Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Christmas....do do do do do

I have always loved Christmas. Loved loved LOVED it! Although over the last few years I have to say I have felt decidingly too "grown up" for it, and there was a little less magic about it. Especially last year where after putting up all my decorations I sat down on my couch and cried realising just how lonely it was to be completely alone at that time of year.

But this year my whole mindset is completely different. No matter what anyone throws at me I will be continuing to smile and look for the love and magic in this season.

Christmas also started early for me this year! I don't normally start thinking about it until the second weekend of December, but this year I decided to put them up on the 2nd. And it really was a magical day. I had a very helpful Elf lending a hand, making me smile all day as he also took great delight in the decorations, music and mulled cider we had brewing all day. (My GAWD did the house smell good!)

So here are a few of my Christmassy photos, including some arty (and slightly hipsterish) Instagram photos of a few decorations.

Seen on Pinterest...
Ok not especially "kinky" but very cool - can we take a photo like this? :)aww, so cute!
Free Christmas printables -- from 5x7 size all the way up to poster size

My recreations....



I made those lyric printables and you can find them on my Pinterest. If you use them please send me a photo - I'd love to see them in use elsewhere! :)

The Christmas Song printable
White Christmas printable
I didn't draw the image but it is here

Follow Me on Pinterest

Decorations!



These are all from America. HoHoHo ws sent to me by my awesome McMegs 2 Christmas's ago in a Lexling care package. The other three are all from New York and I love them so much. My helpful Elf especially loved the Polar Bear (we share an obsession with New York and a love of the Central Park Zoo Polar Bear!) 

Christmas Kitties (who have so far not caused too much dama...typed too soon. Jack is gnawing on the tree as I type. *le sigh*)



Tree and part of the very cosy living room.







That "Happy Christmas" train has been in my family I think before I was born. I love it so much, because it's old and a tradition, My Mum hated it though which worked out pretty sweet for me because it meant I took ownership when I moved out!

Christmas top tip
See those lights across the fireplace thingy? Battery operated. I have another set across the arch in the hallway, and more in the windows. I cannot advocate battery lights enough. They dont run up the electricity bill, safe enough to leave on all day, and versatile enough to put everywhere. If you havn't already buy some, buy some now! (I got mine from www.dotcomgiftshop.com - in case you were wondering)

Christmas movies
Yes that IS Muppet Christmas Carol on my TV. Perfect night time film after all the hard work decorating.

Merry Christmas everybody! 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Thank You

Just a brief post, just a quick one to say a massive Thank You.

Thank You to the Universe, to whatever it is that led to this. To all the things that were hard to understand at the time that meant I'm now right here, feeling his happy, excited and content.

I think it's important to show our gratitude. So this is me, putting a little gratefulness into the Universe.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Comic-con!

I've always been a bit of a Geek. Whether you choose geek to be defined as that brainy kid who annoyingly ALWAYS had the answer at school, or someone who is just a tad too OCD about organising, or simply someone who becomes hugely enthusiastic about a hobby or interest - that's me.

So you tell me how I had never managed to go to Comic-con or similar over the last few years? I don't know....it's beyond my comprehension too! 

But this year was different. I went and it was AWESOME! Anyone who knows me knows I love dressing up and it was a tough call deciding who to be. In the end budget and time meant I had to utilise whatever I already had, perhaps plus a couple extras, which resulted in my uber-cool (though not especially feminine) Marty McFly cosplay! 

I have to say though, when I saw all the different ladies in varying degrees of sexiness I did begin to regret not going for a more attractive costume, but *meh* such is life! 

I wish I could begin to comment on the amazing things that I saw. Marsha screaming, crying and running from a cyberman (when she didn't even know what one was) was pretty memorable, meeting 3 Doctors and Captain Jack who all looked like their characters was VERY VERY cool, and seeing a woman dressed as Jareth has made me torn between being Sarah or Jareth! 

