2015through these gray eyes...: 2015

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Happier at Home...





This month I decided to take part in Bon's Book Club (I'm a few days behind), I've wanted to for a while and this month the book she was reading really appealed to me - 'Happier at Home' by Gretchen Rubin. 

I would highly recommend this book, and have done so to many friends already. It isn't about achieving happiness it's about simply being happier. It is predominantly a personal journey that Gretchen takes you on with the use of the home as a focus point.

I found this very useful for me as I have been struggling to feel properly at home where we live, being military accommodation it is very easy to feel a sense of 'just passing through' and a lack of permanency that I occasionally find exasperating and insecure. I would like to feel that I am bringing a child into as homely an environment as I can make it.

I had not read the Happiness Project so I didn't know what to expect but I loved her writing style. Gretchen sets her book out by having resolutions that she concentrates on achieving every month. I have found that I can apply alot of 'Happier at Home' to my own life and although I love the idea of having resolutions to achieve every month, I also like to achieve things instantly overnight... I'm not sure if that is helpful to me because I would lose inspiration otherwise or whether my impatience just leaks through in all areas of my life!

Personalising it to yourself is essential and I found it very refreshing that I could change things for myself at home or in my marriage without them having to be forced upon Tom to achieve as well. Gretchen also manages to deal with the pereceived selfishness of striving to be happier while not neccessarily making anyone else happier which I found helpful.

Gretchen also had some points about happiness that really struck a chord with me and I feel that having them highlighted had an instant impact on my happiness:


1. We buy into the idea that if we lived simpler we would be happier

And by simpler I mean skedaddling off to the country with no wifi connection and being entirely self sufficient. I've certainly had moments when this has appealed and an escape away from the 'real world' has seemed a good solution to being happy. However, Gretchen points out that by simplifying the lives we already have  (by reducing clutter, writing off projects that have been sat waiting to be begun or completed, reducing the never ending 'to-do' list and wanting what we actually already have) we can make ourselves happier.

Accepting this in the past few weeks has certainly helped me feel happier. I have an interior to-do list that is probably as long as my arm, it is all things I feel I should do or make or presents I should give... I set myself up with so many things that I simply can't achieve half of it. In fact, my way over the top to-do list makes me feel exhausted and my total lack of achievement makes me beat myself up not making for a happy Alice.

I'm all for having a more natural way of life, that is certainly something that I would like to one day have but now is not that moment. We do not have the garden set up to grow our own vegetables and I'm not going to embrace re-useable nappies with my first child when I really don't know what I am getting myself into! By attempting to naturalise my life now I am just creating extra stress and strain that is not going to make me happier at all. Simplifying my present life will certainly make me happier.


2. 'Be Gretchen' or for me 'Be Alice'

This is something I realised I had never really thought about but it is extremely important to my happiness - embracing what I do and don't like... concentrating on knowing and doing what makes me happy and reducing less of what doesn't make me happy seems obvious but, in my 25 years I have never really stopped to think about what makes me happy and what doesn't.

- I'm generally quite a messy person but I actually love organising and organisation. I like routine and knowing that in amongst work and play I have managed to achieve some thing in the way of housework.
- Reading makes me happy.
- Taking a moment to pamper myself makes me happy.
- Watching series and films makes me happy however, duvet days don't make Alice a happy bunny.. staying inside all day makes me feel sick...duvet mornings or afternoons might just about work.
- Being outside makes me happy. Gardening and sunbathing make me happy. Having a dog to walk twice a day makes me very happy
linked into this is:

3. Do what inspires you

There is no point pretending that I'm going to do something and actually achieve it if it doesn't inspire me. It's just going to be a drag on my energy and resources and never see fruition. If I'm honest I wish I had realised this all those years ago when I was choosing my college subjects, I might have done better. In the long term it hasn't actually affected my happiness.

Concentrating on things that do inspire me is part of 'Being Alice' but it will make me think twice about taking on a project or starting down a road if I am not certain that it inspires me enough to achieve it well and reach the end.

After reading this book I have set myself up with some resolutions which I hope to achieve in my own happiness project to make me happier and my house more homely. Have you read it, if so what areas did you find most helpful to you?

Alice

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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Why I shouldn't be left unattended in a hospital and other mishaps...

 

Since falling pregnant (why does that phrase exist? falling has very little to do with getting pregnant) I have spent more time than I could have imagined in the med centre and hospital, not only that, I have spent more time than I could have imagined using their facilities/toilet/loo - take your pick, it's all about the peeing in a pot.

It seems that this task causes me serious issues (don't worry I'm not about to launch into waaaaay too much information).

I'm not very comfortable in any medical setting, I know that this is a feeling shared by many but it seems to cause me to totally embarrass myself in my ridiculously nervous state.

Somehow my sense of personal space and direction evaporates... I've found myself surrounded by four or five doors having no clue which direction to head in but knowing that the store cupboard isn't right and nor is the xray room. Usually my sense of direction is spot on so this completely confuses me.

The first of my mishaps occurred the second time I went to visit the midwife, I hadn't worked out the pee pot procedure that worked best for me at this point or that my nerves would render me quite so clumsy.

I thought I was doing really well until I turned round to get a paper towel and somehow managed to knock the full pot flying (thankfully all down the inside of the sink not over me) and ended up having to go to the midwife with the smallest sample ever.

And that's the only occasion so far that my pot has had to be sent away for further testing because it's shown up with a water infection... typical!!

The second mishap I've had I found myself pot in hand in the disabled loo of a hospital (I had been sent to the disabled I wasn't queue skipping) the pot filling was uneventful with so much extra space and I 'calmly' turned to flush the loo....

I pulled on the cord that seemed to be the obvious well positioned flush if you happened to be less able than me. Nothing happened, so I pulled again, harder. On this second pull I noticed that it lit up a  big red light in the ceiling. Maybe not the flush afterall so I looked for an alternative flush kind of button and found it in the usual place on the top of the cistern. 

