Friday, 30 December 2011

Après Christmas

 My beautiful new camera, courtesy of my exceedingly kind Mother. Just need to work out how to use it now...

I hope you all had wonderful Christmases and haven't had to go back to work yet. I've got Hubby until the 3rd (too soon!) but I'm still off until the 9th! The ultimate perk of working in education is the divine number of holidays you get. We have been taking it super easy since we got back from visiting family, partially because it's the holidays, and partially because I somehow managed to hurt my back (again) and so haven't been very mobile. It's feeling much better now, so much so that we actually considered leaving the house today (we've been holed up playing Lego Harry Potter - our post-Christmas present to ourselves), but just as we started to get ready, it started to throw it down with rain and continued to all day! Alas, another afternoon spent curled up on the sofa, in front of the fire, playing our favourite video games and drinking endless cups of tea...

It's a hard life isn't it?!

When we've not been on the xbox, we've been playing with our new Christmas presents - we were spoilt rotten by our families (and each other, naturally) this year, and our presents went down well (I think/hope).

Now that everyone's received them, I can safely reveal what we (well, mostly I, but Hubby did help too) made. The presents were mostly food and drink based, tailored to people's tastes and allergies (although I did forget my sister-in-law's gluten allergy, oops). We made blackberry liquor (using this blackcurrant recipe) and mulled wine for the drinkers amongst the grown-ups, and put them in pretty bottles we found at Ikea (I hinted a peak at them here). Special "festive" rocky road (thanks Nigella!) and peanut butter fudge  for those with a sweet tooth - the RR came out excellently, with the cherries and amaretti biscuits making it feel more decadent and christmas-sy, and the fudge worked well when it was fresh, but went a little squishy once it was out of the fridge unfortunately :( Since my Mum's neither much for alcohol or sweets, I made her some mincemeat, with the promise of a baking session we didn't have time for in the end - maybe next year? and some blackberry jam - made with the pulp from the liquor - no waste here.

I also made a candle for each person, in a chintzy vintage (read: charity shop) cup using wax and dyes I bought off eBay. This all seemed just that little bit too easy to do, and of course, it was - they all came out in terribly delicate pastel colours- pretty, but not so good for the boys in my family, and because I poured the wax too early, they all cracked all over the tops.

 Not to be beaten, and luckily not out of wax, I whipped up a drop more, in slightly bolder colours, and added a tiny extra layer to the candles to sort out both problems in one go.

Since I was on a handmade present kick at this point, I made crunchy granola and brandied cherries for my Mum's birthday too, and my eldest brother (who's birthday is today actually, Happy Birthday G!) got homemade basil and chili oil. We sneaked a nip out of the pan with a crust of bread and I can safely say, the basil oil is divine! Now can you see why I've blogged so little this month? I've been rushed off my feet!

You might think I'm crazy but I've already started thinking about next Christmas too. Hubby came up with a decidedly bold, but brilliant, suggestion which would involve some growing, so we'd have to plan it early, if it were even possible! And we've been snapping up a few more Christmas decorations to add to our eclectic collection - we've been buying a few each year so that by the time we are Old we will have hundreds!

One thing that Hubby MUST NOT READ is a truly incredible present idea I have found for him which will need to be started ASAP. Very excited by this one. If you have a loved one in your life, you might want to consider clicking this link here (No spoilers please!). I think it's such a fab idea.

Are you doing anything nice for New Year's? We'll probably do our usual thing of curling up with a film - maybe having a cheeky glass of fizz, but that's all. I love the hope and promise of a new year and a fresh start, but I'm not much one for fireworks and all the pomp surrounding this holiday. Have fun if you're celebrating and stay safe.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


My house is looking very festive, more and more decorations go up by the day, tinsel is attached to every thing and there are cards everywhere...

Unfortunately I'm not feeling very festive myself :( Hubby and I have both been poorly for the last week or so, and have been confined to bed and pajamas - feeling rotten does NOT get you in the Christmas spirit, let me tell you, nor does it make you feel much like blogging. I've been a bit rubbish this last month or two, too much going on to get it all down on virtual paper! But I'm going to try harder in the new year as I do really enjoy sharing my stories and pictures with  all you lovely readers. I'm also going to be going on a bit of a health kick (AFTER the holidays, obviously) which will hopefully a bit more successful than my attempt at the 30 day shred in December. I was trying to perk up my energy levels for Christmas, but just ended up feeling worse so I abandoned it :)  

But now I have one last tiny bit of Christmas crafting to do, then a few last presents to wrap and I am done! I finished work yesterday and have spent the day tidying up the house, Hubby is on his way home from work and our holidays are ready to begin - horray. The next few days will be spent lazing around the house, watching endless films and eating all the chocolate we can lay our hands on (that's what Christmas is all about, right?) before we go to spend a few days seeing various family members, and eating a lot more food.

