This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

By the time you have read this, Easter would have been and gone and we will all be sick to death of chocolate (maybe). Our Easter breaks will be over and we will have already had our two short working weeks.

I love a good bank holiday, but it doesn’t half make fitting all your actual work into the working days you have, hard!

Anyhow, in the time since I last caught up with you guys, I have mostly been watching Bates Motel on Netflix, and I’m really enjoying it. It was a conscious decision to watch this series and so, before I hit the Netflix button on my TV remote, I actually watched the original Psycho film. I’d seen it many times before, of course, but I wanted to have it fresh in my mind before I began to watch the tv series. So far I’m pleasantly surprised by how true it sticks to the film and I’m loving the characters and how they’re portrayed and acted – especially Norman and his Mother.

I’m really looking forward to beginning to watch the new season of Pretty Little Liars too! Still on the subject of TV, by the time you read this I will have seen the last episode of Girls. I’ve been really enjoying the character development of everyone in this final season of Girls. Such an amazing TV show, I’m really sad it’s finishing!

I did also watch the whole series of 13 Reason Why and I’m planning a dedicated post to that, once I can get in the right headspace to do it.

Another thing that will have happened by the time you read this is I will have been to see Bruno Mars! I didn’t think we would get tickets to be honest, and then Gary managed to find some the other week and we just bought them. If you’re a regular reader you’ll know I love his current album, and I’m so pleased we’re going to get to see it live!

One final, and very exciting piece of news, is that this blog can now be found at groggits.com! You don’t need to change your bookmarks as they will redirect to the old address still, but you’ll see the link at the top of your browser will now say groggits.com and I’m very pleased about that 🙂

So, now Easter is done with, and we’ve had a little sunshine already, it has to be all downhill to Summer now? Right? I can’t wait for some humid, balmy days, light jacket weather (or no jacket weather) and plenty of sunshine! Bring it on!!

Sarah’s Ibiza Hen, Pt 1

I’ve been away from the blogosphere for a few weeks, and that’s mainly because I’ve been preparing for being away, being away and then recovering from being away!

I’ve recently returned from Ibiza, where me and 3 of my best friends went to celebrate the engagement and impending wedding of Sarah. It was my first girly holiday and first time to Ibiza. The whole break had been planned out meticulously by Caz, who had been 7 times before and knows how to plan a holiday.

And now a warning: this post, and the ones to follow are going to have a lot of pictures in them, so if your browser can’t hack it maybe you should upgrade your browser…. it’s 2015!

So we arrived at Caz’s house after an evening of panic that my case was going to go over the weight limit which included me driving to Tash’s to pick up her suitcase scales and discovering I was, indeed, taking too many dresses, belts and shoes…..

It was about 5 minutes before the first bottle of cava was opened. Who doesn’t want to toast a holiday at 6am? We were surprised with a beautiful stretch limo, organised by fiance, Nick, complete with more wine….. Start as you mean to go on!

imageChecked in at the airport and luggage successfully weighed and allowed on the plane (phew!) we headed off for a breakfast and relax until our gate was called.

The flight was quick and uneventful, since I’m used to long haul flights it felt like we were barely flying an hour!

imageOnce off the plane, we were greeted by our driver from the airport to our first hotel, which was situated in San Antonio. Overlooking the beach front, the Marina Playa Apartment Hotel was perfect. Each room slept two (or three on a pull out sofa-bed), had kitchenette and bathroom and a beautiful view of the beach. Each balcony looked out over the pool area.

imageAfter a quick unpack and mini sunbathe by the pool, we put on our glad rags and took a walk to what would be our first meal of many in a beautiful location.

