Hannah Drake

Bucket List

2019 Autumn Bucket List

Self CareHannah DrakeComment

It's that time of year again when I become the most basic of all bitches. I'm sorry (not sorry) but I absolutely love autumn. I’m so glad the weather is participating in my long-held belief that autumn starts in September (and goes through November) because, even though it was quite warm at the end of August, the temperatures dropped right down and it’s been quite cool. I’m so looking forward to greyer skies and cozy evenings at home watching movies and eating soup!

So naturally, as I fully embrace my most basic persona, I've once again created a little autumn bucket list.


We were able to find one relatively close to visit last year to pick apples, so we’ll probably just head back to the same one. Apple picking is definitely a September activity, so hopefully we’ll be heading there in the next couple of weeks. The orchard that we found last year also has a number of other fruits ripe for the picking, so maybe we’ll expand our fruit picking talents this year.

I was shocked to discover two years ago that "cider" here only means the alcohol kind. They don't even know what they're missing if you ask me! I guess the closest thing they have is “cloudy apple juice”, but it’s still not spiced with all the cinnamon-clove goodness! Over the last two years, Luke and I have perfected our homemade apple cider skills using this recipe and even turned it into a deliciously festive cocktail. We make it throughout the whole season so we always have some ready to go!


Gone are the days of hopping in the car for a day trip up to the Rocky Mountains for a beautiful drive. Peak-to-Peak Highway and the Million Dollar Highway are some of the most gorgeous drives I’ve ever taken, even though I nearly died trying to get to the latter. Even though we’ll be in Colorado this autumn, we’ll likely miss the foliage, so we’ll have to find some around England or Wales.


I wasn’t much looking forward to going to Oktoberfest, but as our trip to Germany grows closer, I’m getting slightly more excited. A few months ago, my sister started trying to convince us to go to Germany with her for Oktoberfest and Luke was definitely more on board than I was. Regardless of how I feel about drunk people and crowds—and crowds of drunk people—I’m excited to go back to Germany because I spent most of our trip there in 2017 bed ridden with a terrible stomach bug. Hopefully it’ll go a bit better this time.


Don’t you love how eloquent and succinct that is? I’ve been kicking around the idea of having some sort of chili gathering for months. Whether that’s a full on chili cook off or just an autumnal party with a fully loaded chili bar remains to be seen.


When I Marie Kondo’d my life earlier this year, I got rid of my cream cable knit jumper because it was stained and ratty. Thank you for your service, jumper, but it was time to say goodbye. I’ve been looking for an ethical version to take its place in my wardrobe ever since, but it was at the tail end of the fall/winter season anyway. Now that the seasons are turning over again in stores, I’m back on the lookout at some of my favourite ethical and sustainable retailers.


I love baking and I love sharing our baking with other people, partly because it doesn’t mean I feel obligated to eat it all. Since we have new neighbours this year, I want to make a good impression by taking over some pumpkin bread (perfect since my recipe makes two loaves) or apple cider doughnuts made from our homemade cider. I love all the autumnal spices, so I bake with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger as much as I can.


Last year we visited a nearby pumpkin patch to pick out some bigger pumpkins for our front porch and two to carve. We decided on a Harry Potter theme, Luke carving a dementor and me carving Hogwarts, and took to Instagram to let my followers vote on the winner. I’m pretty sure Luke won in a landslide, which is fair. I voted for him too.


I’ve never really cared much for Halloween until I started spending it with Luke. Our tradition has been to hide from trick-or-treaters (turning off the lights in the front of the house and hiding our pumpkins) and watch non-scary Halloween/autumnal movies, which always includes Practical Magic. We make chili and have some Halloween candy for dessert. I love it.

I’m completely obsessed with Hallmark’s Fall Harvest movies (and Countdown to Christmas, later) and love putting one on while I’m baking or before Luke gets home from work. One of my dream jobs would be to do set design for those movies—either fall or Christmastime. I’d make it my #1 goal to make it look more like fall instead of obviously summer with a few fake orange and yellow leaves. Since they put out fewer films for Fall Harvest than for Countdown to Christmas, it’ll be easy to watch them all.


