Week Twenty

It’s late in the day for a blog post, I know. As the weekend comes to an end, I’m feeling particularly melancholy and blogging always makes me feel chirpier, so here we are.

It feels like Sunday evening came around very quickly. It feels like only a few minutes ago, I was rolling out of bed (post- eurovision lie in was a necessity) and getting to work spring cleaning with Dave. The flat needed a good tidy and we rewarded ourselves with a lovely lunch out, so it’s been a good day all in all. I just can’t believe it’s nearly over.

I suppose, there’s still time. Time to get a real wriggle on with the studying. Time to chill and have dinner. Time to curl up with a movie and probably fall asleep in the middle of it.

Week twenty was a great week, if only because we were back to routine and that’s always a bit of a relief after a hectic few weeks in a row. That and the fact that the weather has been so beautiful!

This week I felt a little more on top of everything on the work front. Bank holidays are great, but I’d only just really caught up at work after Easter and then May came around and threw me off track again.  I needed this full five day week to get back on track. I had a very productive and equally lovely working from home day: I spent it working out on the balcony and cooked turkey dinosaurs at lunch time.

In other news, I started reading Adam Kay’s ‘This is going to hurt’ this week and I’m flying through it! I’ve a feeling it’s going to be a full 5 stars from me! The book is hilarious, but also eye-opening. Reading it is so enjoyable, but at the same time so frustrating. Basically, the book contains lots of Adam Kay’s diary entries from when he was a junior doctor. He helpfully translates the medical language and he’s brutally honest. It’s terrifying actually, to hear about the challenges our NHS staff face every day and the lengths they are pushed to. When reading it on the tubes, I felt like getting everyone’s attention and reading extracts out loud to the carriage just to raise more awareness.

I saw two of my best friends and caught up with my sister this week too. A good week is a week that contains multiple catch ups over food and drink…

My sister and I went for dinner on Thursday, which was lovely as ever.

Friday night was spent at Las Iguanas with one of the friends, numerous cocktails and tapas. She brought me the loveliest necklace for my birthday (which happens to be on Wednesday… And I’m going to be 25… EEK!) and we had a wonderful time catching up on life.

Yesterday, I drove to Salisbury to see the other friend. Escaping London was the absolute bestest. It took me ages to get past Heathrow and out the other side, but once I was away from the motorways and off onto the A roads in Wiltshire, I immediately felt happier. I whizzed down the roads, fields for miles on either side of me, until I reached her lovely flat. I was so happy to see her: It’d been way too long! We got a really yummy lunch in town and then did some shopping. I’m relieved to say that I successfully purchased my costume for my birthday party next week…

I can’t quite believe I’m going to be 25! I feel like this is it. This is the best age to be. I’d quite happily pause here for a bit. Determined to celebrate this year. For a few years in a row, I’ve not really made a thing of my birthday. I’m a stressy host anyway and getting everyone together always feels like a huge ordeal. A huge ordeal, that I will have undertaken by the time next Sunday comes around! I’m getting all my friends together this year, for a fancy dress party. Everyone’s coming as something beginning with ‘B’ and so far, I’m more excited than nervous. I just hope everyone has a great time and I can get my 26th year off to a strong start. Absolutely no stressing about hosting allowed. See you on the other side!

Another year older

I’M FEELIN’ 24.

And ‘what does 24 feel like?’ you might ask. Well, I guess I actually do feel a little older.

If I really think about it, I realise that even in the last week or so I’ve done many things a younger me would have been too scared to do. Silly things like carrying birthday cake on the tube and sorting my cars MOT out, to important things like representing my team at a work event and going on a hen do weekend without freaking out. And yes, the prospect of having to carry a birthday cake on the tube would have been absolutely terrifying to me a couple of years ago: I would have gone over and over all the ways in which carrying birthday cake could lead to disaster and probably decided I best not take the risk.

WHAT IF I WERE TO DROP IT, FALL FACE FIRST INTO IT AND SPEND THE DAY COVERED IN CHOCOLATE?