While I was washing my hands it occurred to me that, that RED cord that I had pulled to begin with, the one that lit up the ceiling, just might be the panic alarm. I left the loo in a hurry, hoping that nobody would come banging on the door, or let themselves in.

I was greeted exiting the loo by a nurse informing me that I had indeed set off their alarm and she had come to check that I was ok... Mortified doesn't even begin to describe my feeling it was like ringing 999 and then realising that the police/ambulance had already arrived.

Since getting pregnant I have had a few other mishaps that seem to be entirely due to my change in size... I seem to be very conscious that I have changed size BUT I seem to think I have got smaller, I now find myself boxing both my ears as I get in and out of a car... Don't ask me how I manage that, I just do.

The other ridiculously embarrassing mishap I have had in the past few weeks is testing out the smells of some shower gel in the main aisle in Sainsburys and finding myself having squirted a load of blue gel up and around my nose! Luckily, I found this so funny that I wouldn't have been in the least bit bothered if the whole shop had erupted laughing at me but.... really?!

I seem to be going through a massive moment in my life of embarrassing myself (and Tom) in public places... Is this going around everyone or is it a side effect of pregnancy??!!

Alice

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Monday, 21 September 2015

Happy Monday

So I seem to have had incessant computer issues over the past two weeks which has meant it's been a bit quiet on the blogging front the past couple of weeks... I'm attempting to deal with them still but basically I am winging this and hoping that it all works out! I've missed my Happy Fridays for the past two so I'm cheating a little and rolling two weeks into one list of 10 things that have made me happy and calling it a Happy Monday... It seems a good way to catch up on whats been happening with me anyway so here goes:

1. Supporting Wales in the Rugby for the first time and them winning(this was 2 weeks ago now not the World Cup games)... Ok it was a bit of a dodgy win but, a win is a win.

2. Christmas away with Tom's family is finally booked... it's been in the pipeline for ages but trying to get something that suits everyone for so many people is always so difficult.

3. The arrival and erection of the spare bed for the nursery... its so nearly done!

4. Serious online baby shopping means we nearly have everything ready!

5. Enjoying the last glimmers of summer after work at a pub by the river ... (not drinking an alcoholic beverage but it was still perfect)

6. Downton Abbey... Autumn/Winter are coming!

7. Lack of Wifi on Thursday evening meant that Tom and I played a board game which was a lot of fun! I think wifi needs to disappear more often.

8.This weekend we visited Cotswolds Birth Centre to see if that's where we would like to go to have the baby... I think it is and Tom is happy with it. I'm not a very hospital sort of person and I'd like the whole birth experience to be as good as possible... obviously this is one of those things that I have no control over whatsoever but it's still necessary to plan!

9. My reading this month has been pretty self help directed. On Friday I received 'Happier at Home' by Gretchen Rubin which is the book that Bon's Book Club is reading this month! It seemed to call out to me amongst all the change that is happening in my life at the moment. I will be reviewing it on 8th or 9th October so if you would like to join in and check it out for yourself there is still time. 

10. Today is our 2 year 'engagement anniversary'. It seems that once you're married the milestones prior to your wedding get dropped by the wayside which I think is sad. All of the moments are the stepping stones to where you are now, they seem worth celebrating, besides, only now is a certainty... I'm not being morbid, it just becomes reality after a year of missed celebrations because of deployment... so even though I only remembered while walking to work this morning we shall be celebrating tonight.

Alice

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Wednesday, 9 September 2015

10 things I wish I had known about the first 3 months of pregnancy!


I'm a little behind with this, I mean really behind - I only have 10 weeks and 1 day until due day! I  had a good few months off from blogging while I adjusted to the idea of my life changing and deciding what I wanted for this space. I had never really thought that I would be a 'mummy blogger' and while that was all I could think about I didn't want to fill this space with non stop baby because I might bore some people to death and also, I found it very hard to write when I had such big news that I couldn't tell anyone.
Before I share with you what I learned in my first trimester I will give you a whistle stop tour through the discovery that I was pregnant.
I am now kicking myself that I didn't record the day we found out... Clearly, I may not be much of a dates kind of mother. However, I think it was a Thursday and it was definitely in April... I had spent a few weeks struggling to get into clothes and had gone through a serious moment of depression... eventually I took this to Tom - I really was at the point where I thought I was either pregnant or my metabolism had died with turning 25 and I was going to have to go on a diet.

So, on this potential Thursday in April I presented myself to Tom at lunch time and literally said ' Do you think I look pregnant?' I probably followed that with an 'or am I being paranoid?' (knowing full well jeans and skirts weren't fitting.)

He agreed that I was looking a little on the big side and maybe it would be worth doing a test just to make sure. So when I got back from work we went and bought the 'stick of destiny'. 

When I  have had to do these before I have always waited for ages (and it's been negative). On this occasion before I replaced the cap it already had a little blue cross. This caused me quite a bit of panic, including requesting Tom fished the instructions out of the bin to check it didn't mean there was something wrong with it. 
Another 2 tests later (just to be certain) and now here we are: 29 + 6  down with  uncomfortable ribs and growing excitement mixed still with occasional panic.



10 things I wish I had known about the first 3 months of pregnancy:

Don't get me wrong... with 12 nieces and nephews I knew a fair amount about pregnancy but the first 3 months when nobody is letting on that they are pregnant, you end up hearing about it in short hand and the symptoms which have now become irrelevant are very relevant to first time mums at the time!

1. First and foremost, it really is THAT easy to get pregnant if all is well with both parties... I know they tell you in sex education that it can happen the first time etc, etc (it wasn't the first time but you know what I mean) and I also know (being one myself) that accidents really do happen...REALLY! I always thought that I would have decided to 'try' for my first baby and it would take a good few months.
Luckily, we were thinking of trying to start a family this year but we wanted to wait until after our massive holiday in June... Well, things change.

