A crazy week

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Here's a bit of a Ronseal post for you: as in, it does what it says on the tin! I feel like I've had a proper week of it, really. A minor down, a massive high, and some good and even insignificant things things to carry the flow in between, that I feel like I just need to blurt it all out in a pile of words and photos.

You may or may not have heard about my car. My poor car! I went to Bromley with my Mum on Friday for a spot of retail therapy (very therapeutic) and on the way back, about five minutes after I left the car park, my car started smoking heavily inside - obviously this is not what a car should do! So after a bit of a frantic moment trying to find somewhere safe to pull over we found ourselves waiting an hour and a half for an AA man to arrive. What would we do without the AA? After a bit of jiggering about, he sort-of fixed my car (in the pouring rain and hail, what a saint) but it would need proper sorting out at a garage sooner rather than later. Ironically, I was super excited whilst I was driving before the mini-drama because my car had hit 60,000 miles! What a celebration from my little charmer of a car.

I got it up to a garage on Tuesday and got it back today, a hefty amount of money later. Ouch! Still, it's all healthy and working (and driving and not smoking, most importantly) which despite the hole in my pocket, counts more than anything. I took it for another spin to Bromley today, not just to show it where it sadly died just a few days before, but my meet with my bezzie Jamie for a spot of lunch a chatter-natter.

We ate lunch in Joe's Kitchen, which only adds fuel to my Pink Lemonade fire. I ordered a club sandwich which was so thick I couldn't actually open my mouth wide enough to eat it properly, so think of it more like a deconstructed club sanger. The menu for Joe's Kitchen actually had me drooling and I already know what I'm going to order next time (*cough*frenchtoastwithbacon*cough*) so I'm pretty sure I'll be back there soon.

The rest of our day went like this: coffee (caffeinated, eek), free handouts from Krispy Kremes and Auntie Anne's, more coffee, getting addicted to crack-of-a-game The Logo Quiz and trying for answers like our lives depended on them (I blame the caffeine), lots and lots of mooching and laughs and general nuttiness that you can only have with your greatest mate.

On the drive home, I stopped off at Sainsbury's which happened to be on the way and I never get to go there. Let's just say I'll be going there for all my snacks in future. I picked up these awesome flavoured almonds and some droolworthy coconut-chocolate spread, NOM. Can't wait to give that a go!

I haven't been clothes shopping for SO LONG, so I bought some bits on Friday whilst out with my Mum (I think this is the very reason my car broke down). I couldn't help it, honest! It's been an age and a day since I've set foot in a Primark so my eyes were like saucers in there; I picked up this apple top and the navy polka dot top. Then in Vero Moda, I snatched up this green beauty with white hearts plastered all over it. It's nice to have some more colourful t-shirts in my collection, finally.

And lest we forget my new jeans! Or better known as, The Green Jeans of Dreams. I've been searching high and low for the perfect fit and shade of green jeans for, literally, about four years now and lo-and-behold, I found them on the rails of Next, just screaming, "Come get me!" How could I resist? They fit so well and I love wearing them.

I also indulged in a couple more Models Own nail varnishes, which are definitely my favourite brand of them all. The coverage and consistency is so even and there is such a vast array of colours, I often have no idea where to begin in even deciding. Woman problems! I think this shade of green (it's true, I'm mental about green) pretty much quashes my perfect-green-nail-varnish desires though, and I really love this poppy shade of blue from the Hedkandi range. Wow, I feel like I'm finally 'in trend' with something. How odd!

So! If you've got this far, I applaud you mahoosively. You've certainly got a lot of stamina! And now, for my parting words, I wanted to note down in some way my big news of the week but I didn't want to do a post about it as there's not a lot to really say on the matter, and I hate to scream something so loudly from the rooftops but I want to remember feeling this elated. And I want the world to know too! So, without further ado, my big scoop of the week is...
I'm going to be a store manager!
More importantly, the manager of MY store!

