatever extras you would like to add – nuts, seeds, chocolate chips…)

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees/fan

Breakfast bars - Girlglobalising

Mash the bananas really well and add to a medium sized bowl. The riper the bananas the easier this will be. Stir in the oats and check your consistency isn’t too thick or thin.

Melt the coconut oil and use the same spoon to measure out the honey. Using the hot spoon with oil residue will make handling the honey much easier. Stir into the banana and oat mixture.

Add in the rest of your ingredients, as many or as little as you want in the breakfast bars. Pop in the oven for 15-20 mins or until firm and golden.

Leave in the tin to cool and then slice and serve.

They should last a good few days in an airtight container. And enjoy!

Breakfast bars - Girlglobalising

At The Chapel - Bruton - Girlglobalising

What better way to spend a Sunday than to drive through the Somerset hills and countryside. A relaxing Sunday drive no less.

Just short of an hour away from Bristol and Bath you will reach Bruton, a small and very picturesque village.

At The Chapel - Bruton - Girlglobalising

Bruton itself is small, quiet and unassuming, but hidden in plain sight on the high street is At The Chapel – an old chapel converted into a boutique hotel, bakery and restaurant serving breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.

Everything from avocado on toasted sourdough, to woodfired pizza, to a roast dinner is on offer. All locally sourced and very reasonably priced. And what a setting to sit back and relax in.

Girlglobalising

At The Chapel - Bruton - Girlglobalising

At The Chapel - Bruton - Girlglobalising

The space is light, bright and airy. Giant windows let in the winter sunlight and if you fancy, you could enjoy your coffee from one of the plush green velvet armchairs. I must get one of those for my flat…

Kind of rustic, but also modern enough that you know Instagram would love it, At The Chapel comes up trumps with delish food and all the interiors inspiration.

At The Chapel - Bruton - Girlglobalising

At The Chapel - Bruton - Girlglobalising

At The Chapel - Bruton - Girlglobalising

But now for the real reason we were there – the food. Having seen many a baked good and pizza on Instagram, I already knew for certain what I was ordering.

Although I was swayed slightly by the look of Dom’s roast pork, I put my food envy aside once my Taleggio and wild mushroom pizza arrived.

There was pudding as well but… they didn’t last long enough for a photo!

At The Chapel - Bruton - Girlglobalising

At The Chapel - Bruton - Girlglobalising

If you’re not stopping for food, then don’t forget to swing by the bakery for a loaf of freshly baked bread and a take away coffee. We didn’t leave empty handed and the Spelt loaf we chose must be a favourite at At The Chapel, as we just about snagged the last one.

At The Chapel - Bruton - Girlglobalising

At The Chapel - Bruton - Girlglobalising

At The Chapel - Bruton - Girlglobalising

Although Bruton may be a quiet Somerset village, it’s packing a top player in amongst the antique and interiors shops on the high street.

One more leisurely drive back home and it was a Sunday well spent At The Chapel.

At The Chapel - Bruton - Girlglobalising

The Ivy - Clifton - Girlglobalising

Christmas Tree - York - Girlglobalising

Christmas Wreath - Girlglobalising

York Minster - Girlglobalising

Betty's Tea Rooms - York - Girlglobalising

All photos taken on my iPhone

Once again, as happens with most years, Christmas has sprung up on us quicker than anyone expected. I for one am certainly looking forward to having a break, catching up with family and friends, eating all the pigs in blankets…

I had a few days in York with my Mum at the start of December, which is where the majority of these festive photos were taken. York turned out to be a very attractive little city, with the friendliest of people, and one that I intend on seeing more of in the future. I’m sad to say that my Christmas spirit diminished a little on my return home and hasn’t found it’s way back just yet. Because of this the complete lack of any festive posts on here is hardly surprising.

2016 has been a bloody odd year, with more world changes than any other year that I can remember. But its not been all bad – I started a new job and me and Dom moved into a cosy little flat after the debacle of having to move again. We went on some amazing trips, from Berlin, to Copenhagen, to the long awaited New York adventure. I can only hope that I’m as fortunate in 2017 and that my travel buddy is still as keen as me.

There will be some changes around here in the next year. I feel a little refinement and evolution is in order. Something to get my motivation back on track. And a couple of personal improvements as well – namely learning to live in the moment more, rather than worrying about what will happen next!

I wish you all the merriest of Christmasses and hopefully I’ll see you back here in the new year!

xx