2014through these gray eyes...: 2014

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Was I born in the wrong era?

I often think to myself that I was born in the wrong era... Which era I should have been born in, I'm not quite decided on but, I found myself wondering today whether I would have the same opinions as I do now if I had been alive in the 20's - 60's... 

Take women's rights for a start... I'm definitely for equality between genders etc (lets face it, who isn't), I use my vote when the time comes and I am really glad I have the freedom to work and do the millions of things I take for granted which women haven't always been able to do.

However, I like the idea of being courted by a man and then getting married and becoming a housewife and looking after the home and spending a decent amount of time with my children (when I have them) and not having to go out to work and earn a wage. (As I haven't ever not worked, I don't know whether I would feel comfortable with this in reality... I'd just like to be at home... If I could earn money from home that would tick all my boxes). 

I grew up in a traditional household where my father was the breadwinner and my mother was(is) a housewife and looked after us kids and did care work off and on (at least that's how I remember it). My father is the head of the household while my mother is the neck! 

"The man is the head, but the woman is the neck, and she can turn the head any way she wants." 
My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

To be honest they probably turn each other whichever way is necessary for them at that moment so don't think my mum is manipulative because I used this quote. She really isn't! I like this arrangement and it is probably mirrored a little in mine and Tom's marriage. I like the mutual respect and the parts each play in life. 

I've always thought that I wouldn't really be a massive women's rights activist if I had been alive when it all kicked off because I do like the idea of the traditional family home but now I'm beginning to wonder whether I would have actually been fighting for women's liberty... probably! Not least because I am entirely contrary but, also because the equality that there is now and the respect within relationships would not have been able to exist if people hadn't fought for women's liberty. I'm not saying that I would have chained myself to railings - I'm too much of a wimp when it comes to pain for that!

Then there's the dressing for dinner every night that used to go on... If you were a woman of a particular class you probably spent your entire day changing dresses!! On the outside of that world I think this would be amazing, I'm never going to object to 'dressing up' for the evenings especially as you had someone to dress you and do your hair every day! But, I love to laze around in my pyjamas - there is no chance they ever got to do that!

I also quite fancy riding a horse around the country and going around in carriages... I know they over turned but I've been in enough car accidents to take my chances in a carriage at less speed, metal and glass! Though there is of course the downside of the whole journey taking a lot longer and as Tom and I lived 120 miles apart for so long it would really put another spin on the whole long distance relationship!

Since my pondering I've come to the conclusion that there are millions of things to love about whatever era we live in and maybe we don't appreciate enough what we do have at the time...

The 20's for example, seem to have been a time for changes in society which must have been incredibly exciting and to have been a part of that would have been amazing. 

Now, we are all doom and gloom about the world we live in and are going to bring our children into! Yep, there is bad stuff but there have been improvements on previous eras. A hell of a lot of change has happened in the past 25 years maybe not within society so obviously as within technology.

So...maybe I wasn't born in completely the wrong era even if I do love all things vintage and would have enjoyed the lifestyle (presuming I had the money) at least part time... what do you think?


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

365 days as a Mrs....

Sunday was the first anniversary of me and Tom legally being married! 365 days as a Mrs with a whole new surname!(I had a hiccup with WiFi Monday so delayed posting)

We will be keeping the July anniversary properly rather than this December one which being as Tom is away certainly works out well this year. It sucked that he wasn't here to share it with me but I have the next on to look forward to and I did get to hear his voice on the end of the phone!

There were various reasons why Tom and I had a separate legal bit to our big white wedding... firstly, my church doesn't do the legal part of the wedding so it was actually a necessity. Secondly, I was going to be trying to find a job while Tom was away and we wanted to have a house sorted by the beginning of June so that he could move straight in on return. It also meant that I could give a starting date to a new job knowing that I would have somewhere to live.

Our civil wedding was a bit of a 'run in-run out' job which was no less fun than the white wedding. It was meant to be a stress free situation but you wouldn't think it from the fit I had about my hair beforehand! Luckily Jess (Tom's sister) came to my rescue! There was a sudden realisation on my part that there were going to be photos and they were going to be looked at forevermore!

I remember very little of the actual vows, it completely passed me and my bundle of nerves by. I think Tom was much the same. However, I think there was a bonus to being so nervous over the bit we felt was less important because we got our nerves nicely out of the way for the big wedding. We were both pretty much cool as a cucumber on the big day and can remember it all really clearly. 

It was very disconcerting to discover within about 10 minutes of leaving the Registry Office and walking into an Italian restaurant that I was no longer a Senorita but a Senora! That was quite aging and a little depressing. The food was very good though and it was a really nice afternoon so that made up for it!

My mother in law had booked us into Morgans Swansea for the night which was lovely and right opposite Nandos which we obviously had to have for tea! 

Our tiny civil wedding was an amazing day and a very good way to end one chapter and begin another.

Between December and July it was a very weird limbo period - we were husband and wife but still planning a wedding, not living together and having to deal with our separate lives as well as trying to conjoin them more. It all worked out though and I certainly wouldn't change it! My first year of being a Mrs has been incredible! I still miss not being a Senorita anymore though! Didn't realise I was giving up on that too when I became Mrs!

Cue cheesy pictures...

Rice really does hurt!!


Friday, 12 December 2014

Week #4 of deployment...

Finally a month of deployment down but still not yet over the hill to being closer to the end than the beginning! I suppose every week is a week closer to the end but it's very frustrating.

I have found myself constantly buying books and music on my iPad this week! If I was to suggest a care package for the person who isn't deploying I would definitely suggest iTunes vouchers or similar were involved in it!

This week has been very busy hence the randomness of posting. I am slowly finding routine with everything but blogging is taking a little more time to find a routine in amongst working full time and running about like a headless chicken. It being new to my life and all!

The things breaking and going wrong have held off this week as well so with any luck we are out of the woods.

