Thursday, 27 November 2014

Make do and host

It's time for my annual 'oh my god where has this year gone can you believe it's nearly Christmas doesn't time fly when you're older' blog post opener. It's a spiffy opener. Truly. (I watched this programme about posh people who work for Tatler magazine the other day and have found myself using 'one' and 'yah' and other posh words like 'spiffy' on more than one occasion this week...).

Christmas is indeed nearly upon us. We hoped that we would be in our new house by Christmas and not in the tiny flat. Sadly as the time creeps nearer this is looking increasingly unlikely. We considered throwing ourselves down on the floor and wailing like a 3 year old until someone there-there'd us and told us it would all be okay, but one soon realises that this will get one absolutely nowhere at all and one must move swiftly on. You see, the tricky thing is, it's our turn to host. In the tiny flat we have two of everything and one large pan, as the kitchen is teeny tiny so we deliberately downsized. This 2 of everything causes a small problem when you are hosting for 5...

Never to be beaten (we made Christmas happen when our oven exploded, we rock at rallying round!) we've decided that we will go ahead and do this thing, tiny flat be damned. Yes the oven only has one shelf, but we have 4 hobs! Yes we only have 2 pasta bowls, but we have brand new crockery that we had been saving but can break out specially for the festive event! Yes we might have to put out an appeal to borrow some knives and forks...

Last night we bought Christmas crackers and Christmas napkins. And this little guy who doesn't really photograph that well but trust me, he is cuuuuute in his little stripey scarf:

We will adorn the tiny flat in sparkley lights and tinsel and make it look super cosy, I knew that dimmer switch in the living room would come in handy for something other than just watching spooky television programmes. We will go to the lock-up and rebuild our table and bring all the chairs back to the flat and figure out a way to make it all fit in. Hopefully at the same time we'll find the other pans or we'll be stir-frying sprouts in the frying pan. We will make do and host! 

We will also maintain another annual tradition of Tizz coming round to drink wine and create glorious and ridiculous decorations made from icing to decorate the cake on Christmas Eve. We will also, and I say we as Tizz (and hopefully Fizz) said she might join in too, do the annual photo advent in the month of December for your delight and reading pleasure. We might not have the house, but we have our loved ones and this, my friends, is what Christmas means to us. 

Just one thing. If you do plan on popping round throughout the festive season can you bring your own plate and cutlery... 

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Sunday Strolling

Oops, I've been away again. But honestly for the last two weeks all I've done is cough and work, which is not interesting to anyone, so no blogging. Sorry. Absence duly noted. 

Tizz is home! Yee-hah! It's always blummin' brilliant when Tizz comes home because even if it's only for like 5 minutes we still manage to squeeze in some fun times. This weekend we squeezed in watching an awful film (Superbad), eating some awesome snacks (chocolate covered pretzels), a cinema visit (for Tizz and Fizz, I stayed home to be with Wavey cos he's been away all week), and some Sunday strolling. 

I'm totally loving getting my walk on at the weekends. It's only been a regular thing for like this weekend and last weekend but that's enough for me to say that it's my new favourite thing to do. It was a bit muddy today, but we were suitably suited and booted so squelching wasn't going to stop us. 7km later and we returned home for a well deserved chocolate and banana muffin and a cuppa tea. Here's some jolly photos for you to enjoy, you really wouldn't think it was Winter - look at that blue sky!

Whose coming next week?

Rather brilliantly, Tizz is home again in approximately 2 weeks time and will be home for AGES and be here for Christmas! I can hardly contain myself with excitement, mega-fun times will follow. WOOO-HOOOO! 

Friday, 14 November 2014

Step away from the phone

I'm going to warn you in advance as this post has a (kind-of) serious tone to it, which I know is quite unusual around these parts, but it's always good to go for variety in life I reckon. Let's talk technology, specifically, communication technology. Phones, tablets, laptops - these are three things that I would consider essential to my life now. I need my phone to stay in touch with people, and it's been particularly useful to have whilst I've been driving along pitch black moor roads with fog rolling in from all sides to provide a security blanket in case my car decided to just stop working. I need my tablet as I have all kinds of apps on there that I genuinely enjoy on a daily basis, and I need my laptop for work. Three things. How did we ever survive without them? Did we ever? 

The answer to that is yes, of course. It always makes me chuckle when I hear of kids getting mobile phones so that their parents can keep track of them. Ha! When we were kids, LONG before mobile phones (hell our first phone in the house was one of those circular dials that took forever to roll back around again), we would disappear for hours on end. No-one knew where we were, no-one could call us to tell us to come home. We had our bikes, a snack and a drink, and we knew we had to be home in time for tea or you would be in big trouble. I call those days the glory days. I really feel sorry for kids now as they will never know that complete and utter freedom we enjoyed. No-one documented our every move, photos were taken on holidays and saved to slides (!), and our first bath was definitely not put on the internet for all the world to see. I am beyond glad that all my awkward gawky moments and hideous huge hair cuts/perms were kept to a small handful of photos that emerge occasionally to make me cringe. Don't even get me started on how grateful I am that the internet was only just emerging when I was at university cos just the horror! 

