Sunday, 9 December 2018

Christmas at Chatsworth 2018 | Once Upon a Time

Every year since 2014, Tom and I have visited Chatsworth at some point in December to see the house decorated for Christmas. Each year has a different theme; this years is Once Upon a Time and we both agree that it is our favourite theme so far! As is tradition on here I'll take you on a virtual tour of the house, and I'll link all the previous years at the bottom of this post. 

This year we ended up going the same weekend as Chatsworth hosted its Christmas Market, and so we had to park about a 20 minute walk away (still in the estate) rather than in front of the house like we usually do as it was really busy. This was fine as it wasn't raining at the time (there were a few cars getting stuck in the mud where we parked) and on the walk to the house we actually came pretty close to the deers of the park!

We had never been to the market before; in previous years you still had to pay extra for parking even if you had booked to go in the house, but this year it was all included. I would say if you want to go to the market that you actually book to go in the house, because our ticket was around £25 for the house, gardens and farmyard as well as being able to look round the market, and people were paying £20 just to park for the market on the day. It was a really good Christmas market but I wouldn't pay that much to park and have a look around. 

After having a little look around the market and making a mental note of where to return to later, it was time for our visit to the house! What we really liked about this years theme was that it ran throughout the house but every room featured a different story such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, James and the Giant Peach and Mary Poppins, rather than focusing on one story for the whole house. The attention to detail demonstrated the amount of effort that had gone into curating each room, and all of the decorations were beautiful!

After looking round the house our tummies were rumbling, and normally we go to the fancy restaurant but unfortunately for us this year it was fully booked! (Next year we'll definitely prebook a table). We ventured out to the market and found a hotdog stand, which after a bit of a faff with needing to pay at one point to receive playing cards to then hand to the server in exchange for our hotdogs (?) we got our lunch. After lunch we headed into the gardens, and had a short walk around before it started to rain. 

We went and had a brownie and a drink in the cafe, before looking round the stable shops and the market properly. We did stop off at the farmyard on the walk back as I hadn't realised this was included in our ticket in previous years, and although it was nice to see the animals I think this is aimed more towards families with children. 

As this was our fifth Christmas at Chatsworth trip, it was really nice to have something additional to have a look around and I definitely think we'll go back again next year when the market is running. The market has finished now, but you can still see the house decorated for Christmas until the 6th January (this is in no way a post affiliated with Chatsworth, I just love going and think you will to!). Do you have anywhere you visit every Christmastime? 

Jess x

Previous years:

Sunday, 2 December 2018

December Bullet Journal Set Up

December is finally here and it's my final bullet journal set up for 2018! I've found having a bullet journal super helpful throughout the year, and so as well as showing you my general set up for December, I thought I'd show you how I'm using my bullet journal to prepare for Christmas. 

For my title page I went with a vintage Christmas theme and I think this has to be my favourite title page of the year! Sometimes I draw on my title pages, but a lot of the time I think of a theme, find some photos for it, and then print them off and stick them in. Throughout the year I've tended to draw out a calendar across a double page spread, but I found I wasn't tending to flick back to it and so I thought if I simplified it even further into a list of the key things that are happening, I'd be more like to remember them!

Onto the first Christmas related spread! Tom and I have a LOT of Christmas films, and so when it comes to deciding which film we're going to watch, we write them out in a list and assign them all a number, and then leave it up to a randomiser to choose! We actually started watching our Christmas films in November as we have so many (I'm a Celeb has slightly got in the way of watching any at the moment) and then cross them off as we go. It's a lot easier doing it this way rather than debating which one to watch, and it's nice to have a surprise of which one it'll be. 

Dare I say I've actually finished all of my Christmas shopping? To keep on top of what I've got, I've drawn out a tracker where I can list each gift, who it is for, and whether it's been wrapped. This might seem a bit excessive (Jess can't you just wrap the gifts without making a list) but I like to get little bits and pieces rather than a big present for people, so I thought this would help to keep track of what I have got, and I can clearly see when I've got everything rather than having to back through the collective bag and wonder if I need anything else!

I'm trying something a bit different this month, as I usually don't do a weekly spread because I use google calendar at work for tasks and things, but I thought I'd try out a more 'to do list' type spread, and start to take this into work with me so I can tick some things off in my lunch break!

