Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 recap

I did a similar post on 31st December last year so I thought it'd be a fun tradition to carry on with. Here's last year's post if anyone's even slightly interested.

In 2013 I...

... Finally moved into our new house. Definitely worth the wait! I love my little house.

... Visited Paris for the first time with mom and it was just as cosy as I expected it to be.

... Passed my driving test (second time around, the first time I nearly crashed into a car ahem).

... Graduated from my Psychology course.

... Had my family over to visit (and for my dad it was the first time!)

... Went on my first proper "sunny holiday" with Steve, to Malta.

... Worked in three different jobs in the space of a month.

... Cut my hair short.

... Lost someone very important to me.

... Visited Sweden once (contrary to my goals last year) and only for four days.

... Got through a very important application process. Hello again university!

In 2014 I'm looking forward to...

... Starting a whole new chapter of my working life.

... Visiting London with Steve over Valentine's Day.

... Having my mom and my brother over to visit again.

... Definitely, definitely visiting Sweden twice this year. Christmas 2014 in Sweden, it's happening.

... Hopefully visit a festival this year before I get even more 'too old'.

I am just going to continue on with last year's vague resolution of being positive and grateful etc. Always good goals to have. Happy new year!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Week 51 & 52 - christmas

All images from my Instagram.

The past two weeks have gone from incredibly busy to... not busy at all. I finished up my previous work (and hello never ever having to get up at half six on Sunday morning. At least not in the foreseeable future) then spent my time intensely getting into Christmas spirits. This was done by making too many gingerbread men for any sane person, wrapping Christmas presents and cramming as many Christmas movies as possible. I even managed to do every single thing that was on my Christmas list (apart from finishing Lost - but that wasn't really a very Christmas-y goal anyway).

On Monday I went to Belfast for a haircut (which was necessary to avoid The Animal from The Muppets-stage), a few more gifts and then dinner with friends. At that point my cold had returned with vengeance and I was miserable enough to spend my night at the out of hours clinic in order to get medication for it. (Which I fortunately got). The rest of Christmas was just as calm as I had wished for it to be and I have done literally nothing the past few days. In fact, I have left the house twice in the past three days. Once to get eggs and milk and once to steal shortbread from Steve's parents' house. Because of the Steam sale I also have no reason to leave the house for the next week or so... Whoops.

Friday, 27 December 2013

The best things about Christmas 2013...

Image from my Pinterest.

... Starting it in my own house with Steve for the first time.

... The huge amounts of delicious food.

... Hogging the remote controlled airplane and playing with it all Christmas Day. The children can play with it after the holidays.

... The fact that I'm eating leftover pecan pie right now.

... Spending Boxing night dancing to Little Mix. When did they get good? Should I just blame alcohol?

... The fact that I'm not hungover. Seriously, it's a miracle.

... Playing board games and being so crap that I'm paired up with another adult to give my team a chance.

... Receiving amazing Christmas gifts (a couple of highlights; a nespresso machine from Steve, lots of Soap & Glory products from Steve, the Naked 3 palette also from Steve, my favourite makeup brushes from a friend and a Cath Kidston wallet from Steve's sister).

... Making dinner on Christmas Eve and discovering that I can make nice roast potatoes. I'm basically British now.

... Watching the crazy videos that my family posted from Sweden.

Now, on to January. To new beginnings (like actual new beginnings for once) and to hoping that Christmas 2014 is even half as good as this one was.

Friday, 20 December 2013

How I decorate for Christmas

Three posts in one week?! I am clearly on a roll here. These pictures were actually taken last weekend and then I was busy working and didn't have time to transfer them from my iPhone to the laptop etc etc. Yes, count yourselves lucky being the audience of my wonderful iPhone photos. Truth to be told, this is a post written to my mom. She's the one who'd like to see this stuff, the rest of you might not.

I have a tree. It's dear to my heart. I didn't buy any new tree decorations this year (can people afford to buy new stuff each year?) so I just made do with the stuff I bought last year and I love how whimsical it is. Obviously there's plenty of more grandiose trees out there but these one is grand enough for us. Also see my Christmas wrapping paper for this year. Snowflakes!

