This Week I Have Been Mostly….

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It’s been a while since we had a little catch up, hasn’t it?

So in the past few weeks we’ve had Christmas and New Year! I hope your’s was good.

Mine was low-key and I didn’t do a huge amount, but it was just what I wanted.

I’m lucky enough to get the time between Christmas and New Year off from work, so if Gary’s off work we’ll take little day trips and such. But this year, he was very busy with work, so nothing was really planned.

Christmas Day was lovely and I got to see both sides of the family. From that point on my mind went into a little relapse and I didn’t want to do anything but curl into a ball and not see anyone. So that’s pretty much what I did. I honestly couldn’t tell you what I got up to because it’s all of a blur. That was until my bff (sister from another mister) got me over to see her lovely newly renovated house, and with her and another of my best friends we had a lovely normal morning chatting. It was lovely to get out of the house and be in a safe space with people I trust and can talk about these things with. And they don’t make a big deal over how I’m feeling – they just let me feel that way, make sure I’m okay and if I want to talk about it I can. And they know me well enough to be able to suss out whether I want to talk or not.

On New Year’s Eve Eve I attended a singing workshop with my Mum, where we learned two songs as a choir and then in the evening had a party and Bandaoke. My Mum and I had both signed up to sing with the band (scary) so we were both fairly nervous, but when each of our turns came up we were fine. I sang Young Hearts Run Free and people said I did well after I came off stage, which was a relief!

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New Year’s Eve was a quiet one spent at home with Gary. I normally spend my New Year this way, and it’s the way I prefer it! I can be in bed by half past midnight!

On New Year’s Day I began working on the first of my 2018 challenges – learning calligraphy. After seeing a friend taking part in this course throughout 2017, and seeing the progress she’s made, I decided I would give it a try myself. I’m already finding I’m learning things about myself as a person as well as my penmanship during this challenge – who knew?!

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Then it was back to work, and by the time we returned to the office I was very much looking forward to it and wanted to get back into a routine!

I didn’t find it hard to get back into the swing of things, and it was nice to see my colleagues again  – it’s great when you enjoy being around the people you work with!

During the first week of January I also had to kick off my second 2018 challenge – a new recipe every week for the entire year! I’ve already posted about my first recipe here, so take a look. I’m enjoying looking at recipes in a new way, this year. I’ll happily trawl through tons of books and Pinterest recipes, marking the ones I like the look of to make one day, but this time around I need something I’m ACTUALLY going to make! So I’m thinking more practically about them!

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I’ve also been reading a lot of blogs related to New Year and resolutions (well, more those that gear towards self-improvement, since that’s what I relate too) and I’ve been very inspired by the positivity and how practical people are being. There’s less fad and more mind involved in what people are aiming for this year. It’s fantastic.

I’ve made a pledge to myself to be more active on social media – and by that I don’t mean posting more (although I feel like I will be posting more blogs this year just by default!) – I mean commenting on other people’s posts, sharing their stuff etc. Not just scrolling through instagram and double tapping then moving on – I’d like to comment on all of the photos that have meant something to me. Because it’s what we’d want for our own feeds, right?

I’m enjoying feeling the fresh positivity that’s come along with this year. In a time of uncertainty and bafflement, coming from a couple of years that were very trying for many people, we appear to be collectively coming together and finding our feet again. The ground seems a little more solid, and I’m personally enjoying how it feels.

 

2018: A Year of Self-Improvement

Every new year we sit and think about resolutions. We look back over the year past, and wonder what will face us in the coming 12 months.

I’ve never been one for setting new year’s resolutions mainly because I either forget I’ve set them or I fail early on and get annoyed at myself.

So this year, I’ve decided to set myself two challenges, partly because I hope if I fail at one I’ll still achieve the other, and of these particular challenges one I know I am already partially skilled at and the other is something I’ve wanted to do for many many years.

The first challenge came to me during a period of new film watching. As a huge Nora Ephron fan it seemed bizarre that I’d never seen Julie and Julia. The film is based on a true story about a woman who lives in NY and decides to make her somewhat dull and frustrated life a little more exciting by cooking each and every recipe in her classic Julia Child cookery book – all 524 recipes. And every time she makes one, she blogs it. I had no idea this was a story about blogging either, so I was very pleased to see a mix of my love of Nora Ephron, food and blogging all in one film. (I very much enjoyed the film by the way!)