  

For me the most amazing part of the whole event was this complete feeling of "together-ness". Ok that sounds very corny I know, but it's true. Everyone was admiring each others costumes, taking pictures together, laughing and joking and playing games. Despite the vast number of people, and often long ques I didn't see anyone getting bitchy or angry. No-one was arguing - everyone was just there to have a good time. And more so - making sure each other had a good time. 

I really don't think there are many sub-cultures or large events that can say the same. When was the last time you felt that same atmosphere at a football game or concert. Heck when was the last time you got on the tube without wanting to kill someone? Because even crammed onto the DLR, freezing on the platforms (a lot of cosplay costumes are not noted for their warmth) or desperatly wanting to find a sandwich - everyone was just so chilled out. Excitable, hyper, in full character mode or geeking out at something awesome - but chill all the same. And that made me very happy. 


Now I can't WAIT for the Sci-Fi weekender in March. It's going to be an amazing weekend! 

Monday, 22 October 2012

Loves of late

This is a tag by the lovely Louise at Sprinkle of Glitter and I think it is a great one. We spend far too much of  our lives moaning and griping and it can do us all the well of good to stop for a moment and think....really think about the things we love, the things we can be grateful for, and the things that just make us smile.

So here is a brief run down of things making me happy, and things that I am currently loving.

My Friends
I've said it before, I'll say it again, and I'll say it a million more times. I love my friends. They are one of my greatest blessings in life. I am especially luck to have so many, so many different groups of people I've met throughout my life that all have a very special place in my heart. I honestly don't know what I would do without all of my special ladies and the evenings spent giggling, drinking wine and coming out with some of the most random one-liners I am often convinced that I am living my life in a sitcom!

Hazelnut Mochas
I have always loved these, and always will. Starbucks you are my sanity and my craving all at once for making a drink so deliciously amazing! Although I have to say I can't wait for the red cups to arrive and gingerbread and peppermint lattes and mochas to be drunk in the countdown to Christmas!

Geeking out
I love geeking out about the things that I love. I love being just on the right side of obsessive and I will watch a TV series or movie over and over, re-read books and buy the t-shirts to match! Current re-geekings are: Back to the Future and Friends.

Game of Thrones
First of all - see above. I was introduced to the world of the 7 kingdoms this weekend and I have to say I'm already a little obsessed. Must. Watch. More!

What things do you love? What is making you happy at the moment?

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

What a year!

Wow. A year, a full year since it all happened. And WHAT a year its been.

When I think back to where I was this time last year. It's so weird. But you wanna' know something? It has been one of the best years of my life!

 So different from the last time I was properly single. Back then I was figuring out me, doing a lot of thinking, growing up, learning. This time I just AM being me!

I have never felt more comfortable in my own skin, more independent, more confident than I have over the last 12 months. I've totally adapted an attitude of "This is me, I will do whatever I can for you, but I'm not changing for no-one" and I think it has served me well.

This year I wish I had kept track of the amount of people that commented on my strength of character. Now in the grand scheme of life, I have not had to cope with a huge amount. I see men and women more courageous than I can put into words at work every day, and I wouldn't dare compare myself to them. However I have had to be brave. And I've had to be tough. And I am proud with how I have coped. Because I didn't "cope" - I dealt with it. I spent a lot of time thinking, feeling, allowing myself to feel a very wide spectrum of emotions and that helped - it truly did. At no point did I feel ashamed of how I was feeling. When I felt the need to blow off steam and party with the girls - I did, and likewise when I needed to crawl into bed and cry for a few hours I did that too. Dealing with my emotions head on is not something I've always been great at, and I'm actually kinda proud of myself for doing it.

Wise words from Albus Dumbledore

I've accomplished some amazing things this year too. From the mundane "every day" tasks like simply getting out of bed on some days, to the life changing experiences. I've lived alone - made a home for myself, I'm looking after two furry creatures, I've dealt with a load of crap at work and then pulled off some of the best events ever. I've made some amazing new friends, travelled back to America and even jumped out of a plane!

