Thursday, 31 December 2009

Last Post of 2009: Survey of the Year

I'd been wanting to do one of these to round off the year, so when I saw that Ebony Jewel over at Seize The Moments had posted one, I decided to borrow it for myself! So without further ado, here's my 2009 Survey!

Album of the year. What’s rocking your world?
Well, I really think I'm going to have to choose 2! An album I bought this year and loved has been "Do You Want The Truth or Something Beautiful?" by Paloma Faith. But there's also an album that I bought last year, which I've completely fallen in love with during 2009, and that's Sara Bareilles' "Little Voice".

What’s the best change you made to the place you live?
Tidying and decluttering my room!

When did you get your best rush of the year?
Oooh, this is a tricky one...probably when I got a letter inviting me for a job interview after months of applying with no success!

Best packaging. Did your headphones come in a sweet case? See a bottle of tea in another country that stood off the shelves?
What a random question! I can't think of any packaging that's stood out this year...although I loved the wrapping paper that the earrings I won came in!

Tea of the year. I can taste my favorite tea right now. What’s yours?
Yorkshire Tea or Twinings English Breakfast...I love tea!

Project. What did you start this year that you’re proud of?
Restarting driving lessons after a gap of 7 years!

What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
Travelled to mainland Spain, started a blog, did a 5K charity race (walk!)...I'm sure there's more but I can't think of them right now!

Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I'm pretty sure that I made 2. The first was to have a healthier lifestyle, and it worked to a point. I went to the gym on a regular basis, tried to eat healthier snacks and lost a little weight. But then sometime over the course of the year, I lost my way. The second was to learn to drive...and as you can tell from one of the answers above, it's a work in progress! I will make more resolutions for next year, and I'll reveal them tomorrow in my first post of 2010!

Did anyone close to you give birth?
My friend N, and also my best friend from primary school, who now lives in Texas.

Did anyone close to you die?
Not a person...but my cat who we had for almost 20 years sadly passed away at the end of July.

What countries did you visit?
Spain

What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
A full time, long term or permanent job and more money!

What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
January 16th...my friend N gave birth to her son H
December 6th...my friends G and L got married

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting 2 interviews in the space of about 2 or 3 weeks...even if I didn't get either of the jobs!

What was your biggest failure?
Still failing to untangle myself from past hangups...I think 2010 should be the year where I let go once and for all!

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing major...I was hospitalised for a day in October with bad stomach pains, which thankfully haven't recurred and had a few colds and bugs, but that's about it!

What was the best thing you bought?
My gorgeous black patent ribbon tie shoes!

Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
I don't think that appalled and depressed are necessarily the right words,but I've been rather disappointed by the behaviour of 2 friends who seem to be lacking in empathy and consideration at the moment...their selfishness is really not what I would have expected of them.

Where did most of your money go?
Driving lessons, bills and keep, bus and taxi fares, shopping, alcohol and Starbucks!

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Job interviews, seeing friends, my birthday, Christmas!!

What song will always remind you of 2009?
I've Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas

Compared to this time last year, you are:
i. happier or sadder? About the same
Thinner or fatter? Slightly thinner
Richer or poorer? Poorer

What do you wish you’d done more of?
Exercising, driving, listening

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying, thinking about the past

How will you be spending Christmas / Hanukkah?
I’ve already spent it!

What was the most embarrassing thing that happened to you in 2009?
I can't remember...but there will have been loads, I'm really clumsy and so un-coordinated!

Did you fall in love in 2009?
Yes...with my friend's beautiful son H and my gorgeous ribbon tie shoes!

How many one-night stands?
None...I'm a good girl, I am!

What was your favorite TV programme?
House and the X Factor

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I don't think I hate anyone...I dislike some people and/or their behaviour, but I wouldn't go so far as to say I hated them!

What was the best book you read?
I'm struggling to think of a book I read all the way through...but I enjoyed "I Heard That Song Before" and "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" by Mary Higgins Clark

What was your greatest musical discovery?
Paloma Faith and Little Boots

What did you want and get?
Job interviews, a great birthday and Christmas and lots of fabulous clothes and accessories!

What did you want and not get?
A long term/permanent full time job

And that's my 2009 in survey form! Hope everyone has had a good year, or if not, at least one they can learn from and build on. And I hope that everyone has a fab NYE whatever they're doing...I'm hopefully heading to a friend's house party for fun and frolics! So all that's left to say is bye bye 2009...I'll see everyone in 2010!

Monday, 28 December 2009

My Christmas Weekend

So this is what I got up to over the Christmas weekend:
  • Thursday (Christmas Eve)

I was invited round to my friends' house for the evening, and like any good guest didn't want to turn up empty handed. So I decided to bake some gingerbread. I found a recipe, collected all my ingredients and equipment and off I went...fully expecting it to be a quick job. Nearly 2 hours later, I realised that it wasn't! Whilst the end result tasted fab (if I do say so myself!), there's definitely things I'd do differently next time! Firstly, I'd try to be tidier in the kitchen...I got flour absolutely everywhere and left a trail of treacle across the table...oops! Secondly, I'd about halve the quantities in the recipe, as it made way more biscuits than I was expecting! I swear that the dough was magic, as I was cutting out for ages! However, the upside was that I was able to fill a tin with biscuits for home, as well as one for my friends. I definitely think that I'll make a tradition of baking gingerbread at Christmas...by next year, I might even feel confident enough to decorate it!

Once I packed the gingerbread up, I headed over to my friends' house. Most of my other friends dropped by at some point during the evening too and we had fun eating and drinking, playing Pictionary or "pictuary" as my friend M wrote on the board we used (!) and adding our own storyline to "Swan Lake" (don't ask!)! All the guests left by about 11:00 pm to allow N and M to set up their living room for Christmas...it was their son H's first, and he had mountains of presents waiting to be put out!

  • Friday (Christmas Day)

After waking up every hour or 2 in the night, I finally got up around 7:00, along with the rest of my family and had great fun emptying my stocking and opening all my presents. As usual I was throroughly spoilt! I got House Season 5, PJs, a scarf, lipglosses and money off my mum and dad, a CKIn2U fragrance set off my brother and bracelets and Thorntons chocolates off my sisters. Off my friends I got the Lady Gaga and Radio 1 Live Lounge CDs, some FCUK smellies, Ice Age 3 on DVD, a bracelet, a wine and chocolate gift set and some sweets! Plus I had a giant stocking and presents and vouchers off family friends! Told you I was spoilt!! My grandad and uncle came round about 11, and we exchanged gifts, then had Christmas dinner. After dinner, we played a couple of board games that my sisters had got and chilled for a couple of hours. The rest of my day was spent eating, watching tv (I saw Doctor Who and cried...I'm such a softie!) and generally soaking up the Christmas atmosphere. It was a lovely day, with not a single argument and the only bad thing was that it went by so quickly!

  • Saturday (Boxing Day)

I spent the morning and early afternoon relaxing...trying out some of my new smellies, listening to some of my new CDs and playing games with my family. Then I got a call from one of my friends inviting me to go out for tea with them and some of my other friends. We went to a local pub for food, then back to my friends' N, M and S's house where we sang karaoke and played more Pictionary...it was a lovely chilled out evening, made all the nicer as I hadn't been expecting to go anywhere.

  • Sunday

I didn't really do much, as Aunt Flo had just arrived and I wasn't at my best. I listened to more CDs, played more games, watched a couple of episodes of House and browsed the net, whilst contending with belly ache for most of the time :-(

  • Monday

My sister Amy and I went to see Sherlock Holmes which was absolutely fantastic!! Maybe I've just not got a very good memory, but I'd say it's definitely one of my films of the year! It had it all...action, comedy, adventure and eye candy!! Plus some of it was filmed in Manchester, so it was fun trying to spot the locations they used! After the cinema, I spent the rest of the day relaxing at home.

