Friday, 29 January 2010

The Undercurrent

There has been a bit of an undercurrent in my life since Christmas and New Year which has been somewhat overshadowed by general festive activities and new year and The Americans trip over.

Because to be honest, 2010 didn’t get off to the greatest of starts for the boyfriend. And in turn, that means my 2010 didn’t get off to the greatest of starts because I guess when you live together his problems = your problems.

It all started at the end of last year when there began to be rumblings at the boyfriend’s firm (he’s a big bad solicitor) about the future of the branch that he currently works for. We kind of put them to one side and tried not to think about them over Christmas and New Year but on his return to work it became clear that things were potentially pretty serious and that come April, he may not have a job.

He’s had his CV out there in the mix for a few weeks now when another opportunity presented itself. The chance for most of his department to be moved, en masse, to another firm in Manchester. Normally this would make me dance around like a loon because I love the Manchester. But unfortunately it doesn’t come at a great time for me in my job. I can’t leave just yet because I’m on the verge of getting my name on a real-life publication and yet at the same time I don’t particularly want to stay because I’m not really a happy bunny. And it’s not fair to ask the boyfriend to commute 4 hours every day; I feel guilty enough that he goes back and forth from Sheffield at the moment.

So everything’s a little up in the air. It could be that he takes the job but doesn’t have to leave for a few months, then he’s happy to do a few months commuting while I get things wrapped up at work and then we move to the city of dreams. No idea what I’ll do there, that’s a whole other bridge I can’t even think about crossing just yet.

Then add to this the fact that we found out just after New Year that his Grandma has terminal cancer. She’s had a great life, she just celebrated her 90th birthday and she actually fought off cancer once before about 20 years ago, but this time there’s nothing to be done and even though she has had a long fulfilling life, it’s horrible to even think about. We’re basically in a situation where everybody is just waiting for her to die.

At the same time as all this exploded, the boyfriend had just gone cold turkey and come off the cigarettes. He wasn’t a chain smoker, probably about 5/6 a day but there’s been a definite change in his mood since coming off them.

Job uncertainty + relative dying + nicotine withdrawal = tense times.

And I’m at a bit of a loss to be honest. I don’t really know what I can do to make things better or make things easier at least. I’m not great in situations where there’s pressure involved, it tends to make me run away. And I’ve mentioned before that I’m rubbish at saying the right thing or expressing real emotions so I don’t think that I’ve been the best partner at the moment.

Luckily the nicotine withdrawal has now subsided and his mood is definitely better, which is a relief. My lovely, even-tempered, laid-back boyfriend turned into a moody git that I wanted to punch in the face so badly that at one point I told him to start smoking again because I couldn’t be dealing with it.

But there are still times when he is quiet and obviously contemplative and it’s those times that I struggle with. Apart from asking him if he’s ok (which he clearly isn’t) and telling him that he can, and indeed has to, talk to me about anything then I can’t see what else I can do. When he’s quiet should I be quiet too? Or should I prattle on like a demented woman, desperate to lift the mood?

These are the times that aren’t so much fun when you’re living together. If we weren’t I could leave him to it and return back to my Mum’s house and escape from the feelings of inadequacy but right now I have to stick with it. Don’t get me wrong, things aren’t all bad, we’ve been smiling and having fun and there have been plenty of happy moments but, like I said at the start of this epic post, there is an undercurrent which occasionally surfaces, before dipping back down below. I guess I just have to ride it out until it submerges itself for good.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

If these photos don't make you smile you're not normal

Been a silly Girl lately so been a bit quieter than normal on the blog front.

It'll all be back to normal soon though.

Until then, just look at this photo of the Fred and Lily I took the other weekend when I went round to see Mum...
Hope you all have a happy Friday and I'll see you soon.


Monday, 25 January 2010

Tree Project - January edition

Dear Mr Tree,

I have neglected you this month. I'm so sorry.

I hope you don't mind but January is such a blah month. And plus I've had so much to talk to everyone about with The Americans being over (you remember them, you saw them when we were building that snowman, you gave us some twigs for arms) that I just kind of forgot about you.

And to make matters worse I haven't even taken a photo of you recently. It's always dark whenever I think about it but you know what? It's getting lighter and I'll take better photos of you.

But for now I think I'll post a picture of you from the beginning of this month.

You look very pretty in it so I'm hoping you won't mind.

And I know that everyone bitched about the snow when it was here but I would rather have everything looking like it did in this photo than like the grey, wet, drabness that's going on at the moment.

So I'll see you in February when I promise I will take some better photos of you and report on your progress.

So until next month Mr Tree,

The Girl.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Sunshine Blog Award

I have just discovered the serious downfall to living next door to a nightclub.

Last minute decisions to go out.

If I lived far away from any nightspot there is no way I would decide at 11.30pm that I wanted to go out. Actually I might decided I wanted to go out but I wouldn't follow through and make the effort. However there's no effort required when all you have to do is walk outside.

So consequently I feel ill.

I'm trying to keep my spirits up with leftover pizza and cups of tea but I can feel my spirits waning...

So to keep myself going I'm going to pass a little bit of love on.

A while ago I was awarded The Sunshine Blog Award from Blondedesign. You need to go and check out some of her creations - especially the superhero cushions, I've found myself dreaming about them lately!

Ok. So the rules are....

The Sunshine Award is awarded to bloggers whose positivity & creativity inspires others in the blog world.
The rules for accepting these award:-
Put the logo on your blog or within your post.-
Pass the award onto 12 bloggers.-
Link the nominees within your post.-
Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.- Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

Now I'm not actually passing this on to 12 people. Sorry. I wanted to really include the people I find genuinely inspiring, rather than just trying to make the numbers up.

1. The Curious Cat - She is my constant commenter and for a long long time was the only commenter and if it wasn't for that encouragement I would have found it hard to carry on blogging. Her posts are always brilliant - she is thoughtful and far more erudite than I am. And even though she's had a bit of a tough time lately, she's remained positive. I get the feeling that she's a rather cool person, the kind of friend I would want to have in real life.

2. Petit Filoux - She's just brilliant! Sometimes I think she's possibly a French version of me! She makes cards, she cooks good food - and I have shamelessly stolen all her ideas! And as I mentioned in a post recently, out of nothing but pure kindness she knitted me a pair of fingerless mittens. If that kind of selflessness isn't inspiring then I don't know what is.