If I don't get around to blogging beforehand, assume I'm too busy having fun and have a WONDERFUL Christmas. Try not to kill your siblings and remember to be grateful for all your presents, even if they're rubbish - people mean well. Oh, and don't miss the Doctor Who special, 7pm BBC1! A definite must on my list.

P.S. One last thing to tick of my list is to finish the 30 day journal challenge I started about, oh, 6 months ago. I WILL finish it this year if I am up until 23.59 on New Years Eve

Monday, 12 December 2011

My Weekend

It's been a busy old weekend for me here in Yorkshire, mostly pretty great but with a couple of sour notes.

Hubby and I drove to Bolton on Friday, to stay with my Grandma and to see The Saturdays in Manchester, but got caught in the worst traffic going over - what should've taken just over an hour took almost three! We got caught in a mini-snow blizzard crossing the Pennines and barely made it over 30mph for most of the trip. Sigh. Luckily we'd left early enough that we didn't miss any of the concert, and got to see the fabulous Oh My! as one of the support acts. A really fun pop duo who are apparently British, but have a real Swedish vibe about them. Dirty Dancer was my favourite of the songs they did, and we had great fun having a little dance, I'd love to see them again.

Then The Saturdays came on and were pretty great. They played a LOT of the new album (10 out of 14 songs!), which I've not listened to that much yet, but Get Ready, Get Set, Faster, The Way You Watch Me and the singles of the album were all still easy to sing along to. Ego was, obviously, fantastic, and I loved the mash-up of If This Is Love with Moves Like Jagger. I'd have liked a bit more in terms of production - when we saw Girls Aloud there, they put on much more of a 'show' in terms of staging and dancing and movement around the arena, but it was still really good. And they did make it snow at the end so all was not lost :)

(images from Google)

Saturday was supposed to be spent at a medical appointment in Manchester, which was, very frustratingly, cancelled at the very last minute on Saturday morning. Argh! But, the silver lining was that we were able to have lunch with some of my family at the Lowry Hotel.

We weren't exactly dressed for the occasion, but since I always have a collection of brightly coloured lipsticks rattling round my handbag, I rouged up and felt more dressy instantly.

We popped into Ikea on the way home for a new bookshelf and a few more Christmas decorations, then spent the rest of the evening catching up with Strictly and occasionally flicking X Factor on, shuddering in horror and then turning it off again. Sunday was pretty much a write-off. One of those lazy days where you sleep late and basically just watch loads of telly. Ideal after being out all weekend.

What was your weekend like? Busy, lazy or both?!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

My style crush on Taylor Swift

There. I said it. I think Taylor Swift is 'the bomb'. Yes her music is corny and a bit silly, and yes, the girl does love her sparkles a littttle too much...


But seriously, her 'off-duty' style is to DIE for. There's a real simplicity and elegance to her look, and it's clean-cut whilst still being age-appropriate. Taylor (TayTay as I fondly refered to her when I'm having a good old singalong of Band Hero), you're too cute.

Whenever she pops up on Red Carpet Fashion Awards (a favourite read of mine), I'm always impressed with how she channels old Hollywood glamour - I love her Marcel waves - whilst remaining true to her teenage, country, sparkles loving self. But the look that has me going gaga at the moment?

Seriously Taylor, I DIE. It's so simple yet so heavenly. From the pleated skirt to the colourful satchel, the sassy red lips and the simple pearl earrings, it's just too perfect. Girl sure knows how to colour block. Swoooooon.

What do you think, are you swooning too or do you think she's overrated? Do you get sick of her sparkly red carpet dresses?

All images via Google image search

Thursday, 24 November 2011


So I don't technically celebrate Thanksgiving, but I do like the idea behind the holiday, much like Christmas. I think the reality (of both) is a little less than perfect - Tofurkey for me please! But I thought I'd enter into the spirit of things regardless and share my gratitude list with y'all.

First and foremost I am thankful for my (relative) health and happiness, and that of my loved ones, obviously the most important thing, but something you tend to forget about when you're worried about money and the like, so i'm writing it down to try and help me keep that in my focus. My Granddad is a bit poorly at the moment, but I'm hoping that things will work out ok. He's fought illness off more than once before, so I'm confident he can do it again.