Anyhow, it made me want to start some kind of food challenge. So I decided that I would set myself the task of cooking at least one new recipe for every week in 2018. I know this could be a massive task, since I sometimes run out of time in a week, and if I’m on holiday or sick this will also be impossible. So I’m allowing myself the occasional skip-week. And I’m also including recipes like sauces or new variations of old favourites.

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And then the idea is that I will blog the recipes, and hopefully by the end of the year I’ll have at least 52 new things under my belt, will have hopefully increased my skill set in cooking, and with luck will have tried new foods and found new favourites!

I have so many cookery books and Pinterest at my fingertips so hopefully the hardest part will be choosing what to make next!

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My second challenge is a skill I’ve wanted to learn for some years, and I think I even mentioned it in my New Year roundup last new year! I’ve taken the first steps in beginning to learn calligraphy. A dear friend went for it last year, when I was toying with the idea, and seeing her coming on leaps and bounds has really inspired me. She has warned me it’s not as easy as it looks and to preserver, and I intend to! I’m hoping by Christmas 2018 I’ll be writing beautiful envelopes on my Christmas cards! Here’s hoping!

Anyway, I’ve bought some pens and a new notepad (you need special paper don’t you know) and I intend on sharing pictures of my journey on instagram, and here, as I go (if I’m any good!) Fingers crossed!

So those are my two challenges for the year. I have one more up my sleeve, but that’s more of a thinker so maybe I’ll share that down the line.

I’d love to hear if you’ve set yourself any challenges or new year’s resolutions for this year? What do you want to achieve by January 2019?

Goodbye 2017

And so we’re here again. I can’t quite believe I’m sitting here, preparing to take you through my year, once again.

It’s been a very hard year but also amazing in many ways. I feel like I’ve changed and grown as a person, and also seen those around me change in many ways.

Sadly, I’ve not seen as much of some of the people I love this year, but I’m hoping next year that will change. But I know these people still value me in the same way, as I value them still, despite not seeing them so much. You guys know who you are!

I know a high proportion of my readers head over here purely for the beauty stuff, and I’m going to post up a separate piece about my beauty picks for 2017, so if that’s what you’re after you have my permission to skip this one altogether. Though, if you do decide to carry on you might find there’s more to Musings than just beauty reviews, and I’d like to welcome you into the world of Musings lifestyle articles.

At the end of 2016 I set myself two resolutions (well, more like goals to be fair). By the end of 2017 I wanted to have attended at least one blogger event, and I also wanted to have become less judgemental.

Two very different goals. I achieved the first only this month. I had actually forgotten about my resolution and when I remembered it a couple of weeks ago, I was very pleased to have achieved it.

I also feel I am well on my way with the second goal. A very personal journey, and one that I won’t go deep into here, but I honestly feel like I am much less judgemental now than I was. I just have to work on being more tolerant of those who have not gone on this journey. I can only take control of myself and my own responses, but it’s hard and frustrating when other people appear bitter and judgemental  – I can see now it only hurts themselves.

Anyway, I didn’t mean to get all deep in this post! I’m going to give a month by month run down of what I got up to this year, which is much less intense! Each month title is a clicky link, so if there’s a post you’re interested in reading, click there and you’ll be taken to that month. So here goes :

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January

  • This year started with the celebration of 50 years of Milton Keynes! My home town since I was born (I may have strayed for a couple of years in the middle somewhere!)
  • Gary and I went for a little bit of culture at the end of this month and saw a play! Gaslight at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre. One of my favourite films, it was great to see it on stage. Gary, who didn’t know the story at all, was very pleasantly surprised. It’s nice to do something a little different sometimes!

February

  • I started posting a little more on my YouTube channel, and a few people seemed to be watching!
  • I got taken in by ColourPop’s weekly product releases, and spent probably too much money on lipsticks (that I still love btw)
  • I told you all why I reverse wash my hair, and actually it’s something I still do and feel the benefit of.
  • I wrote my first proper post about mental health and touched on my experiences with struggles I face.
  • I saw La La Land for the first time and wanted to hate it, but fell deeply in love.