3. Pink Cat, Custard and Cake - Her posts are always upbeat and happy - and reminds me that I should have more Pollyanna days! Mummy to Fluffy Cat, who I would very much like to steal, she seems like she has a lovely life. Can't wait to hear about more of her upcoming wedding plans, more inspiration to steal!

4. Itch2Stitch - Even though her posts only come once a week, I really look forward to them as Susie's posts always give you a little something to think about. Her drawings and embroidery designs are also beautiful. I hope she won't be offended if I say that I think of her as my blog Mum!

5. Schemmelhos - One word to describe Trish? Wise. Thoughtful and deep posts, she has an amazing way with words and her posts always remind me to try and take a little time out to find the positive things in life. Plus she owns Radar the German Shepherd who I will also be stealing.

And now that I've passed on the love, I'm going to go and lie my poorly head down.
After one more slice of cold pizza...

Friday, 22 January 2010

Want to see the geekiest thing I ever cross-stitched?

So by now you know that I'm a cross stitch geek.
But I feel that there are certain levels of geekdom and I'm on the cooler end of the scale (if one exists).

One thing that has always made me laugh are the cross stitch magazines. A few of them have a feature that's called something like Stitch a Star and they give you a chart of a celebrity for you to cross stitch.

I've always been baffled by these. They most definitely register as "sad" on the geekometer. For instance, this month in one of these magazines there's a chart of Piers Morgan. Who would want that?! They always put me in mind of the little old ladies who have flying ducks on the wall and pictures of Elvis all over the place. Those little old ladies would love a cross stitch of Piers' face.

But then.

Early in 2009 I saw one of these charts and knew exactly who I could cross stitch it for. American Girl's birthday was coming up and I would cross stitch this person's face and make it into a card. It would be hilarious.

Her birthday was in August so I had plenty of time.

However I am rubbish and didn't get it finished in time to send to her for her birthday.

I'll send it for Thanksgiving I said to myself and carried on.

Then I had a crisis of confidence.

What if she didn't find it hilarious like I did and was offended or something?! What if she thought I had mental problems?! What if she couldn't work out who it was?!

Thanksgiving came and went.

"I'll make it into a card for Christmas" I thought to myself.

Then I thought. What's the point in doing that?! She's going to be coming here a week after Christmas so you might as well just wait and give it to her then.

When The Americans arrived in Hull from their trip to Paris, American Girl gave me a present - a charm for my charm bracelet of the Arc de Triomphe. In turn I thrust a tatty rag into her hands (I hadn't even made it in to a card or given it a quick wash)....

I was lucky. She found it hilarious.

Yes. I did cross stitch Barack Obama's face.

Now who do I know that like Piers Morgan?....

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Take a deep breath and blow as hard as you can

Meet my new toy.

Mr Peak Flow Meter.

A while ago I got another chest infection, about my 53rd of the year. I got a chest infection over a year ago and things never seem to have really cleared up. I’d be feeling ok in my self, but if I cleared my throat I sounded like a barking seal pup. Then, every time I did get a bug or a cold it would flare up again and I’d be hacking away like a 50-a-day smoker.

I got bored of it in the end so when the last cough started I took myself off to the Drs, a place I rarely go because they are the most depressing places on earth.

I was given yet another course of antibiotics and sent for a chest x-ray to get to the bottom of things.

When I got a call to say the chest x-ray was clear I was obviously relieved, nobody wants gunk in their lungs, but also a little disappointed because that meant I had no proof something was wrong with me.

I always feel very guilty when I walk into the Drs surgery with something that isn’t tangible. I worry that I’m going to be labelled a hypochondriac. So the prospect of having to go back to the Drs and say “Look I know this x-ray says my lungs are fine, and right at this moment in time I’m not sick at all, but when I cough it’s really nasty, listen....” was filling me with dread.

But I got a nice Dr who let me jabber on about my lungs for a gazillion years before scratching his head (he really did!) and handing me a cool little tube, telling me to blow in to it as hard as possible. I did so, which resulted in a coughing fit which secretly pleased me because he got to hear it without me trying to find subtle way to cough during our conversation.

And he came up with a somewhat surprising possible diagnosis.

I could have asthma.

Which is weird I think. I mean I know I get out of breath on the treadmill but that’s just because I’m grossly unfit. I’m not a wheezer, I just have a cough.

So he sent me away with Mr Peak Flow Meter and instructions to puff into him first thing in the morning and last thing at night and record my results on a cool little chart for 2 weeks and then come back to see him.

It’s great fun.

Although also frustrating. I’m supposed to be able to blow up to 500 and so far the highest I’ve gone is 420. Even the boyfriend is better than me and he’s a smoker (was, was, was a smoker, as of 1st January 2010). I’m not the world’s most gracious loser. In fact I’m a terrible loser. So bad I actively avoid playing games because I know that as hard as I try I’m not going to be able to disguise the fact that I’ve just lost a game.

But I do like joining the dots together a ruler to make a cool graph.

We’ll see what the Doctor says in 2 weeks...

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The solution to my oddly hot hands (a.k.a. Some people are too kind for words)

During these past few cold months I have had a problem.
With my hands.

I don’t know what it is about me but may hands can heat up to extraordinary temperatures fairly quickly.

I would start the walk in to work with my gloves on and halfway there would have to take them off as they sweated profusely. Or when I tried walking in without gloves on I found myself with cold misshapen claws which I couldn’t do anything with.

I thought that Accessorize had the solution for me. Fingerless gloves which are also mittens.

I could start off with my fingers safely ensconced in a woolly haven and then expose my fingers to the cold when the heat started to rise. Marvellous, non?

Non actually because they had a fatal design flaw.

I don’t know if you’ve heard but opposable thumbs are kind of important to us human beings. I would have hands which were doing ok in the temperature stakes but a thumb which meant I couldn’t do a single thing except wildly jab at my i-pod and hope that I hit on the right song or stab at my phone and hope the text message I sent made sense.

It was especially annoying because I’ve been working from home quite a bit and because I’m a tight wad I didn’t want to turn my heating on. This unfortunately meant that my hands would get insanely cold whilst I tried to write or type and the mittens were no help whatsoever because I COULDN’T DO ANYTHING WITH MY THUMB.

But then I saw something rather brilliant.

Petit Filoux had knitted herself a pair of proper fingerless mitteny things. (That's their official name you know.) "That’s what I need” I said to myself.

When I left a comment joking that she should make me a pair I really was joking and when she said that she would, free of charge, just as a present, I quite frankly questioned her sanity. But my hands told me to say yes.

