February Verbs

What a month!  I’ve been so bogged down by assignments I’ve barely had a moment to check my emails let alone blog!  How are we all?  This month I’ve mainly been working, but my load has freed up a bit now so I can sit down with a cuppa and say ‘Ahhh’.  Here’s what I’ve been up to this month:

Watching: Jonathan Creek

Or J Creek as I’ve affectionately nicknamed it.  This utter beauty appeared to me on Netflix in a moment of pure genius, and I haven’t looked back.  I’ve watched every episode since 1997, and am almost squealing with excitement at the return to our screens tomorrow night (FYI BBC1 at 9pm, Friday 28th February 2014).  Alan Davies makes me all giddy, I love the format, it makes me giggle and it’s so ridiculous it’s just excellent.

J Creek

J Creek

Reading: Ideal Home Magazine

I’m in the process of collecting different colours and patterns to create a decopauge of a very plain and boring wooden mirror.  So instead of cutting up my monthly mag and popping it into my scrapbook, the vast array of wallpaper samples, paints and cushion covers will be appearing via decopauge on my new mirror.  I’ll let you see the outcome soon!

Ideal Home Magazine

Ideal Home Magazine

Listening To: Clean Bandit

Everyone’s heard ‘Rather Be’, but not everyone has heard their full Spotify set list.  Well I encourage you to, now!  It’s no secret I love a bit of classical music, and this album combines classical with the electronic genre to create something quite wonderful.  Most definitely worth a listen.

Clean Bandit

Clean Bandit

Wearing on my body: New Henry Holland coat

I bought my new Henry Holland beauty in the Debenhams sale and absolutely love it!  It’s the perfect coat to see me through this in between weather, when it’s too warm for a winter coat, but too cold for a jacket.  I love the different detailing and its waist clinching abilities work well for my figure.

Henry Holland at Debenhams Coat

Henry Holland at Debenhams Coat

Wearing on my face: Estee Lauder Mascara

I got this mascara as part of my Boxing Day present (an amazing box of Estee Lauder make up goodies).  It’s taken me a few months to get used to it because it’s so different to any other mascara I’ve used.  The wand is much larger than average meaning it can form clumps quicker and faster, which you have to work through with the wand.  Meaning it’s a bit of extra faf, but the finished result is amazing with long, clean and separated lashes.

Estee Lauder Mascara

Estee Lauder Mascara

Eating: Soup

I first received a ‘Soup’ recipe book for my birthday last year, but its only in the last few months I’ve really got into it.  I make it fresh with stock and any veg I’ve got, buy it fresh from the supermarket, or have tins at least once a day, every day.  Whilst some people hate pureed food, I find soup is tasty, eases digestion and is a great healthy and filling meal, perfect for lunch time.

The Soup Book

The Soup Book

Drinking: Wine

After my January stint, my favourite poison of white wine has reappeared as a firm favourite in the liquid stakes.  I’ve had some glorious ladies lunches with white wine, some beautiful food or a quiet evening in.  The perfect accompaniment to my February!

White Wine

White Wine

What have you been doing this February?

 

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Confessions of a Gym Convert

I’m sitting on the sofa, with a glass of vino and a magazine whilst boyfriend ogles at football.  All of a sudden this crazy thought runs through my head .. ‘I’d rather be at the gym.’  Shocker.  Those of you who know me well, will know that my idea of exercise is my weekly dance class (swiftly followed by a four pack of Red Stripe), busting a move past midnight or walking to and from the kitchen for a cuppa.

Since I’ve moved back to the ole’ hometown, I’ve been greeted by my fitness fanatic besties whose daily chants of ‘Join the gym’ and ‘Oh it will be SO much fun when we can go to the gym together’ got me quite mad.  So mad, I got a lift to the gym, got a tour, induction and handed over my direct debit details quite simply to shut them up.  But by golly did that one backfire.

In first year I joined the gym at University.  I went twice.  TWICE.  And one of those times I got so frightened because I didn’t know where the changing rooms were I spent the whole 45 minutes on a treadmill in a t-shirt and jeans.  Nightmare.  I frolicked by the next two years of Uni dancing thrice weekly, dancing the night away fourice (not a word really, is it?) weekly and hoping that was that in the ‘Health and Fitness’ department.

But something has happened since I’ve come home.  I’ve grown up (gosh, but that’s for a WHOLE other blog) and started taking this whole health thing a bit more seriously.

I find exercising dull.  I do!  Really, really dull.  Dancing, fine, great, y’all know that’s a hefty passion of mine but anything else?  Flipping boring to be honest.  Or so I thought.  The gym I attend has these fabulous machines with a TV on them, a fantastic circuits machine that hiss water pressure at you, these amazing swing things that look like they belong in a bondage bedroom and wait for it .. a climbing wall.  I walked in, and quite literally, excitement overload.  I had no idea what any of these things were and like a kid in a candy shop, felt ever so excited to give it all a go.  And day by day, week by week, that’s exactly what I did.

