Friday, December 16, 2011

WEVerb11 - 11 - Try

Try. What 12 new things do you want to do/accomplish in 2012?

Given that this blog is already a list, it's difficult trying to think of "new" things to do next year but here goes :

1.       Learn to drive our car on a motorway. I passed my test just this Friday and I will be taking my Pass Plus in the New Year.

2.       Complete the Chase Walk (all 40 miles of it).
3.       Reach peak physical fitness.
4.       Start the process for a little H!
5.       Launch the new blog after finishing this one.
6.       Reduce my chocolate consumption to only the quality stuff.
7.       Work my way through my recipe books and actually try them instead of drooling!
8.       Learn how to take photos properly, even if our camera is only a point and shoot!
9.       Make at least one item from the dress patterns in my sewing drawer
10.   Finish off things from my list – I know it’s not new but some of them won’t get done before March!
11.   Dress better – I’ve let my personal style slip since the massive weight gain and gradual loss, and I need to get it back!
12.   Develop a regular fitness regime I will stick to!

WEVerb11 - 15 - Surprise

First of all apologies these posts are coming in one go, I've not stopped all this week sorting out edible Christmas gifts.

Now, on with the next post :

Surprise. What event of 2011 affected you in an unexpected way?
This will make me sound so bad, but it wasn’t so much an event but the little things that Paul did for me this year. It’s just been subtle little changes which made me think, sh*t, we’re a married couple now, this is my husband.
He’s been more thoughtful than before and has touched me with some of the little things he’s done – like buying me flowers on his way home because I sounded down on the phone.
I can’t wait to make him a father x

WEVerb11 - 16 - Persevere

Persevere. Describe something that disappointed you in 2011 and how you persevered.
Wow, this post is going to open a can of worms.
During the course of our wedding, I was circulating the crowd (as you do) and as I approached one of the tables I realised that one of my best friends was not there. I enquired around my hen party girls as we had all exchanged numbers that weekend and no-one had heard from her. In fact, one of the hens had been in contact with her only a few days before confirming she would be at the wedding.
I put it at the back of mind because as selfish as this sounds, it was our wedding day and I had other things to think about. When we got back to the hotel that night I checked my phone; no text or missed phone call.
The following evening I accessed Facebook and changed my relationship status to Married. Again, no communication from her.
It was only on the Monday night when I put a status update about eating leftover wedding cake that I got a text message. During the following text conversation I was honest with her and said I was very disappointed she hadn’t made it to the wedding, nor bothered to contact either me or the hens earlier. I said I was willing to put it behind us and move on. Subsequently, every time we arranged to meet up she pulled out at the last minute because it wasn’t convenient for her. We then tried to arrange to go and see her, but she told us not to bother making any special effort to go and see her.
This for me was the last straw. I started to realise that it was always me making the effort to meet up and since I moved out of the area; she had never once come over to the new house, despite promising she would. So, I stopped contacting her. She stayed as a Facebook friend and I kept her number in my phone until September, but after no response to the messages about Paul’s dad I cut her off. I have grieved for a lost friend, but in hindsight, had I lost her before the wedding?
It has made me appreciate my girls so much more, I don’t make friends easily and 2012 will be my tenth anniversary with my girlies. And fingers crossed we’ll reach our golden anniversary.
At BT's wedding, excuse the bad picture quality - need to teach husband about camera focus!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

WEVerb11 - 9 - Appreciate

Appreciate. In which moment did you find yourself flooded with gratitude? How will you rally around gratitude in 2012?

I know I'm going back to the wedding again, but I am so grateful for the entire day.

I'm grateful that we had relatives travel over from Switzerland, all my godparents came despite not seeing them since my 18th birthday.

I'm grateful to Rainbow and her boyfriend for their efforts on the day, and as a result, we now have a stunning wedding video we hadn't even factored in to our planning process.

I'm grateful to my mum, who in full evening gown at 3pm, dashed to Sainsbury's so I would have a bouquet (that story is to come for my anniversary posts!).

I'm grateful to my dad, who calmed me down right before I made that step into the ceremony room, but I am not entirely grateful for his speech.

I'm grateful to Paul's mum and dad, without them we wouldn't have had outfits for the ringbearer and flower girl.

