Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge 30/1

Last Hodgepodge of January! If you're new to the fun of Hodgepodge-ness then click here and feel free to join always, the more the merrier!

1.  In the USA this coming Sunday millions will be watching as the Baltimore Ravens take on the San Francisco 49's in the Superbowl.  What was the last event you attended that could be described as super?

First up I want to say SF 49's all the way! I have a love affair with the city and pleased to hear they have made the final. The last SUPER thing I went to was the 2012 London Olympics. I went and saw the Rowing and watch Team GB Mens 4's beat the Kiwis into the final. It was amazing to wave the GB flag with everyone else. Awesome patriotism!

2.  Share something you're a fan of these days?

I'm really enjoying cereal bars! One of my worst eating habits is I snack on bad things to get me through shifts. But lately I have been eating cereal bars instead which are healthier and taste much nicer!

3. How do you feel about wings?  In case anyone is confused, I'm talking the edible appetizer kind.  What's your preferred seasoning on a wing-hot, mild, teryiaki, sweet and sour, other?  Do you make your own or is there a favorite place you like to go for wings?   

Not a fan of them at all. In fact I have a 'thing' about eating anything off the bone. I can just about handle ribs because I can cut the meat off with a knife. But physically putting animal bone to my teeth - ick! Sorry not a fan of any! But I do LOVE teryiaki sauce though mmm!!!!

4.  As long as we're talking sports today...have you followed the Lance Armstrong story?  Did you watch his interview with Oprah and if so what was your reaction to his confession and subsequent remarks?  

I feel a long response coming on. I watched some excerpts of his interview on British television shows and my reaction is sort of 50/50 with him. I am disgusted at what he did and how he behaved. I agree with the punishment from the USADA. He should not be allowed to compete in cycling events ever again. The Tour de France especially as it's such a historic race and to cheat on all seven of his wins is callous and very selfish! He said in the interview that he deserves to be allowed to cycle again and I was quite shocked by that response. You only deserve something if you play fair and by the rules. But I do question how he was not found out much sooner. How an Earth did he get away with it? Particularly in the 7 years he won?! I think what Oprah said after the interview, that there was clearly a failure in the system somewhere, is true. I mean in the 2003 Tour de France the winners medal was given to the 5th place cyclist because it was later found the people who came in 2nd, 3rd and 4th were done for doping as well. It's crazy!

On the other hand, I do a feel a little sad that due to his idiocy that he is no longer the Chairman or even on the board of the his own charity LiveStrong. Although, I understand why he was asked to step aside nothing can dispute the fact his charity has raised millions of dollars for cancer patients and awareness! The USADA has banned him from competing in marathons and triathlons which he did to raise money, not for personal pleasure, and I feel that's a little sad because funds are being lost. He says that losing his place in the charity he set up was like 'losing my sixth child and it's hell.' I just hope that by losing his medals, his charity status and respect he can now learn from it and move on. 

5.  What's a question you hate to be asked?  

In interviews it's 'tell me a little about yourself' because I really have no clue where to start. Do I start telling you my favourite colour? or what area of human anatomy I find most interesting? On a personal level I hate the 'are you okay?' remark and even if you reply with a 'yes I am fine' they just don't let it drop until the point I am NOT okay!

6. The coaches in this Sunday's big game happen to be real life brothers.  Jim Harbaugh coaches the 49er's and his older brother John Harbaugh coaches the Baltimore Ravens.  Were you and your sibling(s) competitive?  In what way? Are you still?  If you're an only child how did you handle competition growing up?  

Wow I never knew that! That makes it more interesting! I am one of 4 kids and I can honestly say there has never been any major sibling rivalry/competition. Simply because we are all very different. Of course we argued over who got in the front seat of the car first and who got to order first from the menu in a restaurant (Nicola always did because she was the oldest!), who is the tallest and we had to take it in turns each year to put the angel on top of the Christmas tree. But there is no major competitiveness in any of us. Nicola is the super professional and organised one, I am the nerdy science geek who worries easily, Rachael is just the intelligent one but too lazy to use it and my brother is very artistic and a trier

Us in our younger days.