Finally I've created a festive mood tracker in the shape of a tree made from fairy lights, which I'm going to try really hard to remember to fill in every day. Rather than go with the general smiley face, unhappy face, and what I would call the 'meh' face, the moods I've gone for are happy, festive, stressed (as I would generally say I feel this more than unhappy) and mixed because we all know that days are mixed with many emotions and sometimes it's all bit of a blur. I'm hoping by the end of the month I'll have a full coloured set of lights!

I'm going to make a list of who I need to write out Christmas cards for and cross these off as I write them to make sure that I haven't forgotten anyone! I think at a later date I'll add in a page about food as we're having about 3 different Christmas meals and I'll need to be able to keep track of what we're having and what we need for each. I'll also start thinking about how I want to set out my bullet journal for 2019 (ah it's scary that it's so close!). I hope this has provided you with some inspiration for your December set up an how to use your bullet journal to prepare for Christmas, and I'd love to see any of your spreads for the month! Be sure to come back in a few weeks time to see how I've set up my bullet journal for 2019.

Jess x 

Saturday, 24 November 2018


Back in September I launched my autumn photo challenge - I managed to get most of the photos (although I never saw any conkers?!) and I loved seeing you join in on the hashtag! Now that we're into the last weekend of November and the big guy will soon be coming for a visit, I thought this would be a great time to launch my advent photo challenge.
If you don't already know (where have you been?) Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year, and the countdown to Christmas is my favourite part of the season; I wanted to do something to celebrate this (aside from scoffing my chocolate advent calendar) and I love taking photos of all the lights and decorations so I thought this would be a great way to combine this! There's no specific order to these so I'm going to cross them off as and when I take photos, but I'm aiming to cross off one of these each day from the 1st to the 24th. Make sure you're following my instagram so you can see all the photos - and I'd love for you to take part too. Be sure to tag yours with #jlkadvent so I can see what you've been getting up to in the countdown to the big day!

Jess x 

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

24 of my Favourite Places to Visit

This week is a big week for me - I turn 24 tomorrow! Previously I've written posts on turning 22 and 23 things I learnt before turning 23, and to mark the occasion this year I thought I would round up 24 of my favourite places to visit. These range from places I've been to once but would like to visit again, to places that I've been to too many times to count and continue to return to! I love visiting places, both new and old, and I'd love to know where your favourite places are so I can add them to my list to visit! (These are merely in alphabetical order and not any order of preference).


Bakewell is a cute little town in the middle of the Peak District. This photo was actually taken back in 2012 when we came up to the area on holiday! I'm very baby faced and Tilly's a fluffy little puppy.  There's lots of shops to visit, cafe's to eat at, and beautiful scenery to look at. I'm actually returning to Bakewell on my birthday to go out for lunch!


Sunday, 14 October 2018

Top Films for a Sick Day

Last week I was struck down with Freshers' Flu to the point that I ended up going home from work one lunchtime and having the rest of the week off work. I spent a lot of my time in bed and then on the sofa, where I watched (and napped to) a lot of films because I wasn't up to doing anything else! The common cold seems to be making it's way around the office and everyone seems to be going down with something, so I thought I'd share with you my top films to get through a sick day in case you end up having one soon!

Harry Potter
Harry Potter is the ultimate sick day watch, not least because there's so many to go through that they can last you all day if not longer! I've watched the series so many times that it doesn't matter how much I pay attention to what's going on, or if I fall asleep and wake up at a much later point. I always watched Harry Potter when I was poorly as a child, so watching it when I'm ill now is like receiving a comforting hug. I'm not sure I really need to explain the plot to Harry Potter (is there anybody now that doesn't know the story?) but if you haven't had the chance to watch them all through I would definitely recommend!

Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty is one of my favourite Disney films, and it doesn't require a lot of thinking when you watch it. It follows the tale of Princess Aurora who has a curse placed upon her that on her 16th birthday she will prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die (one of the good fairies turns this to that she will fall asleep until true love's kiss) and the events that unfold on her 16th birthday. As princesses go she's pretty reliant on everyone else around her, but the drawings are beautiful and I like the songs!