I'm grateful to BT for her reading, especially as it was given to her on the day of the wedding.

I'm going to stop there, I'm missing people off, but this much love in the morning is making me hanker for the Ferrero Rocher sat next to me on my desk

Thursday, December 8, 2011

WEVerb11 - 8 - Choose

What was the biggest choice you made in 2011? What caused you to choose what you chose?

Wow, erm, I'm trying to think now if I made any real significant choices this year.
 The most relevant one at the moment is committing myself to completing the Chase Walk in 2012.

It's a 40 mile hill walk crossing over Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, all in one go. The aim is to complete it in under 18 hours.

Cannock Chase AONB Source
I tried to find pictures of previous walks with some of my team mates, but they appear to be camera shy!

There were two reasons I wanted to complete this challenge :
  1. I wanted to complete a Charity Challenge (of some description) before we start a family.
  2. I wanted to get fit.

I'm raising money for the Eve Appeal (see my Just Giving page) who support research into gynaecological or foof cancers. (After I said I was doing this I found out about these toys via Bakerella. But Paul says I'm not allowed to carry around a cuddly foof!)

I did think about completing another type of Charity Challenge but due to my temperamental health, I could complete a sustained trek or project lasting beyond a couple of days. As it is, my problems at the moment seem to be on the level. Plus, I'm not a runner - the frontal ballast does not make for a comfortable ride!

So I decided to do the Chase Walk, Paul has done it several million times throughout his life so would be a perfect coach. I'm currently doing two to three six-mile walks each week, walking from work to halfway home. I'll be stepping this up nearer the time, as well as taking part in the 10 mile, 20 mile and 30 mile training walks (eek).

All this will hopefully get me nice and fit and toned in time for my 26th birthday, and so we can start a family, having given my body the best possible start it would need.

If anyone has any helpful tips either motivation or even nutrition I will gladly accept the help!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

WEVerb11 - 4- Haiku

Write a haiku. Sum up your year, via haiku

Snowdrop opens wide
Promise of gifts to discover
My eyes frozen

Btw, this is my first haiku, apologies if it's not the best!

WEVerb11 - 6 - Favour

What was your favorite month of 2011? Why did it beat out all 11 other months?

It had to be January of course!

Why you may ask, well :

1 - We got married!!

2 - The day before the wedding, Mr H got offered an interview for his dream job.

3 - We spent a week in the Italian Tyrol, skiing and eating gorgeous food.

4 - We returned from holiday, and Mr H had got his dream job!

5 - I had nearly a month off work due to the wedding and honeymoon. Whilst I don't hate my job, who wouldn't mind having a month off?!?

So all in all, a very busy but definitely kick ass month, oh yeah!!

WEVerb11 - 5 - Befriend

Befriend. Did you meet any new friends this year? How did they impact your 2011?

I'm trying to think now if I made any new friends this year, and in the real world I don't think I did. In fact I cut one out of my life.

I suppose the closest thing I have to new friends has been since I began this blog. Mr H frequently reminds me that the blogs I read and the ladies I have received comments from/commented on are not my friends.
But I don't know quite how to classify you all.

You have all given me help and support, even if you didn't know about it this year.

So I suppose this is the time to say thank you to you:

Jenna - Some of your earlier posts have settled my mind on a topic I will cover in my new blog as it's a bit premature for this one just yet. But I have also been inspired by your weight loss,

Brandi - Whenever I want to picture myself in a calm and beautiful place, I think of the trees at your wedding, continuing up into the heavens. (that sounds creepy doesn't it? sorry!)

Morgan - You reassure me that my need to have everything colour coordinated and matching is not just a me-thing. There are others of us out there!

Cat - You make me laugh so much in the office, and you make me laugh at the British idiosyncrasies.

Kate - There's no such thing as too much cake!

I've definitely missed out on some other bloggers, and for that I'm sorry, but I've had to draw the line ( mainly because I need to get off my lunch break)

WEVErb11 - 3 - Learn

Learn. What lesson did you learn in 2011 from “The School of Life” rather than a classroom?

Hmm, this year I learnt that you need to communicate effectively in your relationship.

Since we got married, Mr H and I have subtly changed. Our marriage is a lot more comfortable, there's less fighting and we're both responding to the other better.