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March

  • I told the world why I’d stopped wearing bras, for some reason….
  • I did something that years back I would never have been able to do – I went on a shopping trip to London on my own.
  • I finally met up with Sophie Kate, when she took me as her plus one to the Glamour Beauty Festival.
  • I discovered the music of Childish Gambino and proceeded to not want to listen to anything else ever.
  • I went to Rome!

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April

  • In April I attended Secret Cinema’s presentation of Moulin Rouge – which incidentally I have never written up. I always wait until they put up their event video, so as to not spoil anything, however their video only went up the other day (so many many months later) and now I feel the moment has passed. If you wish to see this post, let me know in the comments, or else I will simply allow the memory to fade in my brain. Anyhow, it was a great night!

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  • Buffy The Vampire Slayer celebrated 20 years since its first airing, and I felt old…
  • I decided YouTube might not be for me, but also decided that the occasional dabble when it felt right was how I would move forward.
  • I went to see Bruno Mars and he was epic!

May

  • Ooh this month I shared my tomato linguine recipe – and boy is it yummy!
  • I watched a LOT of TV
  • I shared a much requested post, about why I decided to get married at a young age.

June

  • I wrote a post about anxiety and my experiences. It was probably the most personal post I’ve written on the subject to date.
  • Our trip to London to see Ariana Grande was amended slightly due to terrorist activity in Manchester, however we decided to press on and continue with the rest of our plans.
  • Musings celebrated its 8th birthday!

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July

  • I was given the chance to see London from one of their amazing Ducks!
  • I spoke about growing up and old and the secret adults never tell you as a child.

August

  • I posted my most viewed YouTube video to date (2.2k views so far!)
  • I spoke about my quest for positivity.
  • I turned 34 years old!
  • I started planning my trip to Orlando

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September

  • I did a little photo shoot with my Niece in the last of the summer sunshine.
  • I moved house! This took up most of my free time!!

October

  • Halloween month. I was all about sharing my favourite Halloween movies, and getting ready to go on holiday to Florida!
  • My Florida holiday was epic
  • I spoke about striving to be more tolerant.

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November

  • And as soon as you can say ‘Halloween is over’ it was Christmas season!
  • I shared a post about my holiday and all of a sudden the weather was crisp and frosty and we were all thinking about the festive season!

December

  • And here we are!
  • December was about sharing meals with family and friends and unexpected snow!
  • I went to my first blogging event, the Blogosphere Christmas Festival.
  • And now here we are – you’re reading the final piece!

So what’s in store for next year then?

Well, I always say this, but I’d like to learn a new skill. I’d like to feel a little less restless in my skin. I’d like to continue on my quest for positivity, in becoming more tolerant and less judgemental.

I’d like to continue to better myself.

So here’s to another year! If you blog and you’ve written an end of year round-up post, I’d love to read it. Pop your link in the comments and I’ll have a read 🙂

 

 

My Itchy Feet; A Blog About Possibility

This time of year, when we’ve all had some quality time off, we’ve woken up when we wanted, chosen what we were going to that day, been adequately lazy and then probably a little more lazy than that, and been completely our own bosses, it’s very hard to go back to work.

Yet, tomorrow we all get up at stupid o’clock and once again join the rat race.

This year seems a little harder for me since it’s the first year out of many that I haven’t had a holiday or big event to look forward to. And last year was a biggie as I had one of my best friend’s wedding and my 10 year anniversary to Disney World to look forward to.

Reading everyone’s 2017 blogs has got me yearning in the same way as I do most years.

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So this year I’m putting fingers to keys (because pen to paper seems so 2008) and I’m going to type out some things I really want, just so that I can be accountable for them. These aren’t necessarily things I want for next 12 months, but for years to come and who knows when I can start putting the wheels in motion. But here’s a start:

I want to properly learn a new language

Let’s face it, it’ll probably be French. I already have a basis in French and I find it the easiest to get to grips with. But I want to be able to confidently hold a conversation with someone in another language without getting flustered and confused.

I want to learn a new skill

For a while I thought maybe calligraphy, but I’m not artistic enough for that. Today I thought I might want to learn shorthand – so maybe I’ll look into that.