A couple of the decorations that I'm extra fond of; Christmas robots, candy canes, hearts and also a gingerbread man that I received from my family a couple of years ago. I think it might be edible (?) because it sure feels gummy-like but I wouldn't like to try. Hooray for rotting Christmas decorations.

My open fire has a festive touch (crooked picture as always - were you expecting something better? In that case, sorry) with a snowflake-inspired garland made of my late granny's doilies, some fake greenery and four advent candles, a wire heart and mine and Steve's stockings that won't be filled due to health and safety issues with their fastenings. Also, a Christmas penguin and a ram. 

These last pictures are from my kitchen. I have my nativity scene from my childhood to which I have added lanterns and tiny trees and I also have a smaller Christmas tree in the corner. This tree is the one me and Steve had in our first flat together (because we couldn't fit a bigger one in there) but is completely decked out in silver baubles and silver packages due to insufficient Christmas tree decorations in any other colour. Oh well. Around the house I also have an unusual amount of candles that smell like Christmas plus one or two Santas (not real) in the bedroom but they weren't caught on camera. And now I need to do some cleaning and then some gingerbread dough. 

P.S. How long can I keep posting pictures of my house and tagging them as "new house"? How long is it new? 

Thursday, 19 December 2013

10 reasons to smile 19.0

Image from my Pinterest.

one - I finished work today! I will never ever have to go back to this place and it hasn't properly sunk in yet.

two - I am off for two weeks now. Christmas holidays and all that jazz. First on my list of things to do; have a super long lie-in, clean this house and bake.

three - There's less than a week left until Christmas. Enough said.

four - My "main" Christmas gift to Steve is basically a gift to myself (but that he has explicitly said that he really wants, so it's okay. I'm not a horrible person) but obviously we're still pretending that it's a surprise so I can't say anything about it yet.

five - When I was in Sweden my mom gave me a book (with a free insult as she implied that I needed to "practice my Swedish". Thanks mom.) about an unlikely romance. Because I was busy reading multiple books at that point I only started reading it the other day. I love when you randomly find a book that's actually pretty good.

six - Christmas Eve dinner menu is coming along nicely. (Can you tell that me and Steve plan this type of stuff way too much?)

seven - This morning there was definitely snow falling from the sky. In the land of everlasting rain a two minute pseudo snow storm is the definition of two pretty good minutes.

eight - My mom told me that she has sent a package from Sweden and I am a sucker for surprises. Obviously I have blown it way out of proportions and now I think it'll be something absolutely amazing (my brain: SHIPPING KITTENS IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE) but part of the anticipation is just the thrill of opening packages I think.

nine - Because of sickness I haven't actually exercised in about ten days (last time I took a break as long as this my family was over visiting) so I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things now that I am off. I never thought I'd get to the stage where I miss exercise, but I kind of do.

ten - My mission at the moment (I clearly lead an interesting life) is to drink less coffee and more (decaf) tea. This is mainly to calm my body which goes insane as soon as I have anything slightly unhealthy a little bit too often but an unexpected bonus is that I can have a hot drink right before bedtime. I am a believer in routines (morning routines, winding down routines, they're all important) and a cup of tea at bedtime is an obvious winner for cosy nights in.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Random thoughts

1. I have a list of things to do before Christmas Day. This working full-time thingy is proving to be really time consuming. So from Friday until Monday evening I have to a) post the rest of the Christmas cards, b) bake four types of sweets/cookies (I just may force Steve to do half of this baking because there is only so much flour-based fun I can take in one day), c) buy the last few Christmas gifts, d) buy groceries for Christmas, e) wrap the last Christmas gifts and f) get a haircut so that I don't look like a Muppet in all Christmas photos. (And so that I don't have to wait until 2014 to get it cut. A two week delayed hair cut is lethal when you have short hair.)

All images from my Pinterest. Not Instagram prints but inspiring nonetheless.

