Friday, 31 December 2010

Reflecting on 2010

Wishing you all a brilliant New Year!


'Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instil in us'
~ Hal Borland.

Are you like me? And cannot believe that 2011 is upon us already. I remember ringing in 2010 like it was yesterday!

1/1/10

I am kind of sad 2010 is ending because 1) it was better than 2009 and 2) I have achieved so much, more than most years combined. So for my last post of 2010 I am going to reflect. It seems only fitting (thanks for some of the questions KT-Jane!)

1. Share your Christmas 2010.
I really enjoyed Christmas this year as it was a lot different to other years. On Christmas Eve I went and visited my local sheltered housing association where I used to be a carer for the elderly. I helped out with the Carol service and gave out gingerbread men I had made bought them. Then I went home and slept as I did a night shift. The nurses and I had a midnight feast and I was carrying a huge food baby by dawn. I had a lot of fun. Then Christmas day I slept for a couple of hours, opened gifts with my family and then went to my older sister's for Christmas dinner with the rest of my relatives. We watched Christmas movies, ate more food and played games. I loved it! I got a lovely new bag from my parents, it is my new favourite accessory!


This was the funniest part of the day. My sister bought racing reindeer crackers. We each got a reindeer ans raced them. We ALL cheated and my Uncle (a natural comic) decided to use a "protective" helmet for his reindeer, it was hilarious!!!


2. What was the best book you read in 2010? 
This is hard! It was probably One Day by David Nicholls (loved the plot and description) and Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. This book made me feel every emotion.

3. Favourite memory from 2010?
I have SO many! Project 365 (post will come in the new year about that) has documented it brilliantly. The first memory from 2010 that comes into my mind is this.
The day my nursing degree class qualified and had our graduation ball to celebrate. So many amazing memories!!!

4. What did you enjoy doing the most in 2010?
Probably project 365!

5. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?
In 2010 I swam with Dolphins and went para-sailing all in one day when I holidayed in Portugal. It was pretty special.


Oh and I turned 21 years old. I have never done that before hehe.

6. Brussel sprouts...friend or foe?
I tolerate them. So they're a friendly foe :). My Mum very rarely buys them but I never choose to eat them. If they are on my plate I manage a couple. They're good in iron!

7. Plans for 2011?
To visit New York. I would like to pay off my student loan. I have been saving like mad as it is my only debt. Turn 22 :). To finish sorting out holiday details in time for the big Spanish holiday with my friends in June. I would quite like to look into maybe moving out and getting some independence. It really depends on cash flow and how bold I am to do it.

Have a lovely new year everyone. See you in 2011!!!


Friday, 24 December 2010

Wishing you a Merry Christmas.

I am about to head off to do my night shift at the hospital. Unfortunately, I am missing out on a lot of the Christmas Eve antics with my friends and family tonight but someone has to do the shift. Plus, I would prefer to do the night shift than work all of Christmas day! I am excited to work though as lots of the Nurses are bringing in lots of yummy food so we will see in Christmas morning feeling very satisfied and full!


This post is a mix of wishing you and your families a very MERRY CHRISTMAS! I hope you all enjoy the festivities immensely however you choose to spend it and whoever you spend it with. It is also a THANK YOU for reading my blog and letting me into your lives as well. I hope 2010 has brought you all unspeakable joy, and even if has not, it can be a year of sweet reflection.


2010 has been a year of unspeakable joy for me of which I am so thankful for. I qualified as Nurse, saw my Gran reach the ripe old age of 80, a miracle pregnancy for one of my best friends, hosted my first blog give-away, turned 21, went para-sailing, swam with Dolphins and started my first full time job!



Christmas was made even more SPECIAL this year because my sister and her partner finally got engaged. I welled up when I found out. I am so happy for them both! Her ring is custom made, just so special!



I am going to take a little break from blogging over the festive period. I want to enjoy my Christmas holidays and bring in the new year with some of my favourite people. Have a wonderful time this holiday season.







Monday, 20 December 2010

Blog Swap - 'Grace in the Small Things.'