7.  What's your favorite game involving a ball and when did you last play?

I do like Tennis but haven't played since last Summer in Menorca. My favourite sport is Badminton but that involves a shuttlecock not a ball!

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

Next Friday I turn 24 and my friends are surprised at how happy I am to be 24! What can I say I like even numbers!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Work Party

This weekend I went to my post Christmas work party. A lot of nursing teams tend to have their work do after Christmastime because the lead up to Christmas is pretty manic! There was no Christmas music but we did have Christmas dinner and crackers. I thought it would be pretty weird but I had the best time. 

It was nice to dress up, curl my hair and see everyone I work with out of uniform! Below are some pictures from the night, courtesy of my colleague Mark.

 Natalie, Wai (our ward physio) and me.

 This isn't the whole nursing team but there are a fair few of us here!

 After dinner!

 I started at roughly the same time as Natalie last summer. It makes settling in so much easier and she's real fun too!


 Group shot of silly poses. Us nurses can't be serious all the time.

I really hope we can do it again soon. It was so much fun!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Wednesday Hodpodge 23/1

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge!  I woke up thinking it was Thursday today and thought I had missed the boat in taking part this week. Check out other people's answers on the link over at Joyce's blog.

1.  The popular saying 'All is fair in love and war' is originally credited to English writer John Lyly.  Is he right?

I really detest this saying and I really don't know what was going through John Lyly's mind when he said it. There's nothing fair in war and I wouldn't say love is fair either - since, as human beings, we are quite selfish. In my opinion if it REALLY is fair in love and war then it's okay for me to go and have an affair, or think it's okay to drop bombs on innocent people, because it's fair right? I really don't agree with this saying at all! However, the only logic I can maybe see where John Lyly is coming from is that when it comes to affairs of the heart/love then everything can be seen as a war or feel like one. For instance, like maintaining a marriage, keeping the spark alive etc. If so, he needed to word it better!

2. Are you a cereal eater?  What's your favorite kind?

I prefer toast but I do love good old Weetabix and Jordans Country Crisp!

3. A five year old in Pennsylvania was recently given a ten day school suspension for talking with a friend about shooting one another with a Hello Kitty Bubble gun (the toy blows bubbles).  She did not have the gun with her at school. 

A psychological evaluation was also ordered and the incident was recorded on her permanent record.  The suspension was later reduced to two days and her parents are suing to have the incident removed from her file. Your thoughts? (If you missed the story, click here for details)

I just think this is crazy and I am sorry to sound mean but only in America would you hear of something as absurd as this! I looked up a picture of the toy and it looks nothing like a gun. Plus, she's a 5 year old girl? She probably doesn't even understand the full meaning behind what she said. In saying that, the media sensationalise everything and we will never know the full story. Yet, the suspension is too heavy and maybe all she needed was to be spoken/reminded of how she expresses things. Poor kid!

4. Whatever happened to_______________________?

Good children's TV!?!  I was speaking to one of my colleagues (who has a 6 year old) who is really into something called Ben 10 (he sounds a little violent to me!). I remember when The Clangers, Tots TV, Wizadora, Wacky Races and Fun House used to make up my childhood TV! It was the best and totally tame!

5. January 23rd is National Handwriting Day, billed as a day to reacquaint yourself with a pen and pencil.  Do you like your handwriting?  Do you prefer to print or write in cursive?  This date was chosen because its the birth date of John Hancock.  What's the last thing you signed your name to? 

I like my hand writing when I make an effort to write neatly. I write all day for work in patients notes, so by the end of shift it is a mess! I always make sure my hand writing is legible though- nothing worse than handwriting you can't read (and Drs/Consultants I am referring to you!) 

6.  Speaking of John Hancock, ever been to Philadelphia?  Do you have any desire to visit the city of Brotherly Love?

I am having a job of thinking which state Philadelphia is in?! (* Google's it and finds out it is in Pennsylvania*). No I have no desire really to visit it but I am sure if I did go I would think it's a lovely city!