As for the next few days, luckily I've still got at least until next Monday off, and whilst I've not got any definite plans, I hope to be doing some shopping, catching up with my best friend J and going to a New Year's Eve party at the very least!

All that remains to say is that that was my weekend...hope you had as good a time as I did and that whether you're working or relaxing this week, have a great one!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas everyone!

I won't be posting tomorrow, so this is just a very short post to say: Merry Christmas everyone!! Hope you all have a fantastic time whatever you do and that peace and happiness are yours this Christmas :-)

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Highs and Lows of the Week

So after a few days of posting on a daily basis, I took a little break but now I'm back to share my highs and lows of last week.

Highs
  • School Holidays: The schools broke up last Friday and I don't go back to work until at least the 4th of January. As I've not got a full time job yet, it means that I won't have any work to do over the next 2 weeks and can hopefully just sit back, relax and enjoy Christmas!!
  • Good company and good food: Last weekend, I spent Saturday and Sunday nights with some of my closest friends. On Saturday evening, I went round to a friend's where a few of us treated ourselves to a Christmas curry takeaway and watched Love Actually, which really got us into the Christmas spirit, even if some parts were sadder than I remember (Emma Thompson's storyline and the part where Andrew Lincoln holds up the signs both made me well up :-( ). Sunday night was even better...about 15 of us got together and went for a Christmas meal at a local pub. There was lots of eating, drinking and conversation, as well as wearing party hats, pulling crackers and blowing party blowers (we were SO mature!) and the evening went by in a flash. We also exchanged Secret Santa gifts...I'm really impatient to see what mine are, but can have a good guess by the shape lol!
  • Snow: After being disappointed earlier in the week, the snow finally arrived on Saturday. Although the first snowfall was washed away by heavy rain, we then had more overnight and well into Sunday. I can't remember the last time we had so much snow that actually stuck in Manchester and I loved seeing the children playing out and how pretty everything looked.
  • Birthdays: As I mentioned last week, it was my sister Amy's 16th birthday on the 16th of December and I was really happy to be able to celebrate with her.

Lows

  • Bad skin: I've never had a perfect complexion by any means, but lately I seem to be getting spots and blemishes on my face that just aren't shifting! I think I'm going to have to be on the lookout for some new skincare products, because the ones I've got don't seem to be doing their job at the moment. Have you got any recommendations for any effective (but affordable!) products I could try?
  • Forgetfulness: I went shopping to Primark last Thursday, and it was only when I got to the till that I realised that I'd forgotten my card and I didn't have that much cash on me. As a result, I was only able to buy the essentials I needed, as I also had to buy a Secret Santa present and a hot drink as I was freezing! Not my proudest moment, especially as I felt really embarrassed at the till when the sales assistant had to void items as I couldn't afford them!
  • No work=no pay: I know I've already mentioned that I'm looking forward to the next couple of weeks off work, but I'm not looking forward to the prospect of at least 2 weeks without pay (as a supply teacher, I only get paid for days I work, not year round). Christmas and driving lessons as well as other more frivolous spending have really eaten into my bank account over the last few months, and I think one of my goals for 2010 will definitely have to be to be more careful with my money and keep a more detailed record of my spending!

So there's my highs and lows for another week! Hope you had a good one too, and that you enjoy the Christmas week ahead! :-)

Friday, 18 December 2009

Christmas Survey

I've noticed a few of these surveys around lately, so I thought it was about time I answered one!I've borrowed this particular one off Stevie at Allow Myself to Introduce...Myself and hope you enjoy!

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate:
Hot chocolate...especially a special hot chocolate from the Manchester Christmas Markets with Baileys or Cointreau in. Although I've never tried egg nog so I suppose I can't make a fair comment!

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Both! When I was small, my parents bought me presents which my Mum wrapped and then sent to Santa for him to deliver on Christmas Eve, but I also got some surprises off him which he must have wrapped himself!

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Either or both...we have both this year and I don't have a preference either way.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No...but I wouldn't mind using it if there was a hot guy around!

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Usually the first weekend in December, although sometimes it's a little later.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
Oh...it's so hard to choose! Mince pies are lovely though, so I think I'll go for those.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?
I don't have any particular memories...I just remember always being really excited and waking up at stupid o'clock to open my presents!

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I was about 10 or 11, and my mum told me.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Nope...unless I receive one then, then I probably would!

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Lights, then tinsel, then baubles and other decorations. We've gathered a really big collection over the years, including some which belonged to my Nana and our first Christmas ornaments. I have a bauble, my brother has a metal plaque, my sister Amy has a baby in a cradle and my other sister has a rocking horse. Decorating the tree is a family effort but my mum, sisters and I do most of it.

11. Snow. Love it or dread it?
Love it...I'm really jealous of the areas of the UK that got lots during yesterday evening and last night; we just got a little dusting! It does look pretty though!

12. Can you ice skate?
Very,very, VERY badly!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift ever?
I actually can't...I've had lots of great gifts over the years! I'd have to say my first TV for my room was pretty high up there, as was a cuddly "Po" teletubby (don't ask!).

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you?
Spending time with family and friends, and seeing people's faces when they open their presents. Plus getting a load of presents for myself of course!! ;-)

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?
See number 6...although I also love mini party desserts like mini donuts and chocolate eclairs

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Having my Grandad and Uncle over for Christmas dinner...I love it when we're all together :-)

17. What tops your tree?
A star, although it has been an angel in the past.

18. Do you prefer giving or receiving?
Now, this is where the little angel and devil on my shoulders have a furious row! The angel's saying "Giving's what Christmas is all about" and the devil's shouting back "Don't be so ridiculous! Receiving's far better, you moron!" So, I'm going to have to declare it a draw...both are good in different ways.

19. Candy canes: Yuck or yum?
"Candy Canes?! Are you mocking me??" The real answer is "Yum!"

20. Favorite Christmas show?
I don't know if I have a favourite Christmas show, but I enjoy watching lots of the Christmas specials that are on TV. Favourite films are a different story...I love "Elf", "Love Actually" and "The Holiday".

21. Saddest Christmas song?
Sad as in boo hoo or sad as in just plain bad?? "Do they know it's Christmas" makes me sad because of the video, and "Mad World" (not really a Christmas song, but it was Christmas No. 1) because it's just so depressing!

22. What is your favorite Christmas song?
Top 3 are: "Fairytale of New York", "Santa Baby" and "Last Christmas" but there are loads more that I love too!

So that's my Christmas! Why don't you give the survey a go too!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

What's-in-my-wardrobe: Sparkling Sequins

So the Christmas season is well and truly upon us, bringing with it lots of parties and other special events. Now like most other girls, I love dressing up but sometimes have those dilemmas about just what to wear and days when there seems to be nothing suitable at all! But in general, I think you can't go wrong with a bit of embellishment and sparkle...especially not at Christmas, and that's why I've chosen to share four of my sequinned pieces today. Some are a bit more understated, whereas others just scream full on glitz and glamour...but they all have that extra bit of sparkle which makes them just a little special (well in my eyes anyway!)

First up is one of my more casual sequinned tops:

Black T-shirt with Gold Sequin Bow detail
I bought this a couple of years ago from the George clothing range at Asda and normally team it with jeans (either skinnies or my high waisted flares) and black heels or knee high boots. I'd usually wear this for socialising with friends and I like the fact that it can be worn for a whole variety of occasions ranging from an informal house party to a night out in town depending on what else I wear it with and how I accessorise it.


Black T-shirt with sequin waistcoat detail
This is another relatively laid back piece which I bought from Primark. At the time I got it, I'd been thinking of buying a sequin waistcoat but was unsure how much wear I'd actually get out of it. Then I saw this at only a fraction of the price and I loved it! It was almost like buying 2 tops for the price of one! I'd style this top in a similar way to the previous t shirt, and again, it's a really versatile piece that I think you could dress up, or even dress down with Converse and a cool jacket or zip up hoodie.


