Thursday, 27 November 2014

The Festive Season

“The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.” 
― George Carlin

As 'the most wonderful time of the year' is fast approaching I thought I'd get myself excited by telling you my highlights of the coming season.
For starters I'm going to the Christmas at Kew walk which I'll blog about once I've been, and my favourite of all Christmassy activities is the Somerset House outdoor rink which I go to every year with a group of friends.  It's such a lovely thing to do, so if you've never been, treat yourself and book a ticket.


My favourite Christmas song is definitely Mariah Carey's 'All I want for Christmas' - never has there been such a tune to put me in a good mood.  My new (almost) favourite is Kelly Clarkson's offering from last year which we had on repeat; 
The Christmas markets at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park are a Londoner's only chance to have a rummage for quirky, Christmas gifts - I love Winter Wonderland at night when it's all lit up - and they serve a mean hot chocolate with Baileys, always a winner.
winter wonderland hyde park
baileys hot chocolate

Once Christmas is actually upon us I retreat to my family home for a traditional bit of family time. Our favourite game is the Game of Life which always has us cracking up and I make sure I capture most of the good times on video so that we can remember it in years to come. 
We used to have a new outfit come Christmas Day but now we just dress up so that we can take some glam pictures.  (Me - a poser? don't be daft..... )
We watch Home Alone, eat too much cheese and Boxing Day is now Christmas Jumper day and extended family descend for a bit of a buffet a la Bridget Jones' Mum!

Now I'm feeling suitably festive I just need to figure out what to do on New Year's Eve!

x


Saturday, 22 November 2014

12 things you'll recognise if you've house shared

I have to be alone very often. I'd be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That's how I refuel.

If you've ever shared a flat then you'll definitely know what I mean when I describe that sinking feeling of walking down your street, seeing the lights are on inside your house and inwardly sighing because you know you're going to have to make conversation with someone when you just can't be bothered.

1) Finding your housemates girlfriend/boyfriend/casual shag in your front room/kitchen/bathroom when said housemate is not there and despising their imposition
2) Being the only person in the house to buy loo roll/clean the shower/empty the bin

3) Having to cajole money out of your housemates for the council tax and resenting ever putting the bill in your own name
4) Being woken up at all times of the night by people shouting 'shhhhh' as they arrive home from a night out
5) The lounge radiator being a permanent drying rack
6) The washing machine always being full of someone else's clothes
7) Being the only person who seems to know where the hoover lives
8) Reaching for the ketchup/milk/butter only to discover some kind soul has finished it
9) Being the last one in the bathroom in the morning to discover a sopping wet bath mat and no hot water.
10) Throwing away that mouldy cheese/satsuma/bread because your flatmate hasn't come home in 4 days and it stinks
11) Having to wash up the entire sink of washing up to get to the only cheese grater/colander/good saucepan

12) Hearing your flatmates have sex.. or possibly worse them telling you they can hear you while you're mid... business

I couldn't be more grateful that I now live alone!

What's your worst experience in a flat share - tell me below

x


Monday, 17 November 2014

Where to travel in 2015

“You can't control the past, but you can control where you go next.” 
― Kirsten HubbardWanderlove


Now the New Year is rearing it's head, I've turned my mind to my 2015 holidays.
I've spent a large part of this year wondering whether to go travelling and my list of places I want to visit has expanded.  But for the meantime I've decided to stay put and start planning as many trips as I can.As I mentioned in a previous post I have a cruise booked around the Canary Islands in February and am hopefully going to EuroDisney with my God children in Spring.
The top place on my list is Venice, as I think you might have already gathered, so after beginning to learn Italian, my friend and I decided that as a practice mission we should definitely book a trip to Venice to use my new skills.  I'm also determined to visit Burano while there, it looks so picturesque (and if it's not instagram-able is it even worth going?!) That's a joke I promise... 


Next I hope to fulfil a long time ambition of visiting Boston and Chicago.  I've managed to convince a friend that next 'fall' would be the perfect time to do this trip and hope to possibly fit in a couple of days in NYC as well.  They're all pretty close together (in USA terms anyway) so it's probably worth trying to do it all while I'm there.  The scenery looks beautiful and I think I'd love it.

Plus of course I hope to fit in a visit to Vegas at some point.  I have been 6 times in the last 7 years; the reason for so many visits is because I have a very close friend who lives there, but I've also fallen in love with the place and always look forward to a return visit. Unfortunately it's not the sort of place that beckons you for a cheap weekend trip as it's blinking expensive and seems to be getting more and more so as the years pass (sad times indeed).
So those are my plans for next year.  The more trips the better as far as I'm concerned.

