Wednesday, 31 July 2013

100 Word Challenge - Week 100

I've been wanting to develop my creative writing for a while now and came across the 100 Word Challenge, hosted by Julia at Julia's Place
It's a weekly opportunity to write 100 words on a given topic, this week's was particularly special as it is the centenary week as so as well as the subject being "The Big C", every line must also start with the letter C...I've taken this to mean the start of every sentence...there's only so much I can get my head around!!
"Come on" she called out, the stress plainly heard.
"Can't be late, we can't be late."
Carrying a baby in her arms and pulling a toddler along the path she had to stop.
Crowds blocked her route ahead, she forced their way through as silence fell.
Coming to a sudden halt at the kerbside she took a moment to calm herself and the children.
Carefully at the right moment she tossed a rose as the cortege passed.
Cocooned within, a comrade of her husband.
Completing her duty, she prayed silently for them both, turned and started the lonely walk home.
Please pop over to Julia's to read other's and add your own,
link is open until Monday 5th August

Monday, 29 July 2013

Just Keep Swimming....

I think this week is going to be One. Of. Those. Weeks...
For the first weekend in AGES I had no plans, no day trips arranged, no BBQs or picnics to cater for, no socialising to dress up for.
The weather forecast was pretty rubbish and the Other Half was working both days...everything was set for a lazy 2 days mooching around the flat, recharging my batteries...this is what I actually did...
Awake at 6am and after and hour of trying to fall back to sleep I got up at 7am.
Drove to the sorting office to pick up a parcel for OH's sister, dropped it round to their house, combined this with a trip to the shops for weekend essentials of bread and cheese. Had breakfast, put on a load of washing, cleaned the kitchen, got my gym kit together ready for my 9.30 class.
Did the class, drove to my friend's house for a 5 mile walk (not planned for I hasten to add) and a one-on-one 2 hour training session, quick lunch then to the laundrette to tumble dry the washing. Made small talk with the attendant for 45 minutes, pretty much know everything about her life now.
Home to make cookies for the OH to take into work (I love baking but try not too eat to many!). The cookies turned into one giant cookie the size of the baking tray and paper thin, so I scrapped those and made cupcakes instead. Deep cleaned the bathroom after reading that WD40 gets rid of lime scale. Lime scale is still on the shower screen, even after 2 hours of cleaning...seriously considered ordering new shower screen.
Other Half came home at 7, jumped in his car to go straight to the supermarket for a mammoth payday food shop, home at 8.30, OH had shower, I cooked dinner, drank a glass of wine and passed out on the sofa until I was told to go to bed.
Walked 3 miles into town, paid off our holiday (woo hoo), turned around and walked the 3 miles back again...realised very quickly that I should have driven.
 De-cluttered the wardrobe and vacuum packed all my winter clothes, spare duvet & pillows and dressy dresses that I'm just not going to wear anytime soon. Went on a light bulb hunt for a very specific fixing, finally found one then almost fell off the worktop trying to change it. Fell asleep for 3 hours...opps...woke up, tidied the living room and bedroom, got gym gear ready for the 6 classes I've signed up for this week.
Got dinner prepared, then got taken to the local pub for one drink (turned into 2 hours), came home and made a different fast dinner, organised myself for the working week, drank a glass of wine and passed out on the sofa until I was told to go to bed.
This means that today I'm already exhausted. This is the week that we've kick started our healthy eating, fitness programme after having 3 weeks of gluttonous enjoyment. This is not the week to vegetate in front of the TV, I have something on every night and I have a busy week to get through at work. I knew this yet I still packed a stupid amount into my weekend and left no time to relax without passing out exhausted.
I'm annoyed with myself because I feel like I wasted an opportunity to have a few calm and easy days. I have to remember that doing nothing is still doing something, re-charging my batteries is not wasting my time...sometimes its ok to just breathe. I just need to keep going until Friday, I just need to keep on swimming. Next weekend will be different.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Reasons to be Cheerful 25th July 2013

As I've got older I've come to realise that its the simple pleasures in life that stay in your memories. Here are my reasons to be cheerful for this week
1) The Other Half brought me a racing experience at Silverstone for Christmas, he got this only 4 months into our relationship...16 weeks...and in that short space of time he already knew me so well. I had so much fun driving a Ferrari but I got more pleasure out of the realisation that The Other Half knew me so well
2) Watching my niece pretending to be a shark on's OK, she was a nice shark because "A shark is a fishy and fishies don't have teeth!"

