November 2014through these gray eyes...: November 2014

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! 

Bloglovin'
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!!

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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
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?


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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?


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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?


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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!!!





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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
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?

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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:

LAS VEGAS
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:

PALM SPRINGS
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:

SAN DIEGO
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:

LOS ANGELES
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...


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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....

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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!

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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?

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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



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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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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

London... It's a love-hate thing...

The best photo I took was photobombed! Typical!

Whenever Tom and I go to London we seem to have an ongoing discussion about whether we love it or hate it. We have definitely decided that we couldn't live there!

It has become a tradition that when we are in London we don't get the tube anywhere but walk instead, we came close to getting a taxi twice on Sunday but the first time we just walked instead and the second time the taxi was going to take 40 minutes so we literally had to run 2 miles to our bus. We got there, anything is possible (at least with Google maps in walking mode). By walking everywhere we do get to know London pretty well and see a lot more than we would if we tube hopped, even if we ache for at least two days afterwards!


The Pros

The "Sights" - There is no beating the "Sights" of any city but London's always seem more personal somehow, perhaps because they belong to our own Capital. Maybe there is a glimmer of patriotism within me. I also am a total geek an love knowing that the Queen is home when I am there.

The Shops - I love the shops. We went to Selfridges on Sunday and honestly, the line from Breakfast at Tiffany's below certainly seems to fit Selfridges!

'The only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany's. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there.'

The Atmosphere - I'm not really sure what it is about the atmosphere that I like, but maybe it's just the vitality of the city. It does not seem to stop.


The Cons

The Crowds - Seriously I know it's London and therefore it is a busy city so crowds are obvious but, it's not so much the crowds more that people don't know where they are going and so stop in front of you so that you have to pull the emergency stop to avoid falling into them.

The Traffic - We've never driven in London which is just as well but, I really admire the people that do! How do you stay alive? As a pedestrian, I don't know how I am still alive!


I'm no closer to knowing whether I love it or I hate it. The crowds and traffic don't seem a big deal in black and white but in reality, they make our visits to London quite stressful. Maybe I just have to settle for loving it in small doses! Couple of weeks and I shall be back there for Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park!


*Baby update - Still no new nephew or niece! Becoming impatient!*
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Monday, 10 November 2014

Remembrance Sunday...



Remembrance Sunday has always been significant to my family, not just because of it's importance but, because my Grandpa was a Royal Marine and my Grandfather was a POW in the Second World War.

In Year 10, I went to see the battlefields in Normandy and Belgium. It was without doubt the school trip where I learnt the most. Not only from a history point of view but also about life. The catastrophe of war, the impact it has on everyone's life, the real meaning of mortality and what mankind is truly capable of.

My understanding of the meaning of Remembrance Sunday has changed since I went to the Battlefields - having seen the cemeteries and memorials where the major battles were fought, the realisation of the heartbreaking number of people lost has never left me. The sheer number of graves at Passchendaele essentially turn the landscape white. 

Now I am a military wife and the meaning has changed slightly again... Now it is my husband that sallies forth to do his part in our countries defence. I am massively proud of this and am incredibly grateful that he has come home safe to me. 

It was amazing to be in London for the day and to see the crowds that had turned out to commemorate the fallen. I have never seen so many medals in my life! 

The poppies at the Tower of London which fill the moat are incredible - 888,246 poppies, each representing a British fatality in World War  1. 

'Never was so much owed by so many to so few.'

'At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.'




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Friday, 7 November 2014

Finally my home...

I definitely have the Friday feeling today and cannot wait for our early Christmas tomorrow!

I hadn't quite realised how much Christmas stuff I had gathered since moving out, I've been hiding it all from Tom... hopefully he will be surprised when he gets in tonight after bidding his folks farewell! My surprises don't have much of a success rate!

It sucks that I have already woken up wondering where he is and he hasn't even left the country yet but, at least he will be back tonight!

This morning was the first time I stumbled around our house and it truly felt like home. I don't know whether the Christmas tree and decorations have turned the tables or whether it really did just take a little over four months to feel settled in and have everything under some kind of control. To be honest. it could be both.