But most importantly, I've done them all by myself. I mean obviously I have friends and family around me. To be honest I would not have got through this last year without them. They have been my constants, my rocks and my saviours. But I have made the decisions and choices myself. Without having to consult or answer or explain to anyone. And because of that is why I've felt so happy. I'm independent and I'm strong and I'm ME!

I think its had a positive effect. I've done more flirting and been on more dates this past year than possibly in my whole life. Because I suddenly don't care any more. Not in that way....all I mean is I'm happy to have fun and a giggle without stressing out about "does he like me?" "what does this mean?" blah blah blah. I've just been me and it seems to have made me more attractive  Or at least more approachable - who knows? All I know is its been fun and I think my confidence has been a large part of it.

I've met up with old friends that I haven't seen properly in years and made some amazing memories! I've made new friends - people I would be so sad to loose from my life, but who probably wouldn't have come into it in the first place if this hadn't have happened.

....When I think of where I could have been right now. Where my life could have been leading....jeez I shudder. I know that sounds awful and actually makes me a bit of a bitch, but when my friends look at me and tell me "you got a lucky break getting out of that one" - I have to agree with them. That in itself makes me a little sad, it would be nice to be able to look back with a bittersweet smile and think "It was a nice time and its a shame it ended" but that's not how it was allowed to end and so my memories of everything is now tainted. Meh - cest la vie!

The SATC theory holds true. It takes half the amount of time to heal yourself. 1 year on, I'm feeling pretty chipper. And really excited about what might be happening next actually ;) It's taken me a year to get to that stage and maybe its partly the situation and the people involved and maybe partly the timing but either way it looks to be working out pretty nicely.

Remember. Things fall apart so better things can fall together. Everything happens for a reason. And only you can decide how to deal with the curve balls life throws at you so make good choices.

Funny Quotes truth...

Always.

And with this quote I mentally close off this board :)

Can you tell I've been a *little bit* addicted to Pinterest this year? Feel free to follow me on there!

Follow Me on Pinterest



PS. I would like to say a special thank you to all of my loved ones who have got me through this year. You did it, I have never felt more loved and cared for in my life than I have these 12 months. But in particular I want to thank Megs and Bryan. You guys where there for me literally as it happened. In the middle of planning the happiest day of your life - you looked after me. I know you might not think you did much, but in one short week you helped me break down, begin to heal and have my faith in love continued. I can never thank you both enough. You inspire me every day both individually and as a couple. I love you both to pieces and I don't think I could be writing this with such honesty if it wasn't for you. Thank You. 

Sunday, 7 October 2012

The Craziest thing I ever did

As many people know I work for a charity. I tend to not mention which one, as I would prefer to keep my professional life and my random blog ramblings separate  Mainly so that anything I say on here that may potentially cause offence or be contentious is not associated with my charity. 

So here is my major disclaimer: Nothing I say on this blog (or anywhere on the interwebs) is AT all reflective of my work, the charity I work for, or their opinions. Everything I say is 100% my own thoughts and opinions. 

Thank you. Now onto my blog post. 

My charity was very fortunate to be one of the beneficiaries of a big skydiving event, honouring every fallen soldier who has sadly been lost in recent conflicts.

On Friday 14th me and my colleague went down to support our jumpers, make a big fuss, get the media involved etc etc. This is the part of my job that I really LOVE doing! I absolutely adore meeting our fundraisers and spending time with them, and thanking them for all their hard work.

So we get to the airfield and honestly, if I had £1 for every time I was asked "so are you jumping then?" ....well it would've made my fundraising alot easier for a start! As the day went on and I saw the jumpers transition from super nervous, to excited, to the biggest buzz when they landed I got thinking, "Yeah, this is something I would love to do!"

I had to psych myself up quite a bit. This is a girl that very rarely goes on roller-coasters - especially not ones with the big drops! But I chatted to quite a few of the instructors, listened to the safety briefing about a million times and thought "you'll be kicking yourself if you leave here without having done it." In the end it was a group of fundraisers, all jumping in memory of a family member that really inspired me.  

