Friday, 30 January 2015

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday, peeps!
I woke this morning to a couple of inches of snow on the ground, which made my usual 10-minute journey to work take over an hour; oh yes, us Brits and our transport systems fall apart when hit with a sprinkling of snow.

Anyway, on with today's order of business...

1 | Last weekend was a fantastic one that consisted of a delicious takeaway, a great night in with friends, breakfast out, too much food, and gifts for my fave man, who turned 33 on Monday. I wish every weekend was as much fun!

2 | Today is pay day the last working day of January. It's February on Sunday, so we've officially made it through the longest month of the year, guys #survivors

3 | I made a delicious three bean chilli in the slow cooker this week, although next time I will add a little more chilli powder because it didn't quite have the kick I would have liked.


4 | Hopefully this weekend will see Hubs and I starting some DIY, as well as attending my sister-in-law's 30th birthday party :)

5 | After fighting my way through the snow to work this morning, I was immeasurably cheered up by this:
You're welcome!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Bon's Book Club: January

Happy Thursday, peeps.
Today I'm linking up with the gorgeous Bonnie and her January book club co-host, Casie, to share my thoughts on
Wonder by R.J. Palacio


Goodreads description:
"My name is August. I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.'

Auggie wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things - eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary - inside. But ordinary kids don't make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren't stared at wherever they go.

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. Now, for the first time, he's being sent to a real school - and he's dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted - but can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, underneath it all?"

I originally read this book in February 2013 and loved it, so I was more than happy to re-read it to join in with Bonnie's Book Club. I loved reading about Auggie and his friends that I actually gave the book to two friends and my mum to read; they all loved it too. It's such a quick read that anyone can read it, no matter how pushed for time they are. 

Book Club questions:
+ What did you think of Palacio's style of point of view - switching up who was telling the story so often? What did you like and not like about it?

I liked hearing about events from other people's points of view, especially part two from Auggie's sister, Via. It made me realise how hard it must be to be the 'ordinary' sibling to a child like Auggie. I also like that we start and end the book from Auggie's point of view.

I have to confess, I sobbed at the ending, but they weren't all sad tears. I was sad that I was coming to the end of the book and that Auggie would be leaving me, but I was also crying tears of joy. The ending is so uplifting but so 'normal and ordinary', exactly what Auggie had wanted all his life. 

+ Did you read The Julian chapters?  Did you like them?

I didn't. I bought the book before the Julian chapters were released and I wasn't gonna buy it again just to read them. I'm getting tighter in my old age!

+ Favourite minor character? (Not Auggie)

I have to say, I loved Jack and I loved Via. I loved the way Jack stuck up for Auggie and I loved how fiercely Via wanted to protect her little brother; having a little brother myself, I can relate. 

+ What did Palacio do in telling this story to make it 'real' for you?

Auggie has loving parents, a protective sister and a positive attitude but this story still takes you on an emotional roller-coaster ride, from hilarity to anger to sadness. It shows you that not all kids are nice. It shows you that not all adults are nice. However it does show you that no matter how hard you think you have it, someone always has it worse, and when you think life can't  possibly get any harder or more challenging, sometimes it does. But it gets worse, so that something better can come along - it's a bit like weathering the storm; you can't have a rainbow without the rain! 

+ How did Wonder affect you emotionally?

Wonder stayed with me long after I closed the book. It made me think about others and how I shouldn't judge them so quickly or harshly; they might be going through things I know nothing about so I should be kinder. Being kind to others is the moral of this story and I often think about Auggie and his pals. I'd love a sequel to this book!


Happy Friday-eve!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Happy Birthday, Hubby

This cutie turns 33 years old today...
Feel free to send Hubby some birthday love via Twitter
To celebrate this birthday, and because you guys haven't heard from Tom for a while, I thought I'd sit down and ask him a few things about birthdays and then play a little game of word association...

So, how do you feel about turning 33?

Why? What are you doing? Why are you recording this?

Because I want to put something on my blog in honour of your birthday.

Oh, ok. (sits up straighter and smiles) It's no problem, 33, is it?! I've been through the barrier of 30, so...

What do you hope I have bought you?

Something from the Tottenham shop. (Luckily I have)

What do you love most about birthdays?

It's all about you for a day!

What do you hate most about birthdays?

(laughing) That it's all about you.

So not getting older?

No, I'm alright with getting older now; it's  just part of life init!

So far, which birthday has been your favourite?

18!

Why?