I’m not very good at accepting presents. I return to my default setting of making a joke just because I’m rubbish at expressing any emotions and finding the appropriate words to thank someone (see yesterday's post).

But the other day, salvation for my wonky-temperatured hands arrived.

In my haste to tear in to the package I didn’t photograph the lovely wrapping – I blame my hands, they just wanted to see what it was that was going to save them from either wilting and falling off or getting frostbitten and dropping off.

When I started blogging (again) I had no idea there were so many kind people out there. I had no idea I would ‘meet’ people that I would start to think of as ‘real life’ friends and I never in a million years thought that I’d end up getting something through the post that someone had made just for me. It’s mind-boggling really and when I think about it too much the emotions start to well up and I feel the urge to make a joke.

So I won’t.
I will just thank Petit Filoux again because I can’t find any more impressive words to properly convey how I’m feeling.


Thank you.


Monday, 18 January 2010

Saying goodbye

I’m not a particularly demonstrative person. I’m not really a hugger, unless I’m either a) drunk or b) upset, in which case you’ll need a crow bar to pry me from you.

You might think that I’m therefore a pretty cool, calm and collected number. I’m not, I’m a ragbag of emotions and can go through the day experiencing dizzying heights of giddiness, before crashing into a malaise from which I can’t be shifted.

This doesn’t make for a good combination. I have all these emotions and no outlet for them, so they buzz and buzz and buzz around inside me until they eventually come screaming out at amazingly inopportune moments.

When I’m upset the first thing I’m likely to do is make a joke. Usually an inappropriate one. It's a great avoidance technique. “Me? Upset? I don’t think so. Here enjoy some witty banter with me so I can prove how not upset I am.” The defence mechanisms are well and truly raised.

And this is something I’ve done from being a wee thing. If I’d done something bad and my parents gave me a smack for it (this was back in the day when you were allowed to discipline your children, nowadays I’d be on the phone to Childline and have been incarcerated in a foster home before the redness had disappeared) I would refuse to acknowledge that I was hurt. I would apparently stand there with a defiant look on my face, my bottom lip trembling, but no tears would be shed. Their solution? They used to tell me to go and stand in the corner and be sad at which point I would dissolve in to sobs and cry myself in to hysteria.

Wow. I’ve never realised that story sounded weird until I just wrote it down.


This unwillingness to show emotion was brilliantly displayed when it came to saying goodbye to The Americans (yes I am still banging on about them). I’m horrendous at goodbyes and I have no idea why. Just dropping Fred and Lily back at Mum’s house makes me want to curl up in to a ball and howl. It’s the ultimate test for the part of my brain that doesn’t want me to show any feelings.

So I said goodbye on the train platform. Hugged them both. Did a comic run down the platform while they walked down the carriage to find their seats, followed by an impression of the Burger King (when I said I used humour as an avoidance technique I didn’t say it was a good). And then I promptly turned around and left. I could have stayed and waved them off but I know my limits. The emotion was desperate to make its escape. Mostly out of my eyes.

As I walked back through the station I was relieved that the train they were catching was at 7am so there weren’t many people around to see my squinty, red, watery eyes.

“Don’t show emotion in public. Don’t show emotion in public” My brain chanted.

“But I can’t hold it in!” Said my eyes.

I had to do something incredibly normal and mundane to stop this leaking.

So I went to Tescos.

(I recommend going to Tescos at 7am to get your shopping done, there’s really nobody there)
And amongst the washing powder I found myself calming down. “

“There now. Well done. You didn’t show emotion. You’re a winner” crowed my brain.

So I came home and started cleaning. I didn’t really know what else to do. And all was fine until I emptied the dishwasher and broke a plate.

Cue floodgates.

Every bit of emotion I had repressed came flooding out in mourning of the plate. It’s not even a nice plate, it’s a crappy plain white one I got from Asda when we first moved in together and didn’t have anything to eat off.

The rest of the day was marked by periodic bouts of crying. I cried when I got the last text message from them to say they were about to board the plane. “NO MORE TEXT MESSAGES!!!” My emotions cried out.

My brain tried to be rational. “It’s fine. You live in an electronic age. You have Facebook and e-mail and all kinds of wonders with which to stay in contact with them. It’s not like it used to be. It’s like they’re there in the room with you.”

“BUT THEY’RE NOT IN THE ROOM WITH ME!” The emotions wailed.

That’s the thing I realised during this last trip. Yeah it’s great that there’s all these methods of keeping in touch with people and saying hello and checking in and sharing things. But it’s rubbish once you’ve had the real life thing. It’s not that same as being in the same house and talking face to face. In fact it’s a poor substitute.

I tried to do some sums to figure out how long it would take me to save up to go over to American and see them again.

And I cried.

The boyfriend came home and asked me how I was.

And I cried.

And so on and so forth until every last bit of emotion was cried out of me.

And that would be why I make jokes rather than let my emotions show. It’s much less exhausting.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Back together again.

A trip to England by The Americans would never have been complete without a trip back to Manchester. How could we not, it’s where we first met!

When The Americans announced they were coming over, the crazily anal part of my brain kicked in to gear. I would ORGANISE them. There would be an itinerary. I would sort it all out.

And thus the Manchester Reunion was born.

We all lived together in graduate accommodation in Manchester and to be honest I think we all lucked out – we were all (fairly) normal and all got along and, most importantly, are all still in contact now. And though we are now spread around the UK I figured we could get everyone together for a bit of a knees up.

I was a little bit worried though. You know what it’s like when you haven’t seen people for 3 or 4 years – what if it’s painfully awkward? What if they’ve changed in to a complete weirdo? What if there’s just nothing to talk about now that you’re no longer scabby students? Still I was looking forward to it and was very excited that the plan was coming together. Everyone could come. The hotel was booked. Sorted.

And then.

One person couldn’t come because his work was flying him out to America.

Then someone else couldn’t come because...well....we never really figured it out (but were secretly not bothered because this person also happened to be the winner of the Worst Host of the Year award).

Was everything starting to fall apart?

Well no actually.

BUT in my brain. It was. You see the trouble with being a fanatic when it comes to organising and planning things is that when they start to go wrong your brain ceases to function. Or maybe that’s just what happens in my head. “THIS IS GOING TO BE THE WORST TRIP EVER” the brain repeated over and over in my head.

Add to that the fact that everybody was looking to me to tell them what we were going to do – what time were we meeting? Where were we going? What were we wearing? – and I was on course for a full scale meltdown. I didn’t want to be held responsible for the Worst Reunion of 2010 award!

