A different New Year's Eve

Just a quick post today as I have to go and pack my bag for our trip to the Lake District.  We leave early tomorrow morning and I am so excited.  I have spent the last few New Year's Eves spending extortionate amounts of money getting into clubs that normally don't have an entry fee, queueing at the bar to pay double price for drinks and buckling under the pressure of having to have THE BEST TIME EVER....

So this year I will be swapping this;

image from weheartit
For this!

We are going for steak on New Year's Eve and then we have a guided walk of the lower fells on New Year's Day.  I know this probably isn't everyone's idea of fun but now I am 26 I have had nearly 10 years of going out drinking, having drinks spilled on me, waking up with a horrible hangover and wasting a weekend slobbing around feeling sorry for myself and whilst I still like to go out now and again a log fire, Bucks Fizz and a good slab of steak seems like my idea of bliss!

In other news I went into town yesterday to check out the sales, but not before having a go with my new Mac penultimate eyeliner - a crimbo present from my parents.  I have never used liquid eyeliner before and with a very shaky hand I had a go.  I think practice will make perfect but I took a picture of my face anyway [below] along with my lovely new circle scarf from Rani at Cupcake Couture.

I mooched around the sales but wasn't particularly successful, there were crowds everywhere (all doing that stop, walk, stop in the middle of the shopping centre thing...) and I had a boyfriend in tow who got crosser and crosser as the day progressed and more people bumped into him! I did, however buy these beautiful shoes from Aldo.  They had 30% off all their sale shoes so they were £27! Bargain!

Today, after a lot of trips to down, strongly worded emails and various refunds I finally came home with a copy of Def Jam Rap Star for the Xbox.  It might not be your cup of tea but until you have seen your boyfriend trying to rap Roots Manuva in a Dorset accent you really haven't lived.  Well worth whatever I ended up paying for it.

What are your plans for New Year's Eve? I must admit to being a wee bit jealous of those people who are getting all dolled up and going out in glitzy frocks (God I sound about 50) as I pack my wellies and thick socks!

PS - I added a little like button under my blog so if you're feeling lazy and don't want to comment, do let me know if you liked my post, it will warm my cockles!

A Rosie Christmas

Christmas is now well and truly feeling like it's over for me.  I had to travel back in the early hours from my other half's parents' to be on call for three days so now I'm sat in the flat again in my jogging bottoms, binging on After Eights and reflecting on how nice it was to be around my family for a few days, and of course, all the lovely prezzies I got!  The boyfriend has gone off surfing (yes I know, in this weather!) so I thought it was a good opportunity to take a few snaps of what I got and share them with you all.  As I have a nice few hours of me time I will also be nosing around seeing what you lot got too!

We went out for a lovely meal as a family on Christmas Eve; baked camemberts and burgers all round - yum! After that it was lots of wine and then bed.  My brother and his girlfriend were up bright and early at 8am to start opening stockings, and then we had a long Christmas dinner and opened our main presents.  This is some of what I got....

Personalised earrings from Lola Pop from the boyf
Sewing box and personalised tags for my crafty creations from Mummy
Lots of bits from Lush
Gruffalo toy from boyf and plate and cup set from parents. I love the Gruffalo!

Clarins gift set and perfumes from parents
Comfy boaty boots from Office from the boyf
Bayside Tigers jumper, as modelled by Mollie King. I will look exactly like this in mine, obv.
All Saints leather purse from my bro
My boyfriend also bought me this dress from Criminal Damage.  I have never bought anything from there before but this dress is so darned cute! The sad thing is, even though he bought me a Large (as they said it was a 10-12), it won't even zip up! Apparently, in their language, a 28" waist and 30" bust is a LARGE.  So I've had to send it back and ask for an EXTRA LARGE, which is a bit embarrassing.  I mean, I know I've gone a bit overboard on the mince pies and matchmakers the last few weeks but it is a bit crappy making a size 12 your XL size when the average size in the UK is a 14-16.  Anyway... rant over.

I actually got so many more awesome things but I won't bore you with photographing them all.  In the afternoon we played Bananagrams and Cluedo (what are your family's board games of choice?) and watched a lot of rubbish Christmas telly. I sat and watched the Eastenders Christmas special with my Mum but don't normally watch it - man that TV programme is depressing! 

On Boxing Day we drove through lots of snow and ice to my other half's parents' house in Weymouth.  Here is a snap of our stop on the journey home...