Black All-Over Sequin Shift

This was another George at Asda buy, bought during the last sequin trend a couple of winters ago. I was on the lookout for a sequinned dress, and spotted this at half price in the sale. As well as it being really pretty, I was also attracted by the fact that it was also really light to wear and easy to take off , unlike another dress I'd tried! If I wear it as a dress, I either wear it with black opaques or leggings and some black heels to finish the outfit off. However, as the shift is quite short, I sometimes belt it with a wide waist belt and wear it as a top instead. If I do this I team it with skinny jeans and either heels or knee high boots.

And finally, for a What's-in-my-wardrobe exclusive (nobody apart from my family has seen me wearing this yet!) we have...



All over Sequinned Butterfly Tunic

I bought this from a shop called Select and it was absolutely love at first sight! Plus I must have been fated to have it because there was only one left in my size! This is definitely the glitziest item of clothing I own, and I love it for its sparkle, as well as for its individuality...I haven't seen anything like it in any other shop (although I did see someone wearing it once...lucky I wasn't too!) I also like the fact that it has an all over design...I think it's nice that as much work has gone into the back as the front! As this is such a special dress, I think it deserves to be worn for a special occasion, and I'm planning for it to make its debut at my birthday night out next month. Because it's so detailed, I think I'm going to let it pretty much speak for itself and will probably wear it with my black extra opaques and black ribbon tie heels and just the jewellery I'm wearing in the picture. What do you think?

Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my wardrobe...haven't decided what my next post in the series will be yet, so if you've any ideas...let me know!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Happy Birthday!!

Today I'm really excited to be able to say Happy Birthday to not just one, but two of my favourite ladies of all time!

First up is my little sister Amy, who's celebrating her 16th Birthday today!

She's a gifted comedian, with aspirations to be an actress and knows more random facts than almost anyone else I know! On the whole, I think she's got great taste in music (we both love Michael Buble and Maroon 5) and TV, and I love the trips we take to the cinema and museums...next up will most probably be "Sherlock Holmes" in the Christmas holidays! We do have our differences though...for example, she's about the least girly girl I know, not having worn a dress since she was old enough to choose her own clothes and taking no interest whatsoever in makeup! And that's Amy; all that's left for me to say is that I love her lots and I hope that she has a fantastic day, even if her 16th is making me feel very old!!

And secondly, celebrating a birthday which is a bit larger than 16 is my best friend J. I first met J on the bus we used to get to high school. I was about 12 when we met, she was a year older and we've been best friends ever since. I've celebrated many of her birthdays with her; the most memorable ones include her 16th where I went to my first ever concert and slept over at hers afterwards and her 18th when her parents hired a function room at a local pub, and being unused to alcohol, I got drunk really quickly but still had a fantastic time, as did she! However, as we've got older, things have changed. She moved about 2 hours away to attend university, and, over 8 years on, she's still happily settled there, meaning that we only see each other about 3 or 4 times a year. Despite that, our friendship is still going strong, and I was touched and honoured when she asked me to be her chief bridesmaid last year, even though she has a whole group of close friends in her new(ish) town. And in the same way, I know that if there comes a time when I'm picking bridesmaids, she'll be the first on my list!

So Happy Birthday J! You're one of the most caring and passionate people I know, and a true individual! I also love the fact that you've never lost your sense of fun and your quirky sense of humour despite the fact you're now a grown up, and I'm happy that you've found a husband who shares that with you :-) Hope that you have a fantastic birthday and am looking forward to hopefully seeing you over the Christmas holidays! :-)

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Spot the difference!

Just a short post today...I know I said last night that I'd do a "What's in my Wardrobe" today, but now this evening's come around, I'm feeling quite tired and not in the mood to dress up (no matter how sparkly the clothes are!). So I promise that I'll post it on Thursday...I'll even take the photos beforehand so I've got no excuse not to! Tomorrow's post is still going to go ahead exactly as planned and I'm really looking forward to doing it...it's going to be the first one of its kind and I'll be posting for a very good reason :-) And that's difference number 1...why my blog post today isn't anything like what I thought it would be this time yesterday!

And as for difference number 2...well, can you spot it?? Everyone who guesses correctly will win a prize! Well , technically at least. It won't be an actual physical prize...just a lovely warm feeling inside that inevitably comes with the sense of enormous satisfaction that you feel when you get the right answer! :-)

Monday, 14 December 2009

Monday Monday

Well, it's Monday and my day has mainly been spent:

  • not working...it's the last week of term, so I was expecting it to be quieter than usual. I do have a half day booked for tomorrow, but that's it so far.


  • on the Internet...Facebook (I'm currently addicted to Cafe World!) and Blogger have been my main websites of choice today!


  • being domesticated...I made this dessert:


(nothing too complicated, just mandarin oranges on a biscuit crust...basically a cheesecake without the cheese!)

  • I also washed up, and cleared my summer clothes out of my wardrobe and put them away for the winter!
  • and listening to the radio...my songs of the day have been Tik Tok by Kesha, Bad Romance by the Gaga, Whatcha Say by Jason Derulo and Fairytale of New York by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl

This is what I've been wearing:



Black and charcoal 2 in 1 pinafore : Lime at Next, Black leggings: Peacocks, Grey boots: Rocket Dog via Amazon, Watch: Present, Pearl bracelet with butterfly detail: Primark, Diamond cluster ring: Asda (present off my Mum and Dad for my 21st)

(Except for this morning, when I was wearing work trousers instead of leggings and black flats instead of my boots!)

After I post this...I'll be going to rehearsal for an hour, then spending the rest of my evening relaxing and getting my stuff ready for work tomorrow morning!

Tomorrow...I'll be posting another "What's in my Wardrobe" post, all about sequins. I know it'll be a day early but there are a couple of special things happening on Wednesday that I want to blog about then and I'd rather be early than late lol!

So that's all for today! Hope you've had a great start to the week...and remember, only 4 days till the weekend! :-)

Sunday, 13 December 2009

She's Googling herself!

Nicole over at You Had Me At Hello posted this a couple of days ago, and I thought it would be really fun to do for myself (I have done a similar thing before but never blogged about it!) and also an ideal weekend post...quick, simple and not requiring too much thought lol! So without further ado, here goes:

Type in "[your name] needs" in the Google search

Julie needs cards for hospital visit for transplant
(I really don't know what to say about this one except no I don't and I hope that the other Julie got what she needed)

Type in "[your name] looks like" in the Google search

Julie looks like an oriental version of Bridget Fonda
(I really don't...although I suppose it would be rather interesting!)

Type in "[your name] wants" in the Google search

Julie wants a job
(Yeah, that's SO true!!)

Type in "[your name] does" in the Google search

Julie does Japan

(Visiting Japan sounds pretty cool...maybe I will do one day)

Type in "[your name] hates" in the Google search

Julie hates, just what she doesn't know

(Now does this mean I hate things that I don't know or I don't know what I hate?? Confused much!!)

Type in "[your name] asks" in the Google search

Julie Asks - Am I an Adult Yet?

(This is something I often wonder...I think the answer is physically, yes but mentally, hell no!!)

Type in "[your name] likes" in the Google search

Julie likes silicon

(I can't honestly say I have strong feelings either way!)

Type in "[your name] eats" in the Google search

Julie Eats Babies

(Ewwww...that's horrible! I really, really am NOT a baby eater, well except for jelly babies!)

Type in "[your name] wears" in the Google search

Julie wears silk busk front corset and cross over frill skirt

(That outfit sounds pretty cool...am just imagining what it would look like!)