I'm literally over the moon and absolutely stoked and don't even know where to begin, even though it's a role I know inside out through lots of training and practice, but tomorrow my current manager leaves for pastures new and I will be stepping into her shoes. I feel like this is the biggest work-related thing I've ever done and ever been allowed to do and I can't count my stars enough for this opportunity that I've earned. Months and months of tough work has gone into making this happen and I can't wait - really cannot wait - to get underway with this new chapter in my working life. Not bad for an East London working class girl with a handful of GCSEs!

Hope you enjoyed this everythingallatonce post. ♥


Tuesday, 24 April 2012

I do hate leaving it ages and ages to post things, but at the same time I dislike doing major or significant (to me) things without addressing them, even when the initial moment has well and truly passed. Basically, I spent a weekend in Liverpool a couple of weeks back and whilst I don't want to forget it, I already don't remember a lot about it. This is my own fault, or the fault of my party - we spent a lot of time in Liverpool doing an awful lot of nothing in the grand scheme of things and not a lot of seeing or doing (unless you count drinking and eating). When I go far to a city, especially a new one, I love to take in the sights and the culture like a proper little sightsee-r. But sadly, in this case, it wasn't really to be.

Not to worry; it just means I'll have to visit Liverpool again some time! I did at least manage to snag a lovely little meander down by Albert Dock and you know what, that'll do for now. Albert Dock is completely stunning and full of things to see and do. I can save the Tate, the Beatles Experience, and the long walks around the city for some other time. Liverpool, I'll be back!

Spring sprang sprung

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

On Monday night, I noticed that the blossoms on the tree by my flat looked extremely lively and pink. I am adamant that this is a sign that spring is well and truly on it's way, especially after all that delightful weather in March when it was almost tropical outside! Unfortunately, since then, it's been a bit of a rainy wash-out and generally quite wintery again, but that doesn't stop me living in hope for all the delights of the upcoming season. For me, these include:

♥ Lots of colourful and sunny walks and bike rides in the countryside.
♥ Picnics and BBQs for dinner sat in fields and watching the sun set.
♥ Getting right back into running and chasing lots of PBs.
♥ Lighter, healthier eating - salads, pittas, hummus, couscous, pasta and pesto, fresh fruit and potato salads.
♥ Lots of refreshing cold drinks like juices, iced teas and frappes.
♥ Being able to venture outside without a jacket or a brolly.
♥ Beautiful flowers everywhere.

Basically, I just can't wait to shake off all those winter blues and climb out of my forever-worn pyjamas and soak up all the goodness that spring has to offer! It's been a long wait but I finally believe it's ready to start.

What are you most looking forward to about spring?

Music Monday: T-Rex

Monday, 16 April 2012

Three weeks in a row! Well, I never.

I guess in using Music Monday to showcase some of my all-time favourite music loves, I'm trying to stick as true to form as possible. That includes using some of the less well-known, less "cool" bands that adorn my iPod and CD shelves. T-Rex are in fact a love of mine that has stemmed from very early childhood - no lie! My Mum had these awesome clunky video cassette tapes called (imaginatively) 'Glam Rock' and, funnily enough, they contained a great collection of hits from the glam rock era in the early 1970s. T-Rex, for me, are almost what the glam rock era was all about - that brash look at me kind of music, defined in tone and clanging guitars and unforgettable choruses. Also I believe that while Marc Bolan is a legend, he is solely credited for much of the band's success and I feel that the poor old rest-of-the-band are disregarded so quickly, it doesn't really seem on. In my belief, it's the band that made Marc Bolan and all together, the brilliant sound of T-Rex.

I could give you the back catalogue and be done with that, but I've been a saint and kept it to three key songs.

I think that this is more of T-Rex than the overplayed 'I Love To Boogie' can ever offer. Ironically, this song is probably the fan favourite but never should have been: it was released in 1972 without the entire bands' permission and eventually caused them to break free from their record label. Woah. With an unforgettable, descending chorus and enough head-bopping fodder to last a week, this is definitely one to listen to.

Children Of The Revolution
EVERYBODY knows this. Personally, I feel it's absolutely timeless - a classic, but not classic-enough sounding to be a classic, if you get what I mean? I am often found arguing my case with the people who flatly state, "Er, well it doesn't sound like it was recorded yesterday..." with a simple, "Why not?" I really do think it could have been recorded within the last five years and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. A stonking boot-stomping song that will make anybody want to dance around their living room.