Kumharas, situated on a tiny beach, was a perfect location for us to watch our first sunset, have a drink and toast the holiday. The sangria here was beautiful and it was so relaxing to sit and watch the sun go down.

imageimageOnce the sun had gone down, we moved to the restaurant area for our dinner reservation, and true to form Caz had arranged for us to eat in their chill out area. This was a low table on a platform with cushions to sit on and draped fabric over head.

imageWhilst we ate, people shopped at the mini hippy market behind us, and danced to the music played by the DJ well into the evening. It was great for people watching and the food was lovely.

imageFairly sleepy from the early start, and the sea air, we walked back to the hotel just as flashes of lightning threatened the skies.

dDspite this we slept well. It was a big day on Day 2 – the Hen day! We dedicated a whole day to Sarah’s Hen, with secret activities and theme. Sarah came to Tash and my room, that morning, where we had decorated in a nautical theme, prepared a breakfast and dressed up complete with captain’s hats!

imageWe played music, ate and Caz provided us with a photo treasure hunt, for photos we needed to take throughout the trip. The person who completed their list would win a prize!

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This was followed by pass the parcel, with forfeits and prizes!

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We then dressed up for our first activity – lunch at Es Nautic. This was a lovely restaurant on the marina serving amazing seafood and fish.

imageimageFrom here we headed to the sunset strip and to Savanna for cocktail making. There was more drinking than making to be honest. After two glasses of cava, two strawberry daiquiris, one porn star martini and a mojito we were feeling rather merry….

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Though we did manage to get some cocktail making done, behind the bar too!

imageAfter this we headed to the marina and to a beautiful speedboat. But the skies were threatening another storm, and on the advice of our skipper we rescheduled our speed boat trip for later in the week. Having pre booked sushi on the boat for the evening we ate this on the balcony whilst the clouds rolled in. Then we got ready for the final activity of the day.

Caz wanted us to have a classy holiday but she also wanted us to visit one of the more ‘chavvy’ clubs so off to Es Paradis we went. Es Paradis was having its water party, so it went with our nautical theme.

imageimageDespite waiting until the early hours (and Caz and Sarah waited until the even earlier hours) we didn’t see the pool (pictured behind us, above) fill up.

Day 3 began with a leisurely walk to a nearby cafe and a lovely breakfast. Just what I needed.

imageWe met a lovely Spanish waiter there who looked like Drake, had never left Spain but whose accent flipped between Scottish and Liverpudlian…. it was bizarre!

From here we got ready for our next activity, which was Zoo Project. Situated in an old abandoned Zoo, people visit dressed up in feathers and snake skins, with body paint, ready to dance. With clubbing and chill out areas it promised to be exciting. The girls had all opted for body paint, whereas I’m not really a body paint kinda gal, so I made use of my Urban Decay Electric palette and painted on rainbow eyes.

imageimageLunch was at Ibiza Rocks bar. Yummy strawberry sangria and burgers. And then we headed to Zoo.

We spent most of our evening dancing, watching DJs and dancers at the seal pit, then headed to the chill out area to listen to musicians and watch more dancers and acrobats. We also got rather hungry so grabbed some outdoor BBQ which was delicious. I enjoyed it all, but I could have stayed in the chill out area for hours.

And so ended day 3! We had barely started…. stay tuned for the next part!

Cheese, Chats and Champs!

All week I have been ridiculously excited about finishing work on Saturday because it meant it was time for cheese. A few weeks ago one of the girls in my Book Club group (no books, lots of wine) invited the rest of the group over to hers for a wine and cheese evening and a good old gossip. If you know me you know I’m a sucker for cheese, specifically vintage cheddar (the stronger the better!).

So I bought some of the best ‘special occasion’ cheddar I could find and brought my offering over to her’s last night. My choice was a nice big wedge of Snowdonia’s Amber Mist – whiskey infused cheddar. It’s super yummy. After a nice glass of fizz and a nosey of her house, we sat in Caz’s living room and began the gossip. We had a look through her photos from a recent trip to Thailand and then when we got a bit peckish we dug into the offerings. Collectively we had brought a heap of cheese, meats, crackers, bread, relishes and olives. It was amazing! And so tasty.