2. Measuring size in fruit and veg becomes entirely normal... This is just beyond weird... its not exactly science and its even less exact when no website or app seems to agree but still, it sounds good saying the baby is the size of a winter squash.

3. Just because the baby is the size of a lentil does not mean you feel any less manky and tired...

4. The tiredness.... OH MY... you think you are tired after doing two all nighters.... try growing a baby and a placenta! I always thought tiredness was something that came later on when you're huge and carting a watermelon about with you all the time. I was falling asleep e v e r y w h e r e.

5. Morning Sickness... It doesn't always happen and if it does it may not be very noticeable! The obvious symptom that I would have reacted to I had very little sign of (I occasionally felt car sick all day), and I feel massively guilty that I got off lightly but.... instead I had:

6. Depression... I don't know anyone else who has suffered from this during the first 3 months but I had 6 weeks where I could not see the point in anything, I was miserable as sin and nothing could make me happy hard as I tried. It lasted about 6 weeks, caused all sorts of grief and then disappeared as quickly as it had come. I still didn't even know I was pregnant by the time it had gone. So that was a very bizarre phase that I really wish I had known before could be a possible symptom. I guess it isn't surprising with all the hormones doing crazy things inside you.

7. Baby brain is instantaneous... The number of times I have lost my car keys or left the hot water on so that it runs off is innumerable and I genuinely feel like I might be a fire hazard!

8. Soft toothbrushes may make your life suddenly seem ok again... I have accidentally bought soft toothbrushes before and I hated them. I never really knew that pregnancy could have any effect on your teeth and gums but after a few days of pain and bleeding I embraced the softness!

9. Food aversions may be your favourite food or the food you eat most often... When I've heard about food aversions they have always been obscure or from the smell of them cooking but my food aversions was Chicken breast, Tom's favourite food and probably the meat staple in our household (or was). I struggled with how it looked, what it felt like, chopping it up, cooking it and then trying very hard to eat it. I don't think I will ever feel the same way about it again. Also I had an aversion to pizza... I am loath to admit to it! I loved pizza and now I can only eat it very occasionally!

10. Your instincts are probably right (most women I have spoken to knew instinctively that they were pregnant)

So there you have my top 10 discoveries of the first trimester! Did anything bizarre or unexpected happen to you? I'd love to hear your stories in the comments...

Alice

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Monday, 7 September 2015

Love yourself a little more...


I read something in Cosmopolitan this weekend which really made me think. I'm not really one for reading magazines as they always end up making me feel naff about myself. The only magazines I've really enjoyed along those lines are wedding magazines... I guess that's because they're all about happiness and pretty things and dreams coming true, however I can hardly buy those now without looking a little odd to Tom.

So I fancied a magazine and picked up Cosmo ...

I didn't actually expect to be writing a post due to one of the articles though.

Jameela Jamil's article about not relying on your appearance to keep your man really struck a cord with me. With my body changing through pregnancy and having been slim before I have been feeling pretty weird about it. Just looking in the mirror or my reflection as I lock the door has had its moments of making me feel less than attractive.


However, Tom doesn't seem to feel anything less towards me or find me unattractive and the beginning 3 months I looked really, really rough so I would completely have understood.


I realise now that my security sometimes has been boosted by my looks and it shouldn't really have been. I don't know if I will ever return to exactly as I was before pregnancy but that isn't all Tom fell in love with me for.

I need to give myself a break and we women need to give ourselves a break and give men the credit for not being entirely shallow and choosing their wives or girlfriends on their looks alone.

There is more to all of us than our looks and what we wear, and whatever those things are... that's what make us stand out amongst the others.


I haven't exactly worked out what my other things are but I'm going to take Jameela's advice and realise what:

"sets me apart from other women, that would be likely to make a man (Tom) turn down a gaggle of women, out of fear that he would lose me?"

And then, I'm going to love it, and love myself a little bit more for it... And give my extraordinary pregnant body or even equally extraordinary post pregnant body a break from boosting my security.

What sets you apart from the others?



Alice


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Friday, 4 September 2015

Happy Friday's

I've been away for a while so my ideas of what I want to do with this space are a little different but mostly I want to concentrate on really writing, recording whats happening in my life and creating a happy space... and out of the happy space part comes "Happy Friday's" - 10 things that have made me happy this week.

With hormones and life changes come many feelings and I want to end my working weeks on a high to help begin an awesome weekend... hormones or no!

 So, here they are (in no particular order)

1. Getting back to writing and doing my blogging thing

2. Baking scones - yes, very easily pleased but I love baking and have been wanting to make scones for ages! Finally I did it!

3. Making pamper time - I'm pretty useless at making time for myself in the week... As soon as I get home from work I have a list of things to do and I seem to be unable to deviate... I did yesterday by sleeping and felt awful afterwards, but I have managed to add in a bit of me time this week which has been really nice.

4. Hearing our baby's heartbeat and seeing Tom's face... That never gets old!

5. Swallowing my fear about starting my own business... It is back in the wings again but I shall not listen! I now have a name and an Instagram account for it... As soon as there is something to see you will be bombarded with links!

6. Making September and October plans... I love planning fun stuff and its closing the gap between now and the due date which helps... I am getting a little impatient to get the whole birth thing over with!

7. Getting more Christmas shopping done - it sounds a bit overly organised but we have lots of people to buy for and with a November baby I'm trying to get it all done beforehand.

8. Receiving a parcel off my awesome friend Lucie - she cheered me right up when I was feeling pretty low  

9. Spending decent time with Tom and Zoubi courtesy of the bank holiday

10. Loads of hauls I've received in the post... Dresses, baby stuff, books. It's been like Christmas here!

That's my 10, I would love to hear what's made you happy this week?

Alice

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Thursday, 3 September 2015

September Goals & A Quick Catch Up...


It's September and I've been wanting to get back on here for ages but things don't seem to have quite gone to plan or I've had writer's block. Maybe both. However, today I seem to finally be ready to write!

