Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Merry (belated) Christmas!

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas! It certainly looks that way from all the blog posts I've just trawled through, haha.

My Christmas was a bit of an unusual one. It was the first Christmas I've not been at home in Cardiff, and I was really upset about this. Although I wasn't working Christmas Day, I worked until 6pm on Christmas Eve, then had work at 8am on Boxing Day so really didn't have a chance to go home. Luckily my parents are wonderful and came to spend the day with me.

We managed to rustle up a quite delicious Christmas lunch despite my teeny kitchen, and our afternoon entertainment was provided by a music + film quiz book my father received, and a viewing of family favourite Airplane! You know those films that everyone in your family quotes? Airplane! is definitely one of ours ("I picked the wrong day to give up smoking!" and "No stopping the red zone" are particular favourites). That and Some Like It Hot.

I got a lovely - and strange in some instances (multivitamins and stain remover, just what I've always wanted!) - selection of presents. Definitely looking forward to starting on that bottle of Irish Cream Liqueur ;) In fact, I might have a glass now while watching the Big Fat Quiz of the Year. What a life!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

A serious post.

Back in this post I mentioned that something was going on in my life that I'd talk about properly a bit later. Well, it's now that time. Aren't you excited?

So, Dan and I have split up. We were together for a year, and it was a great year, but in the past few months I'd grown to realise that my feelings for him were more platonic than romantic. And as wonderful a person as he is, I just couldn't be in a relationship with someone that I don't feel romantically attracted to. It's not fair on me or him.

We're still having to live together because our tenancy doesn't end until July next year, so it is a bit of an odd situation. If our flat had two bedrooms it would make it a lot easier, but it doesn't. Neither of us can afford to pay for the rent on this place by ourselves, which means that neither of us can afford to move out either so we've just got to stick it out for now.

I'm not sure what's going to happen come July - will I stay around here but move into a place by myself? Will I move back to Cardiff? Will I move somewhere else entirely? I really don't know. Still, that's over 6 months away yet, so I'm sure something will work itself out.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Recently ... [6]

First thing's first: I've now reached over 100 followers, which I'm more than a little bit excited about and proud of! Thank you to everyone who follows me; it really means a lot. And thank you for all your happy birthday wishes too!

So, with a week until Christmas, December is absolutely flying by. Here's what I've been up to recently:

+ I've finally caught up with mobile phone technology by getting myself a new touchscreen phone! Hooray! I've had my old phone for 3 years, and since it's been working fine I saw no reason to buy a new one. But the other day it just decided to stop receiving texts. Lovely. So I used my birthday money and bought myself a Huawei Blaze.

It was only £60, bargain or what? It's going to take me a while to get the hang of the whole touchscreen business, I think - texting has suddenly become a lot slower process!

+ Since I work in a hotel, we've been hosting various Christmas parties on Friday and Saturday nights for the past 3 weekends, and last night was our last one. They've been good fun, if slightly chaotic. Definitely looking forward to our own Christmas party now, though (but we have to wait until the new year for that!).

+ I finally got around to uploading some photos from when a few of my friends came to visit me for my birthday night out.

We spent a while sitting by a fish tank, and this fish barely moved the whole time - it just stayed there, staring at me! I wasn't sure whether to be flattered or creeped out!

Hope you're all getting into the Christmas spirit! I feel as if I should start coming up with New Year Resolutions, but that sounds like a lot of hard work ...

Monday, 12 December 2011

O! Christmas tree.

Guess what guys? I'm back in Cardiff! It feels SO GOOD to be home!
(just a bit of a FYI, since I guess I've not had cause to bring this up before: I was born and raised in Cardiff, and obviously my parents still live here. Despite living in Southampton now, I still consider Cardiff 'home' and I miss it here a lot if I haven't been back for a while).

This past weekend 3 of my friends came to visit me for my birthday night out. Unfortunately I left my camera on the table in my flat (we were in a bit of a rush to get our trains the next morning!), sooo ... you'll have to wait to see those photos!

In the meantime, here's a photo of our Christmas tree that my parents and I spent ages decorating earlier. And by decorating I mean trying to make it stand up straight. It actually doesn't look all that wonky in the photo, but believe me, in real life it looks as if it's about to keel over!

