Monday 31 December 2018

My December Days

I expected to be here this month telling you endless joyful tales of Christmas but, unfortunately, December has been tough for me. Every Winter I suffer from SAD and this year its arrival was not only early but also pretty fierce. It was unexpected, I wasn't prepared at all and so spent a lot of my month in tears and feeling incredibly guilty about not appreciating Christmas time when I know that so many others have genuine problems to worry about. I lost my way, lost my spark and even lost any joy that I had in writing this blog, I have honestly thought about quitting so many times and, if I'm being brutally honest, I'm still struggling to find my joy for it even though I've had a long break.

So I'm easing myself back in slowly with my usual monthly round up, here are some things that didn't make the blog this month.

A Christmas Birthday

It's always hard to keep Simon's birthday feeling special when it falls a few days before Christmas. Last year I arranged a surprise trip to Dublin for his 40th and this year we decided to head down to Manchester for a few days. If you've never visited Manchester in December you really must go for their Christmas market, it is fantastic! We feasted on Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, stuffed ourselves with Apple Strudel and got tipsy on Cherry Punch before retiring to our beautiful room at The Principal - I feel like this needs to become an annual event.

My December Days - Manchester Christmas Market

Celebrity Meetings

It's not every day you get to meet Rudolph and his pals a few days ahead of their big night pulling the Sleigh but thanks to Azure Garden Centre in Cramlington we got to say hello to these cuties this month and enjoyed hand feeding them before going on a little stroll through the Christmas department desperately trying to resist the urge to buy all of the baubles.

My December Days - Azure Garden Centre Reindeer

Cosy Afternoon in the Woodmans Arms

We made our first ever visit to The Woodmans Arms in Whickham this month and were seriously impressed by what a beautiful pub it is. Just a stones throw from Gibsdie I think it'll be featuring heavily in our Sunday plans in 2019, we can't wait to go back and try one of their Sunday Roasts before having a nice long walk. There are some beautifully furnished little corners and an open fire so it's the perfect place to settle down in the Winter time and if you're heading that way yourself any time soon may I recommend the Rosie and Gin cocktail.

Private Dining at Artisan

Every year we arrange a special Christmas meal out with some of our closest blogger friends in Newcastle and this year we enjoyed the private dining room at Artisan - it's complimentary for bookings of 10 people or more and it is the perfect little space for your own party away from the main restaurant. They were so accommodating and put together a special little set menu for us - £75.00 per couple for a three course Christmas meal with coffee and a bottle of wine. The food was outstanding and we decided pretty quickly that we definitely need to swing by Artisan in the New Year to try out their Sunday lunches.

Christmas Nights at Beamish

I have been trying to get tickets to the Christmas Evening events at Beamish for years and this year we finally managed to grab some (believe me those tickets are like gold dust!) We loved having the opportunity to explore Beamish in the dark and it looked so beautiful lit up for Christmas. Being complete novices we spent a lot of our evening dodging massive muddy puddles (the pros all had torches!) but the muddy feet were worth it for the festive goodies we picked up in the bakery.

Driving Home for Christmas

We spent our Christmas just the two of us in Newcastle but followed that with a few days down south seeing my family in Norfolk. Whilst I spend a lot of my time there desperately hoping not to bump into people I used to go to school with Simon likes to spend the time walking about with big moon eyes trying to convince me to move back to Norwich (not gonna happen buddy, I'm a North East girl!) My favourite day of our trip was rediscovering the gorgeous cobbled streets of Norwich, it may be many many miles away from Newcastle but if any of you are looking for somewhere for a beautiful city break in 2019 I highly recommend.

Jumper Thief

I've spent my entire month slobbing about in my husband's jumpers and he is not amused. I started raiding his festive knits as soon as I discovered them hiding in the tinsel box and I've not taken them off since. They're so slouchy, hide a multitude of sins and are super cosy - I honestly don't know how I'm going to get through January when I can no longer wear jumpers covered in Christmas trees and reindeer - gutted!

Gin-gle All The Way

I've been building up my gin collection this month and am currently planning a trip to Ikea to purchase myself some kind of shelving to create my own gin bar in the corner of our lounge. My collection stepped a gear over Christmas with some very generous folks gifting me bottles of my favourite tipple and I even treated myself to this Boutiquey Gin from Asda. I've not really made a proper dent in it yet and it's seriously delicious so I'm wondering if I can drink Christmas gin all year round?

Homebird Bakes 

Out of all of the festive treats we guzzled this Christmas (and believe me there were a lot) our favourites had to be these Brownie treats from Homebird Bakes. Beautifully gift wrapped, we almost couldn't bring ourselves to open them - almost! These gooey goodies were chocolate orange flavour, covered in delicious chocolatey Christmas treats and we ate the entire tray between two of us .. how embarrassing! Home baked right here in Newcastle if you're looking for a gift for a friend .. or yourself, you must check them out!

I'm really hoping to get back to my normal happy self in January - I have invested in a SAD lamp and plan to start my New Year with a positive attitude, early nights and plenty of exercise so I have my fingers tightly crossed that normal service will resume soon and I'll be back here to share our adventures across the North East.

In the meantime be sure to follow me on Instagram, I post a new photo every day and you'll find video diaries featuring all of my favourite North East adventures in my highlights.


  1. I'm so glad you haven't pulled the plug because you are doing so so so well. I just think every now and then we need a break and you just need to take your time before coming back full swing. Love what you got up to in December those cakes look epic and I love the idea for the gin shelve! Hope you and Simon all the best in 2019! xxx

    1. Ahhhh thank you lovely! Definitely feel a bit better after writing this and then I started thinking through some fun plans for 2019 and things are perhaps a little brighter .. still counting down for the Spring time though!

  2. I think the cool thing about blogging is it's always here. Even if you don't blog for a year or only write your monthly round-ups, it's not going anywhere. There is no point forcing yourself to write if it's not fun/you're not feeling inspired. I KNOW it will come back at some point xxx What a fab December you had though xx

    1. Too true! I've never posted so few blog posts in a month, but I'm happy that I was sensible enough to take a break, hopefully I'll get my mojo back really soon!

  3. I hope you feel better soon - and you've still managed to pack December with so much!

    1. I know, I felt pretty miserable but forced myself out and about to stay active and I think it probably did help me! I definitely packed a lot in!

  4. For help with SAD (I'm a fellow sufferer) I recommend a Lumie Bodyclock - it really helps you get through these winter days.

    1. Thank you so much, yes I've now invested in a clock and a light so onwards and upwards x

  5. It looks like you had such a lovely time doing all of the festive things!

    I did Beamish Christmas a few years ago - in the rain. We definitely weren't prepared either. Reading your blogs makes me so excited to move back home and do all of these things. I live vicariously through you right now!

    Nikki x

    1. Ahhhh thank you so so much, that means the world! Love to inspire visitors, locals and people returning home!


© New Girl in Toon | All rights reserved.
Blog Layout Created by pipdig