On this day in 2009…

Hello chaps and chapesses!

Y’know how Facebook does that thing where it shows you what you posted on this day in the past, and you skip past quickly so you don’t have

to look at the old photos and wonder what the hell you were wearing?

Well today, Facebook told me that on 2nd February 2009 – 7 years ago today – I posted 25 random facts about myself on Facebook.  It was one of those super-fun ‘tag a friend to do this and then tag the person who tagged you’ things that were all the rage back then.

Back in those days, 21 year old me was living in Montreal, working part time, studying for third year at university, and generally having wonderful adventures with fabulous people.

I thought it would be the most excellent fun to see what I wrote about myself, and how much (if at all) I’ve changed in the last 7 years.

25 Random Facts About Me

1. I hate making decisions because I’m really bad at it.
I’ve gotten way better at this as I’ve gotten older.  Even managed to choose my wedding dress in one attempt – how’s that for decisive!

2. When I choose shampoo, it’s usually because of the smell.
….and if it’s on offer, and if it’s a decent brand. 

3. Accents fascinate me. If I mimck your accent, I’m not taking the piss, I’m just showing appreciation.
I still love accents, but I fight the urge to mimick these days.  People don’t seem to like it.

4. I believe that what goes around comes around.
True dat.

5. Life is too short for sloppy grammar. Especially in newspapers and magazines. Don’t get me started.
I’m not as militant about this now, but it does still irk me.

6. I make a badass cup of tea.
Nobody who’s had a brew of mine would argue with that.  I’m actually thinking about putting this skill on my CV.

7. I know all the words to the Elephant Love Medley from Moulin Rouge.
I can basically act out the whole scene with gusto.

8. I think eyes are gross. They’re all squishy and they have jelly stuff on them.
Eyeballs will never not be gross.

9. I don’t like seafood. Sorry, sushi fans. Don’t judge me.
I’ve branched out a bit in the last few years.  Scallops are good, prawns are okay, and I like sushi, but anything that looks like a character from The Little Mermaid is a no-go.

10. I hate it when people ask me what kind of music I like, because my taste is so varied that I never know where to start, so the other person usually ends up thinking I have no opinion.
I can’t actually remember the last time I was asked about my music taste.  In case you’re interested, it is still really varied.

11. Language is important to me.
Defo.  I speak three, and would love to get to five one day.

12. I go through food phases, where my favourite food changes periodically. At the moment I’m on a tomato phase.
Current favourite foods: chorizo, cawl, pic n mix.  Basically, I like ALL THE FOOD.  Apart from cherished Disney characters (see no.9)

13. I prefer cold weather to hot weather.
Still true.  Shivering is always preferable to sweating – at least you can layer up and drink hot chocolate when it’s cold.

14. I love my car.
I hadn’t been driving very long when I wrote this – the novelty’s worn off somewhat in the last 7 years.

15. I’m sentimental, so I often find it hard to let go.
Still a bit sentimental, but getting better at letting go.

16. After 5 months in Montreal, I’ve decided I want to live in a city when I grow up.
I got the whole big-city-lights thing out of my system living in Montreal for 9 months. Sometimes Chester feels too big these days – can’t beat the fresh air and open space of the countryside.

17. My friends are really important to me, and I will defend them fiercely. Grrrr innit.
Not so much of the ‘grrr innit’ these days, but yeah, my friends mean the world to me.

18. I’m glad I never have to go back to school. Uni is so much better.
Uni got much harder the year after I wrote this, and although I did still enjoy it, I wouldn’t repeat that final year if you paid me. I love learning, but that last year was a massive stressfest of deadlines and assessment, and I did not love that.  

 19. I read my horoscope every day, out of habit.
Still true!

20. I look like my dad.
Kind of, I guess.  I’m definitely not the milkman’s, put it that way.

21. I love wearing pretty shoes, but I hate how big my feet are.
I’ve gotten used to my big feet, but it’s still frustrating when there are hardly any pretty shoes in my size in the sales.