7. Share something funny you've heard a child say. 

I will never forget my little sister, Rachael, when she was little. I think I have mentioned it on this blog a few times but when she was 3 (I was 5) we went to Christmas pantomime. We were seeing Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and afterwards we got to meet the cast. As we entered the room Rachael shouts at the top of voice screaming "MUMMY LOOK AT SANTAS ELVES. THEY'RE HERE!!!" And the Dwarves just looked around trying to make light of the situation. My Mum was red faced and so apologetic

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Home & Away is back this week and it looks like it's going to be a good season. Although, from the promo someone dies and I really want to know who it is!!! I am thinking either Romeo or Liam.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Being Creative!

If there is one thing I am not - is creative. I detested art and design at school. The idea of getting glue on my fingers grossed me out, hate the feel of dry paint and cutting up stuff is boring! 

For my future kids - I feel sorry for you already.

However, I do LOVE documenting pictures, my life and so forth. You may remember in 2010 I took part in project life where I took a photo for every day of the year. I loved it and I hope to one day may be do it again. I posted the other day that my older sister, Nicola, turns 30 next month. I wanted to do a photo album recording her 30 years.

And today I finally finished it. I am really pleased with how it turned out. I wanted to go a little more crazy but Nicola likes things simple and easy to the eye. (Don't worry Nicola does not know I blog, so she won't see any of these.)

I made each page a theme throughout her life. I found it really tough about where to start. I know starting at her birth seems logical but I didn't have as many pictures as I'd have liked. So I started with what I had pictures the most of. Sibling ones!

This was the hardest page! I had loads of pictures of Nicola as a little girl but not much of her as a teen. It was really hard to show the transition from teen to young adult!

My FAVOURITE page by far. Simply because I know becoming a Mum was the happiest moment of Nicola's life so far. It was really humbling to document and also it's the last page of the album...the rest is her future.

First page of the album.

I loved making this page as well as it shows when Nicola and Robbie first started dating back in 2000 to more recently. They've been together 13 years this year and this album really shows that!

I bought the album from Paperchase and the stickies are just red and white felt numbers/letters! The hardest part was getting the photos together in the first place as I had to get aunts, my Mum, Robbie and my Gran to rummage for some! There are other pages as well but these were my favourite.

I really hope she likes it when I give it to her next month!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

101 Bucket List

Over the last couple of years I have seen people's blogs participating in a 101 (things you want to do/see/try/be better at). I have never done it because I don't have a 101 things!!! But then I read Holly's 101 the other day and was totally inspired. I have a travel list that is written out and stuck on my wall and I have a mini bucket list in my head.

So tonight after Simon left I put pen to paper and was so SURPRISED by what I really want to try my hand at. A lot of people do 101 in a year but I have decided to be a little more realistic and do it in two years (even though I know some definitely won't be accomplished in the next 2 years they still mean a lot being on the list)..

I'll confess there are some things on the list that I achieved last year and I am adding them in because they have always been on my mini bucket list. I am going to use Holly's template (hope you don't mind?) because it looked organised and I like organised (must be the teacher in her).

Start Date: 1st January 2013 (although some completed before)
End date: 31st December 2014

Things completed:

9. Graduate with a degree (Completed August 2010)
10. Become a link nurse in a specialist field (Completed Stoma Care Course March 2011)
15.  Go to the Olympics (Completed July 2012)
16. Fall in love (Met him December 2011)
19. Order a cheeseless Pizza! (Completed 24th December 2012)
28. Learn how to throw a boomerang (Completed November 2012)
39.  Climb something monumental (Climbed o2 arena/Millennium Dome September 2012)
58.  Go snorkelling (Completed November 2012)
60. Start a social movement on something that means a lot to you (Airmail Christmas 2012)
61. Go on a cruise (Completed November 2012)
62. Pursue my passion and turn it into a career (Do it every day)
81. Fly over the Grand Canyon (Completed March 2012)
82. Visit Australia – my dream country (Completed November 2012)
101. See Wicked/Matilda/Priscilla/Hairspray/Les Miserables & Sound of Music on stage (All completed within the last 5 years)
92. Get a hole in one (April 2012)
2.  Have a spa day (February 10th 2013)
1. Try Rock Climbing (February 8th 2013)