I did wonder how long it would take me to feel at home, the last time I moved somewhere new I was 8. I wasn't too concerned about settling in as far as I can remember. I do recall being told that we were going to move house and being pretty put out about it but, it wasn't until 4 years after that we actually moved. Plenty of preparation time!

Being part of a two person team to run a house was a lot harder than I had expected. I've been doing my own washing since I was 15 so I really thought I had that sorted.  Cleaning and tidying a house - I knew I could do this but, keeping on top of it was a whole different ball game. I knew I couldn't cook so I'd accepted that it would be a bit of a struggle. (Actually the cooking is now the easiest bit of it all!). Add to that a full time job and Tom working different shifts to me.... not so simple after all.

We are getting there with balancing everything. In no way does that mean the house is spotless or there isn't a ginormous pile of washing to sort... actually, when it comes to balance, I'm pretty good at balancing clothes on top of the existing pile. I do feel like we have the house under control and it isn't that big a deal if it isn't a 'pinterest paradise'. We still have a lot of boxes to sort and unpack but in most cases they are hidden from visitor eyes, I've accepted their existence and pencilled them on the 'to do list' for while Tom is away.

Still to unpack...!!

I feel like I am quite up on 'wife-points' today too! The house looks mighty fine with all the Christmas stuff and it's nearly clean and tidy! I'm so happy I feel settled before Tom goes away.

Happy Friday everyone and have a great weekend!!
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Thursday, 6 November 2014

Week 1 in the blogging world...

Wow! 

It's been a whole week since I started this blogging malarky! I'm really enjoying it, having to learn alot of things on my feet though - I was naive enough to think that it was easy and just a simple case of posting and that's it! Ohhh, no there is an awful lot more to it than that!! I apologise to all bloggers out there who have worked seriously hard to get where they are now and for how little research I did beforehand! On the plus side, I guess you're doing it so well that you're making it look easy!

With these kind of things I invariably forget to look before I leap and then have to hit the ground running, luckily, there is plenty of advice and how to's and everybody is incredibly helpful. 

I am looking at all the blogs I read with green envy at the moment! They have a serious number of followers, I wasn't even aware of the number of followers they had before I started a blog! Of course, many of these are very well established with two or more years under their belt so I'm not panicking yet!

I'm even taking notes and have a 'to do list' - the last time I had one that was this long was for my wedding! Top of my 'to do list' is to design a button for promoting my blog so that I can join in with 'link-ups', hopefully by the end of the weekend I will have that sorted!

What I've learnt so far...

1. Social media is seriously important for getting traffic - I haven't been much of a 'tweeter' or 'status updater' on any social media sites over the past few years so I am having to rediscover my chatter - this is taking longer than you would think! I can't remember how I came upon the blogs I was reading before last week but, it wasn't through social media. I have since discovered a heap more through twitter, google+ and bloglovin'.

I'd never heard of bloglovin' before this week but its an awesome site and I would highly recommend it, if you are looking to increase your reading material or promote your blog! I even have the app on my phone I love it that much!

2. I need to be a lot more 'snap happy'. Tom thinks I take too many photos - he is in for a shock this weekend! 

3. There is a blogger community. Honestly, I know that this should have been obvious as so many people do it and everyone is connected via the ever-powerful 'World Wide Web' but, I've only just stepped through the door and discovered how important it is for gaining followers and becoming a known blog.

4. If I ever want to make money from my new found hobby, it's going to take a lot of time and effort, in fact, it may never happen, which I don't really mind about. I would like a successful blog though.

5. I have a serious heap more to learn including CSS! I'm lucky that I work with people that use html etc all the time so if I get really stuck I will ask them for help but, I'd really like to learn it for myself!

And...

6. When it comes to writing I've found it's easier to write when there isn't so much of a deadline, I also frequently start a post and then find a completely new subject to write about! I've seen it recommended that when you have loads to write, to write it all and then when you fingers are less itchy to write you can give yourself a break! May have to give this a whirl!

Thank you to everybody who has followed me so far on the various social medias!

Feedback on my first week would be much appreciated...

