Friday, 23 November 2018

Trello is my new best friend

Since starting my new job in March, I've become a little addicted to Trello. I haven't had much time to blog this week as I've been ill, so I thought I'd quickly summarise why I love Trello and what I use it for. 

Trello is basically a haven for list lovers and super organised people (a.k.a. me). You can set up boards for various categories, and within those boards you can set up numerous lists and cards. Cards can then be dragged and dropped into different lists when tasks get finished or priorities change. You can do lots of colour coding and add attachments, and it's completely free! 

Trello has a great mobile app as well as a user-friendly desktop version, and I'm now obsessively using it in my personal life as well as in work. 






So, what exactly do I use Trello for and why is it my new best friend? 




Work 

I'm a member of at least ten work-related Trello boards. As a communications team, we use Trello to plan our events and content, allocate tasks, organise workload, keep track of progress and keep on top of deadlines. We also use Trello to work with different areas of the business on wider campaigns and projects. It has a useful 'calendar' feature which allows you to look at the upcoming week or month in its entirety, and I honestly don't know how I'd be able to do some parts of my job without it! 



Blogging

I use Trello to jot down ideas for blog posts whenever they pop into my head. I move cards to my 'blog content in progress' list once I start drafting a post, then they satisfyingly get moved to the 'published' list when they go live on a Friday at 5pm. Trello has a handy 'comment' section where I keep a rough summary of what I want to cover in each blog post, and it's so much neater than keeping a big long note on my phone as I used to do pre-Trello. 







Holidays 

We used Trello to organise our holiday to Florida in May, and we're now using it to plan our trip to New York next week. Neil and I both have access to our 'NYC 2018' board which means any updates we make will sync across all our devices. It's a great way of keeping track of the restaurants we want to visit and to make sure we've actually got enough days to do all the exciting activities we've got planned. 



Christmas 

I used to keep my Christmas shopping list in the back of my paper diary. Not any more! Trello has been a really fantastic tool for noting down who I need to buy for, quickly jotting down gift ideas, keeping track of what I've bought and how much I've spent, then moving cards to that hallowed 'people I've finished buying for' list once I'm happy with what I've bought for each person. 






Is anyone else obsessed with Trello? Let me know if you can think of anything else I could use it for! 

Friday, 16 November 2018

Annual Christmas shopping trip

For the last ten years or so, my uni friends and I have organised a Christmas shopping get-together just before Christmas. We usually meet in late November or early December, but we met a little earlier this year due to my impending trip to New York.






Our first few meet ups took place in Cribbs Causeway, and we've also met in Cardiff a few times. However, in recent years, we've met in Bristol city centre as that's the most convenient meeting point for the majority of the group.

Our trip was scheduled in for last Sunday and I decided to catch the Megabus to Bristol. It only cost £10 for a return ticket and it was certainly a lot more relaxing than trying to drive my way around Bristol. I took a photo of City Hall from the bus just before I left Cardiff, purely because of the unexpected rainbow!






It was raining when I left Cardiff, but I was met with brilliant sunshine and blue skies when I arrived in Bristol. I wandered around a couple of shops and made some standard purchases from Lush before making my way to our meeting point on Park Street. I got trapped in the massive Remembrance Day crowd while I walked to Park Street, so I stopped for a while to watch some of the ceremony and to pay my respects by observing the two minute silence.






We all met just before 12 and decided to go straight for lunch. These days, there's a lot more focus on eating and talking than there is on actual shopping during our meet ups. Our go-to restaurant is Pizza Express as there's always something on the menu to suit everyone, so we made our way there immediately.

I ordered a pink gin cocktail and the ragu romana pizza. I don't think my pizza was quite as good as last year's festive beauty, but it was still pretty excellent. To be fair, I don't think I've ever been disappointed by a meal in Pizza Express.






After a long lunch with lots of catching up, we looked around a few of the pretty shops on Park Street. Although I didn't buy much as I've nearly finished my Christmas shopping, I always love looking around the beautiful independent shops and soaking in the Christmassy atmosphere.









I needed to get back to the Megabus stop by 4:30pm, so we finished off the day with a caramelised orange hot chocolate in Costa. Let's be honest, no Christmas shopping trip is complete without a Christmas hot chocolate with all the trimmings. I did accidentally ask for a caramelised onion hot chocolate which was pretty embarrassing, but let's gloss over that part.






I was completely exhausted by the time I got on the bus. I even managed to have a little nap on the journey back to Cardiff which is unheard of for me. I loved catching up with everyone and sampling Bristol's Christmassy atmosphere, and it feels pretty exciting that one of my pre-Christmas staples has already taken place. 39 days to go until the big day!

Friday, 9 November 2018

Our travel adventures as husband and wife

We're off to New York in just over three weeks! We haven't had more than a couple of days off work since our last big holiday in May, so we're very excited about our pre-Christmas getaway.

We travelled to New York together for the first time in February 2013. It was one of our first holidays together as a couple and, in some ways, it feels as if it happened a whole lifetime ago. This got me thinking about all the places we've travelled to together since then... cue blogging inspiration alert.

I decided to focus on the holidays we've been on since we got married in August 2014. We didn't get photos of the two of us on every occasion, but I'm quite impressed that we managed as many as we did considering we don't particularly like having our photos taken.

Please excuse the inconsistent photo sizes... we've both had lots of different cameras and phones over the last four years! 



Rome, September 2014

We went to Rome for the first leg of our honeymoon. Rome is an amazing place and we loved the four days we spent there, apart from the stress of trying to cross their hectic roads.





