This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

Hi guys, I thought I’d take the opportunity to check in, as it’s been a little while since I posted one of these. I didn’t expect to be sat here writing this post, whilst outside the place where I live is covered in snow AGAIN. It’s mid-March! I need some Spring now. I hope you’ve been enjoying the food and beauty posts that have been coming up. I even posted a book review!

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These past few weeks I’ve been a bit quiet on social media. Well, specifically on Twitter, I’ve been loving instagram. I just haven’t had anything to say on Twitter to be honest. I like to follow the rule of ‘if you’ve got nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all’. I feel like I’ve had to hold my tongue a lot in the past but for a few reasons the past couple of weeks have been particularly tough. I don’t want to start becoming part of the problem. And then twitter drama in the blogging community this past weekend, cause a LOT of angst amongst people I follow and it’s meant some people have shown their true colours, even though I pretty much always know where to look when it comes to the drama. I fear the twitter community, for bloggers anyhow, creates a fake level of self-importance. I mean, the whole industry is based on the assumption that people want (and need) to hear what you think, so when it’s done in 280 characters, it can cause confusion and conflict. Anyway, I stayed out of it, but managed to put my two cents in with a tweet which covers both sides of the argument;

“Don’t be a dick. The end”

I didn’t need 280 characters to make my point.

Speaking of social media – does anyone remember Vero…..? That lasted all of 20 minutes didn’t it? I suppose if they’d made it so that you could actually use the app when the big rush happened, people might have bedded in, but I forget it’s on my phone. After 3 days of not being able to login, it didn’t really make an impression and so to me it’s another dead platform….. I might be wrong in the future, but for now buh bye Vero.

The past few weeks have been tiring! Work has been busy, I haven’t been getting good quality sleep and I’ve been feeling run-down and not entirely well. I need Spring to happen now. I long for the sunshine, and the warmth, and not having to wear all my clothes in one go. Unfortunately, I think my hayfever season has started, so even though there’s currently snow on the ground, I’m taking antihistamines, and they’re making a difference…. I swear I should have been put down a while back.

I’ve got an exciting event to attend at the end of this week, and that involves meeting some new people. Something I’m always nervous about, but feeling (at time of writing) fairly okay with. It’s local, and it’s doing something I’ve never done before, so I’m excited. All part of trying new things this year!

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I’m still plodding away with learning calligraphy (which you can follow here on instagram) and I’ve been reading a lot more than I usually do. The first book from the Slow Sunday Book Club has been read, reviewed and discussed (see start of post for my review link) and the second book has been announced: Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella. It’s not my usual choice of reading material so I’ve yet to decide whether I’ll be joining in this month, but I did pick up another book on recommendation from Amyleigh at Northern Blood. It’s called A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness. She’s got great taste in reading material so I’m looking forward to diving into it.

G-Man and I have just completed watching the 3rd and final season of the Netflix show Love. It’s a Judd Apatow show, and I love all his stuff, so if you do too and you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend it. It’s really really good. I’ve also been watching Crashing, after being told by Gary I had to. And he’s right, it’s a good show (which also Judd Apatow’s involvement) based on the true story of the main actor, who is trying to make it in stand-up. I’ve been really enjoying TV and films about stand up recently!

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So for now, I’m still stuck in my state of hibernation, which really isn’t helping my mental state of ‘let’s stay in bed and sleep until summer’, because really I’m eager to actually get up, go out and do stuff. But the weather and the coldness is making me feel slow and lethargic. I just want some sunshine! Maybe, if we all wish for it hard enough, it might just happen? Ready…….. GO!

 

 

Let’s Talk About Snow, Baby

When I was much younger, I always loved the snow. And to an extent I still do.

Snowfall seems to create a different world from the place you know so well. Streets and parks look unfamiliar even though you might have walked or frequented them over and over again.

black and white photo of snowfall around housing estate

I’ve experience snow in a few places. Growing up it seemed like it snowed every year for the first years I can remember. In my mind’s eye I can remember photos I’ve seen of me bundled up playing in the snow. I remember the street I grew up on looking so magical, when there was heavy snowfall. The sides of the roads all slushy, deep and dirtied from vehicles trying to make their way (sometimes unsuccessfully) up the hill. And then for the longest time it just didn’t happen. For years it seemed, we just didn’t have any snow.

