Ten of my favourite things

I have seen a few of my fave bloggers do a list of their favourite things, and was also tagged to do one by Sweet T's Sweet Things so I thought, before that bandwagon rolls out of town I would jump on it and do my own...

1. Home comforts
 [special mention to bubble baths]

Last year I trekked round Thailand for five weeks, living out of my backpack, sleeping on jungle floors and listening to the sea as I fell asleep.  I loved every second of it, but by the final week, man, I just missed.my.bed.  It made me realise that I love travelling and seeing the world but that there is also a lot that can be said for a bubble bath, clean sheets, lying on the sofa under a blanket and having snoozy Sundays watching box sets and drinking hot chocolate.  I really, really love my home comforts.

2. The sea

The sea has been a fairly concurrent fixture throughout my life; I was born in Cornwall in a small village named Porthleven and then moved to a town called Helston - both by the seaside.  Later we moved to the Hampshire coast and I spent many an hour as a child walking along the beach with my Mum and have always enjoyed the sound of the sea and find it relaxing and, reassuring almost.  Now I am all grown up I work in the maritime sector and met my other half whilst sailing and I am sure that the sea will always be a big part of my life.

3. Doggy

Confession time - I sleep with a stuffed animal - well, he is losing his stuffing actually.  He has also lost his ears, tail and one of his eyes.  I was given Doggy on the day after I was born so he is also 26 years old and I can't bear to be without him!

4. The boy

Yeah, I know, bit cheesy and yuck but I would be lying if I didn't say that my other half wasn't one of my favourite things.  Before meeting Tom I went out with the classic 'bad boys' who treated me like rubbish, messed me around and preferred their guitar/skateboard/other girlfriends (delete as appropriate) to me.  Now I have a boyfriend who can't do enough for me, buys me flowers, generally romances me and even does my ironing/washing/washing up just because it's a nice thing to do.  I have to pinch myself sometimes that I have someone who treats me so nicely, and after a lot of uncertainty and general relationship crapness it is an amazing feeling knowing I have met the man that I will marry.  (Incidentally, Tom's love is also in the photo above - yep, his red VW Transporter van in the background!)

5. Christmas

Argh... I just love Christmas so damn much! Mulled wine, hats and gloves, buying presents, board games, roast dinner, being around my family, Christmas markets, crap TV... I love it all! I tend to go a bit crazy with Christmas shopping - I love nothing better than seeing a family member's face when they unwrap something I know they'll love.

6. Getting older

Even though I am only 26 years old, sometimes when I look at my hobbies and what I usually spent a weekend doing, I feel much older.  In my time, of course I have had my years of going out drinking every night and staying out till the early hours - as a student I used to know what day it was by which club night we'd been to the night before - but these days I have become a boring grown-up who grows her own vegetables, is more 'pub' than 'club' and likes baking and recipe books.  These days I am more likely to get excited about a bubble bath and a nine o' clock bedtime than a night on the tiles - and I love it.

7. Eating

Ugh, I know, how gluttonous and greedy! But I don't care, I love to eat.  Since I don't go out partying any more I am much more likely to be found in Pizza Express of an evening, coveting a plate of garlic dough balls and pepperoni pizza (and a large glass of wine, of course).  Eating is very much a social occasion for me; I love having friends over for dinner or going out to eat, and don't get me started on my uncontrollable sugar addiciton.

8. Road trips

Despite my love for flopping on the sofa and soaking in the bath, I am also a very, very big fan of adventures and trips, and try and spend time at weekends getting out and seeing (and snapping) things.  Whether it's kicking leaves around in the New Forest, going for walks along the seafront or visiting new towns and cities I love being able to come back to work on the Monday and have a story to tell.  This hobby of mine is helped by the other half having a campervan, in which, in the last few months we have had trips away to Cornwall and spent two weeks driving around France.  We will also be spending New Year's Eve in the Lake District - can't wait.

9. Dexter

I only started watching Dexter about a month ago but it's so flippin' good! I have just started series two and already I am totally gripped.  The only downside is I sometimes get a bit scared before I go to bed if I've watched too many.  Yeah, I'm a massive wuss!