How did we learn this lesson? It has been a gradual thing, but we found out that my FIL and MIL didn't discuss certain things, which to us are very important, and I wonder, had he been around, would he have done things differently?

Eee this is a bit of a melancholic post. Fingers crossed tomorrow is more upbeat!

WEVerb11 - 7 - Travel

Where did you travel this year? What was your favorite part? If you didn’t get to travel, where do you want to go next year?

This year we kept it pretty low key, we travelled to Matlock for our wedding :

Then onto Folgarida, Italy for our honeymoon

We were due to take an epic roadtrip around France, but that's indefinitely on hold for the moment.

As for next year, we're going back to Matlock for our first anniversary, and then come May, having a big old holiday in Malta.

I don't know if we'll end up anywhere else, or if we'll get the tent out next year. Just have to wait and see what happens

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

WEverb11 - 2 - Listen

Listen. What song did you listen to in 2011 to completely change your mood?  Think about ways you can you add more music to your life in 2012

I discovered Caro Emerald quite late this year, and That Man is the best song to put a wiggle in my step and make me feel tip top.

Even now, I am channelling my inner 50s chick, with my full skirted dress, red cardigan and red lipstick.

For 2012, I am hoping to buy more music. Particularly as my favourite band have reformed and are just putting the finishing touches to their next album - ya hoo!!!
When I move across to my new blog, after this year is over, I'll be posting about all sorts of music that I'm coming across, from the popular to the downright weird.
As a side note, I think my husband may ban me from listening to Radio Two's musicals programme, singing Under the Sea at the top of my voice in the car on Sunday wasn't appreciated. Especially not with my (horrendous) jamaican accent!

Monday, December 5, 2011

WEVerb11 - 1 - Select One Word

Choose one word. Encapsulate the year 2011 in one word. Explain why. Imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2012 for you? In the spirit of where this all started… this

So how do I encapsulate 2011 in one word?


(And not this kind)

 8th January 2011 saw us become Mr and Mrs H, and that stabilised our relationship. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't rocky before, but the marrieds of you out there  know that feeling of security and stability that comes from having the ring on your finger and the piece of paper stating you're married.

We were tested this year, with the death of my father-in-law and I think that has further stabilised our relationship. It was tough at the time, but we have come through it.

As for 2012, I'm hoping  the words New Beginnings will be appropriate - and yes I know it's two words. Just humour me please!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Om Nom Nom Nom

Tick! I tried a food stuff I couldn't pronounce this past weekend, and some other delicacies.

Husband decided to whisk me away to Manchester for the weekend and visit the Christmas Market there.

On the Friday night we walked from the hotel to :

Kro Bar in the Trafford Centre

I persuaded husband to buy the Danish Meat platter for dinner, and it was delicious!

Although he was quite disgusted with the prawn and egg mayo in the middle topped with caviar - ah well his loss!

The following day we visited the Christmas Market in Manchester City Centre. Apologies for the lack of pictures but it was too busy to pull out a camera for piccies.

But ...  I got to try some Raclette from the Swiss stand

and then a Canoli from an Italian stand

Muchos nommage!

Book Reviews - Full of Phonies

So I've been a bit lax on the book reading front and I think I've currently got four on the go at the moment.

To go back to a book from a while ago, Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger. A couple of weeks ago I went to a talk as part of Literary Leicester, on Catcher in the Rye. When I read it a few months back I honestly didn't get it.

I got that Holden was trying to find his place in life and his apathy meant that all the things he deemed to be phony would never be tackled. His solution was to hole up in a cabin in the wilderness, come on!

But I didn't get why it was so acclaimed, however, after attending this talk, I sort of now do. Dr Sarah Graham, University of Leicester, explained the context in which the book was written and what came before it. I can now see that at that time, it was one of better books which encapsulated the teenage experience and it's sense of disassociation from the world when dealing with grief. (Flip, that sounds vaguely academic for me! eek!)

I think this is one of the books which I needed the classroom atmosphere to digest fully, or at least a copy of the footnotes! Not sure who I would recommend read this, I wouldn't say it's a universal book because the book demands a certain empathy from its reader, because let's face it, some people won't really care about a teenage dropout drinking his way around Manhattan.

I'm currently reading Moby Dick so lead on Ishmael ...

Friday, October 28, 2011

And Down to Earth With a Bump!