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Last year I didn't have the chance to do our family tradition of putting on Christmas music while we decorate the tree and put the various other tinsel, wreaths and ornaments around the house, because I was working in Marks & Spencer and didn't get a chance to come home until Christmas Eve. This year it looks as if I might not be able to come home for Christmas (though I don't know - I still haven't seen the Christmas rota at work), so it was nice to be able to get Christmassy with family traditions at least once this December.

Oh, and in case you didn't already know,

So happy birthday to me ;)

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Internet Roundup

Here's a selection of various things I've found amusing/cute/interesting/true on the internet (read: Tumblr) recently. I'm not sure if this will become a regular thing, but I like sharing things I find (and I have a weird aversion to doing so on Facebook), so it might well do. Anyway, on with the show!

THIS. Why does this keep happening? It's incredibly frustrating and makes NO SENSE.


Awesome People Hanging Out Together is an AMAZING Tumblr. Here are some of my favourites:

Helen Keller, Anne Sullivan and Mark Twain.

Edison, Ford, Warren Harding and Firestone. Epic combination.

This is one of my favourite pictures of all time. It makes my heart happy.

Cutest kittens ever?


Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Recently ... [5]

+ When I got home from work the other night, Dan had put up a bunch of Christmas decorations that he'd bought from Asda, including an adorable tree that was only £3.75! It's actually black, but you can hardly notice that with the tinsel and baubles on it, so it doesn't matter!

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+ While I was doing the washing up earlier I decided to put the Wicked soundtrack on. I was obsessed with Wicked when it first opened in the West End back when I was 17 or 18 (I went to see it when Idina Menzel was in it right at the beginning, and it was amazing. She signed my programme and everything), but I hadn't listened to the soundtrack in AGES.
For some reason I found myself humming 'Dancing Through Life' this morning, so on the soundtrack went! I know decidedly too many of the words to all of the songs so I was belting them all out, wonderfully tunelessly I'm sure! Doing the washing up is made infinitely more fun by singing "THERE'S A STRANGE EXHILARATION, IN SUCH TOTAL DETESTATION, IT'S SO PURE SO STRONNNNNG" obnoxiously loudly.

+ I've been eating a lot of these biscuit cake things from Lidl:

They are GOOD.

+ It's my 23rd birthday in exactly one week! Eek, 23. That sounds properly old. When I was younger and my mother told me that you never feel any older, no matter how old you get, I found that hard to believe. I was convinced that your personality moulded to the age you are. And, yes, I suppose it does in some ways, but that's more about the life experiences you have rather than the actual age you are. I feel just the same now as I did at 17. A little more world-wise, maybe, and a little more confident, definitely, but for all intents and purposes, very much the same girl.
I'm going back to Cardiff for my birthday, which I'm really excited about. I get to go and dance and get drunk with my girl friends on the weekend, then it's homeward bound on Sunday for some family times. I'm definitely going to make the most of my (just under) week off work.

Saturday, 3 December 2011


I can't believe it's been a week already since I went to London to meet up with my girl friends! Seriously, where does the time go? I feel like time has been going by extra quickly since I've had a job. I measure my weeks by days on a rota, which runs from Friday to Thursday of the following week, so I'm all messed up. It doesn't help that my days off don't often fall on a weekend, and that I don't necessarily have two days off next to each other. Sometimes the only way I can figure out what day it is is by looking at my rota and thinking 'well, I wasn't in yesterday morning, so today must be [insert day here]'. It's quite the confusing work schedule!

I made the most of my (begged for) weekend off last weekend by visiting the Good Food Show with my mother and then on Sunday going to London to see some of my lovely girl friends.

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I got to see Katie's engagement ring in the flesh (as it were) for the first time! She's been engaged since MAY (yes, I did just got allll the way back on her Facebook profile to check!), and I haven't seen her since before then. Isn't that terrible?

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We went to the Forever 21 on Oxford Street, which I was super excited about because I have a gift card for the shop but ... I was disappointed. It didn't fill me with that 'OHMYGOD MUST HAVE EVERYTHING' feeling that the stores in the States do. Something was lacking. Hmm. I did come away with some earrings, though, so it wasn't a total loss.