10. Lots of other things I've missed....

No list of my favourite things would be complete without Pancake the hamster, film photography, 'me time', reading - especially Chuck Palahniuk, Kurt Vonnegut and Douglas Coupland, receiving post, scrapbooks, listening to music on my lovely headphones, milkshakes, and of course, my wonderful friends and family.

All images except for 3 and 4 from weheartit.com

Christmas market, ouchie head

Today I have been looking forward to a trip to Southampton's Christmas Market, which opened when the lights were switched on a couple of days ago.  Every year since it's been coming to town it's been customary in my group of friends to spend lots of time gathered here, sipping (and hugging) mugs of mulled wine and eating hog roast all wrapped up in scarves and gloves.  I just love the smell of mulling spices, gingerbread and roast pork and c
rĂªpes wafting through the market, and it really starts to feel like Christmas as soon as the market is in town.

Christmas market last year
Sadly I have been afflicted with the most hideous headache since last night and, instead of glugging mulled wine I am dosed up on painkillers and sat in my PJs totally wasting the day.  I have been indulging in a little light internet Christmas shopping instead however; both for others and in order to add things to my own list! So far I have added Mac eyeliners (fluidline and penultimate), some goodies from Lush, boots from Office and a lot of books and DVDs on Amazon.  I am already so excited for Christmas and can't wait to go and get my tree! Here is last year's tree in my flat.

Along with shopping for Christmassy goodies I have also been shopping for houses online today as this morning I accepted an offer on my flat and it is SOLD! Hooray!


Before and after - coat and dove

Had a slightly stressful few days at work but a really nice weekend preceding that with a bit of craftiness, a bit of friend time and a bit of family time.  My craftiness was quite minimal and involved taking buttons off a jacket and sewing new ones on whilst watching Saturday's 'This Morning'.  The idea behind my little project was that I can't afford to buy a new winter coat this year so I thought I'd just 'refresh' my current one....

This is the before and after.  I ordered the buttons from Ebay (also below) for a couple of quid.

Before - old boring coat... after, nice new coat!

On Saturday the other half, me and two friends went to the opening of 'Guildhall Square' in Southampton, where they had a fire garden and a hogroast.  The fire garden was pretty cool, the hogroast was awesome but after about ten minutes we got bored and pootled off for a bottle of wine and some tapas.  Yum!

The fire garden
On Sunday, after arriving home from a lovely meal at my parents', we found a poorly little dove cowering in the entrance to our block of flats, looking very cold and hungry.  When my other half bent down to see if it was okay the dove tried to fly but couldn't, and kept falling over and rolling onto his side.  After a few minutes of deliberating we decided to bring him inside rather than let him get eaten by one of the hungry cats on the estate.  Here is Michael (as we named him) looking a little scared and unsettled in his box.  We gave him food and water and let him warm up in the flat overnight.  

To be honest, we weren't quite sure what we were going to do with him, as we knew the RSPCA would put him down and we thought if we put him back outside he would die of cold, or of the shock of whatever had got him into this state.  But, by some miracle, when we checked on him in the morning he looked much better! We put him out on the balcony, and the afternoon, with a little nod goodbye he flew off! Here he is looking much better in the morning....

I know it probably seems a little silly to some but we are happy we managed to save his little life!


Hellingly House

One weekend last year two friends and I decided that we wanted to do something a little different and decided to (as you do) go and visit a derelict mental asylum in East Sussex.  I had heard of other people that had gone and taken photographs there and wanted to see what it was really like. So, on a windy, wintry day, we set off with our cameras and finally found it, in a small village called Hailsham.  The hospital, previously known as East Sussex County Asylum, opened in 1903 and closed in 1994.  Since then, however, it has just been left to fall into dereliction and delapidation.  There are security guards that infrequently patrol the site, and fences around it, but it was relatively easy to get into.

Disappointingly, we could only get into one of the buildings (the hospital, in its time, had its own railway line, ballroom, shop, nurse's quarters and water tower) but we snapped away at what we found....

This is what the hallways look like now - wind whipping leaves through them and slamming doors as we walked around.  Unsettling, to say the least.

The floor had fallen in in the laundry room, and there were floorboards falling in everywhere so we were careful where we treaded.

The last one is my favourite photo of the day - I couldn't bear to get much closer than to shoot through the door!