2. I've planning to do that fancy order-instagram-prints-online thing for ages. And then stuff happens. (Why does stuff always happen?) First, I didn't have enough Instagram pictures because I only got a smartphone last year. Half a century after everyone else. Then I had no money. When I did have money, I couldn't find a good website for printing them. And now I'm back to having no money. But my plan is that I would like a fairly decent-sized frame with a bunch of tiny Instagram photos in it. My next issue is that I have very few pictures from the start and the end of 2013 because it's too damn dark. I've been drooling over all my summer photos tonight. Such happy, bright photos. (Which is ironic because the summer is when I'm at my absolute worst. Personality-wise.)

3. This was a really random post. I don't know what happened but I had a cup of coffee tonight for the first time in four days and it really got to me. Suddenly I felt the urge to write a little blog post and then this mess happened. I believe it's time for me to get into bed and watch an episode of Lost. (One last twelve hour shift tomorrow before I never have to do twelve hour shifts again - I think! At least not in this line of work.)

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Week 50 - third of advent

All images are from my Instagram.

My week can be summarised like this: Christmas market, sick, sick, work, work, Lost, work.

The Christmas market in Belfast was exactly what every market should be. Stuffed to the brim of food. I had bratwurst, a cone of churros, super chocolatey hot chocolate and then we bought bread and cheese to take home. Plus me and Steve were off work which automatically makes a day great. Unfortunately the day ended with me getting sick and then spending another two days watching my body break down. The accompanying pain is a nuisance when you're sick but do you know what's worse? That sneaky suspicion that your body no longer fits you. Like a pair of jeans that were washed with the wrong settings. That is exactly how I feel when I'm sick.

On Thursday and Friday I was at the company which I will be spending so much more time within the next few years and I am starstruck. Yes, it's possible to become starstruck with a location. Especially if that location has movie quotes on their walls and free tea and coffee all day every day. I don't want to say too much but... Marry me, office. Obviously the sickness was still lingering and so on Saturday pretty much everything I did revolved around watching Lost. I've had worse Saturdays. Today I worked and I'm about to go to sleep becaaaause.... Five days. 52 hours of work. You do the math.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Christmas list

If you know me at all, you know that I'm a lover of lists. And although the thought of having a bucket list is far too much pressure for me (what if I fail to succeed one or two of the items on the list? Talk about major extra anxiety over death that is already a pretty grim subject you know) I do like having small, seasonal lists of things that I would like to do. Especially if they're Christmas related when there's so many things that I cannot even remember everything that I want to do.

Image from my Pinterest.

1. Visit the Continental Christmas Market. This is done! And it was lovely.

2. Watch a whole bunch of new and old Christmas movies. The movies that I want to watch deserve a blog post of their own, but we have already watched The Polar Express and White Christmas this year.

3. Bake something seasonal. My ideas include gingerbread and peanutbutter cups so far, mainly because they're quick and delicious. 

4. Add more songs to my Christmas playlist. Obviously I have a Christmas playlist. Don't you?

5. Send Christmas cards. They are signed and lying ready on the hall table... I just haven't gotten around to sending them. Maximum laziness.

6. Finish Lost. Okay, so this is not a typical Christmas activity but I start my Christmas holidays on the 19th. That leaves me with about ten unplanned days in which I can watch as much Lost as I want. And that amount is a lot.

7. Invite Steve's parents over for a Christmas-sy dinner. Last year me and Steve made dinner for his parents on Christmas Eve and we plan on continuing this tradition. Considering how much time they spend on preparing the meal for Christmas Day we might as well make life easier for them the night before so they don't have to make yet another meal. Then we kick them out because we have Christmas Eve parties to go to.

8. Take pictures of lots of corners of my home. And hopefully post them here. This is mainly because my family (mainly mom) won't see my first proper house decorated in person. So I'm just gonna bring that little part of my life on to the internet... 

Christmas Day is a very small part of Christmas for me. I prefer the time leading up to it. Is it the excuse to eat more sweets than usual? An unhealthy love of fairy lights? Or cheesy movies and music? A little bit of everything, I believe.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Week 49 - second of advent

All images are from my Instagram. 