Where are you planning to go?

x

Friday, 14 November 2014

Learning Italian in London

“Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.” 
― Johann Wolfgang von GoetheMaxims and Reflections


Luckily I found languages quite easy at school. I did a French exchange trip with a sullen teen called Amandine, I had a blackboard duster thrown at my head by my German teacher, Frau Lloyd and I managed to get A* in my GCSEs
I've spent holidays in Germany and France since school but more time in Spain and Italy and not being able to speak the language always makes me feel inadequate.  
My Mum moved to France for a spell some years back in order to learn the language better, but in Spain speaks English in a Spanish accent to get her point across much to the amusement of me and my sister.


So, with all that in mind, I decided that perhaps it was time to start learning a new language with all the holiday-ing that I like to do.  I investigated various different courses and even dilly dallied over which language would be more useful.  In the end it came down to logistics and I chose a beginners Italian course in Central London, over 10 weeks.


I must admit I was a bit nervous of what to expect when I first arrived as its been a really long time since I was in a classroom and as it turned out almost all the class was made up of mid 20s girls trying to learn Italian to impress their Italian other half.  Having no such thing seemed to leave me at a bit of a disadvantage as they all knew how to say 'How are you?' and 'My name is'.... 


Luckily by lesson 3 I felt it had evened out and we all seem to be learning new skills.  I'm really enjoying using my brain to learn something new, and the languages I already know definitely help when it comes to recognising words or patterns.
Hopefully by the end of term I'll be confident enough to actually use it on my next journey to Italy.  A friend suggested I use a trip to Venice as motivation to keep going on the course so I'm just thinking of that!

Fino alla prossima volta
x

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Dancing on the ceiling

“In all of living, have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.” 
― Gordon B. Hinckley

Despite what you might think after reading my blog for the past month, but I'm actually not a party animal.  I tend to meet friends for drinks and dinner, but normally find myself at home well in time for a cuppa before bed.  However the past 6 weeks or so have been an almost constant whirlwind of social events, which is probably why I'm writing this post from my sick bed.
This weekend was no exception and after a quiet Friday night at home I made up for it with a rather loud night out in Clapham on Saturday.  After some raucous drinking games at home we ventured out to Revolution on Clapham High Street as a group of 8 already slightly worse for wear (sorry Uber driver).

I'd actually been to the hairdressers and left with a gorgeous bouncy blow dry, but the typical English weather put paid to that before I even stepped out, so I admit my hair in these pics looks a bit sorry for its self!
After several cocktails and a little dance at Revs, we headed over to the only gay bar in Clapham to meet some other friends.  I was delighted to find they played almost non stop Britney, S Club and Steps so we had a whale of a time dancing, drinking and making merry. I felt like I was 18 again (even though on Sunday morning I felt 100 years old).

By the time they kicked us out it was 4am and we headed home full of vodka and new stories.  For my first night out in Clapham I think it was a success!

x

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Remember, remember

“Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things.” 
― Arthur SchopenhauerParerga and Paralipomena

At this time of year, the world takes a few moments to commemorate the contribution of military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts.  We wear a poppy and read stories about amazing veterans in the newspapers. For a little while the UK pulls together and thank those who fought for us. 
For me, the first week of November is a cold reminder of those I've lost and I will never be able to hear a firework without thinking of them. I tend to avoid Bonfire Night if at all possible as I find it hard to enjoy the evening.
As I walked through Embankment tube station yesterday I caught sight of the Ode of Rememberance poem on a whiteboard and even though I see it every year, for some reason it really struck me and I couldn't stop thinking about the words all afternoon.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

The Tower of London has a beautiful memorial at the moment of hundreds of thousands of ceramic poppies, in total 888,246  will be placed in tribute to the fallen.  They have all been sold to private buyers and will be distributed after Armistice Day, raising around £11m which is an amazing amount.  I had great intentions to go and visit but with the popularity of the event outweighing the space I've heard it's almost impossible to get a good view so I've not managed to make it down.
If you want to support the British Legion get yourself a poppy here  

x

Saturday, 8 November 2014

15 things that drive me crazy

“I much prefer whining to counting my blessings.” ― Mary Ann Shaffer

I'm having a grumpy Friday night on the sofa and before I knew it, I'd come up with this list!



  • Girls who refer to their other half as 'my man' 
  • People who chew gum with their mouth open -especially on the bus when you can't get away
  • People who walk in diagonal lines across pavements into my way
  • Commuters barging onto the train without letting people off first
  • People who stop to use text in the MIDDDDLE of the pavement
  • The texture of bananas
  • People who have loud chatty conversations on the phone on a 9am train
  • People who over share on social media - what is wrong with you??!
  • People who listen to dance music so loud you can hear the bass through their headphones on the train
  • Kitten heels - just no, never, ever
  • Being cancelled on last minute - possibly the most frustrating of them all!
  • Slow bartenders - specially at the theatre
  • Big boobs in bad fitting bras
  • VPL
  • Nuts in chocolate - this is NOT ok
I see a lot of these relate to commuter hell, which only reinforces how much I wish I lived in Covent Garden... What's your pet peeve?

x