Although I'm relearning my French, and I thought I was doing well, I was brought down to earth with a bump today!

I work in a University and one of the members of staff was needing some help deciphering the French answerphone system. Evenutally we got the problem sorted but it was a mix of French and English in the end that did it. Whoops! Oh and my Sexy Foreign Woman providing me with vocab words when I got stuck, thanks darlin!

Maybe I should have more lessons :

fail owned pwned pictures

Or not ...

Happy weekend guys, I'm off for a dirty weekend and to improve the lives of Mancunians by smiling at 100 of them!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


As fun as it sounds to try and make our house take off with loads of balloons, Mythbusters totally busted that one!

But ...  we did do the balloon release this weekend. We took Paul's niece and nephew out to the Build a Bear Workshop for her birthday treat. (Got to commend BABW in Leicester, they were fantastic!)

And then we came back and did the balloon release :

Look at the joy on those kids faces!

We had also planned on doing Chat Roulette that night as part of Paul's birthday celebrations, but this happened :

Cocktails at Hakamou, Dancing at Mosh, Bed at 3am ... whoops

Ooh, and as another side thing, I tried my hand at icing a cake (albeit a dinky one) but for my first try I am pretty chuffed :

Can I count this as having properly iced a cake?!?!?!?!?!?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

If I was a ... I'd be ...

Season :
I'd be winter. I count down the days until the snow begins and spend far too much time frolicking in it (so if you see strange footprints in the snow in Leicester - there's a good chance it's me!) Plus, I'm one of the strange people who overheats in winter and doesn't require 16 million layers! This winter will be extra special as we celebrate our first wedding anniversary.

Colour :
I would be the deepest shade of blue - the colour of Van Gogh's Starry Night, the sky twinkling with stars - bliss. Hence the colour of my wedding dress.

Scent :
I'd be home baking. I aim to do at least one bit of home baking each month, and usually end up doing more. Nothing is more enjoyable than the scent of cakes and biscuits coming out of the oven.

Time of Day :
I would be three o'clock in the morning. It's the hour where most people are asleep in bed and the world is still and dark.

Food :
I'd be coconut - white creamy goodness that's perfect for any occasion - cocktails, cakes you name it.

Drink :
I would be a tall glass of Baileys, because let's face it pub measures aren't big enough - it has to be a tall glass!

Stone :
I'd be Snowflake Obsidian. I own quite a few chunks of the stuff and I love the contrast of dark and light, plus who doesn't love a snowflake!

Flower :
I would be a Crocus. I love the carpets of crocii at the onset of spring. Although I'm sad winter is over, I love seeing the little champions emerge from the soil and snow.

Place :
I'd be a hidden woodland copse. I think these places are so magical and beautiful because they untouched.

Sources : Season, Colour, Scent, Time of Day, Food, Drink, Stone, Flower, Place

I found this post via Silver Pencils and An Imperfectly Perfect Life.

So what would you be?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Road Less Travelled Part One

As you'll know by now, we didn't get to go on our fantabulous road trip and we're not sure when we're going to get to do it.

So that all the research I did was not for naught, I ask you to come with me on a virtual road trip to show you what we would have done :

Day -1 : Staying at the Premier Inn, Dunkirk, Canterbury overnight ready to catch the ferry in the morning to France!!!

Day 1 : Taking the ferry from Dover, England to Dunkerque, France. Maybe I'll repeat what I did the last time I was on the ferry (and no, for those of you who were with me on that school trip, I will not fall over!) but sing to the cliffs as we depart our fair shores :

Yes, I know, I'm an idiot. Moving on ....

We would arrive in Dunkerque around 11am local time, and drive down to Troyes for our first stop.

So why Troyes, well, whilst I was doing some research on places to go, this site told me that Troyes (along with Lyon and Dijon) was the place to go. As it happened, the route we were taking encorporated all these places quite neatly.

The plan when we arrived in Troyes (apart from some sneaky shopping - sorry Paul but you know it had to happen!) was a little bit vague. When we were making the bookings we encountered two problems :
1 - the (only) campsite wouldn't book us in for one night, however, if we turned up on the day and they had spaces we could stay. So, we had to scout out for other campsites in the area, just in case this one was full and we had to carry on down the road.
2 - the tourism website is only in French, and whilst I can speak a fair bit of it, it's a bit irritating when you're trying to plan activities having to refer to a dictionary every 5 seconds.
However, we decided to follow the Rue des Chats, which took in sites around the town, and just follow our noses to see what was around.