Where was I? Oh yes. The communication technology. Now that I am working in this very biz-ness I am pretty much always switched on. There's an expectation that a reply will appear almost immediately or you might start tut-ting and taking your business elsewhere cos how SLOW are these people? Sheesh. Frequently over the past 6 weeks or so that I've been doing this, I've found myself in random conversations at way past my beddy-bob hours hoping that whoever is on the other end will get bored soon and stop asking me questions. I read a lot of blogs that talk about this problem too, cos when it's your job where do you draw the line? I'd love to be able to switch off at 5 and walk away from it all but quite simply, it don't work like that. This is a 24/7 world and if someone is looking at something you put out at a time convenient to them, they want their answer at that exact same time too. 

Please don't get me wrong. I am in no way moaning about this at all. I just find it a really interesting life issue. How do you draw the line between work-life balance when your business is this crazy communicating world? In the last couple of days I've seen a video and read at least 2 articles where people have talked about Technology-Free-Saturday. For that day, they hide their phones away buried in 6 jumpers so they can't hear it, or something like that I would imagine, and spend time with their loved ones. Do any of you do this? I'd love to know. On the one hand I think it would be a really interesting challenge but I don't know how well I would do. Because I love it. Truly I do. It's how I do the majority of my communicating, definitely for making plans and arrangements. It's how Wavey and I stay in touch when he is away on business. My ma texts me almost constantly as she is a text demon! I think everyone is guilty of it in some form or another. 

I am so intrigued by the idea of a technology free day. I might actually give it a try and report back. But don't be surprised if I crumble and start flinging jumpers around to find my phone...

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Restoring our flagging souls

I don't think we entirely realised until we took a few days off as holiday that we were indeed flagged. Knackered, worn out, battered, well, you get the idea. We needed a break! The holiday week started when we went to see Miss Tizz in London (which was utterly fab and the first time in a LONG time that I completely and utterly didn't think about work of any kind whatsoever), and then continued when we headed to the Yorkshire Dales for a few days of respite. 

We stayed in Lawson's Studio, a teeny tiny house in a teeny tiny village called Castle Bolton. The studio was utterly delightful:

We were really very lucky with the weather and spent most of the days wandering outside in the beautiful countryside - we even got sunburned on the Tuesday!

We ate chips, biscuits, and cakes. We drank lots of yummy locally brewed ale, I made it my mission to have Wensleydale cheese in some form or another every single day, we read books, we watched rubbish teevee, we napped, we did daft silly stuff that only we find funny - all in all, we had a really rather fabulous time. 

Consider us restored. Shame we have to go back to work next week and ruin it all...

Saturday, 1 November 2014

London Bridge is falling down*

*Disclaimer: not really. 

Yesterday morning at just after 8am Wavey and I set off on a road trip! Our destination was fair London town and we had two goals in mind:
1. See the poppies at the Tower of London
2. Spend the day with Tizz

That's all. That may seem quite simple but in order to acheive both of those things we had a 3.5 hour drive, an early hotel check-in, a drive to the station, a train to central London, and a tube to London Bridge. Amazingly, the whole thing was absolutely seamless and by 12.30 we were waiting at London Bridge station for Tizz to arrive. Which she did only a few minutes later. A plan that had indeed been stan-ned. Wonderful!

First up lunch. From the VERY busy Borough Market. I had a sweet potato and chickpea burger on a huge bed of salad with red onion jam. Yum yum. We knew we were really in London cos there was a big red bus parked opposite:

I also decided last minute that I wanted to go to the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern to see the billowing artwork on display by Richard Tuttle. We never did entirely figure out what it was - could have been a dragon, could have been a big red aeroplane - either way it was pretty impressive. And very billowy.

Next up was the poppies. Well kind of next. After a quick beer stop and a clamber up the wall to sit by the river and enjoy the last of the sun. Did I mention it was a gorgeous day and we could walk around in no sleeves? On Halloween? Barmy! Or should I say balmy, haha! 

And finally to the poppies. We knew we were getting nearer as the crowds got bigger and bigger. I've never even been to the Tower of London so it was pretty exciting to find myself there at all. Add in the absolutely breathtaking sight of 880,000 red poppies and it was safe to say my jaw was dropping. I hustled my way to the front and just stood there leaning on the fence. It's hard to describe it really as it feels quite unreal. It's so beautiful and poignant and despite the crowds I found myself having a few quiet moments of contemplation and reflection. The photos really don't do it justice but I had to have a physical memory as well as the one in my head:

We fought with the crowds to get to the other side of the tower where we could get a different view but I think we soon realised we had seen all we needed to see. I'm so glad that we went to see it for real. It was stunning. 

For the last remaining hours of our time together we explored new places, enjoyed lots of food and drink, lots of laughter and happy times. I can honestly say that it was one of the nicest, bestest days I have had in a long long time. 

Love ya London, we'll be back soon. 
And see you in a few weeks, Tizz. Already counting down the days...