It’s not what you do, it’s who you’re with

A gorgeous converted barn with a hot tub in the middle of the Welsh countryside can only mean one thing (well, it can mean two things once you add ten twenty-something girls on their first ever hen do), but the main thing about being in the middle of nowhere, is that there’s not an awful lot to do in the surrounding area.

hot tub

But, instead of gorging ourselves on any more phallic looking foods, we decided to venture out to a FUN DAY at the grounds of an old castle nearby. Well, we were looking for fun, and the clue was in the title, right?!

Greeted by significantly older ladies dressed in Victorian attire, we trundled through the spitting rain into the grounds and looked at one another with a knowing smirk that this was perhaps not what our hen, or our group of giggling girls, had in mind.

Though you know what, we only went and made the bloody best of it!

A punch & Judy show was first on the agenda, and luckily you can’t go wrong with a bit of slapstick comedy.

Laughter – check.

punch & judy

Next was a guided tour around the castle. We found humour in the fact that it reminded us of museums we’d been dragged to by our parents over the years, got told off for giggling as if we were those children being dragged round by our parents, and took part in the craft section that was clearly meant for 8 year olds.

Culture, sort of – check. 

FInally, the band, not exactly to our taste, but this video will say it all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ao2Ibhm5SM0

It makes me giggle every time I see it; we managed to gather a crowd and become the entertainment. Because, well, that’s just how we roll.

It made me realise that sometimes, it really doesn’t matter where you are, or what you’re doing, as long as you’re with your favourite people. Oh, and are willing to act like a fool and laugh at yourself, of course.

girls heads

sam and em

em ails

girlies hen do

cakes

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It’s the little things.

I blogged about the winter blues a couple of weeks ago, and since then I’ve started to take some small but positive steps towards seeing the light through the dark winter nights.

Here are some top tips and small buys for making winter the season to be jolly.

  • There’s no need to wait for the depths of the festive season to bring out the sparkly sequin dresses when you can show off a little shimmer everyday with this gold glitter nail varnish from Barry M. Two coats will leave for an evenly spread sparkle, and team with gold jewellery for instant bling.
  • glitter nailsVaseline’s ‘paint the town’ lip balm is my new best friend. Combining a super sweet spiced berry taste, with soft kissable smackers and a hint of red tint, it’s perfect for banishing dry winter lips and balancing out that interesting shade of ice blue that begins when you’re forced to stand outside and watch the fireworks.
  • vaseline redMake a CD/playlist of your favourite songs that make you feel good as soon as you hear them, and play them before you start your day as a musical pick me up. Or, simply invest in a new power album – I’ve just bought Jessie J’s album Alive, full off kick ass can do attitude.
  • jessie jIf ever a cute bobble hat were an essential for your wardrobe, now is the time. Look at my cute buy from Topshop, gorgeously chunky knit with a super soft bobble. I’ll probably only wear it once, like 2012’s earmuffs and 2011’s fingerless gloves, but it’s adorable nonetheless.

hatTreat yourself to a new spritz (or get some freeby testers!) My all time favourite Christmassy scent is Miss Dior Cherie. Wear your chosen smell at every special occasion you attend throughout the season and you can literally keep your memories bottled up, as every time you wear it after that you’ll be reminded of fun celebrations.
miss dior

We all know a little retail therapy is good for the heart, and I’m focusing on these little things to keep me smiling through the grey, rainy days!

On loss. And playing the glad game.

phone 2

Last weekend, I experienced a sense of loss.

That deep gut wrenching realisation that so many memories have disappeared forever, that my closest companion with whom I shared everything with, told every conversation to and who knows me better than anyone else, is never to be seen again.

I lost my phone.

It’s a tragic world we live in when the disappearance of a small plastic electronic can literally feel like you’ve lost a friend.  But although my phone was not yet insured (there’s £400 I could do without spending), my gut wrenching feeling is really about so much more than the money; it’s the photographs, the videos, the memories that were so special, that I will never see or share again.

I know there are technical cyber storage vaults these days where contacts and memory and back up for back up can be backed up in the event of such a loss, but, it was a typical case of ‘not getting round to it’.

In this day and age, our phones really can be our whole lives. Every bit of data we send and receive daily, from texts and emails to instant messaging and social media are contained. As are our personal lives, from calendar events and invitations to bank statements. We’re encouraged to record everything we say and do on this tiny device, as if an overflow car park from our jam packed brains, yet it’s all open to be swiped by a stranger and gone from our lives in a moment.

Although this week has been one for mourning and loss, it’s also been a week of thinking how things could of course be far, far worse. It goes without saying that there’s being lucky enough to afford an expensive phone in the first place. But then there’s the fact that I wasn’t mugged for it, no-one is hurt, and no-one has actually died (as much as a tiny bit inside of me may feel that way every time I check my bank balance or spend 15 minutes typing a text on my old, slow, scratched, replacement mobile.)

As with any loss, I’ve genuinely received messages of condolence from those that feel my pain. I’ve heard from strangers or people I haven’t spoken to in years offering advice and suggestions. I’ve had a support network around me, from Dad lending me the old, slow, scratched replacement mobile, Mum driving me round on a Sunday night to find an open shop that sells sim cards, to my brother driving out to a cash point to do this thing called ‘topping up with credit’ in time for my week of work.

So, all in all, although I’m phoneless, around £1000 down, and have hundreds of memories lost forever, I’m playing the glad game…

Thank god it was only something so small and insignificant as a phone going missing that has reminded me just how many people I have around me to help me out in times of need.

The Tough & Terrific Twenties!

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Being in your twenties can be really hard work. There’s so much fun to be had but so much pressure too,  so much to do and complete and see, yet the feeling that there is so little time to do it all!

My friends and I talk all the time about our plans for the future; what we’re doing now, what we should be doing, what we plan to do, what we’re scared to do, whether we’re doing things right or wrong, whether any of it even matters at all.

It’s certainly a decade full of contradictions, but I’ve got to admit it’s definitely a fun one to be muddling through.

In your twenties you:

  • Have enough disposable money to make plans
  • Have more plans than money and more money than sense
  • Want to be in a career, committed to your job and work your way up the ladder
  • Want to be doing more than sitting behind a desk
  • Want to start settling, to be content
  • Want to throw caution to the wind and travel the world
  • Want to be single and go on countless dates and spend Saturday nights partying
  • Want to fall in love and get butterflies and a racing heart and spend Saturday nights with that guy
  • Want to holiday and stay out til 6am and sleep all day then do it all over again
  • Want to take day trips and city breaks and have a civilised meal and glass of wine and be rested enough for another day of culture and adventure
  • Are an independent, career woman, to whom marriage and kids seems a life you’ll never know
  • Secretly know the style of your wedding dress and what your children will be called

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It’s no-one else’s business the way we choose to live our lives, a lot of our decisions are based on the experiences we have and the people we meet along the way and as long as it makes us happy, well that’s all that matters.

And sometimes, we should really just stop thinking about it altogether.

In the words of Carrie Bradshaw:

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