22. My favourite places in the world are Paris, Llansteffan and the river in Chester.
Still true.

23. I hate being short sighted, but I’m too much of a wuss to entertain the thought of laser treatment.
I’m a bit less of a wuss now, but only a bit, so the thought of laser surgery is still pretty scary.

24. I’m terrified of losing my marbles when I’m old. That, and getting cancer.

25. I want to learn Latin. I think it’d be cool.
I haven’t done a thing about this, but it WOULD be cool!  I could pretend to be a Roman!  Imagine that!

What were you doing in 2009?  Has much changed for you since then?

Still here

Hello chaps and chapesses!

It feels like I sit down to write one of these it’s-been-a-while-but-I’m-still-here posts every couple of months.  Let’s skip the life-has-been-soooo-busy bit and get straight into the part where I describe the last couple of months of life through the medium of verbs, shall we?

Lately, I have mostly been….

Making:  new friends, which is nice.

Cooking:  waaayyy less than I used to.

Drinking:  posh gin with fancy tonic.  I know how to live.

Reading:  up on fitness and nutrition, although I haven’t quite managed to put it into practice yet…

Wanting:  to avoid the news and listen to something more uplifting.

Looking:  forward to our wedding day, but also to just being married afterwards.

Wishing: it was easier to resist the Christmassy sugary treats.

Playing: Cards Against Humanity for the first time.  Turns out I’m really rather filthy – who knew?!

Deciding: not to bake our wedding cake myself after all.  Only so many hours in the day and all that.

Wasting: time and energy worrying about things I can’t control.

Enjoying: a little day trip to visit an old friend in Glasgow.

Waiting: impatiently for the new episode of Once Upon A Time every week.

Liking: my new job.

Wondering: if impostor syndrome will go away any time soon.

Loving: this series of The Apprentice.  Drama!

Pondering: honeymoon options, and finally settling on Sri Lanka.  SRI LANKA! Uber totes exciteballs!

Considering: wearing more skirts and dresses.  Particularly swishy ones – they make me feel fancy.

Watching:  classic Christmas films I’d never seen before, and loving them.  Yes, I am talking about Muppets Christmas Carol and Home Alone.

Hoping: I won’t get too stressed in the run up to the wedding.

Needing:  to get my hen do organised.

Smelling:  all the perfumes.  Think I may have finally found The One.

Wearing: my Christmas jumper, obvs.

Noticing:  how well Graeme’s ageing.  He’s thirty now and he’s definitely still got it.

Knowing: that the next few months are going to fly, and that I’ll be married before I know it.

Thinking: that Christmas parties are more fun when I stop drinking that little bit earlier.

Feeling: a tiny bit broody.  There, I said it.

Admiring: everything in Oasis, and wanting to buy it all.

Buying: so many Christmas presents.

Getting: my Christmas shopping finished over a week before Christmas, and feeling pretty damn good about it.

Opening: Christmas presents early.  Not really!  But it’s tempting…

Giggling: over a few festive gins.

What have you been up to?  Tell me, I want to know!

A-Z of me: G

Hello chaps and chapesses!

G is for Guilty Pleasures

Before we get into this, I just want to say that I’m not sure that there really is such a thing as a ‘guilty’ pleasure – surely if you like something, you like it, and that’s allowed.  We’re all grown-ups here.


Here are a few of my guilty pleasures:

Romantic chick-lit. Yes, it’s (often) predictable, and soppy, and romantic, and they almost always get together in the end, happily ever after.  But what can I say, I’m a sucker for a love story and a happy ending.

Disney soundtracks. I may be a grown adult with a mortgage, but there’s still something quite uplifting about singing along to Disney classics while driving along in the car.  I challenge you to sing along to Under the Sea or Prince Ali, and not be cheered up.

Having the window open when it’s raining. I’m talking proper, Biblical, sky-is-falling-down rain.  Hearing the sound of it hammering down outside makes me feel all cosy and snug, tucked up inside.  Other than the damp windowsills, it’s lush.