In the evening we had a gihugic spread of food and more board games and present opening.  I got Jamie's 30 Minute Meals from them and some lovely soaps and a DIY book from his sister.  We are going to end up doing a hell of a lot of DIY when we move into our new house so this will come in handy! Yesterday was a mostly lazy day spent reading and browsing round the online internet sales.  All I bought was Def Jam Rapstar for my XBox, which I literally cannot wait to receive (tomorrow - hello next day delivery!) Cannot wait to rap my way through Juicy and Gin and Juice - going to be a bit good!  I did get out for a quick walk around Weymouth harbour though when I met the boyfriend for lunch.  Doesn't it look lovely?

The next exciting thing I have to look forward to is our New Year's break up in the Lake District.  Can't wait to put my wellies on and go stomping around the lakes with my camera (before returning for crumpets and rum butter, obviously!).

Did everyone else have a lovely Christmas? 

Christmas snaps

Just a few snaps now I am home with the parents and feeling very Christmassy.  Now that me and the other half have added out presents to the ones already under my parents' tree there really are so many presents and it does make me feel a tinge of guilt as well as a lot of excitement! 

All the presents and Mummy and Daddy's house
We are going out for dinner this evening (baked camembert, yes please!) and then back home for a glass of cava and some of these treats that I have baked...

Peppermint candy cane pie - Inky Kitchen recipe
French toast cupcakes
The cupcakes are from a recipe book I bought last month and I must admit they are very yummy and taste exactly like French toast.  If anyone wants the recipe let me know.

This afternoon was spent relaxing with a glass of mulled wine next to the fire watching Santa Clause and Miracle on 34th Street.

Then we went for a drive and watched the sunset.  If I watched the sun set on Christmas Eve does that mean it's Christmas now and I can open my presents? Yeah?

Happy Christmas everyone!


Yesterday was my last day in the office until January the 4th.  I have to specify 'not being in the office' as the definition of being on my Christmas holidays as I actually am on call for a few days between Christmas and New Year, so come January 28th I will be sat with my pager, phone, Blackberry, pen and notebook.... but.... until then, I am free!

I have had a few people say to me at work over the last couple of days; 'You look like you need a break,' and I would be cross if it wasn't so true.  Work has been so busy over the last few weeks that I worked a 50 hour week last week (I know some people
always work 50 hour weeks - but not me!) and because I live on my own the washing, ironing, cleaning and washing up does not stop and I still have to find time to make sure I have enough food in the house to eat (and for little Pancake hamster to eat too!) and that the bills are paid and I can in between just about grab enough sleep to function.  This isn't a rant - promise.  In between all this I also have just sold my flat and bought a house so I am having to sift through so much paperwork and signing it is unbelievable.  Everything that pops through the door has to be done in five days, or ten days, or as soon as possible.  To make matters worse I don't even understand half of what is required of me.

photo from weheart it
Anyway.  The point of this post is that I am determined to put all of this stress behind me, and enjoy the festive period.  I have made at least one promise to myself that I intend to keep this Christmas.

I will not check my work email whilst I am on leave.

Just reading that again makes me feel like a bad employee, but that's crazy right? We seem to have got into this culture whereby the line between work and home life has become more and more blurred.  Don't get me wrong, I adore my job - literally, love it - but whilst I enjoy some aspects of it so much I end up doing work from home I do not need to read my emails and respond to emails on my Christmas break.

I will make an effort to de-stress.

photo from weheart it
This means, long bubble baths, time curled up with a book, family time, friend time, and realising that nothing on my to do list needs to be done RIGHT THIS SECOND or immediately and I can do things in my own pace on my own time.  It is a nice feeling to realise this.  This needs to happen. 

In the spirit of my new happier, calmer self I have made myself a happy little
Lloyds TSB ME.  What do you think?


Bad blogger and snowy scenes

I was a very bad blogger last week and managed a measly one post! To my new readers, let me assure you that I normally blog far more frequently than this!  Last week was a hell of a week - I worked the equivalent of two extra days worth of overtime and also managed to fit in Christmas shopping, a work do and hop on a train on Friday night down to Weymouth, where I spent the weekend.

My Christmas meal brownie
By the weekend I was totally exhausted, and the social plans I had arranged were shelved in favour of a stroll in the snow and a Saturday night in.  I was in Weymouth visiting my other half and we went on a lovely walk through a nature reserve and along Weymouth seafront on Saturday.

Lodmoor Nature Reserve
Little ducky wondering where his pond has gone
Weymouth seafront
On Saturday night, rather than going out as planned, we decided to stay in, watch Home Alone 1 and 2, drink wine and eat Dominos Pizza and Percy Pigs.  A perfect Saturday night in my eyes!

On Sunday, after a run through ice and snow (never trust a man when he tells you how long a journey will take you to walk) I hopped on the train home and fell into bed.  Phew!