Things in progress/planned:

5. Save up for a mortgage (70% of the way there!)
11. Go to Disneyworld and Florida (June 2013)
14.  Be a bridesmaid (Nicola's bridesmaid October 2013)
18. Complete Couch to 5k (Halfway through week 2/9)
38. Pay off my car (Last monthly payment is January 2014)
41. Read 10 books (1/10)
44. Finish paying off Simon’s MacBook (Last payment September 2013)
45. Grow my hair longer than my shoulders (In progress)
69. Reach 150 blog followers (106/150)
87. Have a spray tan (Booked for 25th January)
89. Visit Ireland (Booked for August 2013)
93. Go to the Races (August 2013)


6. Own a house with 2 bedrooms
12. Meet at least two more blog friends in real life (0/2)
22. Make a family tree
30. Feel confident in a bikini
50. Name a star for someone I love
54. Be a matchmaker for one of my friends
71. Volunteer at a fundraiser
72. Go on a vaccination programme to a third world country
73. Perform a kind deed for at least 3 people without expecting anything else in return (0/3) 
75. Get engaged
79. Give blood regularly
88. See a birth
98. Become a Mum

Healthy Living/ Sport:

20) Lose 1 stone (14 pounds)
27) Try hand gliding
40) Participate in a 1/2 marathon for charity
53) Go on a tandem bike ride
55) Have ballroom dancing lessons
64) Go abseiling
76) Try Yoga
78) Floss my teeth at least twice a week for a month (I always forget!)
84) Help someone quit smoking
97) Go without eating chocolate for 1 month
98) Understand the game of Tennis

Travel & Culture:

3) Visit my sponsored child, Wilson, in Ecuador
7) Visit Barry Island - Wales
8) Go see Viva Forever in London west end
13) Go on Safari
29) Visit Niagara Falls
32) Go on a yacht in Cannes & St. Tropez
35) Lie on a beach in Bali
42) Go to New Zealand and Figi
48) Learn a new language
51) Go to a luau in Hawaii
59) Fly first class (or at least premium economy)
63) See the Northern lights
67) Be in another country when the clock strikes midnight at new year
70) Have a weekend away in Amsterdam
74) Holiday on a Caribbean island
83) Ride a Camel
90) Tour Anne Frank's house
100) Spend a weekend in a log cabin

Food & Drink:

34) Bake a loaf of bread
43) Taste Beef Wellington
53) Try Teppanyaki
66) Have dinner in a restaurant that overlooks an entire city

Social Media:

23) Open an instagram account and use it.
36) Give a speech
69) Reach a 150 blog followers

Professional Life:

21) Become a mentor for student nurses
37) Complete my ILS course
96) Do a degree to become a health visitor

Miscellaneous :

4) Own a Dyson vacuum cleaner
17) Make a piece of jewellery
25) Own a DSLR camera
31) Attend an awards show/premier
33) Sleep under the stars
46) Appear on a game show
47) Go in a hot air balloon
49) Experience a sunrise in all it's glory
56) Win ANYTHING on the lottery!
57) Go to a Strictly Come Dancing live show
65) Own a Cath Kidson umbrella
68) Sleep in a hammock
77) Change/update all the picture in my photo frames
80) Watch a film in an outdoor cinema
85) Go to the top of a light house
86) Stencil a quote on a wall/canvas
91) Get a PADI license
94) Send a message in a bottle 
95) Go inside Buckingham Palace

Let the ticking off begin!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge 16/1


1. Lake Superior University has once again published a list of words/phrases they think should be banished from the Queen's's the list for 2013-

fiscal cliff, kick the can down the road, double down, job creators/creation, passion/passionate, yolo (an acronym for you only live once), spoiler alert, bucket list, trending, superfood, boneless wings, and guru

Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why. Go here to read more about how the words were chosen.

I have to say YOLO! I cannot stand it and it actually sounds stupid when spoken in a sentence. I understand why people shorten words to make them quicker to say but surely saying 'You Only Live Once' sounds better than shouting YOLO?!?!