I want to get a degree

This is a big one. I’m aware of the work load – and that’s partly why I haven’t taken the leap yet. I really really want to learn Law. For years now I’ve loved the idea of going back to school and learning basic law and then doing a degree in criminal law. I know it’s a huge one, and I am aware it would be hard. Especially since there’s no way I can do without working full-time. Sometimes I feel like it might be too late, but then is it ever too late? I love the idea of using that part of my brain again and being good at something – at least I hope I’d be good at it. But it takes time, money and a LOT of energy so I know it’s not something I can just jump into.

I want to travel

For a long time Gary and I have wanted to take a month off, travel, even just go to New York, rent a place for a while and live there. I’d love to be creative in a place like that. One thing I mention a lot is travelling the UK and taking photos of the kind of places no one takes pictures of. Then making a living selling those photos. It’s a big dream, but again it means taking time off work or leaving work and then how do you fund it. I’m seeing a lottery win in my future…..

So there’s a little insight to my itchy feet. Who knows what the future holds – but for now all bets are off and nothing’s off the table. It’s frustrating but at least I’m happy in the knowledge that any or all of these thing are possible eventually. I just need to work hard to get there!

Awesome Things That Happened to Me in 2016!

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2016 has been an amazing year. It started out with a trip to New York, and deciding to complete another 365 challenge, this time on Instagram.

I’ve really enjoyed posting a photo a day, and only had to miss two days when I got sick in October, which I’ve made up for.

January kicked off with me getting into makeup and starting to blog more. My blog has been through many phases alongside the phases I go through in my life, and I must say that beauty blogging has opened many more doors than any other subject I’ve written about. I’ve met so many people and a fantastic community of like-minded individuals.

February continued in this fashion with the start of my beauty favourites blogs, and I also saw the amazing film It Follows for the first time.

March began with seeing my Book Club girls, well half of them, for the first time in ages, and discovering Pretty Little Liars. I took a trip to London for my niece’s birthday

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and I spent a week off work turning my spare bedroom into a wonderful walk in wardrobe!

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In April, my Mum wrote a guest blog which people really loved, and I started my dedicated blog twitter account. I also discovered some fabulous podcasts and House of Cards became my new favourite tv show.

May teased us with 18c weather followed by horrid winter again. I visited London a few times, went for my only run of the year

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and Ariana Grande released Dangerous Woman! I also became obsessed with all things coconut scented.

June was a big month – Sarah’s London Hen Party was amazing, followed by her wedding in Cornwall.

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We spent a whole week in Cornwall and had an amazing time.

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I saw some great films, 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Gallows and this blog turned 7!

In July we said goodbye to Tash the only way we knew – over food! We had fabulous brunch in Dalston followed by cocktails at the John Lewis rooftop bar.

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I went to EDC, which was wildly out of my comfort zone but really fun

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attended a family wedding, Secret Cinema Dirty Dancing

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and watched Stranger Things.

August was filled with movies, including Finding Dory and Suicide Squad for my birthday. I bought my new Sony a5000 and we went to see Romeo and Juliet at Waddesdon Manor as part of the Luna Cinema festival.

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We also saw the Hot 8 Brass Band at a local venue and danced the night away.

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In September, though I didn’t blog a huge amount, I announced my brand new YouTube Channel! I also got very excited for Florida, celebrated by 10 year wedding anniversary and spent the weekend at The Savoy in London!

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October was the month of Disney World. We took the trip of a lifetime and had a blast.

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On my return I got the sickest I’ve ever been, and thankfully recovered within a week. We went to see the Harry Potter play

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went to a Bad Company gig and celebrated my mum and dad’s ruby wedding anniversary.

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November was the return of the Gilmore Girls and I also attended Jurassic Park Live at the Royal Albert Hall.

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From the end of November to present it’s been all about Christmas and New Year. I visited the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, and vlogged.

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It’s been an amazing year and I can’t wait to see what 2017 holds. There’s a lot of change in the air, and I’m really excited about it all. Who knows what I’ll be writing in a year’s time? Here’s to another great one 😀

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

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December, you have been good to me. I have had a wonderfully festive month and even though it’s not been as packed as my festive season usually is, it’s meant that I’ve been able to relax and spend time on things I wouldn’t usually.

I had a fantastic Christmas week, starting with work’s Christmas party which was at a lovely pub. The week leading to Christmas wound down enough to allow me to get stuff prepared for the January return to my desk.