P.S. It's official.... Winter has arrived, the summer clothes have to go away and I will have to buy de-icer! Plenty of time to spend wrapped up warm learning and getting through my 'to do list'!



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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

This and that...

1. Odd socks - I love them! I like to pair socks but if the pair isn't there then, I'm making a new one! There's no chance I'm having a random sock pile! I like how something so simple annoys my OCD friends too... Problem with being the youngest sister - I really do enjoy winding people up!

2. Seriously excited for the birth of my next nephew or niece! It's due on Monday which is also Tom's birthday. I have my fingers crossed that it will be on time - one less birthday to remember and also we will be able to celebrate the new baby together before he goes away. 

I've placed a bet with Tom that it will be a girl - now that we live together I thought betting money was pointless so...the stakes are  dinner out! Be a girl!! Would be really nice for my niece to finally have a girl to play with as well! She's surrounded by boys!!! 

Christmas with my family will be fun too, it's been a while since I've spent Christmas with a newborn.

3. Downton Abbey made me cry - I watched it on catch up so I am a bit behind but, honestly, I think this season is brilliant! I'm massively rooting for Mary and Tom to get together but it seems a bit of a long shot at the moment! 

4. Looking forward to seeing my sister singing in concert in London on Sunday... Seems we are going to make a day and evening of it too which is lovely and unexpected. And... Wahoo for the new bus service that goes straight to London for a whole £18 return! It's as if stage coach knew!!

5. Nothing could seem more weird that we will have put our Christmas tree up and had Christmas by the end of the weekend. My family was always incredibly late with the tree decorating now we're going to be ahead of most people!! Can't wait to have our own Christmas in our own home though! Christmas jumpers here we come!! 

6. It's bonfire night... Described by wiki as 'just a night of revelry with a bonfire and fireworks'. They really couldn't make it sound less exciting! It's awesome...the revelry is good, the bonfires are huge and the fireworks have been lighting up the sky since Halloween, it will all continue until next Monday probably! 

7. Me and Tom are watching Lost at the moment! We're in the 3rd season and literally, we cannot stop watching it! We stay up till 1 most nights because each episode ends on such a cliffhanger! 

8. Last weekend my in-laws came to stay and we went to Blenheim Palace where Winston Churchill grew up... Did you know he invented the onesie? Did you also know that Blenheim Palace wasn't bombed by the Germans during the Second World War because Hitler wanted to live there once he had invaded Britain? Fun facts of the day if you didn't.

Beautiful Blenheim Palace - Definitely recommend a visit!

Happy hump day!! 







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Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Moving with my husband...


New rank slide ready for going away!!

One of my main worries about moving into a military quarter was the neighbours! From the outside world you hear horror stories of living in military quarters and the other military wives, equally you hear horror stories of what lads in the military are like, however, I'm happy to say they don't all fit the stereotype and if you are considering whether or not to move into military quarters, I would definitely recommend it:
  1. You see your husband (or wife) every day - this has helped me so much with Tom going away, we're still on a countdown but it's a lot longer than it used to be or would have been if we had lived apart during his working week. 
  2. Your next door neighbour is probably in the same situation as you - I have been extremely lucky in this in that us and our neighbours have both just got married, moved into quarters within a few weeks of each other and that her husband will be away at a similar time as mine so we can definitely compare notes on life and make plans together to keep ourselves busy!
  3. There is an established community - We have had a very busy four months since we moved in so I have not been able to take as much advantage of this as I would like to but, everyone has been very helpful and it is easy to find advice or reviews on anything from hairdressers to medical care so settling in is a lot easier.
  4. Military support - I haven't yet needed this, however, I know exactly where to go if I have any problems and there seems to be plenty of support on offer.
  5. Housing -  It doesn't look anything special from the outside but from my experience inside is spacious and well maintained and the houses are selected to suit your needs. If anything goes wrong then there is someone to fix it which is quite a comfort especially while Tom is away!
  6. Child and medical care - We are literally surrounded by both where we live including that supplied by the military.
So there you have it, 6 reasons why I will follow my husband (potentially with children in tow) from posting to posting, whether we live in quarters or just close to the base. 

Do you move with your spouse?