2.  When was the last time you rode a train?  Where did you go?

I only tend to ride the train when heading into London as it's only a 25 minute journey. The last train journey I took was back in November to go to my capital to see the theatre!

3. Bagels-yay or nay?  Favorite 'flavor'?  Favorite topping?

I had never tried a Bagel until when I went to California last year. Americans sure like them for breakfast, since I had them for breakfast most days. I loved mine with Jam! But I also like the savoury caramelised onion ones with smoked salmon yum!

4.  'Tis the season of awards shows...if you could star in a movie already made which one would you choose?

Ooo this is a hard one. If you asked me when I was little I would have said The Little Mermaid and be Ariel hehe! But I think I would love to star in some kind of musical where I could sing and dance like the The Sound of Music or Hairspray. However, I would love to star in a film like Pride and Prejudice to wear the clothes, to speak the words they express and experience the lifestyle they led in some respects.

5. The move towards single gender classrooms has been making the news in recent months....what say you?  Do you think kids perform better if seperated by gender and are taught differently or is that discrimination?  If you're a parent, is this something you'd support in regard to your own children? 

I do not agree with this but I do understand why parents put their kids into single sex schools. My Mum went to an all girls school mainly because of the high academic reputation not because my grandparents had an issue with my mum being in classes with males. I don't feel it's discriminatory one bit unless someone is forced to go to a single sex school against their will/choosing. The reason why I don't agree is because I really enjoyed going to school with a mixed sex class. Especially in secondary (high) school as most girls I found were quite bitchy so it was a welcome change to share my lessons with males too! Simon went to an all male school and he mainly has male friends. My Mum's closest friends she went to school with are girls. I think it's nice to develop friendships in schools with both male and females!

6. What's your favorite thing about staying in a hotel?

The bathrooms! I have a really rubbish non-power shower so I RELISH hotel showers and I love all the little compliment shower gels, shampoos, soaps etc you get!

7. Do you have a 'word' for 2013?  What's the story behind your choice? 

I have not chosen a word but thinking about it I would choose 'Calm'. Mainly because 2012 was so hectic. I went to California, Australia, Lake District, Cornwall and Spain three times! Plus, I started a new job and took on a more specialist role too. I am not complaining as I made some of the best memories ever but I am looking forward to 2013 being a little bit more relaxed and calmer!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Snow-apocalypse was meant to arrive in the UK and it did - up north. We barely had a smatter down south. It honestly looked like someone had just sieved flour outside. Disappointed weather man! 

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Reminiscing on 30 years

One month tomorrow my older sister, Nicola, will be turning 30 years old. For her birthday I am making her a photo album documenting her thirties years of life. I wish I could show you all the pictures I have been able to get from my family. Some that I have not even seen before!!! I have included a few in this post.

It really warms my heart to see how she has grown up. I remember it like yesterday that we were celebrating her 18th birthday. I can't believe that was 12 years ago. 

Our birthdays are only 3 days apart and I hated it when I was younger because my it meant my birthday cards went up for 3 days and then came down or shoved to the back to make way for her cards. Now she's grown up, moved out, got engaged and had a baby we don't have that problem any more.

But with her turning 30 and looking back at her life it has really got me feeling very sentimental. It's crazy that 12 years ago we were sat in a restaurant wishing her a happy 18th and then in one months time to be saying happy 30th?! It really does not seem real! I think it illustrates how life really does just fly past and it's so easy to miss it.

When I started rummaging through some pictures this morning one thing struck me. When I talk about my younger siblings and how they are growing up way too fast I always look back on my life. But putting this album together for Nicola I look at some of the ages I have not reached yet and see what she has achieved. I look at her life more differently to how I view Rachael and Philip's. I guess I look more ahead at my life since Nicola is older than me. 

Even though Nicola and I didn't get along growing up, we do get along now. And I have to say putting these photos together makes me realise how much I do look up to her. I remember when she met Robbie (her fiance) 11 years ago and how much they loved each other (and still do). I remember thinking at the time 'I would really love to love someone like that'. And I do now!

I remember when she moved out and got a mortgage with Robbie. And I remember thinking 'I really wish I could have my own space like her.' Now Simon and I are saving for a mortgage!