Then, as I grew into a young adult with responsibilities, snowfall started to become inconvenient. It once took over 3 hours to make a 30 minute trip home from work, my Dad driving, due to sudden heavy snowfall. Living in Milton Keynes, people often say all the roads look the same. I usually disagree, but on that night, everything all white and the road signs covered with the stuff, it was very disorienting.

candle on dining room table with snowy scene behind

 

Working in a mall was always fun when it snowed (not). As soon as it started you would panic you wouldn’t get home. But until the head office had notified you could leave, you were stuck. Even if the customers had all left.

New York snow is definitely the prettiest I’ve seen. I can’t explain to you why, but if you’ve ever experienced it, you’ll know what I mean. I visited for Valentine’s Day in 2003 when the city saw a record-breaking blizzard (there’s even a Wikipedia page all about it) and I was snowed into my hotel. I mean, of all the places to be snowed in, New York’s a good one. We survived on deli sandwiches and watching the great President’s Day movies on the tiny TV in our room. It was pretty fun in hindsight.

macro of snow

There’s something exciting and magical about snow. It seems to blanket over the monotony of day-to-day life, and add an extra level of interestingness. Your trips to work might be a little strange, the view from your kitchen window will be iced, and if you’re at school there’s always a chance you could get a bonus day off!

In England we’re a little famed for our over-reactions to this weather. Granted it can be genuinely dangerous on the roads, but that’s usually down to people not driving responsibly. The shelves in the shops will end up bare as people hunker down for what could be a whole 12 hours of inconvenience. Okay, I may be over exaggerating.

icicle snow drip on wire

 

My now conflicted opinion of snow comes from being a fairly new, and quite un-confident driver. When I met Gary, I couldn’t understand his negative opinion towards snow, despite his explanation. But now I’m going to stand up and say, snow is inconvenient and dangerous – and bloody cold!

Despite this, I don’t think I will ever lose the feeling that there’s a bit of magic in this kind of weather. As a child I have a distinct memory of going to bed, and listening to the main road outside. And then all at once everything became silent, and I knew it had started snowing. I wasn’t the type of person, back then, to look at a weather forecast, I was just a kid caught up in my own world, so I have no idea if it was due to snow. All I knew, without even looking outside, was that it was the kind of snow that would have turned the world white when I opened my curtains.

I used to have a theory, that if you looked directly into the sky as it started to snow, if the sky was that weird opaque pale orange colour, and all you could see was thick snowflakes rushing towards you, it would definitely stick to the ground, instead if just melting away. I was usually right.

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Today I’m talking about snow, because as I write it’s falling on the UK. And by this I mean literally – I’m watching it come down. I woke this morning, at a stupid time, in the anticipation of a snow-covered cul-de-sac outside, and I wasn’t disappointed. Some plans have sensibly already been cancelled, whilst others hang in the balance.

a snowy scene from the kitchen window

This time around, I feel a little like this snow will be a tad more special since it’s Christmas time. We don’t often get snow in December in these parts any more. It tends to land in January or February, which at least adds a little something to those nothing-y months. But that postcard idea of snowfall at Christmas rarely occurs. So this year is different.

baubles on a tinsel string

I’m not a big fan of being wet and cold, so skiing, snow angels, snowball fights or building snowmen is never on my to do list when it’s snowy. But I will say, if you’ve got nowhere to go and you’re warm and safe somewhere, it’s blooming beautiful to watch it fall.

December 21st – Let It Snow

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Let’s talk about the weather. I must say that when I was younger I loved the snow, and longed for a white Christmas, but most of my life Christmas Day has been clear and crisp and mild. In fact I can’t think of a single Christmas Day when it rained. We’ve even had some amazing Christmas Day sunsets.

I seem to remember it being snowy every year in the winter when I was very little. I can see the street I grew up on, all white and mushy, in my mind’s eye. But for the longest time I remember the weather being nothing special.

For the last few years we’ve had snow around Christmas Day but never on the day itself. I remember some very stressful Christmas weeks in retail working extra long shifts because my staff couldn’t make it into work, and crawling home in the snow trying to get through a 20 minute drive and it taking hours. For some reason when it snows everyone panics and becomes an idiot on the road. It’s fairly entertaining, just not when you want to be out in it!