I am struggling to buy Christmas presents for Tom's family at the moment! I was really hoping to have done it by today but I'm still struggling to work out what is best to do... I had so many ideas but none of them are realistic and my weekend was too busy to get anything in the way of Christmas presents done! This weekend is the cut off point though.

At the outset of Tom going away I really did not think my weekends would be busy but they seem to be all becoming very hectic. In fact I'm not sure I have any free weekends left! There is very little time for moping which is definitely a good thing.

My house is nearing a more spotless state so I am definitely approaching normality but I do still have lost thank you cards for our wedding that are hanging over me like a black cloud! They really should have been done and dusted 3 months ago!! Must be more organised!!! Maybe over the Christmas break I will finally catch up with everything and start the new year as we mean to go on! Organised and stress free!

My goals
These bad boys that I set before Tom went away have not entirely fallen by the way side but my weekly goal of doing exercise has been put on hold the past two weeks! I will bring it off hold next week! My other weekly goal of getting out and about with people is definitely going to plan which is great, I haven't gone into a dark hole and not come back out. 

My fortnightly goal to research Vegas, Palm Springs, San Diego and Los Angeles is definitely going to plan! I have started my Vegas research and next week I shall begin Palm Springs! It's really helping me concentrate on the other side of deployment and I'm so excited! I may yet start counting the weeks until we go!

So all in all, I think I'm doing pretty well. Remaining sociable and positive has so far been achieved I just need to get back to exercising! Where do I find the motivation for that in this rainy and cold country?!


Wednesday, 10 December 2014

My #NextmasWishlist...

This Wishlist could go on forever but having been narrowed down to ten by Next I shall duly pick my favourites... Having recently moved into our house not everything is as perfect and as we want it quite yet... Some of these would definitely help us have a more finished home, others are just because:

1. Framed Giraffe print - £30 - this would look awesome on the landing and would definitely set me up for a good day at work by making me smile shortly before leaving the house. There's something so cute about giraffes and the 'hey, are you lookin' at me'.

2. Rug - £90 - £330 - we have been looking for a rug to go in front of our fireplace in our Living Room ever since we moved in... I've never been quite sure what colours to go for but this one means we wouldn't have to choose between cream and teal... Definite winner!

3. Joules throw - £85 - this would complete one look we have in our bedroom! I bought the bed linen which I love! It isn't too girly and is really cheerful! I would love to finish the look off but can't quite justify spending that much on a throw! Worst luck!

4. Festive Spice Scent Votives - £12 - I'm completely obsessed with scented candles and cannot stop buying them... Anything that makes my house smell like Christmas is necessary! 

5. Folding Air Hockey Table - £275 - I can't exactly say that Tom and I NEED this but, we both love air hockey and would probably not do much else! And it folds away so space wise would be amazing!!

6. Robin Robe - £28 -  Now that I've made my house perfect with the above items it's time to laze about and enjoy it!...

7. Snoopy Nightshirt - £18 - I love nightshirts and this one is seriously cute!

8. Pyjama Shorts - £12 - when I'm not in night shirts there is something about shorts that makes me feel lazy but still attractively so!

9. Over the Knee boots - £120 - I've been dreaming of over the knee boots for ages now... These will definitely encourage me to get out of the house after I've been enjoying it's luxury!

10. Coat - £75 - Finally...I'm massively in need of a new winter coat and I really love the colour of this one!

Whats on your Nextmas Wishlist?


Monday, 8 December 2014

5 resolutions for 2015...

2014 has been probably one of the best years of my life, if not THE best. It has definitely been a year of happiness and happenings!

Since Tom went away I have been thinking a bit about how I treat myself and how it impacts left, right and centre - with this in mind I've begun a list of New Years Resolutions... 2015 will be as amazing a year as 2014 and I will hopefully be happier in myself!

1. Be nice to myself - I really need to sop putting myself down or even thinking it... I manage to be self deprecating constantly. Really... it's not cool to put words into someone else's mouth about what they think of you in a particular situation when you aren't at your best. I'm trying to be much nicer to myself, if I'm not why should anyone else be!

2. Stop setting myself up to fail - I find myself promising myself that I will do something and not achieving it or having ideas that never come into fruition and then I beat myself up about it. I'm not actually sure whether I will find it easier to stop the promising or the beating! It really does leave me feeling totally incapable.

3. Learn how to handle criticism properly - I do actually like to be told what could be improved and have people help me progress etc but I don't seem to handle it very well when I don't ask for it. Maybe it's because of what I have already promised myself to achieve - I am definitely my own worst critic.

4. Look after myself better - Being an overactive thinker, I worry way more than I should and I'm fairly sure I can prevent the never ending over thinking I do. I really struggle with getting enough sleep and I seldom wake up feeling like I have actually rested. I seem to always be in such a rush that I don't make enough time for myself  - I feel best when I have spent time getting ready, painting my nails or relaxing in the bath - I definitely think I should pamper myself more (well, lets face it who wouldn't add that to their New Years Resolutions disguised as a perfectly plausible resolution).

No. 5 is not quite the same as the 4 above but it does impact a lot on me and how I feel: 

5. Stop neglecting my family - Since moving away I have struggled to be organised with family birthdays, keeping in touch with them all and seeing them as much as I should. I could make many excuses but none of them are acceptable really and besides with the amount of communication and technology available today it really shouldn't be an issue!

What are your resolutions for 2015?


Thursday, 4 December 2014

Week #3 of deployment...

This has been a good week! The bad things ceased to happen after my brother in law came to sort out a Washing Machine/Boiler leak (I'm well aware that I may have just jinxed myself but I only said ceased not stopped, there is every possibility that they may begin again). Organisation is also resuming in our house as well which has definitely helped this week to be a good one!

My weekend with my in-laws was very relaxing and exactly what I needed to break out of the monotony and to get myself back to feeling a bit normal!