Christmas Eve Eve was lovely too. Despite Gary having to work in London we were able to spend a fabulous late afternoon and evening together. Then on Christmas Eve we had the whole day together which we can only remember having had once before in the whole 14 years we’ve been together.

We were able to take the day at a snail’s pace, have a lovely dinner which we decided would be a warm salad (it was so good) and then watch our traditional Christmas films until pretty much midnight

Christmas Day was spent with our families, but Gary did spend the later afternoon with my family at my Mum’s. We ate, drank and felt very merry. On Boxing Day we decided to head to the shops to see what the sales had to offer, and it wasn’t that busy in the morning. Gary surprised me by taking me into the Apple shop and telling me he had decided to get me a new phone handset but he didn’t know which colour I wanted so I had to choose. After the initial bamboozled shock had started to pass, I chose a black iPhone 7 Plus. And I’m in love!

I also picked up some bargains from The Body Shop and Boots and then we headed home, because Boxing Day is for being lazy too 😀

We’ve watched a couple of new films this week, an old one called Eye for an Eye and a new one called Lights Out. Both were very enjoyable!

For the rest of the holidays, it’s all about getting things done. Today I’m spending the majority of the day prepping and writing the content you’re going to read over the next week or so. I also have to plan in some time to begin editing my Disney World video, but I’ve been kind of putting it off because I know how big a job it is! But since I have the time whilst I’m off I really should start!

Gary and I have planned a date night for this evening, which I’m really looking forward to, and I get to see the Book Club girls a couple of times over the next few days. It’s been too long!

I’m feeling really positive for the coming year. I always love the start of a New Year because, and I know it sounds corny, things actually *feel* different. It’s a new page and there’s so much possibility.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

We have now reached that awkward stage in the year where Christmas is over, the new year hasn’t arrived yet and we’re all sort of in limbo.

I like to use this part of the year to reflect on the last 12 months, as many do. I also like to take down the Christmas tree as soon as I can and start tidying and cleaning. No doubt some kind of diet or detox will be on my plan due to all the rich food and drinks I’ve consumed over Christmas. I also tend to try a new skincare routine, which I love for the whole week and then have to go back to work, lose the will to spend the time on my face and go back to soap and water….. (shock horror!)

Anyway, one thing I have done for the past 2 or 3 years is look back and look forward in a more tangible way. Each year, on Christmas Eve, Gary and I read a letter we have written the previous Christmas Eve. It’s a letter we’ve written to ourselves asking about things for the future year. Things we want to achieve, things we wonder and things we’d like to change. We read our own letters and then read out anything we want to each other. I honestly had no idea what I’d written in this year’s before I read it.

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I really enjoy this new tradition we started 3 years ago, because it really puts a timestamp on the mentality I was in when I wrote the letter a year previously, and it sets the tone for the next letter. A year goes so fast but it’s easy to forget how much we do, see and how much we change in that 12 months. Reading my letter year on year really reminds me of this. We keep each year’s letters and at some point in the future I’m sure we’ll re-read them. Or maybe we won’t. It’s just nice knowing they’re there!

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Another tradition we started last year and brought through to this year is a Happy Things jar. I cut strips of coloured paper, and whenever we feel grateful or particularly happy or excited about something we write it onto a strip of paper. Then we roll up the strip and pop it into the jar. On New Year’s Eve we open the jar and take it in turns to read out what’s written. I really enjoyed doing this last year so I’m excited to do it again this year.ny4

 

These are only new traditions, but they make me feel really happy. I love the idea of continuing this for many years to come. Counting my blessings is so important to me. It helps to keep me grounded and grateful for the things I have and what I have achieved. It calms my brain and makes me a better person.

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If you like the idea of these simple traditions, why not start one (or both!) yourself? It’s so easy to write a letter to yourself, and as long as you don’t forget where you put it you’ll have something to look forward to in a year.

I’d love to hear if you do anything similar in your family. Share your traditions with me!

New York, New Year

Hello! I’m aware I’ve probably started the last few blog posts with ‘it’s been a while’. I needed a break and made a conscious effort not to post just because I hadn’t in a while.

Lots has been going on in my life and my brain and I felt I deserved a little break!

I mentioned in my last post that Gary and I were off to New York for a little holiday over Christmas. We flew out on Christmas Day, after having spent the second half of Christmas Eve with family, sharing presents and generally getting into the holiday spirit.