I would like to go back, especially as we missed out on seeing the ballroom, which a lot of people have taken photos of that are available on Flickr or Urban Explorer sites.

The ballroom - from http://www.abandoned-britain.com
There is also some pretty amazing graffiti - wish I'd got to see this one...

From Flickr - credit to http://www.flickr.com/photos/nickwild
What do you think? Weird or awesome?  My friend tells me I'm lucky I don't watch horror films or I wouldn't have been able to go in!



I have lived on my own for over three years now, and whilst I absolutely love having my own space to potter around in, and having my flat exactly how I want it, I got the idea early this year that it might be nice to have a little pet to say hello to when I got home from work, and to have running around and making the flat feel more like home.

Back in April, after exploring a lot of options and discounting a lot of ideas I decided to buy a hamster, and went to Pets at Home one Thursday night to see if there were any there that took my fancy. As soon as the shop assistant opened the syrian hamster cage one little honey coloured hamster bounded out and jumped into my hands, and it was this hamster that I took home and named Pancake.

When I bought Pancake (for £6!) she was about six weeks old, and this is her finding her way around her new cage when I first brought her home.

Over the months that I have had her I have come to love her deeply, and have found a maternal streak within me that I didn't know I had. Whether it's chasing wasps away from her cage, buying her new cage accessories and treats or just cuddling her on the sofa, it feels like an amazing feeling to be responsible for a little furry thing that relies entirely on me.

The nice thing about Pancake is that she really does have her own personality, and is quite quirky and silly at times, and really is a pleasure to own.  My Mum thinking she has a bit of a screw loose as she likes to fill her wheel with food and run around in it, she stuffs all the tubes in her cage with sawdust before she goes to sleep, and she likes to do commando crawling around on her belly on the coffee table.

I hope you don't mind me sharing these pictures with you of Pancake - or mini bear, as we often call her due to the amount of time she spends sat up like a bear with her hands on her belly!  Do you have any pets? What are their little quirks and funny habits?

Night in

The weather has been horrendous in Southampton this week, and even as I write the wind and rain are lashing against the balcony doors and the Met Office have just issued severe weather warnings for areas in North West England and are preparing people for some severe storms.

image from weheartit.com
Since I am of the opinion that there is nothing better to do on a stormy night than sit by a heater (well, it would be fire but I live in a block of flats, not a country lodge) with some toasty socks on, a good book and a big ol' mug of hot chocolate I am planning to do exactly this tonight.  I may even throw in a bubble bath, some nail painting and some trashy TV watching for good measure.

I know that, as a 26-year-old, I am supposed to hate nights like this - stuck in, nowhere to go, no-one even to keep me company, but the truth is, I adore them.  I have enough social engagements and hobbies to keep me busy most of the time (not to mention the four days out of eight that the boyfriend is here) and so, rightly or wrongly, I really cherish the nights where I get to go home and do nothing.

image from weheartit.com
I have lived on my own for four years now, and I love it.  I love knowing that any mess is my mess, I love coming home and being able to get into my pajamas and not have anyone tell me I can't, I love not having to worry about anyone else's bills, and most of all, I like my 'me time'.  I have always enjoyed my own company, and over the last few years I have become an old person turned into someone who would much rather do some baking/sewing/watch a TV box set/read a magazine in the bath than go out drinking with friends - well, on school nights anyway.  Don't get me wrong, I love nothing more than having friends over for dinner and a bottle of wine, or going out for a meal, to the cinema, or even just round to a friends for a good old gossip, but every now and then, maybe... once every two weeks I have a night like tonight.  And I love it.

image from weheartit.com
What about you? Do you love or loathe nights in on your own? Baking or boozing - what's your evening of choice? :)

Rain, rain go away

Well, what a horrible Tuesday eh? Who else has been blown, blustered, rained on and generally inconvenienced by the weather today? Halfway through my walk to work I was presented with a mid-calf high puddle of water flooding the whole street and I had to just wade through it! Spent the first twenty minutes of this morning drying my tights and boots in the Dyson Air Blade hand dryers at work.