Because I could officially and legally buy alcohol, rather than being cheeky and asking someone to get it for you. 
You're also officially an adult!

Say the first thing that comes in to your head when I say:

Birthday

Boy

Food

Nice

Cake

Chocolate

Football

Spurs

Supernatural

(long pause)

Yeah...

That's not a word (obviously I know it is, but in relation to the game, it's not)

(another long pause)

The first word Tom

Oh ok... good (he's such a bad liar)

Blogging

Good

Posing for Photos

Love it!

Cat

Dog

Dog

Cat

(At this point, we were both hysterically laughing)

Home

Heart

Love

Heart

You can't have the same word!

You

Finally, what do you want to say to all of the other boys out there whose wives have blogs?
Yeah, just get used to it... It's part of life and it's not going anywhere!

Happy Birthday, gorgeous boy!

Friday, 23 January 2015

High Five for Friday

Happy freakin' Friday, peeps! 
I'm so glad it's finally  here; this week has felt longggg and I've been busy at work (I even had to take work home on Wednesday and Thursday night) so I can't wait to go home tonight, chill out and turn my alarm off :)
1 | It's been super cold this week here in Blightly (although we haven't had any lasting snow where I am), so I've been filling up on delicious and warming lunches and dinners like homemade soup and beans and cheese on a baked spud mmmmmm! 

2 | Supernatural, Arrow and The Flash returned this week, as did The Fosters and Chasing Life :) It feels like October all over again! 

3 | My beautiful hubby, who turns 33 on Monday, kindly fixed my blog buttons on Tuesday night. The image hasn't been showing up for months, but I had no idea how to fix them, so I'm thrilled that they work once again. If you like what you read here, feel free to take the HTML for a button and put it on your blog - let me know if you do cuz it'd be super cool to see :)

4 | My Supernatural Convention ticket arrived via email this morning. #beyondexcited

5 | As I already said, Hubby celebrates another birthday on Monday, so tomorrow evening we're planning to enjoy a takeaway and a piece of cake with some dear friends who we've not seen for ages. I can't think of a better way to spend an evening.

As there are no photos in this post, have this selfie Hubs and I took last Sunday :)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

Happy Hump Day, Blogland.
Today I want to talk to you about birds, and encouraging them to your gardens this winter.

Why do I wanna talk about birds? Well, this weekend it's the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch, when the RSPB ask people across Britain to take an hour out of their weekend to observe and take note of the birds that visit their garden. This 'Big Garden Birdwatch' is an annual event that helps the RSPB get an accurate view of how British birds are doing. Find out more here and get some great Big Garden Birdwatch downloads.

If you want to encourage all of Britain’s birds into your garden, you’ll need to give them a reason to visit and what better reason to visit than for food #hellyeah. Over half of British adults already feed the birds that visit their garden, but to ensure wild birds make it through harsh winters, more of us need to leave food out for our feathered friends. 

A great food source to leave out for birds is mixed bird seed, which can be bought ready-mixed from pet stores and even Wilkinsons; the best mixtures contain plenty of flaked maize, sunflower seeds, and peanut granules, but note that mixes that contain chunks or whole nuts are suitable for winter feeding only. It’s also best to avoid mixtures that have split peas, beans, dried rice or lentils, as well as mixtures containing green or pink lumps, as only the large species can eat these dry.

Black sunflower seeds are an excellent year-round food, and in many areas are even more popular than peanuts. The oil content is higher in black than striped ones, and so they are much better. Peanuts are however, popular with tits, greenfinches, house sparrows, nuthatches, great spotted woodpeckers and siskins, and are rich in fat. Crushed or grated nuts attract robins, dunnocks and even wrens, but beware peanuts can be high in a natural toxin, which can kill birds, so buy from a reputable dealer.

Fat balls and other fat-based food bars are excellent winter food, but remember, if they are sold in nylon mesh bags, always remove the bag before putting the fat ball out, as the soft mesh can trap and injure birds. Mealworms (#yuk) are a natural food and can be used to feed birds throughout the year; they’re relished by robins and blue tits, and may attract other insect-eating birds such as pied wagtails. 

Finally, you can always feed garden birds leftover and stale, but not mouldy bread. Many moulds are harmless, but some can cause respiratory infections in birds, and so it is best to be cautious and avoid mouldy food entirely. If food turns mouldy or stale on your birdtable, you are probably placing out too large a quantity for the birds to eat in one day. Always remove any stale or mouldy food promptly as it provides a breeding ground for salmonella bacteria, which can cause food poisoning. 
By providing supplementary food in your garden during the winter months, and especially during particularly cold snaps (like the one we're in the midst of right now #bbrrrrr!), will bring some amazing birds into your garden and you’ll be surprised how fascinating you find their behaviour and colours – they’ll brighten up any bare garden.