Our cases were only half full, since it was only a 4-night break, however I did intend to utilise this space on the way back and so did my wallet…. The flight out was uneventful and surprisingly full considering the date. We’d opted to splash out on extra leg room seats, which was much appreciated. I made use of the media centre, and watched 3 episodes of The Affair which I’d heard about but was yet to see. I then watched Jurassic World and we landed.

I managed to sleep some on the way there, aided by a large glass of white wine, which abated my jet lag and helped me throughout the rest of our extra-long day – well it was Christmas!

On landing we were immediately aware of the heat and humidity of an unseasonably warm Christmas Day in New York. 18c and very humid, we shed our coats and scarves as soon as we’d checked into the hotel (The Warwick) and ventured out in light sweaters and seek out the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Centre. The streets were teeming with people, and it was hard to do anything but shuffle about. But we found the tree and got some photos and just as we had walked around to come at it from another angle we heard the Home Alone music being played from Saks 5th Avenue, right in front of the tree. It was a magical moment, and a memory we won’t be forgetting any time soon.

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We then shuffled our way to find some Christmas dinner, and settled on a Five Guys in the hotel room – we will now forever call Five Guys ‘Christmas Dinner’.

Our room was lovely and we were upgraded to a corner room overlooking 6th Avenue and were given free wifi too! At this point it was about 2am UK time and we decided it was a good time to sleep.

Over the next few days we hit the Boxing Day sales. The news reporters made me nervous with images of lines out the door but they were all fine, and I was able to get some great bargain – things are way over-priced in the UK! I picked up my ‘You are Here’ New York Starbucks mug and some Macy’s baubles for the tree too. We visited the World Trade Center memorial, new World Trade Center tower and the museum. We ate in some lovely cafes and walked around tons of delis.

One of the things on my must-see list was to eat at Katz’s Deli, which featured in When Harry Met Sally (my favourite, and probably most viewed movie). Arriving a little earlier than we wanted to eat ensured we got a seat in the table service section, and beat the lines which built up within about 5 minutes of us arriving. An amazing place, with a wonderful atmosphere, the deli was full of all kinds of people and amazing food. I opted for a cheese steak and potato salad. Both were amazing and I haven’t stopped thinking about the flavours ever since.

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The weather cooled down after a day or two and we were able to wrap up. Over the days we were there, we rediscovered our love for the city. Having been 3 times previously in a fairly short space of time, we had figured we were over New York. But visiting lower Manhattan showed us that there were so many places we still needed to see. Areas we would never have dreamed of venturing to a decade ago have become more accessible, and Times Square has become so inaccessible – literally, you can’t walk through it, it’s too darn busy!

By the end of the holiday we were tired but back in love with the city. We’re dreaming of going back in the future, but this time for longer, to live out dreams we have and spend more time soaking it all in.

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On our return we still had 5 days before we had to go back to work, so we spent this recovering. An ITB injury returned due to the 45 miles we’d walked whilst away, so a lot of rest was needed, and it usually takes me a while to recover from jet lag too. We watched the whole seasons 1-2 of The Affair which is an incredible show (and have since watched Making a Murderer, because, you know, who hasn’t?).

New Year was spent at home, and I cooked us a Christmas Dinner so we didn’t miss out. We opened the letters we wrote to ourselves last year and read out our Good Things from the memories jar we’d been adding to all year. It was a lovely evening. We even watched When Harry Met Sally (again) and managed to time it so that the end when they’re shouting Happy New Year coincided with midnight in reality.

New Year’s day was spent lazily in the morning, and then a long lunch with Gary’s family. It was during this meal that I made the final decision to begin my 3rd 365 project, this time via Instagram. (You can follow me via @groggits or clicking the Instagram widget to the right.) We also went to Ikea and bought a new mattress which was long overdue, and seriously needed! My poor back couldn’t cope anymore!

Since then it’s been back to work. I appear to have a make-up and beauty obsession. It happens every few years, but this year I seem to be actually using the stuff I’ve bought. My Sephora trip was much needed, but Gary’s starting to get a glazed look every time I speak about beauty products….

I intend to post a blog with my latest favourite beauty products, so stay tuned – there’s quite a few! I also signed up for GlossyBox and have been very pleased with the first box which arrived this week.