Type in "[your name] was arrested for" in the Google search

Julie was arrested for the crime of deliberately exposing children to porn

(I actually clicked on this result and felt really sorry for the Julie in the article. She was a substitute teacher and she was working in a school when a porn pop-up storm occurred on the computer. There was a whole dossier of evidence to show that there were a raft of technical errors that led to this happening...the IT department didn't keep anti malware software and content filters up to date, the school had no Internet security policy and the school administrators didn't provide internet training for teaching staff, meaning they were unable to respond in situations such as this and no proof that the teacher had introduced the porn herself. The situation was dealt with by the school district, but a few parents complained to police and Julie was arrested, and at the time the article was written (23rd February 2007), she was facing up to 40 years in prison. I'm unsure of the outcome but feel very uneasy about the story as a whole.)

"Type in "[your name] loves" in the Google search

Julie Loves Books

(Yeah, Google is speaking some truth there!)

So this is what Google says about me! Hope you've enjoyed reading...it's been mostly fun, but also illuminating for me at the same time. Why don't you give it a go?? This card needing, book loving, corset wearing, job wanting, baby eating(!) oriental Bridget Fonda lookalike (according to Google!) looks forward to reading it!

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Pointless nostalgic?

Over the last couple of weeks, I seem to have been spending a lot of time reminiscing about the past, both individually and with friends. I've been thinking about the past, talking about it, looking up websites I used to frequent and almost obsessively searching the Internet for products and places that were well loved but have long since vanished! And the more I reminisce, the more things I find to be nostalgic about. Here's just some of them:
I'm nostalgic for:
  • the excitement I felt when I was going out with my first real boyfriend and the openness of my heart back then. I wasn't the bitter cynic I am now; I was fuelled by happiness and and optimism about what the future would hold.
  • the hours I used to spend on the Internet in my college lunchtimes: taking quizzes on emode, having my very own animals on Neopets and creating personalised email addresses on another.com. Although I suppose the dropdeadgorgeous.co.uk domani wouldn't go down very well on CVs and application forms nowadays!
  • listening to my music on a personal CD player or even a Walkman!
  • my favourite chocolate orange lip balm from Boots...I've even tried to ebay this but can't find it anywhere!
  • the way the Trafford Centre used to be...I used to be able to watch cheap movies in the morning, grab tuna mayo baguettes from my favourite sandwich bar, have a fantastic night out and soak up the atmosphere and individuality of the "Festival Village" market. Whilst I still love the place, the days of being able to do any of those things are long gone! :-(
  • the time when my idea of dressing up for a night out was black trousers and a sparkly top...oh how times (and fashions!) have changed! That said, I'm still a magpie...I love glittery things!
  • the thrill I got when being served alcohol underage (such a rebel lol!)
  • being able to see my best friend J every week, instead of just a few times a year.
  • a time when life was simpler, and seemed more certain... at 17 I thought I knew which direction my life would go in, now I don't have a clue!

However, I know I can't look back forever. As Michael Cibenko so neatly put it: "One problem with gazing too frequently into the past is that we may turn round to find the future has run out on us." And I know that's true. I may look back fondly to my times in college, but there are many things that I am grateful for now and things that I have to look forward to in the future. My family and friends and the enjoyment I get from spending time with them, my future career and relationships, plans for study and travel and the hope that eventually I'll fall in love, marry and have children...it would be a crime if I let the past obscure the good that is now, and that is to come. That doesn't mean I'll stop the nostalgia, after all it's always good to reminisce, but I think I'll try and bring it down a notch from now on. After all, you never know what I could miss out on just because I wasn't looking in the the right direction!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

What's in my wardrobe Wednesday - Beautiful bracelets and bangles (and a pair of earrings!)

Well, I haven't done a Wardrobe Wednesday post for quite a while...I always seem to remember on Friday and by then it just feels too late to write one! But by some miracle, I'm online and it's Wednesday, so it feels right that I should restart the series! This week is all about beautiful bracelets and bangles... I love all kinds of jewellery, but gorgeous wristwear is my favourite. I've already shared some pictures of my newest acquisitions in the shopping posts I've done, but I also have some older favourites that I rely on too and these are what will be in the spotlight today!



Copper leather look bangle



This was a gift that I found in my Christmas stocking a couple of years ago. I love this because it's quite simple but really different too, and it looks good worn with a wide range of colours.





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Pearl triple string bracelet with butterfly detail


This caught my eye in Primark earlier this year and I knew I had to have it! I love pearls (real or imitation...I'm not fussy!) and liked the vintage look of the butterfly detailing. Plus it was ridiculously cheap, so it really was a match made in heaven. Again, as it's quite neutral, I've worn it with a whole range of outfits for many different occasions. The only downside is that butterfly has recently broken, so I don't wear it as much as I used to :-(




Brown and gold enamel bangle with diamante detail


This was a present from my mum and dad...although I'm not 100% what for! I'm sure it was something to do with my education...either passing exams or graduating from my degree or post grad course, but I just can't remember the exact occasion! I mainly love this as it's so unusual...I've never seen another like it, and it makes me feel really unique! The colours also fit in great with much of my wardrobe; I own lots of brown, beige, and neutral clothing and the bangle matches well with all of these.




Black and white swirl bangle

I picked this up from a local low cost store to go with a 60s themed outfit for a fancy dress party. While I don't wear this as much as some of the other things featured today, it's the perfect match for any of my black and white tops that often make an appearance during the warmer months as they're all short sleeved! It's also good to wear as it opens at the back meaning I don't
have to force it over my hand when I put it on or take it off!

Gold effect bead bracelet with gold flower detail

I bought this from Dorothy Perkins to go with a black dress and black/gold clutch for an 80s themed murder mystery. Not only was this a real bargain in the sales, it also co-ordinates well with most of my wardrobe, meaning I'm never short of occasions to wear it.


Blue and grey multi gem bracelet with black enamel and diamante detail
This is probably the "blingiest" piece of jewellery I own and I LOVE it! I bought it from Debenhams last year to match with a blue and black dress that I was going to wear for my work Christmas party. It's from the EB diffusion line by Erickson Beamon, and whilst it's a bit pricier than most of the other costume jewellery I buy for myself, I think it was well worth it :-) I wear it with my party clothes but also to add a little spin to more casual outfits...in my mind there's nothing better than dressing a casual outfit up with some fabulous accessories!
Brown and gold textured bangle set
This was the Secret Santa present I received at work last year. I later found out that my line manager (head of my age group team) was the person who got them for me and can I just say she got me SO right! I love my browns and golds and I love bangles and these are just so pretty...it was love at first sight! They're one of my most frequently worn accessories (in fact, they're jangling away on my right wrist as I'm typing this!) and I think they look great for both work and play!
And finally, here's a little gatecrasher making their way into the post...


Wood and turquoise hoop earrings from Barefoot Maiden!
Remember a couple of weeks ago when I told you that I'd won a giveaway that Holly at Her Southern Heart was running? Well, those little beauties above are my prize! They arrived yesterday, courtesy of Barefoot Maiden's Etsy shop. And while I haven't worn them yet, I already love them! So thank you Holly and Barefoot Maiden!
Fingers crossed, I'll be able to keep up the habit of posting on a Wednesday now! Next week I'm thinking of doing a post on party wear...maybe focusing on sequins, and possibly one on winter woolies after that, but I'm open to suggestions! If there's a particular post you'd like to see, let me know!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Circles

Apologies in advance...this isn't going to be the cheeriest post, my positivity seems to have deserted me at the moment :-(

Anyway, yesterday I went for an interview. Unlike my previous interview that I posted about a couple of weeks ago, not many people knew about this one. Partly because I didn't want to get my expectations up, and also partly because the time scale was so short...I received an answerphone message and email on Monday afternoon, inviting me for interview and to teach a 30 minute lesson on Wednesday morning! So yesterday, I got suited and booted and went along to the school. I taught my lesson which I felt went ok, but not brilliantly and then had my interview, which included a couple of tricky questions, but nothing which left me completely lost! With the interview over, the head, and assistant head thanked me for coming and told me I'd find out their decision later that day.