Lake Garda, September 2014

The second leg of our honeymoon was spent in beautiful Malcesine. A completely different pace to Rome with breathtaking beauty at every turn.




Venice, September 2014

The last leg of our honeymoon was spent in Venice. More beautiful views, architecture and food... it's safe to say that we were well and truly in love with Italy by the time we left.





Disneyland Paris, December 2014

We went to Disneyland Paris for the first time in December 2014. We couldn't afford to go to Walt Disney World in 2014 due to our wedding and honeymoon but we still wanted our Disney fix. Disney + Christmas = perfection!





Amalfi, April 2015

We decided we wanted to see a different part of Italy in 2015, so we went to Amalfi on the Amalfi Coast.  Definitely one of the most beautiful coastlines I've ever seen in my life.





Walt Disney World, September 2015

It was finally time to go back to our favourite place in the world in September 2015. This was our first trip back to Florida since we got engaged there in 2013, so it was an extra special holiday for us.





Toronto, March 2016

We spent a week in Toronto in March 2016. Toronto is an incredible city with loads to see, and we also went on a day trip to Niagara Falls while we were there.





Walt Disney World, September 2016

Surprise surprise, we ended up back in Walt Disney World in September 2016. Although this trip was overshadowed by my cancer diagnosis, escaping to the most magical place on earth for two weeks was the ideal distraction.





London, October 2016

We went on an overnight theatre break to London in October 2016 to see Aladdin at the West End. I was still recovering from my operation so we had a slow couple of days, and it was lovely to get away for a night.





London, March 2017

We booked another theatre break in March 2017 as we loved the first one so much. This time we went to see The Lion King and it was absolutely amazing.





Walt Disney World, April 2017

I know I know, we can't keep away. This trip was only eight months after the last one which meant we didn't have to wait quite so long for it to arrive!





Wizarding World of Harry Potter, August 2017

I bought tickets for us to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Watford for Neil's birthday back in March. We booked our trip in August to coincide with our anniversary, and we had a brilliant time.





Florence, October 2017

It was time for us to try yet another part of Italy in October 2017. We loved Florence and I'd highly recommend it if you're looking for the perfect mix of culture, city life and relaxation.





Walt Disney World, May 2018

Back again... yes, we do enjoy going back to Walt Disney World every year. We just love it that much!





Llangennith, October 2018

We went on our first holiday with Jessie in October. It was so lovely to be able to take Jessie with us and we'll definitely be planning more dog-friendly weekends away in the near future.





Next stop... New York! 

Friday, 2 November 2018

Why autumn is my favourite season

While everyone else was basking in June and July's heatwave, I secretly couldn't wait for autumn to arrive.

The house was unbearably hot, the office was unbearably hot, the great outdoors was unbearably hot. Everywhere and everything was unbearably hot and I longed for the day when it would be cool enough to wear my tights and boots again.

August came along and decided to be its usual frizz-inducing hot and rainy self, so I was delighted when autumn finally announced itself.

Here are just a few reasons why autumn is my favourite season...



1. Memories 

I don't think summer will ever feel the same for me after the events of two years ago. The summer of 2016 was riddled with tests and uncertainty, and every summer since has brought back vivid memories of that horrible time. Once October arrives and autumn is in full swing, I instantly feel a little better.



2. The cooler weather 

I absolutely adore dry autumnal days. Cold, crisp and sunny days are far more enjoyable than a sweltering hot day, in my humble heatwave-hating opinion.






3. Ugg boots 

Following on from the previous point, autumn provides the ideal weather for my beloved collection of Ugg boots. Dry and cold is the perfect combination for these comfy beauties!






4. Wearing all the layers

Wrapping myself up in a big coat, jumper, hat, scarf and gloves makes me inexplicably happy. I feel a little incomplete in the summer without all my cosy layers and accessories, and autumn's cooler weather also means I've got more items to colour-coordinate. What's not to love?



5. Pretty trees 

I love autumn leaves, whether they're still attached to trees or if they've fallen on the ground. They're beautifully instagrammable, they make me smile, and they can brighten up the dullest of days.






6. Jessie's favourite season 

Autumn is also Jessie's favourite season. The summer is too hot for her as she's got such a thick fur coat, and I felt so terrible for her during the heatwave. She couldn't go for long walks and couldn't even get particularly cool at home, so she's in her element at this time of year.






7. Catching up with friends

I always seem to cram most of my meet ups with friends who don't live locally into the autumn. I caught up with Sarah, Liz and Fee last month and have got another few outings planned for this month, including the annual Christmas shopping trip with my university friends (which generally involves more eating than shopping).



8. Candles 

I light candles all year round, but I love bringing out the autumnal and Christmassy scents once October arrives. Is there anything better than lighting a cinnamon-scented candle and curling up on the sofa in your pyjamas with a hot chocolate and a good book?



9. Hot chocolate 

Talking of hot chocolate... I know I drink a lot of it all year round, but it feels like an extra special treat when I drink it during the autumn months. I had to stay away from hot chocolate during the heatwave which made me even more grumpy!






10. Christmas! 

Once autumn is here, I can officially start my Christmas shopping. Once I've started my Christmas shopping, it's only a matter of time until I can start sneakily adding Christmas touches to the house and digging out my Christmas jumpers. And now that Halloween is over and November is here, it really is nearly Christmas!





What's your favourite season? Are there any other autumnal fans out there?