Last supper.

OK, so it’s actually not. And a bit of a disclaimer; I’ve had wine. A few glasses. So apologies if this doesn’t make much sense; I’ll keep it brief.

Alex made tea. Lamb shanks. With veg (green stuff Donna. Well, green and yellow stuff actually).

It’s not our last meal together though, that’s likely to be later this week, unless one of us is out. But, it was a fab meal, we’re both at home (a phenomenon in itself) and we had all evening. So we drank wine, ate and chatted. About the future, the past and life. About London, and my travelling. About dreams, hopes and relationships.

The last 3 months that I’ve shared a flat with Alex has gone so quick. We haven’t done Hangover Saturday or Cake Day. Both of these things I was sure we’d do. Oh well. Maybe some day we will.

I will miss him. My little wife who makes me cups of tea, food and is there with advice and a hug when I need it. Who would have thought here’s where we would be when you had gammy eyes, was bored and came to cook me tea in November 2011 eh Alex?

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Leaving. Soon.

So leaving doo number 1 was last Saturday. I’m only just blogging about it now because I’m *just* about recovered. Yep, I had a bit to drink. Had to be done. Didn’t really think my hangover would last for two days though.

It was worth it though. Just. It was a most awesome night. I saw loads of my lovely mates who had all come out to bid me farewell, thank you, you wicked bunch of people that I’ve collected along the years. All different, all special. They say people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Some stay, some go. There was a mix of people there on Saturday. People I see most days, people I used to work with, people I currently work with, my best friends, school friends and people I’ve not seen for years. I am truly chuffed that I can call you all my friends.

Even though it’s the last time I’ll see most of them before I go, I didn’t feel sad. I guess it’s because to be in touch with someone nowadays doesn’t necessarily mean having to see them. The wonderful invention of the internet means that I can be in touch with you all throughout my year away. Just not in the flesh. I’ll be in the computer. It was probably also helped by copious amounts of alcohol and having a happy night.

Whether I’ll carry on feeling like this, I don’t know. I know there’s a couple of people I’ll miss seeing in person. I already miss one person and I’ve not even gone yet. I’ll just try to remember: don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

It was great catching up with a couple of people that I’ve not seen for quite a few years too. My old buddy Tara (we were the two T’s back as teenagers) who I’ve not seen since we were 18, and Vic who I went to school with who I’ve only seen a few times over the last few years. It was SO good to see them. Just a shame I won’t get to see them properly for another year now. When I get back ladies we will have that proper catch up 🙂

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Jackpot.

My brother and sister-in-law’s wedding month is now over, ending with their wedding reception in Woodhall Spa last night. Was très fun; a few drinks, bit of gambling, a bit of a boogie, jager shots and a potentially interesting situation in a toilet.

So, a huge congratulations to the new Mr and Mrs Papworth; may you have a long and happy life together filled with lots of love, happiness, smiles and fun. Laugh lots and often, and don’t sweat the small stuff. Pick your battles and always respect each other. Oh, and don’t forget sexy time 😉

Here’s to the start of the next chapter of your lives 🙂

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Magical Lapland.

So last week I was on holiday in Lapland. I probably said before it’s not somewhere I’d choose to go myself. I don’t like the cold and I can’t ski or snowboard so generally any kind of holiday with snow is bottom of the list.

But, this was a holiday to go and see my brother and his fiancee get married. So not a hard decision to decide to go. I would have gone anywhere.

So what was it like? Fan-bloody-tastic. I had the most amazing week. It was just great. I’m still smiling when I think of it.

Lapland thought bubbles?

  • It was cold. But not too bad. I coped better than I thought I would. It’s a different type of cold, people told me, it will be better. Don’t worry, they said. You’ll be dressed for it, they said. I’m not sure I quite believed them. But, they were right. Wrapped myself up well like a ski ninja. I only ended up with cold hands which was inevitable. Not like here. As soon as were back I was cold. It felt colder here than it did over there. Bloody cold damp English winter.SONY DSC
  • A wedding in an ice chapel is as romantic, magical, special and icy as it sounds. The chapel was about -6 inside and felt icy. You could see your breath (we had to stop breathing when having our picture taken. Hard to pull a decent face pose AND hold your breath.). It was really quiet and serene, and lit in a way that gave it all a bluey hue. But, funnily enough we didn’t get really cold. Only our hands. Luckily the ceremony wasn’t a long one but by the time I left (I stayed after everyone else had gone as I was taking more pics of Matt and Tan) I couldn’t feel my hands at all, and was pressing the button on my camera and hoping for the best. Going from the chapel to the ice bar and downing a shot of Baileys helped me warm up though. I’ve had a quick glance at the official photos of their wedding and they are absolutely stunning.