Some months ago I joined 20 something bloggers (20sb). It is a forum for all twenty something bloggers to chat, discuss, vent and mingle. I have "met" some amazing bloggers through it and it is free to sign up and use. Every once in a while 20sb hosts a blog swap where we write a post on the topic chosen and swap it with another 20sb blogger. I'm paired with Jordy from Wide Open Spaces. The topic of our posts reflect on what we plan to do in 2011 that we have been putting on the back-burner for a while.


So "meet" Jordy! She's an events co-ordinator from Arizona! And if you can head on over to her blog. My blog post will be there and I promise you will fall in love with her blog layout. It is simple but so pretty!!!


Grace in the Small Things





Back in 2009 I decided to compile a list of the the daily, small moments of grace I noticed in my every day routine. I did this for a year, and in that year, I learned about myself and what I deserved, I let things go that I didn't need crowding my life, I met a boy, I became engaged to that boy and then I started planning a wedding.

By January of 2010 I had collected a list of 1,825 graces. One thousand, eight hundred and twenty-five. And there were so many more that went undocumented.

Writing these words out was a daily reminder to me of the grace I was shown in my life day in and day out. After seeing the turn my life took in a year, I find it interesting that when I stopped to reflect on the blessings in my life, and truly valued and recognized each one, I received greater blessings than I could have ever imagined. I don't think for one second that that's a coincidence.

If you visit the tags on my blog, and click on "grace in the small things" you will see the hundreds of graces I collected. Some are small, some are big, and some were even life-changing.


Once I started planning a wedding and having that wedding and learning how to be married and making a home, life got hectic. I simply didn't have time, or rather I didn't make time, to stop and reflect on the daily blessings in my life. I wish I had, because there were so, so many.


So, in 2011, I want to start reflecting on these daily graces once again. Come mid-January, I will start listing these blessings one at a time. Some days may have ten, some may have just one, but I will keep listing.


Maybe you can even join me and create your own list of "Grace in the small things".


I'm ready to start counting.


What do you plan to do in 2011 that you have meaning to do for a while?

Jordy at Wide Open Spaces





Friday, 17 December 2010

Dreaded Christmas Question

"What would you like for Christmas?"


I dread it when people ask me this because usually I do not know. I find it particularly hard with the people I am closest to because I want to give them something special. I am usually pondering over what I can get other people for Christmas rather than myself. 


So what do I do when I am asked?


I say what I would not like for Christmas instead and this year (and most years) I say this.


1) Bath Stuff - I do not use it. I am a shower girl and wish I had time to have a soak in the tub but I find I get bored and want to be out in 5 minutes. I think bath soap, salts, pearls and bubbles smell fantastic I just never get round to using it unfortunately.


2) CD's - I download all my music and any CD's I do use end up being in my car and the case getting cracked. I am more an i-tunes girl.


3) Jewellery - This is the first time I have EVER asked for no jewellery because I LOVE the stuff! But I have come to the conclusion that two drawers full of bracelets, rings, necklaces, Westwood Rocks and earrings etc is a bit excessive. I gave some of loot I haven't worn yet to charity and raffles last week. 


4) Picture Frames - Every Christmas and Birthdays I am given picture frames which I love. It has just got to the point where I have nowhere to put them even if I could fill it with a lovely photo :(


5) Vouchers - I have never been a fan of vouchers. I see it as the easy way out of a present (that and money in a card). There are some vouchers I love like theatre and cosmetic vouchers are really handy. Yet, book, clothes, craft etc vouchers are not my cup of tea. I think it stems from the fact that if your going to buy a gift some thought needs to go into it not "well I'll get them a voucher and they can pick what they like" (although I have to say on really picky people they do work a treat!) but with me no.


This post is not intended to sound ungrateful because if anyone got me these presents I would welcome it. The mere fact that someone has thought of you and given you a gift is a blessing in itself :). 


I, also, wanted to share my Christmas tree we put up a couple of weeks ago. The putting up of the tree, lights and decorations always gets me into the Christmas spirit. I LOVE Christmas!!!!