I sent Tom's first Christmas parcel out to him on Monday - fingers crossed it will arrive. I completely forgot to take pictures of what was inside it this time! And it was all wrapped up so pretty!  I mostly stuck to edible things and tiny festive bits that won't take up too much room to bring back. I've started buying more Christmas presents for him for when he gets back, even though we have already done our Christmas! I just can't help myself!

I'm massively excited to be going to my parents this weekend, to see our puppy (and everyone else of course). Hoping to finish all the Christmas Shopping this weekend for our families! I have plenty of ideas but I hate that I'm left with the responsibility of the final decisions! It seems to be a long time since we did Christmas shopping properly but I guess last year was a pretty busy Christmas! Whatever happens this year it won't be last minute, somehow I always seem to find myself in a mad panic wrapping presents on Christmas Day morning which I hate.

Communication is still very limited but we are texting a couple of times a day and we have a short phone call probably twice a week (by short I mean 10 mins at the most). It makes me feel quite panicked when I think that this is all the communication is likely to be until he returns home but I'm trying to take it one day at a time, and we're 3 weeks down now, we will get to the end of it slowly but surely. 

The first parcel arrived that I sent out to him so fingers crossed for his Chrismas one! 
I was surprised how much I managed to fit into this parcel... Didn't fit the magazine though :/ it will have to go out with the next one! There are actual jogging bottoms in there! 

I'm really glad I started this blog just before Tom went away because it is definitely keeping me occupied and preventing me moping too much! Plus I really love it so that's always a good thing. 

Hope you all had a fab week!


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Paris memories...

Paris is my favourite city in world. My sister Clare lives in Paris and I have spent more time there than in any other city so I suppose I am biased but still... It stole my heart and I don't think any other city will ever replace it.

There is something about this time of year that makes me really miss Paris, maybe it's that I spent November 2008 there before my niece was born or that there was something about Paris which broke into the gloom of winter that made it not seem quite so manky that I wish would break up winters in the UK!

The last time I was in Paris was 2011 (believe me, you will never know how much this sucks! Fingers crossed 2015 is the year). In 2011, I was escaping from a massive decision in my life and it seemed to be the place to go to escape and decide what I wanted. My sister is pretty good for that kind of escape too, I'm very lucky they both happen to be in the same place. Much to Clare's annoyance however I didn't tell her what was on my mind but she knew something was up (really it was enough just to rise above normal life I didn't need to talk about it!)

Anyway, aside from my gloom, because that's clearly not why we are here!! I wanted to share with you some of my Parisian memories:

To start with, nothing beats being woken up in the morning by your nephew shouting "Aliiiiii" up two flights of stairs and being able to look straight down the centre of the staircase and see his cheeky face looking up at you! Followed by breakfast fresh from the bakery at the end of the street including pain au chocolat, french bread and huge Chocolate Meringues (there is no way an English Breakfast could beat that even if I liked them!) Oh, and being able to play the piano any time I wanted (apart from when the before mentioned nephew was asleep)

Being able to see the Eiffel Tower lighting up on the hour from the shower isn't so bad either.

I have done some of the tourist sites but not many of them and some of them definitely need doing again! I went up the Eiffel Tower in the rain and fog and I went to the Louvre when I was too young to really appreciate it. Top of my list to do when I am next in Paris are Versailles and the Moulin Rouge.

Maybe I have fallen so in love with Paris because I have lived there rather than visited while staying at a hotel and have been lucky enough to see Paris with Parisians rather than only heading to the tourist spots.

Paris is beautiful at night. If I could only be there for an hour I would definitely pick an hour after dark! I have spent a few nights out in Paris, each of them memorable for some reason or another: one was a birthday party in the centre of Paris, the night was good but it was really made by the fact that when we left we couldn't find the car and spent a long time going round in circles looking for it.

There was another night when I was invited out by Clare's sister in laws to the cinema and then to a Creperie. The cinema and creperie were in Montparnasse and I remember being given directions for the cinema that once I could see the tower it was to the right. Well, I never realised that there were two towers in Paris, and I was looking for the wrong one! I discovered later that I was stood right next to the Montparnasse Tower the entire time I was on the phone looking for it! It really is a very big tower if I had only looked up!!

The full on Crepe experience at La Creperie Bretonne was amazing too! I would definitely recommend them as a good place to go, I may have to take Tom there when we next go.

Considering Paris is fashion central I haven't really hit many of the shops, I went to Champs Elysees with my mum and went into a lot of shops, but I'm pretty sure we didn't buy anything apart from our lunch.

There is something very relaxed about Paris that I don't find in London, I don't know whether it is just that French people seem less stressed than British or that in some suburbs everything shuts on a Monday or that there is a serious amount of relaxed coffee shops everywhere, I don't mean the chains we now find on every corner - they don't seem at all relaxing! Maybe its that the waiters and waitresses come to you rather than having to queue to order you food. 

I really don't have a clue what it is about Paris but,.. at some point in 2015 I will be sat relaxing in a coffee shop enjoying Paris with Tom and a bottle of Orangina. 

Before that however I'm going to check out this book that seems to be everywhere at the moment:


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Breaking out of my mould (a beginning anyway)...

I read ALOT of Novels... and the majority of them are romances of some sort... I like them to take me back in time to an era of elegant dresses, chaperones and Dukes found in back street 'gaming hells'. Maybe I'm an 'incurable romance' or living in an age when there are so many rules to break just seems like a little piece of heaven to the 'rebel' in me. 

I have always loved reading and have spent many hours with my head in a book when I should have been doing something else - much to the annoyance of my parents. I have a total inability to hear anyone while I am reading and I have now developed an incapability to put the book down until I have read it from cover to cover. I will soon become annoyance to my husband. 

However, at risk of becoming said annoyance, I am not about to stop reading (sorry Tom). I love it, even if I occasionally come out of a book wishing my life was a novel rather than the reality it is. Ok, I don't get kidnapped by a masked man and carried off in a carriage but I do have my own escapades. 