This year the newspapers were saying we should expect the worst wintry weather in history. Snow storms to end them all. Thankfully this hasn’t happened (yet) and it’s remained mild. We just have very strong winds and a fair bit of rain.

I’m a fan of snow but only when I don’t have anywhere to be – though I would admit I really would love a white Christmas Day.

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Work Hard to Play Hard

I am almost at the end of what could have been an incredibly tough week, but has turned out to be a very enjoyable and rewarding week. I had to launch a new season at work which I had to plan and execute myself. I’d never done it before and had little guidance, but I pulled it off. What’s more it was completed within time and with barely any stress.  I also had my work appraisal and was marked higher than I’d marked myself on most points. Go me!

Yesterday when I walked to the bus stop I had a wonderful feeling of Spring. The sun was shining, it wasn’t too cold and there was little wind. Today we are in the midst of some severe weather warnings due to snow and flooding. I’m desperate for Spring – especially as we are expected to wear Summer clothing at work now. Freezing!

Recently, G Man and I have been re watching a lot of Cameron Crowe’s films, which I love. I really do – can’t fault them. When ‘We Bought A Zoo’ came out I was so disappointed that he had sold out and made a mushy family movie aimed at kids and full of animals. I refused to watch it. Last week it featured as one of Sky’s premieres, so today I thought I’d give it a go. I LOVED it. I take it all back, and bow to Cameron Crowe’s greatness. I was wrong and should never question him again. It was enjoyable from start to finish and I ended up with a goofy grin on my face for about the last 20 mins. I don’t like mush, but he seems to do it so well that you don’t really feel like it’s mush. I didn’t even mind the animals 🙂

I only have tomorrow to work and then I’m on holiday for a week. I
was hoping for finer weather – who knows, it might change….? But Gary and I are planning a day in London at the start of the week and visiting family towards the end. In between I’m seeing a lot of together time and movie watching which I can’t wait for. Oh and probably quite a bit of eating 😀 It’s also G Man’s birthday right at the end of the holiday, so I want to make sure I make a bit of fuss. I’m excited!

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This Week I Have Been Mostly….

For the last few days all I have wanted to do is eat and sleep and hide from the weather! Yes, boys and girls, snow hit the UK and everyone became afraid – very afraid. Though I went back to work on Sunday and apparently shoppers are not afraid! Even though people have been out and playing in the snow, I am not a fan of being cold and wet, so I have been hibernating. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Eating: All I seem to want at the moment is healthy fresh fruit and veg and salad. I have been starting with a good breakfast when I can.
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pancakes

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Blueberries seem to be my new craving, although I bought bananas yesterday (I hate bananas) and had one sliced on toast which had been spread with honey, this morning. It was very good – like having a desert for breakfast which can’t be bad.

Watching: Over the last few days we watched some more movies. In fact we watched 5 movies on Saturday! On Friday we found all our old home movies from when we first met, including our trip to America for our honeymoon. Seeing our Niece and Nephews so small was amazing! Our recent movie marathon included three new films worthy of note.

This Is 40 was hilarious and so good I want to watch it again already. It’s a sequel to Knocked Up but without Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl, and is based around Katherine Heigl’s sister’s family who featured in the original (Paul Rudd is the husband and I LOVE Paul Rudd films). I wasn’t a massive fan of Knocked Up but found this other family so entertaining in it I couldn’t miss this. As a married woman (of 6 yrs) I found a lot of the married stuff very relatable and entertaining. There is NO throwing up in this movie – a big plus. And Lena Dunham and Ryan Adams are in it too – more big pluses for me! definitely worth a watch, I’d say.

Silver Linings Playbook was on our ‘must watch’ list already but since its Oscar Nomination we really thought we ought to check it out. It was definitely worth the watch. The only part I didn’t enjoy so much was near somewhere in the middle where they all start talking in sport metaphor and I found a plot error which is really small but grated on me (and I won’t go into here because there’s no point) BUT the whole thing was just great. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence were really good in it – and it all gets a bit Pulp Fiction (in a dance way – not guns and drugs) near the end. I’m desperate to know what shade and make of nail polish Jen Lawrence wears all the way through – does anyone know?

I saw the trailer for Safety Not Guaranteed a while back. It’s based around a want ad placed in a paper

WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You’ll get paid when we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.