3) The evenings being dry and warm enough to go for a walk after work in shorts & flip flops. I truly don't switch out of work mode until I come home and get changed out of my work clothes. We get to see skies like this too...
4) Looking back on my July To Do List and realising that I've managed to do quite a few of them (post at the end of the month coming up!), I even managed proper fish & chips...
5) As always being thankful that my family and friends are all fit and well

This post is linked to Mummy from the Heart's Reasons to be Cheerful link-up 
Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Baby Envy

You can't help but be swept up by the media coverage of Will & Kate's baby, especially living in the UK. But with it comes a serious case of baby envy!
I'm envious not of the baby per se, but of the obvious change in their relationship. The glances between each other that scream "Wow, this is amazing!". The overwhelming look of love that is in their faces when they gaze at their new son.
The Other Half and I have spoken about starting our family, we think, maybe, early next year. But seeing the joy radiating from new parents makes me want to get cracking sooner! If I listen to my heart I'd be jumping on that horse now (figuratively speaking!), but my head is over-ruling my heart ever so slightly.
Our relationship, though solid, is still in it's relative infancy. There are still things that we both want to do that don't fit in with either a pregnancy or parenthood. Becoming parents truly will be life changing and it's important to both of us that those life changes are positive ones for our relationship and us as individuals.
We need to be patient, allow ourselves to be selfish with our time before we become self-less. When our hearts and heads are singing the same tune that is the time to start our journey into Parenthood.
Until then I can turn to any form of media to get as many baby fixes as my womb demands!
"Patience is also a form of action" - Auguste Rodin
Wednesday Words
Being hosted this week by Verily Victoria Vocalises

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Undeniably Me

What is my fashion identity? Boho chic? Classic? Yummy Slummy? I. Have. No. Idea.

Despite being raised by a step mother who owned a number of clothes shops I was always happy to be lead in what I wore rather than being the leader. Even now I couldn't show you the one defining outfit in my wardrobe.

As an accountant my Monday-Friday wear is "traditional office wear". I may take suggestions from fashion posts and magazines but the clothes remain muted, classic high street items.

Once home my wardrobe of choice is pyjamas in the winter and shorts & vests in the summer.

I can glam up with the best of them, though my six inch heels have been relegated back into their boxes now my partner is the same hight as me in flats. Likewise if you fancy a hike or your garden clearing I have workboots, slacks and grubby t-shirts that have seen their fair share of action.

Clothes to me have always been function first, statement second. The one item that I wear often and always raises comment is a baggy, shapeless, grey vest. But I think it is the words that are written across the front of the vest that defines and resonate most with me...

Happiness Preferred...each and every time...

And then...when reading comments linked to Jane's Shiny T Tuesday link came to me.

The object of mine that I always have have on my person, regardless of what situation I find myself in, or the clothes that I wear - my tattoos!

I have 6 in total, some have more meaning than others, some are more on show than others. None of them are very large or colourful but those that are normally on show are undeniably me. The one that means the most is the smallest one I have...its overshadowed by a tattoo that takes up most of my lower back, a deviant tattoo that I got to prove a point when I first started down my "boring Accountant" career path. But this little tattoo means the world to me.

It's that little non-descript squiggle at the top...I designed it myself...Sagittarius, Leo, Capricorn...Mum, siblings, Dad, always interlinked, always together. It's only my brother and I now but every day, regardless of what outfit I am wearing, regardless of what persona I am, my family are behind me...linked together...pushing me on.
Linking up with the wonderful Jane for her fantastic Shiny T Tuesday link week...Pin Up...eek!!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Where to turn?

When I am stressed or worried I have a recurring dream.
It's the day that dreams are made of, it's my wedding day.
People are everywhere, but they are all too busy to calm me, who can I turn to?
My dress has gone missing, I need someone to find it, who will help me?
The hairdresser hasn't arrived in time, who can I turn to?
The car gets lost, I'm running out of time, this wedding won't happen, I need someone to help me.
I wake suddenly, panicking in a tangle of sheets, gasping for breath, the humid air drowning me.
I instinctively turn to my right, to seek solace in the steady heartbeat and the arms heavy with sleep...this is my turning point.
I have no need to worry, or be fearful. I know when that when I panic I can turn to you. You will set me on the right path. You are my turning point.
Baby Baby

The day I found my inner Stig

Some call her Carrie...others know her as an accountant...but on Sunday she was The Stig (...or Crazy Frog!!)