I decided not to return to Rock Choir this term, and instead focus on me, health and hopefully fitness for the next few months. After lots going on and things happening in my life I need that clarity. And just making decisions like that makes such a difference overall.

So that’s me, up to date. Keep checking back for new posts, which will hopefully become more regular again from now on – or subscribe and/or follow me via bloglovin’ (widgets to the right)

Goodbye 2014 – Hello 2015!

Well, last year was an amazing year, jam-packed full with some exciting stuff. I honestly can’t believe it’s over and a new year has begun already. At the end of September it seems I blinked and here I am in January! Is this a sign of getting old, or just being really busy? I’m hoping it’s the latter.

Anyway, I began 2014 with anticipation of my first half marathon to run, and knowing I would apply for the London Marathon (spoiler alert, I didn’t get in!) but I had no idea I’d be ending it with one of my friends having had a baby and another getting engaged. Who knows how 2015 will end? It’s been a fab year, and here’s a run down of what I have been up to:

January:

  • I began the year with my new 5 year Q&A diary. I started with good intentions but as with all these kinds of things I didn’t have the follow through and ended up forgetting to fill it in by about month 3. Bad Erin.
  • Training began for the MK Half Marathon.
  • I started the 30 day plank challenge, and gave up at that about midway through after realising my core wasn’t strong enough to start with and I was causing more damage than good. Maybe I’ll give it another go in 2015 now my core is a bit stronger.

February:

  • I saw Taylor Swift in her Red tour with Gary and my Niece.
  • We watched Dog Day Afternoon at the Southbank BFI as part of their Al Pacino Season.
  • We saw Pixar in Concert with music played by the London Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall.

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  • I was in full swing with healthy food and meal preparation to accompany our training.
  • I was mostly listening to Afterglow by Wilkinson as my song of the moment.
  • I was a featured photographer on Red Bubble’s Front Page.

March:

  • My friend Jen and I tried our hands at Yoga.
  • I ran my first sub 30 minute 5k
  • Gary and I completed the MK 10k on the hottest day of the year so far.

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April:

  • I started the 100 Happy Days instagram project. (Look right for my instagram widget and to follow me there!)
  • We cheered on the runners at the London Marathon.
  • My music of choice this month was Mr Little Jeans – check her out!
  • Easter was spent with friends with a Good Friday meal out and then a roast dinner with the Book Club girls. We found out one of the girls was pregnant and due in November – the first book club baby!

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  • Gary, Tash and I ran the fairly disappointing Electric Run but it was fun to dress up!

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May:

  • This month saw Gary and I complete our first half marathon. It was a tough slog, but we did it!

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  • I spent a few weekends catching up with old friends and really enjoying the beautiful weather.
  • Gary and I went to Brighton with his family and I got my wish to see the sea!

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  • I was mostly listening to Hozier this month.

June:

  • In early June Gary and I went back to the O2 and saw Katy Perry in her Prismatic tour.

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  • I was very proud of my girls when we completed the Race for Life together with great finishing times.

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  • I became a World Cup widow and as a result worked my way through the complete series of Veronica Mars. It was rather fun actually!

July:

  • And so began my busiest month of the year as Musings of a So-Called Shutterbug turned 5 years old!
  • I spent time with friends at the local Waterside Festival and in the same weekend accidentally went to see Haim and Kings of Leon at the Mk Bowl.

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  • I went riding rollercoasters with my Sister-In-Law at Thorpe Park.
  • Gary and I visited Southend on Sea and saw the sea again.
  • We began regular cardio training after a break from the gym since the half marathon.
  • My BFF Jen’s hard work paid off as she looked amazing on stage at her bikini competition.

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  • We played tourist in London and visited Westminster Abbey.
  • Tash and I ran the Women’s Running 10k, this year in Milton Keynes, in the pouring rain.

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  • One of my top 3 events of the year happened this month: Hot Dub Time Machine on the Southbank. It really was the best party ever.
  • I coined the term Flogging.
  • Book Club Girl, Sarah announced her engagement!

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August:

  • We celebrated Sarah’s 30th Birthday in style with a wonderful picnic and BBQ party.
  • Gary and I went back in time with Secret Cinema
  • We tried our hands at Body Attack.
  • Robin Williams lost his battle with depression. Dialogue and discussion was opened up around the world and people were openly discussing mental disorders for the first time.
  • Gary and I saw Brief Encounter at the Royal Festival Hall with musical score performed live by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra.
  • V Festival rocked our socks

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  • The internet was overtaken by the Ice Bucket Challenge
  • Two wonderful men were able to legally marry and I was able to share some of their day with them.