Once I committed to sign up I actually wasn't as scared as I expected to be. Normally waiting for something, the anticipation terrifies me and gets me worked up, but I was fine. To be honest I think I disassociated myself from it all a little bit!

And pride helped. After the intense wind ups and ribbing and goading me into doing it, there was no way I was backing out. I'd never live it down! Not that I really care what other people think in that way, but the show off in me likes to impress. I'm the same way when I do shots!

I have to say, the guy giving the safety briefings was brilliant. He joked that I must've already heard it all 3 times but I told him how much he was helping reassure me!

So the time came to get suited and booted, don the silly hat and get ready to skydive. Jeesh I didn't shut up, when I get nervous I talk EVEN more than I normally do. (first time I went on a roller coaster in Disneyland I talked the entire way through. Lorna thought that was hysterical!)

My instructor Cam was lovely - very calming - but I really loved my videographer Trev. The term wind up merchant has never been more aptly used than with him, but having a giggle helped me feel less nervous too.

The plane on the other hand...being in the plane wasn't the problem. I love flying, and sitting on the floor with everyone was very cosy, I could've stayed there all afternoon. But knowing what was coming...

Suddenly I shut up. Even Trev noticedt! I was in a weird place between thinking too much and trying not to think at all. I knew there was no point in being scared now - there was no backing out so I just had to muster that courage (and pride!) and go with it.


When that door opened and the first couple of people went I think I felt my face drain of blood! I remember saying (not that anyone heard me) "I just remembered...I don't like falling!" There's a great clip of my video of me shaking my head vigorously, like thus would make the blindest bit of difference.

Sitting (well hanging over the edge) I didn't look down - on instruction! I think this is a wise move lest survival instincts kick in! We were there for what felt like the briefest of second a before...woosh and you were out!

I screamed, on reflex, but similarly to being on a roller coaster, my voice was taken away and there was no noise. I vaguely remember being upside down, thinking "the grounds in the wrong place" but before I knew it, we were in freefall.

And....wow.

I honestly can't describe it. It's not like falling, like when you fall in a dream or something. It's not quite flying because you're still travelling down, although you're only vaguely aware of it. The only word I have is "amazing"



And I was very happy to scream that as loud as I could! I had warned the guys beforehand I was loud, and they simply smiled and said "be as loud as you want - no one will hear you over that wind" oh boy we're they wrong!

Trev said Im probably the only perso he's ever heard in freefall. Those are 120mph winds you can hear me over!



But it wasn't screams of fear. It was screams of pure euphoria. It was exhilarating and I can't imagine any other reaction than just yelling at full volume how much fun you're having!



And then the canopy goes up. You don't woosh right up - that's an illusion because you're camera man is still falling. You do go up a little bit but it's very different. And all of a sudden it all changes. It's almost deathly quiet and and the works is laid out beneath you.

Because if that I would love to do a skydive somewhere completely stunning one day; over the mountains of the ocean or something. The canary ride is much closer to flying as we imagine it, just because it's so peaceful. (although I did feel a little nauseous because if all the swaying. I'm so glad I told him "no tricks!" and that I hadn't eaten anything!)

Coming in for landing was great too. We were told in briefing this is potentially the most dangerous part and to get your legs up to allow your instructor to land you both. I thought it would be really bumpy but it was surprisingly graceful.

And then I was on such a high. I wanted to run and scream and high five and tell the world "did you see what I DID?!! I jumped out of a fricking plane!!!"

On the whole I definitely preferred the freefall. Weird, I didn't think that would be the case but it was just so amazing!

And although I say in my video "probably not ever again" I think I def would. Maybe it's like childbirth and you're mind just forgets all the bad stuff making you want to do it again!

Overall I truly believe it is something everyone should do once in their life. Because if I can do it...anyone can!