Yes I survived my Ferrari track experience at Silverstone that The Other Half brought me for Christmas! I was so nervous in the hour leading up to it - we got there early so I had enough time to worry that I would crash the car, drive the wrong way around the track, stall the car....
The safety briefing went into how to steer into corners without spinning off and then the magic words "Your instructor will grab the wheel if need be". I (stupidly really) thought that we would be let loose in the supercar without an instructor, knowing there would be someone with me, meant that I could start to enjoy the drive more.
And then it was time to get into the car, I was concentrating so much on the instructor I forgot to look out the window to wave!!
The Other Half was in charge of photos while I was's the best one!!
Thankfully we went back to the Visitor Centre when I finished and picked up this one...
As we were walking back to the car The Other Half asked if I had enjoyed myself...I was grinning and hopping around like a little excitable puppy...I think he could tell the morning had been a Magic Moment!
We spent the rest of the day with my brother and his family...that man knows how to throw a good barbeque...we drove home with wide smiles and fat bellies!
I have linked this blog to Magic Moments, hosted by The Olivers Madhouse

Saturday, 20 July 2013

We're going on a rhino hunt!

I got an SOS call earlier this morning from The OH's sister. She's been invited to Goodwood races and needed my inner Gok to give her style advice (not too sure why!), so we agreed to meet in the centre of Southampton to buy a new dress.

Look what I saw on my stroll...

And then another....

And another....

These are all part of a brilliant charity initiative through Marwell Zoo called Go! Rhinos to raise vital funds for three local charities, The Rose Road Association’s work with disadvantaged children, Wessex Heartbeat’ s HIGH 5 appeal and Marwell’s conservation efforts. They can be found throughout Southampton during the summer months and then will be auctioned off in October.

A trail has been designed so that you can try to spot as many of these brilliant sculptures as possible and you can download a copy here ...there are over 30 in the city centre and I couldn't believe the amount of people that were stopping to take pictures and join in with the urban safari! We only managed to spot 10 or so...but we were rewarded with finding this particularly glittery one...

We almost forgot the reason we were in town in the first place!!

Friday, 19 July 2013

Weekend BBQ Recipe

All this hot weather is giving us food fatigue. There's only so many salads you can eat until you crave something else, but you still want a light dinner...I give you

Mini Lamb Burgers with Yoghurt Dip

For the Burgers

1 small onion
4cm piece of fresh ginger (I used 1 large teaspoon of Lazy Ginger)
2 large garlic cloves
20g fresh coriander
1 tsp red chilli powder
450g lamb mince (works with beef mince too)
1.5 tsp garam masala
1 large egg
salt & pepper to taste

For the Dip

200g yoghurt
30g coriander leaves chopped finely
15g mint leaves (1 tsp dried mint) chopped finely
salt & pepper to taste

Chop the onion, ginger, garlic and coriander finely using either a blender or by hand.

Place in a bowl with the other ingredients and mix well.

Lightly grease an oven tray and shape the mix into 12 burgers. Chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes, take out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking.

Meanwhile, for the dip, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and season to taste.

Cook the burgers for 4-5 minutes on each side. They can also be cooked under a preheated grill set to high for 4-5minutes, or in an oiled non stick pan on a medium setting.

Serve with warmed pitta breads and a green salad.

The post has also been linked to

Thursday, 18 July 2013

The Gallery - Into the Archives

All this hot weather has reminded me of a funny story from our few days of hot weather last year.

I had popped to see a friend and her two boys who were 5 & 2 at the time. Because it was so warm we had gone into the garden.

"Mummy, I'm hot" said the 5 yr old
"Well why don't you go upstairs and put your costume on, then you can play in the pool"

The 2 of them ran indoors and this is what we found when we went to see what was taking them so long...

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

This post is also being entered into the UK Bloggers Appliances Online competition to win a Samsung fridge freezer

Reasons to be cheerful 18th July 2013

After my sad news on Monday (read more here) I think its especially timely to start this week joining up with Mummy From the Heart in her Reasons to be Cheerful link-up so here are mine;
Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart
The sun shining is making everyone so much more friendly and engaging. I've spoken to a lot of people this week that I would have walked straight past had it been a grey, wet day.
I met more of The Other Half's Dutch friends at the weekend and they instantly welcomed me into their circle, I got a real sense of belonging when we threw together a BBQ on Sunday.