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  • Jumping in the snow in a bikini after a sauna is a bit frickin’ harsh. Apparently it’s good for you and what you should do after a sauna. So, I thought I’d give it a go. Instructions: 1) Sit in a sauna at 90 degrees plus for a while. 2) Run outside and leap into deep snow at -22 degrees. 3) Roll around a bit to get properly covered. 3) Shout at Dad to hurry up and take a picture because it’s COLD. 4) Shout some more when Dad replies he’s trying but the camera is not working. 5) Try to stand up and fall over in very deep snow. 6) Crawl through deep snow. 7) Fall over while crawling in uneven deep snow. 8) Drag self over balcony wall and fall into heap on balcony. 9) Run inside shrieking and flapping arms about. 10) Wrap self in towel and try to breathe. 11) Vow to never do that again.SONY DSC
  • Snowmobiles are awesome fun, and make you feel like James Bond. Only without being chased by any baddies. Imagine whizzing through the snow covered forests, using the snow banks on the corners for extra room because you’re going a little speedy (Snowmobile rental man: “Snowmobiles will do 100kph, but speed limit is 60kph”. Us: “Right, got it.” Promptly ‘forgot’ that bit of info.), sliding down a hill sideways next to a ski run and getting a little sideways action round bends. Awesome with a big fat capital A.SONY DSC
  • Lakes freeze in the winter there and you can walk on them. In the middle of the village there was a big lake we went walking on. Felt a little bit strange. Knowing I was walking on a massive frozen lake. It’s one of my worst nightmares to fall through a frozen lake and get stuck under the ice, probably since the one and only time I fell in our big pond when I was a kid was when we were mucking around walking on the ice. A bit scary at the time, even though it had broken up a bit.SONY DSC
  • The Northern Lights are something else. Yes, you can see pictures and videos but nothing compares to seeing them in the flesh. I saw them once in the week. You can’t tell when they will be out, so it’s pot luck really. We went hunting them one night by walking round the lake (great place to see as no light pollution) but it was too cloudy. But on our last night as we were walking back to our cabin there they were. They weren’t brightly coloured like you see on pictures, it was still a bit cloudy and hazy so they were more white/slight green tinge but it was a bit like a moving rainbow in the sky. It was just beautiful to watch. So pleased we got to see them.
  • Snow-shoeing is great fun. A bit like strapping squash rackets to your feet and tramping around in the snow. The snow was so deep if you didn’t have them on to balance on the snow you just sink/fall over (see earlier sauna escapade). So we stuck our squash rackets on and headed out into the forest. Hard work but worth it. It’s so quiet out there and you can just explore anywhere as everywhere is covered in snow. But, even with a snowshoe on you don’t always escape the deep snow. Ended up with one leg down a hole, snow up to my thigh once. Bit tricky to get out too. Flailed around for a bit. Would have been a classic comedy moment had there been anyone to see it but I was on my own that time.SONY DSC
  • Running on snow in -11 through the forest in the sunshine is pretty special. What better way to kick off my Runs Around The World series than that?20130310-120244.jpg
  • Underfloor heating is amazing. Our cabin had it and it was so nice to walk around in a t-shirt and nothing on my feet while looking at snow outside. I was so toasty. Not surprising, given the triple glazing and huge radiator beneath my feet. If I ever get the chance to have underfloor heating, I’ll take it.
  • I loved wearing ski wear. Not quite sure why. Maybe it’s because I felt all svelte and glam. Or, more likely, it was warm and comfy. SONY DSC
  • Santa’s some kind of celeb out there. He’s everywhere, even though it’s not Christmas. So much so that people want to BE him. A woman on the cross country ski track had a red snowsuit on, with a red hat which had a white trim. I did actually shout “Santa”. Yes, I know it was childish.
  • I can survive without wifi. The cabin didn’t have wifi or internet. The hotel down the road did, so I nipped there a few times to get online. It was nice having the break actually, because when I got wifi on the last day when we were in a hotel room for the day before we flew home I became Ms Unsociable. Terrible really. No wifi meant I spent time reading, chatting with the folks and watching a bit of TV. Must make more of an effort to do this. It’s too easy to sit on the internet lots. Will get me used to when I’m travelling too, as I’ll have limited internet I’m sure.
  • I caught up on my sleep. Hurrah! The last month and a half was hectic, hectic, hectic, especially the week before I went away. I was a bit exhausted so the break really did me good. I feel like I’ve had a holiday. A break. A rest. Tis a wonderful feeling 🙂