We’re already planning for our third annual Thanksgiving feast, which will be early this year. Last year I said it was unlikely we’d ever go back to the States for Thanksgiving and we’ll actually be there this year thanks to a friend’s wedding and the late holiday. I’m excited to be back home for such an American holiday, but I promised my sister who will not be home for Thanksgiving that we would host our third annual gathering before we leave. Last year I expanded our menu a bit. While I’m not sure I want to make more again this year, I definitely want to try something new.


While I love England in the autumn, one thing I really miss about being back in Colorado is the football. My dad has had season tickets to CU football games for as long as I can remember and I love going to the games. Since we’re back this year, we’ve got a chance to at least see one American football game in person. (It might be a bit trickier though since CU is playing away the weekend we’re back…)

What's on your list for this autumn?

Last year, I included a little game of bingo to play on Instagram Stories throughout the season, but this year I’m simplifying a bit with an autumn checklist with all the most basic things. Save the image below and play along over the new three months, checking off everything you do!

2019 Summer Bucket List

Self CareHannah DrakeComment

I’m oddly excited about summer this year. I prefer spring and autumn to summer, which is maybe why I moved to England where the summers are much more mild than Colorado. But this year I’m looking forward to it!

The last two years, I’ve done both an Autumn Bucket List and a Christmas Bucket List. This year, for the heck of it, I decided to do a Summer Bucket List for the first time. I’ll admit I mostly do these lists for myself. I like to set goals for myself and making a public declaration helps me keep them. (It doesn’t always work, but often enough.) It probably seems silly for someone nearing 30 to list ten things they want to do each season, but I really enjoy envisioning what I want my season to look like, whether that be summer, autumn, or Christmastime.


My friend Taylor and I have been dreaming about hosting a garden party for over a year now. We were hoping to do it in 2018, but our schedules didn’t allow for it to happen last year. Right now, we’re in the throes of garden party planning and I truly cannot wait to see it all come together next month! We’re envisioning a quintessential English garden party—or as close as two Americans can get—complete with floral dresses, pastel hats, and all the makings of a proper English tea. Plus prosecco, of course.


Earlier this week, we joined the English Heritage with a 15-month membership. We got a booklet of all the sites we have access to and I’m very excited to explore so many of these places across England. We don’t have any plans to leave the country this summer, so I’m hoping this will motivate us to do plenty of travel around England to dive into the rich history surrounding us. The #1 English Heritage site I want to visit this year is Stonehenge!


What better to see all those English Heritage sites than a road trip?! With a map of all the locations at the front of the booklet, it will make it easy to plan a trip around the sites or to add sites to an already planned trip. Of course there’s nothing like an American road trip, but I haven’t really done something similar here. We’ve driven a number of places in the last two years, including Wales and Scotland, but it wasn’t quite the same. We didn’t stop overnight anywhere or even make a special playlist just for the trip.


I guess this is the English version of hiking? I’m not really sure. All I know is that I suck at hiking up mountains, so I’m hoping I’ll fair better in the rolling hills of England. I’ve spend a lot of time thinking about what I want my ideal life to look like and one of the things I frequently see is us walking through the English countryside in our waxed jackets and walking shoes, umbrellas in hand as needed. Though I won’t say no to a nice sunny day!


I usually make an American flag cake every year for the Fourth of July and have even done so the last two years while living in England. It never fails to impress people, which I especially enjoy doing with my baking. We don’t currently have plans for any sort of Fourth of July celebration, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make the cake regardless! This year, I’m considering using a red velvet cake for the red layers instead of dyed white cake. I’m curious how it would turn out!


Last year we hosted a First of July BBQ (hence the sign above), but it could possibly be a crazy time at our house by July, so we haven’t made any decisions yet. Still, it’s always nice to have some friends over for grilled meat in that famous British sunshine! I find the differences between American and British BBQ so be very strange indeed, though. Unless my family is strange for Americans, they seem quite different. In the States, you might have the option between burgers or brats/hot dogs and the guests might contribute some sides or desserts to the BBQ. In the UK, a lot of the BBQs I’ve been to, especially those not put on by an American, are usually BYO meat and have very few side options. I mean, where are the half dozen options to eat potatoes, Brits?! C’mon!