Monday, 13 December 2010

Christmas spirit?

I love everything about the lead up to Christmas. I love buying Christmas gifts. I love the Christmas cards we give and receive. I love the music that is played by carollers and on the radio. I even like winter and the fact it is cold outside. I adore decorating the tree and how everyone just seems a little happier in the festive period. I really believe Christmas waves this magical wand over the world.


When I was a little girl there was an advert on the television for Coca-Cola that got me into the Christmas spirit straight away. It comes on in November but when the nation sees it it sends everyone into a surge of "It's nearly Christmas." I remember when it came on this year Facebook gave rise to Coca-Cola advert statuses and how the holidays are coming!


I love it! It isn't the best advert out there but everyone seems so taken with it when it comes on. It has colour, sparkle, community, Santa and the anticipation. To me it doesn't sell coca-cola one bit (even if it is everywhere throughout the advert!).



This advert takes me back to being 5 years old screaming that Christmas was on it's way.


What is the first thing that gets you into the Christmas spirit?!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Tis' the season to be baking.

One of the reasons I love the countdown to Christmas is I get all festive in the kitchen. I'm the first to admit I cannot cook. I am not really a fan of cooking but I am so jealous of people who can. My sister recently bought a baking book about 1001 dessert recipes and I just could not resist making something. 


Blonde Chocolate Brownies.

They tasted so nice even if I did have a little help! I think brownies has to be one of my favourite desserts. I especially love it when they are gooey in the middle and served with ice cream. Below is the recipe and if you have not yet made brownies you really must some day :)

Recipe


115g/4oz of soft butter.
115g/4oz of plain chocolate broken into pieces.
300g/10 1/2 oz caster sugar.
1tsp vanilla extract.
2 large eggs.
140g/5oz plain flour.
2 tbsp cocoa powder.
100g/3 1/2 oz white chocolate.
(this recipe makes 9 slices)

Method

1) Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius/360 F/ Gas mark 4.
2) Grease and line the base of your baking tin.
3) Place the butter and chocolate pieces into a pan and melt over a low heat.
4) Remove from the heat and add the sugar, vanilla extract, flour, eggs and cocoa powder. Make sure you stir well in (like below)

5) Then add the white chocolate chips and pour into your baking tin.
6) Cook for about 35-40 minutes. To test that it is ready place a spoon or cocktail stick into the centre and it should come out almost clean.
7) Leave to cool whilst making the fudge sauce.


You don't have to have the fudge sauce but it is wonderful with the brownie and dead easy to make.

All you need is:
55g/2oz butter.
225g/8oz caster sugar.
150ml/5 fl oz of milk.
250g/9 fl oz double cream.
225g/8oz of golden syrup.
200g/7oz of plain chocolate broken into pieces.

All you have to do is add it all into a saucepan and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Then bring to the boil and stir gently until it thickens and turns a caramel colour.

The end result. They tasted really nice.

Unfortunately we did not have enough white chocolate in our larder so it doesn't look blonde in the middle. But if you have enough white chocolate there will be thick pieces of white chocolate in the middle :)

I am going to make this for Christmas dinner this year.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

A Royal Wedding.

You could have been living on the moon last month and not have failed to hear that Prince William is set to marry Kate Middleton next April. Personally, I am over the moon for them. I love the fact, that despite pressure being put on William as to when he was going to propose, he still did it in his own time. I'll admit I was not a fan of the media coverage. I remember I was watching a really interesting programme at the time and they cut it short to do TV coverage of the engagement. I was not impressed.



They make a lovely couple don't they? And I love that he used Princess Diana's engagement ring. I do not think it was "ominous" or "poor judgement" at all. It was his way of keeping his mother close to it all which I think adds a very lovely personal touch.