I am feeling so Christmassy now in the flat - there are so many presents underneath the tree and they're only the ones I have bought for other people! I get so much pleasure out of giving people presents that I have to stop myself from going overboard.  The other half and I will be going home to my parents' for Christmas on Thursday and I cannot wait to be at home with the family.  This year my Dad and brother are cooking Christmas dinner so I am taking home a creamy candy cane pie (recipe from The Inky Kitchen) and some Christmassy cupcakes from my cupcake book.

On a final note, a big thank you to Rhianna at Cupcake Couture for writing nice things about me on her blog! And a big hello to anyone who has come here from there.  If you haven't already dropped in on her blog you should do so now, as well as her cute little shop - I bought two of her lovely scarves for Christmas prezzies and as soon as I have a spare minute in my life to pick them up from the sorting office I will surely take a snap of them and show you all! (Especially being as one of them is a present for.... me!)

I bought a house

My intention today was to blog about all of the lovely things I have found on Etsy lately; a sort of dream Etsy shopping list if you will, but I have some other exciting news that I wanted to share so I'll have to put that on the backburner.

Today I bought a house!

By 'bought a house' I mean I (well, myself and the boyfriend) had an offer accepted on the house we have fallen in love with, ran through the final mortgage interview and notified my solicitors.  I really can't describe how excited I am right now - the happiness of finding a house, having an offer accepted and the prospect of setting up home with a person I love very much is almost too much.

I know I have gushed on before about my lovely boyfriend so I won't go over it again but I really feel so incredibly lucky to have met someone who not only looks after me and treats me like a princess but who wants to buy a house with me! I mean

Image from weheartit
I love the little flat I currently live in but I absolutely cannot wait to move into our house.  At the moment the decorating is awful and it needs cosmetic work, but I know that we can make it lovely, and I can't wait to splurge on decorating books, buy too many copies of Ideal Home magazine and start making mood boards! Tom has agreed that I can have the downstairs study for a library and craft room if he can have the third bedroom (yes, third bedroom!) to hang his surfboards.  A fair trade?

Craft room - image from weheartit
I cannot wait to move in and go for walks along the river, pints of cider in the nearby country pub (the Fisherman's Haunt) and have nights curled up in front of the fire with a good book (why do people say that? Why would I want to read a bad book?)  I know it must sound like I am old much before my time but to me it will be bliss!

Owl versus shark

After worrying that I would never develop any crafty talent in my last post, I had a few comments from people urging me to carry on trying and that practice would make perfect.  With this in mind I had a go at making two more owls.  Tom also made another shark for his baby nephew for Christmas so now we have a tree full of felt animals!

This is hooty bluety - what do you think?

Tom's second Bitey shark

Hooty tooty (Hooty two)
Yesterday Tom and I went to see three more houses in Christchurch (the one in Dorset).  Before we saw the houses we had a brief mooch around the Priory and drove past the Quay to get more of a feel for what Christchurch is like.  Luckily, it just feels lovely; all cute little bistros and cottages and exactly the sort of place we can see ourselves living.  Of the three houses we saw (we have maybe seen about 30 so far in total) one really stuck out, a lovely house in an area called Burton.  Cosmetically the house is pretty grim - green carpets, green kitchen.... but there is SO much potential to make it a bit of a palace! We drove around Burton and it has woodlands and thatched cottages and rivers and streams and cute little pubs and we sort of fell in love with the place! Pending approval from my mortgage company I think we are going to make an offer on Monday - exciting!

Photo from http://www.wordsandpictures.me.uk/
Building near the quay
This afternoon my brother and his girlfriend are coming to visit - and also to cut Tom's mane afro hair and colour mine (she is a hairdresser).  We have prepared lots of mini foods (I love Christmas for all the mini foods available) and Christmassy cakes and I am currently blitzing the flat and filling it with candles and Christmas lights - hooray!

Hope you all have a lovely Sunday!


Wonky stitches, nice smells and snail mail

Thank you for all of your lovely comments about Hooty (and Bitey) from my last post.  Although I love sewing and making things they are not things that I am naturally good at and it is a challenge for me to create anything even vaguely crafty.  I bought a sewing machine earlier this year and have made some cushions but have dreams of being able to make my own clothes and things for my home.  I have never been good with my hands - I cannot draw, paint... I cannot even cut in a straight line.  My hand sewing is messy; uneven and loose and my creativity is limited to being able to write (thank God I have one talent) and.... that's about it.  Do other people have things they really enjoy doing but are not very good at? I struggle with the fact that I really am bad at anything vaguely crafty but I really enjoy doing it.  Do you think it is something you can learn or does it come naturally to people?

This is Bitey by the way, the shark that Tom made.  He sketched out a template and whipped him up in about 45 minutes.  So I guess we know who has the crafty talents out of the two of us!