Would I go back? Or choose the same kind of holiday again? Not sure. It’s still not the type of holiday I’d go for, and I still don’t like the cold. BUT, I had a fab time, am really pleased I went and it gave me a chance to try something different. And that’s what I’m all about.

So thank you bro. Good call.

Hey.

Hey is hello here. So hey from Lapland. The land of snow.

I’m mainly here for my brother’s wedding, which was on Tuesday, but the whole week is a bit of a holiday. The wedding was in an ice chapel in the Snow Village, and I can safely say it’s probably the most unique and definitely the coldest wedding I’ve been to. But, it was absolutely stunning. In fact, the whole place is. Like a picture book, everywhere is covered in snow, many feet deep. We’re staying in a log cabin which looks out onto snow covered forests and mountains, and I can snow-shoe right out into the forest straight from my door.

The cold is better than I thought too – at the start of the week it was about -15/-18 but it’s warmed up over the week – it’s only -5 today and sunny. Bright, bright sunshine. In fact, it feels positively tropical! I’m dressed for it though, so that’s why it feels much better than when it’s cold in England. It’s a well known fact I don’t like being cold. I don’t actually mind it being -20 ish. I’m well toasty in my ski stuff.

I don’t have any pictures I can post yet (they’re all still on my camera) but I’ll put some up when I get home. The wedding ceremony was really quite special, and I have some great photos of us out having fun in the snow. I’m having quite a relaxing week, but I’m not used to sitting down so much. I’m getting twitchy. I’ve already used the gym at the hotel but it doesn’t have a running machine. So, I’m off to don my trainers and get out for a run in the snow this afternoon. I can’t WAIT. Then we’re off to do some more snow-shoeing. All good for the thighs 😀

Hey hey (that means goodbye).

Snow bound.

I’m back at the airport again, although Gatwick this time. This time I’m heading for Lapland, to the snow and minus temperatures. If you know me you’ll know it’s not my normal travel destination. I don’t like COLD.

I’m going because my brother and his fiancée are getting married out there in an ice chapel on Tuesday. They wanted snow and somewhere a bit different. I think they’ll get that. Not sure I’m quite prepared for the cold, a log cabin with my parents for a week and not loads to do though. Cabin fever might literally set in.

But apparently there is a bar and a gym. These, the novelty of throwing myself in 6 foot snow, books and the chance of seeing the northern lights should keep me occupied.

And of course I can’t wait for the wedding, it will be pretty special.

It’s the freakin’ weekend.

And what a freakin’ weekend it was. A whirlwind, alcohol filled, hectic weekend. Shattered is not the word.

Short version:

  • Friday night: very boozy night out, starting straight after work. Late night, not much sleep.
  • Saturday daytime: Bad hangover, pack contents of house up ready for moving.
  • Saturday night: Move majority of contents of house to parents house.
  • Sunday morning: Move rest of contents of house to parents house, clean empty house
  • Sunday afternoon: be godparent at best friend’s children’s christening. Drink lots of alcohol. Late night.

Long version:

There were leaving drinks on Friday night for some guys at work. I was going to go for a couple of beers and then home to carry on packing ready for more packing and cleaning on Saturday. Did.Not.Happen. Just a couple of drinks turned into a Whole Night Out. Cue FAR too much alcohol and a late night. Tip for the future: never go out the night before moving. Saturday was so much of a struggle it was painful. It did not make for a pleasant experience.