September:

  • This month I was mostly listening to Ben Howard and Ed Sheeran.
  • Gary surprised me and to celebrate our wedding anniversary we went to Disneyland Paris, the happiest place on earth!

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  • I joined Rock Choir with my Mum.

October:

  • Taylor Swift released 1989 so I pretty much rocked out to that for the whole month.
  • We threw a cute little baby shower for Book Clubber, Caz

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  • My first concert with Rock Choir was this month, supporting Kerry Ellis on her UK tour and singing on stage for the first time in 13 years. What a way to make my return!
  • Jen and I went to the Royal Festival Hall to see Lena Dunham speak for her world book tour.

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November:

  • Baby Leo was born and what a cutie he is!
The cutest Santa Baby you ever saw! Little Leo!
The cutest Santa Baby you ever saw! Little Leo!

 

  • Rock Choir had a lot of events in store for us including Hatfield Frost Fair and finally recording at Abbey Road!

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December:

  • Christmas came and went!
  • The Book Club met together for a New Year’s Eve Eve meal and resolutions/predictions were set for the following year. We said goodbye to Sarah for three months and as I type she’s winging her way to Orlando. Not jealous at all…. 😀

So you can see it was a pretty full 2014. I already have two runs booked for 2015 (Bupa 10,000 and Women’s Running 10k), a gig at the end of January (Hozier) and plans for V Festival. Sarah’s Hen party to Ibiza at the start of September and a potential spa evening with the Book Club girls in March. Fitness intentions are to be bikini confident by September and health intentions are to get hold of and beat the anxiety that controls me daily. I intend on winning this battle most of all, and I’ll start with my fear of driving which I have almost beaten but not quite.

I really can’t wait to see what 2015 holds and take you along for the ride!

2015… what’ya got for me?

This Week I Have Been Mostly…

this week i have been mostly

This week I have been mostly celebrating Christmas! The week of Christmas is always an odd one. I have no idea what day of the week it is, or what time of day it is for most of the week.

Monday to Wednesday we were at work, but had a half day on Wednesday as it was Christmas Eve. We finished work at lunch time and had a wonderful meal at the local village pub and said our Merry Christmases. Once at home I spent the rest of the day with Gary prepping our evening and getting ready for our traditional Christmas Eve movies. We bought take-away and watched The Holiday and The Polar Express in our pyjamas!

After such a busy couple of weeks I finally started to relax and was asleep by half 11, dreaming of Santa and snow…. well maybe not but I did sleep really well! We woke on Christmas morning after 8am which is good work for me.

We sat under the tree and exchanged gifts (Naked 2 palette and Essie nail polish!) and then had hot croissants and orange juice for breakfast. We spent the morning with Gary’s family at his Mum and Dad’s house and then headed to my parent’s for Christmas lunch and more presents. My Sister and her family and my Grandad were also there and it was lovely spending the day with them since I don’t see them an awful lot normally.

Gary and I received some wonderful gifts including a hamper full of peanut butter flavoured goodies, a Ghostbusters Lego set, an amazing tea set from the Brew Tea Co and Mum bought me another term at Rock Choir (which I’m so excited about!). By about 7pm Gary and I were exhausted so we headed home and had a little nap whilst watching Frozen on Sky. By 9:30 we were tucked up in bed and watching more tv – not very rock and roll but totally cosy and exactly what we wanted to do!

Boxing Day was another day of rest. We had a late start and then headed over to Gary’s Mum’s for lunch before heading back over to my family to say goodbye to my Grandad who was heading back home. Reports of snow and torrential rain were justified as the freezing rain hit, but thankfully no snow for us, only sleet onto wet ground. We’re hoping that the upcoming weather doesn’t scupper our new year plans.

We’ve had a couple of really wonderful relaxing days and we’re now ready to hit the gym, sort out the house and start 2015 with a bang. We already have quite a few things planned for next year and they’re all very exciting! So we’re going to enjoy the rest of the weekend and then hit the ground running in preparation for January. Another successful Christmas.