Monday, 19 January 2015

I'm Currently...


Listening to: Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson & Burno Mars

Anticipating: The return of Supernatural, The Flash & Arrow later this week #TVaddict

Tweeting: Retweeting anecdotes from this past weekend's Supernatural convention in San Francisco 

Instagramming: Photos of my cute husband!

Pinning: Home decor ideas #prettystandard

Wearing on my nails:

Happy Monday!

Friday, 16 January 2015

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday, blogland.
I'm thrilled that it's finally Friday; work has been quiet again this week so it seems to have dragged; how has your week been? Today, I'm teaming up with the four new High Five for Friday hosts to bring you my highlights from the past seven days...

1. SUPERNATURAL WAS RENEWED FOR SEASON 11 THIS WEEK! EEEKKKK! 

2. Staying in the fangirl mode, I booked tickets on Wednesday for myself and two friends to go to a special showing of Backstreet Boys new movie (with live performance via satellite link) next month.
I was a tad excited!

3. I finally bought a new phone case at the weekend and it was 70% off, so they practically paid me to buy it, right?!

4. On a more serious note, my mum had to have surgery on her foot on Monday and I'm grateful to say that everything went well and she's healing - any positive/healing vibes you could spare would still be massively appreciated!

5. I'm looking forward (sadly) to a weekend of tidying and de-cluttering the house ready for some decorating at the beginning of February.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Writer's block

For the first time in well over six months, 
I have come to this blog with no idea what to write about...
Well actually, that's not entirely true. Last night, I realised I had no blog post ready for publishing today,
so I put my thinking cap on... and it came up with nothing. Nada. Diddley squat!

So I did the only sensible thing I could think of; I texted Kelly and asked for her help. She told me there was some inspiration on her Pinterest blogging board and to look there.

So I did. I also searched Pinterest for 'blogging ideas' and you know what; there are LOADS of ideas out there for people, like me, who have hit the wall. So today, being the kind and generous soul that I am, I thought I'd share with you the best 'inspiration' articles I came across, so they're all in one place #yourewelcome...

Have you got any fail-safe ways to beat the dreaded writer's block?

Monday, 12 January 2015

Cheerful chores

Happy Monday, guys!
How was your weekend?  Mine was lovely and lazy, mainly thanks to my new cleaning schedule that I briefly told you about last week. Well today, seeing as I couldn't think of anything else to share with you, I'd thought I'd take you through the specifics of said new schedule, so you too can have a clean house in no time at all...
Now, I have decided to take 30 minutes of my evening to get these tasks done each day, but if you'd prefer to do things in a morning, or take 15 minutes before work and 15 minutes after, do that; do whatever works for you. We're all different, and remember, no-one is perfect so if you're too tired or ill to find 30 minutes one day, don't stress; embrace the imperfection. Get yourself to bed earlier and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever life throws at you the following day :)

What do you think? Sounds simple right!
Can you think of any tasks I have missed?

 If you enjoyed this post, please share it via your preferred social media, thanks!

Friday, 9 January 2015

High Five for Friday, the first of 2015

Happy Friday, guys!
Man, am I glad this week is almost over; I knew the first week back at work after 12 days off would be brutal, but man alive I'm tired! I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend, especially now that I have very little cleaning to do :)

Anyway, we all know why we're here...
 photo H54Fbutton_zps973d26e1.png

1 | On Tuesday evening, Supernatural returned to UK TV screens - 10pm on E4 if you're interested.
Chicago Fire and Chicago PD also returned to US screens this week :) I've watched both shows and I can confirm they are awesome! 

2 | I ordered a 50mm camera lens and a new book from Amazon on Sunday night; astonishingly they were delivered on Tuesday afternoon :)

3 | Thankfully, I've had a pretty quiet week a work, which is a great way to get back into the routine of things after the Christmas break... which by this points feels like months ago!

4 | I found out on Wednesday that I'd won some awesome reindeer socks courtesy of a local shop's Facebook advent competition.


5 | I'm looking forward to a weekend filled with walks, photography practice and spending time with Hubby :)

Have a great weekend - make sure you do something fun!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Focus

Happy Friday eve, blogland 
and happy 80th birthday to the late, great Elvis Presley!