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Monday, 3 November 2014

Happy Monday...

I woke up this morning somewhere between still drunk and a hangover, driving was not going to be an option and in fact, moving from the bed for another hour was not realistic either! This led to the 10 o' clock stroll that changed my entire perspective of the day.

As November days go this is a decent one. At 9 degrees its cold enough for you to be able to feel the fresh air in your lungs and the wind nibble at your fingers but still not be cold. Some how this kind of weather makes me feel more alive!

I have always loved to walk, I find it relaxes me and clears my head. This morning as I ambled to work I had a chance to see the town in a different light, even though it is certainly not the most beautiful of towns and is not archetypal of the Cotswolds, it had its own beauty and I was very grateful to have discovered it.

The fresh air and new perception seems to have carried me through the day - Mondays are forever a drag and having only just begun to get serious hangovers I was feeling very sorry for myself. Life is good even if it is a Monday! Don't let work get you down! Enjoy the week for an even better weekend!!

I love that I can walk to work (and yes! I should have done so sooner) but I love that I have a car so that I can walk to work out of choice and enjoy it properly! I also love that I am on flexi-time so I could have that extra hour in bed that I needed!

And..... as far as my first Halloween Party and beercall goes - it was certainly worth the hangover and having to walk to work, though, I'm surprised I am not in any pain after having taken a tumble backwards! Also, I've no idea how this happened but... I have NO pictures of me as a Ghost Pirate! Not cool!

Happy Monday!!

 Today's view from my desk!

The last time I had to walk to work!
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Saturday, 1 November 2014

A New Survival Plan...

I know that many people have countdowns so that they can mark off the days until their spouses get home, I wish I could do this!! Especially as there are soo many cute ones!Whenever Tom has gone away his return date has been hazy and I would have got to the end of the countdown and had to start adding days on again. I can't think of anything more soul destroying!

Each deployment I try to come up with things to do to keep me busy and this time I am going to try to use it as an indirect countdown with a weekly, fortnightly and monthly activity, it will hopefully trick time into flying.

I am not a lover of winter and I find going to work in the dark and going home in the dark the most depressing thing in the world. Winter makes me want to hibernate and Tom being away can make me want to hibernate sometimes as well so, all in all not a very productive-looking few months ahead of me. However, I'm hitting it with a new approach so, who knows, it may work and sharing it will hopefully keep me motivated!

Weekly
Every deployment, I set out to try and get fitter and more toned. This lasts the first few weeks, then disappears into a laziness that frustrates me and I always end up feeling manky for when Tom comes home. This time I'm setting it my weekly goal to go to an exercise class.

Fortnightly
Tom's deployment is not a long one as deployments go, for which I am very lucky and it means that my fortnightly activity can be to start looking at things to do on our 'big adventure' in June. It always helps me to have something awesome to look forward to when he gets home and rather than just dreaming about it I can be productive this time. I will be a couple of fortnights down I think but it will allow for the panic of Christmas. (I will tell you all about the 'big adventure' at some other point!)

Weekly and Monthly
Sometimes, I'm not very good at getting out and seeing people when Tom is away, somehow being with people can makes me feel lonelier and I always feel a bit guilty that I'm out enjoying myself and he isn't. (Yep, I Know I'm strange!!) The past few occasions when Tom has been deployed I have been living with my parents so I haven't been going home from work to an empty house. This time I will be. Even more reason to force myself to get out and about with friends and have some fun. I'm going to make this weekly and monthly - weekly for going for coffee etc and monthly for scrubbing up nice and going out for the day or weekend!

I don't really like to wish time away but I always seem to find myself doing it. Every Monday I want it to be Friday (thats normal though, right??) and every deployment I wish I could delete the days in-between Tom going and him coming home... The novelty of being alone wears off in the first week - once the computer has got a virus, the washing line has snapped, the dogs run off, somethings happened to the car and gone round to a neighbour's for help at least once, it's time for Tom to come home!! 

So that's my game plan, I shall let you know if it works!! How do you get through deployments? Would love to hear any advice or ideas...

I leave you with a quote or two:

'Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all' - Helen Keller




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