Metal Guru
T-Rex doing what they do best; two-odd minutes of cheery-but-sad music fronted with whimsical, nonsensical lyrics. But they're so pretty! The Smiths tried to rip this off in the form of 'Panic' (yeah, you can hear it now, can't you?) but it'll never match up to this chart-topping performance.

Songs on YouTube here, here and here. I also want to draw you to the attention of Get It On, as this is probably the most-known T-Rex song and I'll be damned confused if you've never heard it.

What are your musical blasts from the pasts?

Worse things happen at tea

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

So, let's talk about the very unique and personal thing that is; tea. Personal not only in the way you take it (one lump or two? A splash or a glug of milk? The combinations are endless) but for many, it even comes down to what brand you drink. Some people are devout followers of PG Tips, others are hardcore Tetley enthusiasts. In this house, we are Yorkshire, and Yorkshire only.

Until this week that is. I came home from work on Monday to find this box of Clipper Organic Everyday Tea sat on the kitchen worktop. Being slightly mystified, I searched the house until I came across Phil, who was sat after his tea-foraging experience looking as pleased a punch. "It was on offer!" He exclaimed, seeming rather proud of himself. I reminded him of his duties to the church of Yorkshire but he waved them off, declaring that this Clipper tea would be lovely. Right.

Two hours and two cups later, Phil could no longer paint on his passion for Clipper tea and I heard a reluctant and glum, "It's, er, alright," when I probed him for his opinion. Inside, I was cheering - I'm always right, you see. (*cough* bighead *cough*) Don't you just find that when your usual cup or brand of tea is changed, it's never quite as enjoyable? Anyway, as I keep telling myself: oh well! Only 76 more cups to go.

These are some of my other current favourite hot drinks. I'm trying to stave off coffee because, let's face it, I get enough of that at work. Lemon & Ginger tea is one of my all-time loves - one of those flavours that I find really warming and comforting in the winter, yet equally as refreshing in the summertime. And the smell is divine! It's safe to say that I get through a box of this pretty quickly. I'm also drinking a lot of chai lattes too, with soy milk warmed in the microwave. It's perfect for a late night treat or replacement for dessert.

Not that you can tell - in fact, I don't blame you for reckoning that these are my secret stash of Yorkshire - but these two bags are my absolute babies. They're actually Lapsang Souchong, a new discovery for me. My friend J recommended it to me and I have to admit, when he mentioned 'smokey, woody, firey' as a way of describing the flavour I was more than skeptical - especially when he said, "Add milk; it will make it." So he threw a few bags my way and one morning, I took the plunge and brewed up a cup... and was instantly bowled over. This tea is unspeakably amazing; so smokey and aromatic but never at all overpowering. I would definitely recommend that everybody try at least one cup. I'm rationing my two bags as I've put myself on a tea-buying ban until I've depleted my tea cupboard.

Yes, that's right. Tea cupboard. What do you mean, 'you don't have one'?


Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Project 365. That's the photography project where you take a photo a day, every day for an entire year. All in all, it's a lovely way to document a year and gives you a fantastic chance to look back on twelve months and remember every day, even the little things. I'm doing it this year, and yes; there's 366 days this year. Cripes.

You see, I've been giving 365 projects a go for as long as I can remember. Never quite giving them a run for their money though. My two most prolific attempts stalled at 117 days and 45 days, with my lesser known dabbles completely written off and quickly forgotten about altogether. I'm sure that this year is different though; like I'm actually going to see it through. I am 94 days in after all. Go me! Although in all honesty, I am easily bored and have already grown tired of the subjects I end up photographing: mostly foody things and clothes. Yawn? I feel like I need a good few photo ideas thrown my way to pep up my project to make it seem like it's heading a positive way, before I look back on a year's worth of pictures on New Year's Eve and think, "Oh Christ, is that all I did? Eat?!"
(Well, that is what I do.)

Are you currently doing or have you previously done a 365 project? Feel free to throw a few good tips and ideas my way - and definitely don't hold back on checking out my progress so far if you so dare.