And about four hours later the phone rang. I'd not been waiting by it all day (I'd done some Christmas shopping to kill time and had only recently returned home) but I was still eager to take the call. It was the headteacher, and she informed me that I...hadn't got the job. She offered feedback; said my lesson was good and gave me pointers on a couple of areas for improvement (things that I normally actually do when I teach, but seemed to have got lost in my nerves) and asked if they could keep my details on file. So far, so positive. But the thing that really got to me was the reason I didn't get the job...they went for a "more experienced" candidate. Now, I know I was trying to be positive about this situation a couple of weeks ago, so if you want to call me a hypocrite for moaning about it now, I won't mind...you'd be well within your rights to do so. But anyway, getting back on track, the reason I'm so annoyed is because there's nothing I can do about my lack of experience unless someone gives me a job! It's turning into a vicious circle: I don't have enough experience so I miss out on jobs, but because I can't get a job I can't get the experience I so desperately need! As strange as it sounds, I'd much rather someone tell me I wasn't a good enough candidate to get the job. There's 1001 ways I can become a better teacher: attending courses, reading books and official publications and applying their insights to my work, trying new things when I'm on supply, watching more experienced teachers and taking advice from them etc etc. But there's only one way I can gain more experience of being a full time class teacher, and that's by getting a job as one!

Suppose I've just got to keep on looking; as for every door that I knock on and get turned away, I must be getting closer to the one that will let me in. So hopefully you'll indulge me and allow me my little moan, promise I'll be more cheery soon! :-)

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Tagged: 10 Things

A few days ago, Brittany over at Sweet, Sassy and oh so Classy shared a list of 10 things that made her happy, and tagged all her followers to do the same. So without further ado, here's my list:

  1. Spending time with my fantastic family and friends
  2. Shopping!!
  3. Not having to get up early at the weekend
  4. Having a nice class to cover when I'm working
  5. The "buzz" I get when an idea or piece of knowledge really clicks with a student
  6. My friends N and M's baby H...he's 10 months old and getting cuter every day! :-)
  7. Starbucks' flavoured lattes and skinny muffins/cakes
  8. Drinking and dancing with my girls on a night out
  9. My friends' L and G's wedding a week today... can't wait!
  10. 3 weeks of work left till Christmas...that means only 15 working days! (well 14, because I've got the day after the wedding off :-) )

So, how about you? What makes you happy?? Looking forward to reading your lists!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Clouds and Silver Linings

I've been doing my "Highs and Lows of the Week" posts for quite a while now, but last week I really noticed how closely some of the highs linked with some of the lows...just like clouds and their silver linings (hence the title of this post!). So, for this week at least, my highs will be mixed in with my lows just to remind me that clouds do have their silver linings, and that we can find positives in most situations if we look hard enough!

Cloud
  • I didn't get the job - As some of you will know I went for a interview last week, for a job that I think would have suited me down to the ground. After the interview, I had mixed feelings about my performance...I thought some of my answers were spot on, but that others were absolutely awful! After around 3 very stressful hours of waiting, I got a call from the headteacher telling me that unfortunately I had been unsuccessful on that occasion. Yes, I was badly disappointed but there was just a glimpse of a silver lining...

Silver Lining

  • But my interview feedback was excellent - As standard, the headteacher gave me feedback and said that my interview had gone very well indeed, and that I'd only just been pipped to the post by the person they'd eventually appointed (who had a great deal of experience) and that it had been a difficult decision. This reassured me that the interview had been better than I'd percieved it and also gave me more confidence to take to other interviews in future. I know I'm nearly there...it's just a case of finding the right job for me!

Cloud

  • 3 hours of stress whilst waiting to hear if I'd been successsful in my interview...as I mentioned in the previous cloud, I had 3 hours of jangling nerves and butterflies in my tummy whilst I was waiting for THAT call. I'm naturally quite impatient, so every minute was like agony. I tried to keep occupied, so I logged onto Blogger, and whilst I was browsing through my dashboard and I found my silver lining...

Silver Lining

  • I'd won my first giveaway: A few weeks ago Holly from Her Southern Heart was running a week of giveaways. I left comments on her blog to enter, then forgot all about them. But there it was in black and white! I'd won a pair of beautiful earrings courtesy of Holly and Barefoot Maiden! I was so excited, especially as I couldn't remember the last time I'd won anything! So I left a very excited thank you comment on Holly's blog, sent her a very excited email and am now (im)patiently waiting for the earrings to wing their way across the pond! I'm so eager to get them, and will be sure to blog about them when they arrive!

Cloud

  • I'm no dancer: It was my friend L's hen night on Saturday, so all the girls (and one guy!) headed out to a club called Copacabana in Manchester. As the name suggests, it's a Latin club and included in the package we'd booked for the evening was a 45 minute Latin dance lesson...perfect for L who's been dancing since the age of 3, but a lot more intimidating for me who has 2 left feet and a lack of natural rhythm! Our class was merengue, which was meant to be really simple to pick up and at first things weren't so bad. I picked up the basic footwork with little difficulty, but just when I was feeling pleasantly surprised...reality kicked in! I'm obviously not meant to dance with a partner, as when my friend E and I teamed up, it was murder on the dancefloor (on my part, not E's!) The instructors could see we were having difficulties, so stepped in, which made me feel even worse! I know I needed to relax and loosen up, but I get tense when I'm struggling with something, and dancing with someone unfamilar didn't help matters! Eventually, I got to a point where I could dance with an instructor, but leave me to my own devices and bam...right back to reality! But despite massacring the merengue...

Silver Lining

  • I had a fantastic night, and I'm determined to master the merengue! : Although the dance lesson was a debacle...it didn't stop me from enjoying the rest of the night! We had a gorgeous tapas meal, frozen cocktails and great fun wearing our pink fluffy kitten ears and waving our fluffy wands! We even did some dancing although none of us were brave enough (or had good enough memories!) to put our new found "skills" to the test! I've also gained a new found determination to become a better dancer...there's no way I'm going to let a few steps defeat me lol!

So that was last week...hope you all had a good one, and that this week is shaping up to be fantastic too!

Friday, 20 November 2009

Dear shoes...

I love you. I know we've only been together for about 3 months but I can't imagine life without you! You've gone to so many different places with me; you've graced cocktail bars and karaoke bars, pubs, clubs and even a school yet you've never looked like you didn't belong. You've helped transform me into a witch, girl about town and serious teacher and I'm confident you'll help me become an ace salsa dancer this weekend!

You've got the perfect personality for me...you're sexy, yet comfortable and drop dead gorgeous but practical at the same time. You never fail to cheer me up when I'm feeling down, and even when I'm having a fat or ugly day, I know that you'll still fit and look good!

And because I love you, I'll do my best to show you how I feel. That's why I keep you wrapped up in your box...it might not sound like much, but you're about the only pair of shoes I've done that with! And I know that you've had your fair share of knocks and scrapes, and I apologise for that. I should be more careful, but sometimes I'm just so excited to be out with you, that I just want to dance and show you off! But if ever you do get hurt, you know I'll get you fixed up. I want you around for as long as possible...who knows, it might even be forever!

Looking forward to going out with you again this weekend...I can't wait!

All my love
Julie xxxx

My favourite shoes...love them! <3

Monday, 16 November 2009

And another week goes by...

almost without a peep out of me! I honestly don't know where the time's gone...I did have a bit of a manic week but I was still aiming to post a couple of times! But never mind, at least I can summarise my week into one post: my highs and lows! And here they are for last week:

Highs
  • Birthday fun with family and friends: Not my birthday, but over the last week I've spent quite a bit of time celebrating birthdays and had a great time doing it! Well there was just one exception...but I'll come to that later! Anyway, my friends E and D both had their birthdays last week so I spent 2 very chilled evenings in 2 different pubs sharing in their celebrations and catching up with my friends. Then on Saturday, me and my family went for a meal with my Grandad and Uncle, to celebrate my Grandad's 90th which was on Friday. The company and food were fantastic and it was really good to see my Grandad enjoying himself and looking so well...nobody can believe how old he actually is! Plus the pub/restaurant we went to organised for us to have a free bottle of sparkling wine to help mark the occasion which was very much appreciated (by me anyway!)