WHAT IF I GOT FUNNY LOOKS OFF FELLOW PASSENGERS?

WHAT IF I GOT ATTACKED BY HUNGRY PIGEONS?

Oh, how far I’ve come.

In some ways, I’ve barely grown up at all. I still can’t wear high heels. I’m currently listening to Avril Lavigne’s Goodbye Lullaby on vinyl. I still don’t like gin and tonic. I’m still terrified of spiders. I’ve never used an iron in my life. I still hate cooking chicken. I still hate cooking full stop.

Anyhoo, in case you can’t tell, my birthday has left me feeling reflective and reminiscent (oh my, how time is flying by). It’s also left me feeling very loved and extremely grateful. A massive thank you to everyone who posted on facebook, sent cards, celebrated with me and helped to make it so special.

The celebrations started with some awesome work colleagues and wayyy too much prosecco. I also went out for a lovely lunch with my family. I highly recommend Cote Brasserie in Chelmsford if you’re ever over that way… Superb service, lovely food and a free bottle of champagne to say Happy Birthday! My sister came into London to meet me on my lunch break on the actual day and we spent a really lovely hour up in the Sky Garden. I went for a wonderful dinner with some girl friends later in the week. AND some time soon Dave and I are going to be climbing the O2 in London which is admittedly a little nerve-racking, but VERY exciting too.

We had another bank holiday this week and I’m oh so glad. The hen do was absolutely amazing and if I’d had to go back to work on Monday I’d have been super mopey.

Instead I spent Monday sat in a park with a lovely friend I hadn’t seen in OVER THREE YEARS, in beautiful sunshine, eating ice cream and sipping coke.

When I woke up for work yesterday morning I was super sleepy. However, once I’d sat at my desk and had a cuppa, I must say I felt pretty refreshed and I’m actually quite happy to be getting stuck in again.

This Friday night I think Dave and I might finally go see Avengers: Infinity War. Saturday I’m looking forward to catching up on life admin and giving the bathroom a proper clean (see! That’s something I’d have never said two years ago). Sunday I’ll be seeing the family again, which will be lovely jubbly.

Going into my 25th year thinking, life’s not too shabby. Not too shabby at all. In a way I think I’ll never leave my younger self behind, not really. I’m always going to love Harry Potter and Disney in general. I’m always going to love cocktails and prosecco and a good boogie. And I don’t think I’ll ever really like cooking. I guess that’s where that saying comes from. The one that says you’re as young as you feel. TOO RIGHT.

Saying yes to new adventures

Oh boy oh boy. I cannot believe how time is flying!

First up, you need to know about a little cafe in Croydon called The Ludoquist. Nearly a month ago now Dave and I were staying with a couple of our loveliest friends. We spent a whole afternoon at The Ludoquist and were sorry to have to leave. It’s a board game cafe. They’ve more board games than you can imagine and to top it off, they sell great coffee and sweets in little glass bowls! There’s other, more substantial food and beer too! You pay £3 if you wanna play the board games and it’s so busy that your best off booking a table in advance.

While we’re talking recommendations, a couple of weeks back Dave and I went to the Secret Cinema in London. Secret location, secret world, secret identity, all that jazz. Secret Cinema are a company who literally build the world of the film. You enter a whole new world, full of incredibly talented actors and spend the night in character, as if you were a character from the movie. Then you sit and watch the film and then you party in the world after, until you decide it’s time to retreat back to real life. The website might do it more justice than I’m doing it, if you’re really interested.

SECRET CINEMA LONDON

I actually felt dubious to begin with. The film showing at the moment is Blade Runner and while I appreciate that it is an incredible cinematic masterpiece and the music is AMAZING, it’s not my kind of thing. Also, the future world depicted in Blade Runner is kinda scary if you ask me and I wasn’t sure I wanted in. I needn’t have worried. We had a brilliant night. I wouldn’t be surprised if we make it a yearly thing, like so many people seem to do once they’ve discovered it. No spoilers here, but WOW. If you can get tickets, go!