On Monday, I blogged for the first time this year. I told you about the two things I wanted to achieve this year. Since then I have been thinking, and I actually want to change my philosophy for 2015.

This year, I want to focus.

Focus on my goals, focus on my aims, focus so I spend my time more wisely.

I am pretty skilled at procrastination. I don't want to be. I wanted to be skilled at focusing and making shit happen!

So, I'm taking a leaf outta Gretchen Rubin's book and I'm making 12 separate New Year's Resolutions goals for 2015, one for each month.

For January, I'm choosing to focus on having a tidy house

While I'm not excessively messy, I have a habit of living in my house throughout the week, then wasting my weekend tidying up after myself! I want this to change, I want my weekends back, so I'm taking 30 minutes each night to clean. 

Monday night I cleaned the kitchen (and made dinner, and soup for lunch) whilst Hubby hoovered the living room. Do you know what a joy it was to wake up Tuesday morning and walk into a clean and tidy downstairs?! Let me tell you, it was AWESOME!

It inspired me. So, Tuesday night, I kept the kitchen clean and put in a load of washing and cleaned the bathroom! Wednesday night, I had an early night but I still managed to keep the kitchen clean clean our bedroom.

I'm on a roll. 

I'm not sure which room I'm going to clean tonight (as our other two bedrooms will take longer than 30 minutes to clean), but I'm going to do something, that way I can relax on Friday night and maybe do something fun, as a reward for all this cleaning, on Saturday!

I have goals for February (eat better), March (get fit) and April (declutter), as well as two extra goals that I plan to focus on throughout the year - spending wisely and not using my credit card. I've decided not to plan 12 goals out all in one go because I don't know what my situation will be later on in the year, so for now, I have things planned until the end of April. I'll let you know how things go!

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

#100happydays: the final week

I just realised that I've not shared with you the final week of my 100 happy days challenge...
Day 92: Last day at work for 12 days :)
Day 93: Christmas Eve breakfast treat
Day 94: MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Day 95: Hubs happy after watching his footie team win
Day 96: In Bolton for a weekend wedding
Day 97: Mr & Mrs :)
Day 98: Chillin'
Day 99: Blogging!
Day 100: HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I would highly recommend having a go at the 100 happy days challenge; I did notice myself feeling happier and appreciating the little things in life as the challenge went on because I was forced into acknowledging something that made me happy every single day for 100 days! It's amazing how the littlest of things can make you happy and it's amazing how acknowledging that happiness has an affect on your general mood and outlook on life. Although I won't be posting daily photos any more, it is my aim to continue acknowledging the little things in life that make me happy :)

You can see all my '100 happy days' posts here

To find out more about the 100 happy days challenge, or to sign up, click here.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Looking forward...

Happy Monday and Happy New Year, guys.
This is my first post of 2015, because, well, 2015 began and I was enjoying my break; my break from work, from this blog, from reality really. I wanted to just relax and enjoy the final few days of my Christmas break with the people I love. And so, I did just that!

However, today is my first day back at work. I've enjoyed 12 glorious days off work but as of 9am I was back in the office, catching up with friends and colleagues, trying to delay the inevitable just a little longer. Don't get me wrong, I love my job, but I love being at home and spending time with loved ones more (who doesn't?!).

I haven't blogged much over the last two weeks, because I needed a break. I deserved a break. Truth be told, I didn't know if I wanted to keep blogging. I didn't remember why I'd started in the first place. Not many people really stop by to read what I write on this blog and that was disheartening.

However, I don't write for other people, I write for myself. So, for now at least, I'm here and I'm going to continue blogging whenever the need to write or share some photos takes me. I might not post as often as I did last year but I'm going to aim for three posts a week.

There are other things I want to focus on and achieve in 2015, rather than my blog stats.

On New year's Day, I went for a cobweb blowing walk with my parents, and my dad asked what my goals were for 2015, and unsurprisingly to those that know me, I knew straight away. "I want a new job and to move house" I said. And, I do want those things, but you know something; I'm not going to tear myself up into knots if they don't happen. Yes I am going to do all that I can to make these dreams reality, but if they don't, well then 2015 wasn't meant to be the year I got a new job and a new house.

I've always believed in fate and that things happen for a reason and the past couple of years my faith in this manta has be solidified; every single thing that happens to you happens when it is supposed to, whether good or bad, it happens for a reason, and while you may not know the reason right this minute, you'll find out eventually and you'll know that those experiences shaped who you have become.

I'm looking forward to seeing what 2015 has in store for me and how it's going to shape my life.