  • Reductions at the till: Yet more shopping this week...although there was an actual purpose behind some of it (you'll find out the reason later!). I picked up a gorgeous sequinned top/dress which I love, not least because it had a 25% reduction on it. Then I went to Next at the weekend as I wanted to buy a suit(there's a big hint there!) and I had a giftcard that I needed to spend. I decided on purchases that I thought added up to the value of the card, but when I got to the till I discovered that the trousers were less than half price! So instead of spending up, I still had 12 pounds of free money left! Bargain!!

And last but definitely not least...

  • Interview: Yes, you read right...I've got a job interview! It's my first interview since my last long term post finished last December and I still can't quite believe it! I was in absolute shock when I opened the envelope and read the letter, as I when I'd seen the school's address stamp on the back, I was convinced it was another rejection! But no...they are pleased to invite me for interview on Thursday, and I'm really excited (although trying not to get my hopes up too high!). The vacancy is in a Year 4 class, which is one of my favourite age groups (ages 8-9), the school has a very good reputation and it's situated in a nice area, only about 5 minutes drive or 20 minutes walk away from my house. Can you tell I want this job lol?!

Lows

  • Birthday not-so fun with friends: Remember how I said that there was one exception to the great birthday celebrations my friends had...well here it is. The night didn't get off to a particularly good start... E and D had invited loads of people to town but only 5 of us ended up going out (including E and D themselves!)! Then when we got out, things seemed to be looking up...but that didn't last long! We went to a bar first, then to a club shortly after that and that was when the problems really started! Whilst E and I were having a great time...the boys (D, S and NE) didn't seem to be. D was practically falling asleep, NE was hungry and telling everyone this at every available point and S just looked miserable as sin! Needless to say, we gave up relatively early for town (about 12:30) and that was when it really kicked off. E was upset with the boys, especially S and wanted to be away from him. I was also annoyed as I hadn't wanted the night to come to an end, and so E and I decided to have a short walk to cool down. But S kept following us which made E furious! She wouldn't talk to him, so I tried telling S to leave us alone and we ended up having a big row in the street which I'm sure highly amused everyone else around us! Eventually we got into a taxi and endured a very uncomfortable ride home. Me and the boys are fine now, but E is still angry with S, and knowing their rows and how stubborn E is, this will run and run! Things really just got out of proportion and I'm trying to see the funny side, but I sense that there might not be many nights out for a while!

  • Noisy classes: They get really frustrating and I nearly lost my voice one day last week! Enough said!

So there's my highs and lows! Hope you all had fantastic weeks last week and have great ones to come!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Highs and Lows of the Week

Can't believe it's Monday already...the weekend went far too quickly! But it is, which means only one thing...that it's time to share my highs and lows of last week!

Highs
  • Having a 3 day week: Now I could have been negative and seen my return to work after half term as a bad thing, but I'm not going to. One of the reasons is that I only actually worked on 3 days last week. I had Monday off as the schools didn't go back till Tuesday, and although I was available for work on Friday, I just didn't get a call which meant no work and an early start to my weekend! The second reason that I quite liked work last week was that three of the four classes I worked with were absolutely lovely, and at the end of the day I left the classroom feeling good about myself which is sometimes a rarity!

  • New clothes: I picked up a couple of new tops from Asda last week that I'm planning on wearing for a couple of big nights out that I've got coming up...the joint birthday bash for my friends E and D on Saturday and my friend L's hen do on the Saturday after that. No pictures yet...I'll either do them in my next wardrobe Wednesday or when I've actually worn the tops.

  • Christmas Starbucks: I was so excited when I went in Starbucks on Friday and saw that the red cups were back and the Christmas food and drink ranges were in store. I just had to have a Gingerbread latte and a Cranberry and Orange muffin (both skinny...so zero guilt on my part!). And they were so good that I was forced to go back yesterday and have another latte and a Christmas Pudding cupcake. I'm already wracking my brains to think of the next time I can go back for another treat!

Lows

  • Rain: As I sit and type this it's a lovely sunny day, and I can already see the beginnings of a gorgeous sunset. It's so much better than the almost endless rain we had last week which was horrible. I got soaked on the way to work and then, after getting dried out, proceeded to get drenched again on the way home. Although I used an umbrella, my coat got wet, my trousers got wet and water somehow leaked into my shoes and I ended up with wet feet. Nightmare!! I'm seriously considering buying a pair of wellies so it doesn't happen again!

  • My dodgy immune system: I came down with a cold on Saturday night, which meant I was sniffling then and all day yesterday, and am rather blocked up today. I know I'm lucky that it was over quite quickly and I haven't been that ill, but I hate that annoying feeling where you're not completely well, but not really ill either. It's also my third cold since August, so I think I've already had more than my fair share!

  • The X Factor: I normally love this show but I'm getting really sick of it now due to the fact that the terrible twins are getting through week after week. They can't sing, can't dance and are really annoying and I think it's really unfair that better singers are going out at their expense. And I can't believe that Simon Cowell didn't take the opportunity to get rid of them when they were in the bottom 2 last night! He's been moaning for weeks about how bad they are but failed to do anything about the situation when he had the chance! It does make me seriously consider the rumours that the show has been fixed in favour of them, and if they do get much further, I think I'm going to give up and watch Strictly Come Dancing instead!

So there's my highs and lows. How was last week for you?

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

What's-in-my-wardrobe Wednesday - Fancy Dress for Less

Once again, I'm late with this post, and I'm feeling really lazy at not blogging for 6 whole days...but at least I'm here now, better late than never and am making up for my guilt by giving you 2 posts for the price of 1! So sit back, relax and enjoy...a little bit of my weekend mixed up with a whole lot of outfits!

Now, I love going to parties, and every now and then, the time comes around for fancy dress. I love that too...but what I don't like is the cost involved. Whilst some of my friends have bought expensive dressing up outfits in the past, I really don't see the point. It's not as if it's something you can really wear again, unless you want to run the risk of everyone knowing what your outfit will be before every single party (because it's ALWAYS the same one!)! Now that's not to say I won't buy outfits if they're the right price...but I like to be a bit more creative if I can! So here's a few outfits I've created in my time, and a few tips for getting a cool looking outfit for less. I'm not saying I'm a style expert or anything because I'm most certainly not, but I have been pleased with what I've managed to achieve!

  1. Work with what you've already got

Last Saturday, I went to a Halloween party dressed as a witch and had a fantastic time! Initially, I had planned to buy a costume but could find nothing in the shops. At first I started to panic but then I remembered a dress I already had and everything else started to come together. This is what I wore:

I wore this black dress...you can't see very well but it had wide bottomed sleeves and a zig zag hem...perfect for a witch. I teamed it with black fishnets over purple tights and my black ribbon tie shoes from Next...all three were things I already owned. The only new addition to my outfit which cost 1.50 from a discount shop.

2. Start shopping early

Now I know this isn't always possible, but if you know about something in advance, I'd strongly recommend looking around earlier rather than later. A good example of this was for my friend's 25th. In honour of our decade of birth, he decided to go for an 80s theme and I was determined to buy a vintage 80s dress for the occasion. So I looked on Ebay...and every now and then I saw a dress I liked so I put a bid (or ten!) in. But they went for too high a price so I missed out...that's another thing I'd say...always set a price limit! But because I still had time left, I didn't get stressed and just kept looking. And then it happened...I saw a dress, bid and won! In fact, I was the only bidder and bagged myself a genuine 80s gem for less than a fiver. What do you think?:

I teamed the dress with leg warmers which I also bought off Ebay for a couple of quid and a pair of 80s style black stilettos from Dorothy Perkins that I already owned.
3. Customise the basics (or get others to do it for you!)