Moving away, getting married and changing jobs all in one month was definitely an escapade. 

In many respects I seem to tend to stick within a default position of reading the same genre and not exploring the bestsellers that are being published. Too many have passed me and my bubble by. 

In 2015, I would like to break out of my mould in a few areas and reading matter seems the right place to begin...here is the beginnings of a list of books I want to read in 2015 outside of my default position: 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Taming Poison Dragons by Tim Murgatroyd 
Birdsong by Sebastien Faulks
Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
The Girl You left Behind by Jojo Moyes
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Not That Kinda Girl by Lena Dunham

What have you been reading lately? Any suggestions would be appreciated!! 



December is here and Christmas is finally coming. I returned home from work on Friday to find the house opposite us lit up like a theme park... its official preparations have begun.

I love December - it is probably the most social month of the entire year! Pretty well everyone is happy, the best films come out in the cinemas, there are Christmas Markets everywhere, ice rinks seem to breed and there are Christmas Parties left, right and centre.

Lack of motivation is one of my least favourite feelings and I get so frustrated with myself. I had a great weekend at my in-laws and have come back a little more rested and full of inspiration for our house and this space. I even have hair inspiration which I don't think I have had since before our wedding! I seem to have recovered from the downer from last week and all other downers I may have unknowingly been on. I don't know if that was the weekend or the fact that it is December and a month closer to Tom being home but happiness and motivation have been restored. 

It's true what they* say, taking a step back from the hustle and bustle of your life without any deadlines or a stack of projects to do, hanging out with friends and doing something new really does produce motivation and inspiration.

So... Keep a look out for where my current bout of inspiration and motivation takes me, you never know it might be catching!

*I don't know who they are but they do seem to know everything!


Saturday, 29 November 2014

1 month in the blogging world....

Here we are.... a month into blogging!! I like to think its going pretty well and thank you friends, bloggers and readers for the support so far!!

Since my Week 1 in the blogging world post I have continued to research into how to improve my blogging technique and try to get down the giant to do list.

A recurring focus of posts that I have read about blogging has been to do it for yourself rather than an audience and to create your own voice/brand. I am concentrating on content to establish my voice/brand and planning posts ahead which is helping with fitting in around work. Hopefully I will have some sort of routine by the end of 2 months, its still a bit haphazard at the moment and has slightly stalled this week with my total inability to think and concentrate on anything and a massive increase in my workload at work.

LBloggers Chat
I have now taken part in blogger chats on a Wednesday night between 7-8pm which I have found very useful and a lot of fun. I have had to catch up on the Sunday one and this Wednesdays but I really enjoyed these - it was great to hear a lot of different points of view on a topic and also to discover new blogs that I had not yet come across.

New Layout
I am currently pooling ideas for a new layout and graphics for my blog, I'm not yet sure whether I can use the Photoshop knowledge I already have to create something or whether I will have to get some help with it. Really looking forward to playing about once I have finalised my ideas though! I am hoping to implement at least a new layout if not the new graphics by the end of January including a Topics section. Seriously excited for this!

Blogs that have helped me
I have found a lot of information on other blogs that I now read daily which has helped me focus this space a lot more than I would have been able to freehanding it! I would definitely recommend:

byRegina - I have used Regina's Blog Business Plan idea to give myself a rough outline of my purpose, goals and content. Regina also recommends using a content calendar as does Jenny Purr whose blog I spend  a lot of time on, she has a huge section on blogging that I have found really helpful.
thelifeofbon is a favourite blog of mine and probably inspired me to take the bull by the horns and her section 'On Blogging' is really good!

Honestly,  the list is actually endless so maybe I should leave the rest for another post! 

I know that I mentioned Bloglovin' in my week 1 post but I really do love this site! I spend more time on here and twitter now than I do on facebook or any other apps on my phone! Its like blog pinterest and I find it really helpful for keeping up to date with blogs, current topics and also being able to save posts for me to either read later or refer back to. 

I would love to hear any feedback on how you think my first month has gone!!


Thursday, 27 November 2014

Week #2 of deployment...

Throw back - Sunset on a walk we took in September

This week has not been so great. It seems to have been the week where things have started to go wrong... all to do with the car... it seems to be trying to die on me!! 

Sleeping seems to be alluding me at night and now the getting out of bed is literally not happening because I am so tired! I'm just about making it to work on time! The whole always being dark when I get home doesn't really help either.

I've had moments of complete inability to think or process anything, which has been more than a little annoying! Especially when it has come to writing on here! I've had the topic and written the first sentence which generally is all I need to get myself started but there has just been a total blank... nothing... I have seen a lot of posts about dealing with writers block, I'm not really sure if it could be put down to that as it wasn't a lack of topic it was a lack of ability to think.

Communication is still not great but Tom has got an add on to his phone package so that he can text and call a small amount from his phone which is a lot better.

I have his Christmas parcel all ready to send out in the next few days so that it will definitely get to him by Christmas (so long as it doesn't get totally lost in transit!!) 

My Goals
I haven't done so well with the goals this week, which probably doesn't help my overall feeling but I am hoping to achieve my fortnightly goal by the weekend.

I have, however, started to de-clutter and reorganise the house. It's going to take a while and be a total nightmare until it is done but it will get there and while it is a drag now its going to be amazing once it is done!! Something for our bedroom arrived today which I'm massively excited about getting sorted - it's only a small thing but it's enough to spur me on a bit more to get the house sorted by the time Tom is home!

My monthly goal of getting out for the day with friends has been achieved already which is great and I had an awesome time at Winter Wonderland.