I spent last weekend in Wales with one of my best friends. Here come more recommendations… We had a lovely time. From drinking cocktails in Turtle Bay and brunching in Cosy Club to exploring Cardiff and strolling down Swansea beaches, we did about everything you can do to make the most of your weekend. The sun even shined on us.

Brunch in Cosy Club was amazing but it was well and truly trumped by brunch on Sunday in a little place called The Junction, right by Swansea Beach. We both ordered the Junction special and we had no regrets. £8.50 for poached egg, potatoes, chorizo, cheese, lardons, avocado and spinach all fried up and served in one grill. A FEAST FOR THE TASTE BUDS I tell you. And they did a vegetarian option too! Recommendation number three, if you’re ever in the area.

I did not intend for this post to end up being a list of recommendations, but I’m not sorry it did. I love that I’m discovering all these new and amazing places and that I can shout about them too! Life has been busy and exciting recently, but I’ve had plenty of chill time too. I’m feeling happy and calm and balanced and by golly I hope it lasts.

The Common Cold. Cough, Sniff, Sneeze, Repeat.

Last week was great. Exhausting, but great. I was at the restaurant all day every day except Thursday, training along side a really lovely team of people who I already feel like I can be my weird and wonderful self around. I still can’t carry plates or trays confidently, but hey, everyone else seems confident I’ll get there. I hope they’re right. That aside, all’s well and I can’t wait to get stuck in again this week. Friday night we went out as a staff team and all had such a good time. I’m so excited for the restaurant opening. As well as a little nervous, of course.

Thursday, Dave and I and his family went to see Manchester United play at Old Trafford. They played much better than they did against Chelsea today, thank goodness. It was a really great match, well worth the trek up there and back. We won 4-1 and a couple of the goals were absolutely brilliant!

Yesterday was a lovely day. I caught up with one of my best friends over coffee. We had fish and chips from the chip shop for dinner. I watched Strictly live, for what will probably be the last time this year. (Saturday nights will be spent in the restaurant from now on.) Dave came over later on. We stuck Bicentennial Man on my TV, managed about ten minutes and then fell asleep.

All that’s great and wonderful aside, I’ve got the worst of colds and I feel very sorry for myself. My head literally feels the size of Jupiter. Seeing as, for the near future, I’m going to be working in a school and a busy restaurant, I’ve a feeling I need to get used to fighting off the common cold. Problem is, every time I have a cold I’m convinced it’s the worst one I’ve ever had.

This one is the worst. Honest. The pile of tissues next to my laptop is pretty sizeable. All day I’ve been devoted to mission 101; get rid of cold before training week number two. I’ve drunk lots of coffee, water and orange juice and I’ve eaten and eaten and eaten. Here’s hoping I’ve done enough.

September already, say what?

Seriously, where did the summer go!? It’s raining, I’m wearing socks and a cardigan, I feel the sudden urge to light candles again, I used my umbrella last night, help!

You know what? No need to panic. September is a funny kind of month. It might be raining now, but the sun could reappear at any point. I betcha I’ll just get used to grabbing a jacket on the way out of the house and suddenly it’ll be my sunglasses I need again. Britain is the king of mini heat waves.

For the whole of my life so far September has been a fresh start. It’s like the new year, except it’s only applicable to those still in education. New teachers, new classes, brand new exercise books, new homework diaries, new everything.

It seems that if you decide to work in education, when you finish education, the same still applies. I just can’t shake the feeling that a new chapter is beginning. I’m sad that summer is over, but also a little excited about the prospect of a new school year.

I’m taking a step back from being in schools. Fingers crossed I’ll be working again in no time… Whether I return to schools or do something new altogether. For now though, I’m going to get back into volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Society. I loved going back into the office and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m keeping myself busy. Other than that there’s not much to report.