Linked in to my health, I am so very grateful I was able to donate blood for the second time last night (along with my husband) - my iron count can be a little low, and I have problems with slow flow from my veins, but I was able to give a full donation (almost a pint) and I feel amazing. I can't think of a better, easier selfless act to commit. Literally, I am still buzzing knowing that Hubby and I have helped to save lives. Yes it makes me feel a bit squeemish, and it's not the most comfortable or fun experience ever, but it's saving lives people! I took my phone with me this time and played Solitare and livetweeted my experience to distract me :) Please please consider giving blood when there's next a donation session near you, even if you've had a bad experience in the past, particularly if you've got a rare blood type, or super blood like Hubby (O groups can be used universally). I'm A+ which is neither, but it still counts! Take someone to hold your hand, you'll be fine :)

I'm grateful for the free tea and biscuits you get at the end too (my favourite bit). I love tea. I love biscuits. It's a no-brainer. I also got a key ring with my blood type on which I'm dead chuffed with, and intend to show off as much as possible.

I'm incredible thankful that our horrible neighbours have apparently scarpered overnight, finally leaving us in peace! They were noisy, littered, rude and frequently had the police knocking on their door, so we are well shot of them. Keep your fingers crossed for a lovely young couple to move in next door that we can be bezzie mates with. Until the new tenants arrive though, such blissful silence, hooray!

Even though my second job ended recently, leaving me feeling a bit worried about how we'll manage over the coming months and whether or not I'll be able to find a new job, I'm thankful I was able to go back and do some cover work this week, and again next week, which means I'll get a bit more money come the end of December when we'll be at our poorest, relieving a little bit of stress.

How are you celebrating Thanksgiving today? What would you put on your gratitude list?

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


These 'my life is instagram' posts seem very popular these days, and since I'm currently too busy to sit down and write a proper blog post - life is rather rudely getting in the way I'm afraid, this is the best I can manage.

1. Brussels sprouts for tea, one of our faves. Yum yum.
2. Cold days mean cold ears, breaking out my earmuffs.
3. A pretty new dress without breaking the bank. £3!
4. We've been watching lots of TV whilst hubby's been sick. All caught up with Pan Am, Gossip Girl and Misfits now. Anyone else watching?
5. We had a little lust over Rob from Great British Bake Off when we saw the cook book in the supermarket. That fringe. Swoon.
6. I've been super busy making Christmas presents - just a sneak peek so I don't spoil any surprises!
7. Even if it's a bit obvious, a bunch of flowers is always nice to receive after a fight. Especially when accompanied by a box of chocolates too!

That's all for now. We're off to go and try and give blood again tonight, although Hubby's probably too poorly too. Going to give it a shot though.

Friday, 18 November 2011

What I Wore- Children In Need

Today is the annual charity appeal of a British charity called Children In Need, a campaign fronted by a bear (don't ask, I didn't come up with it) called Pudsey. Pudsey wears an iconic spotted eyepatch (again, no idea why), so the kids at my school were encouraged to dress in spotty clothes to help raise money.

This is Pudsey dressed as the Eleventh Doctor (Who).

Now, I love to dress up silly, I do it most days in fact. Working in a primary school I feel like I get a bit more of a free reign than in say an office environment, so I like to wear lots of primary colours, prints and generally have a bit of fun with my outfits. Today was no exception...

Cardigan, Skirt & Tights: Primark
T-shirt: H&M
Scarf: vintage

Do you think I was spotty enough?! I considered wearing my pink wellies with the spots on, but just wore boots in the end, boring I know. Did you dress up at your work place or do anything to raise money?

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Currently obsessed with

Dry Shampoo!

Serious confession, I'd never used dry shampoo before maybe a month or two ago. I know, I know, how behind with the times am I? I did not know what I was missing out on! It might be a slight over exaggeration, but barely, to say that dry shampoo has changed my life. No really! I don't like to wash my hair every day (it doesn't really need it), but by 1 and 1/2 days, it is starting to flag, so I use it then to give my hair a boost and de-grease my fringe - which gets way greasier than the rest of my hair. And I also use it - rarely!- when I'm running late/staying over at a friends/hungover (OK, so I use it quite a lot...), as a cheat for washing my hair, and to save my colour from fading too quickly.

My first foray into the dry shampooing world was via the Rose oil & lotus flower Asda version, reasonably priced at £1.50 for 150ml.