Luckily for me, the people around me are normal human beings who pointed out that I was bordering on becoming a mental person.

I soon realised everything was alright once people had turned up (and you know what? I think the best people came anyway). And once we’d made our way through a bottle of vodka everything was looking much rosier. Funny that. We were ready to hit the town!

Now let me take a break and tell you about the snow in Manchester.

Epic is the word I would use to describe it. And we were there about a week after the skies had done their worst.

Have you ever tried pulling a wheelie suitcase through 14 foot of slushy snow? It’s not easy. (But is a good workout for your arms incidentally)

It wasn’t so much the snow as the ice. Which. Was. Everywhere. Now you’d think that Manchester being a prime shopping location they’d have gritted everything in sight?


They’d gritted up both sides of Market Street but not the middle so you were sorted if you wanted to only visit the shops on the left hand side, but trying to make your way across to the other side was like taking your life in to your own hands. There was no chance you were going to be able to look cool and retain your dignity. The most you could hope for is to not fall over and break something and hobble like some kind of demented hobbly thing.

You know what wouldn’t be a good idea?

Going out in high heels.

I’m not a particularly graceful person at the best of times if I’m being honest with you. Most of the time it’s a miracle that I can stay on my own two feet. So I’m not entirely sure what ran through my head when I decided “Sod it. I’ll take my heels. It’ll be alright.”

I’m not sure what posed more danger - actually walking on the ice and risking a broken ankle or wetting yourself laughing at what you must look like.

We revisited our old haunt The Oxford, the pub opposite the Halls of Residence we lived in and made our way to a very empty Deansgate Locks. I’ve never seen it so empty – bit of snow and everyone just stays indoors – ridiculous!

Fun was had. Alcohol was drunk. And we stumbled back to the hotel to put on Anchorman (the film that would define our time living together) and order about 12 pizzas too many. Thank heavens for late checkouts – we had plenty of time to return to normal on Sunday morning before making our way back to Hull and Lily and Fred and the boyfriend.

Nearly done recounting the tales – just one more post. And it’s a sad one. It’s all about saying goodbye...

Note: I cannot recommend the place we stayed enough. It’s called The City Warehouse Apartment Hotel and is pretty much slap bang in the centre of town. You rent out a whole apartment, the biggest can sleep 6 people – there are 2 double beds and a double bed-settee – all for the sum of £180 per night. A pricey option if there are only a couple of you but with 6 of us that worked out at £30 each which was amazing. There’s a TV and DVD player and stereo, fully equipped kitchen, iron, washing machine, you name it! It was basically like pretending you were a yuppy and living in the fancy pants city pad. If you have a big group and are heading up to Manchester then go there. (I booked through so I don’t know if that made a difference to the price, but I booked it way in advance – as if a planner like me would leave it to the last minute!)

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

When The Americans came....and it snowed.....and snowed.

Where to begin?
I really don’t have a clue. There are too many thoughts in my head and not enough words within my grasp to describe to you the fun and adventures we had with The Americans.
But I will give it a go.

They returned from Paris to a rather snowy and icy Hull. Discussions were had. Chilli was eaten. And we made plans to go to York the following day to meet one of our old flatmates, who was unable to attend the planned reunion in Manchester at the weekend.
Then Thursday happened. And the snow came. My phone binged from the old flatmate saying he wouldn’t be able to get to York because he was travelling from Edinburgh and the trains were either not running or running incredibly late. I looked out of the window at a sky that couldn’t make up its mind. One minute it was heavy and grey with snow, the next a lovely fresh blue. I knew that York was pretty snow-covered so we decided not to risk the drive there which unfortunately takes place down rubbishy back roads.

So what to do?

Hull has many things on offer but it was more than a little miserable and a walk into town would have meant risking life and limb as very few pavements seemed to have been gritted.

So we went to the cinema to see Avatar in 3-d instead.

I know, I know I can hear your cries of horror. WORST HOST EVER! Taking them to the cinema? They can go to the cinema anywhere! But it really was slim pickings people.
Avatar was surprisingly good. Not my kind of film at all I was dreading having to sit there for nearly 3 hours watching a film about blue people but it actually held my attention. Admittedly the plot is unbelievably obvious and the dialogue was liberally sprinkled with healthy doses of cheese, but something kept me sitting there and not looking at my watch. My backside was killing me at the end of it all though. And the 3-d was very clever. I didn’t really see the point but I have a feeling 3-d is the future (a feeling and the fact that that’s what people are saying). It just felt normal and watching films in boring old 2-d will be quite....well....boring.

After the Avatar experience we set off for an experience of a furrier kind.

A trip to meet the Fred...
...and the Lily.

Don’t worry I’m not so sad that I specifically took them to see the furry ones, we were actually picking them up because Mum was off to see my sister for the weekend. Introductions made and Fred and coaxed down from the top of the kitchen cupboards they were stuffed in their box and brought back to the flat.

The beasts released, and Fred ensconced under the bed, we left them and went to that fine purveyor of food – Wetherspoons. Hello? It was Thursday – curry night!! And the drinks are cheap. What more is required?!


Snow was required. And the skies obliged. We made our way home under a million flakes of snow and arriving at the gate I announced that we simply must make a snowman. I didn’t care that it was 11.30pm. A snowman was in order.

Suitably wrapped up we arrived outside and discovered that it had been so long since any of us had made a snowman we had forgotten how to. Well not all of us. American Boy knew what to do and soon we were rolling our snowballs up and down the path. Turns out making a snowman when you’re an adult is kind of tough. All that bending over and running up and down, backwards and forwards, it’s hard work. Especially when you’re full of curry and wine. We made a good attempt though and we plonked all the balls on top of each other. No carrots or coal to hand so we had to gouge a face out and Mr Tree kindly gave us some twigs for arms. We could have possibly made a little more effort with him and made him slightly more stable, he was leaning rather worryingly to one side, but the point was we had made him.

We decided that FRIDAY was the day for York. The day dawned pretty bright but not so early as we were all rather tired from our snowman building so we didn’t set off until the afternoon. Arriving in York we saw that they’d had some very impressive snowfall and whilst it’s pretty it didn’t make for easy walking up and down The Shambles.

We said hello to York Minster. We would have walked round it but it costs a rather ridiculous sum of money to do so. No thanks York Minster. Not when you can walk round St Paul’s Cathedral for free. And although it was slippy, the sun was out as you can see from this photo.

