The one with the party game

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Last weekend I went to a friend’s house for a get together for another friend’s birthday. We were having a lovely evening and it was great to see and hang out with people who I don’t spend time with on a daily basis. After dinner (and of course cake) we decided to play a game of ‘Who’s in the Bag?’

Despite being a ‘Who’s in the bag?’ virgin, I quickly got the hang of the game. Basically you have 1 minutes to explain to your team/the other players, who the person on your card is without saying their name. So, for example, if your card says ‘Thomas the Tank’ you could say something like; ‘children’s TV show about trains. This train is blue.’

After a test round, it was my turn. I started off quite well, that was until I got to my 5th card…The name on the card was such a well-known individual that I had a full on panic. Everyone in the room would know who this person was, so I needed to do them justice!

So, this is what I said…

“He is a really popular political figure…everyone knows him, gosh he is so famous…”

I literally couldn’t think of any words and was in full on panic mode. So I said the only think I knew that would be a sure thing.

“There is a building in Only Fools and Horses that Del Boy lives in, which is name after him…”

BOOM. Nelson Mandela was called out right away. Followed by a massive roar of laughter.

I then spent the remaining seconds of my time trying to speak about the next person on my card over the laughter, which, let me tell you, was not easy!

Later on in the game I asked what someone else would have said if they’d have had the Mandela card.

“He stopped apartheid,” was the response I got.

I mean, fair enough really, a slightly more obvious statement, but still, everyone correctly guessed from my description too.

Next time I think I’ll stick to playing with the children’s edition, although how on earth I would describe Basil Brush, I’ll never know!

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So long 2015; its been a blast

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It seems fitting that as we move into a new year I take the opportunity to reignite my blog with a refection on the last 12 months. I have to say, I am quite sad to see the back of 2015 – it has filled my life with some fantastic opportunities and amazing memories.

Firstly, I have travelled more than i ever had before. I ended 2014 in Amsterdam, followed by a trip to Egypt a week later where I went diving with sharks on the Brothers Islands.

Then, in March i went to New York with my niece – i love, love, love this city and it was amazing to fly in a helicopter over the bright lights, watch another show on Broadway and finally go ice-skating in central park.

May saw my first experience of Eurovision and boy did I love it. I went my a friend from work, it was an impromptu trip but we managed to squeeze in sightseeing in 2 cities and a night at the Song contest too. We’ve already booked our tickets for Sweden in 2016!

In June I finally went away with the hubby (and another 20 friends) on our annual summer diving holiday to Hurghada, Egypt. I love spending time in this place with the people i now call my friends. We’ve already booked our return summer trip for 2016 too.

There was a short 3 weeks break and i was out of the country again, in July, with a once in a lifetime opportunity to the Maldives. This place was absolute paradise and it was here I got to swim with sharks, turtles and a whole horde of giant manta rays. I was literally speechless for most of the holiday and anyone who knows me, knows this is unheard of!

The next trip was a work related one, and I travelled to Changsha in the Hunan province of China. China is a country that I would never have chosen to visit but the experience really opened my eyes and I really enjoyed finding out about the Chinese culture, meeting staff and students studying at the University there and finding out more about life on the other side of the world to me.

I then travelled to Vegas a week later with another work mate and I have to say, this was one of the highlights of my year. We took a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon and landed on the side of the Colorado river for a champagne picnic. This was one place on my bucket list but it was somewhere I never expected to want to come back to, but its safe to say that I will be making a return visit one day in the future. There’s still half a strip to explore and even more shopping to be done!

It was really nice to spend Christmas at home this year, after all the travelling, I was definitely looking forward to a rest, but I’ve already got itchy feet and am looking at holidays for the later half of 2016 – I most definitely have the travelling bug!

So, its fair to say that 2015 has taken me far and wide, to places I have never been before and to places I definitely want to visit again. It hasn’t all been bright lights, big cities,  fun and games. There have been days Ive cried and days I’ve been so mad and couldn’t wait for it to end. But I know that I am so lucky to be experiencing the life I have, the opportunities I have been given are not for everyone and I know that.

I didn’t actually manage to stick to any of the goals I set myself in 2015 – I was 2 books short of reading 52 this year, so Im not counting that as a complete fail – but do you know what, I actually don’t care about the goals I haven’t achieved, because I know that I have had one hell of a year with the people I love, doing the things I love, and I am so lucky to be ending the year saying so long 2015; its been a blast.

 

The one with the bucket list update

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As I am approaching another birthday, I thought it was fitting to evaluate how i am getting on with my bucket list, if for no other reason than to give myself a little kick up the bum to actually do some more of this stuff!

Well, after a quick scan, it is safe to say I have not quite achieved as much as I would have liked to but boy, have I had a good time trying.

Now, I am still yet to make someone laugh so hard a little wee comes out, and although I haven’t set myself a specific goal of doing this (honest) I have decided that I should be funny around my pregnant colleague as my success rate might be slightly higher with her (so I hope!).