Mary Poppins
Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, and animated penguins as waiters dancing and singing - what more could you want? Mary Poppins follows the tale of nanny Mary Poppins (lol spoiler in the title there) who, I want to say is magic as I don't know how else I would describe her, comes to look after Jane and Michael Banks who have a mother preoccupied with fighting for votes for women, and a father more interested in his job than his children. With Mary, the children jump into chalk drawings, take tea on the ceiling, and dance with chimney sweeps on the Edwardian London skyline.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
As with Harry Potter, I like to watch a series of films because then I can just take a load of DVD's upstairs and watch the series through. The Narnia series is good because it breaks up the animated films, and The Lion, the Witch, and the the Wardrobe is a good one because it's like a cosy Christmas film without actually being a Christmas film so I can get away with watching it at any point during the year. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe follows four children (Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy), who are evacuated from London during World War II, and move in with the Professor in the countryside. Here they discover the world of Narnia through a wardrobe in the spare room. Narnia isn't as welcoming as it appears, as it's ruled over by the white witch who's made it always winter but never Christmas, and soon the children are wrapped up in this world and the prophecy that they must fulfil.

School of Rock
I think the School of Rock has to be one of my favourite films - to the point that after attending the English Society Ball back in 2016 and the live band played 'Zak's Song' I decided I too want a live band at my wedding just so they can play this song. It's got some great one liners that still make me laugh out loud, and I don't think they'll ever get old. School of Rock focuses on Dewy, who is trying to make it in a rock band but after being kicked out of one he pretends to be his flatmate Ned and takes on a substitute teacher role. Rather than teach the children he turns them into a band with the aim of playing Battle of the Bands (the children think it's a nationwide school competition that they're entering).

Shrek 2
I think I may actually have watched Shrek 2 before ever watching the first Shrek, and it's still my favourite of the series. Despite saying I like to watch a series of films, I normally end up only watching the second Shrek because it's my favourite one. This is another film that I used to watch a lot when I was ill as a child; especially when I was round my nanna and grandad's as this was one of the DVD's they had (they had a lot of video's but only had a DVD player in their bedroom!). Shrek 2 carries on where the original left off - Shrek and Fiona get married and the film follows their travels to meet Fiona's parents and discover that Prince Charming was meant to save Fiona from the tower and break the curse, rather than Fiona turn into an ogre permanently. This has a lot of funny moments and I'm a sucker for a good film soundtrack!

The Wizard of Oz
Can you see there's bit of a theme going on here with films involving music and being predominantly children's films? The Wizard of Oz is another one I used to watch a lot at my nanna and grandad's (this time on video!) and it's another one that has a great soundtrack. The Wizard of Oz centres around Dorothy Gale, who is swept up in a tornado and lands in the exuberant world of Oz and her plight to get back home through this weird and wonderful land.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
I know, I know, you may be thinking 'isn't it Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?' - the new one is but the original with Gene Wilde is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory! Both are equally a good film for a sick day, but my preference will always be the original version. I think this version is closer to the original Roald Dahl book, and when you're not feeling so hungry because of your illness I find the mass amount of chocolate in this film ends up making me feel hungry again! This film has a lot of funny moments, including some of the special effects, and it was very clearly made in the 70's. I think this is another one where most people will know the plot of the story, but in case you don't, this film focuses on the elusive chocolate factory owned by Willy Wonka, and five children's trip into the factory.

As you'll have seen from this post, a lot of the films I watch during a sick day, are ones that I used to watch when I was ill as a child, and I'll never try to watch a new film when I'm ill. Rather I like to watch ones that I've seen countless times before so I know where I am if I fall asleep for half of it and I haven't missed anything important, and they all make me feel super cosy when I'm not feeling so great in myself. What are your go to films for a sick day?

Jess x

*All gifs are sourced from*

Sunday, 7 October 2018

How I Scrapbook

For nearly the last two years I've been scrapbooking - my mum made me a scrapbook of my childhood for my sixteenth birthday which I love, and I was looking for something creative to do as a hobby, so I decided that I wanted in! I have now started my second scrapbook album as I ran out of space in my first, so I thought now would be a good time to show you how I scrapbook! My first scrapbook runs from October 2016 (I received my first album and card for my birthday) to the end of 2017, and I started my new one for 2018. 