I knew I had seen this before, I think it floated around Pinterest for a while – and apparently it was a real placed ad but was designed to just fill space. Until someone decided to use it to make a movie. And a great movie it is too – it has an independent feel about it, but it slightly more polished than that. It’s not complicated but moves at a brisk but un-rushed pace. Entertaining and intriguing. I would definitely watch this again – if you get the chance to see it, then please try it out!

Listening: I get to hear music that suits my tastes more in my new job. I find myself going to the music box and writing down song titles and artists as I hear more music which interests me. Of late I have been really liking the music of JD McPherson. His music is like old-fashioned rock and roll from the 50s. The recording is not clean and crisp but is gritty and grimy and sounds muffled – but in a good way. If you can, please check him out. He’s actually playing in Oxford on Wednesday night if you can go and see him do! It’s, like, £12 on the door – a  bargain and I’d love to go if I could. Have a listen:

Not Reading: It’s actually been a real struggle to get back into reading this year – I’m part way through Gone Girl which I was told was a ‘can’t put down’ read. Well I keep putting it down. I’ve read one of my Moomin books and I have 5 more to read so I’m going to keep going with those and then go back to Gone Girl. I have so many books I want to read. But I’m so tired at the moment and when there’s a good opportunity to read, all I want to do is watch mindless TV. I’ll get it back, I know, but after having read so well last year, I hope I’m not losing my mojo.

Taking Photos: You have no idea how much I am loving taking pictures, and looking at other’s pictures, again. It’s so easy to just pick up my camera and take a shot. Obviously having last week off work helped because I had the time and inclination to go places, but it’s kick started me, and already I’ve taken about double the amount of photos I had in the whole of last year!

So that’s what I’ve been up to in the last week. How was yours?
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Holiday, Books and Snow

This week G Man and I have some time off work, and some time together. We’re really looking forward to some down time and just milling about to recover from the Christmas craziness. Our plans are somewhat up in the air at the moment due to the snow that is currently falling over the country. Thankfully we’re in an area where it’s not going to hit so hard. Hopefully it won’t affect our plans too much – but Milton Keynes residents are notorious for being ridiculously stupid during the snow, so who knows!

Yesterday we spent a lovely morning in bed lazing, and then did our supermarket shop for the week (which included a lot of tinned food – we’ve been snowed in before…) The afternoon was football and reading and then we got up and finally left the house.

There’s a book warehouse near to where G Man and I used to work which opens to the public for one weekend a month. There they sell a huge selection of books at discounted prices. This weekend was their January Sale and they had 80% off all the jacket prices. I spent £16 on £80 worth of books!
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It really is a little heaven of books. I have to admit I saw an Orla Kiely baby board book on colours, and it was so adorable that I bought it even though I have no children. It’s very cool and was only £2…… It’s just too stylish for a child!

Here’s what we bought anyway:

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That cookery book is AMAZING! I want to make so much from it, there are loads of ideas and the photography is wonderful!

Today we had planned to make a trip to Bicester Village but the snow has curtailed our plans. Not worth risking getting stuck in the Designer Discount Village…. or is it? What were we thinking? – that would be heaven?! Oh well, instead I’m wrapped up warm in my living room watching Nigella on the Food Network and drinking hot Earl Grey tea. That’s what almost-snow-days are for, right?
January Snow

Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow

Arg! No matter where you are in the world, I’m sure you’ve heard about the UK and it’s wonderful snow overreaction? Seriously, a little bit of snow and the country grinds to a halt.

I used to love snow, and still it has it’s beauty. When I got snowed in on holiday in New York in 2003 it was so great. New York snow is the prettiest snow I’ve ever seen. But UK snow sucks. It means that I can’t get places, and things are cancelled and it puts my other half in a bad mood because it makes the roads so dangerous. That’s mainly due to the council not gritting early enough, and idiotic, cocky, drivers on the roads.

It’s snowing outside as I write this. Tomorrow morning I am due to catch a train to London and spend the morning in Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland. Then I’m spending the evening at the 02 areana watching Paul McCartney. I’m really excited about the whole day, but I’m really worried about the travel and the cold. Urgh! Weather!

Snow can be wonderful, but as the song says, only when you’ve got “no place to go”.