Pic n Mix. Who says you have to be under the age of ten to appreciate a tub of chocolates, jelly sweets and E numbers. Add in comfy PJs, a blanket, and a Netflix sesh, and there’s nothing quite like it.

Rightmove porn. When we were looking for a house, the nosey part of me loved viewing properties, and seeing what people had done with their rooms, and how they’d decorated their houses.  I love our house, but I do still like to indulge occasionally in a little property peeping on Rightmove.

Do you have any so-called ‘guilty’ pleasures?

Amsterdam: Our best holiday yet?

Hello chaps and chapesses!

This time last week, Graeme and I were sitting at a table outside a bar, supping Heineken in the sunshine, and watching the world go by.  There was an occasional waft of cannabis in the air, and the frequent ding of bicycle bells.  It was just lush.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of Amsterdam.  I’d had the vague impression that it would be all about sex and spliffs, but there is so much more to it than its sinful reputation would have you believe.

Amsterdam has so much going on, from the famous red light district and traditional brown cafes, to the dozens of museums and galleries.  It’s a beautiful city, with tall, narrow houses leaning in all sorts of directions, connected by a web of canals and pretty bridges.

For me, though, the best thing about Amsterdam is its atmosphere.  It has a rare combination of city hustle and bustle, and a relaxed, laid back vibe.  There’s a sense of open-mindedness, positivity, and respectful laissez-faire.  Live and let live and all that.

The highlight was renting bikes for an afternoon, and exploring the city on two wheels.  It seemed that as soon as we started pedalling we got lost, but it was cool because it was all just part of the adventure.  We got a bit wet cycling in the rain, but then we stopped off for amazing pancakes while the shower passed (we had to a. keep dry and b. keep our strength up for the cycling).

We did so much in four days – a trip to the zoo, the diamond, sex and torture museums, people-watching in the Vondelpark and outside countless bars, sampling the poshest chocolates I’ve ever tasted, trying not to stare in the red light district – but it was all so relaxing.  You know those holidays where you cram in so much sight-seeing that you come home exhausted, and feeling like you need another holiday to recover?  Amsterdam was the opposite for us.  We saw and did loads – and there is still loads left that we didn’t fit in – but still we came home refreshed and invigorated.  Best of both worlds.


Taking stock

Hello chaps and chapesses!

It’s been a while hasn’t it.  There’s no specific reason why I haven’t been blogging for the last few months, it’s just that sometimes I need a little break from it.  I don’t want to be posting for the sake of it, I want to make sure that what I write here means something, and isn’t just filling the silence.

Here’s a little round up of what I’ve been up to:

Making:  wedding plans, and getting really rather excited about it.

Cooking:  healthy chocolate brownies, and trial run wedding cakes.

Drinking:  a helluva lot of decaf green tea, and almost preferring it to ordinary tea (controversial I know).

Reading:  the paper while stranded in a broken down car in Tesco car park last week.

Wanting: for nothing, really.  Lucky girl.

Looking:  and feeling bloody fabulous at a mother-daughter photoshoot with my mum the other week.

Wishing: I could have my hair and make-up done professionally every day.

Playing: the Fall Out Boy album, loud.  I love the energy of it. 

Deciding: on a wedding dress.  Totes exciteballs.

Wasting: time daydreaming. Although I think that maybe daydreaming isn’t really that big a waste of time.

Fixing: up, looking sharp.  Not really.  Except in that photoshoot.

Enjoying: Florence and the Machine’s new album.

Waiting: impatiently for Orange Is The New Black season 3.

Liking: the idea of getting a veg box delivered every week. 

Wondering: if I’ll feel any different when I’m Mrs Allen rather than Miss Hughes.

Loving: my new Origins skincare stuff.  Money well spent.

Pondering: the meaning of life.  Not really, I’m too busy getting on with it to wonder what it all means.

Considering: growing out my fringe.

Watching: more House of Cards, less Made in Chelsea.