I didn't just do the jump for fun (well I did, but y'know!) I am also raising money for my fabulous charity. BLESMA - The Limbless Veterans and for me personally it is like a family. A family that can sometimes drive you crazy, but ultimately you feel honoured to be a part of. And I am aiming to raise at least £350 for this wonderful organisation.

I am VERY nearly there! And I would love any support you can offer. You can donate online by clicking this button or you can text SAZG50£2 to 70070 to donate £2 via text.

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Anything you can give will be very gratefully received by BLESMA and if you drop me a message with your details I will very happily give you a shout out and a link to your own Blog/YouTube channel whathaveyou on my blog and twitter.

Thank you again!



Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Fall in love with honesty

I just stumbled across this on Pinterest, and it's so beautiful it had me close to tears.

It is quite possibly the most beautiful thing I have ever read. Because it is so true.

Fall in love with honesty. Fall in love with people when they are real. Fall in love with the honest moments in life that are just about the emotion, not the front or the fa├žade.

Have the strength to just be you, and to embrace those honest moments. Because that is more than likely when someone is falling in love with you.


Just as you are.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Olympic Dreams

Wow. The London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics are over.And I am actually really sad about it all.

It's weird, I spent the last 7 years bitching and moaning about them. Maybe it had something to do with living in the host borough, but all I heard was how busy it was going to be, how expensive it was going to be, and the all round general nightmare and disruption it would cause for everyone. If I had £1 for every time I said "I'm not going to be here....I'll bugger off to America for a month until it's over!" well....I might've at least paid for the flight to get there.

But when Olympic fever hit, I was really glad I was in London, right in the centre of it all. In fact I was sad to NOT be in the host borough, in earshot and sight of the fireworks during the opening ceremony.

From the day before, being in Stratford and seeing how BUZZED everyone was about the next day, right up until stumbling onto the train home exhausted after the closing ceremony I can honestly say I've been bitten by the Olympic bug!


Taking pictures of the opening ceremony on TV with my phone...uh. Yeah. 

It was amazing to see Stratford, Newham, where I spent my teenage years loitering about, dossing on the bus and kissing random dudes, turned into this place that people from all around the globe flocked to. Every nation on the planet were probably represented on those same trains that I take to work every day. Everything was cleaned up and shiny but still the same old East End that is Stratford, with the cinema and the bus routes and weird-ass car park that could be the set of a horror movie! But there was media and celebrities and PEOPLE everywhere - in MY home borough. Where I was born and lived and grew up. That was a pretty surreal feeling!

And now it's all over I'm really sad. I can honestly say I have never seen London so...happy! It's been like a month long party. No, not a party, because there's been no drunken punch ups and angry fights on the way home. More like a month long lazy BBQ in the sun, everyone smiling, having a good time and getting excited together.

I've seen families on trains that would normally be sniping at each other at the end of a long day, being nice! "Thank you for taking us to the Olympics Daddy!" "Thank YOU for behaving so well today" I swear to you I witnessed this - on the tube! ...in LONDON! I think that's a pretty good summary of the atmosphere that has taken us over this summer.

 


I saw and people watched at Liverpool Street at the height of the Olympic games. To see so many people wearing the flags of their nations, flicking through programmes, wondering how to get to Stratford (Eastbound Central line 3 stops or overground from platforms 15-18 FYI), chatting, laughing, smiling, clapping, dancing....it was inspiring. And that was even before watching records being broken, medals being won and best of all, those who have faced adversity show us just how "Superhuman" they are in the Paralympics.


I believe the sustaining legacy of the Olympic and Paralympic games is how much it has brought our city, our nation and indeed the World (as the games were originally intended) together as one. It's made the whole planet feel a little smaller, a little friendlier and a whole lot more exciting. Let's all try and take that forward shall we? Because  I really hope these beams of positivity, the inspiring athletes, the sense of accomplishment from pulling off something that no-one - including us - thought we could do, continue long into the future.

Maybe until the next games when I can say to my kids (or *eep* my grandkids) "I was there in 2012 - lets make 2044 even better!"