So I moved out of my house this weekend. I lived there for 1 year and 3 months. It’s the place I moved to after separating with my ex-husband towards the end of 2011 and the first place where I’ve lived by myself. I’ll miss that house so much. It felt like home the minute I moved in and I’ve had so many brilliant times there. I’ve made so many memories, and will never forget all that’s gone on there.

It was just perfect for me, my own little space and I am really gutted to have moved out. I had friends next door but one and just round the corner. I will miss just being able to pop round the corner to chat with Karl (for Monday Night After Work Cup Of Tea or Weekend Gossip Cup of Tea or Impromptu Film Club) but I’ll still go see him, it will just take a hell of a lot longer to get home again.

But, it was time to move. To be able to afford to do the travelling I want I need to move in with a mate for a couple of months to save that last bit of money. So needs must.

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It was a bit strange to wake up at my parents on Sunday morning. The last time I’d stayed there was for a short time back in 2011 while going through my marriage breakup and it kind of took me back to that time. Not nice and didn’t really enjoy being reminded of it. Realised how different things are now. It was nice to wake up to the view from my old bedroom though.

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What is funny, is how the contents of my house fit in just half of my brother’s old bedroom. When I was packing most of my stuff up on Saturday it seemed like I had LOADS of things. Even though I knew I’d got rid of loads. But actually looking at it all, I haven’t really. I’m not a big hoarder of stuff.  I suspect the reason it seemed like loads was because of the evil hangover and everything taking twice as long and twice the effort.

Sunday I was godparent for my best friend’s daughter. It was a brilliant day with loads of awesome people. They’re a great bunch and her family make me part of their family. I’m very honoured that they are all part of my life. Christening after-parties shouldn’t be held in pubs though. Drank far too much, had a late night and now the weekend is catching up with me. Absolutely knackered. My lovely friend Alex is cooking me tea and looking after me though. He is ace.

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Time for an early night.

The Dam.

So I had a little jaunt over to The Netherlands this weekend to spend a couple of nights in Amsterdam with a few mates. I’ve been to the Dam a couple of times before, and 3 out of the 4 of us had been at least once so it wasn’t really a touristy trip; more a relaxing, chilled weekend full of eating, drinking, relaxing and wandering around. And that’s precisely what we did. Wandered up and down the canal sides and in Vondelpark, visited numerous coffee shops and cafes, had a few beers, visited the Red Light District, ate pancakes and giggled a lot.

It was a nice break in the middle of a hectic few weeks so it was good to relax, unwind and enjoy the Amsterdam culture for a bit.

Only downside? I didn’t take my running gear and so got running envy every time I saw a jogger. Especially as we were staying right on the side of Vondelpark. It would have been perfect for an early morning run. Oh well. Next time.

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My brother is just ace.

In return for tea tonight he put up some new blinds for me and fixed my towel holder in the bathroom, needed to get them sorted before I move out next week. Should have done it earlier, having had broken blinds for a few months. But, the girl who moves in next will get nice shiny new blinds.

My brother is ace. He’s very handy. Helps me with all sorts of blue jobs and makes sure I’m alright. He’s the one who made me up a toolbox when I moved in on my own and the ex kept all the tools. He’s the one who came to hang my pictures before I realised I could do it myself. He’s the one I’d call to help with all DIY related stuff.

I help him with stuff too. Stuff he’s not so good at. Not necessarily pink jobs, but paperwork, computers, the internet. Other stuff.

We help each other out. It works well.

Grand finale.

Tonight was the grand finale of Come Dine With Me Club. Each weekend in January me, Karl, Sharron and Donna have taken it in turns to cook for us all, CDWMC stylee.

It’s been great fun; a chance to get together, have a laugh, eat good food and not have to go out or spend loads of money. Part of quiet January. I shall miss it. All of us are away or busy over the next few weeks so probably won’t get together much until the end of February. Boo.

Karl was the winner. And well deserved. Especially for that leek, potato and bacon soup. It was delish. And he shared his prize. Aces.

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