I will be honest though. I am not the Royal Family's biggest fan. In fact, I have never understood the point of there being a royal family in the first place. I agree it adds a lot of history to British times and provides great heritage but I would never class them as making me proud to be British. I resent that I pay tax to work and live in this country where they do not. They tend to make more a spectacle of themselves rather than do any "good" in my eyes. What really bugs me about this beautiful engagement though? Is suddenly people love the Royal Family because the British public get a bank holiday out of the wedding day. I just hope that when the 29 April 2011 rolls around people celebrate that two people are getting married because they love each other, not because they get a lay-in or can spend a day down the pub drinking. 

I will tune into the wedding because that is the reason why we have been given a "day off" and also because I am genuinely happy something positive is being covered for the Royal family instead of what they have/haven't done. Even as I continue to not be their biggest supporter.

So what do you guys think of this Royal wedding? Do you think it deserves this much coverage and a public bank holiday? Is it being celebrated for all the right reasons?

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge: #30

It's the last day of the blog challenge and I have REALLY enjoyed doing it. The last 30 days of posts have been ideas I have always wanted to post about just never got around to it. Since I had to change one of my blog day themes I had to add in a new one. I looked at some other 30 day blog challenges and I liked this one a lot since it happened last Friday.


Day 30: Share some very exciting news! And I do have some exciting news to share...


This lovely couple are having a baby!!!!


Sacha is one of my best friends and I could not stop SQUEALING when she told me. I am so HAPPY for Sacha and her fiancee Kevin!


This has been a very wanted baby. Kev and Sach have been together for 4 years and engaged for nearly two. Sacha found out a couple of years ago that she had some fertility problems and there was a high chance falling pregnant naturally would be hard. They decided to start trying and after a couple of years no success. Sacha was very down about it and we have had numerous conversations when she really believed becoming a mother would never be in her grasp. Then this summer, just gone, they decided to put the baby idea on hold and plan their wedding. They had it booked for next July 2011!


Well that wedding has been cancelled and brought forward to April because she is due to have their first baby next July instead!!!!! She announced it with Kevin when I went round for dinner last week. She said she had been feeling sick for some time but the idea of being pregnant was the last thing on her mind (after trying for 2 years she said it was impossible for the notion to be in her head). She thought she had some virus or bug...well it was a beautifully growing baby!!!!!


Isn't it funny how when you stop wishing or focussing on some things they can just happen and surprise you out of the blue?


I cannot tell you how excited I am for them. Kevin cannot wipe the smile off his face and Sacha is doing really well. She is paranoid something might happen but she will make a wonderful Mum. I cannot wait to meet, hold and smell baby Muckle! We are going to throw her a baby shower next spring after her wedding. You may remember I threw her an engagement BBQ in 2009 when Kevin proposed :). She is 10 weeks at the moment and everything looks in great shape. So please pray, hope and wish that everything goes swimmingly.


So next July I am meeting baby Caitlin or baby Luke....oh my days I am so happy. This baby is so loved already!

Monday, 29 November 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge: #29

Day 29 is to reveal what your favourite concert or show has been. I really cannot choose as my guilty pleasure is to go to concerts and see theatre shows.


I recently went to see Sister Act which was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!! I love the film. I love the songs and all I wanted to do was get up and join in with the Nuns. I cannot recommend it enough - go see it if you can! The theatre was packed and audience was stunned into hysteria.



As a child I loved the Spice Girls. At the time they were so different and conventional compared to other Brit pop in that decade. In 2007 they had their reunion tour and I went to see it. As I had grown up a bit I was bit 'thingy' about going as I liked a totally different style of music. I have to say I was engrossed with every bit of it. It was so much fun to go back to being a ten year old and I surprised myself at how well I remembered the lyrics and dances haha. It was an evening full of pure nostalgia!

Girl Power!

I have seen so many other amazing shows. A list of the theatre shows I have seen are here. I enjoy concerts more though. They are more energetic and and you can get more involved. Taylor Swift was out of this world. Lady GaGa was crazy! Kelly Clarkson was sensational. Colbie Caillat had such an intimate set. The only concert I did not enjoy was Britney Spears 'Circus' tour - that was £50 worth of nothing. I am seeing Taylor Swift and Katy Perry next year - cannot wait!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge: #28

(This was meant to be day 30 of the blog challenge but I have had to move it around. This is because day 28 was meant to be what's in your handbag/purse but I never got around to taking pictures or even bothering to look.)