My frugal thinking was that I didn't want to waste any pennies on a branded version if it was going to be useless and never used. But I loved it! The scent isn't overpowering but is nice enough, but the product really delivers in terms of performance. No residue or white streaks (one of the criticism's I'd read of dry shampoo before using it), so a thumbs up from me!

Then I entered a competition on Facebook, and actually won! The prize wasn't anything mega (not like my friend Jade who only went and won a trip to PARIS) but I was still dead chuffed when two 200ml cans of Batiste dry shampoo arrived on my door step.

I got the Blush and Hobo er, flavours?

Firstly, I much prefer the new style of packaging to the old one. If I'm honest, the way it used to look put me off trying it quite a lot, so I'm pleased they changed it! The smells weren't wildly different, Blush is described as 'floral and flirty' whilst Hobo is 'sweet and spirited' which sounds about right. Hobo's a bit fruity for my tastes, so if I were to repurchase I'd either go for Blush or try one of the other varieties (the new Wild packaging has caught my eye). I was very impressed with how much life they breathed back in to my hair, even more so than the Asda one, but very disappointed with the amount of white residue it left in my hair which required a lot of brushing out, and on some occasions a bit of water. It could be that I was holding it too close to my head (does anyone really go the full 30cm?), but it didn't happen with the other one. 

I've still got plenty of these two cans left, so I won't need to buy anymore for a while, but when I do, I'm not sure what I'll do. Maybe try another brand out to find my favourite. If you've got any recommendations or beauty staples, please leave me a comment, I'm definitely willing to give any product a try once, as long as it's within budget!

P.S. If you follow me on Twitter, you'll have seen I bit the bullet and decided to make a Facebook page! It's a bit bare at the moment, but once I get to grips with it, it should be up and running, so head over and take a look :)

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Social Media

So I've been umm-ing and ah-ing for weeks about whether or not to create a Facebook page for my blog (also with deleting facebook entirely, but that's another story) and I thought I'd ask my 'readers' (my kind friends and family who read this blog) whether they thought it was a good idea or if they had any experience with it they could share with me.

I only got twitter in the first place so I could connect with more bloggers and share/promote my blog easier, although I'll admit I'm a little addicted now, which is why I'd like to make a Facebook page - it's a very easy forum to promote discussions and conversations. I'm just worried it seems a little self-indulgent, and also, it means really opening up this blog for public scrutiny via EVERYONE I know, which is more than a little scary! Obviously I want people to read it, I'm just not sure I'm ready for my old school friends, my in-laws and all the rest to be reading it too...

I recently had yet another 'cull' of "friends" on there that I never speak to, and am unlikely to ever see again, so maybe it's time to bite the bullet and stop being such a coward. Do you ever feel the need for a good spring cleaning of your social media sites? I for one am definitely following too many blogs, but I can't bear to unfollow anyone! So my Google Reader averagely has about 500 unread posts on any given day. Sigh.

Honest (polite) opinions gratefully recieved. Would you make a blog page? If you already have, has it had a positive impact on your blog? Do you think I'll ever stop being such a wuss? :)

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Christmas Countdown

There are only 39* days until Christmas - eek! *(and counting) Where has the time gone? There is so much to do before we head down south to spend a few days with my family and meet up with Hubby's family briefly (we'll be seeing them properly in January since we can't leave the cats for too long). As the song goes, I'm making a list, and checking it twice. Technically speaking I've already made about 5 lists, and I highly doubt they'll be the last ones. Foolishly or frugally, I've decided to make my Christmas presents this year. Times are hard, and I've always been a terrible present buyer anyway, so it seemed to be the thing to do this year, plus it's very 'now' isn't it? Make do and mend etc. Last year I made everyone a jar of Plum jam to accompany their bought presents, but this year I thought I'd go all out homemade.

Unfortunately I can't divulge my exact gift plans as some of my family have been known to read this here blog of mine, but I can say that they won't be getting hand-knitted scarves or embroidered cushions, since I'm hopeless at that sort of thing (and they'd probably hate them!). Despite having never made any of my proposed presents before (cross your fingers they go well, please), I'm sticking to my strengths (the kitchen), and only tackling one (admittedly huge) never-done-anything-like-it-alone project, so it should all be fine.
If not, it's the thought that counts, right?!

I've loved trawling the internet for ideas that are appropriately festive, but also appropriate to the gift receiver, and then scourering the shops for the right craft "ingredients" and I can't wait to share with you how they all turn out - you'll just have to wait until after Christmas unfortunately! Maybe it'll give you some ideas for next year.