Unfortunately American Girl’s boots had given up the ghost. Un-used to actual boot-like weather (this one lives in Arizona, not much snow there) they had capitulated and decided to fall apart, letting the lovely icy weather in to a pair of very frozen feet.

To a boot shop!

I’m pretty sure we visited every shop that sold boots in York. There were points we felt like giving up.

But onwards we marched (through the slush) until Baratts came up trumps with a pair in the sale.

Darkness was falling by this point and without the blue sky to give us the illusion of warmth we decided to head to Betty’s for a warming cup of tea. We had to take them to something touristy! American Girl had a cream tea and I had a spiced hot chocolate which I waded my through until molten cocoa was flowing through my veins.
We enjoyed the calm, fancy surroundings until a woman managed to set fire to the newspaper she was reading on the lovely little tealight on her table. What was better was that she didn’t actually realise she’d done it until the rather helpful man on the next table leaned over to tell her by which point the flames were about a foot high. How can you not realise your paper’s on fire?!

By this point the snow was coming down pretty hard and fast so we made our escape back to Hull.

Very slowly.

At 30mph to be exact.

And we arrived back in Hull to find that the apocalypse had occurred. Everything was white. Everything. About 3 inches seemed to have fallen since we’d left a few hours before.

I have since been filled in and it turns out that about half an hour after we left to go to York, Hull was visited by the most ferocious blizzard anyone had ever seen. My building was closed at 4pm as everyone left to try and make their way home.

Whilst we boot shopped and sat about sipping tea.

I will leave it there as I can sense your attention is waning. WAKE UP!

We went to Manchester the next day. And we thought we’d seen snow...

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

The Girl is back....with an award!

And so I'm back, from outta space, I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face....

I feel like I'm stealing someone else's words.
Very early this morning a very folorn Girl waved The Americans goodbye as they got on a train to travel down to London to catch their flight home. I can't believe it's all over. It only seems like yesterday that I started boring you all with The Countdown and making plans for them coming here.

I could have gone in to work today but I made the smart decision and booked today off as holiday too. I knew I'd be in no mood to do work today. Although maybe I could have done with the distraction.
There's only one thing I could turn to when I felt this sad...

The hoover.

And various other cleaning products.

I now have a glistening flat (not that they made it horrendously filthy I would like to add!) but still have the blues.

So I knew what I had to write about today. Not what we've done over the past week or so, there'll be posts for that in the next few days. I need to write about something happy and uplifting and it just so happens I had just the thing hanging about in my drafts. I wrote this just before The Americans came back from their travels in Paris and didn't have time to post it before now so now is its time to shine!

Sometimes my intense nosiness tends to get me in trouble.
Not this time.

When I said I’d be catching up with all you guys, I meant I’d be catching up with all you guys. As in, reading every single post I’d missed over Christmas and new year. No reading the latest post for this girl, I went back to Christmas Eve and did not finish until every word had been read.

And I’m incredibly glad I did.

Because if I hadn’t I’d have missed something which would make me very VERY happy indeed.
For I was tagged in an award by miss H. Hurrah!!

(cue dancing on the spot and clapping of hands)

So apparently I have to list 10 things that make me happy. This is harder than it looks. Did I go for silly little things? Was I going to sound too materialistic? Should I go for deep, earth shattering, profound pieces of information? I decided that the best course of action would be to just be me. And the fact is that there are some very silly things that make me happy. I went for things that give me that warm little glow inside, in fact the things that make me want to dance on the spot and clap my hands.

SO. HERE WE GO. (Please note these are not in order. I was going to try and rank them but quite frankly they all make me happy in different but equally pleasurable ways.)

1. Fred and Lily – Obviously they have to be in here. How can they not make you happy? Look at that picture! If it doesn’t make you smile just a tiny little bit then you seriously need to see someone because you have mental problems. Even though they’re technically not mine, I couldn’t love my own cat more. (Is it getting creepy that I’m talking about them as if they’re children?) And although at 4am, when Fred is licking my face and wanting me to get up, and I admit I want to throw him against a wall, I remember that he’s only doing it because he loves me (and not purely because he just wants someone, anyone, to get up and feed him) and how can that not make you happy?

2. Cross stitch – sad but true. It relaxes me. I like the process of slowly seeing a picture come to life before your eyes. I like making something that’s personal to somebody and of course it’s great to see them touched that you’ve spent time over something for them.

3. Crisps – I just love them. In every shape and size. And that salty, crispy goodness just makes me feel....HAPPY! I can’t get enough of them. Monster Munch, Doritos, Pringles, Sensations, Tyrells, bog standard Walkers, Skips, Discos, Squares. I. Love. Them. All. I like the crunch of them, I like licking the salt from my fingers and when I get to the end of the packet I’m genuinely disappointed. I couldn’t not include them on this list.

(And to prove how much I love them I have taken this photo of what delights are currently in the kitchen cupboard. Shortly after this photo was taken the Roast Beef Monster Munch disappeared.)

4. My camera – I get stick for having it with me all the time but I ignore these people. Because these are the people that text me before a night out and say “Have you got your camera?” I am the official documenter of all nights out, if it wasn’t for me nobody would have a record of the fact that they have friends and have been places. And yes I may be annoying and shove my camera in your face at every opportunity but really, don’t you want to remember that one time when you were waiting for that bus in Manchester? I think so!

5. Marmite – Hello, didn’t you see what I bought in London? Much the same as crisps, it’s all about the salty goodness. I have Marmite pretty much every single day and have been known to actually feel a little panicky when I’ve opened the cupboard door to find that there’s none there. I eat it with a spoon. None of this spreading a thin layer, I lay it on my toast like jam. I have it in pancakes on Shrove Tuesday – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! I have it with bacon. I have it with cheese. I would have it on a crisp if I thought that it was in any way socially acceptable (also you’d need a pretty sturdy crisp to dip into Marmite, it’s tough stuff). AND it’s rammed full of B vitamins. Those are vitamins that actually make you happy. Obviously it should be on here.

6. E-mails from friends – I get so many rubbish e-mails – the junk that pours through my inbox is insane, adverts for penis extensions and Viagra, pleas for help from someone in Nigeria who wants to put £8 million in my bank account, the latest herbal supplement that will help me lose weight. The list is endless. So when I get an e-mail from a real life person then that makes me insanely happy. E-mails that make me particularly happy are ones from American Girl because that’s the main way we keep in contact. I see those and get myself settled in with a cup of tea to read what’s been going on in her life. Another friend of mine recently started e-mailing me at work too – those e-mails are brilliant. I see that I’ve got an e-mail and my heart initially sinks because work e-mails are usually rubbish and then when I see it’s from her I do a little hand clap (inside my head obviously) and read what she has to say. Usually something stupid like “How’s your day going?” but it can make all the difference to an otherwise dull day.