I'm loving September... I seem to have reset in the way that I do for a new year. I have goals and resolutions and it's day 3 and I haven't broken any of them yet!

It's probably a good moment to bring you up to speed with whats been happening in my life rather than just telling you all my hopes and dreams for September. They won't make any sense without some background.

So without further ado .... a fair number of months compressed into a few bullet points!

~ I'm pregnant... 29 weeks exactly. I've gone through all the 'feels'...terror, worry, guilt, excitement and I'll no doubt be continuing that seesaw for the next 11 weeks and a bit beyond. But, I've finally excepted that not feeling insanely excited all the time is perfectly normal, my life is taking a dramatic turn down a new route.
~ Tom has done another 6 weeks detachment which was very unexpected and meant he missed the 20 week baby scan.
~ I'm in the process of launching a business... In the midst of one dramatic new route, I thought throwing another into the mix would be fun too... As my plans form and the business launches I will keep you up to date
~ We hosted all of Tom's family at our tiny two bedroom house which was a lot of fun 
~ We've now been married and living together a year. Its been quite the adventure so far! So excited to have hopefully many more together!
~ I discovered Outlander! What a series, I'm now trying to read the books... I really wish I had read them first, I struggle to get into a book after I've seen it in a series or film... Is that just me?
~ My garden is growing and I successfully grew Sweet Peas from seed and my Rose is in full bloom! 

It's really very difficult to think of the little 'big' things that have happened in the past few months when there are such 'big' big things that overshadow it all!



September Goals


1. Be healthier for me and the baby:

Eat Clean... It seems so easy to just eat whatever I fancy being pregnant and now is probably the moment in my life when that is actually not the best idea. I'm also becoming a bit of a green tea fanatic... the real leaves and everything.

Take exercise and walk to work every day... I found this prenatal pilates dvd which I love... I think its actually the first fitness DVD that I have really clicked with. There are three different 20 minute workouts which I mix and match or just do one of depending on how I am feeling. The best thing is that it constantly reminds me to use my stomach muscles and do pelvic floors so I know I am doing them everyday in some form.

2. Finish the nursery up to its 'pre-birth' stage:

This has been a slow work in progress thing. We needed to get rid of a spare bed and move stuff around and with Tom being away I haven't been able to do it myself. Also, I'm a massive believer in jinxing myself (I know that sounds bizarre) and with everything baby related I'm being very slow and steady in getting stuff.

3. Make a serious start on my business and develop a portfolio on Instagram of products available

It's all about making dreams come true this month... sort of... or facing fears and being a healthy fitter version of myself all under the excuse of pregnancy... 

Happy September!

Alice

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Thursday, 18 June 2015

I'm back!!!


View from our room - San Diego

So I've been massively AWOL. I decided to take a bit of a blogging break as everything seemed to be getting on top of me and it seems to have turned into a serious writing holiday! But now I am back with lots to say and lots of news (which is bound to happen over 3 months!!!! I cannot believe I disappeared for so long!!)

I won't bombard you all in one post with what I have been up to because that would be information overload but:

1. I returned from my belated honeymoon/American adventure on Tuesday so I have millions to share with you about that. I will tell you now that it was amazing, possibly the best holiday I have ever been on. I will try my best not to make you all jealous! 

2. I am now back to work and normal life with an uncomfortable bump. But at least the weather is good! There is hope that I can maintain this tan for more than a couple of weeks!

3. Tom disappears off again for a month next week which sucks but... at least it's only a month.

4. I've been exploring the Cotswolds... specifically Stow on the Wold, Chipping Norton and Bourton on the Water.

5. We bought our first car together.. officially 'Our' car!

6. I have started seriously working on our little garden at home.. not as good as the view from our room in San Diego but... one day!

7. Last but not least, I will have some seriously huge news to tell you all in a couple of weeks (I know... how annoying is that to be left entirely in suspense but... I'm struggling to remember what has happened over the last few months with something so huge to tell you and I feel like I have to explain why I seem to have been so boring.)

Alice

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Wednesday, 18 March 2015

A Favourite #1...Vintage Tea Room

I thought I would begin a series of some of my favourite places... You might like to visit them yourself after my 'glowing' review and it gives me an excuse to go back to them so that I can share them with you! We're all winners here!

First up is this Vintage Tea Room in Welshpool. There is definitely something wrong with that sentence and it isn't the Vintage Tea Room bit. It's the Welshpool bit. When I lived in Welshpool I would never have put it down as a place that would one day be sporting Vintage Barbers, Sweet Shops, Tea Shops, Clothes Shops etc but things change, it still doesn't quite fit in my head but that Tea Shop is the best I've found. And, I really am a sucker for Vintage & Tea, Scones, Cake etc.

On your approach you are greeted by a bicycle with a sign for the Baytree Tea Room and a pannier of flowers. I love this bike, I don't know why I find it so appealing but there you have it... I know I'm biased but the sign draws me in before I even get a look at the front of it! 

The windows are dressed with all things vintage... bunting, chandeliers and tables laid for afternoon tea. The entrance is flanked by two bay trees and two tables are set up for those who would like to sit outside.

Once inside the vintage atmosphere continues through the three seating areas downstairs. Bunting lines the walls, with vintage adverts, quotes and bicycles. Chandeliers hang from the ceiling. The juke box plays a great mix of era appropriate music. Beautiful cushions add comfort to the seats. Vintage 'artifacts' are dotted about on display such as a Singer sewing machine. 


In the three seating areas downstairs there are also welsh dressers and book cases with vintage style/shabby chic items for sale.

Upstairs there is a lounge type area with plush leather sofas,the walls decorated with vinyls and a beautiful gramophone and camera either side of a 'you can't beat the good old days' sign.

The whole vintage affect is rounded off nicely with a slightly rudimentary loo which is full of signs and adverts that make you giggle while you are 'freshening up'.