I’m sat on my bed, an old One Republic tune just shuffled its way into my speakers and I’m catching up on the events of last night. Sounds like I missed out on a good’un; I’ll make sure to be there next time. I’m feeling sleepy and wondering whether to read a new book or just carry on watching Homeland on Netflix. Reading might just make me want to nap, but watching Netflix always turns my brain to mush. Smells like roast lunch is nearly ready, I’ll go lend a helping hand downstairs. Then I’ll work out how to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Here comes the sun (do dee do doo)

Genuinely struggling to piece this week together. It’s been a long one, a busy one, a stressful one at times but ultimately a good one. 

Wednesday was a very good day, I remember that. For my birthday, Dave bought him and myself tickets to see The Woman in Black at the Fortune Theatre.  For those who don’t know, The Woman in Black is a spooky, thriller that has been running at the Fortune Theatre since 1989. Both Dave and I have wanted to see it for years. It’s infamous for scaring audiences silly, but well known for being an exceptional play.

So I had booked the day off in advance, planning to spend the whole day with him. We took our time getting up and out of bed and then grabbed an amazing breakfast in a cafe called ‘A Canteen’. I 100% recommend it. We chilled in central park in the sunshine for a long while and then we headed into London. We popped to Maccy D’s super quick before the show started and then we got to the theatre just early enough for the nerves to build before it began. I’m not going to lie, while we sat waiting I began to wonder if going had been a good idea after all and whether I was going to be able to sit through it beginning to end and I’m glad it started when it did because a minute longer and I may have sissied out and walked straight back out the theatre.

I was so impressed. It was clever, funny, unpredictable, gripping and terrifying and I loved it. It was everything I hoped it would be and more and I am so glad we went! It was just the right amount of scary. Not so scary I couldn’t watch, but scary enough to give me chills.

When we left the theatre it was a beautiful summer evening and I was ridiculously happy. We wandered home slowly via embankment and Hungerford Bridge. I do not think I will ever tire of looking at the view from that bridge. Nothing beats it.

Friday was the last day of this school term and I think I’ll remember it for a long time to come. It was probably one of the best days I’ve had at the school. We had a lot of fun and I admit, it all left me feeling a little emotional. Working at the school has been challenging, you’ll have gathered that if you’ve been keeping up, but it has also been amazing in so many ways. Many life decisions are to be made over the next month or so. Whether to stay at the school or not is something I’ll have to decide before anything else and right now, I feel so torn. I just hope to enjoy the summer and give myself the time to think it through. Hopefully time away will help.

This weekend has been super summery and a lot of fun too. I’ve caught up with friends, been out for a fantastic Chinese dinner, had a glass of wine or two, made plans for the next week, nearly finished my book and spent some more time in the sunshine. Here’s hoping this summer is everything I need it to be. 

Good friends, good food, good music and really good TV

My mum and I are SAT IN THE GARDEN. Yep, that’s right. The weather is officially that lovely. There’s not a cloud in the sky. I’m not even just being British. It’s proper summery. I’m wearing a dress and I’m not even the slightest bit chilly. 

As you can imagine having read my last post, the week got off to a shaky start. Monday was super stressful and honestly, I was not in a good state of mind. However, I took a day to pull myself together and things generally went onwards and upwards from there.

The week whizzed by. Before I knew it, I was curled up in bed on Friday night binge watching Netflix like I’d never been to work. Saturday was a lovely day. I got up early and rolled to my fitness class as per. Then I ate lots and napped. One of the ladies from work hosted a BBQ in the afternoon. The food was amazing, the weather was perfect and it was so good to spend time with the brilliant people I work with, without having to work. I had to rush off unfortunately, so I’m hoping there are more BBQs like it on the horizon.

Saturday night I headed to Bar Soho in London with Dave to celebrate a friend’s birthday. The music in the bar was excellent. I highly recommend it. The drinks were expensive and it was so ridiculously warm that on any other occasion I would have spent the night grumbling. Had the music not been so good there would have been no hope, but I was excited to see and meet all the people there and I had such a good time that I danced without a care in the world.