I always thought people that went to the gym were right idiots.  I mean, if you want to go on a treadmill, go on a flipping run!  If you want to lift weights, I’ve got two cans of baked beans you can borrow.  I thought that if I walked in in frayed tracksuit bottoms and a ‘Graduate 2013’ t-shirt I’d get the ‘you shouldn’t be here’ looks, like when I order a large glass of Pinot at 10.55am (it’s 5.55pm somewhere).  But there isn’t any of that.  If anything, people look at you with respect, silently applauding, ‘well done you’ looks.  It feels good.

For about two months now I’ve been experimenting with all the bits and bobs and every day I find something new.  Today, I even went on a SKIING machine, can you believe that?!  My bum feels fabulous.  From ‘gym’ being a dirty word, it’s become a word of excitement, of enjoyment.  It’s something I look forward to, a break from an essay, an evening out with my friends, or just an hour of Bella time.  I’m not on any crazy mission to lose weight, or even tone up.  I just feel good after exercise.  I feel good after finding a new machine or finding a new muscle in my body I didn’t know existed.  Going to the gym feels good!  So, I’ve somehow transformed from a girl who ate pizza 5 nights a week, to a woman who respects her body and her health, and my good old friend the gym has helped me do that.  My advice?  Find a FUN gym!  One with sex swings, trampolines and climbing walls.  You never know what else will come with it. 

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Still True

How We Make It Work

Now, I know I’m no expert.  I haven’t been married for thirty years and I don’t have any children and I certainly don’t have any kind of ring on any kind of finger.  But I like to think the boyfriend and I make it work.  As were approaching the 18 month mark I can see all those people from Halls who thought it was never going to work and I want to throw my head back and chortle.  Cause you know what, it has worked and fingers crossed, it will continue to work for a very long time.  Here’s how.

1) Date Night.  Now whether this comes in the form of an afternoon gobbling pizza in front of Shrek or a romantic table for two in a posh restaurant, date night is stupidly important to make a relationship work.  Despite the fact that man and I do the same course, we’re forever running here, there and everyone with me rushing off to dance or to present a radio show or him to rugby and the pub, so believe it or not, we don’t get to spend that much quality time together.  Note the buzz word there, quality.  Yes he can be in my room all day but that will be it.  I’ll be working, reading journals, writing notes and organising my life whilst he’s doing the same (or playing on Football Manager), so I don’t really notice him.  He’s just a comforting presence in the corner.  Date Night gives us time to exhale and say ‘How are you?’ and really want to know the answer.

2)  The Best Friend Role.  Now, I’m a sucker for a cliché, I always have been and I certainly hope I always will be.  It makes life much more dreamy and romantic.  The boyfriend is my best friend, my best best friend, and I would actually be lost without him.  Not in a lovey dovey way, but in the way I wouldn’t have anyone to play computer games with, play Simon Says on rainy afternoons, run around the room tickling or have impromptu midnight feasts with.  Well I would, just not in the same way.  Another buzz word there, play.  Playing brings about feelings of youth, happiness and laughter.  Relationships don’t have to be boring and serious.  They can be fun, so so much fun.  Just enjoy being with your best friend.

3)  Don’t Get Comfortable.  I may not have chosen the correct words there.  When I say ‘Don’t Get Comfortable’, I mean don’t settle for less than what you deserve.  As Samantha from SATC so notoriously says in her break up ‘I’ve been in a relationship with me for 50 years, and that’s the one I need to work on’.  If myself or boyfriend are unhappy about a comment or an action, we won’t let it fester and bottle it up, we will sit down and talk about it, work it out.  We push the boundaries of discussion, debate and sometimes argument, so we know that we are both being the best we can be for both ourselves, and for each other.  Because let’s face it, if there comes the time that the other person isn’t the best thing for you anymore, then it might be time for a rethink.

4)  You Time.  Now this can be a tricky one.  If you’re exhausted and just want to cuddle up and the boyfriend says ‘Sorry I’m going out with the boys’, it can be a little down heartening.  But it’s so so important.  There have been many a night when he’s rung up and wanted to pop by and I’ve said, no, sorry, I’m downing wine and watching SATC.  Whether it’s with your boys, your girls, your housemates or your family, time with you and your friends is incredibly precious.  Because if it all goes belly up, who will be there?    I blow boyfriend off for Bella time all the time.  ‘What are we doing now then?’ he’ll often say.  And I’ll say ‘I don’t know about you but I’m buying myself a magazine and a coffee and sitting on that bench for an hour’.  For me, you time is crucial to not only a relationship, but also general wellbeing.

Just a few tips.  Yes I’m loved up, and I love it.  And what?

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