7. Books – Where would I be and what would I do without my books? I can’t imagine being without one. In fact I very rarely am because there’s always one in my bag. I’ve waxed lyrical about this before I believe so I won’t bore you again. But I love them. I love them in all shapes and sizes. Paperback, hardback, fiction, biography, I. Don’t. care. If it has words in it I’ll read it.

And this is what I have on the go at the moment...

8. The boyfriend – I couldn’t really leave him out could I?! Seeing as without him there wouldn’t be a blog (even if it ended up not really being about him) I think he deserves a place on the list. Don’t worry I’m not going to start gushing about how perfect he is, he isn’t – especially at the moment because he gave up cigarettes for New Year and is not a particularly wonderful person to be around at the moment – but I can’t deny he makes me happy!

9. Coming home – A year ago I was starting to think that I was never going to get out of my Mum’s house (I actually think she was starting to think the same). It was getting depressing – it’s not fun to spread your wings and fly off to uni only to have them clipped the second you come down to earth. Mum and I get on great but I was 25 and desperate for my own space. Now that I have it it’s the best thing on earth. And I know that technically it’s not ours, it belongs to Mr Landlord, but it’s home to me and there’s nothing better than coming home from work or coming home from a trip or just coming home from the shops and knowing that when I get in I can do whatever I want and just relax.

10. Blogging – OBVIOUSLY! I do enjoy the bloggagement. Can’t get enough of it. If I could I would write all day about the boring minutiae of my life and post it up here for complete strangers to read and then go and read about other people’s lives and comment on them. I like that this is my thing and mine alone. I like having this space to say whatever I want to say. But more than anything it makes me very happy to have my ‘bloggy friends’ who actually read and comment on the often ridiculously boring stories of my life. In fact when I get a comment on one of my posts I go sky high – a combination of Happy Fact Number 10 and Happy Fact Number 6!
So there we go.

I’m happied out.

And now to pass the happiness on to some other people:

1. Curious Cat at The Curious Cat
2. Petit Filoux at Petit Filoux
3. Pink Cat at Pink Cat, Custard & Cake
4. Trish at Schemmelhos
5. Susie at Itch2stitch
6. Diane at Heartshaped
7. Flicka at Flitterbee
8. Hayley at Ceriselle
9. Lucey at Lemonade Kitty

So there you have it! Go go go!!! Make your happy lists!

And in the meantime you'll have to bear with me (again) whilst I catch up on your blogs.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

It's been an eventful 10 years...

Reading and catching up with people’s blogs it seems that lots of people have done a review of the past decade and not wanting to be left out I thought I would sit and have a little think about what has happened to me in the past 10 years.

I shouldn’t really be surprised that a lot has happened, I mean 10 years is a pretty significant time period, but when I looked back I couldn’t really believe it. Maybe it’s because it seems to have gone by so quickly. It really doesn’t seem that long ago that I was 16, excitedly waiting for the new millennium to start.

If you’d told me then that 10 years later I would see in the new decade in London with the man I was living with and 2 Americans that I met while I was at university getting a Masters degree I really don’t think I’d have believed you.

So what happened in this girl’s life over the past 10 years?


- Gained 4 A-levels, became a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Science (how I have no idea)
- Dealt with my parent’s separation and began to rebuild my relationship with my Dad, who I didn’t speak to for a few years
- Gained a sister-in-law and a new nephew but lost a grandma
- Fell in and out of love, probably more times than was necessary, and had my heart broken
- Fell in love again and began living with a boyfriend for the very first time
- Made lots of friends and left some friends by the wayside
- Got punched in the face, leaving me with a teeny scar which makes me look like I once had my eyebrow pierced
- Lost 3 cats but gained the awesome Fred and Lily
- Lived in Manchester, Salford, Belfast and Hull
- Visited new places in the form of holidays to Dublin, Prague and new part of France
- Learned that cross stitch and baking aren’t too scary
- Got 3 tattoos and had my tongue pierced
- Confronted a man that had broken in to my Mum’s house. Naked. With a quilt wrapped round me.
- Finally grew boobs. Much to my elation. And they haven’t stopped growing since.
- Learned the hard way about the dangers of credit cards and the nastiness of debt collection agencies
- Was a bridesmaid twice
- Did the same reading at 2 separate weddings (note to self, do not choose St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians if you ever get married, people will have heard it approximately 12,000 times before)
- Saw a close friend become a wife and mother and recognised (and have almost accepted) the changes that come with those things
- Worked as a waitress in a coffee shop, a research assistant for a professor, a shop assistant in Primark, House of Fraser and Holland & Barratt, as a temp, a receptionist and in my current job.
- Travelled to America for the first time. School skiing trip at Sunday River in Maine.
- Travelled to America for the second time. Phoenix and Las Vegas.
- Went to my first strip club and had a lap dance (this would be connected to the second trip to America)
- Said goodbye to my childhood home. Begrudgingly. And I still curse them for WRECKING it any time I drive past it. Who takes out an original stained glass front door?! Morons.
- Started and abandoned two blogs before starting again, finally getting it right this time and making bloggy friends.

Hopefully I’ve come out of the past decade a little bit wiser than I was. I would hope so because I’m certainly older! I mean if I can fit all that in to a decade then I can certainly handle whatever 2010 has to throw at me.

Bring it 2010. I am ready.

(Please note this list is not in chronological order – I wrote them down as they came to me!)


And on another note. I'm taking another wee bloggy break!

The Americans are back from Paris and on their way to Hull as I type so I will be leaving you alone until Tuesday 12th, next week.

Please don't leave me forever, I'll be back, I promise!


Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Tales from the Tube

Ok. I know I said no more posts about London but I swear this one will be funny.

Now I’ve put too much pressure on myself.

It’ll be mildly amusing.

Having previously been scared senseless by the Tube, I thought that I was starting to get the hang of it in October, when I went down to see my friend.

However after this trip I feel I’m even better and think I should upgrade myself from Tube Champion to Tube Master. Admittedly it takes me slightly longer than most to figure out exactly where it is I’m going but the point is I can figure it out and I no longer want to cry at the prospect of doing so.