Hopefully this next week will be a better and there will be less frustrations and things going wrong - it surely can't last for two weeks! One week is enough of things going wrong! I'm heading down to my in-laws this weekend and to my parents next weekend so, even if I don't sleep properly in the week I might get 2 nights of decent sleep in between!! With any luck I will be back in full flow with writing too which would definitely help me feel better! Nothing sucks more than struggling to achieve something you really enjoy doing!

How has your week been?


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

November happenings....

A catchup on everything that I have been loving this month.....

Reading:This month I have read (among other things) two Stephanie Laurens books... 'By Winters Light' and 'The Promise in a Kiss'. I'm a serious sucker for historical romances, especially during the Regency period. Stephanie Laurens is probably up there with my top five authors at the moment especially as she manages to add adventure and crime to the romance. So far I am making my way through her Cynster Series and I cannot wait for 'The Tempting of Thomas Carrick' to be released in February! I think I am going to have to pre-order it on Amazon and try and read all the ones in between by then!

Watching: I am currently catching up on series that I am waaaay behind on. Tom and I are watching Lost together - we started it together before he left and we're continuing to watch it while he is away. I have also just started Season 10 of Greys Anatomy which if I had nothing to do I could literally devour in one sitting.

Wearing: I bought some black flat knee high boots from Very - wasn't sure about them when they arrived but now I can't take them off! I'm still eyeing  up over the knee boots too!! May have two new pairs of boots this winter! 

Accessorising: I am a sucker for having waaaaaay too much in my bag and being in serious pain by the end of a day shopping so with the trip to London looming I decided it was a good moment to invest in a new smaller bag... I found a lovely one in Accessorize, it seems to have become my everyday bag now too!

Nesting: I cannot get enough of candles and cute lantern. I'm always obsessed with candles but it's been at a whole new level this month! I found a bird cage and star lanterns in Asda

Wanting: Definitely after some over the knee boots and I'm eagerly awaiting Nexts S/S Home section to hit the shops - ahead of the game I know but I have spied some items that will look really nice in our living room!

What are you loving and wishing for this month?


Monday, 24 November 2014

Mulled wine, sculpted ice and circus acts...

On Saturday, Kelsie and I headed to Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park. Neither of us had ever been to Winter Wonderland before so we had high expectations that happily, were not disappointed.

When we arrived there at 11 o' clock, it was nowhere near as busy as I had anticipated. It was by no means hauntingly empty, I was just very happy to be able to have the space to see where I was putting my feet! From what I have previously said about crowds in London you can imagine that this was a pleasant surprise.

We had booked tickets to the Magical Ice Kingdom and Zippos Circus online, we could have booked ice skating and the Big Wheel as well but neither of us are keen on heights and although I don't mind ice skating I'm always a little nervous I will break my face or lose my fingers! (Wimp, I know!!)

Magical Ice Kingdom
This was very impressive and definitely a must see. The ice sculptures were amazing and the whole setting was incredibly well arranged. 

I was prepared for it to be cold but I don't think it's very easy to imagine quite how cold -8 is. Be prepared for your fingers to feel like they are going to drop off because they are so cold, especially if you keep taking photos.

When we came out of the Magical Ice Kingdom it felt like a humid summers day outside which indicates how cold it was inside. It definitely didn't feel like a summers day before we went inside!

After the Magical Ice Kingdom we headed to find some Mulled Wine and propped up the bar for a while in the Christmas Bar.

We then generally explored the entire Wonderland and perused the stalls, finishing up in the Bavarian Village before heading to Zippos Circus. 

So pretty - The VIP section in the Bavarian Village

Zippos Circus
This was a phenomenal performance. I have never been so scared that the acrobats were going to fall and hurt themselves, they didn't seem to have anything remotely softening to land on either. The clown was really good too - they slightly freak me out but he was really funny without being too cringe-worthy!

Being catapulted onto a chair

Amazing but completely  terrifying

It was dark when we left the Circus which made the atmosphere of Winter Wonderland more magical. It was also packed and we really couldn't see where we were putting our feet. We browsed the stalls some more and had some french fries and drinks and then headed back for our bus home.

What did you get up to this weekend?


Friday, 21 November 2014

10 Random Facts....

I woke up with the weirdest sensation this morning, I have a few posts floating about behind the scenes ready to publish on here, but, for some reason I felt I had nothing I wanted to post - I'm not sure if that's a clear sign that it's all rubbish back here or just not my style or the right day or whatever but, it leaves me wondering what I am meant to say today!

As this is all new around here and it's Friday, I shall stick to what I know(ish) and share 10 random facts about me... 

1. I've been in more than my fair share of car accidents, in one of these I collided with a deer. I really tried not to hit it, especially as I thought it was a Giraffe. I even worked out that the 'giraffe' must have escaped from the West Mid Safari Park before my car was given a crinkly finish.

2. I've wanted to have a blog for about 5 years... its taken me this long to pluck up the courage to voice it and be encouraged to do it... It didn't take much encouragement to be honest.

3. I am well known for doing everything backwards to how anyone else would do it.

4. I have a serious problem with opening doors - from pushing a pull to a complete incompetence at using a key. It literally takes me about 2 minutes to lock my front door every morning and I invariably drop the keys at some point during the process. It was very awkward in my old job when I had to do a house viewing and I couldn't open the door.

5. When I was younger (like a toddler) I wanted to be a painted Elephant when I grew up. 

6. I'm pretty sure I could fix most home dyeing hair dilemmas having had frequent incidents between 16 and 22! I've been green, black, bright orange, blue, red, brown and various strange tones of blonde. 

7. I spent the November before my niece was born in Paris (my sister lives there) and now I always seem to miss it in November.

8. The first time I went into a Charity Shop I bought my wedding dress.

9.  I live my life by 'do as you would be done by,' 'if it's worth doing, it's worth doing properly' and 'que sera, sera'.

10. One day I'm going to hire an expensive car and go to view a country estate that I can't afford, just because.

Happy Friday!!!


Thursday, 20 November 2014

Week #1 of deployment....