So on day 28 of the challenge it asks to share about what you love about life right now. What makes you so happy in the present.


I think this deserves an in detail answer and there is so much I love right now. I think the main change that has happened in my life is being a qualified nurse. I cannot put into words how much I love my job! It is very different from my student days which feel like just yesterday.



You know when you have those moments where you have to pinch yourself? I still do. I cannot believe I am a staff nurse. I never thought I would get here. I never thought I would wear that blue stripy uniform. I never thought in a million years I would have RN behind my name. I am so unbelievably proud of myself and all my fellow graduates.

It is scary though. They say you don't learn to drive until you have your license. I studied so hard for my nursing but to actually get into the 'real' thing is frightening but so enjoyable. I love having my own patients. I love having more responsibility and the fact that I will be learning for life is brilliant!

I remember my first day (18th October 2010) being sick with nerves. Just thinking this is the first day of the rest of my career? I remember walking into my bay of patients and being so agitated. Then a lady went "Nurse, please will you help me with taking my medicene?" and I just smiled. I have been smiling ever since.

I have entered into a career that I am extremely proud to be apart of. I have had a couple of hard shifts and days where I have struggled. Then all I have to do is look at my degree and say to myself "I earned this."

So what do I love about life right now? My career. It is the best thing I have ever achieved in my life so far. I am beyond humbled to be doing what I get to do everyday :)

Saturday, 27 November 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge: #27

Day 27 - Pets.


My family are big animal lovers. We have had many guinea pigs, rabbits, gerbils and hamsters over the years but we are a very feline family. I really love Dogs but I have grown up with Cats all my life. I think they are the most affectionate animals and I adore mine.


At the moment we have two black Cats called Appleby and Bramble. My Cat is Appleby and she just might be the ugliest but sweetest Cat I have ever had.


She knows when I feel poorly and keeps me company. She also does this when I am upset.

She can also be really disobedient. She has a thing about getting on work surfaces and jumping on Newspapers when your reading them.

She is very loveable though and I adore her. I also have a soft spot for my sister's Cat, Pie. He had a twin brother who sadly died as a Kitten called Mash (get it Pie + Mash hehe). When my sister moved out, Pie went with and I was so sad. I recently had to Cat sit him whilst my sister went on holiday. He is the biggest fur ball ever but oh so sweet and cuddly!

You'd think he was a fat monster but he is just full of fur and a nightmare to brush.

I think Pets are a must. I could not imagine my life without them.

Friday, 26 November 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge: #26

Day 26 - What are your weekend plans?!


I'm quite tickled that this post falls perfectly on a Friday before a weekend that I am so excited for! I have worked the past three weekends so it feels so nice to have one finally off.


Tomorrow I plan to be very lazy. I still have some quite a few Christmas presents to buy so I may venture into town and buy some more gifts.


On Sunday I am celebrating Tambra's 22nd birthday. Tambra and I are the only girls in our group of 8 so it can be hard to be girly with 6 other guys to hang out with (love them really!). When she decided a couple of weeks ago what she wanted to do I could not stop smiling.


We are seeing this film...

...at the IMAX theatre in London!

I went to the IMAX last year when I saw 'A Christmas Carol' and it has to be one of the best cinema experiences ever. The screen is 20 metres high (that's nearly the height of five double-decker buses!) and 26 metres wide. I cannot wait to see one of my favourite movies this way. Happy Birthday Tambra!!!!

What are your weekend plans?

Thursday, 25 November 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge: #25

Day 25 of this blog challenge is to put my i-pod on shuffle and list the first ten songs that appear. The idea is to get a feel of what music I listen to.