On all the occasions I have been there I have found the service and food excellent. I usually stick to tea and cake or an afternoon tea while Tom tends to branch out and have breakfast type meals so we can recommend both. Also, nothing beats coke in a glass bottle!


The atmosphere is perfect and I really look forward to going there whether it's for a date, brainstorming ideas with my bridesmaid for my wedding or just a quick stop on the way somewhere.

If you do visit... don't miss the tea set in the ceiling.

Do you know of a Vintage Tea Room that I should visit?

Alice

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Thursday, 12 March 2015

New Goal - Striving to write...


Apologies for the late post. Tuesday's events were not really conducive to post writing and being able to publish on Wednesday. So here I am a day late in my schedule only the second week of trying this schedule malarkey out! However, I guess it's just about being realistic rather than beating myself up about already having failed... Some weeks life will happen and be more important than the blogging schedule.

I have been doing alot of thinking about my corner of the internet recently. It's content, it's reason and it's future (Sounds way, way deeper than it is). Hence the changes here and there. 

This post 'What makes you read a blog?' on The Life of Bon had me thinking even more about my content. She brought up the reality that some bloggers now only post and this has caused her to stop reading their blogs.

I don't want to be a blogger that just posts because they need to get something published that day or leaves their life and soul out of it because it's too difficult to write about (I realise how ironic it is that I am saying this and have not explained anything of Tuesday's events - I guess there are moments for sharing the difficult bits and this isn't the right one).

However, I don't mean that I don't think writing is what I already do (rightly or wrongly). Or that I will be super serious and never do hauls or anything else like that! That's not me either, I will write about whatever is happening in my life, making me happy or any small things that are getting me overly excited but, I will strive to always write and not fall into the 'post only' trap.

I want to be a Lifestyle blogger that readers can relate to and lets face it, my photography skills are never going to be good enough to be able to throw a 'Pinterest perfect' glow on my life. I do really enjoy the excuse to take more photos to go alongside my posts but unless it is when I am out and about I struggle to 'stage' a photo.

As much as I like to take pictures it's more that I like to store my memories so that I can revisit them later. I am a real sucker for scrapbooking and photo albuming my life. This blog is another extension of that which I guess makes it even more important that I stay true to my goal of writing.

So there you have it, my new goal of striving to write!

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Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Mishaps and Misadventures...


Last week had more moments of wife mishaps in our house. I didn't come close to burning the house down or anything that drastic, but still I had moments of "Are you for real???!!!" (you being me) and "Oh, For Goodness Sake"(when the moment has gone past expletives).

On one of these occasions, Tom was on nights and I had an hour to get tea on the table for him to be fed and ready to head out. I thought I had food all planned out even though the cupboards, fridge and freezer were ready for another big shop. Fish fingers (our back up food), curly fries (which I had to pick up from the shop on my way home from work) and peas. Simple! I'd even double checked there was a box of fish fingers in the freezer at lunch so I knew I didn't need to get anything but fries.

However, when I came to actually cook the fish fingers. I discovered a measly 3 in the box. Ideally, we needed 12!

Teach me to ever think I'm on the case! There will always be something to remind me I'm Alice  and not Bree Hodge!

There was no time for me to run back to the shop to top up our fish finger supply but somehow it worked out and neither of us starved!

I used my slow cooker for the first time on Thursday! Wow!! How easy is that thing to use! I really don't know why I've been slaving/burning myself over a hot oven all this time when I had that bad boy waiting in the cupboard! Stupidly, it was all the preemptive prep that was putting me off! My logic is so skewed!

I made a casserole for my first attempt, turned out pretty good. Tom did however turn to me half way through eating it and say "what actually is this?" In fairness to him I had been calling it a stew since Sunday... In fairness to me I didn't even know there was a real difference! Meat and veg cooked in a pot!

So long as I turned the slow cooker on I don't think there was enough Alice input into the slow cooker for it to not have turned out ok really! The rice however, with Alice input was not the best but I'm going to blame the fact it was cheaper rice!

Anyway, after the food was given the right name he did enjoy it (even the rice)

Our misadventure last week happened on our drive to my parents house on Friday. Zoubi is not at all keen on being in a car and throws on her anchors as soon as she sees that we are approaching a car! Whether it's ours or not! 

The journey to my parents is 120 miles of exceedingly wiggly roads and she doesn't seem to understand that if she lies down she won't get thrown about quite so much!

After 4 stops because she was whining or ended up with her bed upside down, she was allowed to sit in the passenger footwell at my feet. Sit was slightly optimistic! I arrived at my parents essentially wearing a dog!

Good job she's so cute is all I can say!
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Friday, 6 March 2015

Weekend Reading: 5 Blogs I'm Loving...


IT'S FRIDAY and Spring is definitely on it's way!

Here are my weekend reading suggestions!

Newbie Blog
Paris by Friday - This is a massively new blog that I would really recommend checking out! It's beautiful!

Daily Giggle/Chill Read (they may not post quite daily but you get what I mean)
The Life of Bon - Bonnie's blog is awesome I just love her writing, she really makes me feel like I know her! She is a blogger who inspired me to start blogging myself. (I mentioned her way back in my post 1 month in the blogging world)

I found these next two blogs via The Life of Bon so it's only fair to give credit where it's due! Both award me serious giggles especially for their outspokenness!


The Daily Tay 

Bit of Advice
The Nectar Collective - Melyssa covers a lot of different topics on her blog but she has a lot of helpful information and advice.

Anastasia Amour - Anastasia's blog is dedicated to helping women raise their self esteem and reduce their insecurities. She also writes for A Little Opulent


Alice

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Wednesday, 4 March 2015

A Little of Everything...


So, this is the first week where I am trying out posting on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It definitely seems to be positive in some respects. I have more time to do the other things for my blog -  replying to comments, having more presence on social media and generally improving and moving  it forward!