Whilst revelling in my newfound Tube status a couple of funny things happened:

Tube Incident Number 1: Late in the night we were making our way back to our destinations when the tube stopped at a station. There was a family of 3 on the platform – Mum, Dad and daughter. Dad and daughter go to get on the train but the Mum is furiously rummaging in her handbag for something, god only knows what, so Dad and daughter get back on the platform. Mum suddenly finds whatever it is she’s been digging around for so frantically and leaps on to the tube.

Just in time for the doors to close behind her, leaving dad and daughter on the platform.

There was absolute silence. You could hear the wind whistling through my wide open mouth.
Then we realised that the poor woman wasn’t English and her daughter and husband tried to communicate through the glass where it was she should go.

Then the unthinkable happened.

The tube driver opened the doors to let them on.

My mouth dropped a further few inches.

Our London hosts couldn’t believe it, saying they’d never seen a driver do that before.

Lesson learned: Tubes come along quickly, if you hear the beeping, do not choose that moment to try and get on the train. Also. Don’t lose things in your handbag.

Tube Incident Number 2: New Year’s Eve and we were going back home, laden down with booze, to begin the party. We get on at Embankment (by the way, people were already lining the bridges to watch the fireworks go off at midnight. This was 5pm. Are people mental?! It was freezing!!! You can watch them on BBC1!!) and the train is pretty crowded so we shuffle along and find ourselves uncomfortably close to one another.

It was about to get more uncomfortable.

“Sorry” I hear someone next to me say. I turn around, thinking someone’s trying to get past me or I’m stood on my foot or something.

Instead I see a man who is reaching forward towards me and then picks some lint off my jacket. Which also happens to be my chest.

Now I am not familiar with tube etiquette and wasn’t quite sure how to respond so I said...
“Thank you”

What else could I say?!

And then stared very hard at the floor so that I a) wouldn’t laugh and b) wouldn’t start screaming. For someone who’s not a big fan of touching other people, I like my personal space, this was pretty much the worst thing that could happen. Actually the worst thing that could have happened is if he’d hugged me and quite honestly I’m not sure that he wasn’t thinking about it.

We all stood in silence for the next few stops until Lint Man got off the tube at which point American Boy turns to me and says “Is that ok that he just did that?”

“NOOOOOOO!” Came my cry.

Everybody found the whole situation incredibly hilarious and we had soon concocted stories about him travelling the tubes, collecting lint off women and taking it home to fashion a woman made entirely of lint and fluff. My laughter was bordering on hysteria.

Lesson learned: Mental people ride on Tubes. Get nerves of steel next time you visit.

Now I swear and triple swear that this is the last of the London trip posts.

(PS. Remember me saying that I liked Parsons Green and it would be lovely to live there? Well clearly I can’t afford to, but it’s always worth keeping your eyes and ears open because you could end up in the same situation as the person the Americans were staying with. He shares the house with 4 other people and it turns out that his landlord hasn’t changed the rent in about 15 years for some unfathomable reason, so he is paying......wait for it....£380.

I’ll give you some time to pick up your jaw from the table.

Now I know it’s just a double room in a shared house but I think I could put up with it for that kind of rent!)

Monday, 4 January 2010

Having fun in London town - Part 3 - The purchases!

I promise we’re almost at the end. I could probably bore you for a whole month of Sundays about my trip to London but I promise that it is now pretty much at an end.

The theme of today’s post is less words, more pictures, you’ll probably be relieved to hear.
So I present to you The Purchases!

I spotted a couple of little independent bookshops on our travels and there was no way I was going to pass by them without walking in and buying something. Much as I love Waterstones and all other book chains, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t, I love love love independent book shops and think it’s so important to support them and keep them in business by buying a little something from each one.

I always find something just a little bit different in these shops. There are no tables of 3 for 2 offers which are screaming at you to buy them, you are more free to wander aimlessly up and down, looking at the shelves for yourself and it is then that certain things jump out at you and grab your attention.

At Gloucester Road Bookshop (couldn’t tell you the name of the street but it’s about a 3 minute walk from Gloucester Road tube station) I came away with a hardback copy of On Green Dolphin Street by Sebastian Faulks. A great book that I have read but it was a borrowed copy so I am very pleased to have my own copy, and for a mere £3! I also snatched this tidgy copy of Lark Rise to Candleford. Couldn’t even tell you why I bought it. Just liked it a lot. Who knows when I’ll read it!
And at Nomad Bookshop in Parson’s Green (I think it was on Fulham Road but don’t hold me to it!) I came away with The Boy With The Cuckoo Clock Heart which sounds very fairytale-like – a story of a boy who has his heart replaced with a cuckoo clock and who mustn’t lose his temper for fear of setting it off. Apparently it’s written by a French popstar, which is, well, just bizarre. But I’m pleased I found it either way.

At the Tate Modern (everyone knows the best part of any museum is the gift shop) I picked up this little children’s book. “Who’s it for?” I hear you ask. I just wanted it ok?!

Also at the Tate Modern I got this which provided us with much amusement. I have 2 others in the series which are instructions for British servicemen in France and Germany in 1944. There are reproductions of actual pamphlets given to soldiers in the Second World War to help them assimilate in their host countries. You know what though? The American one is still relevant today – we really haven’t changed that much as a nation. I suggest copies of this are given to passengers on every flight from America to England.

It contains gems such as....

"Don't be a show off. The British dislike bragging and showing off..."

"Keep out of arguments. You can rub a Britisher the wrong way by telling him "we came over and won the last one." Each nation did its share..."

"The British don't know how to make a good cup of coffee. You don't know how to make a good cup of tea. It's an even swap."

And I know that you’re all dying to find out what I bought at the Marmite shop. Come on, admit it. You are. As I said in this post, I went a little overboard because the prices of everything had been slashed in an attempt to clear the stock before the shop closed down. So I came away with...

I know.

I wasn’t joking when I said I went overboard.

Pictured here you will find:
- 2 t-shirts
- The big bumper book of Marmite (which is hilarious by the way, they must have had such a giggle putting it together)
- 4 coasters
- 3 tea towels
- An oven glove
- A postcard in a frame

And not pictured is a big tote with a marmite jar on it. I’d got to the till and he rang the purchases up and said that they had the tote on offer for £5 when it was normally £15 and would I be interested? At that point I really felt that I’d gone so far, I might as well carry on so all my purchases went in that.