I also haven’t yet had champagne and strawberries in a posh place, or took a ride in a hot air balloon. I mean, these are not that far out there as far as lifetime goals go, but I have not yet managed to do it! What i have done is visit Paris and Amsterdam (tick Anne Frank’s house) I have booked a flight to Vegas, a helicopter ride across the Grand Canyon and I’ve travelled along the longest zip wire in Europe.

The one thing that is concerning me though, is Cliff Richard’s autograph. I mean, I am going to his 70th Anniversary concert with my mother next week – so I’m hoping to just casually bump into him outside the Royal Albert Hall, and be like, “yo, Cliff, give us your signature, mate” – but if this plan fails, i am massively running out of time – i mean he is 70 and hes parading around that stage like an 18 year old, he’s a high risk case for pulling a muscle.

On a more serious note though, I actually have just over 3 years left to achieve the rest of my list and when i wrote it i genuinely had no idea of how fast time goes. Like, it literally zooms by and before you know it, its over. So, I am going to make sure that I enjoy every single second of it. Life is precious and way to short.

So, if you’re reading this now, Go, make that list, set some goals and have the best time ever achieving them.

I might not be quite where I had planned in terms of number of ticks yet, but boy I am having fun working my way through them!

The one with the dedication

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A few months ago I went to the gym.

I have been trying hard to get back into a routine of going to classes but I felt so restricted with timings that i ended up missing loads and having to leave work mid-way through things so it was fair to say it wasn’t quite working out.

I made a decision to ditch the classes and went for the whole actually do a workout in the gym approach. All was going well, i’d reached my twice-a-week minimum goal for 2 weeks on the run and this particular week, i was on for 3 times and it wasn’t even Friday! I was on a roll.

I rocked up, went into the changing rooms, got changed and realised to my horror that I had forgotten my trainers.

Well, what is a girl to do when she has forgotten the one piece of equipment she needed to actually workout with..quit, go home, call it a day and console herself in a nice big chocolate cake and Starbucks? Hell, yes that is definitely what i wanted to do. But no, i did not succumb. I stayed strong and dedicated… I marched myself upstairs to the sports shop and I did the only thing I could do, I bought a new pair of trainers. I was a real hardship, but what can you do. I just had to buy another pair of shoes.

So, there you have it, true dedication…to my shoe collection of course!

(note: i did get the Starbucks on the way home and I actually quit the gym the following week and decided to join some local classes nearer to were I work and I’m having a lot more success at going and remembering my trainers too!)

The one with the lemonade

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So, I have wrote and re-wrote this post a million times over this last week or so and have yet to press the dreaded publish button. I have been agonising over how to articulate what I am trying to say, but today I’ve decided to go it and press the publish button. Normally most of my stories have some sort of comedy value, and if a post doesn’t flow after the first few attempts then I normally scrap it, or keep it in my drafts until I can get my creative juices flowing again. But this post is something that I really want to share and it’s a bit more from the heart.

What I have been struggling with is this; I want to share this story but I’m not too sure of the best way of doing it. One the one hand, if I keep it vague, it might resonate with more people and it also protects my friend who I want to talk about a little, as I’m not sure how much she would want me to share. However, if I’m too vague, no one will have to foggiest what I am talking about let alone trying to say.

So, I’m going to try and do something in the middle of the two. Please bear with me, I can assure you there is a point to this! I also just want to say that I am not talking about mental health issues or depression, or saying that people who are suffering should just get on with it. I am literally just talking about my bad day and how i managed to make myself feel better and if this can help someone else, then I am glad I shared.

The last few weeks have been, well, not all singing and dancing and full of roses. Everybody’s lives have ups and downs, but, I guess, if I’m completely honest, I have never really struggled to get what I want in life. Yes, of course things don’t always go my way, and I’m not saying it always come easy, but I’ve never really not got what I’ve wanted in some form or other. These last few weeks have been quite trying and there has been a lot going on. To be truthful, it got me down quite a bit when things didn’t quite work out how I wanted them. (I actually burst into tears in my office which was a little embarrassing to say the least). I ended up getting my eyelash extension but back on as I was fed up of having panda eyes. (Any excuse, eh!)

Anyway, I was speaking to a friend who asked me how things were going and I was rambling on about how I don’t know what to do with my life and maybe I should open up my cupcake café after all and when I came up for breath and asked her how things were, she announced that she had some really bad news that week. I couldn’t believe how wrapped up in my own world I had been and that I hadn’t even thought to ask how things were with her first. Now, this friend has experience more than her fair share of heartbreak over the last few months and I have never heard her complain once. She is literally so positive and thoughtful for everyone else. She is my inspiration.

It really shocked me back into reality and gave me a huge dose of perspective. I know that when you have a bad day, there is always someone who has had a worse day, and of course, it is all relative. Your bad day is important to you at that moment and you should all be allowed to be happy or sad or whatever emotion you have at any time. But oh my days, life really does give some people lemons, and you can either become bitter, or, I guess, in the case of my friend, get on with it and make lemonade.