We're a whole week of deployment down.... I'm definitely struggling in the mornings! I have overslept a couple of times which is not exactly ideal but, hopefully, I will find some kind of routine where I manage to switch my brain off before 2 in the morning.

Deployment is a bit of a roller-coaster for the old emotions... I'll be honest, there are moments when I hit a wall and I don't know what to do with myself but, I always seem to get a message from Tom at that point and off I go again. I really do feel like a clockwork mouse. The strangest thing is the feeling of perspective and clarity that seems to happen during deployment, the everyday worries and insecurities seem to vanish and everything seems to make sense. It's so strange! But incredibly helpful! 

So far, being in the house on my own has been ok... we only have neighbours to one side of us at the moment which helps... I can locate any strange noises now - when they were on both sides it was very confusing, I couldn't tell whether the noise was in our house or next door.

My goals
So far I have achieved the weekly goal I set for myself of getting to an exercise class. It was brilliant. I feel so much better for it and I'm glad to say I ache so it must have done something... I'm hoping to start working on the fortnightly goal next week and my monthly goal of getting out for the day will be achieved by the end of this weekend as me and Kelsie (my next door neighbour) are headed to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. We also met up last week which crosses off my other weekly goal.

I have a bunch more things that I want to/have to achieve before Tom gets back now that are slightly more home orientated:

1. De-clutter and reorganise - I am really happy with the way our home looks, it genuinely does look pretty 'homely' but we seem to acquire clutter - especially in our bedroom. We still haven't unpacked properly and I've just brought back more boxes from my parents house and bits and bobs that were left in Tom's room, it would definitely be a step in the right direction to just sort all of that out!

2. Puppy proof the house and garden: I have to get this done regardless really so I suppose its just on the to do list rather than a goal! I am slightly dreading the puppy proofing of the house though... between us we have way too many shoes and wires!

3. Sort our wedding and honeymoon photo albums and complete our wedding scrapbook.

I'm certainly keeping myself busy!!

Communication is a lot less compared with other deployments which is difficult but we've done long distance for 3 and a half years and I guess we are better at communicating because of this. (Living together still seems like a massive luxury to me).

I've sent Tom Eblueys over the week that have arrived within 12 hours which is amazing. For all the other deployments they have taken about 3 days to arrive. Eblueys are a free service for sending letters to a BFPO digitally. They are sent via an email service and then printed and delivered at the BFPO. It essentially makes normal postal times possible across 8,000 miles!

I also sent a parcel out on Monday - hopefully it won't take too long to get there and then I will be able to share with you bits of what I sent to him. It was free post too which is a massive bonus!! Wahoo for Christmas!!

A Frequently Asked Question and a disconcerting phrase
One of the most frequently asked questions I get while Tom is away is - How do I manage? 
Simply, I manage because the alternative option is far worse. I can get through a few months of missing him and keeping myself together rather than being without Tom at all. It's no longer a test of our relationship, I used to feel that it was, now, it is just part and parcel of being together and we will make it through.

I keep hearing the disconcerting phrase of 'some life'. It's not something I came across when I was only Tom's girlfriend but it keeps popping up this time, maybe now I'm his wife it's considered my life too even though I went through the same thing as his girlfriend that I am now. It would be fine if this 'some life' had a positive connotation, unfortunately, it isn't being used like that.

I can promise you, it is 'Some Life' and I'm using that positively. It sucks that he goes away but, that is a minuscule percentage of the time we have together.

How's your week been?


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

4 Cities in 2 weeks...

I said I would fill you in on our 'Big Adventure' so here it is:

Tom and I have definitely done our fair share of travelling since we first got together (maybe more than our fair share)... We have been to France a few times, Malta, Venice and Florida. Essentially, every time Tom has been going away we have given ourselves a holiday before or afterwards. Venice was an amazing Christmas present he gave me after our first Christmas spent together!

Bucket lists have always been important to me, I would hate to get to the end of my life and have not achieved anything that I've wanted to. I also find the things I have on the list really helpful for focusing me whether its by keeping me positive when times are a bit pants, helping me force myself to save when all I want to do is spend or just to make the most of a moment and keep me following my dreams.

We have a lot of places on our Bucket List that we would like to go to and in 2015 we will be crossing a big one off the list....

Neither of us really want to settle down and stop having adventures so I came up with the idea that we would go to Vegas for our 1st Wedding Anniversary... This has grown into a slightly bigger deal than the initial idea which is awesome!

We are going all out with this holiday - it will definitely be one of our 'once in a life time' holidays... 

City Number One:

We are staying in Treasure Island which is the hotel we have both dreamed of staying in. I'm a massive fan of anything pirates. I'm gutted that Treasure Island has stopped doing the Sirens Show but I'm sure there will be other shows to see that will make up for it. Hope we don't lose too much money at the beginning of our adventures!!

Tom has always wanted to drive a Mustang so we will be continuing from Las Vegas in a Convertible Mustang... I think he is as excited about the holiday as he is about the car!

City Number Two:

I think that this will be our only moment to chill on the entire holiday. So far we have pencilled in spa, sight seeing, shopping and relaxing!!

City Number Three:

I'm really excited about going to San Diego - it's one of those places I had never really thought of going, we are staying in Mission Bay which looks awesome. It looks like we could be pretty chilled out here too but also there is a lot to see and do. I know USS Midway is high on our list to see and La Jolla sells itself on the internet as a place to check out.

City Number Four:

We are staying very close to Disneyland so we are definitely going to head there and release our inner child, we will definitely be checking out the Hollywood sights too! Essentially I want to see and do everything in LA!! 

June cannot come quick enough but we have a heap of planning to do!! If you can help with any tips of what we definitely shouldn't miss either in these cities or enroute please let me know.... We don't want to miss any must sees/do!!!

I'd love to hear what is on your bucket list too...


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Christmas Tag...