Despite not going to the gym for almost 2 weeks my weight has stayed the same
I have a yummy whole watermelon chilling in the fridge for us to eat when it gets super hot inside
There's only 3 days to go until we visit my brother and the OH gets to meet Baby M for the first time
On Sunday I get to drive a Ferrari around Silverstone, I may ask for a pink jumpsuit to wear!
We have saved enough to be able to go and pay for our holiday early
My boss has signed off my final holiday days so we get to go to Holland at the end of August
I have a free Saturday with no plans or jobs to do...bliss!!
This post has also been linked to Verily Victoria Vocalises Friday Post-Comment-Love link up
Post Comment Love

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Wednesday Words 17th July 2013

I've had a week of wonderful highs and shocking lows.

We had the weekend that will be forever in our memories, full of sunshine, laughter, friends and love. We took photo after photo and told funny stories while sipping ice cold drinks and children played around us. We had water fights long after the children went to bed. We fell asleep with smiles on our faces and woke excited with what the new day had in store for us.

And then on Monday morning while finalising a report I received a text message from my best friend which said "Have you heard about K?".

K was my assistant in my first job in Hampshire. She came in every day with a smile on her face. She taught me all I knew about my job, she supported me and mentored me in those first few months. Any success I achieved was because she helped me. She had no idea how talented she was, or how far she could progress in the business. I often encouraged her to aim higher, but she would tell me that she was happy doing what she was doing, her drive was for things outside of the workplace.

K had epilepsy. She never said that she suffered with it, just she had it, like people had brown hair or blue eyes. Epilepsy did not define her. She refused to allow epilepsy to change her life, even though she often had fits.

Sadly on Saturday she passed away after having an epilepsy attack, she was 37. Since then it has been a time of mourning, for her family, friends and colleagues. I know her funeral will be an incredibly emotional and difficult day. But I will not forget that she was not K with Epilepsy. She was K with the biggest smile I knew, She was K that would always say yes, she was K who lived her life with joy and spirit. My way to honour her will be to live my life with the same attitude as her.

With arms outstretched I thank.
With heart beating gratefully I love.
With body in health I jump for joy.
With spirit full I live.

Terri Guillemets
Wednesday Words

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Fun with friends

We've had a pretty jam packed few was so much fun but so hot too, I must admit that at times I wanted to take myself off into the shade and just quietly wilt!
On Friday we went with The Other Half's sister to a zorbing site outside Reading, to throw ourselves down a hill! These were Christmas presents that we've only now been able to book on but what a perfect day for doing it.
First up was the harnessed zorbing where two people are harnessed inside a ball facing each other. As the ball rolls down the hill you then go head over heels inside the ball. You reach speeds of up to 30 mph and get bumped around...ALOT! I did enjoy it, but one run was definitely enough for me!
Next up was aqua zorbing. Up to 3 people lie inside the ball, water is put inside with you so you are sloshing around like clothes in a washing machine, you all link arms and the ball is rolled down the hill. This isn't such a fast ride because of the effect of the water stabilising it and rather than going head over heels, you slide from side to side, still very quickly though. You can help but get very, very wet so I'm glad it was a nice hot day!
In the evening we went and picked up our friend who had flown in from Holland for the weekend, because on Saturday we had brought tickets for Ascot.
It was such a beautiful day, so hot, but there was plenty of shade for us to stay under if we needed it.
The customer service was fantastic there and the bookies were incredibly helpful for novices like us! We all set our betting limit for each race and while there were no big wins we all had a little success, my biggest win was £14.00!!
As you can imagine, on Sunday we were all a little lazy after our big day out, so we gathered family and friends together for a picnic in our local country park, followed by a BBQ in the evening...and a little water fight...I think the adults took it a little too seriously!!

Now its back to reality...and the first task on the list is to get my photos all the same size!! 
What was the best part of your weekend?

Monday, 15 July 2013


Those lazy, hazy summer days

Swifts and swallows fly their ballet in the cornflower blue skies

The tinny melody of the ice cream vans drift on the still air

Giggles and squeals get louder as the water pistols get filled

Parents tempting children and puppies to sit in the shade with a ice cold drink

The scent of a hundred BBQs mingle into the evening breeze

And then to bed, to toss and turn against the lullaby hum of a fan

Baby Baby
Read other Write On link ups here