How are you going to tackle present buying this year ("in the current economic climate")? Have you started watching any Christmas films or listening to Christmasy music? Hubby and I watch the Gavin & Stacey Christmas special about 500 times a year, so that's our go-to DVD at the minute, and we've just been giving the Michael Buble album a listen - definitely going on the shopping list!

P.S. it might seem a little early to some to be getting in the Christmas spirit, but by the time Christmas comes around I'll be a total grinch so I like to get in the mood nice and early :)

Friday, 11 November 2011


This week has been seriously killer. Hubby has been working some serious over time, and him being tired and late home hasn't exactly made for a fun atmosphere - I get a bit sulky if I'm left on my own too much and he gets a bit sulky if he doesn't get enough sleep... BUT, we're off out into Leeds tonight to see friends and relax and forget about work. We're going to see Los Campesinos! play at the Cockpit, not my favourite band ever, but Hubby's, and several of our friends, so I'm taking one for the team. We're staying in Harrogate with a friend tonight, and then back in to Leeds tomorrow for a family lunch which I'm excited for. And then maybe a spot of Christmas shopping, which I am not excited for. My thinking is if we start early enough it might not be that hellish? But I always loath shopping in Leeds so I imagine it will be fairly traumatic.

In other news, yesterday I was diagnosed with eczema on my hands - hooray! I have no idea what's causing it but I've never had a problem with it before. It's possibly my job, and the stress of it ending, are making it worse, so that may or may not get better after today. Until then, this has become my new BFF...

Does anyone else suffer with it? It's pretty unpleasant :( Trying my best not to scratch but it's really hard! Does anyone have any tips for dealing with it? Things to avoid etc. Don't know a lot about it yet so anything would be helpful really :)

Fingers crossed it clears up ASAP.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Why I decided to take my husband's name

Once upon a time (well, 1 year, 1 month and 7 days ago to be precise), I was not the Mrs B you know me as today, back then in the olden days, I was little old Miss G. But on that fateful day I married the love of my life, Mr B, and so I became Mrs B.

It's traditional, and somewhat old fashioned to take your husband's name when you get married, but it's increasingly uncommon. Women today have their own identities and careers and reputations, some largely based on their name, and they don't feel the need or desire to change it (something I totally agree with btw, fair play to those women).

This article on the Guardian's website discusses the issues in a bit more detail, but I thought I'd share my personal reasons for changing. Essentially, getting married leaves you with 2 options, you either both keep your original surnames, or you both take the same name. Now to me, half the reason I got married in the first place was because I wanted to tell the world (shout it from the rooftops like) that this was my man, and I was his woman, and we were ridiculously in love, and us both having the same surname tells the world that. It says we're this unit and we've publicly made this commitment, and you have to respect that it's no longer the same situation as two single individuals. Being a Mrs is a bit like wearing a ring, it's a badge, it's a symbol of what I am now. I am a wife. But most importantly, I am his wife. That's what I'm saying by calling myself Mrs B, and that's really important to me. So not having the same name was never an option for me. We didn't have a big wedding to prove to ourselves our commitment and love for each other, there was no need, we did it so our friends and family could celebrate our love with us and so people would know, even at a glance, what we had together. And so we could call each other Hubby & Wifey :)

Taking your husband's name is not the only way for you both to have the same name though, some people consider double-barreling or 'meshing' - not really an option for us as we both have stupidly hard to spell surnames (his is actually worse than mine was) and it would've just been a terrible mouthful, although we are commonly referred to by friends as RolliB, which is a mash-up of sorts I suppose. But one option we did quite seriously discuss, was that he could take my name, and he would have done that in a heartbeat had I not wanted to take his, but I did. It's also a bit more fuss for a man to change his name than a woman, but that's not why we didn't go that route.

It's hard to explain why I wanted to, but I thought about it, I didn't just go with convention, I consciously decided that this was what I wanted. See, for me, I didn't feel like my identity was tied up in my name, part of it is now, because personally and professionally I use Mrs B a lot more than I ever used Miss G. Back then I was just Rosie, which obviously I still am now. When I changed my name, I didn't feel any less a part of my birth family (or my adopted one! - ha, just kidding, it's a running joke in my family that I'm adopted). I'm still a sister, daughter, cousin, granddaughter, niece and aunty, all the things I was before. Who I am hasn't changed. It doesn't change my ideals or my principles. As Shakespeare once wrote, what's in a name?

What do you think? Would you change your name if/when you got married? Did you? What are your reasons behind your beliefs? I think it's a really interesting topic and I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

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