Wonderful Wednesday #2

Hello chaps and chapesses!

I hope you’re feeling sunny and bright! It’s been another jolly week here at Happy Chapess HQ. Here are some of the highlights:

British accents. I’m fascinated by regional accents, and have to make a conscious effort not to mimick people who have an interesting way of pronouncing things (I’ve learned from experience, they don’t like it). This video was brought to my attention this week, and it brought a smile to my chops. My favourite moment has to be the description of South Walians like me as “sometimes sounding a bit drunk”. Almost makes me homesick.

Dress fitting. I had my second dress fitting on Sunday, to see if my wedding dress fits after the alterations have been made. In a nutshell, the dress fits and I really love it and I feel fabulous and amazing in it and it makes me a little bit sad that I’ll only get to wear it once.

Sunshine. We’ve had a few sunny days around here lately, and it’s surprising how much difference it makes. Everything looks nicer in the sun, and people just seem jollier. It helps that the evenings are getting lighter too – it’s been staying light until almost 8 o’clock and it feels like the days are longer and there’s more time to do stuff, rather than just work, home, sleep, repeat. Speaking of lighter evenings…

Getting outdoorsy. We took Toby up one of my favourite hills on Monday evening. We went up to Castell Dinas Bran in Llangollen. There’s a ruin of an old castle up there, and the views all around the Dee Valley are stunning – I feel like the Queen of the World up there.

Running. I’m currently experiencing a good running phase it’s a bit of a love-hate situation, currently in the ‘love’ phase). I’ve gotten into the habit of running straight from work a few evenings a week, and it seems to be working out quite well for me. I even set myself a new 10k PB on Saturday – I was well chuffed!

Bold lippy. I tried out a new red lipstick at the weekend, and I have to say I kinda liked it. It’s darker than I would normally go for, but it made me feel kinda sassy, like one of those powerful women who knows what she’s about and don’t take no shit from nobody. Or something. It felt good, basically. I was even brave enough to wear it to work one day, and got lots of compliments on it. Win!

Mum time. My mum came to stay this weekend, and it was lovely to catch up, gossip, and have most of my meals bought for me. Sorry mum!

New slippers. Do I really need to elaborate on the awesomeness of new fluffy bootie-shaped foot warmers? I don’t think so. Suffice to say there’s no feeling quite like the cosy new slippers feeling.

Wonderful Wednesdays were brought to my attention by the fabulous Michelle, but SallyKate, Jo, Cat and Helen are all over it too.

What’s brightened your soul recently?

  

Wonderful Wednesday #1

Hello chaps and chapesses!

I’m a fan of a weekly happy list, but along with blog-writing in general, they’ve sort of fallen by the wayside lately. I’m raring to go with them again now though. As it’s been a while since my last one, I’ve got a bumper crop of happy moments to share with you today, you lucky, lucky sausages.

Hen weekend. I had my hen party a couple of weeks ago, and it was a weekend of willy-related banter, drinking prosecco through willy straws, laughing, dancing until my feet felt like they were going to drop off, and not getting enough sleep. It was a bloody ace weekend – huuuuuuge thanks to my bridesmaids for organising, and my girls for coming to give me the best send off into married life a girl could hope for!

Working on a video shoot. I’ve been part of a market research type project at work, and we’ve been filming people chatting about money stuff, which is way more fun than it sounds. It turned into a bit of a road trip – we drove the company minibus up to Manchester, down to London and back again. They were a long couple of days and we worked bloody hard, but it was fun to be away from my desk for a couple of days. It also felt sort of glamorous setting up lights and cameras, and asking ‘Do we need to do a sound check, Steve?’

Star Baker. Every month, our team votes for a Star Baker / Employee of the Month, and this month I won! I think it was mostly because we had three birthdays this month and I baked cakes for all of them, but it was lovely to win. I now get to have the cute little cat trophy on my desk for the rest of the month.

Geocaching. Yes really. Graeme first told me about geocaching a few months ago, and I thought it sounded totes nerdballz. Then we went out for a walk to look for some caches together a couple of weeks ago, and I got a teeny bit hooked. I’m now a paid up member – even found myself poking round a stile at the side of the road in the rain on Saturday, trying to look inconspicuous. Consider me hooked.

Walking in the rain. Graeme and I took Toby out for a stroll in the rain on Monday. We donned our wellies and waterproofs, and took our overexcited pup out to splosh in puddles and squelch through mud. It was lovely to get some fresh air, and the persistent rain made it all the more cost when we got back. Plus, you’re never to old to stomp in puddles.

Book clubbing. I found out this week that Emma Watson has a feminist book club, and got a bit excited. Sign me up!

Turns out I’m not the only blogger who likes a weekly happy list (shocker!). There’s a lovely gang out there doing Wonderful Wednesdays (check out Sally, MichelleKate, Jo, Cat and Helen) and I am leaping enthusiastically on the bandwagon.

What’s made you smile recently?

  

Happies in March

Hello chaps and chapesses!

Some of you might remember those regular weekly posts I used to do, where I talked about all the little things that had made me happy in the previous week. Like this.

I really like doing those kinds of posts, and I’ve been meaning to get back to it for a while now. When I get back into blogging properly After The Wedding, weekly happy posts will be top of the list.