If we were able to stay, the campsite we were planning on visiting was the Camping Municipal de Troyes, as recommended by Cool Camping France.

Next Post - Day Two - Lyon ...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Carried Away to Distant Lands

Recently, I visited Georgia, USA with Scarlett O'Hara and the South American jungle with the Buendia Family.

First of all, a disclaimer, Gone with the Wind is like the film - it's a bit of an epic! (1000+ pages)

I have watched the film, many many moons ago when I stumbled upon it one Christmas eve on the telly, but I don't remember it at all. The book was brilliant.
I enjoy reading books which have a historical context and although the amount of history did get a bit much at times, it was absolutely essential for those of us who haven't been taught about the American Civil War in school.
This book will take you a long time to read, but it is so worth it. Scarlett O'Hara is, to begin with, a heroine most unlikely and not one you want to relate to, but as the story develops, you begin to understand who she is and support her, even if you think marrying Frank Kennedy was a bad idea!

As for the Buendia family, or One Hundred Years of Solitude. This was definitely an interesting book and the family tree at the beginning definitely helping trying to decipher the Jose Arcadios from the Aurelianos.
I admit my attention waned when the story focussed on the male characters.
This is one of those books that sort of documents a history instead of a story. It also has a moral message coming all thr way through which for those of you who are Star Trek fans, would contervene the Prime Directive (yes, I know, geek!)In other words, let people be and don't interfere in less advanced societies, it doesn't always work out for the best.

Out of the two books I'm backing Gone With the Wind the whole way.

I'm now nearly a third of the way through the books, phew!

BTW I have read Catcher in the Rye but I am saving the review until I have been to this Catcher in the Rye seminar being held at work. Maybe another perspective will help me to appreciate it more.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sad News

As you may have seen from my last post, my father in law was taken ill and we had to cancel our holiday.

Unfortunately, my father in law lost the fight and passed away on Tuesday evening, peacefully, and surrounded by his sons and wife.

I appreciate the majority of you wouldn't know who he was, but I feel compelled to write a little eulogy to honour the past six years I have known him.

My husband's father was a very generous and giving man.
Without his help Paul and I would not be where we are today.
Without his help the Scouting Movement in the West Midlands, I can guarantee would not be where it is today.
Without his help, my husband would not be the man he is today and for that I am eternally grateful to my father in law.

I don't hold any specific religious beliefs but wherever he is, I hope he is happy, safe and free of pain.

We love you xxx (ps i've let thorntons know they need to reduce their toffee production)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Absent Blogger

Apologies to all bloggers who I read and comment on, and for those that read this site.

As we speak, life in our household is upside down.

My father in law is very ill in hospital and we have had to cancel our roadtrip, which we would be going on tomorrow.