1) Katy Perry - Hummingbird Heartbeat.
2) Taylor Swift - You Belong With Me.
3) Elbow - One Day Like This.
4) Sara Barellies - Morningside
5) Colbie Caillat - Fallin' For You.
6) Cheryl Cole - Stand Up.
7) Lady GaGa - Brown Eyes.
8) Michael Buble - Just Haven't Met You Yet.
9) Yael Naim - New Soul.
10) Dashboard Confessional - Stolen.

(I recently upgraded my i-pod to the new i-pod touch thanks to my friend James. It is amazing technology)

I love music and I think we all have a soundtrack to our lives with music. I adore Taylor Swift and Colbie Caillat. I could listen to their songs all day.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge: #24

Day 24 - Share with your readers the town you live in.  


I live in the county of Surrey and dwell in a medium-ish town of Woking. There are times I love living here and times I am not a fan...but it is home and like the saying goes it is where my upbringing and heart will always reside wherever I am. 


One of my favourite parts of Woking is that is has areas that are quite built up like the town centre.
The Peacocks Shopping Centre - It has everything!

The Ambassadors is our local cinema and theatre. I see a lot of shows here from the West End :)

But Woking also really surprises me because you can be driving/walking in the town centre and then all of a sudden be in such beautiful areas and surroundings.

Woking Common.

Virginia Waters and Lakes.

You just would not think they are about 5 minutes apart from each other. I really have the best of both worlds. Woking also has some history but it is most famous for this man.

 H.G Wells.

 He is the famous author who wrote 'The War of the Worlds.' We have a few buildings dedicated to him since he lived and wrote the book here.

Woking also has a famous house called 'Bleak House' where one of my favourite pre 1914 books was fully written. Charles Dickens resided in this building to write this novel and I drive past it everyday to get to work.

Unfortunately it has now turned into a museum/public house. The public house I was not too amused with. But the white part of the building is all the original.

My favourite part about Woking? Well it may sound rather silly but I am big fan of our train station. Woking is known as a mainline station which means it can take you to all the major the cities in the UK. London is just a 20 minute journey away so I feel very lucky I am not too far from the capital.

Woking station.

So in a nut shell Woking has everything I love and could need. It has shopping, country, entertainment, travel and history. I love where I live.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge: #23

Day 23 - a video you love or have made.


For my 21st birthday this year my friends and family surprised me with this birthday video. I cried when I watched it and I was touched. I still cry when I watch it. It means so much to me.

Also just for comedy I adore this you tube video. I can't help but giggle each time I see it.


Enjoy!

Monday, 22 November 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge: #22

I am so pleased that this has come up in the challenge as I am so keen to share it with you.


Day 21 - share a website you enjoy or care deeply about.


In February this year I was approached by Race for Life to do some fund-raising for them and help raise awareness. I jumped at the chance to be apart of it.


Race for Life is a cancer charity for women. It is just like Relay for Life in the States where females do a run and raise money for Cancer research. I did Race for Life back in 2009 and loved every single minute of the process. I have seen first hand what the donations can achieve and it is amazing I assure you.


My sisters and I in June 2009. Race for Life.


So I want share with you the website and if your're ever free to check it out- www.raceforlife.org and if you ever take part you will not regret it.

And here's the video I made from the day. Race for life - it's amazing!


Sunday, 21 November 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge: #21

I have been looking forward to this post because I love food and today I need to talk about my favourite food. YUMMY!


I have lots of food I enjoy but I can never tire of Chinese food. I love the flavours, the varieties it comes in and more importantly the noodles.


Any type of chow mein is amazing and if you want to make it healthy just turn it into a stir fry :)

My only qualm with Chinese food is that I eat it and a couple of hours later I can be starving again, does anyone else get that? Least to say though I love it and I am always in the mood to eat it. It beats most of my meals any day of the week!

My favourite dessert/pudding is anything chocolate related, preferably with brownies thrown into the mix as well. Although, I have to say I do love Key Lime Pie. It is so refreshing and I do like things with citrus in it.

Now I am really craving pudding!

So...What is your favourite food or recipe?

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