I remember when her and Robbie used to go on really nice holidays to Cuba and South Africa. I was SO jealous of them! Now I can say I have travelled a fair bit and going to Florida this year. 

I'll never forget on Christmas Eve three years ago when Nicola rang to say Robbie had proposed. I was so happy for her and I still dream of having that question popped to me!

And then last year when Nicola gave birth to my nephew and seeing what a truly wonderful mother she is - it just melts my heart! I really hope that one day when I become a Mum I can be just as patient and loving as she is.

They always say that you follow in someone's footsteps some way or another. And I'd be lying if I say I didn't want to follow in some of hers. 

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Wednesday Hodpgepodge

Welcome to Wednesday Hodgepodge!

1. What is ONE thing or area in your home or life you hope to report is completely organized when 2013 draws to a close?  Do you  have a plan to make it happen?

My finances I would have to say. I am still paying off my Car, Simon's Mac and only just finished paying off Florida. By the end of 2013 all these direct debits will be non-existent!!!

2. What's the worst uniform you've ever had to wear for a job?

I'd have to say when I was 16 and doing my Saturday job at a local supermarket. I had to wear this truly awful lime green and blue shirt with a bright yellow badge with my name on. I only worked there for 6 months before I got a better paying weekend job. I remember actually burning that shirt - gross thing!

3. What was your last kitchen 'mishap'?  This question comes to you courtesy of Bettywho blogs over at A Glimpse Into Midlife...everyone go say hi to Betty!

*waves* Hi Betty! I have to say I have a lot of general kitchen mishaps in spilling things and burning my fingers on hobs. I do remember when I was 14 I was trying to reach something from a high cupboard so I used the tumble dryer door as my lever. Well it wasn't such a strong door as it turned out. It snapped off and I had to save up my pocket money as pay back. 

4. How do you protect yourself from other people's negativity?

I kill them with kindness. If someone is generally rude, misgiving or really down all the time then I am just extra nice. In my job we have some really grumpy consultants so it makes me even more forthright in being overly kind. Not in a cheesy way just the sayings like "Have a nice day!" and "Hope you enjoy work today". I completely understand that we all have off days but if I come across people who are just in general more down beat then I try to rise above it almost. I don't have the time, let alone the patience, to tolerate it! Always smile because it irritates negative people.

5. Who in your family do you most resemble (physically)? If you have children, who do people say they favor? Do you agree?

I take after my Mum. I was born blonde hair and green eyed like her compared to my siblings who are dark hair and brown eyed like my Dad. Although, I do see a resemblance of myself in my auntie and older sister too!

6. January 8th is National Bubble Bath Day...will you be celebrating?

I never knew that existed! But no I didn't. I usually spend the 8th January telling people it's exactly a month until my birthday, which is way more fun!

7.  Some of the 'world's best winter festivals' are - Mardi Gras (New Orleans),Quebec Winter Festival (Canada), Sundance Film Festival (Park City, Utah),  Rio Carnivale (Brazil), Sapporo Snow Festival (Japan), Venice Carnivale(Italy) and the Harbin Ice Festival (Northern China).  Of those listed (and if cost were not a factor) which would you most like to attend and why?

Most definitely attend Rio. The carnivals look so vibrant and I think I would totally let myself go and not have a care in the world. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I watched a programme last night about lads/girls holidays where you spend your time on the club scene drinking, having sex and taking part in drunken antics! Has anyone been on these "holidays"? I can't even call it a holiday because I don't see any real fun being had in it, just appears to be competition. Maybe it's my growing age but I just think it's absurd that people would go to places like these? It's worrying they even exist!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Making Relationships Work.

As I have grown up I have always seen those articles of the likes saying 'Best ways to keeping a relationship successful' or 'How to keep your marriage alive' and, my least favourite, 'Top 10 tips to being together'. I used to roll my eyes and turn the page thinking 'what the heck do they know?

It was not until last week when I was reading one of those types of articles that I actually found myself not rolling my eyes and kind of agreeing with the editor.

Since being with Simon and seeing our relationship develop I now totally agree with what those articles read! Funny how things come full circle? Looking back now it was just that I never related to them.