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I’d been given some choccy samples to try out for review so I’d brought those too and we all had a nibble. Soon we were wine, cheese and chocolated out! At about midnight we started talking scary films and ghosts  – I don’t know why this always happens. When I was a kid at sleep overs we would often turn to scary stories around midnight. It wasn’t a conscious thing, but it happened a lot! I guess some things never change 😀 More chats and some cups of tea later, we realised it was coming to 2am and we should probably go home and sleep! Especially since me and another in the group, Tash, were going to be meeting up only 12 hours later for our first run together!

It was a really lovely evening with great company. I’d love to do it regularly!

This morning I managed to sleep in until about half 9 which was hard since I usually naturally wake up around 8:30 on a day off. The sun was shining and it promised to be a wonderful day. Gary and I got up and went out for a drive. I went into a running shop and got some new shorts for when the weather hots up. I discovered that this particular running shop holds a running club on Wednesdays for beginners – and it’s free! Worth remembering.

We then headed to the MK Dons stadium where they have been holding Collectormania all weekend – it’s a nerd convention. Since I’m a nerd I felt right at home! Though there were too many people dressed up for my liking. I saw a Freddy Krueger, Cyborg and Darth Vader that were far too scary to walk next to.

We headed home. Tash picked me up and we headed off to an area nearby which was so pretty and has a canal running along side it. Not really knowing how long the circuit was I was hoping I’d be able to make it through okay considering I’d had to take a 4 day running break to recover my painful knee.

I have to say Tash and I seem to have a very similar pace. She was worried she might be a bit slow but she’s gazelle-like and I felt like a troll plodding alongside her. She glides when she runs! When we got to inclines she actually got faster where as I was struggling to make it up! I hadn’t let my lunch settle for long enough and got a really painful side which almost stopped the whole thing. I was so annoyed and frustrated that I might have to sabotage the run, but managed to breathe it out, thankfully. At the end we had done about 2.5 miles (I’m still not sure my Sportband is fully calibrated because I’ve not done a run where I know the exact exact distance – but it’s only maybe about 0.05 off!) We seem to run well together because Tash pushes me on to get up the hills and our pace is similar. She’s going to have to get used to me verbally pushing myself on though! We’ve got another run of the same route planned tomorrow after work, and hopefully I won’t get a stitch this time, because I HATE walking when I’m training!

In related news, I have set up the Just Giving page for the event we’re training for! The Race for Life is to raise money for Cancer Research UK and our donation page is here. If you feel like you want to sponsor us and fight cancer at the same time, please visit the page and donate what you can no matter how small – and don’t forget to Gift Aid it! We would be super grateful and you’d make us THIS happy:

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I know we’ll be able to smash the 5k – only a month of training left to go!

Stay tuned for my chocolates review, which include photos of my lovely friends from our wine and cheese evening. It’s going to be special!

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(btw thanks for all the Facebook follows you guys have been giving me! If you haven’t ‘liked’ Musings of a So Called Shutterbug on FB yet, please do!! You’ll get my posts right to your FB feed.)

The Small Screen

I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to a lot of things, and TV is no exception. I talk about movies on my blog but never really tv. Watching the Golden Globes today made me realise that there have been a lot of really great shows in the last year. I want to run you through a few of my favourites.

Let’s start with Homeland – This show was amazing in its first season and the second season was no less great. I love Damian Lewis and people who know me will know I’m a little bit in love with Claire Danes. So it was a given that I would watch this. Throw in that it’s all about politics and Homeland Security and you’ve got me hooked. I’m not going to go deep into what the show’s about (click the link above for the IMDB’s synopsis) but I will say the plots, action, characters and of course the acting are flawless. Last year’s season 2 was explosive and I can’t wait for season 3.

Last year saw the third and final season of Forbrydelson (or The Killing) a Danish tv show (which has been made into a US series but I wouldn’t even bother with that) with English subtitles. From the offset this show was amazing. A murder mystery with wonderfully written detectives and a political element (seeing a pattern in my tv tastes?) Last year saw the airing of the final season of the series – long-awaited. I won’t go into detail because I know it hasn’t aired everywhere – but I will say you won’t be disappointed. If you love the show then you’re going to love this season.