I had hoped to start this in May, but the month proved to be a bit too hectic for us to manage. So we’re hoping to start in June (tomorrow, in fact!). It’s a really great way to support local agriculture and sustainability. I’m baffled at how often fruits and vegetables come packaged in plastic at our grocery store, so even though we have reusable produce bags, we don’t get to use them as often as we’d like. We’ve also been eating increasingly more plant-based meals, so a farmer’s market would be a great place to help with that. I’m terrible about shopping and eating in season, so it’ll be great to be in the market looking at what’s currently available and talking to the people who grew it all. I even got a new bag for all our shopping!


I’m a huge fan of picnics! There’s no doubt about that. In fact, Luke and I did picnic-themed engagement photos. (See!) I think we’ve only had one each of the last two summers, so why ruin the streak now? We have a gorgeous picnic basket (albeit a heavy and inconvenient one) and we have to put it to good use! I kind of wish we had one of the lighter, easier to carry hampers that are available in most stores in the summer, so maybe I’ll look into selling ours and upgrading.


You can’t find graham crackers around these parts, but we make do with digestives. Luke built a fire pit one night last summer, which allowed us to toast mallows whenever we wanted! (BTW, let’s just all agree that Reese’s are best with peanut butter.) Now we even have beautiful adirondack chairs that Luke built last summer to sit in while we roast them!


Okay, this is a big one. And maybe this summer is a bit ambitious, but this is one of the only things I even want this whole year! We’ve been itching to add a puppy and a kitten to the Drake household for months now. Well, perhaps since I moved two years ago. It’s closer than ever now and it may actually be time to start looking! We’re really set on getting them at the same time or at least around the same time so we can hopefully foster a good relationship between them and neither is too territorial or unsure of the other. Obviously we already have the names picked out, we just have to find the right ones! I’m hoping that at the very least, we get them both in the autumn. But of course hopefully sooner.

What's on your list for this summer?

Engagement Photos by Brianne Haagenson Photography.

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8 Game of Thrones Locations to Add to Your Bucket List

TravelHannah DrakeComment

Unless you’re brand new around here (in which case, HI!), you probably know that I’m obsessed with Game of Thrones. Unsurprisingly, that comes with the ultimate dream of visiting pretty much all of the filming locations used in the show (and pretending not to be disappointed to discover they were enhanced with CGI and lots of green screens), most of which are fairly “easily” accessible to me living in Europe. I’m still trying to convince Luke, though, to do one long Game of Thrones adventure.

So, in honour of my Game of Thrones obsession and the premiere of the eighth final season Sunday night in the States (or at 5:00AM for us…and again Monday night), I’m sharing the eight filming locations that top the list for me, one from each season. (Which was really difficult to do so I’m going to mention scenes from other seasons for most locations too.)

This post may contain spoilers for Game of Thrones through season eight, episode one.


We’re introduced to a lot of castles, cities, and regions in both Westeros and Essos in the first season. But it is the game of thrones we’re talking about here, and as Queen Cersei tells us in episode 1.7, when you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. From the very beginning, the show is built around this idea and of course the throne everyone is after is the Iron Throne, located in Westeros’s capital city of Kings Landing. So with everything building to who will sit on the Iron Throne, I figured Kings Landing would be a good place to start.

Dubrovnik, Croatia is used for many exterior shots of Kings Landing and has been the location of some iconic scenes, not just in season one, like:

  • Joffrey’s name day tourney, when Tyrion arrives as Hand of the King, in episode 2.1 was filmed at Fort Lovrijenac

  • Myrcella’s departure to Dorne in episode 2.6 was filmed at West Harbor

  • Tyrion, Bronn, and Pod walk around the City Walls of Dubrovnik in episode 3.1, which are actual medieval city walls and a UNESCO World Heritage site

  • The gardens, first seen in episode 3.2 when Sansa dines with Olenna and Margaery, then throughout seasons three and four were filmed at Trsteno Arboretum

  • Joffrey and Margaery’s wedding, AKA the Purple Wedding, in episode 4.2 was filmed at Gradac Park

  • The trial by combat between The Mountain, Gregor Clegane, and The Viper, Oberyn Martell, in episode 4.8 was filmed at Belvedere Atrium, but is not open to the public and only visible from outside

  • Cersei’s walk of atonement (SHAME!) in episode 5.10 was filmed on St. Dominic Street and the scene in which she crosses into the Red Keep was filmed at the Ploče Gate, the entrance to Dubrovnik's Old Town


Even though the season seven premiere is named for Dragonstone, we’re first introduced to the castle (and it’s amazing carved table) in the season two premiere, when it was held by Stannis Baratheon. Historically, it was the seat of the Targaryens, as its where they landed when they first sailed to Westeros, but Stannis was given the castle when Robert Baratheon won his rebellion. It’s not a glamorous castle, but probably befitting Stannis. In episode 7.1, Daenerys finally lands in Westeros and arrives back at her home.