My pages are set out chronologically by month, but what's on the actual pages for each month doesn't really have an order - it comes down to what I think looks good together! I use 12x12 inch card and fit these into plastic wallets which I then insert into my album. I know you can buy scrapbooks that come with paper inside, but I like having the freedom to put as many/as little pages in as I want to an empty album. I also like the protection that the plastic wallets give as I know that the pages will not stick together/get ruined when I look at them and I think this will help make them last longer. I order my photos through Boots online, and do this quarter yearly so I have a good stock to go through and add to my scrapbook! To show you how I scrapbook I thought it would be good to show the process of putting together one of my pages - I actually need to place another order for photos so this run through is for April of this year.

I start out by choosing which colour card I want for that month; I have a pad with lots of colours in, and if I have more than one page for the month I like to use the same colour to tie it together. Once I've got my sheet of card I get out my photos and bits from the month and then start playing around with the layout. 

I like that with Boots you can order square photos as well as the usual 6x4, so I can include any photos from instagram for that month. I also have a instax mini camera which I absolutely love using for my scrapbook! In some months I'll have a couple of polaroids where I'll dot them about the page, but when I have quite a few from the same day I like to block them together. 

Once I'm happy with the layout I then stick them down! Depending on how I'm feeling I'll either stick them down with pva glue or with masking tape. What I like about scrapbooking is that I can go through the photos I've taken (all on my phone!), choose my favourites, and then use them in something I know I'll actually look back on, because I don't know about you but once I've taken my photos they just tend to sit in my phone! I also like to save things from places I've been to, so on this page I stuck in a theatre ticket from when Tom and I went to see Shrek the Musical, but I'll also keep things like train tickets or cards I've received. I have an accordion file which I have labelled with each month, so as I collect things I can put them in the correct month so I know what goes where when it comes to sticking them in. I've found that I don't end up using every single photo I order, or every single ticket that I've kept, but it's nice to have a choice over what I put in when I get to a page. Anything that I don't use I put together in their own folder in case I can use them as background things further down the line. 

I think one of things I find most difficult, is deciding what I want to use for a title each month. For April's page I used some brown paper and flower patterned plastic sheet that I got from a bunch of flowers I had before! As well as keeping tickets etc, I also keep anything I can use to add something else to my pages or pick up things like postcards from places I visit to add in. 

As I've got the protective wallets for the pages, I stick things on both sides of the page and the other side for April is below! 

As well as showing you the process I go through when setting up a page, I thought you might also enjoy seeing some completed pages from my 2016/17 scrapbook. You'll see that when I've been somewhere for a day out or taken a lot of photos in a day, I like to dedicate a whole page to it. I also like to create spreads for trips so below you'll see a double page spread of when Tom and I went to London and Edinburgh, when I went to Suffolk for a week last year and a three page spread of our holiday to Majorca!

I knew that I would enjoy scrapbooking, but I didn't realise how much I would! I love having all my photos together, along with different things like tickets that spark a memory, and also the space to write out any information or mainly inside jokes between myself and Tom from days out together. Having completed a scrapbook it's so nice going back and remembering things about the year that otherwise I would forget. As I spend a lot of my time on a computer at work, I love having a creative hobby that's offline and the action of cutting and sticking is quite therapeutic. I've already mentioned that I have an accordion file where I keep things like tickets etc throughout the year so I know what month they align to, but I also have two clip storage boxes from Hobbycraft where I keep scrapbooking things. One is dedicated to different cards and papers that I've picked up (I particularly like Paperchase for postcards!) and the other is for other things like stickers, washi tape and different patterned scissors. Hobbycraft are also a great place to pick up different cards/papers and embellishments at a reasonable price. 

WOW that turned this turned out a longer post than I was expecting and I'm hoping I haven't forgotten anything - if you don't scrapbook I hope this has provided you with some inspiration to start and if you already scrapbook I'd love to see how you set out your pages as everyone's are so different! Let me know if you'd like to see a run through of my 2018 scrapbook once I've completed it, and if I've missed anything or you have any questions about scrapbooking send them my way.

Jess x 
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