This weekend was better, however - even managed to get out for a walk in Thorncombe Woods on Saturday, which was lovely.  We took Jake, my other half's springer spaniel, and his niece, Daisy, who loved sploshing in the lake in her welly boots.  Walks are so much more fun when you have dogs/children - sometimes anyway.  Wish I had more of a reason to get out tramping around in the leaves more often.  Would like to take Pancake hamster out on a walk on a little lead (yes, you can actually get them - click here for the evidence) but she isn't a great explorer -  even when she escapes she always comes back!


Yesterday we went to Gunwharf Quays, an outlet village on the Quayside in Portsmouth.  Despite our best efforts Christmas shopping for others we managed to come away only with gifts for ourselves - Tom with some t-shirts and a cafetiere (yes, we are old now) and me with a bag and some Bobbi Brown foundation.

We also lunched in Slug and Lettuce, who do a Half Price Mondays offer that meant our gargantuan platter of food (below) was only 5.50 rather than 11 quid - bit of a bargain! 

After Gunwharf we popped to Ikea to buy some cupboard doors for Tom's project to refurbish his Volkswagen Camper Van.  We also took time to admire the view of the Independence of The Seas that was docked that evening.  At 1,112 feet long, she is the largest cruise ship ever built.  Crikey!



I have worked an ungodly amount of hours this week, including 27 in the last two days alone so I am full of the joy of it being Friday today, and very much looking forward to a restful weekend.

Yesterday I was in Humber, well, to Immingham to be specific, to take part in an oil spill contingency exercise with work.  After six hours of driving (and a Burger King at a service station!) we arrived about 10 at night on the Wednesday and pulled up to a very lovely hotel in Ashby cum Fenby and I was excited to be met with an absolutely gorgeous room and even more lovely bathroom....

Sadly I had no time to enjoy the amazing hotel as all I got to do was get my head down and get up early the next day for the exercise. (Of course I did pinch the l'occitane lotions and potions!) After the exercise I spent a gruelling eight hours on trains and tubes to get back home.  I love the feeling of walking through the door after being away, and being home.

Image from weheartit

This weekend the other half and I are off to his home town of Weymouth for the weekend, and are hoping to fit in some watching of the Amazon wishlist deliveries that arrived on Tuesday (some are below!)

I have a day off on Monday so we are going to Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth because I heard there's a shop that sells Mac at outlet prices to do some Christmas shopping!


My blog

All images from weheartit

As I was walking home from work today (the sad little soul that I am) I started thinking about my blog, and about other blogs I read, and the things I like about others and would like to do more on mine.  I started my blog on the 22nd August and since then have acquired 29 followers and try and blog fairly regularly about my life; the things I get up to, things I've seen (or, more frequently, eaten), and often, photos I've taken.

As sad as it sounds, my blogging schedule owes a lot to my schedule with my other half.  The boyfriend lives an hour and a half away in Weymouth and works four days on, four days off, so four days out of eight I have a curly haired, boy shaped, co-habitant who eats me out of house and home, watches a lot of Top Gear and tries to convince me to go out for walks in the rain.  I tend not to blog very much during this time because it feels a little antisocial, and because there is Dexter to watch (I can't watch it on my own, I get too scared) and pizza to eat (we like pizza).

The rest of the time, I try and put thought into what I'd like to blog about.  In a way (in a very sad way), blogging has made me do more because I start thinking about what I can write about it afterwards.  And I snap things on the way to work, or out to dinner, or in town, or, wherever, because I like the idea of sharing them with the wider world.  The only thing blogging hasn't helped is my bank balance - I love blog entries where people snap their clothes shopping hauls, or new nail varnishes or book buys; the only downside being that I then decide I too must own said amazing products!

But I do wonder what it is other people like to read, and wonder what I should be writing about to generate something which people want to come back to, and read again and again.  I read somewhere that a successful blog should have a focus, but the only common theme in mine is 'things I've seen, or done', and I'm not sure that's enough.  Having said that, my favourite blogs are the ones where people write about their lives, put up photographs and share the things they've done that week.  I also really like tutorials and crafty blogs and am inspired by people who sew, knit, draw and paint things and post them on their blogs.  I hope to share more of my crafty endeavours as I find my way around my sewing machine.  I also find people's outfit posts inspiring, but I am really awful at self portraits so I may not ever feel the urge to follow suit....

So what about you, what do you like to read? What blogs are your favourites? Do you plan your blogs, or just type and post? I'd love to hear!