A couple of years ago, 2 of my friends had a joint fancy dress party. The theme was cartoon characters and for a while I was stumped. How could I find quite a simple outfit? Then I thought of Wilma Flintstone...all I'd need was a white dress and a string of pearls and I'd be sorted! So the white dress hunt was on, and I eventually found a strappy white sundress for a few pounds. Then my mum got to work on it. She removed one of the shoulder straps and cut the bottom so it was jagged. Add a string of chunky pearls that I borrowed off a friend and a wash in/'wash out hair dye (that didn't really work!) and voila!


4. Buy items that can multitask

I probably spent the most I ever have on the fancy dress outfit I wore for my friend's western themed birthday party. But I didn't mind because I knew I'd wear everything again and I have. My cowboy boots...check! A checked shirt..check! A cowboy hat...check! (It's great for those sunny days!)


And finally one more tip that doesn't have a photo with it!
5. Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise

A really good example of this was when I was looking for a simple and cheap costume and decided to go as a police officer. I had the black trousers, white shirt and sensible shoes already so all I bought was the accessories: handcuffs, hat, neckerchief, badge and epaulettes for my shoulders. Hey presto: instant outfit!

Another example of this was when I went to another 80s party. I bought another cheap dress off Ebay, but then made it a little bit special by adding a vintage belt (again from Ebay) and an 80s clutch that belonged to my mum!
So hope you enjoyed! Like I say, I'm not claiming to be an expert...but if at least one person gets any ideas from this, I'll be very happy! :-)








Thursday, 29 October 2009

What's-in-my-wardrobe Wednesday - Primark and Asda shopping trips

I've been off work this week as it's the school holidays, and have spent quite a lot of time relaxing and generally being a bit lazy! However, I still managed to find time for a bit of shopping on Monday. I went to Primark, which is just about my all time favourite shop, and whilst there wasn't loads that really grabbed me, I still picked up a few bits:

Red long sleeved top
This is just a really good basic buy, that I think will go equally well with a pair of smart trousers for work or jeans at weekend. Plus I love the fact that it's got tiny buttons down both sleeves...you can't see them on the picture but they make an otherwise ordinary top seem much more interesting.
Navy/red checked shirt
I absolutely love checked shirts at the moment, and thought the colours in this were gorgeous! When it gets colder, I might wear it layered up with the red top I bought.
Tan studded ankle boots
I love these boots, and have practically worn them non stop since Monday evening. They're wide fit too, which means it makes it much easier for me to tuck my skinny jeans into them! This is generally how I've worn them since I bought them, though they look just as good with jeans worn over the top. Just about the only bad thing is the fact they haven't got much grip on the soles which means that I've nearly gone flying on a pile of leaves a couple of times!
Black bead bracelet with silver flower detail
At the moment, I'm really into bracelets and bangles so took the opportunity to pick up a couple whilst I was shopping. I just found the flower really eyecatching, and think that this could really dress an outfit up.
Gold and ivory charm bracelet
This was another piece that really caught my eye...I just loved the detail on it and thought it looked much more expensive than it actually was (I think it was only about 2.50 or 3.00!). I think it's really pretty and have already been complimented on it, which always makes a girl feel good! The only thing is that the charms do make quite a lot of noise, so I'd be no good wearing it if I was trying to sneak up on someone lol!
A couple of hours after returning from Primark, my mum, sisters and I went to Asda where I picked up this cardigan:


It's something I'll probably wear layered up with a long sleeved top underneath, either for work or at weekends, depending on what bottoms I choose. When I bought it I had a choice of either black, stone or green. I went for this one because I thought it was an unusual shade, and didn't have anything else quite the same colour.
Anyway, that was my shopping! Hope you enjoyed and I'll be back with another wardrobe post soon (maybe it'll even be on a Wednesday next time)!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Highs and Lows of the Week

I know it's a bit late...but better late than never, here are my highs and lows of last week:



Highs


  • Saturday - I know it might seem a bit random to have a whole day on my "highs" list, but there it is. Saturday was an absolutely fantastic day! It was a close friend's birthday on Friday, and on Saturday we went up to Blackpool to get some lunch and see an ice show. The show was amazing...as it took place in a small arena, we were only a few rows from the front and could actually hear the sound of the blades on the ice. There were loads of great performances including those from professional pairs and solo skaters and celebrities who'd featured on the "Dancing on Ice" tv show as well as a local 10 year old who was incredible, and a team of freestyle skaters. Imagine street dance on skates, and you'll get a better idea of what they did. My favourites, though, were a pair of brothers from Italy. They were circus trained and were basically clowns on ice! I was amazed when they started juggling whilst skating and even more so when one leapfrogged the other and carried on juggling from where the first one left off! After the show, we headed back home and spent the evening watching X Factor (I was soooo happy it was big band week!) and eating takeaway.

  • My friends - While I already know I've got great friends, something that happened last week really helped to confirm that for me (more about that in the "lows" section!).

  • Half term - I suppose this should technically go in my next "highs and lows" post, but as the start of it was last week, it can go in this one too! Basically, the schools in my area broke up for a week's holiday last Friday, so it means that this week I'm pretty much a lady of leisure! I've been really looking forward to the break...the first half term is always the longest...and will keep everyone posted with what I get up to. I've already been shopping, and will post more details of my purchases tomorrow in my "What's-in-my-wardrobe Wednesday" post.

  • Unintentionally funny TV - SuperNanny, John and Edward's vintage performance on X Factor (even although I do think they should have been out weeks ago!) and my favourite from last week... Wife Swap USA. It was the episode featuring the Heene family, who've been more recently in the news for faking the disappearance of their 7-year-old son Falcon, in a home made balloon (for a recap of that story click here) and the safety cautious Martels. I know it wasn't intended to be a comedy programme...but it made me laugh harder than I'd done for a few days! If you haven't watched it, my advice would be to check it out and pay special attention to the video the Martel children make to list the things they're frightened of. I'll never look at lava lamps the same way again!

Lows

  • Spending the day in hospital: Last Wednesday, I woke very early with severe abdominal cramps that were making me nauseous and dizzy. Aunt Flo wasn't visiting, and I was especially concerned as I knew I had a cyst on my left ovary, so I decided to go to hospital to get checked out. The pain subsided after about half an hour, but it was decided that after undergoing blood tests and an examination in the accident and emergency department, I should be admitted as an in-patient so I could be observed and have a pelvic ultrasound scan either later that day or the next morning. Luckily, I was able to have the scan that day but unluckily, I was unable to eat until I had it. Which meant that I didn't have any food until after 4:00 pm and I'd been up since 6 that morning! The scan results showed that the cyst was no longer present, and as the tests I had also came back clear the doctors were happy to discharge me, and I came home to a flurry of texts, answerphone and Facebook messages off my friends (see my "Highs" list). Luckily I've had no recurrences of the pain since then, but I was definitely shook up for the next couple of days with every little twinge leaving me in a state of panic!

  • My eating habits - My eating habits last week were inconsistent to say the least. From not eating anything for over 18 hours on Tuesday night through to Wednesday to snacking madly on Thursday/Friday to stuffing myself with fatty/junk food on Saturday...I just couldn't get a balance! I know being unable to eat while I was in hospital wasn't my fault, but the rest of the week definitely was!

So there we have it! That was the week that was, and these were my highs and lows.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall (well, autumn)!