A Sunday update that is actually posted on a Sunday! I deserve an applause. Especially since I finished the last episode of season 4 of Lost last night and I am dying to start the fifth season. (I was at work from 8am to 8pm, otherwise I would have indulged in intense Lost-watching several hours ago.) But for the sake of this blog, Lost can wait another twenty minutes. Also, I'm off work tomorrow.

This week was quite busy and full of work but a couple of highlights include; visiting Hog & Hoof (a new local "smoke joint". Massive portions of pulled pork with Kansas City Sauce? Yes please), having a night on my own as Steve left me for sweaty boys crammed into a small apartment with gaming computers (obviously I like having Steve around but I definitely enjoy a lonely night now and then), going to Steve's nephew's birthday party and after that out to the Argory for Santa's Grotto. I love the Argory, it's basically Downton Abbey in Northern Ireland, minus Lady Mary etc. To top this very festive week off, me and Steve watched White Christmas last night. This year's first Christmas movie (the list is very long.)

Thursday, 5 December 2013

November favourites

Image from my Pinterest.

favourite on tv/movie: I have gotten obsessed with Lost. I know, I'm a decade behind the rest of you. And no, I still haven't watched Breaking Bad. Keep your Breaking Bad-related references to yourself.

favourite purchase: My Zara coat that it took me ages to get. Well worth all the trouble.

favourite music: I've found myself listening a lot to Big Scary. And obviously Christmas music. (I prefer the Christmas songs from the 50s and the 60s. Or Christmas carols.)

favourite beauty item: Before my trip to Sweden I went through my secret sample stash so that I wouldn't have to bring full-size skincare items and I found Premae Harmony Creme Balm. Moisturising to the max.

favourite blog: For festive occasions, you've got to love a crafty blog. The Sweetest Occasion is my latest favourite read.

favourite event: I went to Sweden which I'm sure you haven't missed.

P.S. This is short because I just finished my dinner and soon I have to go to sleep so I can get up and work another day. But then I'm off! For a day. Also I have no food and drink favourites because my brain has stopped working.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Week 48 - first of advent

All images from my Instagram.

Here I am, the world's worst blogger. I'm not entirely sure what's happened to me, I used to be unbelievably organised (even I would admit to being weird) when it came to my very unknown blog. Planning out posts and posting a little bit about my life every single week. Even the weeks during the summer when I was unemployed and I did absolutely nothing. Actually, I do know what has happened. I started working twelve-hour shifts every single Sunday. And obviously I spend the Mondays recovering. Luckily for my sanity and for the sake of my eager readers (ha) I only have another three Sundays to go before this part of my life is over.

I'm not going to get a baby or buy a horse or anything drastic, but my career (ha, again) has changed direction. In a good way.

Last week I came home from Sweden and I'm not gonna lie. It's tough to go on a trip that lasts for basically no time at all. So to cheer myself up I had decided to decorate my house before the big weekend of work-weariness. This all went to plan until I brought our (fake) tree down from the attic. I bought it last year and ended up never using it as we didn't get our keys before Christmas as we originally planned. So to say that I was excited to get it up is an understatement. Unfortunately it is difficult to assemble a tree which has half a tree stand, no bottom part, one middle part and three tree tops. That tree had to deal with some serious verbal abuse from me that night. (I take these things very seriously.) Luckily Steve's mom has a shopping issue when it comes to Christmas trees and so there is about a million spare ones in her garage of which I chose one.

The tree is now decorated and it looks wonderfully whimsy. There are a lot of hearts, stars, a couple of robots and one gingerbread man. But only four baubles? I don't really know how that happened but I've decided to love the tree-situation anyway. Once the house was decorated I went off to cram in 30 hours of work in one weekend. It went well as I managed to go to work as well as squeezing in a (sober) birthday party on the Saturday. You can see now why I was basically in a coma once Monday happened. Work and a tree-catastrophe in one week is all just too much for me.