Today, however, there seems to be a negative - I thought having a little creative breathing space would be good... turns out, it isn't necessarily such a good thing. I think I am actually suffering from a sort of writers block... I have plenty to say but forming the post is just not happening! I'm going to let myself off the hook a little with creating a masterpiece and just share a little of everything:

Life:
I seem to be beginning a trend in my 2015: starting each month at the beach! On Sunday, we introduced the puppy to sand, sea and being allowed to roam free. It was definitely successful although, she was nearly chased off the beach by 3 large Pomeranian looking dogs in a 'new kid on the block fashion'... To that dog owner I would like to shake my fist at them and say "Where the hell were you!!!" A spec on the horizon, that's where they were!


I am excited to tell you that I will be starting a copy editing and proof reading course soon! I weirdly enjoy proof reading essays etc and I read relatively quickly. We will see if I can turn whatever this is into a potential job of sorts. I am not certain where it will realistically take me but I am aiming to do it freelance one day so I guess that's the top in this situation! With any luck my mistakes on here will start to leap out at me too!!

Stuff:
I spent alot of time playing with our new camera this weekend... I'm getting my head around it now I think... I did have a total fail moment where I wanted to focus on the background and not the foreground and ended up with a beautifully focused branch and a blurry Zoubi.

I treated myself to a bit of a haul yesterday... I am feeling VERY summery now that the sun has come out! A little ahead of the weather I know, the frosts have not yet gone  and I'm ready to swap my winter woollies for shorts and summer dresses! To feed the summery feel without getting hypothermia, I majorly binged on nail varnish! I went for the new Barry M Speedy quick dry nail varnish. I'm not sure how many I actually bought but the £3.99 price tag was too much of a lure to stop at one or two!

I also loved the idea of the ring on Ally's blog in her post Once In a While so I've got one of them on the way to me with my personalised quote! I didn't know Jewel Street  existed but now that I do, it may leave a substantial hole in my purse!

Oh dear... spend, spend, spend!

Again with the spending, I purchased Kelly Clarkson's new album 'Piece by Piece', and I am loving it!

Blog:
This post 'What would it take to make your life happier' on Hannah's blog really hits the spot for me today. Since the sun has begun to shine (as well as wanting to replace my winter woollies) I have become waaaaay more positive, I am trying to be happy with what I have and I am making a concerted effort to worry less! I am a great one for worrying and then worrying about worrying. I agree with her opinion on money and happiness - I am a firm believer that the pursuit of more and more money does not result in happiness. Nor that if it is actually achieved, it will have ANY impact on happiness at all!

Finally and on a much lighter note (sorry)... please check out my new 'About Me' page and let me know what you think! Thank you for bearing with the entirely random post in my hour(s)/day(s) of writers block!!


Alice

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Monday, 2 March 2015

10 things that have made me smile - February


2. An extra weekend off with Tom...Courtesy of his unplanned excursion out of the country! Every cloud has a silver lining!

3. Blue sky and sun! I really didn't know I was such a sucker for the sun! Looking out of the office window ant blue sky makes me so happy and ridiculously excited for summer...I even had an ice cream (that clearly was an odd thing to do in February as I had to buy a pack of three because the shop hadn't got their individual freezer out of winter storage)

4. Finally got my 'hair did'! All fresh and lovely! Its been waaaaaay too long, I had really got to the point where my relationship with my hair was pure hate.

5. Catching up with Lucie! I hadn't seen her since before Christmas! Was lovely to see her and as they say a friend is cheaper than a shrink! (Why are they called shrink? I have literally just this minute wondered!)

6. New Camera...Though I have yet to show you the fruits of my labour using this baby I am loving it and it will definitely be making an appearance soon!

7. Starbucks Hot Chocolate...I treated myself to a Starbucks breakfast on my way to get my new desk. This used to be an at least weekly occurrence when there was a Starbucks on my way to and from work, now its much more of a blue moon thing! Seems silly but it really did feel like a treat!

8. Argos flat pack...Successfully built on my own, who would not smile about that!

9. Holiday all paid off! I can officially start planning and getting excited!

10. March Challenges...I have found myself 2 challenges for March which I am really looking forward to, one is a 30 day squat challenge... I have done these several times but never made it to the end! March will be the month! And also '30 days to domestic bliss - the challenge' which I found on The Decorista. Hopefully at the end of March I will be telling you that I managed to complete them both!

What made you smile in February?


Alice

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Thursday, 26 February 2015

4 months in the blogging world...

Here we are four months along in this blogging journey. I can honestly say that the 'novelty' isn't wearing off and in fact I am enjoying it more and more. It helps to have a bit more of a clue of what I am doing. Though, the more I learn about blogging the more there is I need to do towards this space! 

I am currently trying to get my head around SEO and sponsorship and disclosures. Disclosures came up in a #FBLChat on Twitter last week and I realised that I have very little knowledge about what it involves. If anyone happens to have a dummies guide to this then please leave a link in the comments!

As you may have noticed I invested in a new layout from pipdig which I am loving! It was really simple to install and apart from the issues with image sizes which could be completely down to me I haven't had any problems since I changed it! I would definitely recommend their services!

My blogging schedule is still a total work in progress! Mostly because what I do every day seems to be very much a seesaw depending on events that tend to be out of my control, but... I think I am getting there! I created a planner for myself which is definitely helping and I no longer discover I have the wrong notebook to hand! My day job has become a lot busier too so I have less time to ponder ideas! Hopefully from next week I will post 3 times a week - Monday, Wednesday & Friday... once I've got that sorted I will try to post more often.

Last month I reached 100 followers on Bloglovin' which I am really 'chuffed' about! Thank you so much to everyone who follows me! Thank you to everyone who comments as well! I love hearing from the people who are reading this small corner of the internet.

Top of my to do list:

1. Participate in a bloggers chat at least once a week (I seem to have kept missing them this month)

2. Update my 'About Me' page! Loads of people have been talking about this recently so while advice is fresh in my mind it seems a good moment to do it. Hopefully I will have it finalised by the end of the week! Watch this space!