Let’s talk about Girls. This is the kind of show you can’t admit to your parents that you love (sorry Mum!) It’s sexually explicit, the characters and rude, the behaviour isn’t quite right – but it’s amazing. Lena Dunham has written and starred in my favourite show of the past year. The people and what they get up to are so relatable, in a messed up way, that I just absorb each show as it’s aired. And thankfully UK are seeing the new season only one day after it’s aired in the US. Another wonderful HBO show that I can’t wait to watch each week.

The Newsroom is a show I was predestined to love. It’s written by Aaron Sorkin who also created The West Wing and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. The West Wing is my all time favourite tv show, so I knew I needed to try this out. Not only does The Newsroom feature reaction to real life events, it also includes footage and soundbites from real news coverage. The characters are interesting and funny, and you really root for them. The subplot which runs throughout the whole show is also interesting and keeps you watching. The season ended with an interesting inclusion of the phone hacking scandal. I’ll be tuning in for next season.

New Girl was a grower for me. The second season has been leaps and bounds better than the first (which I also enjoyed!) and it seems to have settled into its niche. I find myself laughing out loud throughout the show. It’s found a place with The Big Bang Theory as a fantastic go to short episode comedy to make myself feel happy!

I’ll mention Treme briefly even though the 3rd season wasn’t my favourite. However a not so great season of Treme pretty much trumps a good season of anything else. Made by the same people as The Wire (another of my faves!) it’s set around New Orleans and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. So well written and acted that each episode seems like a mini movie in itself, it’s definitely one to try out.

You may have noticed that most of these shows are American and I’ve not even mentioned Downton Abbey (because I refuse to watch it). That’s mainly because most of the drama that comes out of Britain is rubbish. But I will mention one show I watched last year and thoroughly enjoyed. The only reason I chose to watch The Syndicate was because it had Matthew Lewis in it (Neville from Harry Potter) and girls, if you didn’t know, Neville grew up to be a hottie. I was so glad I did switch it on though. It’s set around a group of people who work in a little corner shop and who played the lottery in a syndicate and won the jackpot. Each episode focussed on a different winner and how their life had or hadn’t been effected by the win. Of course the character’s life intertwined. Such an interesting and well executed idea. definitely try it out if you can.

I’ll also briefly mention Dexter which is consistently amazing (season 7 was as jaw dropping as the others) and American Horror Story; Asylum which makes you feel right on the edge of your comfort zone but always has you wanting to know what happens next.

There’s been a lot of good TV in the last year, and the new year seems to be pulling it out of the bag too. Here’s to another year of watching the goggle box!

Friends and Casserole

Last night I met up with two of my best friends. I met them both when I worked for the company I have just returned to. We got on immediately and have stayed great friends since.

We had been able to keep in touch via letter and email since our schedules were so tight, but in the last year we decided we would try to get together once a month to see each other. And we managed it. With things being fairly tough last year for me, it was amazing to have these two wonderful ladies to offload to, and to cheer me up, and to celebrate with.

Yesterday we met up for dinner and even though we were only together for a few hours it was so much fun and like recharging the batteries. These guys are the kind that don’t judge and don’t fuss. We take the mickey out of each other and poke fun sometimes, but never seriously, always with love and often with filthy mouths. And these are two of my friends whom I would definitely call family. I know they would do anything they could for me and me for them. I’m not really a girly girl and I’m not used to asking for or receiving help (emotionally or otherwise) but they offer it unconditionally. And for that I love them a lot!

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Dees ma girlz 😀

Today I spent roughly 4 hours getting my hair cut and coloured. It was quite a lengthy process which meant I didn’t get to eat lunch until 4pm – I had a hot pretzel and then Gary picked me up. We have just finished eating my famous Sausage Casserole – which Gary made for the first time and it was yummy. I’ll blog about the casserole one of these days. It is really rather good!

Tomorrow we’re going to Lahndaan town for some shopping and eating and hopefully photo taking!
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