  • The steps to the castle were filmed at San Juan de Gaztelugatxe in Bermeo, Spain, though the dragon gates and castle are of course digitally added

  • The beaches of Dragonstone that we see especially in episodes 7.1 and 7.3 were filmed Itzurun Beach in Zumaia, Spain


Again, there’s an episode literally called Beyond the Wall in season seven, but we spend quite a bit of time with the Wildlings in season three before they climb the wall with Jon is episode 3.6. Like many of these locations, we go beyond The Wall every season, but it just seemed to fit best here. We did see the first spiral from the White Walkers in season three. Anyway, if you’ve ever heard Kit Harrington (Jon Snow) on a talk show, you know they filmed A LOT in Iceland, from season two and beyond. (Season one’s scenes that take place north of the Wall were filmed at a quarry in Northern Ireland.) All the scenes and locations below were filmed in Iceland, but keep in mind there were some other awesome scenes filmed in Iceland, but took place south of the Wall in the show (like the path to the Eyrie, seen in episode 3.8 and the Hound and Brienne’s fight in episode 4.9).

  • The Frostfang mountain range is filmed at Höfðabrekkuheiði glacier

  • Jon and the Night’s Watch capture the Wildling Ygritte in episode 2.6, filmed at Svínafellsjökull glacier

  • Sam first finds dragonglass at the First of the First Men in episode 2.8, filmed at Mýrdalsjökull glacier

  • Sam and Lord Commander Mormont are attacked by the Army of the Dead in episode 2.9, Jon is brought to the King Beyond the Wall, Mance Rayder, in episode 3.1, and Ygritte steals Jon’s sword (before going into the cave) in episode 3.5, all filmed at Dimmuborgir

  • Sam running from the Army of the Dead in episode 3.1 was filmed at Hverir

  • Jon and Orell’s confrontation about the Night’s Watch in episode 3.5 was filmed at Lake Myvatn

  • Ygritte seduces Jon in the cave in episode 3.5, partially filmed at Grjótagjá, though reshoots had to be done on set as the steam from the pool kept fogging up the camera lens

  • The Hound sees a mountain in the flames in episode 7.1 and in real life in episode 7.6, the Westeros which was filmed at Kirkjufell

  • Jon and company sail to Eastwatch-By-The Sea (technically on the Westeros side of the Wall though) in episode 7.5, filmed at Reynisfjara Beach

  • The Westerosi Avengers capture a wight in episode 7.6, filmed in Stakkholtsgjá Canyon

  • Jon rides Rhaegal with Daenerys on Drogon in episode 8.1, using Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon as the setting

  • They land the dragons at Skogafoss waterfall (though the surrounding area, including higher waterfalls, were digitally added later)


Daenerys Targaryen first lays seige to Meereen in season four, taking the city. She then spends the next three seasons in control of the city before finally sailing toward Westeros at the end of season six. It was a long three seasons in Meereen, there’s no arguing with that.

  • The underground passages Grey Worm and the Unsullied use in episode 4.4 was filmed in the cellars of Diocletian's Palace in Split, Croatia

  • The execution of a Sons of the Harpy prisoner and subsequent riot outside the city walls in episode 5.2, was filmed at Klis Fortress in Croatia

  • The Meereenese Fighting Pit seen in episode 5.9 when Daenerys first rides Drogon was filmed at Plaza de Toros de Osuna in Seville, Spain

  • Exterior shots for Meereen in season 6 were filmed in Peñíscola, in Castellón, Spain, including Portal Fosc, Calle Mayor, Parque de la Artillería, and Plaza de Santa María


The Dorne story line from season five is arguably the worst show-original plot they’ve had. Personally, when I realised Bronn and Jaime would be paired up for some buddy adventures, I was stoked. And when they introduced three of the eight Sandsnakes, I had high hopes. But it was all a major flop and instead gave us some of the worst lines ever uttered by any of the characters. Regardless, we still journey to the southernmost kingdom of Dorne for the first time in the fifth season and it gives us some gorgeous locations.