I am currently working on spreading all these things throughout the flat because I think there’s definitely a chance that there’s a bit of Marmite overkill going on.

And here ends the London posts. (You’ll be glad to hear.)

I think I did pretty well with my purchases, I tried to get things that I can’t get in Hull, nothing worse than coming home with a load of stuff you could have bought anywhere. (I think the Marmite products can definitely come under that heading!)


What the hell am I going to blog about for the rest of the year?!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Having fun in London Town - Part 2 - New Years Eve

Having now pretty much caught up on all your blogs (still a few more to go!) I think I share the same sentiment as a few of year's eve kinda tends to suck.

I guess it's the hype. It happens all the time, the night's that you really look forward to end up being pretty disappointing, it's always the spur of the moment ones that end up being the greatest.

I can think of one really good new years's night that I've had, which is more than a little bit lame I realise. Last year the boyfriend and I didn't bother at all and when the opportunity arose to have a house to ourselves we decided to have a quiet night in.

I was hoping that this year would be pretty special, we would be in London, the Americans would be there, I was expecting big things. And there was talk of parties galore so I was a little disappointed at first when it was decided that we'd be having a party in with just 6 people - me, the boyfriend, The Americans, and the Americans host and girlfriend.

But then I figured, I've been that let down by new year's eve in the past that this couldn't be any worse could it?

It was excellent.

The boyfriend and I were freed from our host...

HOW TO BE A GOOD HOST LESSON NUMBER 3: Offer your guests food and water. Occasionally. And give them toilet paper.

...And came to stay with The Americans' host so we no longer had to worry about getting home.

We somehow ended up getting enough wine for twice as many people as were there which we soon made a start on and, accompanied by nibbles and music, we got down to business. Many topics were covered, including politics, sex and Facebook.

Then twister came out.

You can't play twister when you're an adult, your body just doesn't bend in the right way. Or in my case, any way. Either way it provided many laughs until, with midnight approaching, we turned on Jools Holland, mandatory new year's eve viewing.

We celebrated the new year with champagne and sitting out on the teeny balcony, yelling happy new year at people as they walked past.

And then.

It started to snow.

And still we sat out there.

Yelling and whooping.

Then things took a slightly mental turn when we went back inside and started dancing like mental people to the rest of Jools Holland and then Daft Punk. We learnt dance moves to wow people in the future, broke 2 glasses, knocked the lampshade off the main light, went to a damsel in distress who was abandonned after having an argument with her boyfriend (some people didn't have that much of a happy new year), went out for a new year kebab and then took ourselves to bed at 4am.

All in all. A job well done.

The boyfriend and I rose at 11am and made our bleary-eyed way to Kings Cross and crawled onto a train back to Hull.

And I started recounting all of this to you. Bored yet?

Just the one more post and it will be short and sweet and I'll show you what I bought at the Marmite shop...

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Having fun in London Town - Part 1

Happy 2010 fellow bloggers!! Hope the new year is treating you well so far. I am slowly getting round to catching up with all your blogs. I just might need another couple of days so bear with me please?
I'm back in Hull now, having gone down to London to meet The Americans and spend new year down there. They are still in London, where they will remain until Monday when they toddle off to Paris for a couple of days before coming up north to sample the delights Hull has to offer.

Which rather conveniently leaves me with time to tell you about what we got up to down in the Big Smoke!

I promise I'll try and keep this as brief as possible although there's just too much to tell you. Let me know if I'm getting boring!

The Americans were staying with a friend down in London which left the boyfriend and I trying not to shell out for a hotel and asking if anyone had room to put us up. I asked someone that I used to live with in Manchester if he could put us up.

LIFE LESSON NUMBER 1: If it seems like someone doesn't really want to have to round to stay at their place chances are....they don't want you to stay at their place. Do. not. go.
The boyfriend and I arrived in London on 29th December and made our way to Heathrow to meet The Americans. I barged my way to the bar and waited. And waited. And. Waited. I waited so long I'd almost given up hope. Then the boyfriend tapped me on the shoulder,

"Isn't that them?"


"Over there"

"Where? I can't see?!"

"Over there"

At which point I saw them and went running like a lunatic across Terminal 5 arrivals hall. God even knows what I looked like. THEY WERE HERE!

We followed them to Parsons Green, where they were staying, and ended up staying there having fun, drinking, talking and eating. I then figured we should get back to where we were staying in the rather swanky Kensington & Chelsea borough. Seriously. Those houses. Unbelievable.

HOW TO BE A GOOD HOST LESSON NUMBER 1: Do not have a massive party in the living room where your guests are supposed to be sleeping. Or at least give them some warning that that's going to happen. They probably want to go to bed before 2.30am.

Things got off to a slow start the first full day in The City. A combination of jet lag and the fact that it was constantly raining meant that no-one was really in the mood to get going. Eventually we ventured out to the Tate Modern. We ventured inside The Big Black Box Installation by Miroslaw Balka which was very big and very black. And I did indeed crash into a wall. It's a very disorienting space. The rest of it? I've got to say, I'm not a big 'arty' person and a lot of modern art I just can't get my head around, it leaves me a little cold.
We then took a little hop, skip and jump across the Millennium Bridge to St Paul's Cathedral. You know what? I've never been there before, and I was more than a little over-awed. There was a service going on when we got in there and the singing was beautiful although this unfortunately meant that we couldn't see a lot of it. It's definitely going on the list for next time I'm back down there.

HOW TO BE A GOOD HOST, LESSON NUMBER 2: Actually be in when your guests come home in the evening so they can get in your flat.

New Year's Eve saw us take a wander through Parsons Green. Lovely place, want to live there please. We also looked for places to cash traveller's cheques for The Americans.

LIFE LESSON NUMBER 2: You need your passport when trying to cash travellers cheques. Small Post Offices can't do it. HSBC can't do it. Barclays can do it but will charge you commission, you need to try and find a Lloyds TSB. Or. Find an American Express place which will allow you to cash them without your passport.

We then took a visit to the Marmite Shop. A friend had told me about this when she had been down to London and it was the only thing I wanted to do on this trip. All we knew is that it was somewhere down Regent Street so with eyes peeled we set off. Just when hope was failing, I spotted it! And even better news was to come. Turns out it was a pop-up shop that was just there for a limited time and New Years Eve was its last day. AND. Consequently everything was slashed in price as they were trying to get rid of it all. I was in heaven. And may have gone slightly overboard in there.


And I shall stop boring you there.
More tomorrow! (You lucky, lucky things)