I saw this Christmas Tag on Becky's blog - milkbubbletea - Loved the idea so thought I would post it on here... 

What is your favourite Christmas Movie?
I don't really have a childhood one but I love The Holiday - I can watch it over and over again. The music is amazing, the story has so much hope. Just ticks all the right boxes for me.

Do you open your Christmas presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
Neither! Well, having said that at mine and Tom's early Christmas we opened them in the morning. My family's tradition has always been to open them after lunch... We open one before now because I moaned so much... I remember the first year they gave way and allowed us to open one beforehand! I really must have been annoying! 

Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
Probably playing the Really Nasty Horse Racing Game with family and friends in the evening or one year, we had croquet for indoors so we rolled the carpet up and played for ages. I have no doubt that my early Christmas with Tom will go down as one of my favourite memories too but, I slightly feel that, that's cheating!

Favourite festive food?
Hands down has to be brandy butter - I'm not so keen on Christmas pudding but my Father makes the brandy butter himself so it always has extra brandy in it.

Favourite Christmas gift?
Tom bought me a long weekend in Venice which was an amazing present. When I was a kid it probably would have been either the hobby horse that my mum made me or the dolls cot my Father made me. They're crafty parents!!

Favourite Christmas scent?
I always remember Claret as a Christmas smell for some reason but also the smell of the real Christmas Tree... I do miss it now we have a fake one but, it's way cheaper and less mess.

Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
Christmas Eve was always a serious day of Christmas preparation we put the decorations on the tree and decorated the house, listened to Christmas Carols, started cooking, polished all the silver and put up our stockings with food for Santa and Rudolph. 

What tops your tree?
Its been both a star and an angel. Ours has got a gold heart this year because we have neither a star or an angel! 

As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for?
Probably a horse! I always used to want a horse. It's a bit of a silly thing to ask for seeing as I used to be massively allergic to them! 

What's the best part about Christmas for you?
I have two or three...
1. Waking up and knowing it's Christmas - I still get excited about that even if Santa hasn't been.
2. Spending the day with family that's completely out of normal time, my families lives are always so full on, Christmas is the only time we can just chill out together.
3. Watching the children open their presents and letting them open mine once they have run out! It makes having presents more fun somehow watching them struggle with the wrapping paper and open it so carefully! 

Would love to know your answers too....


Monday, 17 November 2014

Small and Sweet...

New Introductions...

Our Nephew 

I headed home to my parents on Friday evening so I was home in time for my nephew's arrival into the world at 00:13 on Sunday morning! I managed to visit him before heading home on Sunday afternoon, so glad he didn't take too long to arrive otherwise I might not have seen him for another 3 weeks. He is seriously sweet and looks just like his brothers did! We now have 7 nephews which is a little daunting, I really feel for my niece in amongst all these boys.

Our Puppy

My nephew was not the only new person I  met this weekend... I also met our puppy. Ok, she isn't exactly a person but I couldn't think of a collective term. She is an Airedale Terrier and we are calling her Zou Bisou. She is only 4 weeks old so isn't yet ready to come home and live with us but, I cannot wait until she does!

Apologies for the horrific photo - I forgot to bring my camera this weekend!!

Definitely the right weekend to have headed home! There was a point when I thought I was making the wrong decision after a near miss with a deer. I've already collided with one deer, I don't understand how some people never see a deer on the road yet I have seen two in as many years!


Friday, 14 November 2014

Downton Abbey - Series 5 MASSIVE SPOILERS ALERT!!

Downton Abbey is my favourite series ever (probably)... There is something about the interaction between upstairs and downstairs that I really love. The change in life after World War 1 is very eye opening and it touches on taboo subjects for the era that are not really covered at school. Add to that my love for romance, history and crime - Downton Abbey fits the bill!

Round up:

Upstairs: Season 5 sees Lady Edith discover that her Mr Gregson is indeed dead and prompts her to take matters with her into her own hands illegitimate daughter. Lady Mary loses both the men chasing her in Season 4. Lord Grantham finds his relationship with Cora challenged by a presumptuous man - how he really thought Cora would prefer that sleaze ball I don't know but, sleaze or not, he did manage to open Cora's eyes a bit, Isobel and Lady Violet both have men after them and Tom considers moving to America.

Downstairs: Further investigation into the death of Mr Green sees the eventual arrest of Anna - if she did it then that has completely passed me by! Thomas tries to change his orientation and the relationship between him and Miss Baxter change from manipulation to a kind of friendship. In fact Mr Barrow's character seems to be softening - I hope anyway! Maybe his loneliness and struggle with homosexuality is turning him into a nicer person? I almost pity him now and I never thought I would say that! Carson and Mrs Hughes consider buying a property together. Daisy starts to see the world in a different light after Miss Bunting helps her with her 'books'.

Favourite parts:

I'm afraid I have a few of these!!
  • Tom reminding Miss Bunting that his daughter is one of 'them'.
  • Tom calling Lord Merton's son a bastard and Lord Grantham backing him up and ensuring Larry's unceremonious removal from the dining room!
  • The lack of reaction from Lady Sinderby and the way in which she shut Lord Sinderby down when Lady Rose's mother attempted to stop the wedding by announcing that she was having a divorce from Shrimpy! That woman is indeed a "Cat"! The strength of Lady Rose and Atticus Aldridge dealing with difference in religion and background and the way they dealt with the attempts to ruin their chance of happiness by Lady Rose's mother were both inspiring and eye opening!
  • Lord Grantham punching Simon Bricker!! This was a total jaw-drop moment for me!
  • Lady Mary and Mabel Lane Fox competing in the point-to-point amongst a horde of men.
There are definitely more...

Favourite lines: 

Lady Violet: "All this thinking, it's very over rated." (Definitely a line I need to remember for myself!)

Isobel: "You're only saying that to sound clever!"
Lady Violet: "Yes! You should try it!"