3. Investigate a Favicon (the icon in the browsers address bar)

So, that's me and my blogging journey so far...  Please feel free to leave any comments on my corner of the internet.


Alice


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Monday, 23 February 2015

Wife Mishaps - 6 months review


Tom and I have been married and living together for a little over 6 months now. My domestication and 'wifelyness' (that really SHOULD be a word) has not been plane sailing and the domestic goddess I really thought must exist within me has been a bit of a no show. She might have come into her own if I didn't have a full time job as well but, there really isn't much time to nurture her so I stumble on. I'm not saying that we live in a total state of disarray and have to order takeaways every night because my cooking is so horrific but... there have been some events:

The fire alarm - It transpires that this is an extremely sensitive item of technology and potentially put too close to the kitchen, however, I was the one who set it off first and it turned out that I didn't really know what to do when it did go off. I mean, not a clue, I think I jumped and looked at it for about 30 seconds until Tom suggested I turned it off and shut the door! Definitely not my most clued up moment. I think it took Tom a month before he began to set it off and it was finally written off as over sensitive rather than the fault of my cooking!

The ironed tie - Probably the most honest mistake that has become my least finest 'wife hour' . Thankfully, our relationship has lived to tell the tale and I, at least, can laugh about it! This incident happened during the high stress moment on the morning of Tom's sister's wedding. He had left with the other men to help with heavy lifting and completing finishing touches at the venue. I was left to do the ironing and get ready. I saw Tom's tie hanging with his uniform already tied and thought it would be nice for him to have a freshly ironed tie. Ohhhhhh nooo big mistake!!! Who knew that the RAF number ones tie knot is quite so difficult to retie! I don't think it was ever quite as perfect as it should have been even with several people's help to retie it!

Ooow! Hot! - Honestly, the number of times I have watched parents pretending to touch and burn themselves on something that is hot to try and prevent their toddler from being scarred you would think that this might have sunk into me. But, no! I will quite happily touch the oven rack when it has been on for an hour or pull the grill out without its attachment. It is literally as if the brain signals are not getting through! I have more scars from these 6 months of cooking and ironing than I have ever managed to get in the years preceding marriage! It has become a bit of a standing joke that there will be continuous expletives and 'ow!' noises from the kitchen when I am cooking.

A fiery tea towel - As you will have gathered by now - me and heat/fire don't really get on. This is probably the most scared I have been while being responsible for keeping a house still standing. I am really glad that Tom was out at work for this one because otherwise I think he would be alot more worried about leaving me in the house on my own! It was a simple error of judgement, placing a tea towel too close to a lit gas ring! Realistically, it could have happened to anyone. 

Usually in cases of emergency I manage to enter into a calm mode that allows me to handle the situation perfectly, it does seem to panic people around me though because it is so obviously out of character. However, on this occasion calmness may have reigned but logic had totally left the building. 

I lifted the tea towel which was burning fairly rapidly and attempted to throw it out of the kitchen window. The windows in our house have those handles where if you turn it one way it is just ajar and if you open it the other it totally opens(I'm sure there is a technical term somewhere)... I've still not got my head around this system even in a moment of total clarity(I have a serious issue opening doors/windows/using a key anyway)

I couldn't get the kitchen window to open and I was worried that the tea towel would start to drip hot tarry stuff as it wasn't pure cottony goodness. So I headed to the back door which was locked. Our dining room is carpeted so, for fear of dropping remnants on the carpet I attempted the next window... This one I did manage to open... don't ask me how I can open one and not the other but there it is. With the window open fully I finally managed to fling the tea towel outside(just as the fire alarm helpfully informed me that there was a fire), unlocked the door and went to douse the flames! 

What I have missed to tell you is that below the kitchen window is the kitchen sink which logically would have been the ideal place for the tea towel to go in the first place without any attempts at opening windows or doors.

My latest trick - this one I do not seem to able to shake off. Half the saucepan of spaghetti seems to end up in the sink! Honestly, it seems to happen every time! Use a sieve I hear you say... well, I must suddenly have become completely incapable because that doesn't seem to help either! It's the same result but with more washing up! And... while we're on this point... does anyone know how to effectively clean a sieve without it taking several attempts? Suggestions in my comments would be greatly appreciated! I need all the help I can get!

Its fair to say I have learnt alot in these 6 months, and will probably continue to do so, most importantly:

- It is highly unlikely that anything will turn out perfect the first time around;
- In fact, perfect does not exist;
- I probably haven't turned the oven off;
- The many things I have wanted to achieve will probably stay on the 'to-do' list for quite some time; and
- Being too helpful is always unhelpful.

I will be ever grateful for Tom's continued patience and the fact he takes it on the chin when he only has half a portion of spaghetti!

Have you had any similar moments of domestic drama? I'm not the only one right???
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Thursday, 19 February 2015

10 Mid-February Musings...


We're halfway through February already! I think this year is going to disappear as quickly as the last! To try and slow time down a little and just take a moment here are 10 musings - things I'm loving/thinking/doing/excited about:

1. February Walks - Since getting Zoubi I have been out and about alot more on these legs of mine! I guess it must be making me appreciate how beautiful the world really is! Either that or I am getting sentimental about the world in my old age. Well, whichever it is, I am really enjoying being out and about while the birds are singing... I think i'm going to have to start taking my new *excited dance* camera with me because I keep missing perfect picture moments like drops of dew hanging on a tree.

2. River Island hauls - Serious love for River Island right now (we haven't always been friends)! I always seem to fall for their Limited Edition line so then it just has to be bought! Luckily I am finding clothes for my America Adventures and summer capsule wardrobe so it isn't really cheating on the minimalism (at least that's what I'm telling myself)!

Current Favourite Purchase:
River Island - Wrap front mini skirt


3. Benefit Roller Lashes Mascara - I know everyone has been talking about this so I'm not going to lay it on thick.. All I will say is .... Love it and will definitely be purchasing it when it hits the high street!