Hoping: that  my dreams will come true.  If I work hard, they should do.

Marvelling: at the idea that we may not actually have free will after all.

Needing: to do some exercise other than running, as running is in danger of becoming boring again.

Smelling: Toby’s foul dog-farts. He’s eaten some dodgy crap recently, and it’s made him stink. 

Wearing: jeggings every damn day.

Following: my dreams.

Noticing: how negative people can be.

Knowing: what I need to do, but having trouble actually doing it.

Thinking: about what the best version of me is like, and working towards it.

Feeling: quite reflective lately.

Admiring: those people who seem to have their shit together.

Buying: crafty wedding stuff, like ribbon, and buttons, and kraft paper, and BUNTING!

Getting: quicker at running, little by little.

Bookmarking: blog posts that inspire me.

Disliking: the distinct lack of summer weather so far.  Come on June, get your act together.

Opening: boxes of my childhood stuff from my mum’s attic, and marvelling at the contents.

Giggling: excessively at Avenue Q. If it comes to a town near you, you should definitely go see it!

What have you been up to?  Tell me, I want to know!

This week’s happies #3

Hello chaps and chapesses!

Puppies.  Graeme has sponsored a guide dog puppy in my name this week, which means that a) he’ll be paying for a guide dog to be trained up, from when she’s a puppy, which is charitable and wonderful, and b) I’ll get regular ‘pupdates’ in the post and on Facebook, which is exciting and just-oh-so-cute.  Hurrah for puppies!

Thai food.  Graeme took me out for a bank holiday meal at Siam in Chester on Monday.  It’s a really lovely Thai place, and the food was dee-frickin-licious.  If you’re ever in or around Chester, definitely check it out!

Green Day.  I found a Green Day CD in my car this week that I’d forgotten I had – it’s a copy of International Superhits, that my friend Sian made for me when we were in sixth form.  She kindly marked out which songs she thought I’d enjoy on the track listing.  Listening to it as I’ve been driving round this week has taken me back to my youth – isn’t it amazing how music can bring back memories and feelings so strongly?

Voting.  Call me a nerd, but I love going along to vote on polling day. Although the outcome of the election wasn’t what I wanted, it still felt good to do my bit.

Girl time.  I spent a thoroughly lovely 24 hours with one of my best friends this weekend.  We mooched in Chester, drank a lot of tea, watched a movie, went to a bodybalance class and went for Sunday lunch.  Oh, and we nattered.  A lot. Weekends like this are so restorative and good for the soul.

What has brought a smile to your beautiful face this week?

This week’s happies #2

Hello chaps and chapesses!

How the devil are y’all?  I know it’s been a while since we talked.

I like making these weekly happy lists, as even on the most rubbish of days, they help me to look for the good – and let’s be honest, we could all do with a bit more of that.

So without further ado, this week’s little happies are….

Polenta cake.  We are now a mostly-gluten-free household, which has had some consequences for my love of baking.  I’ve been experimenting with gluten-free recipes, and this week I came across this polenta lemon cake recipe from Nigella, and it was bloody lovely.  I can always rely on Nigella for a yummy recipe – she never fails me.

Wedding craft fun.  I spent Sunday morning making the save the date cards for our wedding.  It was a lovely, relaxing morning, and the fact I was making something for our wedding day made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I’m not the most artistic of people, they turned out really well, yay!

Mini Ben and Jerry’s.  After a long, hilly  walk on Wednesday evening, Graeme and I rewarded ourselves with some mini pots of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.  We each had a little pot like the mini ones you can get at the cinema.  I went for Chocolate Fudge Brownie, and it was bloody delicious.  Those little pots are just lush – sweet and indulgent, and just the right amount to feel like you’ve had a treat, without feeling guilty (or sick) afterwards.

Spring sunshine.  I spent a lovely couple of hours in the fresh air after work on Friday, taking Toby for a stroll and then going for a run.  Being out in the open air, with the sound of the birds singing, was just delicious.

What little things have made you smile this week?