As Christmas draws closer I am beginning to get more and more excited.  I cannot restrain myself from buying way too many presents for my friends and family, and even when I have finished all my Christmas shopping I find more things to buy and more little stocking fillers sneaking into the trolley when I do a supermarket shop.  Last year I started a tradition where I now make my parents' both stockings as I want to give them something back for all the years I woke up to a pillowcase full of presents and a tree overflowing downstairs.  Plus, I can't bear the idea that when I'm old enough to have my own children that I should stop getting very many presents! I am very aware how lucky I am to have had so many brilliant and privileged Christmases and I never take for granted what I have and what I am able to give others.

Last night I went to Lush to buy a couple of bits for Christmas presents for friends and picked up a Böögg bath ballistic for my pre-bed bath.  I must admit that I do love Lush - their products smell absolutely gorgeous and are perfect for when you want to treat yourself and others.  Are there any other Lush fans out there? I think it is a bit of a marmite love it or hate it thing as I have friends who can't even bear to go near the shop.
I'm swapping sweeties and chocolate with Angelica from Zombie Queen Lives this week after taking part in Yummy International on Under Those Neon Lights' blog.  Very excited to send her package of treats (and of course to receive mine back!)

It got me thinking that it'd be fun if anyone else out there wanted to participate in a fun little trade, or exchange letters and packages.  Drop me a line or leave me a comment if you fancy a penpal - I love post!


Hooty and bitey

I have had a lovely weekend this weekend, full, predominantly of eating due to two three course dinners - one a Christmas party and the other a hen do, and topped off with a roast dinner today! Yes I am pretty much a blimp now.  My highlight of the weekend of eating was an ice cream chimichanga in a Mexican restaurant called La Cantina.  I wish I'd taken a photo but it didn't last long enough!

As the snow has now melted (cue photo of snow melting.....

Snow melting
 ....) we went on a belated trip to my parents' today, but not without stopping off at Hobbycraft for some ingredients for my crafty evening.  After locating the felt aisle and buying most of it we then popped into the garden centre for a Christmas tree stand and some treats for Pancake hamster.  I then was struck by the awful epiphany that I have become the sort of person that goes to Hobbycraft and garden centres on a Sunday.  I.e. I have become my parents twenty years early.

My Mum
 cooked us up a delicious roast dinner with homemade mince pies and bread and butter pudding for afterwards and then we all had a game of a brilliant board game called Balderdash (yes, we're that family).  

I then rushed off home in the fog for my crafty project - a felt owl to go on the Christmas tree! I used this tutorial and made Hooty....

Hooty in the tree

My lovely tree... and Hooty again!
After seeing how questionable sloppy ropey brilliant Hooty was, my other half decided he wanted to have ago at making a felty friend and has started making a felt shark we have already named 'Bitey'.

Of course, despite having no crafty inclinations and no template or instructions Tom has already managed to whip up something better than Hooty! I will post a photo of Bitey once he is finished.  I can also scan the template Tom sketched if anyone else wants to make a Bitey.

Hope everyone else had a lovely Sunday - and are there any other fellow Hobbycraft or garden centre visitors out there or am I the only one?

Just another snow post

After lots of envy from myself aimed towards others on the Twitter and blogosphere posted their photos of icy weather, Southampton has finally had its own dusting of snow.  To paraphrase, armageddon has finally arrived here; photos of crashed vehicles grace the news, people have been sent home from work (those that managed to get in at all), bus and train services have been terminated and Southampton Airport has been closed.

Personally I love snow and was so excited to see the winter wonderland outside when I drew back the curtains this morning.  Tom and I dedicated some time before we left for work to play in the snow, take some photos and generally enjoy the change of scenery.

Poor old headless snowman
Street outside my flat
As of course is the way when you think you have a degree of photographic talent, Tom then took my camera off to his training course in Highcliffe and took better photos than I had that morning!

Sunset over the A35

Mudeford Quay

Training Centre
Despite Tom's suggestions that we trek out to the German Market in town I am a great believer in the fact that in weather like this you have to hibernate and eat lots of comfort food.  With this in mind we are making a huge cheesy Cottage Pie for dinner with profiteroles and mince pies and cream for dessert.  I am currently hugging a mug of mulled wine and the Dexter DVD is all lined up and ready to go!

On another note I currently have 49 followers to my blog, which really is exciting for me.  I love that people are coming by and visiting and (hopefully) enjoying reading my blog as much as I love reading theirs.  I am hugely inspired by all of my favourite bloggers and love the fact that (sentence coming up as cheesy as my cottage pie) I have made not only a long list of blogs I love to read and people whose lives, writing and opinions I am generally interested in but also some friends! Hooray!

Okay, cheesy bit over - hope the weather isn't too awful where you are and you are enjoying cosy nights in with hot drinks and comfort food like me.