I have taken this attitude of stamping all over the lemons I had, and I have made some pretty sweet lemonade. And do you know what, I feel so much better for it. Life is way too precious and short for letting things get to you, (although I know this is hard, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying for one minute that people can’t be unhappy or angry or hurt or anything like that) but what I am saying is this; If you are having a bad day and you are in a place where you can use your lemons to make lemonade, then give it a go, as you might find it is a far more refreshing taste than the one you had in your life before. It certainly worked for me.

The One With the Anniversary

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So, can you believe it, today is my 2 year anniversary with WordPress. Yay!! Happy Anniversary to me…

It is complete luck that i know this, I decided to log on, (as to be honest, its been a while) and I wanted to try and find some motivation to actually be able to submit my next post*

I don’t know what it is lately, I’ve had loads of things i could write about, I mean, I am NEVER short of things to say, but i just haven’t been writing them down. Do you ever get like that?

I guess everyone goes through it; I wouldn’t say i have fallen out of love with blogging, I just, well, simple I just haven’t done it. When i first started I actually had to control myself from not posting about everything all of the time, but now I find i’m questioning myself a lot. Do people care about this? Do i have enough to say about this? Should i write this?

Maybe I just need to go ahead, bite the bullet, and maybe the routine of posting and engaging with other bloggers will get me back to loving it again.

So, here I am, I’m back, its my anniversary and I am here to part-ay… or, y’ know, write some stuff that will inspire myself and others (hopefully) along the way!

*any suggestions about writers block, motivation and keeping up the momentum will be greatly appreciated! 🙂

So with that in mind, I’m going to start as I mean to go on. Celebratory anniversary cocktails anyone?

52 Books in 52 Weeks

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I have started the year off with a very good intention of reading 52 books in 52 weeks. Alongside the reading, I had secretly planned to review each book. 8.5 books in, I have decided that I am reading at a much faster pace than I am writing, so although on paper I am not changing my goal, the reality of reviewing has hit me, and I have decided not to review each book. If you would like to ask for my opinion of a book, then I would more than happily give you a short review. I might even chose one a month to review, as I get a bit more into it. But for those who are interested (and you know, so that I actually stick to this goal) here are the books I have read so far in my challenge:

  1. Shopaholic to the Stars – Sophie Kinsella
  2. Rosie Hopkins Sweet Shop of Dreams – Jenny Colgan
  3. Christmas at Rosie Hopkins Sweet Shop – Jenny Colgan
  4. When I Fall in Love – Miranda Dickinson
  5. The Christmas Surprise – Jenny Colgan
  6. Paper Towns – John Green
  7. Girl Online – Zoe Sugg
  8. Looking for Alaska – John Green
  9. The Curvy Girls Club – Michele Gorman
  10. A Gift to Remember – Melissa Hill
  11. Do You Remember the First Time – Jenny Colgan
  12. Summer at the Little Beach Street Bakery – Jenny Colgan
  13. Shopaholic on Honeymoon – Sophie Kinsella
  14. It Started with a Kiss – Miranda Dickinson
  15. The Year of Taking Chances – Lucy Diamond
  16. The Wish List – Jane Costello
  17. Always the Bridesmaid – Lindsey Kelk
  18. That Girl From Nowhere – Dorothy Koomson
  19. Girl in the Mirror – Cecelia Ahern
  20. Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella
  21. The Sweetest Taboo – Carole Matthews
  22. The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris – Jenny Colgan
  23. West End Girls – Jenny Colgan
  24. The Love Shack – Jane Costello
  25. Resistance is Futile – Jenny T Colgan
  26. Confessions of a Fashionista – Angela Clarke
  27. Go Set A Watchman – Harper Lee
  28. The Little Flower Shop By the Sea – Ali McNamara
  29. Summer at Shell Cottage – Lucy Diamond
  30. A Place to Call Home – Carole Marthews
  31. Let’s Meet on Platform 8 – Carole Matthews
  32. With or Without You – Carole Matthews
  33. All you need is Love – Carole Matthews
  34. Love, Lies and Lemon Cake – Sue Watson
  35. Amanda’s Wedding – Jenny Colgan
  36. Christmas at Heartbreak Cafe – Holly Greene
  37. A Proper Family Adventure – Chrissie Manby
  38. The Christmas List – Chrissie Manby
  39. Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell
  40. Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses – Jenny Hale
  41. A Parcel for Anna Browne – Miranda Dickinson
  42. A Diamond from Tiffany’s – Melissa Hill
  43. A Wedding at Christmas – Chrissie Manby
  44. Shopaholic to the Rescue – Sophie Kinsella
  45. A Girl’s Best Friend – Lindsey Kelk
  46. Bella’s Christmas Bake-Off – Sue Watson
  47. An Abundance of Katherines – John Green

Feel free to suggest some reads (nothing too scary!) and I will add it to the list! 🙂