Since I failed at finding a dress for my birthday while I was shopping in London, I did some online shopping instead. I acquired two LOVELY dresses from BooHoo.com that I'm super excited to wear. I might do a post on them. And the earrings. Ooh, you're all excited, right? Right?

P.S. For those of you who commented on my last post asking, I'm not sure you can call the things going on a 'good thing', but ... well, I'll save it for a proper post about it!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011


I've really been slacking with the posting here lately, haven't I?! There's some things going on in my real life at the moment that's kind of taking away from my blogging time, but hopefully it'll calm down soon and I can return to my normal blogging schedule (not that I have an actual blogging schedule - I'm horrible at keeping to schedules so I don't even try!). Since I hate strongly dislike it when bloggers post cryptic things without explanation on their blog, I'm going to assure you that I will explain soon. I'll probably even do a whole post on it, ooh.

Anyway, moving on. On Saturday my mother and I ventured up to the Birmingham NEC to go to the Good Food Show Winter. We've been to the summer one for the past few years because it's been at the same time, and in the same show, as the Gardener's World Live show. Since we've realised that we only really go for the food and not the gardens, we decided to go along to the winter show as well this year!

We ate SO MUCH FREE FOOD. It was amazing. From Italian meats to ice cream, yoghurt to quiches, pork pies to cheese, you name it, we ate it. Speaking of cheese, they'd had the World Cheese Awards there a couple of days before, and had all of the cheeses out on display.

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I had never seen so much cheese in one place before and, let's be honest, probably never will again. I was impressed. Because yes, I apparently get impressed by cheese.

It was lovely to spend a day out with my mother (even if I did have to get up at 6am on my day off to get there, yeesh!). I'm so looking forward to going home for my birthday (two weeks today, eek!) and getting to spend a proper couple of days there, rather than just seeing my parents for a few hours at a time as I've been doing since I moved down here.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Party dresses.

Party dresses
1. New Look - £25.99
(also available in navy blue)
2. New Look - £30
3. New Look - £37.99
4. Forever 21 - £19.75
5. Forever 21 - £16.75
6. Forever 21 - £19.75

I'm not usually someone who gets all excited for 'the party season', because I don't tend to go to actual Christmas parties. And I'm not this year, either (my work Christmas party isn't until January, and it's looking like it's going to be beach themed anyway. It was either that, or Olympics themed. Yeah). But with my birthday coming up in less than three weeks, Dan's birthday and New Year's Eve at the end of December, and Dan's PGCE graduation in January, I've got lots of excuses to buy lots of pretty dresses!

While these dresses are sort of a wish list, they're also a realistic list of dresses I might get. I'm not too good with looking at pretty dresses that I can't ever have!
I have a gift card for Forever 21 so when I go shopping there on Sunday (yay! SO EXCITED) I'm hoping I'll be able to pick up a dress for my birthday night out. I love buying new clothes for special nights out a bit too much! It's probably an issue I should look into.

- - - - -

This weekend I'm going to the Good Food Show in the Birmingham NEC with my mother on Saturday, then meeting up with my girl friends in London on Sunday. I'm rather excited. Unfortunately, I've got a split shift (two shifts in one day) in work to get through tomorrow, and probably won't get home until at least 2am because I'm on to stay til finish. So it might be quite the tiring weekend!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Salmon stir fry.

I've never done a recipe here before because I don't get much time to do proper cooking - I'm usually in work over dinner time, and I'm not hungry enough before work to make a full meal. But yesterday evening I made a really simple and delicious (and maybe almost a little healthy!) meal so I thought I'd share.

Salmon stir fry

You will need:
Salmon (generally one piece per person is enough. I used frozen salmon, but fresh is probably yummier)
Stir fry vegetables (I just used a bag of pre cut and mixed veg from Sainsbury's)
Sharwood's medium soft noodles
Soy sauce
Olive oil
Sweet chilli sauce (optional)

1. Start by cooking your salmon. Since mine was from frozen, I put it on foil, covered it with olive oil and some sweet chilli sauce (because I LOVE sweet chilli sauce like woah) and shoved it in the oven on around 200°C.