  • The water garden scenes seen throughout season five was filmed at the gardens of the Alcázar of Seville, Spain

  • Jaime meets with Prince Doran to discuss the release of Bronn in episode 5.9, filmed at he Ambassador's Hall (Salon de los Embajadores), the throne room of the original Arabic Palace at the Alcázar of Seville

  • Scenes at the castle of Sunspear in season six were filmed at Alcazaba of Almería

  • The scenes at the Tower of Joy in Bran’s visions, where a young Ned Stark, with Howland Reed, fights Ser Arthur Dayne of the Kingsguard and Lyanna gives birth to a baby later revealed to be Jon Snow, her legitimate son with Prince Rhaegar, throughout season six were filmed at Castillo de Zafra in Spain


The Great Sept of Baelor was the setting for one of the most iconic scenes in the whole show—maybe even television. We as viewers visited Baelor in hopes Ned Stark would be sent to the Wall by Joffrey and got the shock of our lives when he was promptly beheaded. But there’s no arguing that our visits to the Great Sept picked up later in the show. The coronations of both Joffrey and Tommen were inside, as were the weddings of Tyrion and Sansa, Joffrey and Margaery, and Tommen and Margaery. But once the High Sparrow showed up in the fifth season, we spent a lot more time on the steps. But we all know the real reason I put Baelor in season six happened in the beautifully scored opening sequence of the season six finale.

  • Ned is executed by order of King Joffrey in episode 1.9, filmed at Fort Manoel in Gżira, Malta

  • Jaime attempts to rescue Margaery from the Faith Militant in season 6 episode 6 culminating in a stand off between the Faith Militant and the Lannister and Tyrell armies, which was filmed at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of Girona in Girona, Spain


The Dragon Pit was the set of the big meeting between so many of the main characters in the final episode of season seven and it’s one of my favourite scenes to date, so I had to choose it to represent the whole penultimate season. They talk a little bit about the history of the dragon pit in that episode, but it’s also mentioned earlier, in episode 7.1 by Ed Sheeran and his merry men. It’s considered one of the great structures of King’s Landing, along with the Red Keep and the Great Sept of Baelor. The Targaryens built it hundreds of years ago, when it was first home to Balerion the Black Dread, though they mention what a cruel joke it was to have the tiny dragons contained there before they went extinct.

  • The gathering between Cersei, Jon, Daenerys and their advisers (AKA the group project Jon and The Hound presented) took place at the Roman Ruins of Italic in Seville, Spain


Winterfell is seen throughout all eight seasons, has been the subject of many conflicts, and has been prominently featured in the opening credits since the very first season, first with the Stark banners, then burning, then with the Bolton banners. And now we get to see the inside in the credits! The reason I chose Winterfell for season eight is simple: The episode 8.1 is named Winterfell and it’s one of two locations seen in the episode we’ve seen so far.

  • Exterior shots for Winterfell in the unaired pilot were filmed at Doune Castle in Scotland, but production never returned to Scotland for the series

  • Exterior shots for Winterfell have been filmed at Castle Ward in Northern Ireland (where you can now travel back in time to practice archery and attend a feast fit for a Royal Visit)

  • Ned and his sons finding the dead direwolf and her pups in episode 1.1 was filmed in Tollymore Forest Park in Northern Ireland

  • Arya’s escape from King’s Landing on the Kingsroad and the start of a journey intended to return her to Winterfell in episode 2.1 was filmed at the Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland (Yes, it’s closer to King’s Landing on the Kingsroad, but being in Northern Ireland like much of Winterfell, I figured it would fit here.)

Which one of these—or other—filming locations would you most like to visit? Luke and I are seriously considering a roadtrip around Northern Ireland in the next year or so to see all the locations they used there. (Most of which, I didn’t even include!)

Fingers crossed they’ll one day create a Game of Thrones studio tour like they did with Harry Potter because many of the interior shots (including the Great Pyramid of Meereen and the Great Sept of Baelor) were shot on set.

For more on Game of Thrones:
7 Game of Thrones Inspired Cocktails
How to Throw a Game of Thrones Viewing Party