There have been lots of little happy moments in March, so I thought I’d indulge myself treat you to a bumper monthly edition. Here are some of the things that have made my little heart smile this month:

Team building. A bunch of us from work spent two days at the London office, and what started as a sedate post-work dinner and drinks turned into gin, jagerbombs and dancing til 3am on a school night. It was a lot of fun, and I feel like we’re better friends now (pass the sick bucket). The astonishing absence of a hangover the next day was pretty sweet, too.

Feeling like a film star. I had my wedding hair and make-up trial this month. I’m quite low-maintenance (read: lazy) when it comes to doing my hair and make-up, so getting it done by a professional felt like a real treat. I felt like a princess, and kind of looked like one too!

Proud car-owner moment. I hastily booked my car’s MOT after discovering it was three days overdue (comforting reassurance that I’m still not quite adulting properly yet), and the little beauty passed with flying colours! Graeme was annoyed at me for letting it go past its MOT-by date, so I felt quite smug when it passed. “See? It was perfectly safe and roadworthy anyway!”

The joy of ugly cake. There has been a lot of cake in the office this month. I made a deliberately crap, sad hedgehog for one colleague’s birthday (because he cried with laughter when he discovered the ‘nailed it’ hedgehog cake online a few weeks before), and the most pathetic Chewbacca I could muster for another one.  It’s become a thing now that I bake crap cakes for everyone’s birthday – it’s so lovely to have a proper role in the team.

Running mojo. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with running, and the last couple of weeks have definitely been a ‘love’ phase. I’m getting into the habit of going for a run straight from work, and it’s working pretty well for me. Thing is, I don’t really know the area around my office that well. The first time I went out, I’d planned a simple 4 mile loop, but I got completely lost and ended up running over 8 miles. It was character building. On the plus side, I was pleasantly surprised that I managed to keep going for that long – seems I’m fitter than I thought I was.

The Night Manager. Did you guys watch this? It was ace! All drama and tension and Tom Hiddleston being suave. I loved it.

Good Friday. It’s a cliché, but my Good Friday was very Good indeed. It involved a run in the sunshine, walking Toby in the grounds of Chirk Castle, climbing on a fallen tree, quality time with Graeme. And chocolate. All the chocolate.

Girly day. While Graeme was on his stag do, I spent a lovely afternoon in Chester with one of my favourites, eating pasta, buying a new party dress for my hen do, and getting a bargain on a new sheep-themed tea cosy. We know how to live.

What’s been making you smile this month?

  

Life Before and Life After

Hello chaps and chapesses!

It’s only a few weeks until our wedding, and I have to say I can’t wait! Obviously, I’m looking forward to wearing a beautiful dress, being made a fuss of, marrying the love of my life, eating a slap up meal and dancing the night away with my nearest and dearest. But I am also looking forward to what comes next. Just being married. Getting on with life, making plans, and not having to think about the wedding all. The. Time.

Lately, I’ve found myself thinking in terms of Before The Wedding (BTW) and After The Wedding (ATW). For example, BTW I need to lose a few pounds and tone up. ATW I’m going to enter some running races. BTW I’m being careful with money. ATW my monthly budget is going to be way simpler. BTW I have loads to do and organise. ATW I’m going to have time to do the things I want to do.

BTW is busy, crowded and noisy, with loads to do and plan and think about, and loads of people asking questions and giving opinions and generally being in my ear. ATW seems like it’ll be open, pleasantly empty and spacious, and beautifully simple. I’ve been making a list in my head of all the things I want to do ATW, aka. the time when I’ll be a wife, with a different name and a different signature. Here’s what I’ve got on the list so far:

1. Relearn to play the keyboard.

2. Clear out my clothes, and create a capsule wardrobe .

3. Get back into blogging properly.

4. Bake, bake and bake some more.

5. Decorate the house.

6. Learn how to garden.

7. Climb mountains.

8. Explore Buddhism.

9. Visit friends who live far away.

10. Go camping.

Of course, there’s nothing really stopping me doing any of these things now, except the mental busyness that comes with planning a wedding.

Don’t get me wrong – this is a lovely, special time in our lives, and I am by no means wishing it away. All I’m saying is that as much as I’m looking forward to the wedding day, I’m also looking forward to no longer having to plan a wedding. Bring on marriage!

 

If you can’t dazzle with brilliance…

Hello chaps and chapesses!

A wise woman* once said “If you can’t dazzle with brilliance, baffle with bullshit”, and nowhere is this more true than at the office.  Some days, it almost feels like I’m in a social experiment.

One of the strangest things is the way some people talk.  The amount of pretentious business jargon that gets bandied about never fails to amaze me.  My job is all about communicating complicated stuff clearly and simply, so I take a very particular pleasure/pain in listening to the ways people try to sound clever and professional.

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Here are some of my personal favourites, and their real-world translations:

Let’s take this offline: Let’s talk about that after this meeting

Ideation: Coming up with ideas

Jump on a call: Have a conversation over the phone

Close of play: The end of the working day, about 5pm

Get some learnings: Learn stuff

From the get go: From the start

The art of the possible: What we can do

Going forwards: In the future.  From now on

Touch base: Have a conversation with

Uncover the mysteries of process: Find out how something works

Thought-starters: Ideas

Do you work in an office?  Have you heard any stupid biz-speak?  Tell me about it!

* I think it was Victoria off Made in Chelsea

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.
Yep.

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!