Sunday was spent being happily lazy with the friends who had let us crash with them for the night. We watched a few hilarious episodes of ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ (which I’d never seen before and now intend to see more of). We put a film on and we cooked a roast dinner. I say we, Dave and I bought the ingredients and our hosts cooked. It was a delicious roast and we definitely owe them one.

When I got home yesterday evening, we had family over and everyone was sat out the in the garden chatting and drinking. We stayed there while the sun went down, time flew and before I knew it, it was time for bed; hence the lack of blog post. So, all that stuff I said about consistency and posting every Sunday without fail? Went out the window didn’t it.

I’ve downloaded Duolingo and I’m learning Italian! Dave’s doing the same; we’re using our competitive spirits to our advantage. So, right now I’m off to do the next lesson or two. One of my best friends has been living in Dubai for the past year and is finally home, so I’m hoping maybe I’ll see her later. If not, I’ll settle for another evening in the garden. This time with my book for company. 

Time isn’t wasted if you enjoyed wasting it

This week, I almost gave up on Plan A, get a job in a primary school, all together. I’ve had my moody-face on. Somehow, I had managed to convince myself that every day spent out of work was a waste of life. I’d been searching for a job in teaching for just a month and a half and already, I had become convinced that all hope was lost.

It took my dad pointing out that a month and a half is no time at all, for me to come to my senses. I also think I eventually talked it through enough times to realise that whatever path I take in the future, I need to do this first. Getting into a classroom, getting some experience and finding out whether teaching is for me is exactly what I need to do. Until I know just how much I’m going to love it, I can’t possibly decide what on earth to do next. I can’t give up just yet.

How I found the time to grumble I will never know.

This week, Dave and I booked a spontaneous trip to the cinema. I face-swapped with a minion. I caught up with two lovely ladies who adult better than I ever will. An amazing friend who obviously knows the way to my heart, cooked me a Mexican dinner: She made her guacamole from scratch. Doesn’t get much better than that.  I finally gave in and grabbed myself some gym clothes that I actually feel confident in. (They were in the sale, so my conscience is clear.) AND I road-tripped to Reading with the lads to visit our friend who flew the nest and refuses to come back. We forgive him for that on the basis that trips over to his for the weekend are such good fun. Who doesn’t love an excuse to jump in their car on a Friday night, with some of their best friends and head to a free house for the weekend?

Conclusively, I am a complete wally for nearly giving up so quickly, for thinking I should have everything figured out already and for forgetting who I am.

After all, I’m the girl who has always truly believed you cannot waste time having fun.

Peri-Peri: A spice so nice it’s been named twice

Surely not? Surely it can’t be Sunday again.

Not much has changed. I might have a job, but as long as I have to put the word might in that sentence I’m not getting carried away. I’m officially signed up to a teaching agency and they seem optimistic about finding me something. My nose will not stop running. I’ve rediscovered the wonder of lip balm and my love for Avril Lavigne. I’ve also used ‘deliveroo’ for the first time ever and ordered Nandos chicken to be delivered. That blew my mind.

I spent this weekend in London. For those of you who don’t already know – London is my favourite place to be in the whole wide world. Admittedly, I still have much of the world to see, but of all the cities I’ve been to, it is by far the best. It is the one place on Earth that isn’t home, but feels like home. It is the only place I can go, that I never want to leave.IMG_20160417_132001

I was visiting one of my oldest friends and I was ridiculously excited.

I made it up and out of bed early Saturday morning to head to a fitness class. I nearly didn’t make it off the sofa again once I’d got home, cooked bacon and sat down in front of the TV, but I got up the stairs, dressed and packed eventually. I was in a world of my own for the entirety of the train journey in and I don’t think I completely woke from my daydreams until the moment I saw my friend outside the station.

That was one of them good kind of moments. You don’t really notice at the time, but one of them you can’t help looking back at through rose-tinted glasses. I saw her, my face lit up and, as I quickly began to realise just how much I’d missed her and how happy I was to be there, we hugged. In my head the sun came out at that moment, but if I’m honest, the weather was pretty gloomy.