If you message me, that's fine, just don't expect an immediate response

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Diary of a Phoneless Week

Day 1 – Tuesday
My husband had ordered me to keep my phone on me in case of emergency, which was just as well. He came to pick me up and the car battery died, I had to phone him to find out where he was. However, I then switched the phone back off and didn’t touch it.
Very odd not ringing my mum to discuss the day’s events, particularly as this week I have been working on my family tree and I needed some gaps filling in and wanted to report what I’d found. didn’t get a chance to ring them from the landline later as was at my in-laws house for a meal and we didn’t get back until bed time.
Day 2 - Wednesday
Tonight was date night, the plan being we would go to see Harry Potter and then out for dinner. However the traffic situation conspired against us and we missed the showing. Instead we spent a lovely evening with dinner at Le Bistrot Paris and cocktails at Hakamou. On the way back to the car, I decided to have an ice cream from a vending machine, which was so cold I left part of my cheek stuck to the lolly. Once we got home, I then took advantage of the landline to speak to my dad about the family tree project.
There was only a few bad points about not having my phone on today, one was that my driving instructor had to Facebook me to rearrange my lesson and two, was when I was waiting for Paul to pick me up I couldn’t just give my parents a ring. I sometimes phone them out of security if I’m not feeling too safe and just want that bit of comfort.
Day 3 – Thursday
I forgot about the roadworks! I needed to pick up a few last minute essentials for our upcoming holiday, so after picking up some new shoes and walking trousers (both on sale – bonus!!!) I made to catch the bus home. Normally, Paul would ring me on the way home to find out where I was on the journey and if we could meet up so I could be with him in the car on the way – however, no such luck with the Phoneless week.
Currently they are resurfacing the main road through our village and I am having to walk an extra 20 mins each way to get to the nearest bus stop, so instead of meeting up with husband for a nice drive home, I had a lovely walk uphill ahead of me.
I was already knackered from A-Level Results Day and promptly arrived home, got changed into my pyjamas and crawled under the blanket on the sofa – he can cook for once!
Day 4 – Friday
Husband off on stag weekend in Newcastle today. Missing him, especially the text messages to break up his journey. Hobbled home after new shoes wore holes in my heels – definitely need to buy some heel grippers tomorrow. Had to wait until Paul rang me for an evening chat, boo! Spoke to the parents on the landline and debriefed them on my family tree findings, with a few extra nuts to be added!
Day 5 – Saturday
Wandered into Hinckley today, to-do list included visting the library, buying some heel grippers and visiting the carpet store. Mum rang me when I got home to tell me about the 1940s Festival she’d been to and got scared to death by fox fur (eeurgh!) so didn't really miss the phone today as I find it rude to go up to the tills whilst you're on the phone, you also lose that interaction with the staff.
Day 6 – Sunday
Was woken up at 8.30am by a caller who didn’t leave a message – very frustrating.  Went to check the voicemails and found one from my bus stop friend offering me a lift to the bus stop in the morning, Wednesday morning that is – whoops! Found out later the phone call was from my MIL who was in hospital with FIL and trying to get hold of husband. On the plus side, at least he wasn’t on a phoneless week.
Day 7 - Monday
Having the phone off made things difficult again as husband was with his parents trying to sort out when his dad would be transferred to Hammersmith Hospital. I got home from work not knowing whether he was in London or Burton. Normally he would text me with updates so I'd know where he was and what was going on.

funny pictures of cats with captions

So what did I learn?
Erm, in hindsight this was probably not the best week to have turned the phone off in terms of little emergencies and the like, but then once upon a time, we had to cope with them without the use of mobiles. Things were definitely made easier using Facebook and email.
Would I do it again? To a certain extent I do it each time we go abroad as I'm too cheap to pay calls and texts (this is the Yorkshire side in me!) but as an experiment during "normal" times, probably not. I didn't realise how much I used the phone until it was gone. I can't think how anyone who gets their email/millions of texts/frequent phonecalls would cope with the loss.
Now that's just one more thing off the list, done!

Monday, August 22, 2011

An Intellectual Debate with Holmes and Langdon

As I'm writing this post I am thinking of the million and one things I need to get done in this next week so apologies if it's brief.

Right, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Three main points came from this book :

1 - Didn't know Sherlock Holmes enjoyed cocaine - it's in there, trust me
2 - Definitely would read to my children (minus mentioning the above point!) as little short adventure stories
3 - The one negative point is that some of the stories felt a bit predictable, but is this due to the template Conan Doyle created being used in other examples of the crime genre? Either way, some of the stories I guessed the endings to, but not all.

When I was reading the book I was reminded of the series I watched several years ago, Murder Rooms : Mysteries of the Real Sherlock Holmes, if you can catch it, definitely worth a look.

As for Robert Langdon, now infamous as the main character in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code.

Yup, this one lived up to the hype. I've never been to the Louvre and the description in the book had me walking through the galleries alongside Fache and Langdon. I only wished I hadn't seen the movie and spoiled the identity of "The Teacher" but other than that, it drew me in and wouldn't let me go until I'd finished it - damn my day job!

Funny Pictures of Cats With Captions
And no, Agatha Christie is not on my list! Diary of a Phoneless Week coming soon ...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I Can't Hear the Sound of Ringing

Whilst, I'm living without my mobile on I've been getting on with another project - my family tree!

I've decided that if I can get back as far as the 1837 Census, I will be happy. Already I have logged details for 96 of my relatives, and I've got more to go!