If there is one thing I have learnt in the year or so I have been with Simon is this. Relationships with your respective other is constant work. I have had very loving relationships with ex boyfriends in the past but with Simon I see a definite future. It isn't casual. It's the first relationship with a man I have taken very seriously. It's a relationship that I really want to work.

But that doesn't mean it's easier. Below is a list of some of the things I have learnt, had to work harder at and realise some home truths about myself.

1) He can't be perfect - I will admit that I get frustrated easily. I am a type A, overly organised and routine person. I don't like someone 'ruining' my ideas, plans and getting in my way. Then I met Simon and realised he wasn't like me. He tends to go with the flow more and is a little more relaxed about things. In the earlier part of our relationship I found I got frustrated with him because he wouldn't do things right away. In fact I soon realised I was getting annoyed because he wasn't doing things my way or as well as I think things should be done. This can destroy a relationship and I have since learnt this- Simon is perfect for me but he can't be perfect all the time. I have needed to 'let go' more than I like to admit. 

2) Don't leave things to fester - Over the last year there were times where things would niggle me in our relationship and I would keep my mouth shut. I didn't want to tell him that what he was doing was irritating me as I didn't want to hurt him. Yet, the longer I left it the more I would either snap at Simon or be quite cold towards him. As soon as I got it off of my conscience so to speak we were so much better. It's just better communication! And in the long run it has helped Simon be more open and honest with me but it has been a learning curve!

3) Arguing is not necessarily a bad thing - When I was younger and saw my parents having an argument I always thought that it was a sign they would break up. I held onto that notion all throughout my childhood and teenage years. However, since having relationships I have learnt that it's actually worse to be silent with each other. Otherwise resentment builds up! I think it's this that kills a relationship, not an honest disagreement or difference of opinion. 

4) Having acceptance - This is one of the elements of having a relationship that I find easiest. I just accept that there are some things Simon and I won't agree on. For example our taste in films, holiday destinations or our political parties. As a couple we have just learnt to accept that there are some things we differ on. 

5) Making time - With my job in particular it is so easy to get caught up and do the extra shift or so! Simon and I are currently trying to save for a house and it is so tempting to just think money, save, money, save! We can go days without seeing each other as we both have lives outside of our relationship too. A couple of times a month Simon and I make a habit of having 'day dates' and 'date nights' or we spend an evening cooking a new dish to eat. It's this way we don't get stuck into a routine of just seeing each other after work which gets boring!

On a date night.

6) Admitting when you're in the wrong/ Making up - *gulps* this is what I have the hardest time doing. I hate admitting I am wrong and I can hold grudges against people so easily. I know this can be toxic and believe me I am working on it. What we try to do is try and make light of the situation, talk about it (but not for too long), have a hug and move on. But, it does take effort on both parts! In fact, quite often Simon and I laugh at how ridiculous we were being in the first place.

7) Being intimate - I think this goes without saying and for the public nature of the blog I won't go into any more details. However, I will say that I think this is one of the things that can deteriorate quickly if couples don't make the effort to be intimate and sexual with each other on a regular basis. 

Valentines 2012

8) It's the little things that count - This is the one I like the best and the reason why is because I am so lucky that Simon is SO GOOD at it. It's the most considerate thing I have learnt from him and because of that it's a good reminder for me too! When you first start dating someone you both go out of your way to be romantic and have little surprises for each other. It's so easy to get caught up in it but it can also drop so easily the more comfortable you become with each other. We leave each other little notes, hold hands, Simon every now and then surprises me with flowers or I call him just to say 'I love you'. I think it's so important to maintain some of it all the way through your relationship as a way of showing you care. 
A new beef dish we have cooked together.

I really don't want this post to sound like I am preaching because Simon and I have to continually work at our relationship. I cannot speak for other people. We both accept we have to maintain standards in order to make each other happy. I am the happiest I have been in a  very long time just because of him but that doesn't make our relationship perfect by a long shot. This is why I think relationships can be such hard work because if your're not both on the same page then things will slip. So maybe those articles do have a point after all. 

Does anyone agree/have anything extra to add?

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