I got through two cups of tea while we caught up on life. Then we ended up on the ‘deliveroo’ website and before long Nandos was on its way. We put the last episode of Gossip Girl on while we waited (always my go-to time filler) IMG_20160416_182501and it arrived just in time for my tummy to start rumbling. I couldn’t have been happier munching on my butterfly chicken (medium – I’m not a wimp, but I’m not that brave either) and my creamy mash and knowing Michael McIntyre was soon to be on the TV. I got peri-salted chips too, but shh.

We thoroughly enjoyed Michael’s Big Show, very nearly fell asleep when the credits started rolling, but picked ourselves up and headed out for cocktails. Three cocktails later we wandered home and fell asleep very shortly after our heads hit our pillows.

The sun really was shining brightly today. We had nutella on toast for breakfast and then we put our tourist hats on. We spent some time wandering aimlessly, enjoying the sunshine and taking photos and I must have said the words ‘I love’ and ‘this place’ a zillion times. Eventually we ended up in a really lovely pub serving even lovelier roast dinners.

I always leave London feeling like anything is possible. Right now, all I want to do is curl up with Dave and binge watch TV, but I feel like this week I might just conquer life. Even if all I do is get on with my scrapbook, get outdoors even more, get an update from my teaching agency and finish my book.

London I Love You, xoxo

Brown paper packages tied up with string

It’s Sunday again. The whole house smells of roast beef and I can’t stop smiling. Sundays are my favourite thing.

This week’s been a good’un. I’ve had a Cadbury creme egg with breakfast almost every day. It doesn’t get much better than that.

I didn’t wake up until eleven on Monday morning. It’s been what feels like an eternity since I slept in that long and I felt SO good for it.  I jumped out of bed and headed downstairs to find that my grandparents, who’d been over for Easter Sunday, had stuck around. We had lunch while listening to Heart FM, who claimed to be playing the 100 happiest songs of all time.

That night I met a few friends for dinner. I had Bruschetta, BBQ Chicken Quesadillas AND a side of fries and discovered my eyes were most definitely bigger than my belly. We headed for cocktails afterwards, simply because none of us were ready for the night to end when we left the restaurant.

Tuesday, we went bowling. I was the only one in velcro shoes, as per, and I ordered a slush puppy for old time’s sake. I got a couple of strikes, but I didn’t do as well as I wanted to. I very nearly beat one of the guys in a game of pool afterwards though.

Wednesday, I caught up with a friend I hadn’t seen in literally years. I had a singing lesson that evening and surprisingly, considering I really didn’t sing that well, I came away from it feeling like conquering life.

One of my bestest friends and I made it our mission to get fit this year. We joined a fitness class in January and much to my surprise, we didn’t drop out after the first couple of weeks! Our instructor’s been amazing and, much to our dismay, she’s upping and moving to Spain. Wednesday night we went along to her leaving dinner. I ordered fish and chips when I definitely should have ordered the lasagna. That aside, we had a great evening. Here’s hoping whoever takes over is as good at kicking us into action as she was.

I met two lovely ladies for lunch on Thursday. The sun was out, and I wore my sunglasses and that made me ridiculously happy.

That afternoon I had a job interview. Yep, that’s right, a job interview! It went really well and I’m hoping I’ll hear from them very soon. I’m venturing into the world of Primary School education. For a while I’ve been considering a PGCE. I spend so much time ranting and raving about how the education system is going down hill, how I’d love to inspire and encourage the next generation and how teachers are the most amazing people on the planet, I figure I really should step up and at least try it. I’m applying for Teaching Assistant positions, planning to get some experience first of all.

I’ve started scrapbooking too! It’s not going very well, but I’m enjoying it all the same. I started in a pad I found in the cupboard. I’m considering it a draft. I want to buy one of them snazzy Paperchase ones when I finally get another job.

This week has been conclusively better than last week. Sometimes, it takes hitting a bit of a low to get you moving. How can you pick yourself up if you’re already on a high?

My mum just called to say roast dinner’s ready, bang on cue. Onwards and upwards from here.