It's been so exciting to try and trace relatives we don't even have names for, for example my great grandparents (all but one of my grandparents have passed on so cannot ask them for help).

One relative I'm particularly looking forward to tracing is my Great Aunty Dolly (who married into the family). The story goes that when she was very young, her father died and left the family penniless. Dolly's mum kept Dolly with her and went to work, but the siblings supposedly went to Canada and were never seen or heard from again.
Although Aunty Dolly died nearly a decade ago now, I would like to see if I could find out what happened. As a child, fascinated by the Anastasia Romanov story I did wonder ... but Dolly wasn't a redhead!

I can't wait to find out more about my ancestors, and will publish a diary of the mobile-less week shortly

Thursday, August 11, 2011

No communicado!

Right, the next thing I am going to tick off my list is turning my mobile phone off for a week.
funny pictures of cats with captions

I'm not quite sure what motivated me to put this on the list, I think I saw it on someone else's and thought, hey, I'll give that a try.

As a prediction for the next week (starting Tuesday 16th August), I think it is going to be very strange living without my phone.

I am by no means attached to it, unlike my husband, but each evening as I leave work and walk down for the bus, I call my parents. Will I notice anything new now I'm not distracted by the conversation and explaining to my parents what that weird noise was in the background (invariably the buses as they zoom past!)

I don't receive a lot of texts, but then I don't send a lot. I can't see this being a major issue.

Games on my phone, I am currently addicted to a ball popping game and Alchemy, and when I've finished my book on bus journeys I resort to playing on the phone. Hmm.

And finally, the main issue I can see is the texts and phone calls I get from my husband. I won't get a phone call letting me know he is half an hour away for me to put the dinner on, or asking where I am so he can pick me up on his way home. :-( I'm already feeling sad about this one.

But, hey ho, let's see how it goes. I will report back on Tuesday 23rd August with my findings!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Busy Busy Busy

I seem to spend more time reading other people's blogs than updating my own.

I'm also having difficulties in commenting on other people's blogs which is a bit of a pain in the backside.

Still busily planning our trip to France, but Paul crossed something off his bucket list this weekend - he got to drive an Aston Martin DB6.

For his 30th, my parents bought him a driving experience which, due to work and the wedding, he hasn't been able to book until now.

As you can see below, he really enjoyed himself :

Ooh, and on a random note (there's a surprise!) here's a picture of me from our fancy dress bbq/house party :

Sayonara! I'm off to make (yet another) cake!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

July Update

Wow, posting has been a bit slow recently, I can attribute that mainly to being busy and a tiny addiction to a game on Facebook (if I don't say its name it can't get me)

funny pictures - Shredding your to-do list.

Right, so where am I with the list?

8 - Read as many of the books from the Book List Challenge
Unsurprisingly, this is the one item I'm not having problems completing. I'm nearly a third of the way through the books and have travelled across a wide variety of genres. I'm hoping to take some of the French authored books away with me on our road trip, maybe a little Madam Bovary n'est-ce pas?

16 - Turn off my mobile for a week
I am dying to do this, but at the moment my cousin is 9 days overdue with her first - and I won't turn off my phone until she pops. I want to get this done this month though.

21 - Stick a pin in the map and go on a road trip to get there
Not long now until our mini epic road trip! So excited, I've nearly got all my clothes (the important bits I know). I've already posted a little about it before but will unleash the full set of photos and itinerary when we get back.

25 - Relearn to speak French
I found a brilliant program on the BBC website which I am working my way through and after having a random conversation about blue cats with my Sexy Foreign Woman in French, I think we should be alright for our impending French road trip. I've even learned how to ask that my photos be put onto CD so I can keep the hundreds of pictures I'll be taking of our adventure.

I think that's enough to be getting on with for now, some of the other items on the list are still works in progress so once they're completed I'll let you know.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cathy and Heathcliff versus Harry?

As you may have guessed, I've finished Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling.

So which one did I prefer?

Wuthering Heights was very easy to read, I just flew through it. I think this was due to the story being narrated by the housekeeper Nelly. There ain't nowt like a common person to talk proper like!