Music Monday: The Wildhearts

Monday, 2 April 2012

It was only a matter of time before I began wittering on about music again. Music is my life - isn't it most people's? - and it's literally the one thing I'm most passionate about. Yes, believe that. I love music more than running; more than clothes; more than photography. And maybe even more than Phil. But that's okay, because he's as much music-obsessed as I am.

So, where better to start with my favourite ever ensemble, The Wildhearts? My love for this band has been longstanding - if you've known me long enough, you'll remember I used to have a blog named in their honour - and will never die, I am sure. Hailing from Newcastle, lead geezer Ginger has been the pivotal part of this rock combo since the 1990s and, despite many line-up changes, have still churned out anthem after amazing anthem. I've been lucky enough to catch them live three times and not once been disappointed, and infact believe that their tunes sound a teensy bit better whilst stood in the middle of a drunken, sweaty crowd. The way people go on about music sometimes means I find it really cringey how much some can love certain groups as much as they do but while I'm miles away from ever getting a band-related tattoo, I truly feel that every melody and lyric has some resonation within me. Some music is like a drug, candy, a religion. We follow it, unquestioningly. And honestly, so many of their songs orchestrate some of the most memorable moments in my life. Perfect, really.

As a mixtape queen I'm a massive collector of songs and lover of lists, so it's only natural that I've already picked out the five tunes by this brilliant band that you have to hear:

I Wanna Go Where The People Go
This is my song - in that, I mean it is my absolute theme piece. There is a verse that lies within that has me to a T (& far too sweary to re-type, of course) and I can never ever get sick of listening to it; even when it's the 10th time in a row. It just grabs me by the guts every time and it is, without a shadow of a doubt, my all-time favourite song.

Theme from Cheers
A brilliant, all-rocked-up version of everybody's favourite theme tune (if we forget Home & Away, Baywatch and Happy Days ever happened) which is genuinely very enjoyable. And you already know every single word! Bonus. Try not wanting to bop along to this one. I'll also have you know that Chris Moyles has been known to play this song to death on Radio 1 in the past. Yeah.

Nita Nitro
Nice & riffy, light with a hint of heavy, this a much more 'poppier' side of The Wildhearts. A whistley, chanty sing-along, how could you go wrong really? Well, you could have a bit of a preppy headbang along to the song like I did on Saturday morning and still be suffering in the neck department, that's what. But when it's such a cheery song, how can you be so down? (Lesson's learned.)

Vanilla Radio
Otherwise known as 'the one that everybody's heard', if you ever spent more than five minute on the TV channel Kerrang! as a spotty angsty teenager. With an unmistakeable chorus that just makes you want to jump up and down, and that is that.

This totally brings out my fussy side. You see, I like this song. It has a terrifically promising opening and a not-so-bad series of verses and choruses, but I would gladly give those up because the ending to this song is far more epic than both of the former elements times a thousand. It's one of those endings that I just have to keep rewinding and losing myself to; two minutes of pure brilliance. Say no more.

You can hear most of them here on our good friend Spotify, apart from the Cheers theme which you can find on YouTube.

Ever checked out The Wildhearts? What do you feel is your absolute 'you' song?

Goin' Ape

Sunday, 1 April 2012

What can I possibly say? Well, I could very much start with how awesome Go Ape really is. Seriously. If you have even the teensiest sense of high-adrenaline adventure, then you need to get yourself to one of Go Ape's many sites in the UK and partake in one of their treetop adventures. Once you are trained to harness and hook yourself onto their many obstacles, you are set free without supervision to get around the course without so much as a leg wobble. If, like me, you have a tiny fear of falling from great heights, I would still recommend you give it a go. Once you get past the first obstacle and realise that no, you will not die, you are completely unstoppable. Even when you're zip wiring across the forest and getting a faceful of woodchip at the end, you'll still be smiling. And feel like a proper little adventurer.

Top tip: It makes an excellent boy-birthday present, especially for a newly-turned 30-year old who still wants to feel 29. Happy birthday (for yesterday), Phil! ♥