Lady Violet: "Love may not conquer all but love can conquer quite a lot"

Lady Violet: "He's a man, men don't have rights"

Lady Mary: "I've been married, I know everything."

Best outfits:

Lady Rose seems to have the killer outfits in this series - The dress and cap that she wears for the dinner with her parents in the Season Finale and of course her wedding dress: Two words - 'Absolutely stunning'. I'm a total sucker for anything vintage and the fact that this dress was found in a random vintage shop makes me want to squeal!

The bits that made me cry:
  • Lord Grantham presenting the plaque to Mrs Pattmore for her nephew
  • Isis getting ill! (I honestly cried more about this than I ever have for my own pets!) 
  • Mrs Pattmore crying because Daisy wanted to leave
I know there were more times than this but I can't remember them off the top of my head

The bits I'm not sure about:

I still can't make up my mind about Mary's hair. The bald monkey quote was amazing but I can't remember it properly!

What I would like to happen in the Christmas Special and Season 6:

Somewhere along the line it needs to all work out for Anna and Bates - they really are getting a raw deal! With any luck she will get released and find out that she is pregnant!

I hope Tom changes his mind about going to America or if he does go he comes back again because he misses everyone or realises he is in love with either Mary or Edith. 

I think it would be nice for the Dowager and Prince Karangan and Isobel and Lord Merton to live happily ever after.

Having said all this I do want there to be a series 7 so tying up all the lose ends is not at all in my interest!!

I am incredibly biased but I thought this season was pretty damn fine. When it comes to period dramas, I admit, I'm very easy to please.

What did you think of Season 5?


Thursday, 13 November 2014

Penguins and presents...

So Tom has left for 'penguind' shores for a while... Now to initiate my survival plan and start planning parcels. Usually when he is deployed I try to send parcels once a week but the postage is not as good and with Christmas in the middle I may not achieve this but, I will be sending him frequent eblueys instead to make up for the lack of post.

One of the hardest parts of Tom being away is getting out of bed in the morning! I am horrific at getting up in the mornings anyway but, it gets even worse while Tom is away. I have a plan to create some kind of kick up the bum that encourages me to get out of bed. I haven't decided quite what yet but it's my objective for the next week to sort it and then see if it does actually help! I shall report back!!

Christmas Bits:
I don't want to bombard you with Christmas Spirit but, as we had Christmas early I thought I would share with you some of our Christmas finds and presents!

 Christmas Bunting - handcrafted by me, Christmas Tree - Tesco, 
Santa Sacks - notonthehighstreet.com, Christmas Bedding - Amazon

Miss Dior - my favourite perfume
Christmas jumpers - Next, Christmas Pyjamas - Tesco


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Wedding Bells? What I wish I had known...

It has been a massive year for me with everything changing! I seem to be learning all the time. My wedding was the biggest day I had ever had to organise and have total free reins over. It was amazing and we only had one very minor hiccup the day before but, since my wedding there have been a few things I wish I had known before hand...maybe this might help you if you are planning a wedding or are intending to in the next few years!

1. Book the venue to fit the number of guests you want. Don't book the venue and then do a head count and discover you are going to have to seriously reduce the guests! Turns out that this wasn't such a big deal afterwards but it caused a lot of grief at the time with everybody trying to trim the guest list but, at the same time there are the people that really should be invited. Tom and I became quite brutal about reducing the guest list!

2. Photography on the day is stressful... I think now I would have reduced the number of family photos I wanted or accepted that the children wouldn't be in them... We ran out of time and there are as many children in my family as there are adults. Children that are hungry and tired do not want to stand in a photo with a smile on their face over and over again! It's just not going to happen.

3. When it comes to timings don't forget that the wedding car may take it's time getting you to the venue! I completely didn't factor this in which added to the photography stresses!

4. Do not print the table plan or glue the names on until after the night before the wedding! Seriously! If people cancel after that time then there really is nothing you can do about it... however, up until that point, people could/will cancel or say they are coming. Even if you think you have had all the RSVP's in and done the head count... things could change!

Spot the alterations done last minute!!

5. Do not use a weird and wonderful font type that you can only get on certain computers/laptops. Invariably, if you need to change something which is in that font - you will not have the right computer...Especially if you change jobs like I did!

6. Do take a moment to absorb your day. I was lucky in that we had two weddings - the civil wedding was in December 2013 and then we had our big white wedding in July. (It worked out better with me moving away, getting a new job and Tom sorting accommodation for us while he was deployed if we were already married). The civil wedding went by in a blur it was scary and I had all the nerves that I predicted. On the day of the big white wedding my nerves were pretty much under control and it didn't speed by in a white blur.

7. Factor in that there will be a few moments of panic and serious stress involving everyone. We had one the day before and I had one when the car arrived to pick me up. The car was early and I wasn't ready. Promising your husband you won't be late isn't such a good idea either because that massively increased my stress. In the moment of stress things go wrong... The one thing that did go wrong for us was at the height of stress the day before. Tom put his foot through the table plan frame... It wasn't a big deal and in fact I think it released all the tension (Everyone thought I was going to hit the roof and I didn't). The frame ended up being far superior to the original one too! Wahoo for Tom and his foot!! (Yes... essentially the Table Plan was the bane of my life!!)

8. Always keep in mind why you are planning a wedding.. it isn't for the wedding, it's for the marriage afterwards! Stressing over the minute details of the day is not the be all and end all. At the end of the day, people are coming to celebrate your relationship and the start of your marriage, not to score points on what your wedding was like and how you did or didn't do something. I was lucky that for once in my life, I knew how I wanted the day and I wasn't bothered by what anyone but Tom thought, logistically and financially there were a few tweaks but otherwise it was exactly as we wanted.

What do you wish you had known before your wedding?

Beautiful photos by Georgina Balmer Photography - She was amazing putting up with all the weird and wonderful happenings at our wedding!

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