Not sure if I actually liked the story, I think if Heathcliff was around today he'd have been given a restraining order, and possibly some anger management classes. As for Cathy, I think she was definitely missing a few shillings. Although I love my husband etc etc, I don't think I've ever been in an all-consuming love to the point where if we weren't together we'd hurt other people as well as each other. I'm kinda glad about that.
Who would I recommend it to? I don't honestly know is the answer. It is one of those books you "should" read but I don't know if I'd actually tell people to do so. Hmm .....

As for Harry Potter, again flew through the book. It filled in some gaps in my Harry Potter knowledge as up to this point I have only ever seen the films. The only downside I found was that my imagination wasn't really invoked as I pictured the characters as the actors (if that makes sense). I was surprised at almost how slow the story progressed, half way through and we'd only just reached Hogwarts. But as we got to the third corridor and past Fluffy, the story raced along.
Definitely would recommend this book, particularly for children who haven't seen the film and therefore can use their own imagination to bring the book to life and not rely on the box in the corner of the room.

As a final note if anyone hasn't seen this, have a giggle ....

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Without a Shadow of a Wind of a Doubt

Here is my very belated post on Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

Two words - READ IT!

I didn't know what to expect from this book and I thoroughly enjoyed it, I can't wait to read the other book by him from the list.

The story follows a young boy in his pursuit of the man behind the book. As he delves into the writers past, echoes appear in his own life going from child to young man. The writer is very good at adding twists and turns into the story, entwining the characters even tighter.

Would recommend it to anyone, and if you don't read a lot, it's a perfect book for holiday - especially if you're going to Barcelona.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Flog the blogger!

Eek, I am so sorry I haven't been blogging recently. A few weeks ago I had a routine health procedure done and it took the wind right out of my sails.

I'm still battling through Middlemarch - maybe this is a euphemism for Frodo's journey?!

I have had a real creative burst with the novel so fingers crossed some words should be meeting paper soon.

The sewing is coming on, I managed to sew some voiles for our windows so no more peeping toms dog walkers able to see straight into our living room. Unfortunately now I've fallen in love with my sewing machine which is older than I am and I want to start all my planned sewing projects. Next task is to add some straps to a dress for a friend's wedding coming up.
Last time I saw this friend's dad I was wearing a strapless dress and ended up doing a Judy Finnegan at him, for those who don't remember :

Hence why I need the straps!

On that note I will leave you with this question, what should I wear to an Abba tribute night?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Good Luck Friday

It's going to be a tense day here at work, the undergraduate finalists find out their degree classifications.

Will any of the students make a lap of honour around the department upon hearing their result (this did actually happen one year)? Or will they just retire to the pub for the night? Who knows?

For any of the current finalists who are reading this, good luck!
funny pictures of cats with captions

Oh and by the by, I made whoopie pies last night for the first time! First come first served in my office at work!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nommage Wednesdays

It's time for a very overdue post on the experiment I inflicted on treated my colleagues at work to, Chocolate Beetroot Cupcakes.

The original recipe can be found here, but as you will see, I tweaked it from being a cake to cupcake format as it's easier to disperse!

First of all, I want to put my hands up and say although I like chocolate I am not a fan of chocolate cake, or chocolate flavoured products in general. I tried this recipe in the hope of finding a chocolate cake I actually like, but no, the quest continues.

Anyhoo, back to the recipe.

First you put your cocoa powder, flour and sugar in a bowl.

Then melt the chocolate and butter over simmering water.

The recipe now calls for you to liquidise the beetroot then add the eggs, but it wasn't working until I added the eggs.

Add the wet mixtures to the dry and mix together. It will all of a sudden bind and become a thick sticky lump.

I then spooned the mixture into muffin cases. This was my mistake, I would recommend using fairy cake cases as the mix doesn't rise all that much and as this cake was very rich, people were throwing away half of it as they couldn't eat it all in one go.

Note to self : don't drip melted chocolate over the eggs whilst transferring ingredients - it's a waste!

The recipe says to bake for 50 minutes but as these are cupcakes, I didn't use that long and just tested them with my handy little cake tool

To ice the top I used a cream cheese (Philadelphia icing) mixed with some of the beetroot juice and topped with pink sugar sprinkles.

The cake recipe calls for some ganache which I didn't try but if I made this recipe again I would probably do a sort of butterfly cake with the ganache under a layer of the cream cheese icing.

Happy Baking, I'm trying whoopie pies this week