4. Triangle bras - Random I know but I seriously cannot get enough of these! Think they are taking over the world at the moment!

5. Duolingo - So I realised while in Paris, how incredibly rusty my French has become! I am gutted to say the least but I am hoping this app will get me back up to scratch!

6. Flowers - We have a little crop of crocuses in our lawn! If you had seen our lawn when we moved in you wouldn't think that there was any possibility of flowers ever appearing in it - it was essentially a rectangle of mud with a bit of brown grass. I'm ridiculously excited by the surprise flowers! Clearly bulbs are the way forward in our garden. I may have to put on some green fingers. Just hope Zoubi doesn't get green paws and dig them up!

7. The Musketeers - Honestly, if you are not watching this you really should be! At least I think so! I've missed series 1 and I clearly need to go backwards and see it but I can't bring myself to wait! It's been inspired by Duma's characters and essentially follows the lives of four musketeers and their many exploits.

8. Holiday - Yes, I am driving people wild in my life with my ridiculously premature excitement for our holiday, it's only fair I share it with you too! Vegas, Palm Springs, San Diego and LA who wouldn't be excited! We make our final payments soon so it must mean it's nearly....June! Or not! I think I'm as excited about planning it as I am about going on it! But, really, who wouldn't be!

9. Exploring - Tom and I are constantly driving through towns and villages and saying that we want to explore them... well, as soon as he gets back I'm going to make this happen! This life we lead is a little too unpredictable not to make the most of the days we do have!

10. Photography - On the strength of having a new camera I am seriously swatting up on photography tips! Cannot wait to take the baby out properly at the weekend! If you have any or know of any posts that will help me out please let me know! I need all the help I can get!

What are your February musings?
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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

The Weekend That Was...

My Valentine's Bloom 

I think I jinxed myself on Thursday saying that life was returning to normal and then becoming excited about Saturday being the first Valentines Day that me and Tom would have spent together. He had to go away on Saturday morning for a job! Hopefully it won't be too long before he is home again but still, after having been home less than a month it was (and is) a bit of a shock to the system. Communication is alot better so far though  which is a definite bonus!

My weekend was still very chilled even with Zoubi deciding that this was a good moment to go from well behaved to extremely naughty! Honestly, there was no warning or inbetween... I started watching Weeds on Amazon Prime to distract myself and to give Zoubi some more attention... I wanted something easy to watch along the lines of Cougar Town or Desperate Housewives... it's not quite what I was looking for but I am quite enjoying it, it hasn't quite taken hold on me in the way other series have though!

I didn't do as much as I had wanted to on the blogging front but I did build myself a desk and I am in the process of creating a blog/craft station... Maybe it should be known as the 'create-station'. It is really nice to have my own little area, I think I had been lacking that in our house and causing 'mess' in other areas especially down the side of the bed *deep sigh*. I hate mess but I'm a nightmare if there isn't a specific place for something. I will share the finished 'create-station' with you soon, ridiculously excited to have it complete and ready for action!

To be honest I am massively proud of myself for actually achieving the flat pack on my own - it's still standing! My hand may be a little worse for wear though - these soft palms of mine really are not designed for screwing in screws! I think I probably need Tom to tighten the screws in some places but more for peace of mind than because I think it's going to collapse on me!

So, with the unknown of when Tom will be home I'm hoping to spend a lot of this week (when not at work) creating... though, last night, I was hoping for a chilled night of pampering and an early night, then the urge to write hit me at midnight! What is that about?

Hope you all had a great Valentine's weekend without any sudden plan changes like mine!
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Thursday, 12 February 2015

A Quick Catch Up...


As you can see from my last few posts I have been very much here, there and everywhere since Tom came home. I'm actually happy to tell you that normality has now been restored! I feel rather as if I have been living in the eye of a hurricane for the past few weeks! Believe me, I'm not complaining about all the adventures, I'm just grateful for some time to relax and not have to think about getting everything washed and ready to pack for the next trip away!

On Tuesday night we drove halfway back to Shropshire to meet my parents who have been looking after Zoubi while we have been off having adventures! We had a lovely meal in the Crown and Sandys in Ombersley, if you're passing there it's definitely worth trying out.

Life feels more normal now Zoubi is back, even after only having her for a short time the house did seem oddly empty without her in it. She has grown a ridiculous amount in a week and a half!

What with all this gallivanting, I seem to be falling behind with things... I still have heaps of half done posts that I had lined up for the end of January that still haven't been finished, eventually they will I suppose!

This weekend I am dedicating to relaxing and blogging. Tom is in work so I won't be being massively anti-social on the first Valentine's Day we will have actually seen each other since we first got together. I am quite excited about Valentine's Day though, partly because it is our first but mostly because I'm going to use it as an excuse to cook something special and use our polaroid camera for the first time! We'll see how it turns out!

Speaking of cameras... I'm massively excited to tell you that Tom took the plunge and we've bought a new camera! He's much better at reading reviews than I am! Hopefully, (once I have learnt how to use it) this space will become a place of beautiful photos and no random sizing problems that need fixing over a relaxing weekend (top of this weekends to-do list)! If it doesn't, it probably won't be the camera's fault! I shall be dedicating a serious amount of time to reading the instructions for the first time ever!!!

My 2015 reading challenge has also fallen behind, I'm still only a few pages into 'The Night Circus by Erin Morgentsen! I had it all planned out that I would read on the flight to and from Paris but realistically, a 50 minute flight is hardly long enough to get comfortable... or in this case way too long to be in the seat at all! I've never sat in such uncomfortable seats in a plane! I need another 27 books to put on my list as well! Check out what is already on my Goodreads and feel free to add me as a friend... Any recommendations would be gratefully received... 

P.S. Is it the eye of a hurricane that's mental or is that where the hurricane is calm?
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