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!


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 :)


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)


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?

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