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2. While that's cooking, start sorting out your stir fry. Since a stir fry doesn't take long, use your judgement as to when you start cooking it - I usually start with about 7 or 8 minutes before my salmon is ready.
Heat some olive oil in a frying pan or wok, then throw as much stir fry veg into the wok as you'd like.

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3. After a minute or two, add the noodles.

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4. After another minute, add lots of soy sauce (well, how much soy sauce you add is up to you. I like lots!)

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5. Once both your stir fry and your salmon are ready, serve the salmon up on a bed of stir fry. Ta-da!

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(I'd have had more stir fry had Dan not decided it looked delicious and he wanted some too, so I begrudgingly had to share!)

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Recently ... [4]

Hmm, it would seem I've not updated this blog of mine in almost a week! Scandalous! I don't even have a good excuse. So, instead, here's some things I've been up to recently:

+ Last night I Skyped with Mariah, my Colorado BFF, for four hours. I didn't get to bed until 3.30am. Good job I have today off work! I'm planning on asking my parents for flights to visit her in April next year (she's turning 21, yay!) for my birthday and/or Christmas. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

+ I went out for my boss's leaving night out, and we all got rather drunk. It was such a fun night. I really am lucky to have a great bunch of colleagues. Though it isn't quite the same without James now :(

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+ Have you all seen the John Lewis Christmas advert? It brings tears to my eyes.

I love that an advert for a store can be about a meaning, rather than any products at all. So much better than the awful X Factor one that M&S have gone with. As a former M&S employee, I am embarrassed for them.

+ This Michael McIntyre video basically sums up my life at the moment:

Friday, 11 November 2011

One year!

Yesterday marked mine and Dan's one year anniversary!

We didn't do anything particularly wild to celebrate, because we were both shattered (I went out on Wednesday night with work colleagues, and Dan didn't have a very good night sleep because he couldn't get back to sleep after I came in, oops), so we just ordered in Pizza Hut pizza and caught up on some TV. Oh, and Dan bought me some lovely flowers:

(please excuse the games behind!)
(he also bought me some chocolates, but um, I've already eaten some of those!)

This past year has been amazing. We've seen a lot of changes in our lives - me graduating, Dan becoming a real teacher, us no longer being students, moving to Southampton together etc - and it's hard to believe we've been together for a year already, but at the same time it also feels as if we've been together a lot longer! Strange how time can do that.

- - - - -

In other news, a couple of you guys commented on my last post not knowing what Bonfire Night is! I am shocked and appalled. So, I give you Wikipedia's description:

In Great Britain, Bonfire Night, also known as Fireworks Night, is associated with the tradition of Guy Fawkes' Night. The modern event is held annually on or near 5 November, although its sectarian significance has generally been lost: it is now simply a night of revelry and fireworks.

Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Day, Bonfire Night and Firework Night, is an annual commemoration observed on 5 November, primarily in England. Its history begins with the events of 5 November 1605, when Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was arrested while guarding explosives the plotters had placed beneath the House of Lords. Celebrating the fact that King James I had survived the attempt on his life, people lit bonfires around London, and months later the introduction of the Observance of 5th November Act enforced an annual public day of thanksgiving for the plot's failure.

There, I hope that's cleared that up!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Not Bonfire Night.

I absolutely LOVE Bonfire Night. I adore fireworks, and the night's fireworks are usually accompanied by getting to wrap up warm in hats and scarves and gloves, wave around sparklers then drink hot chocolate afterwards. When I was younger - before I gallivanted off to university - my parents, grandparents and I used to hold Bonfire Night family parties at our house. We would buy a few boxes of fireworks and sparklers and set them off in our back garden. It was always such a fun night, with all of us "ooh"-ing and "ah"-ing over the (usually quite unimpressive!) fireworks. The 'traffic light' ones were always a particular favourite.

But this year, not only was I not in Cardiff to take part in these festivities, but I was working on Saturday night. So, no fireworks for Emma!
In an attempt to cheer myself up about this, here are some photos of fireworks that I've taken in recent years:

(this last photo is one of my favourite photos of all time).