A few years ago, it was a strong possibility that I'd end up living in Florida. That might seem like a pretty random thing to say, so let me explain......
I was engaged to a guy who I thought I'd spend the rest of my life with; a guy whose parents and younger siblings moved to Florida. Whilst it had always been their dream, the speed with which the move took place took everyone by surprise. They went to check property out in August and by November they were gone. They'd flown across the Pond to begin their new life and my (ex) fiance was struggling to hold his old one together. He missed them terribly and it gradually became a foregone conclusion that after we married, we would fly out and join them. Obviously, I was apprehensive...while I felt happy that he would eventually be reunited with his family, I was struggling to come to terms with the fact that I would be saying goodbye to mine. And as someone who'd never lived more than an hour and half away from them, and who'd never gone more than a fortnight without seeing them, it would be hard! Especially as my mum is confined to a wheelchair and travelling to the USA would have been extremely difficult for her. Add to that a range of other issues including the validity of the degree I was studying and the postgrad qualification I was planning to take in Britain before we left, my desire for our future children to be British as well as American and my phobia of thunderstorms and you can begin to see why the situation was not an ideal one.

However, I'm still here. Mine and my ex's relationship wasn't to be, and we parted. Florida wasn't the reason, but looking back, I don't honestly believe it helped matters. Whether we stayed here or moved there, there was always going to be massive compromise on one of our parts. A compromise that I think would have probably been too big to be workable. Anyway, the boy moved to Florida about 9 months after we split and as far as I know he's still there, building his new life. And I'm here in Manchester with mine.

So where's this post going?, you may ask. Bear with me, I'm getting there, believe me! I've already listed a few things that would have made me unhappy if I'd moved and recently I've become much more aware of another. The seasons. Whilst I love the idea of endless warm and sunny days, I've got a lasting relationship with the much more changeable climate and distinct seasons that I've known all my life. Like any relationship it has its ups and downs. I shiver if it's too cold and wilt in our rare too-hot days. I curse those wet and windy days where an umbrella's absolutely no use and groan in despair at some of our pitiful excuses for a summer. But then there are the ups...the ups that more than make up for the downs. I love the brilliant blue skies and dazzling winter sunshine, especially when teamed with that real nip in the air that we so often get on winter days. And I'm not sure how many other places get to experience those oh-so-indecisive spring days, with half the sky inviting blue and the other half stormy grey. Sun, rain, sun, rain...with always the chance of both and a beautiful rainbow as a bonus. And then there's our too few summer days. We don't get them as much, so my theory is we appreciate them all the more. The rare days when the sun is up at 4 and it doesn't disappear till after 10. Those days where there isn't a cloud in the sky. Those days where it's not too hot, but not too cold and the smell of barbecue smoke and the sound of birdsong, lawnmowers and sprinklers is in the air. But most of all I love autumn. Those increasingly crisp mornings and gloriously coloured leaves. And because my words really can't do it justice, here's just a few pictures that will hopefully show what I mean:

Trees in their full glory. This was taken from my front garden.

A gorgeous tree near my house. I love the russet colour.


Close up of a rainbow opposite my house. There was actually a much fainter rainbow next to it but you can't really see it here.

The original rainbow picture...this is the view from my front garden.

Another rainbow pic...I was messing about with the lighting here!


I love the contrast of the sky colours here...the grey at the bottom drifting into the blue at the top.

The sun shining through the trees on an autumn day...you can just see the carpet of leaves underneath it too.

So there it is...I've finally realised I'm a full-on Autumn addict! What's your favourite season/time of year?

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Another Tagathon!

Well, I wanted to blog today but didn't really know what to write about...until I saw this post from Brittany over at Sweet, Sassy and oh so Classy. She's tagged all her followers, so now I'm doing the same...if anyone wants to take part, you're more than welcome!


It's another quiz, but with a big difference...you have to use images to explain your answers! So here goes...

1. Your favourite beverage


While I might be crazy for cocktails, wild about wine, mad about mochas and hot for hot chocolate, my favourite drink has got to be a cup of tea. It's my drink of choice first thing in the morning, and I can drink anything up to 8 cups a day. (Love this cup by the way...I can't believe it has my name on!)

2. Your home town



Ok...before I go any further, time for a confession...I'm not actually from Manchester. Greater Manchester, yes; the city of Manchester itself, no. I was born, and still live, in Salford which is a separate city within the Greater Manchester authority (hope I've not lost anyone yet!) So why have I been lying about my hometown ever since I can remember?? Firstly, it's just easier. Everyone knows about Manchester...well everyone I've ever spoke to anyway. Secondly, I'm more than just a little in love with the place (well, the city centre at least)! There's no denying that Salford has some cool parts, but there's really no contest! I'm a Manchester girl by adoption, if not by virtue of my birth.


3. Your favourite television show
Surprise, surprise...It's House!



4. Your occupation




Super Supply Teacher...that's me! Well on a good day anyway! I'm often more like Sluggish Supply Teacher.

5. Your first car

Aaahhhhhh...the car I owned but never actually drove...an old style grey Nissan Micra.


6. Your favourite dish

This was soooo hard to choose...but my favourite at the mo is probably my mum's chilli with rice. Yum!!

7. Celebrity you've been told you resemble

Now before I go any further, I'll warn you that I don't look like either of these celebrities in any shape or form and think that the people who said that I did most probably need their eyes testing!



That's right...it's Kylie Minogue! I seriously don't understand this at all...but according to one friend I looked really like her in one of her music videos (I think it was "In Your Eyes" but I'm not 100%).


Or alternatively we have...

Karen Carpenter! No, I don't see it either! To be honest, I can't think of any celebrity that I even vaguely resemble...what do you think?

8. Celebrity on your "to-do" list





At the mo, it's definitely Joseph Fiennes...have been loving Flashforward (and him!) lately.

9. Your favourite childhood toy



While I didn't have exactly this doll growing up, I had loads of baby dolls and didn't stop playing with them until I reached the age of about 10 or 11!


10. Any random picture


A bit of an oldie here...this is me and my (not so) little bro cleaning our first family car. I reckon I was about 4 or 5 here, so he would have been 2 or 3.

Anyway, that's all folks! I've had lots of fun finding these pics and hope you enjoy the results!


















Saturday, 17 October 2009

There are no words...

to describe this so I guess I'll just post the video instead! As you're watching, just bear in mind that these guys are meant to be one of the twelve best acts in this year's competition...

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

What's-in-my-wardrobe Wednesday - Silver necklaces

Well...technically not real silver, but they are silver coloured! This week I'm going to be sharing some of my favourite pieces of costume jewellery, my silver toned necklaces.


Diamante drop pendant
I can't remember where this necklace is from, or who bought it but it's one I wear quite a lot. I love its simplicity and sparkle, plus it has a really strong chain which means I'm not worried about it breaking.

Diamante tassel pendant
I think this was a present off my friends J and N for my 24th birthday. Although I don't wear this as much as some of my other jewellery, I think it's a very pretty piece and I like the fact it has an adjustable chain so I can wear it long or short depending on the top I've got on.



Filigree heart necklace
This is one of my all time favourite necklaces. It's another Primark bargain, but I think it looks much more expensive, and I've had compliments on it almost every time I've worn it. I love all the intricate detailing on the hearts, and the way they link together. Although it has an adjustable chain, I always try and wear it as short as possible to give a choker/neck plate effect.

Silver/clear multi charm pendant
This was another birthday present, this time off my friends G and L for my 25th. I think the charms give it a really fun and current look, and it also comes with matching earrings if I really want to dress things up!


Pink/Purple charm pendant

This was an end of year present off one of the children in my first ever class as a qualified teacher. In some ways it's quite similar to the previous necklace, it's got charms at the front and comes with matching earrings. However, this pendant has a much shorter chain, so I tend to wear it with a v neck top, so the charms can fit nicely in the v. It's also front fastening which is quite unusual, none of my other necklaces fasten in that way!

Silver heart pendant

I bought this from Primark a couple of years ago when there was a trend for heart shaped pendants, and even though they're not as popular now, I still love wearing mine! As the heart is on a long chain, I usually wear this with tops without much detail on the front, so things don't look too fussy!

And that's it from my wardrobe for this week! Stay tuned for more exciting updates! ;-)